Aside from the some of the most innovative year–round dog events in the Bay Area, the 'lime green machine' (with Mad Dog at the wheel) is now taking dog lovers on exciting excursions with their pooches to dog-friendly destinations! As always our ongoing group dog walks known as Bark in the Dark and Weekend Dog Walks are free Basic Members and offer a great way for you and your dog to get exercise, socialize and meet new friends...as well as establish good behavior traits in a safe environment! Most special events and bus rides are available to Basic Members alike. The goal of Society Dog is to promote the socialization of dogs and create a community of dog lovers that enjoy unusually fun events with their pets.
Terri Festa is the founder and coordinator of Society Dog, a social dog group that began 1999 in the beautiful mountain draped town of Los Gatos, California. Despite its name, (which translates to "town of the cats", in Spanish), Los Gatos has always been known as a dog friendly place to be. Terri, along with other dog lovers, enjoyed taking long walks through the mountains and meeting at local coffee shops afterward for great conversation and quality time with their pets. The rest is history, people started coming from all over the Bay Area to join in on Saturday morning walks and Saturday evening socializing. Founder Terri met Doug Festa when he and his dog, yellow lab Shammy, joined their group. The two married on Carmel Beach in 2000, dogs in tow.
In 2003 Terri expanded Society Dog's walks and socials to include unique events for dogs and dog lovers. "Thinking outside the doghouse', these events included Canine Christmas Karaoke, Mardi Dogs Paw–ty, Society Dog "Whine" tasting, and much more. The addition of regularly scheduled weekly evening walks followed by "Yappy Hour" helped to build an even larger community of dog people. Terri and Doug saw a need to get dogs out of the house after work, providing the safety of walking in groups in the dark. While frequenting dog–friendly restaurants, Society Dog became a place to meet new friends. Restaurants and other dog–friendly establishments now solicit the Society Dog membership to revisit their businesses. Many that have never seen themselves as dog–friendly have changed their rules after Society Dog representatives present their great reputation and loyal customers. Society Dog has even created a list of restaurant rules for local visitors' centers who want to suggest dog-friendly establishments to newcomers. The goal is to establish the "gold standard" (or "purple paw") for social dog behavior and open even more opportunities for social outings to dog lovers.
The group now proudly boasts dog walks followed by social hours each week in Los Gatos, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Willow Glen. Most recently, historic dog walks have taken place in San Jose and Capitola where people can enjoy learning the history of these beautiful areas, with their dogs in tow. This amounts to over 450 dog walks to date in addition to over 50 events. Howling Halloween® presents itself as the largest of the events, with the number of participants growing yearly and drawing in hundreds of people and dogs each year.
The Society Dog Bus was added in 2005 and is known as "The Lime Green Party Machine". It added a new dimension to the growing club transporting two and four legged friends to various Society Dog events like Carmel & Half Moon Bay Beach trips, San Francisco Giants ballgames, and much more! Its vibrant presentation lures members to the group and serves as a great marketing vehicle for the club.
Society Dog's goal is to expand throughout the Bay Area and exceed their now 1,000 person membership as they bring together the camaraderie and group power that comes when people share the love of dogs. Society Dog’s first priority has been establishing 'Packs'in surrounding communities and providing them with both the virtual and hands-on support they need. Society Dog prides itself in creating communities that are warm, welcoming, and non–discriminating.