Woofstock: Great times at the Pawsie tent

Woofstock: Great times at the Pawsie tent

On May 25 and 26, the Pawsie team took part in the largest canine festival in North America. Here's our report on a weekend of doggy fun and games.

June 7, 2019 By Josée Larivée

Toronto's Woodbine Park was a sea of white tents ready to meet and greet an impressive crowd of dogs—especially the tiny variety—and their owners. That's what Woofstock is all about: thousands of people coming together to celebrate the joy of being dog owners.

The canines came in all breeds and personalities—some eccentric, other free-spirited. We saw one sporting biker's shades, another, a tutu. Some were dressed to impress, others to shock; some wore street gear, others were exquisitely groomed.

Despite the rain, hardy souls came to check out the latest fashion lines and novelties in pet food, toys and gadgets. Some lingered by the food trucks featuring organic dog goodies. With so many animals in the same place, you might expect mayhem. Astonishingly, there wasn't a trace of a hitch. The dogs were super sociable—all on a leash, of course.

“What was striking, was how open everyone was,” says Annick Jasmin, a member of the Pawsie team. “The atmosphere was conducive to easy, relaxing interactions between kindred spirits. No competing. Everyone seemed to be saying, ‘your dog is as interesting as mine'.”

The activity at the Pawsie tent got people talking and smiling. A banner displayed 25 funny expressions, and we asked visitors to choose the one that best described their relationship with their dog. Each dog-human pair was then photographed with their expression. What was the most popular expression? “Spoiled rotten”. But who spoils who the most? Dog or human? It wasn't always clear!

Discussing our 4-legged friends and the relationships we share with them seemed to stimulate everyone present. The activity was a success: as soon as the rain tapered off, people lined up to be photographed with their dogs. In two days, we snapped more than 350 portraits.

Annick Jasmin remembers her most touching moment at the festival: “A deaf-mute man entered the tent with his black-and-white Border Collie, equally hard of hearing. The man communicated with his dog in sign language. The Border Collie clearly reacted to his master's finger-and-eye movements. What was the expression that they picked? “We speak the same language.”

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