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Dog Days of Denton celebrates 23 years of man’s best friend

Dog Days of Denton celebrates 23 years of man’s best friend

Local nonprofit organization Dog Days of Denton celebrates it’s 23rd year of operation Saturday.

Dog Days of Denton celebrates 23 years of man’s best friend
October 02
16:18 2016

Vendors lined up, waiting to sell their crafty knick knacks or handy services. People sat on picnic blankets, talking and laughing. Food was served to hungry attendees. The festival was packed.

Dogs of all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds sprung around and wagged their tails with pride around the North Texas State Fairgrounds, basking in the fact that this festival was to celebrate them.

Dog Days of Denton, a local nonprofit organization, celebrated its 23rd year of operation Saturday at the fairgrounds. Formerly known as the Dog Days of Summer, the festival’s main goal was to celebrate man’s best friend.

Dog Days is like the Olympics for pooches, except more fun and much less serious. The grounds held plenty for the dogs to do, whether it was playing fetch, participating in shows, swimming in kiddy-pools or simply mingling with other dogs.

“Collie has competed in competitions for Barktober, but she hasn’t competed in Denton Dog Days,” attendee Katie Webb said of her Great Pyrenees. “We’ve been to Denton Dog Days twice, and we love it here.”

In addition to shows and competitions, Dog Days also provided a way for dogs and their owners to dress up and express themselves. Whether a tiny pooch was dressed as a clown or a big dog was in a dragon costume, the festival provided to chance for Dentonites and their dogs to laugh and have fun.

Dog Days wasn’t just about friendly competition.

The grounds were lined with different vendors and booths catering to the canines. For K9 Mill Rescue, an organization founded by three friends with the same passion and vision to assist breeding dogs in need, their mission statement is to “heal the sick and injured, rehabilitate the neglected and abused, and nurture the aged and unwanted.”

The three founders, Jennifer Umbright, Debra Hutcherson and Joann Meriwether, are operate from three locations across Texas: Athens, Crowley and Bowie. Of all their dogs, 95 percent are pure bred, they said.

Because they have only been a rescue since July, this year’s Denton Dog Days event was K9 Mill Rescue’s first time as a participating booth.

“We don’t have a shelter, we are 100 percent nonprofit and with three founders, we cover the entire [Dallas-Forth Worth area], so our dogs come from all over,”  Umbright said.

Other groups, such as the Denton Animal Shelter, were there to educate.

The event had a wide variety of pooches and puppies, ranging in everything from shih tzus and yorkies to corgis and poodles.

Theresa Dickson from Sherman, Texas, brought her two Great Pyrenees dogs to accompany her to the festival. Dickson said people throughout the festival joked that her dogs were polar bears, because of their big statures and white coats.

Sadie, a gentle giant, had lost all her pups and was severely underweight when she was found. Dickson knew at first glance that Sadie was meant to be hers.

Hundo, a Great Pyrenees male, was yet another foster of Dickson’s.

“They both get along very well,” Dickson said. “They love people. I have to work with them with other dogs because in their breed. They’re used to protecting against coyotes and wolves, so they’re predator-wary.”

Many of the dogs were well trained. Throughout the evening, not a single dog fight broke out, according to dog authorities.

Lager Palmer, the 2016 Spokesdog of Dog Days, made an appearance with his owner, Kendall Palmer, and competed for the obedience and tricks competition against several other dogs.

Lager was able to roll over, hold a treat on his nose and stand on his owner’s feet by command. Lager and Palmer took home a first place ribbon in the obedience and tricks competition, as well as doggie treats and toys provided by the Dog Days of Denton.

“Lager went through a six-week class at Petco, I also taught him tricks that I found on Google,” Palmer said. “I work with kids, so when I was able to bring him to work, I would get the kids to help me train him. He’s a good boy, it just takes lots of patience and perserverance.”

Whether attendees and their dogs were participating in events, snacking on some new dogs treats or just enjoying the outdoors with their fellow canines, they were all celebrating their best friends.

Featured Image: Local nonprofit organization Dog Days of Denton celebrates it’s 23rd year of operation Saturday. Travis McCallum

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Cierra Edmondson

Cierra Edmondson

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