Dog people unite as Eugene gears up for the first Willamette Valley Canine Convention

If I could imagine a heavenly afterlife, it would include no billowy clouds or haloed ancestors in white robes.

It would have dogs — and dog people. Lots of them. All in one place. Tails of all sizes and shapes wagging in blissful rhythm, a welcome wagon of sloppy kisses and muzzle nuzzles.

Well, fellow dog lovers, I’m here to tell you that on Oct. 19 Eugene will host the first ever Willamette Valley Canine Convention, a conglomerate of dog enthusiasts looking to connect with one another and the greater community.

Hosted in the back end of the Whiteaker at the Training Spot and spearheaded by the diligent and devoted Jennifer Slater, the event is set to be a dog-lovers’ utopia. 

The owner of Fidoluv, an in-home boarding/doggy daycare center, and a former professional planner in the fundraising world, Slater took up the call to organize a gathering after hearing from her own clients. People wanted to know things like which trainers to use, how to navigate end of life care and who gives the best shelty blowout in town.

“We’re trying to cover all the bases, which is almost impossible, but I think there will be something for everyone there,” Slater says.

Jen Biglan of Training Spot happily offered up the space for the convention at Slater’s behest. Bright-orange walls and airy rooms will welcome a variety of dog lovers. Big garage doors will be opened for greater street access (pups are welcome but be mindful, space is limited). Biglan, a local trainer for 14 years, recalls the time she served on the board of the Community Veterinary Center, where she was involved in low-cost community outreach.

“It has been a long time. Everyone is really excited; it’s been really well received by the community,” she says. 

The all-day family friendly event is set to have 12 sponsors and 35 exhibitors with five training seminars, all rooted in various positive-reinforcement techniques. VIP tickets, already going fast, will get you an early meet-and-greet with the trainers.

Kids, who get in free to the convention, can have their faces painted or slobbered on. Five Star Hotdog Co. will serve yummy human treats, with vegetarian and vegan options. Intuitive pet listeners like Cindy Myers will spend some time with your neurotic pup for a donation.

You can meet Erin Albright, author of the beautifully heart-crushing book, Sassie’s New Home. Groomers, pet communicators, trainers, dog clothes makers, toy vendors, an agility demonstration by Infinity Dog Sports — Slater is leaving no bone unchewed. 

Perhaps you’re in the market for your first pup, or you’re looking to add one more foster to the mix — Wiggly Tails Dog Rescue, Seva Dog, Lucky Paws Dog Rescue and Greyhound Pet Adoption NW will all be holding adoption events.

Overcrowding in California shelters makes Eugene and the Pacific Northwest in general a great place to find your next pet. Experts to help guide you in your decision will be happy to answer all your questions. 

Despite the strength of Eugene’s dog community, opportunities for networking and education have been limited. People are busy, or simply unaware of what is out there.

“Let’s meet and talk about it,” Slater says. An inter-connectedness between professionals and dog lovers will naturally breed more understanding and access within the community, something Eugene has lacked in recent years.

So bring your happy tails and derpy faces down to the Training Spot this fall. 

“We’re just a town full of dog lovers. It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Slater says. 

To preview the event or buy tickets, visit the Willamette Valley Canine Convention at VIP tickets are limited. Be sure to check out their Facebook page to catch a sneak peak of some of the presenting trainers in action.

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Pack Of Two Animal companionship helps unhoused people find a life

Art Animals A studio menagerie provides therapy

Running Rough Meet the Oregon Ruff Runners, your dog’s best friends

Pets Photo Contest Winners

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