July 20, 2015 9:26 am Editor Sara Rossi
by Liam Hofmeister
On Saturday, July 11 at 9 a.m., pet owners from all over Long Island gathered in Sayville for the 44th Annual Pet Parade, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sayville. Competition for the coveted titles of “Best in Show” may have been tough, but a walk through town united the animal lovers.
“Everybody loves their pet,” said Carolyn Leyboldt, a 27-year-member of the Rotary Club of Sayville. “People just walk around and they’ll talk about their animals. That’s what builds a community.”
Starting from the Prince of Peace parking lot, owners and pets strutted down Main Street. Dogs wearing bandanas exchanged friendly sniffs to say hello. A woman wheeled her cats around in a shaded stroller. Plenty of animals took stops along their walk for a much needed bathroom break, much to the embarrassment of their owners.
After walking the main stretch of Sayville town, the parade turned down Candee Avenue toward The Common Ground at Rotary Park. Judges awaited the participants’ arrival. Animals were separated into the following groups to be judged: “Best Dog,” “Best Cat,” “Best Other Animal” and “Best Animal in Costume.”
Competitors stood in fenced, circular areas separated by different category. There the judges made their rounds and evaluated each animal’s nature and appearance.
Though everyone was competing for first place, no one left a loser.
“We buy trophies for everyone, and make sure that everyone leaves with something,” said Leyboldt.
Judges awarded a Golden Retriever a trophy for “Most Pretty Eyes.” A Pit Bull standing patiently and smiling at the judges earned herself “Most Peaceful.” Despite the high level of competition, no animal left the Common Ground without a unique award.
After all judging was completed, the judges’ top picks from each category were selected and announced to the crowd.
Chewy, a bulky brown, black and blonde gentle beast, won the Best Dog category. The two cats being rolled around in the shaded stroller won the “Best Cat” category, as they were the only cats entered in the contest. The caged chickens tied for “Best Other Animal” with a pair of rabbits. Wearing American flags as a scarf and a skirt, a petite dog named American Wiggles won “Best Animal in Costume.”
Entrance into the Sayville Pet Parade is free of charge thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Sayville. Pamela Greene, newly indoctrinated Rotary Club of Sayville president, said that the pet parade was Rotary’s gift to the people of Sayville.
“The Pet Parade is just one means of service to give the community a free and fun event,” said Greene. “This is our way to give back.”
Lauren and Aiden Minasian, 10 and 10, stand with their chickens which won first place in the “Other Animals” category.
Pet owners walk their dogs down Main Street.
(Left to right) Haley and Robin Jones, 7 and 9, stand with their hula dog, Nova.
Tongues hang on the hot Main Street morning.
(Left to right) Eric Cahn and Ed Callaghan makes sure their whole family of dogs come out for the Pet Parade.
Indiana Jones, the Black Labrador, wears his cowboy hat for this year’s parade.
Contestants patiently await dog judging.
As one of the top judge picks, Max sits waiting to hear the results.
Chewy receives his award for “Best Dog.”
First place dog for “Best Animal in Costume,” American Wiggles.