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Woodward Animal Center holding virtual Doggie Gras event and photo contest

A past Doggie Gras participant
A past Doggie Gras participant
(Courtesy)

With Mardi Gras only a few weeks away, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s most colorful celebration is going virtual in 2021. For the first time ever, the Center’s Doggie Gras event and photo contest is now open to global participants and animals of all kinds. Animal-lovers won’t want to miss the chance to show off their costume and float-making skills, all while supporting orphan pets. Registration is currently open and closes Feb. 16 at 11:59 p.m., with winners announced Friday, Feb. 19.

Registration is currently open and closes Feb. 16 at 11:59 p.m
Registration is currently open and closes Feb. 16 at 11:59 p.m
(Courtesy)

For the last seven years, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Doggie Gras Parade has become a favorite tradition for local families, Center staff, orphan pets, doggie alumni, and Mardi Gras-fans. Typically an in-person parade, the event welcomes pet-owners to bedeck their furry family members in festive attire and create a pet-stroller float befitting a trip down “BourBONE Street.” The adorable Doggie Gras parade is free to the public and gathers a great crowd each year.

Although this year’s CDC restrictions won’t allow large in-person gatherings, Doggie Gras is simply too cute to cancel. For this reason, Helen Woodward Animal Center is taking the antics online, inviting pet-lovers to parade their support for rescue virtually in grand Mardi Gras tradition. For a $10 donation, pet paw-rents can enter a photo of their pet’s best New Orleans-inspired ensembles or floats. Participants can register for the costume or float contest for a chance to win exciting prizes.

“We love this event so much,” stated Helen Woodward Animal Center Special Event Manager Phoebe Luff. “It brings smiles to so many faces. The one silver lining in taking the event virtual is that it allows us to invite people from across the country to participate and it allows pet owners of all kinds to take part. A pet lizard wouldn’t be safe walking in the annual parade, but this year birds, bunnies, snakes, guinea pigs and more can all be a part of the fun!”

The Doggie Gras judge’s panel will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd costume entries, as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd float entries. The public is also invited to vote for their favorite entry online through Thursday, Feb. 18 and the top voted contestants will be named “People’s Choice.”

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 7th Annual Doggie Gras contest participation is a $10 fee with all proceeds supporting the pets and programs. To participate, or for more information, go to animalcenter.org/events/doggie-gras-virtual, or call Helen Woodward Animal Center: (858) 756-4117, x362.


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