Most people associate Louisville and the state of Kentucky with horses, not dogs, but that doesn’t mean this city on the banks of the Ohio River isn’t home to a thriving community of dog lovers! Not only does it boast a pup-load of dog-friendly attractions, but it also features several animal welfare and rescue groups that are ready to take the leash and help animals in need.
Kentucky Humane Society is Kentucky’s largest pet adoption agency, not to mention the state’s oldest animal welfare organization. With a history dating back to 1884, Kentucky Humane Society is committed to helping every companion animal find the care and lifelong home it deserves. In 2016 alone, the group helped 6,271 dogs and cats find loving homes.
Meanwhile, Animal Care Society is Louisville’s first no-kill shelter. It rescues unwanted animals and pets whose owners can no longer care for them, giving these furry friends much-needed shelter, medical care, and the chance to experience happiness with the right owner. Over the past 10 years, Animal Rescue Shelter has placed more than 8,000 pets into responsible homes!
Derby City Dog Rescue also works its tail off helping the pooches of Louisville. Founded in 2011, this non-profit, all-breed dog rescue regularly has between 75 and 100 dogs in its local adoption program. It has so far saved the lives of nearly 2,000 dogs, and is always on the lookout for donations, volunteers, and foster carers.
Hit the trail and get your tail waggin’ at this legendary Louisville dog event. Held at the Louisville Water Tower each June, the Waggin’ Trail Festival for the Animals is a relaxed, social walk that benefits Kentucky Humane Society. A celebration of the human-animal bond, the walk also features a woof-tastic range of activities and events for dogs and their humans, including animal booths, food and beverage vendors, and live entertainment. Add pet contests and some adoptable animals into the mix and you’ve got a great day out for dog lovers and their four-legged friends!
Love sports almost as much as you love your dog? Combine your two passions at one of the Dog Days at the Park, which are held several times each summer at Louisville Slugger Field. Hosted by the Louisville Bats, these paw-some ballgames give pet lovers a chance to watch some high-quality baseball with their dogs by their side. Human tickets are $8, and by making a donation of $3 per dog to Kentucky Humane Society, your dog gains access to the V.I.P. (Very Important Puppies) section. The first 500 fur-kids also receive a special doggie bag, so get in early before all the dog days for the season are going, going, gone!
Join crowds of other dog lovers and their pets to celebrate all things canine at Animal Care Society’s Bark in the Park. Held in Seneca Park each September, this furr-ociously fun event kicks off with a 5K Woof Walk/Run (a registration fee of $30 applies). Once you and your pet have completed the course, you can let your pet cool off in a kiddie pool while you rehydrate and refuel with food and drink from one of the many vendors. Then you can enter your pet in a contest, learn about rescue organizations and local pet businesses, and generally raise the woof!
Held in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby, Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville℠ at Waterfront Park draws people in by the thousands. The highlight of the event for dog lovers, however, is HappyTail Hour, a pet-inclusive cocktail event hosted by Metro Animal Services. You and your leashed pet can mingle with other dog lovers, listen to some paw-some live entertainment, play fun games, and generally have a grrr-eat time. It’s a wonderful night out for any dog lover, so make sure to add it to your mutts-do list.
Every year, Louisville pet supply boutique Barkstown Road holds an anniversary celebration full of paw-tastic canine events. This street fair is designed to cater to pooches and pet lovers, featuring live music, adoptable dogs, special sales, food trucks, and more. There’s also a stack of great prizes to be won in raffles held every hour, and a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere to encourage you and your canine companion to make new doggy friends. Why not check it out next April — your pooch is sure to love every second.