Dog parade a howling success
Pooches of all sizes and costumes pranced at the annual Jamestown Holiday Dog Parade last Sunday, Dec. 17. Canines and their human companions turned out in record numbers to raise funds for the Jamestown Senior Citizens Pet Fund.
Dogs heralded each other with holiday barks and tangled leashes. First time guests sniffed out veteran island parade marchers as they awaited the 1 p.m. start of the downtown march.
Showcased as poster dogs for the parade, Shaggy and Holly, two small dogs who recently lost their beloved mistress, enjoyed the gala escorted by twins Michaela and Jaia Colognese of Watson Avenue.
Local Kathleen Turner introduced her gentle giant, Ozzie, a three-year-old English mastiff, who was surveying the crowd. Turner noted it was “definitely the cause” that brought her and Ozzie out to support the pets. “He’s mellow and loves people,” She added about Ozzie.
Canine friends from off-island joined in the holiday social, as well. Teddy the Newfoundland, owned by Daniel and Jean Lilly of Beach Street, strolled with friend Coco, a chowchow from Narragansett. Coco’s owners Steve Lawrence and Melissa Hillas agreed that the exhibition was “a fun, festive way to raise money” for the seniors.
Kathy Brownell and Applejack fell into position directly behind the beeping engine. Applejack has established himself as the clothes horse – or clothes dog – of the island. He has been spotted at other major downtown gatherings throughout the year in dapper dog wear. This season, riding atop a Christmas tree balanced on a wagon, Applejack portrayed “the angel on top of the tree,” Brownell said, adding that the little terrier has “never duplicated a costume.”
Participants fell into pace behind the truck and the rolling Christmas tree. A trail of bells jingled and Santa hats flopped as the parade grew.
Outfitted in yarmulke, a skull cap, and tallit, a fringed prayer shawl, Tommy and Mandy, both rescued dogs, stepped in line, adorned in honor of the Festival of Lights. “We never had anything like this in Philadelphia,” owner Wendy Hunter said.
“I can’t believe we’re in the parade!” exclaimed Natalia Shea, who was being tugged all over the road by her puppy retriever Mary Jane.
Two-and-a half-year-old mixed breed Jake stood tall on his royal litter marked “King Mutt.” Michelle, Lucas, Nathan, and Pete Webber carried the pharaoh theme from Middletown to Jake’s first parade. The judges gave King Mutt the royal treatment with an award for best costume and a prize of Chamber checks, gift certificates from the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce.
Russell Benjamin with his son, Russell, walked with “Boom- Boom” the boxer. They drove from West Warwick, and showed enthusiasm for the village and the crowd. Father and son noted it was a good chance to help pets socialize. “Jamestown is a dog town,” said Benjamin. “People here walk with a dog in one hand and a coffee in the other.”
A Bernese mountain dog named Addie pulled a miniature wagon filled with stuffed puppies. “He has a draft title,” confided his owner about Addie’s skill.
A couple from Cranston, Nick Nattiello and Steph Accetta, brought their dogs to watch the parade, and called the event was “very exciting.” Hopper, Nattiello’s six year-old Dalmatian, hoped to ride on top of the engine next year with Sparky, the Jamestown Fire Department’s own plastic mascot, said Nattiello.
Over 100 dogs were registered for the parade, and close to 150 dogs showed up at the event, according to Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski, co-ordinator of the event.
Szepatowski noted that 100 percent of the $5 fee for the parade would go directly to the seniors’ pet fund. She also pointed out that the fund provided financial help for people over 60 who can’t afford to pay veterinarian bills, or who must give up their pets when they become too old to care for them.
Szepatowski showed gratitude to RE/MAX Bayview Realty, who offered pictures with Santa on the front lawn near the starting line of the parade. The $5 donation for each picture will go toward the Jamestown Pet Shelter Fund.