Lorene Clayton

Woofa-Roo sees incredible numbers, despite brief storm during set-up Friday

 

By Jolene Perron

 

When a quick storm passed through some parts of Essex County Friday evening, a number of tents at the pet festival were overturned.

However, after putting in countless hours of work overnight, they recovered and the weather for the remainder of the weekend was in their favor.

From the dock diving organized by Ontario Dock Dogs, to the display of the many skills by Border City Barkers, the festival was a huge hit with pets and their humans.

One of the more popular events at Woofa-Roo’s festival was dock diving, where dog owners threw toys into a large pool of water to encourage them to jump as far as they could.  Some dogs reached lengths of 24 metres.

One of the more popular events at Woofa-Roo’s festival was dock diving, where dog owners threw toys into a large pool of water to encourage them to jump as far as they could.
Some dogs reached lengths of 24 metres.

“We’ve been coming here for three years and Cody really enjoys the event,” said Joe Ulakovich, owner of seven-year-old Yorkshire-bichon Cody. “We did some shopping, and it’s a great day out for the family. It’s a nice event, it’s very family-oriented and it’s comfortable being here with the family. We can give him treat samples and see what he likes.”

Owners such as Jon Ashe, owner of a two-year-old miniature Labradoodle, said the event is great for people who want to socialize their dog with other animals. Although it was his first year at the event, he said he plans on coming back next year and wants to teach his dog how to do dock jumping. He said all of the dogs they encountered over the weekend were great, and he loves bring able to bring his dog to an event, since he is a part of their family.

Woofa-Roo-13

“This has been phenomenal, we have had record-breaking crowds,” said Woofa-Roo director/founder Lorene Clayton. “Everyone is happy, we have a lot of dogs and the response has been very good. This is a dynamic weekend with a charitable twist as our festival benefits nine different charities and rescues. We enhance their profile with the public, help their fund raising efforts, increase their volunteer base, foster homes and secure homes for animals needing to be re-homed.”

 

Woofa-Roo bringing thousands of pets, owners to Amherstburg for fifth year

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The Libro Centre will host Amherstburg’s Woofa-Roo Festival this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.– 6 p.m., this region’s only pet and family friendly festival will be celebrating our relationships with our beloved pets.

“This is a dynamic weekend with a charitable twist as our festival benefits nine different charities and rescues,” explained Lorene Clayton, Woofa-Roo director/founder. “We enhance their profile with the public, help their fund raising efforts, increase their volunteer base, foster homes and secure homes for animals needing to be re-homed.”

Clayton explained they have been coined as “the festival of smiles” because everyone has such a great time. She said the mood at the Woofa-Roo festival is friendly, funny and focused on bringing people together with common interests – the love of their animals. Even people who aren’t pet owners, or who choose to leave their pets at home enjoy the festival because there is so much to see and do, both indoors and out. With more than 70 exhibitors, there is truly something for everyone.

“All friendly dogs are welcome to bring their responsible owner,” said Clayton. “We do have a pet policy which we ask people to read prior to bringing their pet. With well over 3,000 dogs in attendance we’ve had zero incidents last year because the majority of our public practice good animal stewardship.”

Woofaroo logo

This year, the popular Windsor Police K9 Unit presentation will be taking place in an enhanced event field. They are also expanding their events on this field to include a new game of distraction called The Woofa-Challenge.

Other popular events include dock diving, organized by Ontario Dock Dogs, which is a marquee event drawing competitors from all over the U.S. and Canada. They will also have the dog agility event, which demonstrates the skills of the Border City Barkers dogs.

For a full list of events, visit www.woofaroo.com.

“Our volunteers are among the best and more dedicated,” said Clayton, “many coming back year after year for various reasons. Some love the social aspect of our festival, some need the volunteer hours for their community service requirements but all are there because they love animals. They are an integral part of our festival and we depend on them to keep the wheels turning at our event.”

Admission to the event is $5. Reminder that the entrance is through the temporary driveway off of Simcoe St. and that the intersection of Simcoe St. and Meloche Road is closed.

(UPDATE – Aug. 11 – Please note that the Meloche Road/Simcoe St. intersection is now OPEN. Construction had been expected to take four weeks but the contractor completed the work quicker than originally anticipated.)

 

Fun fetched by thousands at Woofa-Roo Pet Festival

By Shelbey Hernandez

 

The “Olympic-style pet event,” as the founder so calls it, has celebrated its another year as a success.

Despite the rain on Saturday, thousands of pet owners and their furry friends were seen diving off docks, jumping over obstacles and enjoying the many pet-engaging activities offered at the one-of-a-kind pet event. The event was held at the Libro Credit Union in Amherstburg on Saturday and Sunday with around 12,000 in attendance.

A very well-trained Radar had a blast during the dock diving competition which was part of the fourth annual Woofa-Roo Pet Festival held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg last weekend. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

A very well-trained Radar had a blast during the dock diving competition which was part of the fourth annual Woofa-Roo Pet Festival held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg last weekend. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

The festival was created by Lorene Clayton who saw a void and wanted to fill it. With no pet festivals to be found in Windsor-Essex, she decided to create one herself. As a dog owner herself, she felt it necessary to have a place where people could celebrate being pet owners. She modeled her event after the Dog Bowl, a large pet festival in Frankenmuth, Mich.

Her first go at it attracted 7,000 people. Last year, that number jumped to more than 11,500 people. The event also supports local pet charities and rescues by donating large sums of money and being the place where adoption and rescue centres can gain greater exposure.

What Clayton notices about the event she started is how it brings people together.

“They have a common bond. The minute they come into this gate, they have a common bond with a perfect stranger and the dogs that are here and the people who are here, there are social barriers that are just gone because everyone knows that the person walking next to them shares that love for that animal,” said Clayton. “So it’s a way to celebrate pet ownership and people are eager to do this.”

During the fourth annual WoofaRoo Pet Fest, a German short-haired pointer is photographed competing in the flyball competition at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg last Sunday.

During the fourth annual WoofaRoo Pet Fest, a German short-haired pointer is photographed competing in the flyball competition at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg last Sunday. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

The event comes with many different vendor booths, K9 demonstrations, pet activities and Olympic-style games for pets and their owners to compete in.

One of them is dock diving, which pet owner Deloni Leslie had her dog Ari competing in. Leslie said she has come to the pet festival since the first year it started but didn’t start competing in dock diving until last year. Since then, she’s been hooked and has given the organizer nothing but praise.

Chasing bags around a large expanse was one pet activity that many pets really enjoyed. It was known as the lure coursing event which took place during the WoofaRoo Pet Fest held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

Chasing bags around a large expanse was one pet activity that many pets really enjoyed. It was known as the lure coursing event which took place during the WoofaRoo Pet Fest held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

“I’m a big supporter of Woofa-Roo. I think it’s been amazing since day one,” said Leslie. “There’s nothing really like it in our community and yet, there are so many people with dogs and obviously a ton of people here. Since year one, I think the organizer has done an amazing job. She keeps adding something to it every year and it’s just a really great, fun thing to do. Even if your dog doesn’t want to do any of these things, there’s a lot of things to do and see and shop.”