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Dressed-up pooch at last year’s Fest. Courtesy photo.




BOW WOW Fest

When: Saturday, May 2, from 8:45 a.m. to noon
Where: The parking lot of the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, 62 Doris Ray Center, Laconia
Cost: $10 per dog, $5 for a T-shirt
Contact: Claire Hebert-Dow at 524-4535 or chebert@melcher-prescott.com




A dogs’ day
Dogs parade down trail at annual BOW WOW Fest

04/30/15
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



If you’re taking a stroll down Laconia’s WOW Trail on Saturday, May 2, you may run into a parade — a pooch parade, that is. It’s part of the fifth annual BOW WOW Fest, a day for dogs and their owners to walk the WOW trail, participate in contests, chat with vendors and, this year, meet The Hulk, a 173-pound American Pitbull Terrier from northern New Hampshire who recently appeared on Good Morning America.  

The purpose of the event is twofold: to raise funds for local police department K-9 units and to raise awareness of the relatively new WOW Trail, which opened in 2010. WOW stands for the three lakes the trail is being built to circle: Winnipesaukee, Opechee and Winnisquam.
“For a lot of people who walk or run or bike, [the WOW Trail] is a safer route than the sidewalks and city streets,” said Claire Hebert-Dow, the event’s coordinator. 
The festival will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa parking lot with registration, vendors and K-9 guests. Vendors will include various local pet-related businesses, such as the New Hampshire Humane Society, Doggonit Training and Meredith Place Veterinary Emergency Hospital. The beneficiaries of the event, the Laconia, Gilford and Belmont police department K-9 units, will be present, and the Belmont unit will be doing a demonstration.
Laconia’s My Coffee House coffee shop, which has been at the event every year, will provide coffee for participants and donate half of the proceeds to the K-9 units.
At 10:05 a.m., a local priest will deliver a pet blessing for the dogs and their owners. The parade will commence at 10:15, led by two Laconia High School band members with fife and drum. Following them will be the guest of honor, The Hulk.  
“I was just beginning to work on this year’s event when I watched Good Morning America in early March and saw The Hulk,” Hebert-Dow said. “I wrote him a letter directly and asked if his calendar was free on May 2 to come help me raise money for our police department dogs, and he said yes.”
Photographers will be on site throughout the morning to take pictures of participants with The Hulk.
After the parade, dogs will have the chance to compete in a “best costume” and “best talent” contest. A memorable costume from last year, Hebert-Dow said, was a Dachshund dressed as a hotdog.
Winners of the contests will be awarded with a toy, bone or treat of some kind, donated by the Laconia Pet Center.  
There will also be a few raffles with prizes such as a Visa card, gift baskets and gift cards from local pet businesses.
Hebert-Dow said there are well over 50 breeds represented at the event, and last year more than 125 dogs participated. With The Hulk as an attraction this year, she hopes to double that number.
“It’s the hometown feeling of helping the local police whose work is usually only profiled when there’s a negative incident,” Hebert-Dow said. “They’re protecting us 24 hours a day, and the canines can be in danger just like their handlers, so I’m excited to bring in money to support them.” 
 
As seen in the April 30, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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