Canine Olympics celebrate man’s best friend


Pre-nursing freshman Rachel Brase plays with a dog named Coffee at the 4 Paws for Ability event in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Photo by Lydia Emeric

Samantha Robinson

Get down with your dog this Sunday at Falling Springs Park for the annual Canine Olympics hosted by The Woodford Humane Society.

The Canine Olympics has been organized by the Woodford Humane Society for the last 34 years and offers 15 events for dogs of all sizes to compete in. In that time, the event has grown significantly with participants, local vendors and of course dogs.

Over 30 local vendors come to the event on Oct. 23 and they are mostly dog related vendors. The Bluegrass Barkery attends, a local pet store that sells healthy and natural dog foods and treats. Other vendors that attend sell homemade dog treats to bow ties for dogs.

There are over 15 events split into small and large dog categories at the Canine Olympics. The events are $8 per dog per event, but general admission is free. Costume classes, a cookie toss competition, bobbing for hot dogs and “I’ll Eat Anything!” are just a few of the events offered.

“Last year we had 175 dogs register for the Canine Olympics,” Katie Hoffman said, executive director of the Woodford Humane Society.

The event also draws about 200 to 300 people each year. All proceeds go back to the Woodford Humane Society to care for the 1000 pets they take in each year.

The humane society doesn’t do adoptions at the event. Instead, they bring some of the dogs available for adoption so those dogs can get more exposure to become adopted.

“It’s hard to tell if adoptions rise after the event because we’re not sure if the people adopting were already going to adopt or if they were inspired to after the Canine Olympics,” Hoffman said.

The Woodford Humane Society uses social media and local radio and television stations who donate air time to advertise the Canine Olympics. They also use poster, flyers and banners around the Versailles area to spread the word.

“My goal, on the day of the event, is just to bring the community together to have a fun afternoon where we can celebrate dogs in all their goofy, fantastic glory,” Beth Oleson said, marketing director at the Woodford Humane Society.

The Canine Olympics and other fundraising events are important for the Woodford Humane Society to continue helping pets as they receive no government funding. The Canine Olympics is a time to focus on fun and joy as the service the humane society provides can be emotionally tasking, according to Oleson. 


What: Canine Olympics

When: Sunday, Oct. 23 from noon-5 p.m.

Where: Falling Springs Park – 

Tickets: $8 per event