LI-DOG’s Dog Costume Pawty a Barking Success!
BY SAM DESMOND
Good boys and girls performed tricks for treats and competed in close match-ups for best costume on Sunday, November 6th at Off-Key Tiki in Patchogue at the Long Island Dog Owners Group’s (LI-DOG) Howl-o-Ween Celebration.
With nearly 100 people in attendance (and almost as many four-legged party goers), the event celebrated all things wonderful about the holiday and canine companionship. “When we see dogs at an event like this, it shows that they’re an important part of people’s families and that people feel they belong in public spaces,” said LI-DOG President Ginny Munger Kahn.
As a testament to the greater Long Island community’s love of dogs, there were over 20 generous gift baskets donated for Howl-o-Ween raffles from businesses all over Nassau and Suffolk. This included an anonymous donation of a Grand Prize of a three-night getaway to Myrtle Beach at a condo.
Other notable donations included: a hand drawing of your dog by artist Alan Meschkow; his wife Gail donated a hand-knit sweater for your dog and matching hat for you;
IHOP in Oceanside donated once a month pancakes for a year, plus there were several wine donations and beautiful hand-painted wine glasses.
Click on the Sponsors Collage (below) to see a full list of business and individual sponsors.
Of course, the biggest supporter of the event was Off-Key Tiki, which has been sponsoring fundraising events for LI-DOG for nearly ten years. In that time, hundreds of canines have fallen in love with the “beach” area and fire pit while surrounded by live music. The puppers generally sit and enjoy the ambiance much like being at home on the couch with the TV on. Each year, Off-Key Tiki has provided free hot dogs and hamburgers for the human attendees (much to the envy of their four-legged companions). This year, Off Key Tikki also donated gift certificates for the top three contest winners.
Music and announcements were provided by MC Mike Kaplow (himself a husky aficionado) who played a variety of music from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s throughout the event.
And proving what a democratic gathering Howl-o-Ween is, there were dogs of all sizes and breeds attending the party. “There was quite the diversity of small, medium, and large dogs, who were well-behaved and greeted new people and new dogs in a comfortable way,” said Munger Kahn.
The main draw of the event though were all the adorable dogs in costume. “It was unbelievable the creativity and care people put into their costumes,” said Munger Kahn.
Three contests were held: two Costume Contests, plus a Tricks for Treat contest.
The winner of the Tricks for Treats contest was Oliver, a chocolate-colored Labradoodle, who proudly wore his 1st Place medal the rest of the event. “It was the originality and the interaction between presenter and dog we were looking for,” said Judge Alan Meschkow. “With Oliver and his presenter, you could just see how good the eye contact was and how bonded the handler and the dog were,” Meschkow said. Coming in a close second was Cosmo, a Corgi, with Bulldog Riley coming in a close third.
With 29 contestants, it was fierce competition for the two costume contests showdown–Best Pet and Best Pet/Pet Parent duo.
The winners of the Best Standalone Pet Costume contest were:
First Place – Harley and Cassie, the Magician and his rabbit
Second Place – Percy, the T-Rex
Third Place – Gidget, the Unicorn.
The winners of the Best Pet/Pet Parent Duo were:
First Place – Jr. Pilot Frankie with his parents Mike and Lucy, pilot and flight attendant (in a remote-controlled airplane!)
Second Place – Toby & Clover, the dinosaurs, with Dena and Bryan, Dr. Sattler and Dr. Hammond from Jurassic Park
Third Place – Lexi, Phoebe and Coco as Ewoks with their parents Sherri and Nick as Leia and Obi-Wan
There was a paw print printing booth where people could stamp their pups’ paw on a sheet of paper and then make flowers or other designs around the paw print. For additional canine posterity, there was also a photo booth where people could pose their dogs.
More than a dozen volunteers were also on hand to set up, welcome guests, sell raffle tickets, and judge the contests.
This was LI-DOG’s most important fundraiser of the year, noted Munger Kahn. The money raised supports LI-DOG’s work to get more access to LI parks and beaches for dog owners and their dogs. Right now, LI-DOG’s main campaign is getting access to non-swimming NYS beaches.
“We want to congratulate all the winners of our raffle baskets and our contests,” said Munger Kahn.
“The event was a lot of fun and we want to thank everyone, including our amazing volunteers, who joined us with their dogs and made it happen!”
Sam Desmond is a Contributing Editor to the Long Island Advance, The Suffolk County News and several other Long Island newspapers. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.