Pets on parade and performing for Ely Chapman fundraiser

DOUG LOYER Special to the Times Sophia Linscott, 10, of Marietta pats her dog Olive, a Black English Labrador, on the head after completing a trick.

Who doesn’t like pet tricks? It’s a sure fire way to put a smile on anyone’s face. Some of those tricks were displayed Saturday as pets and their owners auditioned for the pet trick portion of the upcoming Super Stupendous Pet Tricks and Perfectly Precious Pet Parade event.

Man’s best friend, cats, other furry pets and possibly a few feathered friends should make for a fun and lively event at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta. It serves as a fundraiser for the Ely Chapman Foundation.

The pets and their owners can dress up for the parade. If people have hamsters or birds, their cages can be decorated. Pets of all sorts, except reptiles, are encouraged to participate. To be part of the parade, simply register and show up. Medals will given for the funniest, most handsome/prettiest and other categories.

The program will also feature a few select pets and owners showcasing pet tricks that will compete for prizes. The program also hopes to mix in agility dogs and police dogs.

“I think this event will absolutely be one of the best winter events for children,” said Ely Chapman Education Foundation chair and founder Alice Chapman. “There’s not much in the winter for children to do and this winter has been so very bitterly cold. This will be a wonderful experience.”

Chapman explained that everything Ely Chapman does is geared toward youth and this first-ever event will be as well. She encourages all children and their dogs and pets to come to the parade.

Hunt Brawley, Executive Director at the Peoples Bank Theatre, came up with the idea.

“We were looking to have a fundraiser for the Ely Chapman Foundation and in the past two years, we really haven’t had anything animal or pet related,” stated Brawley. “Animals seemed to be an area that was untapped and we thought kids would get a huge kick out of it.”

As far as pet tricks that will be featured, they will have dogs that can play basketball, fetch a newspaper, play the piano, showcase dog obedience, play dead, do high fives and several other tricks that will be sure to entertain.

“We’re going to try to put on a good show for everyone,” said Gary Williams, Ely Chapman development director. “I think this will be a great event for families and kids. Everybody loves pets and it’s the first time for an event like this in Marietta. We’re anxious to see what the public response will be.”

Keating is a dog that was born without one of his legs. He was rescued and is owned by Mark and Nancy Miller, owners of Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics in Belpre and Parkersburg. Mark Miller made an artificial leg for the dog.

Nancy said she got Keating certified as a therapy dog so their patients would be comfortable with him.

Keating entertained the audition judges Saturday with several tricks including fetching a newspaper, playing dead and turning on the lights.

“When I took Keating to an amputee event in Greensboro, North Carolina, I realized how important he was for amputees,” shared Nancy. “They went crazy over him. One girl even trembled with joy.”

The Millers enjoy getting Keating dressed up at Halloween as a pirate, complete with a peg leg. He’s very good with people and they often take him to rehabilitation facilities, their office and amputee events.

The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley will be at February’s event with some of their dogs that are available for adoption. Ginger Eubank and Beth Underwood representing the Humane Society served as a couple of the judges during Saturday’s tryouts. They were not sure what to expect as far as tricks, but both think the even will be wonderful and hope that it will become an annual event

Sophia Linscott, 10, of Marietta, did a great job showcasing her dog Olive’s talents including impressive obedience and tricks such as high fives. Olive is a three-year-old Black English Labrador.

“I’ve been working with her since she was eight weeks old,” shared Sophia. “The best thing about training Olive is getting closer to her.” Sophia hopes to get her therapy dog certification so she can be Olive’s handler and take her to nursing homes.

Sophia’s mother, Shawna Linscott, is also a dog lover. She has shown dogs for 13 years and has a Labrador therapy dog named Laura that she takes three days a week to St. Mary school for elementary students to read to. It’s been proven that if children read to a dog, they are more willing to read, they have less inhibitions and are less nervous because dogs are not judgmental.

“I love my dogs. I would be lost without them,” expressed Shawna. “Dogs give you unconditional love and companionship. They don’t ask for much in return.”

Plan to join the parade and event with your lovable pet for this unique Ely Chapman fundraiser. They are also looking for additional sponsors. For more information about the event or sponsorship, please contact Alice Chapman or Gary Williams at 740-376-9533 or email at achapman@elychapman.org or gwilliams@elychapman.org. For ticket information, visit peoplesbanktheatre.com.

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