Love dogs? Looking for a special and fun event for families and animal lovers? The annual Greyhound Gathering, May 19-21 in Kanab, Utah, is a Mardi-Gras style dog event that will tickle your funny-bone and make its way into your heart.

Imagine almost 200 long-legged beauties, magnify that by four legs each, and you get an idea of how much greyt love, unconditional, unbridled and unending, will be at this “FUNdraising” festival. It’s an explosion of Hound Dog happiness with hound owners returning year after year. With or without a hound of your own, as a spectator you can enjoy the Friday morning hike, Saturday’s 10 a.m. Costume Parade, and Sunday’s 9-11 a.m. Blur of Fur Run.

As a registered guest, if you signed up at www.GreyhoundGang.org, you’ll attend events centered around the hounds from dawn to dusk. Starting on Thursday, May 18, at 3 p.m., there is a Meet & Eat reception for hounds and humans who have arrived early to enjoy all Kanab has to offer at La Estancia Dog Park. It’s a Spa Day for dogs, with exercise, nail trimming and if their humans deem necessary, body painting.

Friday, May 20 kicks off with a Pugh Canyon hike. Then it’s shopping with the greyhound artisans who often travel to greyhound events. Steve Wirtz of Cartuna, Michigan, shares his Papier Mache wire hound structures. He confesses, “I absolutely love their elegant sculptural characteristics and how that contrasts with their (often) goofy personalities.”

Northcoast Greyhounds takes high-end jewelry, adds a greyhound touch, and donates all proceeds to greyhound groups. Greyhound Topia of California creates silver jewelry with all proceeds back to the hounds. Birds Pottery, North Carolina, offers wheel-thrown and hand-built pieces. Silk Road Collars from Washington offers neckware and more.

Friday evening starts with a talk by Dr. Tara of Best Friends and Dr. Heather of Almost Home for Hounds about home first aid. Demos abound with hounds eating turkey necks, sniffing green tripe and being vet-wrapped. All other breeds of sight hounds are also oohed and ahhed over and spoken about; Borzoi, Afghan, Galgo, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, Italian Greyhound, Podenco and more, as Greyhound Gathering welcomes all hounds no matter their birthplace, heritage or color.

Later is a dinner, with a Kanab Mayor Robert Houston welcome, Live Auction and honoring of Golden Oldies (hounds, not humans). The day ends with shopping ‘til you drop.

Saturday, May 20, at 10 a.m. is the Costume Parade, an event not to be missed. As Elvis Presley’s “You Ain’t Nuthin But a Hound Dog” plays, hundreds of costumed greyhounds line up in anticipation of strutting their stuff.

In past years, the costumes have ranged in imagination from “Greyola crayons” to “Grey Grapes” (purple balloons all over the laughing dog), to (of course) a Greyhound Bus and on it goes. Cowboys, dragons, dogs in tutus, dogs dressed as oxen pulling a miniature pioneer wagon, cowboy dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs dressed up even as dinosaurs! It baffles the imagination. The dogs are patient, excited, wiggling and enjoying the attention.

As the parade ends, the fun just begins, as hounds and humans get on stage, introducing themselves and talking about their costume inspiration. All hounds look forward to flopping on the grass and enjoying caresses from equally excited and wiggling children. As the noon whistle blows all pointy noses turn to the sky and they Roooo (audience participation encouraged)!

Sunday, May 21 features another crowd favorite. At the Kanab Elementary School fenced grass area, hounds chase their humans while being clocked by Kanab Police radar gun. Lots of cheering, laughing and some tumbles will be happening.

Why all this fuss over an old, historic, dog breed? This “fuss” over greyhounds has been going on for centuries. Greyhounds were originally considered so precious they could only be owned by nobility. Elizabeth the Great considered them the finest animal possible. They’ve been depicted in art for ages, appearing in ancient sculpture and into modern art (see this year’s poster). Since the 1920s, they’ve been an ace competing dog, setting impressive speeds on countless dog tracks around the world.

But most important, now they are a symbol of patient, gentle and loving affection. They are family dogs, and when their brief and potentially brutal racing career ends they need to become part of families who understand family members come in all shapes and sizes. A gentler, smarter dog would be hard to find. Love is all you need in the shape of a greyhound.

Greyhound Gathering celebrates these gentle greys with fundraising and fun in the spirit of love, acceptance of all and heavy petting.  Come enjoy and fall in love. http://www.greyhoundgang.org/about/greyhound-gathering/about/