Pets got to try out a dog agility course during Dog Days of Sisters.photo by Jerry Baldock
Pets got to try out a dog agility course during Dog Days of Sisters.photo by Jerry Baldock

The tail-waggin' crowd found hardly a cat in sight for the inaugural Dog Days of Sisters Festival on Saturday, held at Sisters Art Works.

Canines and their owners enjoyed a full day of tastes, smells and activities to honor our four-legged companions of all breeds and varieties. Outside, vendors sold home-baked doggie snacks, pet shampoos, pup-inspired art and jewelry, with a portion of the proceeds going to help support Furry Friends. Indoors, an art show featuring a collection of dog artwork was on display for people who came out to support the cause and spend time with leashed loved-ones.

Jeri Buckmann, events director for the Sisters Area Chamber Of Commerce, took her dog Jake through the obstacle course set up by trainer Jan Gould.

"He didn't like that tunnel very much," she said. "I think it was too small for him."

Buckmann was happy with the turnout and the tone.

"This is a fantastic turnout for a first-year event," she said. "I'd like to see it grow over time to include more demonstrations and things for families to participate in."

Artist Paul Alan Bennett brought a collection of his canine prints and cards and welcomed questions about his work.

"It's been steady all morning," he said. "There's a lot going on outside too, so we get waves of visitors that come and go, like at the county fair. Nice weather always brings people out in Sisters, and of course everybody loves their dogs."

Bennett's art used centuries-old printmaking techniques, with carvings from modern blocks of linoleum.

"I cut away material to create the dog's image or picture," he said. "It's very similar to old woodcutting, where you're taking away the negative shapes to leave the raised black areas. You can get a whole array of interesting marks to create little dances of light and unique patterns. Your carvings reflect the actual energy of the cut."

Kit Stafford featured a few of her whimsical appliqué fabric pictures using cartoon-like dogs in the composition.

"I learned this style at the quilt show here this summer from a lady named Janet Bolton who came over from England," she explained. "I was caring for a friend recovering from surgery and it was the perfect thing to do."

Central Bark hauled over their barking gang and cooked hotdogs on a propane grill while Cathy Warner demonstrated their unusual dog-powered scooter and three-wheeler, daring hesitant tourists and residents to give it a spin. Warner and the Bend-manufactured vehicles were featured on a segment of Animal Planet last

spring.

Event organizer, Kathy Deggendorfer, accepted the challenge and zipped off down Adams Avenue courtesy of eight churning paws.

"This is our third year for the dog art show, but this time we wanted to expand and bring in some vendors," Deggendorfer said. "This year the most fun was the flash mob dog walk that came together downtown. We posted notices on Facebook and through word-of-mouth and had maybe 30 dogs show up. It was kinda like trick-or-treat for dogs, lots of the local merchants handed out biscuits or little prizes."

The dog art show and sale continues through September 23 inside Sisters Art Works.

Lindy Hassler's Polka-Doodle Dog Bakery offered a tantalizing table of homemade dog treats to sample. Her team of festive Christmas corgis pulling a decorated wagon is a familiar sight each year during the annual holiday parade. Her friend Patrick Ramirez handed out treats and explained the genesis of Hassler's

company.

"She lives here in Sisters and bakes over at Angeline's," he said. "She started doing this almost 15 years ago as a way of spending more time with her dogs. The cookies are all made with fresh ingredients from Whole Foods, with no soy, wheat or dairy added. Each one is named after a different friend's dog that lives here in Sisters or Bend."

Some of the more popular flavors were Emma's Smokey BBQ and Bella's 3 Cheese, named after Hassler's first corgi.

"This is such a great event," said Stafford. "Dogs are happy. People are happy. It's a total celebration of 'arf' and art."