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Happy Tails To You

A small bulldog sitting in a kiddie pool
Bella Takes a break  in a kiddie pool during Dog Days, Evansville, Indiana

It’s not every day one gets to hang out with a crowd of happy dogs and their humans, so when the opportunity arises, I’m going to take it.

After a long day of driving between Asheville, North Carolina and Evansville, Indiana, my plan was to get up in the morning and continue my journey to the start of the Santa Fe Trail.

But there were dogs. Lots of dogs. Two city blocks of tails wagging, excited barking, and goofy canine expressions.

Now in its fourth year, the Evansville Dog Days is a treat for the furry creatures and their humans.

As Gumbo, a tan and white husky with sky blue eyes, inhaled a whipped cream treat, courtesy of Biscuit Belly restaurant, his humans told me that he knows when Dog Days are coming up, almost like a child anticipates Christmas.

If you’ve never owned a dog, you might roll your eyes and accuse dog owners of reading too much into their behavior.

I disagree.

For most of our time in Las Vegas, Corie and I were parents to Puck and Psyche, who had a sixth sense for when Thanksgiving was on the calendar. In a dog’s world, it was the most important day of the year, waffles for breakfast and turkey–glorious, juicy turkey–for dinner.

From a dog’s perspective, I imagine Evansville’s Dog Days is about the most fun event that doesn’t involve a turkey dinner and I could see any sensible dog eagerly anticipating the event.

One of the organizers of the event told me that Dog Days was a natural outgrowth of the city’s other downtown events.

“Everybody brings their dogs to all the other events,” she told me. “So we thought, why not have an event just for dogs?”

More than 65 million households in the United States own a dog, and an overwhelming majority admit to buying their dogs gifts for holidays and birthdays.

In other words, we’re a country that loves our dogs. We love to spoil our dogs, dress them up, show them off, and treat them to a good time.

That love was on full display as I walked up and down the street, meeting indulged dogs and the humans who indulge them. In addition to whipped-cream treats, the dogs in attendance could try their paw at an agility course, participate in a kissing booth, or just hang out with new friends.

For those who arrived without a dog or for people who needed a little more dog in their lives, there was no shortage of rescue groups helping pups find forever homes.

I stopped to play with two, Holly and Ivy, who enthusiastically competed to greet me from a mesh pen. As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, recreating John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charlie has been a longtime dream of mine and, if I still lived in the States, my road trip might have quickly turned into Travels with Holly and Ivy.

The cats would have loved that little surprise on our return home.

As the morning turned into afternoon and more and more dogs with their humans filled the streets, I tore myself away, knowing I still had several hours of driving ahead of me on my trek to the start of the Santa Fe Trail.

Grant, Teddi, and Kelsey at Dog Days, Evansville, Indiana

Holly and Ivy looking for their forever homes at Dog Days, Evansville, Indiana


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