More than 1,000 canines and 1,500 people attended the 10th annual Dog Day Afternoon gathering on the plaza of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles on July 13. Hosted and organized by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the event brings together downtown residents and their canines for an evening of food, music and companionship.

Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, former pastor of the cathedral, and Hal Bastian, then representing the DCBI District, launched Dog Day Afternoon in 2007. Downtown L.A. has a large dog population and Dog Day Afternoon is a great way for dogs and humans alike to interact with each other, according to Bastian.

“We wanted the residents to be aware of the plaza and to create an event that brings residents together in fellowship,” he explained.

Local resident Arion Hardison has attended the event for the past four years with his Pit Bull-mix Sunshine, who his owner said is “very popular in the downtown community.”

“It is really cool to see all of the dogs and friends you haven’t seen in awhile,” said Hardison, noting that

Dog Day Afternoon builds community while allowing people to focus on the things that really matter — relationships.

“At Dog Day Afternoon, no one is talking about all the bad stuff going on. Even cops bring their dogs. They are all connecting in this awesome way,” said Hardison.

Msgr. Kostelnik and Bastian, who are both dog lovers, are thankful the event has been a success for 10 consecutive years.

“I am honored and delighted that an institution has lived on beyond me,” said Bastian.

- by Julie Schnieders