Southland dogs and their owners helped make the first HPNZ Dogs’ Day Out – supported by Royal Canin – a great success, despite a move to level two restrictions just hours before.
Organisers kept a live count to ensure the total number of people (including those working at the event) didn’t exceed 100 at any time on the day. Despite this, more than 300 dog lovers attended the event on Sunday 28 February, at Ascot Park Racecourse, Invercargill.
They got the chance to take part in have-a-go events, watch agility and show dogs in action, learn about HPNZ research and other health related topics, and visit their favourite doggy stores.
HPNZ Chair Dr Cath Watson says the turnout exceeded expectations. “We were aiming for 250 people, so it was great to exceed that number, particularly given the circumstances.
“I would like to thank all the exhibitors, dog clubs, and sponsors – particularly our event sponsor Royal Canin. We couldn’t have done it without your amazing support,” says Cath.
Local organisations taking part included the Southland Sled Dog Association, Southland Dog Training Club, Southland Kennel Association, and the Southern Institute of Technology. Supporting event sponsors included Waikiwi Vets, The Southland Times, and Party Plus.
“We heard anecdotally that some people who were going to come along decided not to after hearing the night before that level two restrictions would be in place at the event.
“With this in mind we really were impressed with the turnout, particularly given it was the first time we’ve held the event, so people didn’t know what to expect,” says Cath Watson.
Feedback from people on the day was very positive, with several attendees saying it was a rare opportunity for dog owners to take their canine companions to a dog-friendly event.
“We’ve also had some excellent positive feedback from exhibitors, and engagement with attendees was very high. We’ve taken this all on-board, which will help us to make the event bigger and better next time around!” says Cath Watson.