One Dickens of a Reindog Parade at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

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For hundreds of Atlantans, Saturday morning’s 3rd annual Reindog Parade and holiday costume contest offered an opportunity to share in a mutual love of pets, adorably dressed small children, the great outdoors, brisk temperatures and morning time social activities.
 
The rest of us just tried to find our way out of the parking garage in a semi-timely fashion without the use of a GPS system.
 
Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog” host and British dog whisperer Victoria Stilwell offered encouragement and wry remarks as the event emcee. Spotting a long-haired puppy making its inaugural march, Stilwell told the owners: “You do realize that you’re going to vacuuming up dog hair every day for the rest of your life, right?”
 
After much deliberation, the judges awarded two families the “Best in Show” prize: Gregg Rothmeier, Brooke Napier and Alexandria and Jeffrey Mercante for their doggy depiction of Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol.” Tiny Tim was portrayed by Gonzo, a rescued golden retriever with three legs.
 
“The whole idea started with Gonzo and we built the idea around him,” Napier told Intel. A top hatted Scrooge, meanwhile, was played by Roux a four-year-old rescue who apparently prefers that people die and decrease the surplus population as soon as possible. Explained Napier: “She’s not much for people but she likes other dogs and she enjoyed wearing the top hat today.”
 
While many pet owners take to decoring their dogs during the holiday season, Stilwell told us pets, for the most part, don’t prefer it. “As a rule, you should play dress up sparingly since costumes can mask important body signals in many breeds,” she told us. “But smaller breeds and short hair breeds actually need a sweater for warmth. Usually, they’re tell you how much they’re enjoying something. It’s our job to listen.”
 

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