By Mo Cranker on June 19, 2017.
Medicine Hat went to the dogs on Saturday.
“I’ve been saying this for a while, but Medicine Hat really just is dog crazy,” said Mike Steiner, organizer of the city’s first-ever Dogs in the Hat festival. “The support we have gotten from the community has just been amazing. There’s so many great things going on this weekend, but people are still taking time to come out to our festival — it’s just been great.”
In the weeks prior to the event, Steiner said he had hoped to get around 1,000 Hatters and their dogs out to Kin Coulee Park for the event that centred around all things dog.
When the day finally came, between 500 to 1,000 people showed up throughout the day, said Steiner, and he could not have been happier with how the first event went.
The day started out at 10 a.m. at the toboggan hill in the park, with everyone present taking part in a short march around the park with their animals.
“Everything we are doing and have planned for today revolves around having fun,” said Steiner. “Starting out our day with the march just sort of set the tone for the rest of the day where we just want people to come out and have a good time.”
As the day went on, Steiner said he was pleased to see there were no incidents or altercations between any pets or their owners.
“It’s been very nice to see that no incidents or anything have happened today,” he said about two thirds of the way through the event. “People have been responsible with their animals and have been keeping them on their leashes.”
Another large part of the event was educational demos done by groups like the Medicine Hat Police Service K9 Unit, showing people a side of their favourite animals they may not see every day said Steiner.
“We wanted to get some educational speakers just to show people something they might not have seen before — it just added one more fun thing to the day.”
The day was capped off with poop bingo, with all of the funds going to the SPCA.
“Throughout the day people (could) buy a numbered rock and place it in an arena,” he said. “At the end we’re going to let a dog in the arena, and which rock it poops closest to, that’s the winner.”
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