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St. Patrick's Day parade goes to the dogs

Parker, a blind and deaf collie, won best

Parker, a blind and deaf collie, won best costume in the large dog category at St. Patrick's Day Goes to the Dogs hosted by Long Island Dog Owners Group. (March 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Alessandra Malito

Finn, an energetic golden retriever, ran around the indoor park at Fido Fitness Club in Woodmere on Sunday, jumping on strangers who soon became his friends.

He when went outside with his owners James and Lisa Andrews, of Cedarhurst, to soak up the sun for the St. Patrick’s dog parade hosted by Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-DOG).

“It’s important for dogs to get out of the backyard,” said Ginny Munger Kahn of Huntington, the president of LI-DOG, an organization created for the health, well-being and socialization of dogs. “It makes them better pets.”

And happier ones, too.

“We have fun,” Kimberly Mockler of Huntington said of her three rescue dogs: Parker, a deaf and blind collie; Rain, a deaf miniature Australian shepherd; and Moccaccino, a shepherd chow mix who kept a ball in his mouth as he ran around and played with other dogs. “It’s the same as regular dogs. They need to be with other dogs and make friends.”

Puppies and adult dogs alike ran around with toys and were judged for best costume and most tail wagging.

Dakota, a beagle mix, and Chippy, a beagle, had their ears flopping up and down as they ran around. They belong to Richard Infield, of Valley Stream, who is on the LI-DOG board.

“Dogs need to meet other dogs,” Infield said. “There’s not opportunities on Long Island; that’s why we exist.”

Fido Fitness Club offered its space to the organization for this fundraiser, where raffle prizes included cookies, toys, a photo shoot from Richie Schwartz of Pets Photography and an obedience class at Fido Fitness.

“We’re really trying to make Long Island more dog friendly and promote places to run and play with dogs,” said Evelyn Franklin, of Island Park, the co-owner of Fido Fitness Club and an LI-DOG supporter, who brought her golden retriever, Jack. “They’re doing a lot of great work.”

Above: Parker, a blind and deaf collie, won best costume in the large dog category at St. Patrick's Day Goes to the Dogs, hosted by Long Island Dog Owners Group. (March 19, 2012)

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