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Pets, owners march in annual parade

CARLSBAD — Four-legged locals and their owners dressed up in festive attire for Carlsbad Village’s annual Pups on Parade event Dec. 18, which featured pictures with Santa, a fully-stocked raffle and a parade.
Dozens of pet owners turned out for the event despite the rainy weather, intent on snapping a souvenir photo with Santa Claus at the Village Faire Shopping Center, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive.
Local Brandy Sebastian of Sebastian Photo organized the photo sessions with a Renaissance Santa and donated a portion of the proceeds to San Diego Chihuahua Rescue.
“People want to take pictures of their dogs with Santa — especially if they don’t have kids or their kids are grown — so we thought why not do it here?” Sue Scott, one of the event’s organizers, said. “This is such a dog-friendly village and people have really enjoyed it.”
Several specialty vendors, including Kahoots and C & B Specialty Pet Foods, were on hand to display and discuss their products with local dog owners, with food samples, treats and toys available for purchase.
“We deal with a lot of specialty diets, like dogs with cancer or kidney diseases,” Alison Spencer of C& B Specialty Pet Foods said. She also volunteers to cook meals for shelter dogs. “Once people serve home-cooked meals to their dogs, they notice a big difference.”
Pet specialty stores, animal communicators and pet groomers donated items for raffle baskets. One hundred percent of the proceeds from ticket sales were also donated to the nonprofit Chihuahua rescue.
Representatives from the San Diego Chihuahua Rescue brought a handful of dogs to the event, and adoptions were open to qualified applicants. Each dog had a tragic story — from abuse and neglect to acid burns — but was very friendly to event attendees.
“They really are great dogs but they’ve been in some bad situations,” Ann Pollock of the rescue said. “We spend a lot of time with them; people call us and ask where our shelter is but we actually keep all of these dogs at our own homes.”
The rain let up early in the afternoon, just in time for the event’s namesake parade to take place. Santa led pet owners and their dogs on a short route north on Carlsbad Boulevard, east on Grand Avenue, south on State Street and back west on Carlsbad Village Drive.
“The weather was a lot better last year and we had about 150 dogs in the parade,” Scott said. “We still had a good turnout this year though and we raised several hundred dollars for the rescue, so we’re very happy.”