Irving pet owners celebrate best buds at pooch party

Photo: Donning fabulous outfits, dog parents helped their pooches chow down on dog-friendly cupcakes during the cake eating contest at Pooch Fest. /Photo by Sarah Bays

When pooches party, it looks a lot like a typical weekend bash, except for the paw prints, barks, wagging tails and sniffing, that is.

For this year’s annual Pooch Fest hosted by the Irving Heritage Senior Center, about a dozen dogs braved the rain and thunderstorms that doused North Texas Friday morning, Oct. 23, bringing their “people” with them to the event, which had to be moved indoors due to the weather.

Angie Heiter brought “Beans,” her 12-year-old, to the party. Beans, whose brother was named Frank, was truly enjoying himself, rolling around on the floor and teasing his mom.

It is also possible Beans was excited about all the other dogs around him, plus the treats, toys and humans goo-ing over the cute canines.

This was the 11th year of Pooch Fest in Irving. The event includes games, raffles, contests, snacks, paw painting and a chance to meet some critters from the area Humane Society.

Jamie Draper worked at the painting corner, helping dogs dip their paws into colored tempura paint and smear their prints into masterpieces for their owners. She held Maddie, a dog her family adopted from the Irving animal shelter in 2009.

“We do pretty good,” Jamie said of the event. “On the ones that I’ve been to they’ve had a lot of people come out.”

As for the dogs, like little Maddie curled up in Jamie’s arms?

“They love it,” Jamie said. “I think they have a good time.”

Other than socializing, the day included competitions for best pooch costume, best tail wagger, best talent and a cake eating contest. Judges, sitting close to the stage, took their jobs very seriously.

Previously, Pooch Fest has been held outdoors at the Irving Animal Care Campus with its large dog park. It has included dog races, photos with the Easter Bunny and dogs of all sizes.

Donna Lucas brought her two pugs, Mozart and Gremlin, to the event. As the best tail wagger contest got started, music started rolling and onto the stage danced Lucas and her boys.

They were clearly in their element, shaking their hind ends and curly tails. Lucas even joined in, adding a little twist to their moves.

“I just joined the center a few weeks ago,” she said. “This is great, I love this type of activity.”

Lucas lives in North Oak Cliff, but spends a lot of time in Irving.

She said her pugs enjoy being around people and other dogs, and they proved it jumping around and giving out free “kisses.”

“They’re very social,” Lucas said.

Gremlin won third place for his tail wagging efforts.

If all that was not adorable enough, next up was a cake eating competition. Several dogs, including the pugs and Beans, trotted onto the stage and dove into dog-friendly cupcakes. Beans took an early lead, followed closely by a little girl dog dressed in pink.

The DFW Humane Society brought dogs and cats with them, including a little brindle baby boy who wanted desperately to join in the dancing and cake eating.

The dreary weather did not keep these dogs down. Some sat in their owners’ laps, taking in the excitement and music. Others, like a few small yappers, sat in tiny cages, waiting for someone to look their way.