We sit down with our CEO to talk about PetFest at Spruce Meadows!

April 15, 2024

When most people think of Spruce Meadows president Linda Southern-Heathcott, it’s show jumping that springs to mind—but it may surprise many to hear that dogs actually play a big part of our CEO’s day-to-day life as well! As we gear up for our inaugural PetFest this weekend, April 19–21, Linda wanted to give fans a rare peek into the Spruce Meadows life...and the three adorable pooches she brings to the office almost every day!

Linda Southern-Heathcott with Tulsa, left, and Norman, right

The indoor PetFest at Spruce Meadows will launch this year with more than 60 local vendors, food trucks and entertainment, alongside exotic animal interactions, sheepherding and show jumping 101 demonstrations. Additionally, the Calgary Animal Services Arena will feature performances by the Spruce Meadows Prairie Dogs, presented by RE/MAX, guest speakers, RCMP Police Dogs, and even Friday Night at the Corgi Races, presented by International Animal Lounge.


It’s not just about dogs, there will be products and services for all kinds of pets, with tickets starting at just $5 for children and seniors. There will even be adoptable pets and plenty of charities to support, though actual pets are meant to stay at home.


Part of PetFest's inspiration came from Linda’s own fur babies, a 14-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi called Calla, and two Australian Shepherds, Tulsa, seven, and Norman, three, who might just be the luckiest pups in Canada. The pack have the freedom of the stunning Spruce Meadows grounds every day and lap up regular holidays, as well as being on the receiving end of some well-deserved grooming sessions.


Norman, Tulsa, and Calla

Linda said: “I know people in and around the city are as pet crazy as I am, so we wanted to create an event to entertain, educate, and celebrate all things animal. That being said, even if you aren’t into pets, you’ll still find something to enjoy this weekend whether it's food trucks, shopping or simply taking a stroll through the vibrant marketplace.”

“Dogs have been a huge part of my life. Now when I get to the office, no one asks how I am, they say ‘where are the dogs?’ “The three of them stroll into work behind me and they even have a system worked out where they stop at different desks for a biscuit before settling down around my corner of the office. My dogs make me laugh all the time, so they are great stress relief. With PetFest, we will expand in years to come. We want to incorporate all pets, whether dogs, sheep, parrots, or lizards.


“We hope it’s a huge success and that people love it. There’s definitely room to grow. The International Christmas Market, presented by TELUS, started with just one weekend and now, two decades later, it runs over three weekends and has been ranked as one of the top five Christmas Markets in the world.


Linda trying to work, interrupted by Tulsa, left and Norman, right

“It would be great to create the same with PetFest. We hope to see you there!”

Join us Friday April 19 to Sunday April 21. Hours: Fri: 12 p.m.–8 p.m. Sat: 10 a.m.– 6 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. Tickets start at just $5. Parking is free!

Learn More and Get Your Tickets Now!