They rolled up like royalty Saturday to William Land Park, gussied up and groomed and thoroughly pampered.
Madelyn donned a pink tutu, while Maggie went with the pink angel wings. Rico was dashing in his sombrero and coordinated cape, while Bubbles was sublime in her black wig and plunging neckline.
It was hard to say, exactly, the look that Mo was trying to achieve.
No matter. It was all in good fun as hundreds of dog-owners and their better halves turned out for the annual Doggy Dash, a lively fundraiser for the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The organization cares for more than 11,000 animals each year.
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Organizers said about 3,500 attended the event Saturday, with early fundraising estimates at around $150,000.
The Doggy Dash, which began with 2K and 5K walks, was clearly a dual-purpose affair as owners stuck around for a lighthearted morning of contests while posing for slobbery selfies.
“On the one hand, it’s a chance to show off their babies,” said local SPCA spokeswoman Lesley Kirrene, who helped with some of the contest judging. “But it’s also a chance for people to give back.”
Ruby Lazard, 12, was not the least bit miffed that her curious looking pet, Mo, who has a serious fur shortage, got top honors in the “So Ugly I’m Cute” contest.
“She’s adorable,” insisted the Sacramento seventh-grader, who also has a hairless cat.
Anne Westlake, 60, of Yuba City was delighted that her Hudson wowed judges in the “Pup Show-Mystery Mutt” contest. Westlake whipped out a purple cellphone and displayed her picture collection of Hudson, a mellow, squatty creature with a Dachshund body, a pit bull head and a luxurious gray coat. She adopted Hudson three years ago from a Yolo County shelter that rescues Rottweilers.
Westlake, on the other hand, thinks Hudson is more akin to a “miniature hippopotamus.”
“I haven’t done a DNA test, though,” she said laughing, referring to her mutt as “the best dog in America.”
While many canine visitors were signed in with predictable names, like Daisy and Tucker and Otis, some owners could be heard calling out to Budweiser, Chomper and Atticus.
Kirrene of the SPCA said the best part of this rainbow of doggy diversity is that all seem able to keep the peace.
“The thing that I always find the most interesting is we can get 3,000 dogs in one place – every size, every shape, every color – and they all get along,” she said.
“We don’t see dog fights. We just see people having a good time, and dogs who are obviously having a good time.”