Woofa-Roo director pleased with attendance, despite rain



By Ron Giofu


Even though this year’s Woofa-Roo Pet Festival was held under cool, wet conditions, the festival’s director was still happy with how things went.

Lorene Clayton pointed out that while some of the outdoor events were impacted both Saturday and Sunday at the Libro Centre, it didn’t have that much of an impact overall. Indoor events went off as planned and Clayton said she was happy with the weekend overall.

“It’s a little bit slower but I am so impressed with the fact that we had terrible weather and so many people still came out,” she said. “It pretty much proves we have a loyal following who like to come out to see what we do.”

Events included the Dock Dogs diving competition, presentations from A-Team Robotics and their “Fetch-a-Roo” robot, the Border City Barkers dog agility show, presentations from various dog and pet groups, raffles, wiener dog races, vendors and more.

Corinne Googe and her dog Helena compete in the dog diving competition. They came in for the second straight year from Whitmore Lake, Michigan.

“People that are here had a good time,” said Clayton. “I’m sure we did well in spite of the weather.”

Clayton admitted to not being nervous when looking at the weather forecasts in advance.

“It is what it is,” she said of the weather. “I’ll take care of the things I can control but that’s not one of them.”

Julie and David Unholzer from Danes in Distress stand at their booth (right). Canine units from Windsor, Chatham-Kent and OPP perform demonstrations.

People will still come out rain or shine, Clayton added, and that they were anticipating warmer weather given the festival moved from August to July this year. Her highlight, she stated, was the same as it is every year.

“It’s the energy people bring to the festival,” said Clayton.

The volunteers were outstanding, she added, as they performed their duties regardless of weather without complaint.

“They all do it with a smile,” she said. “They’ve been just incredible. It’s impressive to see how well the volunteers are working.”

Corinne Googe and her dog Helena were competitors in the dog diving competition. They came in for the second straight year from Whitmore Lake, Michigan.

“I love it,” said Googe. “It’s one of my favourite events of the year. I just love the energy.”

Mackenzie Parks fires tennis balls out of the “Fetch-A-Roo” robot built by A-Team Robotics.

Googe added the competitors form their own little community but she said the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival in Amherstburg is special as she likes seeing the vendors, the dogs and the people.

Julie and David Unholzer of Danes in Distress brought their dog Mojo to the festival and said they help find homes for larger dogs like Great Danes. Julie said that Great Danes don’t do well in shelters and that her group helps shelters around the province find homes for the breed. She said that exposure at Woofa-Roo has helped them find homes for dogs.

Laura Greenwood from Wheatley said she comes annually to Amherstburg for the festival.

“I love it,” said Greenwood. “I come back every year, even if it’s raining. If you are a pet person, you obviously come back.”

Greenwood said she particularly likes the lure course, as she has “high drive” dogs and that tends to tire them out.

A-Team Robotics, the local robotics team featuring a lot of General Amherst High School students, were on hand with their “Fetch-a-Roo” robot, a robot which shot tennis balls in the air for dogs to chase. Mackenzie Parks, one of the robotics team members, said it was “a good challenge” for their off-season as they learned a different type of mechanism and how to design a robot to shoot balls.

“If we’re building robots to shoot balls, why not have a robot that shoots balls for dogs?” he said.

Police canine units from Windsor, OPP and Chatham-Kent were performing demonstrations at the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival July 22.

His father Allan, one of the A-Team’s mentors and coaches, said they also want to get the team more exposure. They were at Canada Day as well and plan to be at the Aug. 3-5 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival in the downtown core.

“We felt it was good chance to get in the community and give back,” said Allan.

Allan added that off-season challenges gives other team members a chance to “spread their wings” and show what they could do.

Joanna Pitcher and son Greyson came in from LaSalle for the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival. Joanna said they heard about it from other people while her son was playing soccer and decided to come out.

“It’s lovely,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

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