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Pets parade around in Halloween costumes

Arwen, a rescue dog owned by Gerry and

Arwen, a rescue dog owned by Gerry and Dee Gibbons, of Lake Ronkonkoma, was dressed as a "typical American teenager" for a pet parade in Ronkonkoma. (Oct. 30, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Hutch, a 7-year-old large mixed breed, dressed as a squirrel Sunday for the Second Annual Pet Parade in Ronkonkoma.

And the pooch was rewarded with the prize for best costume, a gift certificate to Pet Supplies Plus, which sponsored the event.

Hutch’s owner, Doreeen Brohan, of Lake Ronkonkoma, said the costume choice was relatively easy: “There aren’t a lot of choices when you’re looking for a size extra large.”

About 100 people and their pets attended the pet parade, which tripled participation from last year.

“And all the pets seem to be keeping their costumes on,” said Mike Sullivan, a member of the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, which hosted the parade. “That’s the real accomplishment.”

The actual parading of the pets was a small part of the entire event, in which the dogs and owners socialized for the first hour, took pictures and showed off pet tricks. There were two planned contests, one for best dog costume and one for best dog-owner duo, but there seemed to be so many talented dogs in the crowd that another contest for dog tricks was added to the agenda.

Denise Schwarz, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said the event was an excuse to bring neighbors together.

“It’s something for the community,” she said. “A way to have fun before we are all stuck indoors for winter.”

Christopher Rooney, 4, of Ronkonkoma, stood proudly with his Golden Retriever Ginger as they also took home a gift certificate for winning best dog-owner duo. By the 4-year-old’s request, Ginger was dressed as a princess and Christopher was her knight, said his mother Ann Marie Rooney.

In the newest category for dog tricks, Sammy, an 8-year-old Dachshund dressed as a hot dog, easily took home the prize after howling along with owners Nick and Timothy Katsarus, of Ronkonkoma, as they sang the “Happy Birthday” song.

The Katsarus family discovered Sammy’s talent about three years ago when they were celebrating a birthday for someone at their house and the dog started to sing along. Now he does it every time the song is sung.

“He just started doing it,” Nick Katsarus said. “We didn’t even know he would.”

When the dogs (and one brave cat named Brooklyn) did finally parade, it was in a circle in the parking lot behind Pets Supplies Plus, led by Tony Mingoia, a member of the chamber and emcee for the occasion.

“We’re just going to do this in a circle,” he told the crowd as he organized them. “But someday, maybe we’ll be going down Hawkins Avenue behind a fire truck, who knows?”

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