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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Woofstock draws thousands to Sedgwick County Park

BY DAN VOORHIS
The Wichita Eagle

Woofstock felt a bit like its near namesake, Woodstock, on Saturday as thousands of living beings came together in peace, love and joy — but with less music and more dog biscuits. The annual event is a fundraiser for the Kansas Humane Society, which picked what turned out to be one of the loveliest Saturdays of the year.

More than 17,000 people and dogs thronged the booths and events at Sedgwick County Park. There was no fighting and almost no growling or barking. The dogs behaved so well that they outperformed some of the children.

James and Cinnamon Eyster of Wichita were there with their enormous 3-year-old Great Dane, Ellie, who sniffed a stranger politely.

"She gets her own couch," James Eyster said. "Well — we have to fight her for it."

As he was talking, their young son started to squirm in his mother's arms.

"Yeah, I'd say Ellie is doing better," Cinnamon Eyster said. "See what I mean?"

"And she doesn't need a balloon," James Eyster added with a laugh.

Michael Fieser, owner of Royal Heirs Pet Spa, 535 N. Oliver, was passing out promotional black-and-white checkered bandannas. The prospective pet pamperer wanted to talk about blueberry facials.

"We've got a big boxer with big jowls and we work that in and it's just dripping down and he's in heaven," he said.

Jason Barnes of Wichita and Shannon Mosto of Derby were at the event with Max, a 3-year-old Lhaso apso.

"I wanted to see what kinds of dogs they had and what kinds of people," Barnes said.

"He never gets to interact with dogs," Mosto said.

This was their first time at the event, and they were impressed at the size and scope and fun of it.

"It's nice" he said. "I thought there'd be more poop on the ground."

Denny and Joy Marlin of Wichita and their 6-year-old son Deacon put their dog Allie, a blue heeler, into the dog race.

There are three lanes, and the owners wait at the end of the course to call the dogs to them.

Allie is pretty fast, they said, but she came in last.

"I don't think she knew what to do," Denny Marlin said. "She's unbelievably fast when she wants to be."

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com.

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