Furry fun for the dog days of summer


PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK; COPYRIGHT: LOBSTROSITY

The second edition of the K9 Sport Fest will take place July 16 and 17 at the Maxville Fair Grounds in Maxville, Ontario. Following the success of the first edition in 2015, the organizers aim to follow the guidelines of the original festival, but will also add other activities to the program this year.

Last year’s edition drew approximately 500 competitors from as far away as Toronto. “The festival was very well received,” says Erika Anderson, the festival's founder. “The community was excited, and all the competitors loved the venue. It was well organized, and everyone had a great time.” Last year the event welcomed approximately 1000 spectators on Saturday and 500 on a rainy Sunday. The dog community has been buzzing about the event and the organizers expect an even larger number of competitors and spectators this year.

K9 Sport may not be something the general public immediately recognizes as a "sport" but it has widespread appeal and popularity among dog owners. It is also not limited to professional dog handlers. “K9 Sport is good to build a relationship between you and your dog. It's also a good hobby and activity,” Erika says. Not every activity is physical, but something like Frisbee throwing will involve athletic skills. The variety of activities is part of the appeal since pretty much any dog owner can participate. “Some dog owners with no experience can try out events such as Frisbee throwing, jumping, and other activities that rely on your dog's instincts.” The only sports that require previous training are Agility and Flyball. “K9 Sport Fest is a celebration of the sporting community,” Erika says. “It's also created to introduce people to dog sports that don't know anything about it.”

Erika feels very strongly about the ethical treatment of animals in any sporting events featuring animals. “We believe that a dog with a job is a happy dog," Erika says. "If you and your dog get involved in an activity, it gives your dog a purpose. It's good for their brain's stimulation and it also does the same things for their owners.”

Erika feels that an event such as K9 Sport Fest is a good place to start for any dog owner interested in that type of activity. “There are eight different types of sports (during the event) that are accepting all types of breeds. So you can come watch, or even try out any of the events to give you an idea of what is out there.” From that point, you can move on by getting in touch with the clubs that are hosting the event and move forward. Each of the canine clubs attending the festival is hosting one event and representatives from the club will be on hand to greet competitors.

The K9 Sport Fest is a must-see for all dog owners and enthusiasts. “It's a lot of fun. A lot of barking,” Erika says laughing.

The K9 Sport Fest will take place July 16 and 17 at the Maxville Fair Grounds (35 Fair Street, Maxville, Ontario), about an hour away from Hudson. The event is open to the public. Entrance is $5 and children under 10 get in for free. You can reach Erika Anderson by email at K9SportFest@aol.com or by phone at (514) 409-4797 to find out more.

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