There were more than 5,000 Las Vegas Doodles group members on Facebook when SheedVash “Michael” Zargari made his first ask. Originally introduced to the group by a friend and eager for his rescue, Willis, to meet other Doodles, he volunteered to organize an event.

The timing was perfect, given the group had slowed as an active forum during the pandemic when Doodle romps were problematic. Instead, most owners stuck with sharing photos, asking for advice, and providing service recommendations. Michael’s idea would breathe some new life into the group and help it get back to what it did best — bring more fun-loving Doodles together.

Doodles, in case you don’t know, are Poodles crossed with another dog breed. But unlike many other crosses, Doodles have taken on a popular mystique as designer dogs with names like Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Aussiedoodles, Schnoodles, Yorkiepoos, and Cockapoos (to name a few).

“Doodles are intelligent, adorable, and have these amazing personalities,” said Michael. “They love socializing and have the best playful temperament, especially with other Doodles.”

Being around other Doodles was especially important to Michael, who had become wary of dog parks after Willis was attacked several times as a pup. He hoped an all-Doodle meetup might provide a better atmosphere for Willis.

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Willis makes a discovery. He loves ice cream!

“The Facebook group’s owner helped me through all the steps, telling me how they organized past romps and what was needed to secure a public dog park for a private event,” said Michael. “The first one drew about 30-40 Doodles — successful enough that the group owners invited me to help more often.”

The first event also brought together some other Doodle enthusiasts, people who not only congratulated Michael but offered to help organize the next one. One of those part-time pet heroes was Kristi Pritchett, founder of AllAboutSpot.com. She offered to help make the second event a success by introducing any Doodles in attendance to dog ice cream.

“The second event was even more fun,” says Michael. “That’s when we learned just how much Willis loves ice cream. After his first taste, he visited everybody with a cup, asking for a little more!”

Kristi wasn’t alone in appreciating Michael’s effort. Several Doodle parents also have businesses, which allows them to support the group in fun and exciting ways.

One of the most inventive, for example, is Mozart’s Fabulous Treat Street. Owned by canine culinary creator Adam Jacob, Mozart’s makes gourmet dog treats that rival their human culinary counterparts — carob chunk brownies, pup cane pops, stuffed bones, and cinnamon buns (to name a few).

“Mozart’s Fabulous Treat Street came together after I retired from the U.S. Air Force and wanted to try out a silly idea,” says Adam. “I originally started by figuring out how to make dog-friendly pizza and cake pops a little later. The excitement of dog owners and Doodle parents really inspired me to push the envelope. For our largest event to date, every participating Doodle will be treated to a three-course meal.”

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Mozart’s Fabulous Treat Street is named after Mozart himself!

If that sounds ambitious, Adam wasn’t the only one to push the envelope. The next event will be hosted at a public pool, just before it closes to be cleaned for winter. This time around, the Doodle Group is organizing an event for 120 Doodles, with two time slots to accommodate them all.

“What’s great is that there are six of us who make up an unofficial council to bounce ideas off one another and help run the events, making them better,” says Kristi. “It all happens very organically because it’s not about us. It’s about everybody’s Doodle.”

Of course, the real summer success of the Las Vegas Doodle Group doesn’t have to be an accident. There is plenty of room to duplicate a Doodle group or doggie troop (whatever breed you want) in five easy steps.

  1. Create an online group on a social network like Facebook or Meetup or Doodle so people can find it. If you don’t want to host it on Facebook, no problem. Just remember you’ll still need Facebook to help people find it.
  2. Host a startup event. An initial group meetup is the one that gets the group going. Use it as an opportunity to meet like-minded Doodle or dog owners. Keep it simple, like a private meetup for your breed at a local dog park.
  3. Recruit council members. By having a team of five or six people, you’ll get five or six times the ideas and some additional help to make bigger ideas doable. One person can secure the venue, another can collect money, another can market the event, etc.
  4. Encourage business owners to get involved. There are many wonderfully creative people in pet communities who won’t mind sharing their resources so fellow pet owners can learn about their businesses. It’s a win-win.
  5. Keep it casual. The events can be as big as your council’s imagination, but the group’s structure can remain simple. Having a council will help build some consistency while keeping the pressure to a minimum. Let it be about your pets.

So there you have it. How to build a Doodle group with just a little bit of TLC, following the blueprint of one such group in Las Vegas. The timing could even be perfect. Fall is a wonderful time to get outside with your Doodle, doggies, and pets of all kinds.

AllAboutSpot.com also encourages pet groups to reach out. We’re always looking for pet-smart stories to share with members as part of the Inside Scoop.