It was a sunny, breezy morning last Sunday at the Maryhill Winery. The winery is located in Goldendale Washington on a bluff overlooking the fantastic Columbia River Gorge. It features a tuscan terrace with a grapevine covered arbor and a view that is second to none. The 4000 seat Amphitheater which features top headlining musicians from July to September, was bustling with activity. This seems like an unlikely venue for a dog event, but here we were, preparing for the Dog Days of Summer. At Maryhill they feel that winemaking is not about lifted noses and highbrow personalities. They are a family and pet friendly establishment. What better way to celebrate this philosophy than to have a dog event?
I was asked to participate as the event photographer and was happy to oblige. I arrived early to set up my equipment, as the local 4H club rushed to set up the obstacle course. Others were busily filling the doggy pool, preparing the vendor booths and greeting the early participants as they began to arrive. People from all walks of life, young and old. The dogs were as varied as their owners, from the smallest Teacup Chihuahua to the Great Dane, they began to assemble in the rich green grass of the amphitheatre.
I began to circulate among the crowd and watched the 4 H kids as they put their animals through their paces on the obstacle course. Then all were invited to partake in the course. A man jumped over the jump, hoping his dog would follow and we all laughed as the dog ran around the jump instead. Who’s the smart one??
The day was filled with owners interacting with their pets over the obstacles, learning new things together with help from the trainers and playing relay “Pawty Games”. Strangers no longer, people stopped to share stories of their pets with each other and introduce their dogs to one another. Surprisingly, the dogs seemed to enjoy the interaction with strangers as much as their owners, and they were all on their best behavior.
When photographing dogs it is important to place yourself at their level, which meant a lot of laying and crawling in the grass. I loved it!
Before we knew it, the afternoon had passed and it was time to call it a day. Fun time was had by all. If you ask me, I think we all ought to take more breaks from our hectic lives and play in the grass with our best friends!
My thanks to the participants, both of the two and four legged variety, and to the fantastic staff of Maryhill for making this a terrific event.