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Dogs, other four-legged residents kick off Martinsburg event

December 04, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - With visions of rawhides, grain and hay dancing in their heads, a few of Martinsburg's four-legged residents helped to kick off the city's Hometown Christmas celebration Friday evening.

During the Pet Parade - a new event this year - dogs, llamas and a goat ushered in a visit from Santa, who rode in a toy-laden wagon pulled by two mules.

Also during the Christmas celebration, people could sign a holiday card for a veteran, listen to singing groups, peruse vendors' wares or write on the streets at the intersection of King and Queen streets with chalk.

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Capria Lewis, 10, wrote, "Go Nate Sowers (and) Bulldogs. You can win this."

Lewis said that Sowers, a quarterback, is her favorite player for Martinsburg High School's football team, which is playing today for the Class AAA state championship against Morgantown in Wheeling, W.Va.

Children also could hop aboard a small train that drove up and down King Street.

"Look, a train! A real live train!" one girl shouted excitedly upon seeing it.

Many of the dogs that walked in the Pet Parade were dressed in sweaters or jackets. One wore a black Harley-Davidson jacket.

Lucy, a Chihuahua, had on a string of colorful lights, illuminated using a small battery pack.

While waiting for the parade to begin, Lucy growled and snapped at a couple of other dogs that approached her.

"She's got this thing about big dogs," said her owner, Karen Laureigh. "She thinks she can beat them up."

Nothing seemed to faze Bailey, a golden retriever who was one of Lucy's victims. Bailey had on a Christmas sweater and a pair of stuffed antlers on his head.

"He thinks it's great. Any attention we can get," Barbara Mills said. Accompanying Mills were Olivia D'Ovidio, 8, and Danielle Painter, 8, who came from Montgomery County, Md., to attend the Christmas celebration. Both girls wore blinking red reindeer noses.

"It was cool," D'Ovidio said.

Patty Anderson brought her three dogs, Kiara and Thalia, both Siberian huskies, and Sage, a mixed breed.

Although Anderson was standing in line so her children could sit on Santa's lap, her dogs probably also would have liked to express their desires with the big fellow in the red suit.

"Probably lots of rawhides," said Anderson, who said she was enjoying the festivities.

"They're trying to bring back a lot of people downtown," she said. "It's really quaint. It's really, really nice."

Pam and Ross Curtis brought their three llamas, Seor Solo, Ribolito and Schwortley (pronounced Squirtly). One could pet them or feed them grain, which they took gently using their lips.

Their wish list for Christmas?

"Solo asked for a bale of hay. 'Lito asked for 20 pounds of this nice grain and Schwortley asked for a girlfriend," Ross Curtis said with a laugh.

Another crowd favorite, judging from the amount of pets he received, was Max, a bull terrier.

Around 7:15 p.m., Sally Jackson, Max's owner, said she had wanted to go home 10 minutes earlier, but Max wouldn't let her.

"See, he loves the kids most of all," Jackson said as three young girls petted Max - who was looking toward the nearby llama pen.

"He thinks the llamas are just big dogs," Jackson said. "He's very interested in them."

Max's likely request to Santa would not be something to eat.

"He'd probably like a little brother. Somebody else to boss around," Jackson said.

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