St. Patrick’s Day even brings out the Irish in animals.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Spokane on Saturday included the usual civic groups, bagpipe and drum groups, politicians, school groups and all things Irish. But the dogs – dachshunds, Irish setters, black Labs, yellow Labs, Chihuahuas, poodles, pit bulls, pugs and more – were big hits with the crowd.
The Spokane Humane Society had several in the parade to showcase “how great these adoptable pounds pups are,” said Executive Director Dave Richardson, adding, “It’s just good to get them out, get them exercise and socialize them. They are absolutely loving the attention. They’re so excited to be part of it.”
But as much as the dogs might think so, the parade is not all about them. Mayor David Condon acted as grand marshal of the 34th annual parade, and Dan Byrne with Sterling Savings Bank and Mary Ellen Murphy, a community leader, were selected as Irish man and Irish woman of the year. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick partnered up with Second Harvest Food Bank again this year to help raise donations and awareness.
Of course the dogs – whose main competition for crowd favorite seemed to be a green horse and some llamas – don’t know any of that, and about a dozen pugs basked in the adoration as they cruised down Main Avenue in their St. Paddy’s Day garb as part of the Spokane Pug Group.
“Pugs love any and all attention,” said organizer and pug aficionado Lindsey Dunn, who added, “The kids absolutely love it.”
Their mission was “to raise awareness that pugs are a great family dog,” Dunn said. “We support the Inland Northwest Pug Rescue. We do everything we can to help pugs in need.”
In what they call Wieners on Parade, Dachshund Rescue NW brought a gang of the squat little dogs to showcase the rescue, which takes in about 90 a year, and raise awareness about the dogs themselves, which wore miniature leprechaun hats, shamrock beads and green bandannas.
“They’re stubborn, and they’re pushy,” Margo Mossburg said of the dogs, which kept a low profile in only the most literal sense of the words. “They’re just not meant for any family, but it’s the same for any breed.”
Many dogs attended as spectators, too.
Maxx, 2, struggled to contain himself in the minutes leading up to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Spokane.
It was the first time for the 130-pound Newfoundland, and owner Shauna Kinney struggled somewhat to calm the excitable dog as he strained against his leash, tongue lolling out one side of his mouth.
“He thinks he’s like 9 pounds,” she said.
Maxx was most excited to see the horses in the parade. At least according to Kinney.
“He’s never seen a horse before,” she said. “We told him he was going to see his cousins.”
For the festivities he wore a green sash with Irish printed on it, a green collar, some green light-up balls and a backpack to carry the parade essentials: water, a towel to sit on and snacks for both humans and hounds.
“He’s very Irish,” Kinney said.