OBERLIN — Committed dog lovers and their furry animal friends gathered Saturday in Oberlin College’s Tappan Square to attend the ninth annual Doggie Doo & Pooch Parade.
The event, an effort that celebrates Lorain County’s dog adoration each fall, invites owners to bring their socialized, vaccinated dogs to the square for a day of canine fashion and talent shows, concluding in a parade.
What started as an initiative of merchants in downtown Oberlin seeking business, the Doogie Doo parade attracts major crowds and local animal rescue groups and vendors. According to the event’s president, Michele Andrews, residents within the county and as far away as Cleveland come out to the pooch party.
As the rainy morning turned into a bright, sunny day, about 25 canine-related organizations, some with rescue dogs in tow, showed up to support the parade by manning informational booths about their business.
All the proceeds from vendor fees, paid by each for a booth spot in Tappan Square, and event sponsors go directly to Lorain County rescue shelters that apply for a financial grant. Last year, the event raised $3,000.
“The dogs need rescue clubs to take care of those that are not wanted,” said Ron Caffo, president of Lorain County Kennel Club, one of the organizations sporting a parade booth. “It’s our way of giving back.”
According to Oasis Animal Shelter, a dog shelter on state Route 511, President Vera Opel, of Pittsfield Township, said as many as four families that attend the parade adopt dogs.
This year, the dog parade hosted a special canine guest Daniel, the miracle beagle who survived a 20-minute euthanizing gas chamber in Florence, Ala.
Daniel drew much attention to the Tappan Square bandstand where he was perched, posing for photos with attendees.
“He’s a friendly, happy-to-be-alive dog,” said Daniel’s owner Geralynn Dwyer from New Jersey, who said a vet attributed Daniel’s ability to withstand the gas chamber to his athletic and big heart.
Dwyer, with her husband Joe Dwyer, who authored a book about Daniel, are traveling the country to spread awareness about canine euthanizing and advocate for “Daniel’s Law,” which makes animal gas chambers illegal. Several states already have adopted it.
“Dogs teach us life lessons about forgiveness and living in the moment,” said Joe Dwyer, a major proponent for dog adoption.