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The City Journals

Dogs put best paws forward at Raise the Woof Canine Carnival

Nov 04, 2019 03:30PM ● By Libby Allnatt

Dogs participating in the costume contest walk about in a circle so judges can get a good look at their costumes. (Libby Allnatt/City Journals)

By Libby Allnatt | [email protected]

From a tiny UPS driver to a hammer-clad Thor, costumed canines big and small turned out for this year’s Raise the Woof Canine Carnival in Daybreak. 

“I think it’s a super fun event,” said Marissa Campbell, Live Daybreak recreation manager. “It goes to a great cause, and who doesn’t love dogs in costumes?”

The Oct. 5 event helped benefit the nonprofit Nuzzles & Co.’s Purple Paw program, which helps take care of pets for owners in domestic violence situations.

Prizes for the costume contest (which included items like scarves and plush toys for the pups, and gift cards for owners) were given for most creative, best small dog, best large dog and best senior dog. 

A bulldog named Molly took the cake — well, a plush donut toy — for her colorful llama costume, earning the “best senior dog” prize. 

Her owner, Leslie Sapanas, has had Molly for five years. Sapanas said they spotted the costume, which included a plush llama head that rested above Molly’s jolly face and colorful tasseled decor on the back, on the Target website. 

Molly, a bulldog, smiles shortly after winning the costume contest prize for “best senior dog.” (Libby Allnatt/City Journals)

Sapanas said Molly loved to show off her winning costume.  

“Once she gets out and people start oohing and aahing, she gets all proud and starts prancing around,” Sapanas said. “She loves attention.”

The “most creative” accolades went to a squad of pets dressed as Wizard of Oz characters, while “best large dog” went to a canine clad as Thor, a get-up complete with the Marvel character’s signature hammer. 

The winner of “best small dog” was dressed as a UPS driver, decked out in the brown uniform and “holding” a box ready for delivery. A wave of “awww”s from the crowd could be heard when the appropriately named dog, Lucky, was announced as the tiny winner. 

In addition to the costume contest, the event also had vendors and booths for canines and their owners to visit. One stand was Draw You Funny, where local caricature artist Kurt Francom drew the dogs.

Francom has been doing caricatures for about eight years, but this was his first time drawing at the Canine Carnival. 

“It’s more about where the spot is, the coloring of the fur, that sort of thing. It’s definitely different,” Francom said, about how drawing dogs compared to drawing people. 

The activities didn’t end there. Owners and pets could stop for a photo-op at the “Kissing Booth,” and dogs could frolic and play in a fenced-in obstacle course, dashing through tunnels and jumping through hoops under the sky of sunshine. 

Campbell said the Canine Carnival has been going for a few years, but it was cancelled last year due to weather. 

“We’ve been donating to the Nuzzles & Co. Purple Paw program for the last few years,” Campbell said. 

The Purple Paw program helps shelter and rehabilitate pets while domestic violence survivors leave their situation and get back on their feet. 

“One of the things we know for sure is that a lot of times in these abusive situations, women or families won’t leave their abuser because there is a pet involved,” said Jenny Castro-Conde, director of development for Nuzzles & Co., of the Purple Paw Program. “A lot of shelters are not pet friendly.”

According to the Nuzzles & Co. website, the program has cared for more than 191 pets since starting in 2012. It also helps provide veterinary care for the pets, including vaccines, microchips and spaying or neutering, if necessary.

Campbell said that this year’s Raise the Woof Canine Carnival ended up raising $620 for the Purple Paw Program and that they would be upping the donation to $700.