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Furry parade is for the dogs

Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair takes place Sept. 16

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Toby’s Pet Parade is a time for humans to get together to support the local animal shelter, but perhaps it’s the dogs that have the most fun at the event — they get attention, love and pets galore.

“Participating in this parade is a win-win for everybody,” said Shaun Howard of Littleton, whose dog Avery won best costume for her police officer outfit in the Macho Mutt category last year. “It’s a great time and a great way to support the community. If you like dogs, it’s worth it to go.”

The second annual Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair takes place Sept. 16, in downtown Golden. Proceeds will benefit the Foothills Animal Shelter, which provides medical, behavioral and life-saving care to more than 9,000 homeless pets each year.

The main event is the Pet Parade, during which participating dog owners dress up their pets in fun costumes and walk them on the parade route on Washington Avenue.

“You’ll see some highly creative dog costumes that will put a smile on your face,” Howard said.

This year, Howard is bringing Avery, a 5-year-old German Shepard, and Baxter, an 8-year-old Chihuahua mix, to participate in the parade. She is currently conjuring up a themed co-costume for the two dogs.

Following the parade will be a fair with food trucks, vendor booths, a beer garden, dog flyball demonstrations, face painting and other family-friendly games and activities.

The costume contest is another a highlight of the event. There are six categories which allow for some creative costumes, such as Macho Mutt, Owner/Pet Look-a-Like and Doggie Diva.

Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair was inspired by an Australian Shepherd that was brought to the Foothills Animal Shelter in April 2015 malnourished and dehydrated. He was named Toby, and after several months in foster care, Toby was adopted by a staff member and became the official mascot of the Foothills Animal Shelter.

Foothills Animal Shelter is a great resource for the community with a lot of amenities that a lot of people don’t know about, said Susan Sedgeley, a volunteer at the shelter. She is looking forward to bringing awareness to the shelter again this year, along with her 2-year-old black lab mix named Bella, who won Doggie Diva last year.

We love our pets, and they love us, Sedgeley said.

“Volunteering at Foothills has made me so happy. It’s a good feeling being able to help the animals,” she said. “It’s really rewarding, and I get instant gratification helping the homeless animals feel loved and cared about.”

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