Somerville festival sees tricks, tails and treats

Somerville festival sees tricks, tails and treats

Scores of dog tails wagged all over Trum Field last Sunday for the 7th annual Somerville Dog Festival.

“This town is incredible to come out after that [morning rain], I’m impressed,” said festival co-coordinator Marjie Alonso of Somerville, Massachusetts.

The festival, presented by The Somerville Foundation for Animals, began at 11 a.m. with activities such as the “Doggie Fun Zone” obstacle course where dogs hurdled, ran through small tubes and climbed a ramp for a timed finish. While some dogs ripped through the course, others got distracted by the audience or were uneasy about particular obstacles.

“I really look forward to seeing dogs and people learn[ing] something new,” said Alonso. “We started this because we wanted people to see the healthy eccentric things that you can do with your dog.”

There was a “Doggie Look-a-like” contest where the audience judged which contestants looked most similar to their dogs. Shortly after, a “Doggie Trick Contest” showcased the trained tricks of dogs and their owners – both on the main stage.

Amy DeThomas’s dog Jenga won second place by playing peek-a-boo, somersaulting off DeThomas’ back and playing dead after DeThomas pretended to shoot him.

“It was fun to get out and socialize with other pet-friendly people,” said DeThomas, a Somerville, Massachusetts resident, adding that Jenga had won first place the last couple of years at the same festival. “I like to meet with different vendors and see what they are offering and meet dogs.”

Across the field, Somerville Police Officer Tim Sullivan demonstrated a canine search by dropping practice evidence in the middle of a fenced-in part of the field, then letting his dog out of the police car. Approximately 15 minutes later, the canine found the evidence and laid down in front of it, pointing at it with its snout to let Sullivan know where it was without touching it.

Back on the main stage, Porter Square Veterinarian members set up “The Ugly Duckling,” a play starring four-legged actors.

“It’s a lot of fun and haphazard. No one takes this too seriously,” said the play’s narrator, Pietro Castelli, of Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, after the show. “The dogs not wanting to go on stage, the dogs almost falling off the stage, the dogs knocking stuff over [makes it better].”

Other activities included paw printing and eating dog-friendly ice cream.

There were 21 sponsors for this year’s festival, according to the event’s website.

Although the festival is free, donations were accepted for several organizations, including a pet food pantry, said Alonso.

“We want to keep dogs at homes and if you can’t feed your dog, you can’t keep your dog,” she said. “We are doing what we can to promote physical and behavioral help when they need it.” 

Photo by Justine Newman. 

Check out our gallery here for more photos of the event.

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