By Alison Taylor
The dog days of summer came early to Whistler this year.
But rather than lazy time spent reading by the beach or swimming in the lakes, these dog days were full of action-packed events forÉ well, dogs.
There were guided sunset hikes with your pooch, a dog wash, a dog cookie bake-off, trick contests, a parade and much more.
Based on the response for the two-week Dog Days event Paula Mohammed, director of events for Tourism Whistler said: ÒDefinitely weÕd be considering doing it again next year.Ó
The exact room nights generated by the event have yet to be tallied but word of mouth feedback has been very positive, she added.
The idea was conceived in part to let people know that Whistler is a dog-friendly resort and to focus on tourists who may book their holidays around their pets. Along with the extensive list of doggie-oriented events, some hotels also waived the pet-cleaning fee to entice guests to Whistler at the start of the shoulder season.
Dog Days kicked off with a dog parade at the end of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival with roughly 100 participants proudly marching through the village streets. Some even donned costumes. The winners of the pet/owner look-a-like contest were dressed in purple medieval garb for the event.
Another popular event in Dog Days was one of the last on the agenda. It was the dog launching competition at Lost Lake on Saturday, April 30 where more than 10 dogs hit the water at a running leap from the Lost Lake dock to see who had the longest launch. A local Jack Russell terrier called Risky took the top prize Ñ he may be small but he had a lot of heart.
A little less strenuous perhaps but noteworthy all the same was the best trick and the silliest trick contest.
ÒI'm very proud to say that the winner of the best trick was a former WAG dog,Ó said Carol Coffey, WAG's shelter director.
That was Riley, who performed a Òsit prettyÓ where she balanced on her haunches while simultaneously balancing a treat on her nose.
Silliest trick went to Fraser, a spaniel who can, believe it or not, do push-ups.
The timing of Dog Days tied in perfectly with the open house for Whistler's new animal shelter. Mayor Hugh O'Reilly and Councillor Marianne Wade were on hand to officially cut the ribbon of WAG's new shelter on Wednesday, April 27.
ÒI think everybody was really impressed with the building,Ó said Coffey. ÒWe're so excited to move.Ó
WAG will begin their move from the village maintenance building to the shelter on Nesters Road next week.
Some of the Dog Days events also served as fundraisers for WAG. All the money has yet to be counted but Coffey said the dog wash raised $300 and the BINGO fundraiser another $370.
ÒI think (Dog Days) was a lot of fun and I think we should continue to do it in the future and hopefully interest in the events will grow,Ó she said.
Though most of the participants were locals, Tourism Whistler's Mohammed said with more awareness over time they could entice more tourists to the resort for an action-packed holiday adventure with their dogs.