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Canines do it up right for Howl-O-Ween parade

October 30, 2005|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

Mummers' schmummers.

Those of the canine persuasion seem to fancy celebrating Halloween at the Washington County Humane Society's Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade.

Thirty-three costume-clad dogs put their paws to the pavement on Saturday at Long Meadow Shopping Center. With varying degrees of enthusiasm, the dogs showed off their get-ups as Chuck Thornton of WLTF Lite 97.5 announced their vitals and a panel from the Humane Society took notes from the judges' circle.

First-prize winner Drake, a dark strapping pit bull from Martinsburg, W.Va., traded in his strut for a prance and donned a cuddly pink poodle costume. Drake's owners, Kori Ashton and Bryan Madonti, said they found the costume - which came complete with a button-activated rendition of the song "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" - in the toddler section at Wal-Mart.

"His poodle name is Foo Foo. We wanted him to do something that wouldn't look scary," Madonti said. "We're very strong pit bull advocates and we like to make the name better."

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While Drake was softening his image, Camden, a 2-year-old golden retriever yellow lab mix, was dipping her paws in risqu waters as a "lab dancer."

Barb Moats of Hagerstown, a Humane Society volunteer, said the idea started quite innocently. Moats' roommate, Laurie Meyers, and her dog, Callie, went to the parade as clowns. Meyers bought a red wig as part of her clown costume. After trying it on, she decided not to use it.

"(The wig) looked a little risqu," Moats said. "So I got Camden a little skirt, a G-string, a bra and a purse and I used it for her."

Camden, who left little to the imagination in her sheer pink miniskirt, a burgundy brassiere and dangling beads, won the prize for funniest costume.

Becky Kercheval of Hagerstown said she and her toy fox terrier, George, have participated in the event both years. This year, George took second prize as "the world's worst hunting dog." Though he sported orange hunting gear and packed a rifle, George appeared nonetheless overtaken by a sizable toy pheasant attached to his body.

Thornton said the idea for the pet parade originated last year when an advertising client with a dog food company expressed interest in sponsoring a promotional event. Thornton contacted a professional acquaintance, Debra Hunt, marketing director of Long Meadow Shopping Center, and the Humane Society and found both parties eager to participate. Though the original sponsor did not participate in this year's event, Hunt secured alternative sponsorships for the parade.

Cindy Kalkbrenner, Washington County Humane Society director of development and community relations, said the group would receive a donation comprised of $5 registration fees plus donations, which would total more than $200.

"Most importantly, people love their dogs and any opportunity to get them out in public to show them off and have fun," Kalkbrenner said. "I wish we could do this every week."

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