By KEVIN BRADY
If God is a dog, there may be some payback in the afterlife for this.
Fido isn’t talking so we don’t know how the pets feel about the Halloween Costume contest and Yappy Hour Oct. 11 in Riverview but one thing is for sure, the owners are looking forward to it.
“He loves dressing up for the holidays,” Ashley Carver of her pet cocker spaniel. She has yet to decide if Ollie is going as a monster or a pumpkin. “I already have his Christmas sweater out for him this year; he just loves being around people and being the center of attention.” Ollie had no comment.
The event is a chance for pet owners to show off their animals and share a laugh, Carver said.
“People are able to express themselves through their animals and show their personalities. It’s just some silly fun for everyone. We have had whole families dress up with their pet around one theme.”
The event at Brandon Lakes Animal Hospital, 6151 Delancey Station St., features games and prizes as well as light refreshments and hor d’oeuvres. There’s a prize for the best costume — last year’s top dog took home almost $200 in free vaccines and exams — with smaller prizes also awarded.
The event is open to all dogs and anyone with a small pet. No cats though, lest you want to see a real-life version of the Tom and Jerry cartoon.
“It’s a chance to get pets to socialize, for people to make new friends and just have some good family fun,” said Tracy Czyz, a manager at the animal hospital. It’s the second year the hospital has hosted the contest. More than 50 pets and their owners turned out last year.
“We had heard of other places doing similar events in the past for owners and their pets so we wanted to try it,” said Czyz, who has worked at the hospital for eight years. “It’s an especially good opportunity for people with puppies who are not sure about taking their small dog to a dog park but who also want to meet other pet owners.”
With owners asking when the next contest would be held since the start of the year, Czyz expects a big turnout again this year. “It’s a lot of work to put it all together but the clients are asking for it. People just like showing off their pets, and it’s also a chance to meet others with the same breed where their owners can compare notes.”
The event is also a chance for the hospital to introduce itself to potential clients.
“People get to check out the hospital and talk to the doctors without actually making an appointment.”
Cheech, Czyz’ pet chihuahua- dachshund mix, dressed as a pumpkin for last year’s contest. “He’s going as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz this year. I think they all know they look ridiculous but they are alright with it.”
The free event is set for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Call (813) 689-2207 for more information.