Photo By Sofia Garcia

Sofia Garcia

Although DoggiePoolooza seemed like an event that would allow me to maintain my self-control, I was seized by an overwhelming urge to give every dog present a fraction of my time. Lined with vendors, food trucks and a swimming pool, this event promised a world of fun for both dogs and humans. Sponsored by Animal Care Services (ACS) and Parks and Recreation, DoggiePoolooza offered dog adoptions, “pawdicures” and training sessions for the community of San Antonio. While speaking with Rose Stringer, a representative from ACS, I was informed of the services they provide for prospective and current dog owners.

“Animal Care Services gives low-cost procedures to the residents of San Antonio. We provide free microchipping and discounted spaying and neutering for all pets. Everything can be free depending on the zip code because we do cater to low- income communities,” Rose said.

On my way into the community center after my conversation with ACS, I was enamored by a ukulele player, Ariel, who graciously provided her song covers as the soundtrack to DoggiePoolooza in the midst of barks and howls. Art somehow found its way into an event revolving around dogs and it created a welcoming community. After engaging with Ariel, I learned that the community center housed various adoption agencies looking to give young and old dogs a second chance. I could feel the lump in my throat creeping up as I read the stories of the dogs looking for homes, each one with a different reason for being left behind. As I stopped at each and every adoption stand, I noticed a trend in the employees. They all shared the same passion for showing unconditional love to these innocent creatures that undoubtedly steal our hearts. I came across many different agencies, but one in particular caught my eye. Grumpy Puppy Rescue, a non-profit organization working against animal cruelty, showed that passion when I spoke to a woman about the dogs that were up for adoption.

“Usually, when I volunteer for events like these, the dogs I work with will just come up to me and choose me. For me, creating this bond with the dogs is worth the long hours and I would do it everyday if I could. I wish that I could adopt every stray out there,” she said.

It had only been thirty minutes, and I was already immersed in every detail that made this event whole. Following my thought provoking-interactions with the agencies, I strolled into another room in the community center, and I was approached by women who named their organization “San Antonio Dog Moms.” The organization’s fascinating story quickly stole my attention from the woman who was holding her chihuahua in what looked like a baby carrier. The women from Dog Moms explained how their organization’s purpose is to bring dogs from the community together to socialize as well as form bonds with their owners. They meet up every month and offer pack walks, assistance with pets who have behavioural issues and seasonal events like the costume contest coming up later in October Being informed about all of these pet friendly organizations made me want to come to every scheduled event.

My quest to learn about DoggiePoolooza worked up quite an appetite, so I wandered outside in search of the food truck called “Ay, Chihuahua Tacos” that piqued my interest because of its fitting name. As I ate my food, I watched the dogs splash and swim in the pool closed off exclusively for this event. Observing the pet owners made me realize they would go to any length to ensure their pet’s comfort and that was what this event was about- a community of loving, kind and nurturing people coming together to bond with their family.

The Dog Moms costume contest will be hosted at The Block by UTSA.