Hundreds of dogs descend on Merrimack brewery

MERRIMACK – Hundreds of dogs enjoyed biscuits while their owners enjoyed beer at this year’s Wags to Whiskers event, put on by the Humane Society for Greater Nashua.

Tails were wagging and leashes were being pulled as about 700 pups greeted one another at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack during the festival, which ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“It’s just a fun day to be here with your dog and socialize your dog with all the other dog owners,” said Laurie Dufault, director of development and marketing at the Humane Society. “A lot of dogs that have been adopted from our shelter come back and visit.”

Those adoptees who do come back for a little reunion are gifted with alumni bandanas, and just as in years past, more dogs found new homes Saturday.

Fortunately, this year the weather cooperated, although that never seemed to hinder folks from having a good time at previous festivals. Chuck Mattia, assistant director of development and marketing, said for the past five years it’s rained at the event. Agreeing with Mattia, Dufault said it’s been varying degrees of rain in the past, whether a slight mist or heavy rainfall, so she was pleased with how the day turned out.

“Even in the years when we had the heaviest rains, we still saw 600 dogs and 1,300 to 1,500 people,” Dufault said. “So, our supporters are incredibly kind, and I think it just boils down to people like having something to do with their dog.”

There were plenty of different activities for owners and dogs to participate in, such as puppy Picasso paintings that dogs created on their own by dipping their paws in paint and walking across paper.

“We have a new gig this year, it’s called the pup cup,” Mattia said. It’s an Olympic-style event for people to enter their dogs at different abilities.”

There was a large and small breed pup cup dogs could participate in, and Mattia said the winners received a pup cup champion bowl. Additionally, every dog who participated got a tug toy to take home with them as a souvenir.

Aside from that, the event also featured a high-flying disc dog competition by the Granite State Disc Dogs, agility demos, different dog-friendly vendors, raffles and much more. All the money raised during the event goes toward supporting the pets waiting for adoption at the Humane Society, and Dufault said this is their largest physical fundraiser of the year.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or