Politics

Pet fundraiser in Yaletown draws the dog crowd


On Sunday, hundreds of canines showed up to Pet-A-Palooza to scarf down free treats, splash in the doggie pools, do yoga and compete in Wiener dog races

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Ten years ago, when Jordan Illingworth and Lonnie Powell got their first Great Dane, Floyd, their lives changed forever. The former nightclub promoters quickly became morning people.

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“It was a big shift,” said Powell. The couple now have seven Great Danes, and their event productions are focused on four-legged partygoers. On Sunday, hundreds of canines showed up to Pet-A-Palooza in Yaletown to scarf down free treats, splash in the doggie pools, do yoga and compete in Wiener dog races.

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The annual festival, which has expanded over the last decade to Calgary, Victoria, Vancouver and Scottsdale, Arizona, benefits the Just Love Animal Society and aims to educate dog lovers on everything from holistic health remedies to safe and ethical dog adoptions.

“Pet ownership is up 40 per cent across Canada since the pandemic,” said Powell. “People were lonely, and a dog brings out the best in people.”

When choosing a dog, Powell recommends selecting a breed with a personality that matches your own.

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Lonnie Powell and Jordan Illingworth at Pet-A-Polooza, The Day of the Dog fundraiser for the Just Love Animals Society in Vancouver on Sunday.
Lonnie Powell and Jordan Illingworth at Pet-A-Polooza, The Day of the Dog fundraiser for the Just Love Animals Society in Vancouver on Sunday. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

Kari Richardson, who attended the event with her wiener-chihuahua cross safely nestled in a tote bag, admitted she and Frankie-Pitou are more than a little alike. “She is calm, loving and a bit of a princess — just like me.”

Theirs was an online love affair. Richardson had lost a beloved dog a few years earlier. Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was ready to adopt again. But the pandemic had caused a surge in adoptions.

Kari Richards and Frankie-Pitou at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022.
Kari Richards and Frankie-Pitou at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. Photo by Denise Ryan /jpg

“All the dogs in Vancouver were gone,” said Richardson.

Then she saw a photo of Frankie-Pitou online.

“That was it,” said Richardson, who went to Kelowna to pick him up. They’ve been together ever since.

Frenchies Bonnie (left) and Zeus (right) with Nicole Tapia and Adam Beaulieu at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022.
Frenchies Bonnie (left) and Zeus (right) with Nicole Tapia and Adam Beaulieu at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. Photo by Denise Ryan /jpg

Adam Beaulieu and Nicole Tapia brought their two French bulldogs, Zeus and Bonnie, to the event. Zeus is new to the family, adopted from a friend who could no longer care for him. The couple said that the laid back ‘Frenchies’ are a good fit.

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“They are a lot like us: easily manageable,” said Beaulieu.

The Frenchies are also headstrong. Bonnie can get a little huffy when Tapia tells her no.

“She shrugs and sighs,” said Tapia.

Both like to clamber into laps for some Netflix.

“We each get one of them, and a couch,” said Tapia.

Pauline Huynh with nephew Andre Nguyen and American Pocket Pit Bull Kilo at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022.
Pauline Huynh with nephew Andre Nguyen and American Pocket Pit Bull Kilo at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. Photo by Denise Ryan /jpg

Pauline Huynh, said her four year old pocket Pit Bull Kilo is calm, loves to cuddle and is bilingual, just like her.

“He speaks Vietnamese, he doesn’t bark or snap and loves to give kisses.”

Although Kilo looks a little intimidating, Huynh said he is a softy at heart.

“If you cry while you are watching a move, he senses the tears and comes and licks them off your face.”

Aspara Telwatte with Dante at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022.
Aspara Telwatte with Dante at the Just Love Animal Society’s Pet-A-Palooze in Vancouver’s Yaletown on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. Photo by Denise Ryan /jpg

Dante, a 10 month-old Great Dane, was a perfect fit for her mellow lifestyle, said Aspara Telwatte. She had always wanted a Great Dane, for their beauty, elegance and calm personality. But she has to watch out when she is preparing food. Dante is already tall enough to rest his head on a table.

“He’s a counter-surfer,” said Telwatter.

If you have seven Great Danes, like Illingworth and Powell, things can get a little crazy at home.

“It’s a circus,” said Powell.

It’s also something they wouldn’t trade for the world.

Although Floyd has passed on, his legacy lives on in the event that brings dogs, and their human counterparts together.

“Dogs give you unconditional love. We wanted to give that back,” said Powell.

dryan@postmedia.com



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