A parade for the four-legged friends

Fourth annual Toby’s Pet Parade & Fair takes place on Sept. 7


Guido the Magnificent is going to put his best paw forward as he leads the rest of his four-legged friends and their humans in this year’s pet parade.

“He loves attention,” said Bonnie Brown-Bott, Guido’s human. “He’ll really turn on the charm.”

Guido, an 11-year-old schnauzer-border collie mix, is this year’s grand marshal for Foothills Animal Shelter’s fourth annual Toby’s Pet Parade & Fair, which takes place on Sept. 7 in downtown Golden.

“It’s probably a dog’s dream to be the leader of the pack,” said Brown-Bott of Golden Gate Canyon. “It’s an honor for him (Guido) to be grand marshal and we’re proud to represent the shelter.”

Toby’s Pet Parade & Fair is a family-friendly, pet-centric event that benefits the Foothills Animal Shelter. The highlight of the event is the pet parade. Hundreds of people dress their dogs up in costumes — and sometimes the humans will be in accompanying costumes — and walk down Washington Avenue. Those in costumes compete for prizes in categories such as Doggie Diva, Best Group costume and Most Original, among others.

People come up with some really creative costumes, said Jason Quade, president of the Friends of Foothills Animal Shelter board.

“And the dogs are such good sports,” he added. “You can tell they’re having a great time.”

After the parade, the festivities continue with a fair that features food trucks, a beer garden, dog flyball demonstrations, family-friendly games and vendor booths.

In the parade, “you’ll see every type of dog you can imagine,” Brown-Bott said. “From the largest rottweiler to the tiniest chihuahua.”

Guido has participated in the parade all three of the past years, donning a presidential candidate costume his first year, a surfer with a boogie board the second year and posing as the parade’s namesake dog, Toby, the third year.

Toby is an Australian Shepherd that was brought to Foothills Animal Shelter in April 2015 as an adult. He was found malnourished and dehydrated, with electrical tape around his muzzle. After several months in foster care, Toby was adopted by a staff member and became the official mascot of the Foothills Animal Shelter.

For the first two years of Toby’s Pet Parade & Fair, Toby served as the grand marshal. However, beginning last year, Foothills Animal Shelter decided to select a different grand marshal to highlight each year — and each has a unique, inspirational story of finding a loving, forever home.

Last year, it was Miss Layla Mae, an American bully, who was adopted by Brooke Dahlinger of Superior in February 2018. Layla was brought to Foothills Animal Shelter after being discovered in a park, tied up with a male dog of unknown relation to her. It’s likely she was abandoned by a “backyard breeder,” Dahlinger said in an interview last year, once she could no longer produce quality puppies to sell. A veterinarian determined Layla was about three years old at the time and had already had up to six litters of puppies.

Brown-Bott and Guido found each other 11 years ago. Brown-Bott volunteered at the shelter every Sunday, and on the Saturday before, she had to have her dog put down because of old age. Brown-Bott had selected three dogs for possible adoption, but none were a good fit — one did not get along with cats, one didn’t get along with other dogs and the other had already been adopted. The next day, however, Brown-Bott brought her father with her to the shelter, and he pointed out how cute Guido was.

“The second I saw him, I thought: that’s a guido if I ever saw one,” Brown-Bott said.

The two have been together ever since, and they enjoy camping, hiking and paddle boarding together.

It’s important for people to support their local, socially conscious animal shelter, Quade said. Socially conscious, he added, is a relatively new term that, in its simplest definition, means no animal is turned away.

Foothills Animal Shelter makes the Jefferson County community better, Quade’s wife Marlo added. Not only do they house homeless pets, she said, the shelter offers a variety of affordable services such as microchipping, vaccines and spay/neuter to anybody in the community.

“The reality is that there are homeless pets in our community,” Marlo Quade said. “Foothills Animal Shelter fills a need and finds these animals their forever homes.”


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