On Saturday, Valparaiso’s Central Park was the scene of a canine extravaganza as Lakeshore PAWS held its first pooch costume parade.
Dogs of all sizes and breeds donned their costumes and were paraded through downtown by their equally dressed up owners. After the dogs made it back to the park, PAWS hosted a costume contest with prizes for scariest, funniest, and most original dog costume.
Erica Frederick of Valparaiso brought her two miniature schnauzers, Mike and Nick, to the parade to show off their costumes, and to also help raise awareness.
“I love my dogs and I love being around other dogs as well. I think bringing out these dogs really raises awareness for the shelters,” she said. “The dogs are wanted but people don’t get to see them unless they go to the shelters”.
“This is a fun way for people to be active with their dogs while enjoying the Halloween season, but also help get more dogs out of the shelters”, she continued.
While Erica’s dogs were dressed as a dragon and a warlock, some of the other notable costumes were a lobster, Chia Pet, and Jack-o-Lanterns. The dogs that won a costume category were given a round of applause by the large crowd that gathered, and also treats and frisbees. The owners received gift cards as well for their job well done.
The Director of Lakeshore PAWS, Jeanne Sommer, was a bit uncertain of the first time event, but was overjoyed when she saw the great turnout.
“This is the first time we’ve done this event, but after today I think this will definitely be an annual event for us”, she said. “We have a costume contest after the parade which has prizes provided by Healthi Paws, but the all the dogs here walk away with something, because we’re handing out treats and toys all day,” she continued.
“Our goal today is to make people aware of all the great homeless dogs we have that can be adopted, and also raise money for our shelter. Since April of 2011, we have had 2,283 dogs adopted which is just great, and I credit that to our great staff and the caring people who love dogs as much as I do”.
The parade drew in a crowd from across the region. Amy and Jeff of Chesterton brought their two golden retrievers dressed as a pineapple and a witch.
“We read about the parade and thought it would be a really fun thing to do with them. Our dogs love being around people, and we are huge Halloween fans so we decided to come out and dress them up”, they said.
& More events and information about Lakeshore PAWS can be found at their website: http://www.lakeshorepaws.org/