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Pets audition to be part of Ely Chapman Foundation fundraiser

Photo by Doug Loyer Sophia Linscott, 10, of Marietta, pats her dog Olive, a Black English Labrador, on the head after completing a trick.

MARIETTA — A variety of clever tricks were displayed Saturday as pets and their owners auditioned for the pet trick portion of the upcoming “Super Stupendous Pet Tricks and Perfectly Precious Pet Parade” event.

Man’s best friend, cats, other furry pets and possibly a few feathered friends should make for a fun and lively event at 3 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta as a fundraiser for the Ely Chapman Foundation.

The pets and their owners can dress up for the parade. If people have hamsters or birds, their cages can be decorated. Pets of all sorts except reptiles are encouraged to participate. To be part of the parade, simply register and show up. Medals will given for the funniest, most handsome/prettiest and other categories.

The program will also feature a few selected pets and owners showcasing pet tricks that will compete for prizes. The program also hopes to mix in agility dogs and police dogs.

“I think this event will absolutely be one of the best winter events for children,” said Alice Chapman, chair and founder of Ely Chapman Education Foundation. “There’s not much in the winter for children to do and this winter has been so very bitterly cold. This will be a wonderful experience.”

Photo by Doug Loyer Keating, owned by Mark and Nancy Miller of Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics, retrieves a newspaper.

Chapman said everything they do through the foundation is geared toward youth and the event will be as well. She encourages all children and their dogs and pets to come to the parade.

Hunt Brawley, executive director at the Peoples Bank Theatre, came up with the idea.

“We were looking to have a fundraiser for the Ely Chapman Foundation and in the past two years, we really haven’t had anything animal or pet related,” said Brawley. “Animals seemed to be an area that was untapped and we thought kids would get a huge kick out of it.”

As far as pet tricks that will be featured, they will have dogs that can play basketball, fetch a newspaper, play the piano, showcase dog obedience, play dead, do high fives and several other tricks that will be sure to entertain.

“We’re going to try to put on a good show for everyone,” said Gary Williams, Ely Chapman Development Director. “I think this will be a great event for families and kids. Everybody loves pets and it’s the first time for and event like this in Marietta. We’re anxious to see what the public response will be.”

Keating is a dog that was born without one of his legs. He was rescued and is owned by Mark and Nancy Miller, owners of Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics in Belpre and Parkersburg. Mark Miller made an artificial leg for him. Nancy said she got Keating certified as a therapy dog so their patients would be comfortable with him.

Keating entertained the audition judges Saturday with several tricks including fetching a newspaper, playing dead and turning on the lights.

“When I took Keating to an amputee event in Greensboro, N.C., I realized how important he was for amputees,” said Nancy. “They went crazy over him. One girl even trembled with joy.”

The Millers enjoy getting Keating dressed up at Halloween as a pirate, complete with a peg leg. He’s very good with people and they often take him to rehab facilities, their office and amputee events.

Sophia Linscott, 10, of Marietta, did a great job showcasing her dog Olive’s talents including impressive obedience and tricks such as high fives. Olive is a 3-year-old Black English Labrador.

“I’ve been working with her since she was 8 weeks old,” said Sophia. “The best thing about training Olive is getting closer to her.”

She hopes to get her therapy dog certification so she can be Olive’s handler and take her to nursing homes.

The Ely Chapman fundraiser is still looking for additional sponsors. For more information about the event or sponsorship, contact Alice Chapman or Gary Williams at 740-376-9533 or email at achapman@elychapman.org or gwilliams@elychapman.org. For ticket information, visit peoplesbanktheatre.com.

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