Dog Days of Denton celebrates 25 years with furry friends

Dog Days of Denton celebrates 25 years with furry friends

Dog Days of Denton celebrates 25 years with furry friends
October 06
19:45 2018

At 9 a.m., vendors, various booths, pet owners and dogs filled the North Texas Fairgrounds. A playlist sounded out from the speakers with songs like “(How Much Is) That Doggy in the Window?” by Patti Page and “Puppy Love” by Donny Osmond.

A day jam-packed with events for both dog owners and their furry friends, Dog Days of Denton celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

From humble beginnings, 25 years later

Julie Glover, Denton’s Economic Development Program Administrator, and Darien Orr, then Denton Main Street Association member, first initiated the idea for Dog Days of Denton.

Glover said the event was created during her first year working with the Denton Main Street Association.

“Honest to God, there was nothing that [was] going on in this town 25 years ago,” Glover said. “I just knew everyone here is crazy about their dogs and there didn’t seem to be any dog events.”

The youngest members of the planning committee, Glover and Orr said they faced opposition from the other members due to concerns that the dogs would bite people, get loose or fight each other. Despite this, they went on with the event.

Glover and Orr recounted how the first year, they were unprepared for the number of people that showed up to the event. They were surprised the turnout was as big as it was, considering they relied on posters, word-of-mouth and the local newspapers for promotion.

“They are benefiting other people,” Glover said. “It started out as just something silly and fun to do and now it has a real purpose.”

25 years of animal welfare and awareness 

Dog Days of Denton board members always expect to go through with the event rain or shine. Current event manager Kevin Lechler said the event attracts about 7,000 people, most visitors staying around two hours or so, longer if the weather is good.

The event featured presentations from dog service training services, rescue centers, local animal welfare and animal health officials and various competitions.

“I’m a dog person myself and I helped with the event a couple of years and now I find myself coordinating it,” Lechler said.

To celebrate its 25 years, Dog Days of Denton bridged both its new and old traditions. It brought back Barkini, a fortune-telling booth that reads the paws of dogs as well as the opening couture costume parade.

“We decided to resurrect them in honor of this year, their anniversary,” Lechler said.

As part of the day’s activities line-up, Dr. Beau Black of Town and Country Animal Hospital gave a presentation on five aspects of pet safety he addresses at his practice regularly: CPR, allergic reactions and stings, lacerations, toxic substances and overheating.

Dr. Black demonstrated to the Dog Days of Denton visitors how to resuscitate their animals using the “ABC” method of placing emphasis on the dog’s airway, breathing and circulation.

“Making sure that everyone is staying safe with their pets [is the most important part] — that no pet or person is in danger,” Black said.

This was Black’s second year at the event and said he returned to the event for the talk, per request of the Dog Days of Denton board.

“I just think it’s really cool we can see everyone’s pets and socialize,” Black said.

Brittani Mendez, practice manager of VitalPet Animal Hospital, believes that Dog Days of Denton is a longtime favorite because of its commitment to the canine members of the community.

“They do a really good job of showing how important it is to show that animal health is important — how it’s just as important to the community as any other part of the community,” Mendez said.

At her booth, Mendez passed out goodie bags full of health pamphlets and health-oriented supplies. She said that people often come up to ask about vaccinations, annual health checkups and the overall best way to maintain their pets’ health. She sees the booth as an easy way to spread animal health education.

“I love that the community gets together for the animals,” Mendez said.

As a part of their efforts, Dog Days of Denton also hosted over 10 rescue and animal welfare organizations, allowing representatives to speak to the crowd about the benefits of their respective groups.

Denton’s newest Spokesdog

Every year, the Dog Days of Denton committee awards a special pup to become the city’s Spokesdog. The title is awarded through a competition that looks at their talent and costume. This year’s winner was Jazz, who was dressed up as Elton John to honor his last concert, owner Dari Partain said.

“We really didn’t expect to win,” Partain said. “We just came to have fun.”

Partain sewed two outfits for Jazz and her first Dog Days of Denton, even though she had never sewn before. Partain said they are excited for the events to come with the Spokesdog title.

“We’re going to be really happy to represent Denton at all of the events they have for us,” Partain said.

Though first-time participants, Partain said she can see why Dog Days of Denton has been able to celebrate 25 years of existence.

“It shows that they have such a great, organized program,” Partain said. “I noticed that when I signed up how they got right back to me and their schedule of events was all laid out. I was really impressed with that and I’m not surprised they’ve been doing it for 25 years. They have such a great turnout [and] there’s tons of people.”

However, Partain thinks the benefits Dog Days has for dogs and their owners have been the most important.

“Every dog needs a home,” said Partain. “Anything anyone can do to give dogs a home, it’s great. Dogs are angels on earth.”

Featured Image: Ellie and her award-winning Boston terrier Tessa wear their unicorn costumes at Dogs Against Domestic Violence, an event hosted by Denton County Friends of the Family in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Will Baldwin

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Maritza Ramos

Maritza Ramos

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