Muddy Paws Wine Festival

It’s all Mikey’s fault.

He is to blame for why I became one of “those” people. You know several of them yourself, I’m sure. Because of Mikey, our awesome Labradoodle, I am now a “dog person”.

I’ve become one of those crazy people who talks in “dog voice”, thinks their dog is the most brilliant, goofy, adorable thing ever, and spends a small fortune on gourmet dog food, toys and treats. In short, the dog gets treated even better than I do. Well, sometimes.


But I never was a “dog person” before Mikey. Mikey was Ken’s dog, and when we moved in together I inherited him. I wasn’t too sure about it at first – the responsibility, the potential mess, and all that dog hair! I live in black clothes most of the time, and Mikey’s blonde hair/fur (yes, he had both) would stick to my clothes like glue.

In spite of all that, he won me over.

We can talk about the night we had to put my Dad into Intensive Care at the hospital, and knew his prognosis wasn’t good. Mikey sat up with me all night with his head in my lap, just being there. He seemed to be even more attentive to me just after Dad died, always there for extra cuddles. It was almost like he was keeping a special eye on me – just to make sure I was okay. We can also talk about how he “knew” something was wrong when we had to take Ken to the hospital for suspected heart-related issues. After Ken’s surgery, he would NOT leave his side.

And then there’s all the wacky, funny dog things that he did that brought a smile to our faces every single day.

We miss him a lot.


Mikey got sick just over a year ago. He developed an autoimmune disorder that made him extremely uncomfortable, exhausted and in pain. He was having trouble walking, and his legs would just give out on him. The poor sweetie.

So with heavy hearts, we had to say goodbye.


Dogs are such a special gift.

I’m feeling ready to think about having another dog, but Ken isn’t ready at all yet. I keep hoping and encouraging, but in the meantime, I get my dog fix through other ways. I have friends with dogs, and if a dog wants to be petted and his owner agrees, I am more than willing to oblige.

So when I found out about the Muddy Paws Wine Festival, I was delighted.


The Muddy Paws Wine Festival was a fun, dog-friendly wine festival that took place a couple of weeks ago at Featherstone Estate Winery and Vineland Estates Winery. Humans were welcome to spend the afternoon sipping delicious wine, eating great food, and enjoying time with their pup. Dogs also got special treats – except for wine, of course. Although with all the fancy dog things popping up these days, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone came up with “dog wine”.

There was also the opportunity to have your pooch photographed in the Featherstone Barrel Room, with photos taken by Indigo Pet Photography. These photos are pretty cute!


The other great thing about the event was the awareness and funds it raised for National Service Dogs, with a portion of wine sales going to this worthy cause.

National Service Dogs (NSD) was founded in 1996, and was the first organization in the world to develop a service dog program for children with autism. Over the last 19 years, it has helped many individuals with specific physical, mental and emotional challenges. NSD is the only Assistance Dogs International accredited organization in Canada providing service dogs for Post Traumatic Stress. They were also the first in Ontario to establish a Canine Assissted Intervention program for children and adults recovering from abuse, trauma, and stroke.

They had some of their puppies in training at the event.

This is Quincy. Just Look. At. This. Face


Oh goodness, I loved Quincy. I believe she was only a few months old, but already so well trained. Just a gorgeous puppy.

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And she was very proud of her “Puppy in Training” vest.


There were lots of happy, much-loved dogs around. Which brought joy to my heart.

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Then there was this bevy of blondes, reminding me of Mikey.

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And this cutie below. This is a Sheepadoodle. This is the breed I am currently researching as a potential new dog for us. Shhhh…..don’t tell Ken.


I have to say this is the first wine event I’ve gone to where I waited about an hour before getting my wine and food. Those who know me, know this is shocking. I’m certainly dog-crazy if I dog-watch before getting a glass of wine.

But it was all worth the wait.

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The food was prepared by Chef Patrick, and included a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with fresh garden slaw, and grilled tacos made with chorizo and homemade corn and black bean salsa. Vegetarian options were available too.

We had one of each and sat on the relaxing veranda at Featherstone.

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I wanted to linger a bit longer there, as my Sheepadoodle buddy was nearby. Ken had other ideas, and suggested we do the short hike along the path to Vineland Estates.

I was amazed. Moderate hikes aren’t really Ken’s thing, but it was a lovely stroll.

Look at this.


And as you approach Vineland, you get this.


And if you look closely below, you’ll see the outline of Toronto in the distance.

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It was towards the end of the event by the time we reached Vineland, but I was just in time for a glass of rosé.

We sat in the shade, listened to the music, and then started our journey back to the car.


I’m really loving all the different events that are happening at the wineries lately.  Relaxed, laid-back do’s like this are just a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

And for me personally, one of the best things about Muddy Paws?

Well, it’s that I’m sure Mikey would have approved.

This is the second year that the Festival has been running, and I sure hope there’s a third.

**Ken and I were invited to this event as guests, but it is totally my own opinion that this was a lovely afternoon***

  • Erin Million-Carroll

    Having spent some time with Mikey I agree that he was a wonderful dog – who certainly had Ken’s heart! I’m not a dog person but this event sounds lovely.

    • All you need is a dog like Mikey, Erin! It really was a fun event.