Avenue Flashes

Pet parade pals headed to downtown Golden

Column by John Akal
Posted 9/3/19

Arf…Arf, arf, arf…Arf, arf…Woof!Sorry, I had to start this week’s column by speaking directly to the dogs that, uhm…might be “using” this newspaper. Of …

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Avenue Flashes

Pet parade pals headed to downtown Golden


Arf…Arf, arf, arf…Arf, arf…Woof!

Sorry, I had to start this week’s column by speaking directly to the dogs that, uhm…might be “using” this newspaper. Of course, most of them are probably puppies that are too young to read anyway. I don’t know what I was thinking. But whether you are canine or human, the news I’m going to share is the same. It’s time once again for Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair.

Toby is a 13 year old Australian Sheppard dog that was found wandering the streets of Westminster in 2015 under very unfortunate circumstances. He was badly abused and in poor health. He was brought to the Foothills Animal Shelter for treatment. Due to his health issues he was put into foster care until he recovered enough to be adopted. This involved bringing him into the shelter frequently and it became obvious that he was just a very loving dog that the staff became very fond of. After a few months he was adopted by the Shelter’s Executive Director and became the official Mascot of the Foothills Animal Shelter.

Now you may think all that involves is sitting around the shelter greeting everyone that drops by, but Toby’s duties go a bit beyond that. Sure, he and his story serve as an inspiration for people wanting to adopt a pet, but Toby actually has an official duty with the Lakewood Police Department. He spends several days a week over there to help de-stress the staff and supporting them when they come in off the streets. He’s a huge moral booster and has become an integral part of the operation at the station. In fact, he even has a badge and a title. He is now officially known as Agent Toby.

So, every year Toby has a Pet Parade and Fair to raise money and awareness for the Foothills Animal Shelter. They care for over 12,000 animals every year and that costs quite a bit. This is one way they are able to acquire donations while putting on a really fun community event.

It’s going to be happening this Saturday, September 7 in Downtown Golden. It starts with a pet costume parade. That’s where people dress up their dogs in all kinds of fun and creative costumes, then have a parade down Washington Avenue with them. You have to see some of these costumes to believe them. I’ve seen Golden Retrievers as lions, a Basset Hound as Sherlock Holmes, Doggie Divas, Macho Mutts and even dogs that come dressed as their owners. They actually have several categories to enter, and prizes for the winners. Ok, well every dog that enters gets a prize gift basket, but the winners get a bigger one. They have toys, coupons, treats an other goodies in them.

Alright, so while writing about this my mind started wandering a bit. It says “pet” parade, not “dog” parade so I guess every kind of pet is eligible. So I started trying to think of what other kinds of pets could be dressed up in a costume and walked in a parade. Good luck trying to get your cat to cooperate with that idea. I’ve seen a few that were trained to walk on a leash but once you drag them into a pack of yapping dogs, all bets are off. The same holds true with trying to keep a parrot on your shoulder in that melee. Your gecko will get stepped on, snakes have a tendency to slip out of their costumes. You might be able to get a ferret to go along with the scheme, but Guinea pigs get nervous, other small rodents get lost and tarantulas and scorpions are hard to dress up. Ah, tropical fish and amphibians! Nope. Ok, this is a dog thing.

Now that we have the parade details ironed out, it’s time to turn to the fair. That’s happening in Parfet Park where they will have loads of vendors with everything you could imagine to do with pets, food and even a beer garden. It’s a great family event that attracts over 2000 people every year.

It’s free to attend the entire event but registration for you pet to participate in the parade costs $25 per pet and begins at 9 a.m. in the park. The parade starts promptly at 10 a.m. but the fair continues until 2 p.m..

Parfet Park is located at 701 10th Street on the corner with Washington Avenue. For more information check out their website at www.tobyspetparade.org or give them a call at (720) 407-5249.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com

Toby's Pet Parade, Foothills Animal Shelter, Golden Colorado, John Akal, Avenue Flashes


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