Herbie Lehrman paced around the Petco in Glen Cove Saturday morning, decked out in a 49ers jersey.
But the Boston terrier had no interest in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Instead he was excited for “Doggy Bowl” – an event sponsored by the Long Island Smushed Face Dog Group.
The group of dog owners gather their “smushed-face” dogs like pugs, Boston terriers and French bulldogs every four to six weeks for a big play date. About 20 met at the Petco in Glen Cove on Saturday, many wearing jerseys representing their favorite teams.
“It’s so important for dogs to socialize,” said Great Neck resident Heather Lehrman, who is Herbie’s owner and started the group in August 2011. “They have now become friends and know who each other are. And I love to do themes whenever I can.”
Even though no New York teams will be playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl, most dogs sported jerseys from local teams.
French bulldog Lily Clarke was one of them. Dressed in a red, white and blue Giants dress, she ran around the cordoned off area set aside for the dogs to roam and play.
Linsey and Rob Clarke drive Lily from Franklin Square so she can socialize with other dogs who like to rough house and play just like her.
“It’s worth it, we’d drive two hours to come here. We absolutely love it,” said Rob Clarke. “We moved here from England and we’ve made friends coming here.”
While the goal is to get the dogs together to run and play – taking to the parks in the summer and heading indoors for winter – they also find ways to give back to the community. Together with In Home Pet Services and Long Island Pet Professionals, they raise money for local shelters and organizations.
At this weekend’s gathering, pet owners could get a professional photo taken with their dog if they made a donation to the Glen Cove Animal League.
New member Melissa Basilice, of Roslyn, who just moved back to Long Island with her 4-year-old Mi-Ki named Gigi, agreed.
“We used to go to the dog parks in LA and I wanted her to remain social,” she said. “This is a great way to meet dogs and people.”