An Intern Reports on Last Weekend’s Dog Bowl

dog3Hannah Boen is spending part of her summer learning all about journalism here at D Magazine HQ. Note to Mr. Boen: we are doing our best to turn her away from journalism as a career option and get her pointed toward something that might give you a better ROI for those college bucks. You’re cool having a plumber for a daughter, right? In any case, here’s what Hannah has to tell us about the pooch festival known as the Dog Bowl, which went down on Sunday at Fair Park (PS: the pics are hers, too):

Going to the Dogs

By Hannah Boen

I’ve lived here a whopping two weeks, but it didn’t even take that long to realize people in this city love their dogs.

I’m completely dog-obsessed, and where I’m from, that’s a rarity. Not here. Pets are suddenly launched into royal status this far east, a good thing for my already uber-spoiled miniature schnauzer.

Evidence: the Dog Bowl.

dog1The windows of every car in the Fair Park lot bore slobber smears Sunday afternoon, which could only mean one thing. It was the day of the Dog Bowl, an event hosted by Friends of Fair Park allowing Dallasites to bring their pups for an afternoon romp on the Cotton Bowl field.

It seems reasonable that a city that offers dogs facials, nail polishing, and hair coloring would also offer a day to get them together to show it all off.

The event was a hit half an hour before it even began. Dogs eagerly awaited the opening of the gate and spared no time making friends. For dogs, the day merely meant new rears to smell and new territory to mark. It was the frazzled, sweaty pooch parents who really got into the event.

Owners could test and purchase everything for their pets, from gourmet food and designer accessories to colognes and soaps. A few vet services were also offered on the grounds, from vaccinations to micro chipping.

For those who weren’t already overwhelmed by the hundreds of bounding, drooling beasts among them, about half a dozen puppies were available for adoption from Operation Kindess, Texas’ largest no-kill shelter.

Dozens of vendors took to the field to peddle their goods and services, including dog hotels, spa services, daycares, portraits, bark mitzvahs, and puppy showers.

About an hour into the four-hour event, extreme exhaustion and slight disgust began to set in, leading me to consider the thought of the clean-up process that would have to take place at the end of the day. Enter Pet Butler, a pet waste cleanup service that voluntarily picks up after each Dog Bowl event. A job TJ White, an excrement technician for the company, said is made a little more difficult on a day as hot as Sunday, when dogs usually aren’t feeling well.

According to the hundreds of dog owners who showed up, the heat and the mess was well worth the fun had, and after four years of success with the event, Friends of Fair Park are planning another bowl for next spring and summer.

Becky Mayad with Friends of Fair Park said as long as people love their dogs and love the idea of letting them roam the Cotton Bowl, there will always be a reason to host the event.

I’m fairly sunburned, my pup is hyped up on vegan carrot cupcakes, and my car will reek of wet dog all week, but it was totally worth it.

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