Woofstock Festival Brings Variety of Canines to Downtown


Dog Pic WebLots of canines brought their humans to the annual Woofstock Festival Saturday.  It was held on the Jefferson Street side of Elmwood Park because of all the construction presently underway on the other side.

There were dogs being walked, dogs being held, even dogs peering out from the comfort of covered strollers.  Amid the pet vendors, food, and bands, there were kiddie pools set up for the dogs to take a break on the hot and humid day.  Some dogs were, of course, participating in the contests, such as dog and owner look-alike, a costume contest, and best trick.

Eight-year-old Roscoe, a pit bull mix sporting his Redskins team shirt, came with Spencer Matheny and Mandy Guthrie from Roanoke.  Matheny says that contrary to what some people believe Roscoe, “is not trained to growl at Dallas Cowboys fans on sight.”

“We wanted to come down and enjoy the dog festival.  She wanted to do the trick contest.  He’s got a couple of tricks.  We’re both huge dog lovers.” Unfortunately, Guthrie says Roscoe had a bit of stage fright and wouldn’t do his tricks in front of the crowd.

Peka Wade and Doug Gaffney from Smith Mountain Lake brought their three dogs.  “Dora”, a Tibetan Terrier which was adopted from the Roanoke Valley SPCA and  Patrick, a long-haired Dachshund with a crippled arm, rode in a covered carrier.  They recently adopted “Chase” who walked along beside. They come to Woofstock every year.

“It’s kind of like when you go out, you motorcycle ride and you see everybody and you wave or you’re driving your ‘vette and you wave, there’s a connection with animal people that it’s  like we’re all related even though we don’t know each other.  And it’s just a good feeling.”

Christina Lee with “Deaf Dogs Rock” was one of the vendors. The national group based in Salem helps with medical expenses, spay/neuter, transport expenses, and sponsoring deaf dogs in shelters to buy them time until the organization can get them out.

Lee says there’s a deaf dog at the Franklin County Humane Society that they helped pay to have its infected tail removed; three people have already applied to adopt him.

She says deaf dogs are usually easier to train because they don’t have the distractions that hearing dogs do.  They rely more on their nose than a typical dog, though, and that’s made it difficult for her deaf dog, Nitro, to pass the therapy dog test.  She says he just can’t resist the food placed in front of him.  Deaf Dogs Rock is featured in the July issue of Dog Fancy magazine and in the Spring/Summer 2013 USA Today Pet Guide.

Another vendor was League for Animal Protection, which serves the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas.  Director Pat Shaver and her volunteers were giving out dog treats and she says they attended so people would know who they are and what they do.

“I’ve seen a lot of alums.  People who have adopted from us have been by with their dogs, which is always fun.  I think it’s important to get the word out about the shelter.”  They’re completing a renovation project, doing some concrete work and upgrading fencing so they dropped the number of dogs they have to 18.  But she says in a couple of weeks when they’re done, they’ll bring that number back up into the 30s.

Stop by – they may just have the perfect dog for you!

– Beverly Amsler