Written by Laticia Headings
Photos by Middleburg Photo
On Saturday, May 28, the Masters of Foxhounds Association of North America (MFHA) sponsored a new inaugural event — Dog Daze: Celebrating the Working Dog. Met with great enthusiasm, over 600 people visited Glenwood Park in Middleburg to learn about the prowess and unique skillsets of working, sport, military, watch dogs, and hounds, covering everything from retrieval, to rescue, to herding, to agility.
The mission of Dog Daze is to promote those who work in canine and other field sports — the dogs and their handlers — and give people a better working knowledge of the breadth of their expertise. “With Dog Daze, we wanted to involve families and the community and share the value of all canine and other countryside field-oriented sports in a very welcoming way,” says Billie-Jo Pearl, director of operations at the MFHA.
Formed in 1907, the mission of MFHA is to promote, preserve and protect the sport of mounted hunting with hounds in the United States and Canada. The MFHA currently recognizes 144 member hunts and is headquartered in Middleburg, Virginia.
Every year, MFHA holds some sort of event over Memorial Day weekend at Glenwood Park. With Dog Daze, the association wanted to showcase an event that not only was of interest to the fox hunting community, but also to the general public. The goal was also to bring the MFHA together with other organizations in field sports who share the same values — conservation, land preservation, habitat preservation, and community outreach.
Admission to the event was free. Parking was $10 per carload, $20 on the day of the event.
People of all ages and their (leashed) pets were welcomed with two high paws to attend a variety of obedience, search and rescue, and retrieval demonstrations, among many others. Patrons were also able to get up close and personal to falcons from Raptor Hill Falconry and cast their best reel with Trout Unlimited Fly.
There were competitions for best frisbee catch and best pet costume. Kids 2-12 years of age enjoyed stick races and watching the Terrier Races sponsored by Piedmont Equine and Small Animal. The Middleburg Hunt Foxhound Parade kicked off the day at 10 a.m. and the Parade of All Working Dogs concluded the five-hour day of fun.
“It was a fantastic day! We certainly accomplished our mission,” Pearl says. “It was such a nice feeling to see people so interested and engaged with each exhibitor. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and everyone cannot wait to come again next year to celebrate the working dog, outdoor sporting pursuits, and the countryside with their families.”
Dog Daze Exhibitors included:
Raptor Hill Falconry
Hill & Hollow Bassets
Trout Unlimited Fly-Casting
Hunt Country K9/TDK9
Virginia State Bloodhounds
Herd Ewe Sheep Dogs & WiggleButz K9
Virginia Search & Rescue Dog Association
Luckily for Middleburg, Dog Daze will become an annual event on the Saturday of each Memorial Day weekend so mark your calendars for next year! ML
For more information, visit www.MFHA.com/Dog-Daze.