By Marlene Petersen
It’s back! After a four-year hiatus, the
Dog Days of Stockholm returns Saturday, August 26 at Village Park in Stockholm, Wisc.
Join other dog lovers at this one-day, free festival where the whole family—especially Fido—can play games, get advice from vets and trainers, grab a bite to eat, shop and learn more about animal adoption.
Meet, greet, adopt
The annual extravaganza, which began in 2010, sprang from a vision Mary Anne Collins-Svoboda and her daughter, Erica, had for helping adoptable dogs find families.
“My daughters are the biggest dog lovers that ever lived,” says Mary Anne. “We’ve always been very aware of dogs who need homes, and we wanted to find a way to help with that. Going to a shelter can be intimidating. Sometimes people have trouble walking through the doors, so we wanted to introduce adoption in a different way. We decided to do a festival that would create a place where people could have fun but also could meet the organizers of rescues and shelters.”
With help from Harley Cochran, owner of Stockholm Gardens Nursery & Landscaping, and loads of volunteers, including a local nonprofit that supports a variety of community events, Dog Days of Stockholm hit the ground running. Shelters and rescues from all over the Twin Cities, Rochester and La Crosse came with eligible dogs to meet festival goers. Several families made new furry friends and started the adoption process on the spot. According to feedback gathered after the 2013 event, nearly 53 adoptions resulted from that festival alone.
All fun and games
Filled with activities, Dog Days of Stockholm is not just for those looking to adopt.
“We have a stage show that runs all day long,” says Mary Anne. “Pat Kessler from WCCO TV has been our host every year and will be this year. We have contests—everything from the best-looking dog to best original trick—and activities like doggy frisbee and yoga, the blessing of the dogs, and ‘Ask the Vet.’ Trainers do presentations throughout the day, and vendors sell dog clothes, leashes, toys and beds.”
The festival also offers a craft tent for younger children, plastic dog pools to cool pets and biodegradable bowls for their food and water. Hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream treats are available for purchase.
For attendees wanting to bring their canine companions, all dogs must be kept on a leash and under control at all times and the owner must submit a liability waiver (available online or at the event). The festival is handicap accessible, and admission and parking are free.
“The event is fun and positive and really gets the community involved,” says Mary Anne. “I’ve had people mention to me that they didn’t come to adopt another dog, they just came to see what was going on.” She pauses and smiles. “But really they came for another dog, they just didn’t know it.”
Dog Days of Stockholm – Stockholm, Wisc.
Saturday, August 26 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Marlene Petersen is a Twin Cities-based writer who is thankful for Mary Anne and her family and their creative solution for bringing families and adoptable dogs together.