Dog-themed Events for Pups and Parents
By Camp Bow Wow
Last month’s annual Fest of Tails pooch parade and pet costume contest at McAllister Park launched San Antonio’s spring festival season. While many events are pet friendly, two Fiesta offerings were created just for pup parents and their canine companions. An added bonus, their proceeds benefit non-profit organizations serving needy animals in our city.
Nothing says Fiesta more than a coronation, and our furry family members are not left out of the tradition. El Rey Fido will be crowned on Saturday, April 22, between 10-11:30 at San Antonio’s dog park/restaurant/bar Hops and Hounds. Proceeds from this feel-good, canine spin on the Rey Feo Fiesta royalty tradition benefit the San Antonio Humane Society.
What began as a pun (and lots of fun) has since evolved into an annual fundraising competition that raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for countless needy dogs and cats at the San Antonio Humane Society, according to the organization.
Who will be El Rey Fido XXI? The pooch/parent pair who raise the most money will be bestowed the honor of the crown and dressed in a bedazzled cape. Four runner-ups join El Rey Fido’s Royal Court (Prince/Princess of the Food Bowl, Duke/Duchess of the Chew Toy, Duke/Duchess of the Fire Hydrant, and Knight/Maiden of the Royal Court). Find out more at sahumane.org.
The following Saturday, April 29, you can join the Fiesta Pooch Parade, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Alamo Heights Swimming Pool. The event includes a family friendly, relaxed dog walk, costume contest and photos with King Anbarkio, the parade’s annual Grand Marshall. King Anbarkio wears Fiesta regalia replicating King Antonio’s, complete with trademark blue jacket, red cape and plumed hat. Therapy Animals of San Antonio bestows the title on one of its therapy dogs each year.
Booths and demonstrations continue until noon, as pups and their pet parents get their Fiesta on, arriving in all sorts of costumes to compete in categories including Best in Show, Top Dog, Most Creative, Most Patriotic, Best Fiesta Flair, and Best Matched Human and Animal. The nonprofit, all-volunteer group behind Pooch Parade includes more than 60 teams of animals and handlers who visit nursing homes, assisted living centers and children’s shelters to provide free animal-assisted activities for patients and residents, according to the organization. Find out more at therapyanimalssa.org/poochparade/.
Before loading Fido in the car, make sure your furry family member is festival ready. Does he like being around other dogs? Enjoy all types of people, including kids and unpredictable adults? Is your pup comfortable in noisy environments? Does he have good leash manners, and will he come back to you if he slips out? If your answers are yes, consider bringing him along to join the fun.
Whether with or without your pup, you can enjoy the spectacle of costumed pets on parade and festival fun, knowing you are also helping improve life for less fortunate pups in the community.