They say every dog has his day (or at least there’s a Toby Keith song that says that). But this past weekend local Toronto pups got two whole days at the annual Woofstock festival for dogs and dog owners. Setting up shop in the vicinity of the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday and Sunday, Woofstock 2010 brought together vendors hocking puppy-related merch (a chaise longue for your pet!), dog lovers, and their canine companions. There were plenty of free goodies for the dogs, and ample cobbed corn and lemonade for the humans. And varicose veins? You bet! Even though the weather wasn’t great, all the good vibes managed to keep a major, fur-drenching storm at bay. Another Woofstock miracle!
Saturday saw Canada’s favourite comedienne Carla Collins hosting three dog-related contests: Stupid Dog Tricks, Mr. And Mrs. Canine, and a costume contest that smacked of Woofstock’s opening event last weekend. Fresh from her stint on the TVTropolis reality series Carlawood—in which cameras follow her trying to make it big in Hollywood (which is why the series is called Carlawood…because it’s like Hollywood except, you know, with her name in it)—Collins appeared in no way humbled by the fact that she was hosting a Stupid Dog Trick contest, cheerily making jokes about failed marriages and Xanax which cemented the soused-housewife appeal of the whole event.
Joined on stage by three local comics serving as a panel of judges, Collins and Co. hacked through a whole bunch of jokes about Sandra Bullock, little people, and, astonishingly, the O.J. Simpson trial (though, to be fair, there was a dog named Ito and another named Kito, which can turn into a Kato Kaelin joke pretty easily). All this while introducing dogs that jumped for Frisbees, chased tennis balls, and in a show of Woofstock’s attempts at austerity and restraint, resisted eating dog treats and raw meat, which seems more like an anti-trick than a trick.
The Mr. And Mrs. Canine contest had owners and their dogs strutting down the outdoor catwalk (dogwalk?), vying for the affection of the audience and judges. This is where you see a lot of puppies in dresses and hear a lot of hilarious pet names (like Ruby McShane and Berrigan Boo). There were also two enormous Irish wolfhounds that looked more like ponies than canines. The costume contest opened the doggie doors for more puppies in dresses, as well as a slew of little runts dolled up as devils, frogs, and bumblebees. The Bee Dog invited a vintage citation of Blind Melon’s “No Rain” music video, a reference which successfully dated all the O.J. humour.
All these dog-related contests and pageants always come off as a bit surreal, but it’s all in good fun. And to be sure, people (and their pets) seemed to be enjoying themselves at Woofstock, despite the crummy weather. You might even say that despite all the silliness, Woofstock 2010 was anything but “for the dogs.” But we just said that. So now you don’t even have to.
Photos by Miles Storey/Torontoist.