There was no crowd surfing at Pet-a-Palooza Sunday but with the large human and canine contingent at the free event it was work trying to get over to all the vendor booths that rimmed Bullen Park.
Pet-a-Palooza, dubbed the social event of the year for dogs and their people and the largest outdoor pet festival on the West Coast, was held in Esquimalt’s Bullen Park Saturday and Sunday.
Organizers estimate about 11,000 people attended over the two days as every breed from Great Danes to Chihuahuas mingled.
Dog businesses, adoption and rescue outfits, and pet health services that offered a range of free dog treats and information rimmed the outside ring of the park while dog races, misting stations, pet pools and even a puppucino bar — which included a free cup of Greek yogurt dusted with dried meat flakes — inhabited the inside ring. There were also canine cabanas for those dogs who just wanted to chill.
Among the highlights of the pet party weekend were the dog races: Frankie was the Weiner dog winner, Blaze took the title in the puppy stampede, Gordon took the Corgi race, and Hudson was the winner in the French Bulldog sprint.
One of many popular stations showcasing rescue dogs coming up for adoption was Flirting with Fido, a private not-for-profit dog rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing organization out of Victoria and Moose Jaw, Sask.
The McDonald clan rescued from Saskatchewan featured five pit-bull crosses: McFlurry, McNugget, McMuffin, Quarter Pounder, and Big Mac.
Volunteer Melanie Evans said the organization was at Pet-a-Palooza to raise awareness about rescue dogs and dogs in need. “All these dogs are from Saskatchewan where they would be culled if they are not rescued,” said Evans. By her side was dog Elmo, whom she said “would have been killed.”
Her partner in Saskatchewan rescues the dogs and Evans transports them to the Island “and we adopt them all out.”
It can cost an average of about $400 to $800 to adopt a dog depending mostly on medical needs. The seven-week-old McDonald clan, which drew a lot of attention at the festival, will be posted on Flirting with Fido’s website likely next week.
Volunteer Krista Wansbrough said Islanders are generous pet people and there is never a problem getting dogs adopted here. When the organization gets a call about dogs needing rescue, “we rush out and do what we can, and some of the dogs stay in Saskatchewan, and some of them get transported here because we have such a high number of people wanting to adopt dogs.
“The Island is pretty amazing for pet owners. They get treated really well here,” she said.
In addition to the puppies, there are some larger dogs that will go to foster homes to “decompress” before they are posted for adoption.
Adoption organizations try to find a good fit for the family and dog. A fenced yard, room for the dog to run, and companionship for the dog during the day are considered assets.
A few booths down from Flirting with Fido was Vancouver Island company Medix, which had just one of 48 standard pet first-aid kits left for sale at $30. The local company provides first aid for events, industrial and commercial services, as well as first aid kits for humans and pets on Vancouver Island and the Mainland.
Lyle Jordan, Medix director of operations, said dogs — especially West Coast warrior dogs who are regularly out hiking in the bush and mountains — can experience more aggressive bleeding with wounds or injuries and it’s key to have first-aid equipment ready.
“These kits are built for trauma,” said Jordan. “So if you need to plug a bleed we have blood-stop imbedded gauze roll that you can push into a wound and plastic tweezers [to remove spear grass, glass or metal shards and ticks and fleas] because if you have metal tweezers and that dog jumps at you, you are potentially going to stab that dog.”
The advanced first-aid kit includes a silver nitrate stick to quickly cauterize a broken claw that’s opened the hyponychium or quick of the nail for instance, various forms of gauze, hydrogen peroxide in a syringe to induce vomiting in case of potential poisoning, triple antibiotic ointment, and fabric rather than plastic tape in case the dog chews and ingests it.
The advanced kits are being updated and will be available in the next couple of weeks online and out of Medix’s Duncan office at 24 Station St. and its Sidney storefront, out of the ambulance station at 2075 Henry Ave. No. 22, which re-opens in September.
Meanwhile, to prevent nail problems before they start, McKenzie Veterinary Services, 3888 Carey Rd., was on site Sunday offering nail clipping for donations in addition to lots of information about their services and free treats.