Marlene Cook, the founder and organizer of Toronto’s Woofstock — North America’s largest dog festival, which takes place for the eighth consecutive year this weekend along Front Street in the St. Lawrence Market area — has created what can only be described as a veritable dogmobile in her SUV.
The dog lover’s black 2008 Land Rover LR2 is decked out to the nines for her two soft-coated wheaten terriers, Sydney, 12, and Addison, 18 weeks.
From toys and comfort items to a doggie hammock in the back, no detail has been spared in creating the ideal environment for her pooches to enjoy rides. In fact, it’s the same car that Queen Elizabeth drives her beloved corgies around in.
Aside from lots of soft blankets, pillows and covers for her canines to snuggle up in, Cook also has a hammock set up under the Land Rover’s rear sunroof that her beloved pets adore riding in.
“I have a paisley hammock in a really nice fabric that you put in the back,” she explains.
“The reason I got the Land Rover is because it has two sun roofs, so it’s nice and cool in the back for the dogs. My dogs love to stick their heads out the sunroof. I’ll tie their leashes around the arm rest and just give them a little bit of lead and they can sit in the hammock and stick their heads out the sunroof.”
Like all dogs, Sydney and Addison love having the wind in their faces, but they also like to check out other dogs on the sidewalk or in neighbouring cars and the hammock affords them a great vantage point for both pastimes.
And in case they get thirsty along the way, Cook has that covered as well. “I also have a water bottle attached to a dish for them to drink out of in the back,” she says. You have to have hydrating water for dogs in the car.”
Cook’s 16-year-old dog, Barkley, also a wheaten terrier, passed away a few months ago, and during his last days, he would sit beside Cook in the passenger seat and be comforted by the seat warmers in the Land Rover.
“He was losing so much weight so I would put a little blanket down on the seat and put on the heat and keep him warm,” she explains.
It’s clear that it’s a dog’s life for Marlene Cook and her two lucky pooches when it comes to hitting the road.