The festival for dogs named DogFest is over for 2017 and what an event it was. Launched and hosted by the famous Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick, it’s a fun-filled day out for dog lovers and their companions in North and South England.
This annual event occurs over a 2 week period on their weekends, Saturday and Sunday. For 2017, DogFest North was hosted at Arley Hall, Cheshire and DogFest South was hosted at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire. This was my first time ever attending DogFest and I had the opportunity to attend both South and North DogFest.
Throughout the day there are many opportunities for both you and your pooch to get involved. Scattered over the grounds, there were multiple arenas with scheduled agility and talent displays, including DogFest goers having the opportunity to participate in fun competitions such as the Dogs Today Best In Show Competition. In the middle of the festival was a Super Stage where live music acts perform throughout the day, and this includes Noels 45 minute live talk. K9 Aqua Sports brought along a large swimming pool hosting Dock Jumping for those doggies who were brave enough to take the plunge! There were 2 charity walks hosted by Supervet himself called the Great Dog Walk, and hundreds of dog-related stalls on the grounds where you can shop till you drop!
Arley Hall in particular was absolutely sweltering but we still managed to have a great day. Due to the immense heat, Anuko was not able to participate in many activities there was going for dogs and their owners such as the Have A Go Agility or the Best In Show Comp which we would’ve loved to be involved with otherwise. Also because of the 30oC temperatures, we wasn’t able to stay for Noels entire speech as we needed to return to the shade to cool Anuko down, but we managed to stay for it at Knebworth House. During this live talk, Noel spoke of how he started his first of its kind practice in Surrey, a motivational talk for us companion animal owners but mainly how veterinary medicine is advancing and how it competes with human medicine (and how they should be working together instead). This in particular interested me as my future career choice will be in veterinary medicine so it was great that I got to listen to it at least once. There were smaller plastic pools full of water for the dogs to bathe in and bowls to drink out of everywhere, as well as spare poop bags and even cooling down towels for them to lay on so it was really well catered for any weather possibility. Despite the heat, DogFest was a grand opportunity for Anuko to touch noses, interact and play with hundreds of dogs and the journey home was much quieter than the journey there. He even made some new Instagram friends such as @diesel_and_dom!
The majority of the day out, we spent shopping. With hundreds of stalls ranging from treats to accessories, canine massage therapy or quirky new products in the dog industry, I was quite in my element and so was Anuko with all of the free treats! Every stall was different and targeted all price points and breeds. I started my day at Knebworth House at the Canine Massage stall and was taught how to effleurage Anuko, who was also given a free muscle check to make sure all of his muscles were in working order, and ended it with a free vet check up at Vets4Pets. Everything was discounted for show prices so I came home with much more than I thought I’d be able to. The majority of stalls offered free goodie bags to take home and every single person working both days were so incredibly pleasant. I will do a separate mini blog of all the things we bought, and then if there is anything in particular you’d like Anuko to rate, just leave a comment!
I also spent a fair bit of time going around and asking to take photos of everybody’s pooches, all shapes and sizes, as well as recording some of the activities I saw going on which will be on Anukos YouTube as soon as I edit them. I was introduced to many breeds, some I had never even heard of or seen before. The vast majority of the dogs were very socialable and whilst there was a few disagreements (dogs aren’t much different from us you know), there was no scrapping between any of them which was initially a worry of mine, which is the reason for me pe packing a dog First Aid Kit just In case. Any dogs who were a little less social were clearly displayed as so, wearing neon orange harnesses, collars and leashes with “nervous” on them which I thought was really cool. We was all pleasantly surprised by how well trained and friendly everybody and their dogs were!
The last weekend of the event Anuko got to meet Beverley Cuddy, the woman behind him being a cover dog for Dogs Today August 2016 and he even snuck a picture with her. His cover dog shoot he did with Penelope Malby is probably the most proudest accomplishment he’s ever done and I’ve even framed the magazine cover. At Dogs Today’s stall there was also a blown up version of a blank Dogs Today magazine, where dogs had the opportunity to participate in the competition to become a Cover dog for an issue. To think that we almost didn’t attend the Knebworth House event!
Overall, the Glastonbury for dogs was an event I’d do all over again, and I’m shocked that I had never been before. A fun and rewarding day out for dog owners or dog lovers, and all dogs come free! I’d recommend to younger puppies to come to events like this, as the meeting of so many different types of canines and would help to build good socialisation skills. Roll on DogFest 2018!