Annual festival really lets the dogs out

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — The signal to summer’s end commenced Aug. 13, as canines of all shapes and sizes took over a portion of downtown. The sixth annual Dog Days of Summer brought thousands of pooches and their owners to Aberdeen Drive and Newcastle Avenue, many of them waging their tails in delight.
As in past years, the event opened once again with the blessing of the animals by Drupon Samten Rinpoche of the Tibetan Meditation Center in Escondido.
“My dog has no idea what to make of all this,” said Seth Barlow, whose 6-year-old German shepherd, Max, sniffed wildly in the air. “I think he’s a little over-stimulated.”
According to longtime pet lover Bell Mumfort, the event was a success. “This is so great that we can celebrate our animals as a community,” she said. “It just brings a smile to so many people and dogs to have an event just for them.”
Indeed, the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association sponsored event rolled out the red carpet for the four-legged population.
“The community and their canine friends come together for contests, games, one fabulous silent auction, vendors, and, of course, food,” said event chair Brad Maassen. “It’s a great way to see old friends and make new ones of the two-and-four-legged variety.”
In addition to a challenging obstacle course, canines participated in a variety of contests with titles ranging from “Best Kisser” and “Cutest Puppy” to “Dog-Owner Look Alike” and “Best Dressed.”
According to organizers, the event is the fastest growing street fair for dogs and dog lovers in Southern California. Over 120 vendors hawked products and services aimed specifically at the four-legged set.
Karla Ogilvie, an award winning fine art photographer, displayed her custom pet photos. Her “Warholized” dog portraits added some pop-culture flair to the usual doggy picture. In fact, Ogilvie is a dedicated pet photographer who captures the spirit of each subject in her photos.
Several area animal rescue organizations were on hand to offer tips on adopting the right pet to fit the particular personality of its owner. Celebrity dog trainer Melissa Heeter was joined by her rescue dog, Viola, for a special performance and lecture offering advice on how to train and care for dogs.
The County Animal Services Rabies, Vaccination, License and Microchip Clinic was on hand to answer questions. “I like that we are promoting responsible pet ownership,” Beverly Kartik said. “A lot of times we just think about what’s fun for the dog and not what we need to do to keep things safe and sound for everyone.”
Between ritual blessings and obstacle courses, dogs were treated to free canine snacks and treats. To make the event more family-oriented, organizers set up a Kid Zone complete with a jumper, games and prizes.
Even those without a pet enjoyed the festivities.
“I came down here with friends and I don’t even have a dog,” Ben Johnson said. “It’s a chill atmosphere, even though there are a ton of dogs everywhere.”

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