Talking ‘New Canaan Dog Days’ with Village Critter Outfitter’s Shirleen Dubuque

The extremely popular New Canaan Dog Days will be held 12 to 3 p.m. Sunday on Cherry Street downtown, presented by locally owned business mainstays Village Critter Outfitter and Aetheria Relaxation Spa. Benefitting pet-focused nonprofits PAWS and STARelief, Dog Days is a grassroots effort that is supported largely by Village Critter Owner Shirleen Dubuque (also owner of some lovely rescue dogs and other pets). We had a chance to catch up with Dubuque and put some questions to her about her own business and its niche, how New Canaan Dog Days has evolved since its 2009 launch and what our four-legged pals can expect of the event. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: One of the things that’s special about New Canaan Dog Days is that it was created and continues to be driven by local, independent businesses such as yours, where the owner is on site and that special small-town, village center feel is alive.

Peeking behind New Canaan Dog Days

On Sunday, New Canaan will see hundreds of town residents and their dogs descend on a cordoned-off portion Cherry Street for an annual, grassroots community event that organizers say is designed to celebrate our unconditional love for four-legged family members. New Canaan Dog Days—presented by our town’s owner-on-site pet store, Village Critter Outfitter, and local business Aetheria Relaxation Spa, both on Cherry Street—runs 12 to 3 p.m. on June 8. It benefits a pair of animal-focused nonprofits: STARelief, which provides life-saving pet food, veterinary care and medications to families in need with the goal of keeping pets out of shelters and in their homes; and PAWS, which rescues dogs and cats, offers shelter, takes care of medical issues and provides adoption services. Locally based event sponsors include New Canaan Veterinary Hospital, Bankwell, Fern’s Pet & House Sitting and To preview the event, we connected with Fern Pessin, who produces it, as well as Shirleen Dubuque, owner (and owner-on-site) of Village Critter Outfitter and Beth McCarthy of Aetheria Relaxation Spa.