The field adjacent to the Duck Pond will be home to dozens of dogs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. These pups will be attending Woofstock, an event conducted by Zeta Psi.
Woofstock, a philanthropy effort that supports the work of the Southeast German Shepherd Rescue, or S.G.S.R., is currently in its first year. It was started by Mike McNaughton, a senior Industrial Systems Engineering major and brother of the fraternity.
“Back in October, I adopted my current dog, Mac, and he was from the Southeast German Shepherd Rescue,” he said.
McNaughton first saw Mac during a tailgate in the fall where S.G.S.R. volunteers were walking around with dogs from the shelter. Mac was among the crew, wearing a vest that said the words 'Adopt Me.' McNaughton adhered to the pup's wishes, and has had him ever since.
“I started getting to know (S.G.S.R.), and finding out what they do and what they’re all about, and I got really interested and wanted to give back my thanks for giving me my dog," McNaughton said.
Thus, the idea for Woofstock was born. It expanded from being a simple fund-raising event to being a festival with live music, sponsors and food.
The S.G.S.R. is a non-profit organization that aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome unwanted, displaced or neglected German Shepherds into caring and responsible homes. When interested parties decide to foster a dog, the S.G.S.R. pays for everything, from food and vet medication, to damage waivers in case the fostered dog destroys any of the caregiver's property.
A variety of events have been planned for this year's Woofstock. There will be live music, raffles, a dog show, dog grooming, selling of S.G.S.R apparel and DJs, among many exciting attractions. Acoustic Reset, a band that helped Zeta Psi during the Big Event, is among the bands performing, and McNaughton's own band may also be playing.
Some of the sponsors for the event include Benny Marzano’s and Fetch N Fly, the Blacksburg disc dog club, started in 2013.
As of now, McNaughton expects more than 100 people to attend.
“I think this is a pretty novel idea in terms of philanthropies when compared to others,” said Seth Etienne, a freshman in university studies and a brother at Zeta Psi. “You see the effect right away because you can actually see the dogs and do something to help them.”
While everything has fallen into place for McNaughton thus far, he hit a couple of obstacles on the way. He had to procure an insurance policy for the event, because having so many dogs in one place is a substantial liability.
Nonetheless, the efforts will all be worthwhile for McNaughton and Zeta Psi, so long as the philanthropy is able to promote the bigger aims of the event. He hopes to continue organizing Woofstock in the coming years.
“One of the biggest things I really want to do is get their (S.G.S.R) name out there because they’re in need of sponsors,” McNaughton said.