Tuesday, April 02, 2002

SAMPLES: Easter Dogs

Canines work the catwalk at annual Easter parade

By Karen Samples, ksamples@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT THOMAS — Peeps aren't just for decapitating, smooshing and throwing at little brothers, you know. The marshmallow Easter treats also can be plopped on the heads of unsuspecting dogs.

        This I learned last weekend at the annual Easter Dog Parade in Fort Thomas, where dozens of canines proved their devotion by bravely risking public humiliation.

"Rascal," an Australian shepherd, wore a bonnet in the 3rd annual Easter Dog Parade in Devou Park. Note the Peep perched on the brim.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        They came in tutus, T-shirts, bonnets and butterfly wings. A pair of bassetts looked doleful in granny dresses that dragged the ground. One dog had dots of rouge on its cheeks. Another, a dachshund named Wiener Dog, was sandwiched into an ingenious costume that made her look like a cheese Coney.

        What good sports they were. It can't be coincidental that some of the best-dressed dogs were rescued from animal shelters.

        “They're so well-behaved because they're happy to have a good home, I think,” said Linda Lawson of New Richmond, who got her dog, Sophie, from the pound.

        Sophie came dressed as a ballerina. She spent part of the afternoon resisting the urge to eat her tiara.

        Rascal, adopted from Hamilton County's shelter by Ellen Douglas of Cheviot, came in a straw hat covered with blue and pink Peeps, fake Easter grass, plastic eggs and silk daisies.

        And Oscar, a fluffy moppet of a dog from the Kenton County shelter, showed up in a little boy's suit coat, custom-made white pants and a matching cap that kept falling over his eyes.

        “He can't see again!” said Dee Williams of Cold Spring, who was monitoring Oscar's look as she held him in her lap. “He's real hard to fit in hats.”

        Oscar's cheering section included Ms. Williams and her husband, Archie, their daughter Janie Franks of Bromley, who is Oscar's owner, and Ms. Franks' neighbor Artie Moore.

        Ms. Moore found Oscar's coat at a thrift store and shortened the arms.

        “We're all sick people,” she joked.

        Ms. Franks hadn't even wanted a dog at first. Then her teen-age daughter brought Oscar home from the Kenton shelter just before his time ran out.

        That was five years ago. Now Oscar goes on trips with the family, shakes paws on command and agrees to look ridiculous several times a year.

        “He was such a find,” Ms. Williams says.

        “He has been the best dog ever,” Ms. Franks said.

        Appropriately enough, Saturday's parade and costume contest benefitted Friends of the Shelter Inc., a humane organization that promotes sterilization and adoption from all the shelters in Northern Kentucky.

        The next time you're in the market for a canine companion, consider one from a shelter. You'll earn a friend for life, not to mention a willing wearer of leftover Peeps.

        Shelter numbers: Kenton County, 356-7400; Boone County, 586-5285; Campbell County, 635-2819.

        Karen Samples can be reached at (859) 578-5584 or at ksamples@enquirer.com.


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