Floriade finishes on a pawfect note this weekend with the return of a Dogs’ Day Out on Sunday (14 October), when Commonwealth Park will be devoted to our furry best friends and their needs.
This year it’s a chance to drag out the cape and mask for a superhero experience, in line with Floriade’s pop culture theme.
Owners and their dogs are invited to reveal their enhanced abilities and don the costume of their favourite Superhero, and be in the running for Best Dressed Dog honours, with major prizes going to first, second and third places. All you have to do is sign up at Stage 88.
As well, there will be special dog-friendly activities and entertainment throughout the day including presentations, food and beverage for pups and owners, appearances by celebrity pups Avalon and Maluka and more.
Six dog demonstrations will be performed in the Dog Demo Area (entry into Stage 88 area) by Four Paws Sport and local Canberra Dog Obedience Clubs, while in the Creative Grooming Showcase, Canberra’s best dog groomers will for the first time at Floriade, show off their creative talents, ranging from simple accessories to unique haircuts and spectacular colouring.
Breed group photo opportunities will be available, with 17 breed categories and three sessions – small, giant and rescue. Owners of the same breeds can gather together for a group photo against the Floriade pop culture backdrop on the left-hand side of Stage 88, where a professional photographer will be snapping pooches and posting photos online for people to download for free. Breeds and times are on the Floriade website.
Or you or a volunteer can snap your dog against the superhero-themed backdrop, and enter the Best Photo Competition, which will run on the A Pooch Affair Facebook page. Send in your favourite photo of your dog enjoying the Dogs’ Day Out. Photos will be shared on the A Pooch Affair Facebook page, where winners will be announced on Friday 19 October. Prizes will be awarded to the top three photos.
A must for the very responsible dog owner is the presentation by TEDx Canberra alum Gemma Thomson of Puppis Baw’s dog poo recycling process that uses dung beetles to create garden compost.
Every dog loves their toys and iconic dog toy brand KONG is back to show off the latest playthings for pooches.
In fact, 26 vendors will be selling toys, treats, collars, leads, clothing, kennels, grooming accessories, comfy plush beds, dog food, dog giftware, pet hotels, and pet-friendly accommodation. You can even make your dog fluffy and fragrant on the day with Jim’s Dog Washing.
The ACT’s animal rescue groups will come together to chat with and provide advice to dog owners, with RSPCA ACT, ARF and 4Lyfe participating.
RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson said it would be a great opportunity to meet some gorgeous pooches looking for their new forever homes.
RSPCA volunteers will be giving some of the dogs at the Weston shelter a day out and introducing them to the public, as well as letting the community know about the organisation’s adoption program.
Ms Roberston said the RSPCA kennels were full and she hoped people would go to the website or visit the shelter and consider adopting, and not buying, a dog.
“It’s going to be a really great opportunity to get all the furry members of the community to enjoy the day amongst the flowers,” she said.
She had valuable advice for dog owners on what will be a very busy and warm spring day.
Pet owners should ensure their animals had plenty of water, shade and rest between activities, especially the flat-nose breeds such as the pugs and bulldogs that find it harder to cool down, and check for signs of heat stress.
“Make sure that you’re always in control of your dog. It’s not just your dog, be mindful of all the other dogs around them. There’s a lot of stimulus, a lot of things going on. Be really aware of the signals that your dog is sending. Take the opportunity to calm them down and let them catch their breath. Give them ample opportunity so they’re not in a constantly elevated state,” Ms Robertson said.
“There’s going to be lots of dogs, lots of sounds, and lots of smells so just be vigilantly aware of the signals that the dog is sending.”
Take time out at the Pooch Café opposite Stage 88, where there will be café tables and chairs set up where dogs and their owners can enjoy the food and entertainment up on the main stage, as well as a variety of dog treats available for purchase. There’s also Capital Brewing Co.’s Pooch Bar alongside the Dog Demo Area, where owners can relax and have a brew while watching the entertainment.
The day starts at 9:30 am and goes all day until 5:30 pm. The full event schedule is available here.