Maura Magazine | To The Dogs

To The Dogs

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I don’t envy a publicist’s job, considering how many PR emails writers like me instantly delete. But sometimes, as when the invitation to “North America’s largest festival for dogs” entered my inbox, they reach an easy mark. Woofstock, which has now been running in Toronto for a decade, entices 150,000 canine attendees every June with gourmet dog food and DNA testing. USA Today once named it “one of the top 10 places in the world to celebrate animals”—which seems like an amorphous criterion, but sure, probably. Our illustrious mayor is a fan, too. I haven’t had any pets since a family dog passed away during university, and I just wanted to wander around in “pug voyeur” mode. The Woofstock powers that be let you do that twice, beginning with a preliminary “fashion show” that featured Liberace, Oscar the Grouch, Bad-era Michael Jackson, and a pup dressed as My Little Pony (yes, the TV show), as well as several attempts to scramble gender stereotypes through bulldog costuming. Maybe this accounts for my focus during the festival proper, during which I photographed only the most stylish dogs, as well as the occasional human. [...]