Thousands of dog lovers turned out Saturday to events that raised money for canine causes in southern Maine – one of which alluded to the phrase “dog days of summer.”

“This is like a Venn diagram of all the things people like,” a volunteer announced over the P.A. system at Ales for Tails, at Thompson’s Point in Portland.

More than 1,700 people paid the price of entry Saturday to the dog-friendly, microbrew-lubricated mixer. The proceeds went to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, which shelters thousands of animals throughout the region.

Pooches milled around on leashes with owners in tow, sniffing one another and the occasional wet spot to which they might raise a leg. Other owners towed their dogs behind them, like Debbie and Mark Lanville, who ferried their pug, Tucker, in a plastic wagon.

The Lanvilles said they had been to every Ales for Tails since the event started five years ago. Tucker, however, has developed health problems of late.

“This is probably his last year,” Debbie Lanville said, looking at him fondly as he panted, nestled in a fleece blanket.


The event was a chance for the Lanvilles to donate to dog rescues – a longtime charitable focus of theirs, they said – and to enjoy their time with their 14-year-old friend. He enjoyed it too, snarfing three “puppacinos” (essentially a cup of whipped cream) before having to be pulled away.

On the other side of the fair, near booths promoting rescue organizations, groomers and all manner of pet businesses, Shel Horowitz of Cumberland Foreside ambled past with a Great Dane who rose easily to his hip.

Kokua stands 3-foot-3 on four legs and more than 6 feet on two, Horowitz said.

“They’re lap dogs,” he said of Great Danes. “They just don’t know how big they are.”

Horowitz said he was another repeat attendee, drawn by his love for animals and a friendship with Patsy Murphy, executive director of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, who organizes the event.

Ales for Tails was by no means the only dog-related festival of the day. In Freeport, L.L. Bean hosted the second day of Dog Days of August, which features races, medical clinics, informational sessions and dog training competitions.


Saturday’s schedule offered a rabies vaccination clinic, classes in “animal communication,” K-9 police dog demonstrations and an event called DockDogs, where dogs compete in jumping, swimming and fetching in water.

Near the entrance to Ales for Tails, Murphy, the organizer, said attendees were already asking her about plans for a sixth year.

The best part of keeping the festival going for so long, she said, is the “alumni” who come back year after year.

It soon became clear she was not talking about people. “Oh, my gosh,” she said, giving an example: “How big you’ve grown, Mocha, or Monica, or Barley!”

Even though the shelter welcomes adoptions, partygoers at Thompson’s Point couldn’t meet anyone to take home with them. Alcohol and adoption can lead to “buyer’s remorse,” Murphy said.

At the close of the day, Murphy was pleased. “A lot of well-behaved dogs, a lot of breeds and a lot of donations to help care for the more than 6,000 dogs under our care.”

Murphy said Saturday night she was confident the event had raised about $70,000.

Ales for Tails was a one-day event, but Dog Days of August continues Sunday with another day of DockDogs, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at L.L. Bean’s Moose Parking Lot.

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