Pet Pals embarks on inaugural dog festival

By Reilly Wright, Managing Editor

There is not too much more an Ohio Wesleyan student can ask for before final exams other than food, music and, of course, dogs.

The first celebration of Poochella, a community wide dog festival, was held on Ohio Wesleyan’s JAYwalk Sunday, April 22. Hosted by Pet Pals, an OWU student organization dedicated to helping animals and animal-related issues, tables lined with local businesses and visiting canines filled the area.

“We came up with the idea of Poochella in order to connect the students on campus and the people in the Delaware community with amazing local businesses that are dedicated to improving the lives of our animals,” said senior Alex Medina, president of Pet Pals.

Over 70 people attended the festival, expanding into both the Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware communities. Sophomore Courtney Fobel, treasurer of Pet Pals, said the event’s turnout for its first year was amazing.

“I am so grateful that so many people showed up to support our club, see the adorable dogs and visit with our pet-friendly businesses,” Fobel said. “The whole festival was a blast and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Along with the dog-related businesses, Pet Pals also had stations for visitors to color, create dog toys, eat at Dan’s Deli and receive awards for memorable dogs.

According to Fobel and Medina, the club contacted over 40 businesses offering registration forms and space for advertisement in Pet Pals pamphlets. Five total vendors attended, but others donated to the available raffle prizes. Medina said the club hopes to contact even more businesses earlier in coming years and invite back those from this year.

“I would love to see if we can get more businesses to come so the festival can be even bigger and to expand our community outreach,” Fobel said. “I would definitely love to expand the festival and get more businesses involved with the OWU community.”

The festival’s location directly in front of Beeghly Library was welcomed by some students for a quick study break.

“Poochella was an amazing event for a student like me to destress and relax with all the ‘puppers’ there,” said junior Penell Paglialunga. “I loved the stations to create your own bandana and tug-of-war toys for the dogs. It was super cool to see the vendors that had their free samples for owners to try out for their pets.”

Fobel said members of Pet Pals are grateful for those that supported by visiting, but they want to see it grow in continuing years.

“Poochella will definitely happen again next year and I can’t wait for it to grow and bring the community together with our shared love for dogs and living a cruelty-free lifestyle,” she said.

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