By Sam Desmond***

With the start of a new partnership with The Pine Grove Inn, the Long Island Dog Owners Group held their Pooch-a-Palooza Luau on Sun., July 30th on the banks of the Swan River in E. Patchogue.

One of the most well-attended events on LI-DOG’s calendar and an important fundraiser for the group, the Luau is a summer festival celebrating outdoor fun for our canine companions and the importance of dog-friendly venues.

This year, more than 60 people came with their dogs for an afternoon of games, raffles, and human and dog socializing. More than 20 volunteers helped LI-DOG run the event.

Numerous businesses and several individuals donated raffle baskets to help raise funds for LI-DOG’s ongoing work to open more public parkland in Nassau and Suffolk to our four-legged friends.

Donors included: Bark BoxBrutus Bone BrothChewyClovis Point WinesEarth BathGreat South Bay BreweryKitty Mulligans Irish Pub, Martial ArfsMy Human ”N” MePalominosPersonalize Your Pet, and The Ivy Kitchen and Bar. Plus, Alan Meschkow donated a custom pencil sketch of  the raffle winner’s dog and his wife Gail made a beautiful handknit sweater and hat set for a lucky pup and her pet parent. Gail Katz donated a basket of wine along with her beautiful hand-painted glasses.

The Pine Grove Inn generously donated their scenic outdoor patio and lawn for the event.

A special dog-friendly menu was curated for the event-goers’ canine palates with such items as grilled chicken and rice with carrots and green beans.

Pet parents were offered dog-themed cocktails like Beagle Mary’s, Tom Collies and Chi WaWa’s (margaritas, of course!).

“We are extremely grateful to the management and staff of The Pine Grove Inn for their generosity in donating their beautiful outdoor space for our fundraising event and for their enthusiastic and creative participation in making the event fun for our human and canine guests!” said LI-DOG president, Ginny Munger Kahn.

To get guests into the party spirit, DJ Mike Kaplow played music from the 50s, 60s and beyond.

A pet parent favorite of the event were the contests, which included the Biggest Lap Dog and Musical Sit games. The Biggest Lap Dog contest once again provided lots of entertainment as the pups climbed atop their hoomans, with some stopping mid-climb to check out the “man behind the curtain” (our DJ)! Prizes were given for 1st (Kimberly & Aspen), 2nd (Allan & Nate) and 3rd Place (Linda & Sollie).

Winners of the Musical Sit ContestPhoto Credit: Joann Garguola

Musical Sit was also quite popular with more than a dozen dog and human contestants. The last dog to sit when the music stopped was eliminated. Prizes were awarded for 1st (Linda & Sollie—again!), 2nd (Jack & Tucker) and 3rd Place (Nira & Daisy).

Sixteen attendees won raffle baskets, which included items like a wine tasting at Clovis Point Vineyards in Jamesport, a basket of custom brews from Great South Bay Brewery, gift certificates to several Long Island restaurants, and dog toys, treats and other goodies.

Of course, for the influencer-doggie, there was the Instagram-ready Tikki Bar Photo Booth and for souvenirs of the day, a Paw Print Craft where people could create a print of their pup’s paw and then decorate it with craft items.

“We had a great time and we hope everyone who came with their dogs did, too,” said LI-DOG Events Chair Joann Garguola.

The event would not have been possible without the considerable help of our volunteers, she added, thanking the crew that included Allan, Annemarie, Diane, Donna, Gina, Heath, Judy, Lana, Laurie, Lawrence, Lynn Kay, Matt, Melanie, Nira, Raquel, Roseann, Sabina and Sagar for staffing the welcome desk, signing up contestants for the games, judging our games, and running the raffle baskets to our guests.

“Great job to everyone who helped,” said Joann. “We look forward to doing this again!”

To see more photos from our Luau, go to:

LI-DOG on Meetup

LI-DOG on Facebook

***Sam Desmond is Contributing Editor at Suffolk County NewsLong Island Advance and several other newspapers. She can be reached at

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