Puppy power in action as Pawlooza raises funds for charitable organizations

It’s considered one of the biggest dog festivals in the country, with dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds coming out for Pawlooza.

According to organizers, 25,000 people and 6,000 dogs were expected to visit the grounds of the Plunkett Estate in west London, Ont.

Kelli Norton attended with her best girl Coco, a year-and-a-half old mixed breed pup.

“She came to us through Paws United so she’s a northern Quebec girl,” said Norton, who believes what makes Pawlooza special is the ability to bring to many agencies together in one space.

“It’s amazing having so many different groups come together and create the awareness of the different groups that exist out in the community,” she added.

While many dogs balked at making the leap from the dock at the Plunket Estate pond, others took another path to their toy during Pawlooza in London, Ont. on Aug. 19, 2023. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)One of the organizations on site was Westies in Need Rescue, geared to finding homes for west highland terriers.

“I think it’s great to have a breed specific rescue,” said Westies in Need Director Corrie Yeoman. “Because our folks who adopt from us know exactly what they’re going to get as westie lovers.”

Yeoman said what owners get is something called westie-tude.

“When you say ‘Come,’ they say ‘No.’ You say ‘Go,’ they say ‘No.’ You say ‘Cookie’ and you get all the attention in the world,” she explained.

A Barbie-girl pup makes an appearance at the Pawlooza Dog Festival in London, Ont. on Aug. 19, 2023. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

Pawlooza is 100 per cent volunteer driven. With a $10 entrance fee, all funds raised this year go to the Leeds Employment Services and the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF).

Co-Director of Pawlooza and ARF member Kristie Palmer told CTV News London, “We really work with Indigenous communities. We work with them for spay/neuter programs as well as with vaccinations.”

Palmer said the number of post-pandemic dog surrenders continue to grow and that it is creating a desperate need for foster families and funds.

“It’s really been tough. I’m not going to lie. All of these rescues, everyone here, we’ve had a really tough time the last few years,” she said.