Marietta hosting annual pet parade

MARIETTA – Dozens of dressed-up pooches and possibly even a costumed cat or two will strut their stuff through downtown Marietta this weekend.

The fourth annual Ashlee Scott Memorial Parade Your Paws Walk, slated for Saturday morning at Muskingum Park, is a fundraiser for the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley and will include a pet parade, costume contests and a raffle.

“There is a sponsor form people can pick up from local vets and businesses and then people are asked to get donations from friends, families and co-workers,” explained Lisa Merrow, a humane society volunteer and event coordinator.

Participants are asked to raise $10 to participate in the parade, $25 to be eligible for prizes and $50 to receive a T-shirt. Whoever raises the most money will win a special piece of Fenton glass, said Merrow.

Costumes for both pets and owners are encouraged but not required. In the past, some participants have gone all out, said organizer Juanita Becker.

“We’ve had some really cute costumes over the years. We’ve had people dress their dogs up as OSU athletes, a little boy that dressed himself as a police officer and his dog as a prisoner. It’s unreal the imagination that goes into these,” she said.

Though the parade itself is now in its 14th year, it is the fourth year that the event has been held in memory of the late Ashlee Scott, of Williamstown.

Scott was 38 when she passed away in 2009. She was a passionate animal lover, said her mother Lucy Scott.

“Ashlee was always saving critters,” said Lucy, of Williamstown.

As a student at West Liberty College, Ashlee once nursed a sick ball python back to health and kept the snake as a pet.

“Someone had brought a snake to her professor. Apparently they changed their mind. Well, the snake had mites, and Ashlee bathed him in warm water and picked them all off,” recalled Lucy Scott.

The snake, whom Ashlee named Zeus, was one of at least four pets that Ashlee brought home with her from college.

Snakes and any other pets that are vaccinated and restrained are welcome at the Paws Walk. However, it is typically dogs that make up the majority of the pet paraders, said Merrow.

Saturday’s event begins at 9 a.m. at East Muskingum Park on Front Street with registration and a continental breakfast. The parade begins at 9 a.m. and will lead animals up Front Street to the Ohio River levee and back down the other side of the street to return to the park.

At 11 a.m. prizes will be given for best dressed pet, cutest dog, most original costume, and pet/owner look alike, said Becker.

There will also be a raffle, said Lucy. Tickets are $5 each and there are 10 gift baskets up for grabs.

All of the proceeds of the event go to benefit the humane society, which on average takes $25,000 to $30,000 per month to operate, said shelter manager Steve Herron.

In the past the event has typically raised anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 for the shelter.

People can also help by donating items such as bleach, paper towels, cat litter or animal food, either at the event or at the shelter.

Shelter volunteers will also be bringing some dogs that are up for adoption to the event and people will be able to browse the shelter’s adoption book, which pictures and describes all the available pets.

There are 200 dogs and cats at the shelter, estimates Herron.