Doggone Fun at the Inaugural Puppy Parade

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 Who let the dogs out? On Saturday…everyone! Rockaway's Pups on Parade, the inaugural Rockaway Doggie Parade hosted by Dana Humphrey, took place on May 14 on the boardwalk, and even the cool cats say it was pawsitively awesome!

Humphrey, originally from California, moved to New York 15 years ago, and has been calling Rockaway home for the past four. Some may know her as the “The Pet Lady.” Others know Humphrey as the lead Marketing and PR Consultant for her company Whitegate PR. She specializes in all types of events, but especially pet related ones. The event originally started in Manhattan as Pups on the Runway and Humphrey wanted to bring the event to her new hometown. “I wanted to bring something special to the peninsula and do something covid friendly outdoors to get the community together for some doggie fun,” says Humphrey. “And now it’s here to stay.”

A variety of dog breeds were seen from big to small, accompanied by their two-legged companions. There was plenty of playing, barking and of course…butt sniffing, by the dogs.

The event kicked off at Beach 108th by the hockey rink, where everyone gathered to register. Plenty of goodie bags were given out, as well as dog-doo bags so that owners were able to pick up after their pets and keep the boardwalk clean. As Humphrey said, there is no “poop fairy,” and everyone had to do their part to ensure the event can continue. Registration was five dollars per dog and proceeds benefited the Yorkie 911 rescue. After all dogs were registered with numbers, it was time to put their best paw forward.

As the music was pumping, all the dogs marched down the boardwalk with their humans in tow. The parade ended on Beach 92nd Street where the real fun began. There were prizes for best dressed, most energetic, best tricks/most obedient, funniest dog, best matching and more! The competition was so good that 12 pets went home as winners. Judging the contest was Enchantress Shane, Roberto Negrin, Christine Walker, Lisa George and the Owen “The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway” Loof.  They had the ruff job of picking the top dogs and it was a close call in each category. 

“I was so impressed by the overall humanity of people loving their dogs it was so heartwarming,” said judge Enchantress Shane. “It was really hard judging the event, some even made me cry because you can feel the love that people have with their dogs.” Among the pups that took home prizes was Cody the Blue Nose for best tricks and Pope the puppy for most energetic. “Cody won best trick because he likes to talk a lot and wave,” owner Nancy Hassle of Babylon said.

Vendors were also on the boardwalk selling dog related merchandise and gear. Connor’s Canine Cookies was one of them selling their delicious dog treats. All the vendor tables benefited Yorkie 911, who was also present with adoptable puppies from Puerto Rico looking for their forever homes.

The fun continued at the after-pawty at Rockaway Tiki Bar, presented by Max Power productions and Disco Tree Rob. There was live music, DJs and stand-up comedy with more giveaways from local sponsors like Super Burrito, Fat Cardinal, Talking Pies, Breakers and more.

“I’m so happy with the overall event. We had over 100 dogs registered, and it exceeded my expectations,” Humphrey said. “The community really came together, and we are so thankful for all the sponsors.”

 By Nicole Taylor-Lang

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