For the Dogs 

Humans can have their indie bands and their tent cities at Bonnaroo in Middle Tennessee this coming June. But this weekend, dogs get their own Dog-a-Roo festival at the Outback off-leash dog park in Shelby Farms.

The second annual Dog-a-Roo will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 9th with all proceeds benefiting Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline.

click to enlarge Dog-a-Roo at Shelby Farms - COURTESY SHELBY FARMS
  • Courtesy Shelby Farms
  • Dog-a-Roo at Shelby Farms

The event features a canine costume and talent contest, a bow wow boutique where dog owners can purchase treats and other goods for their pups, dock dog diving, and an agility course. Mid-South rescue groups will present dogs for adoption in the Parade of Rescues. And local dog trainers will demonstrate positive training techniques. There's even a Four-Legged 4K Run/Walk through the park's trails.

Plus, there is a little something for the people — food trucks and live music by reggae band Chinese Connection Dub Embassy.

"Dog-a-Roo is for all dogs and all people. It's for the rescue dog that may meet his new family at the event. And it's for the family with a new dog looking to learn how to use the Outback dog park," says Natalie Wilson, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy's event and program manager.

click to enlarge COURTESY SHELBY FARMS
  • Courtesy Shelby Farms

Wilson points out that the Outback dog park can be intimidating for new park users since, at 120 acres, it's the largest off-leash park in the country. She hopes Dog-a-Roo can showcase the park's features (such as the five man-made lakes) and its programs (like the Shelby Farms Canine Academy).

"The Shelby Farms Canine Academy offers year-round dog training workshops and seminars. And we have something called Dog Scouts, where they earn patches based on what they learn," Wilson says, adding that this year's class of Shelby Farms Canine Academy will have their graduation ceremony at Dog-a-Roo.

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