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Sandy Springs pet parade puts best paw forward
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
September 19, 2012 10:18 AM | 4080 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self<br>
Rebecca Kunimoto of Sandy Springs and Wild Thing, her Chinese crested dog, sport the outfits in which he won Best Small Pet in the 2011 Kiwanis Pet Parade at Heritage Green.
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It may not be the Westminster Dog Show, but Saturday’s Sandy Springs Kiwanis Club Pet Parade will feature a member of the award-winning Chinese crested breed.

“He will be the space cadet dog,” Sandy Springs resident Rebecca Kunimoto said about her animal companion, Wild Thing. “I’ll be Judy Jetson.”

Their shiny outfits will reflect the event’s 25 years, including last year when Kunimoto as The Tin Man and Wild Thing as Toto won the Best Small Pet competition.

“This year, they asked me to wear the same costume because it’s their silver anniversary,” the professional decorative artist said about club members like parade chair Milton Gorman.

Gorman said former WSB-TV anchor John Pruitt, the third parade marshal since the honor was instituted in 2010, will ride with Kunimoto.

“She’ll be silver from head to toe,” Gorman said. “She’s perfect for the silver anniversary.”

The event, which club members Herb Daws and Ed Andrews organized in 1988 for the second Sandy Springs Festival, has been a perfect way for the club to benefit the city, Gorman said.

“The thing that keeps me involved is it’s a community service to bring pets and owners together where they can mingle,” said the 20-year member of the club.

Kunimoto said the social aspect is one of her favorites.

“I’m just a kid at heart and I love taking my dog to places,” she said. “The people in the parade feel the same way I do.”

Parade clown and club member Dick Schweitzer amuses children at a carnival game and is, in turn, entertained by them.

“It’s a natural thing,” he said about entrants who dress up to match their pets. “Kids like to show off and their parents like to wear costumes, too.”

The event is open not only to dog owners, but caregivers of other creatures as well, Gorman said.

“We’ve gone from dogs and cats to horses and parrots. The number and variety have grown over the 25 years,” he said, comparing the inaugural event’s 20 entrants with the 60 expected Saturday.

Awards will be given in the categories of Most Unusual, Most Colorful, Best Dressed Owner and Pet, Best Large Pet, Best Small Pet and Best Pet of Show.

If you go

What: Kiwanis Club Pet Parade

When: Saturday at 10:30 a.m.; registration at 9:30 a.m.

Where: Heritage Green, 6110 Bluestone Road, Sandy Springs

Cost: included in a $5 ticket to the Sandy Springs Festival

Benefits: Heritage Sandy Springs


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