top of page

Dog Days of Summer returns downtown with kickoff in Market Square

By Lisa Chester

Many people remark how many dogs there are in Stratford. It is indeed a dog friendly town, and that includes the downtown core.

Dogs of all types descended upon the Market Square June 20 for the kickoff of the second annual Dog Days of Summer. It was paw-sitively packed, despite the heat and threat of rain.

The square was filled with puppy pools, water bowls and a rainbow waterfall to keep pooches (and our mayor) cool as everyone assembled for the launch of the Sniffari Map. The map, the brainchild of Christine Foster of Pawsitive Difference Professional Pet Care and created by local artist Beatrix Danger, highlights 17 spots meant to stimulate your furry friend and help them investigate and explore the world around them. Another initiative of Foster’s was the yellow zone, where dogs that need downtime or are overstimulated or nervous can go to calm down.

“We have a whole list on our website of dog-friendly places in the downtown core. They have window stickers to identify them. It is all year long that people can bring their dogs in businesses, but (at) restaurants it’s just patios (in the summer). People love to travel with their dogs,” said Jamie Pritchard, general manager of the Downtown Stratford Business Improvement Area, (BIA).

The unveiling of the map was a bit of a challenge with the wind, but Mayor Martin Ritsma was up to the task.

“The map shows off all the areas of downtown, shows dog stations and great places for a dog to go for stimulation by sniffing around. We have the maps available at Destination Stratford, BIA and there is a map in every grab bag,” said Pritchard.

There were grab bags available free to the first 50 dogs and their owners who registered for the dog show.

“BIA, you’re doing amazing things just to bring people down to the downtown core, and it’s kind of neat when the dogs come down and hang out with you,” added Ritsma.

The Dog Days of Summer was established in collaboration with the BIA, Foster and Danger. The dog show commenced with judging in seven different categories that owners signed their dogs up for when registering.

The first category, waggiest tail, was a charmingly popular one, but there was one clear winner and that was Ginger the spaniel. Next up was best dressed which was difficult to judge. The category featured dogs dressed as a biker, in tuxedoes and dresses, but the winner was the groovy Grover in the rainbow-glittery disco outfit. The third category was the youngest dog, which went to adorable four-month-old littermates Dexter and Daisy, two dachshunds.

Old timer went to senior-pup Hunter, comfortably ensconced in a stroller of their very own. The category most anticipated by the mayor was dog that looks most like their owner, which was without a doubt a worthy win for Mizumi and her owner, both dressed in tiaras. Best trick was won by Duke the golden retriever and, finally, the smiliest dog went to Tank.

All the winners went home with prizes. Participating dog-friendly businesses can be found displaying a window sticker with a green circle outlined in blue with a paw print in the centre. A list of participating businesses is available on the BIA website, The Sniffari map can be picked up at the Destination Stratford BIA office or at participating pet stores.


bottom of page