Postponed pets’ party Dogstival takes place after six-month coronavirus delay 

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Dog lovers have descended on the New Forest this weekend for a socially-distanced festival celebrating all things canine. 

The popular Dogstival event was postponed in March due to lockdown and rescheduled for yesterday and today, with 7,000 owners and their pooches expected to attend over the two days. 

Pampered pets have been enjoying a range of activities, displays and stalls including fly ball and agility practices, pup paddleboarding, food and drink and live music. 

A leonburger called George meets Teddy the long-haired chihuahua at Dogstival which took place this weekend in Burley Park, New Forest

A leonburger called George meets Teddy the long-haired chihuahua at Dogstival which took place this weekend in Burley Park, New Forest

Derrick Cornelius and Jingha the five-year-old Afghan hound attend the event where pets enjoy a range of activities

Derrick Cornelius and Jingha the five-year-old Afghan hound attend the event where pets enjoy a range of activities

Afghan hound Jingha stands with its front paws on the picnic bench

Afghan hound Jingha stands with its front paws on the picnic bench

Organisers Domine and Richard Nowell launched the event last year and welcomed 9,000 visitors. 

This year they moved the event to a larger site at Burley Park and limited numbers to ensure social distancing would be possible. 

They implemented a number of measures to make sure the event could go ahead within Covid guidelines including an on-site cleaning team, hand sanitiser stations throughout the site, queue management and asking owners to bring their own dog water bowls.

Organisers Domine and Richard Nowell implemented measures to make sure it was within Covid guidelines. Martha Westwood, four, is pictured with King Charles spaniel Oswin

Organisers Domine and Richard Nowell implemented measures to make sure it was within Covid guidelines. Martha Westwood, four, is pictured with King Charles spaniel Oswin

One dog owner carries her dog around the park, which has a swimming pool, dog bar, sausage stand, training tips and rescue dogs

One dog owner carries her dog around the park, which has a swimming pool, dog bar, sausage stand, training tips and rescue dogs

Echo the Samoyed sticks its tongue out and it is carried by owner Adam Ricketts

Echo the Samoyed sticks its tongue out and it is carried by owner Adam Ricketts 

Two dog owners wearing face coverings walk through the park with their pooches

Two dog owners wearing face coverings walk through the park with their pooches

Mrs Nowell said: ‘The sun is shining and we have dogs of every different size and breed enjoying the day.

‘We have a swimming pool, a dog bar, sausage stand, fly ball, talks, training tips, rescue dogs and even the medical detection dog team who are leading the fight against Covid.

‘I think people are absolutely delighted to have something nice outside to go to. Everyone is just being very sensible and it’s nice to have a fun socially-distanced day out in the fresh air.

‘We’ve got a full safety advisory group with New Forest District Council and we’ve put lots of safety measures in place – hand sanitiser stations throughout, signage asking people to stay 2m apart, card payment.

‘It’s quite easy to socially distance as the park is huge and everyone has the dogs on leads so it’s easy to stay two metres apart. It’s easier to distance here than it is on the high street.’

Two dogs wear 'L plates' as they walk through the park in New Forest this weekend

Two dogs wear ‘L plates’ as they walk through the park in New Forest this weekend

A group of dog owners stand in Burley Park during Dogstival where 7,000 people were expected to attend

A group of dog owners stand in Burley Park during Dogstival where 7,000 people were expected to attend

Dogstival was scheduled to take place in March but was postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown

Dogstival was scheduled to take place in March but was postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown

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