Monday, October 7, 2013


Every year St Francis Service Dogs puts on an outdoor festival at "The Farm", celebrating dog-lovers and their best buddies. Dogtoberfest is also a fundraiser, with proceeds going towards the running of the school. Frank and I, with 6-month service pup Piper in tow, headed up to Roanoke on a bright October Saturday to check it out and...we had a doggie blast!

What did we find? All sorts of activities for dogs and their owners to try out, including Fly Ball, agility rings, several fun dog games, a doggy day spa, caricaturists, and PawCasso (a matted photo of your dog surrounded by his paw prints).


There was a Parade of the Dogs in costume, a blessing of the animals, a DogGone Good Diner and service dog and police dog demos. Of course there was St Francis merchandise for sale as well as other vendors.

Piper gets a pedicure from a St Francis trainer.

Piper gets a pedicure from one of the St Francis trainers. I usually do his nails, but wanted him to experience having them done in a different setting. I've also done his nails in the back of my car by the grocery store.

We bought tickets and Piper tried out the agility ring. In charge of the two agility rings was Connie, Piper's weekly trainer. Piper recognized her immediately and had no problem going in and out of tunnels, clearing low jumps and trotting along a board-walk. Piper loved it. Then he cooled off under a hose spray.

In a shady spot, we hung out and watched the amazing array of dogs walking by. Everywhere were dogs of every shape, size, breed and color imaginable, some in costume. What struck me was how dogs and people mingled, played, sniffed (the dogs) and explored without so much as a growl or hey-you bark. I guess everyone was too busy taking in the sights and having fun. It was great training for Piper to sit calmly and watch the dog-world go by. I wonder what he thought looking at all those dogs. Did he recognize them as part of his "family"?

Soon we packed up Piper and headed home. Down a country road, I snapped this fall picture of an old farm house "afloat" in a field of tobacco - a perfect day.

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