Pets on Parade

Olympia has some really special traditions. We don’t take part in all of them, but I like having the option. This past weekend marked the 81st Annual Pet Parade through downtown Olympia. For those of you who do math, that means they were holding pet parades in Olympia during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the (first) Gulf War. I wonder if the pets wore costumes during the Great Depression? What did the dogs wear during the 1960s, before they could dress like hippies?

Levi & I were waiting in line for a table at our favorite breakfast joint, so we accidentally saw the entire parade. This parade is entirely unlike big mainstream parades. While the local credit union & radio station do sponsor the parade, you would never know it. There are not sponsoring floats from banks, beer companies and radio stations. There are no giant vinyl banners featuring company names. There are no free samples handed out along the parade route, and the ground is not littered with postcard advertisements. The parade is just a bunch of kids, some parents, and a lot of animals. Altogether, there are hundreds of them, stumbling, toddling, wagging, marching and wandering through downtown streets like they accidentally converged at the same place at the same time and happened to all be wearing costumes. If it were not for the police vehicles escorting the parade, it would have seemed just like my best vision of total anarchy. “Whose streets?” “Dogs in dresses!” and “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Being cute is the way to go!” and “What do we want? Treats! When do we want them? NOW!” or “Gay, Straight, Black, White, Dress Up Your Pets & Do it Right!”

Ahem. Anyway. Let’s move onto the photos.

I really like the people who dress their kids and pets in corresponding costumes.

I also like the “livestock as pets.” We have to figure out a way to get composting worms or a beehive in this parade.

People in Olympia really love their pet chickens. Chickens in a castle on wheels:

A goat wearing a shirt:

There were some beautiful pups in dresses and skirts, too. This dog looks really familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on where I’ve seen her before….

Levi was concerned about this tutu. He said, “That is not how you’re supposed to wear a tutu!” But I’m pretty sure that German Shepherds wearing tutus get a free pass on proper tutu etiquette. They can wear it like a necklace if they want to because, seriously, it’s a german shepherd in a tutu, you guys.

This little dog really wanted to be at the front of the parade. The pup was very offended to be somewhere around the middle of the line, and tried to drag its person forward. Unfortunately (for the dog), she was too small to get very far. I’ve been dragged around by a tiny dog often enough that I sympathized with the person — Clementine would act just like this if we walked her in the parade.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the disgruntled cats being pushed in baby strollers or glaring from pet crates on top of floats. We also saw a really funny aquarium with a small rodent running on a wheel on a float. It was impossible to photograph, but please use your imagination. I heard that a guinea pig escaped at one point, but was rescued by a Great Dane.

Next year, if you happen to be around Olympia in August, check out the 82nd pet parade. There’s something deliriously wonderful about so many people building floats and costumes for their animals, and then marching them around downtown. Officials estimate that 500-700 kids take part in the parade with several hundred pets. Next year, we might even plan and go intentionally.



Filed under pets, summer

2 responses to “Pets on Parade

  1. Margot Tenenchop


  2. Oh my stars! Cats in a parade. The mind boggles.

    And I’m a huge fan of small-town parades, so to boggle my parade-mind takes some doing.

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