by Monique Jimenez
Animals paraded across the stage doing tricks and showing off costumes at the La Verne Community Center last weekend.
Local children were given the chance to introduce their special pets at the fourth annual Pet Parade and Pageant.
A total of seven animals were entered in the pageant.
There were several dogs, one cockatiel named Hedwig, and a guinea pig named Peppy.
Enthusiastic owners dressed their companions in various costumes, and some animals performed tricks.
One award – for most talented pet in the pageant – went to Peppy.
Trained by his owner Rachel White, Peppy climbed over a brick and then proceeded to open his own carrier and crawl inside.
Although the 4-year-old Peppy was a first timer to the La Verne Animal Pageant and Parade, he performed as well as the other more seasoned pageant participants.
“I trained Peppy myself, and I was very excited when he opened the carrier on stage,” White said.
“He does it at home and as soon as Peppy sees the carrier, he goes and opens the carrier door,” she said.
Local businesses and animal organizations, such as the Humane Society of the Inland Valley, La Verne Animal Hospital and Pet Bath USA, had tables set up at the event.
Carla Sullivan, the city of La Verne’s community services superintendent, started this pageant and parade after she traveled to Ireland and watched a video on the religious ceremony of blessing the animals.
“I wanted to create something where the kids could show their pets, as well as a place where kids with pets and families can come have fun. That is the main purpose of this pageant, for everyone to have fun,” Sullivan said.
Ribbons and prizes were distributed as the judges awarded a prize to every animal in the pageant.
“We listen to the commentary on each animal, and we as well observe each animal and child onstage and then make up award titles from there, so each child and pet is given an award that is meant for them,” Sullivan said.
Aside from the festivities, the event was also an opportunity for pet owners to learn more about their pets.
“The pageant is also meant to be an educational tool,” she said.
Sharon Jones, owner of Pet Bath USA and sponsor of the La Verne Animal Pet Pageant and Parade, spoke to the families about pet care and animal hygiene, and answered questions about animal care.
“I try to give some information about pet care as well as ways to lengthen an animal’s life span, so altogether everyone learns more,” Jones said.
“I like to see the animals and I thought it went very well this year,” she said.