It’s the dog days of summer but that has a different meaning for Lonnie Powell.
Powell is the producer of the Day of the Dog event – formally called Pet-A-Palooza.
“Day of the Dog has been running for 12 years and started out as more of a politically oriented initiative to help people who couldn’t feed their dogs. We helped small businesses, animal rescues … basically anyone who needed help with animal welfare, particularly dog welfare,” Powell said.
“We really had more of an educational focus back then.”
But Powell came from a nightclub background and that really influenced how he produced the event.
“I’m heavy into entertainment and attractions and I thought that it would be a great idea to take the music festival template and turn it toward an event specifically designed for dogs,” Powell said.
“We created the Just Love Animals Society and decided to host large-scale events across North America to raise money to help out our furry friends.”
To say that the resulting events are unique adventures for our canine friends would be an understatement.
Day of Dog features just about everything a dog could want, including two 100-foot swimming pools complete with lifeguards (safety is important, after all). There’s a superhero photo booth where folks can help their dogs don costumes and express their inner selves.
For the more contemplative pups, Day of the Dog offers yoga (owners are invited to participate so long as they don’t spoil the vibe) and there is even a dog blessing available.
A foam party also captures the true nightclub experience.
“We also have patio tables set up and offer doggy treats for our visitors as they wait for the races to start,” Powell said.
“The races are a part of the event that everyone loves,” Powell said. “The contestants race against similar breeds to keep it fair, but in the end, it’s just a lot of fun.”
Powell’s background is evident when one considers the size of the Day of the Dog.
“The footprint for Day of the Dog can be up to 40,000 square feet, depending on how much real estate we have available.”
Powell’s enthusiasm for the event is palpable and the reason for his feelings becomes evident when he reveals that he is a long-time dog lover. He’s the proud owner of seven Great Danes and views them as an integral part of his life. That passion inspires him to host Day of the Dog for others.
“Dogs give you genuine, organic, happiness,” Powell said. “It’s so amazing, seeing a thousand people and their dogs, all of them smiling. Some people even come dressed in matching outfits with their dogs. I guess you either get it or you don’t.”
Victoria seems to get it as Day of the Dog attracts upwards of 25,000 visitors over the course of the weekend. This year’s event will kick off on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. and run until Sunday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. It all happens at Bullen Park, 1140 Lyall St., and admission is free.
More information can be found at petapaloozawest.com. Human food will also be available at the event.