During the 8th annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Carnival at the Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center, dog owners wear costumes and dress up their pets on Saturdays.
Many dog owners also appear in the costumes, making them eligible to participate in the best duo in the competition. Kilgore resident Brittany Mears and her dog Stryker appeared with a beauty and a beast, a mixture of Husky Labrador.
“I try to come up with one of the most original costumes and a different outfit every year,” Mills said, and he participated in the event in 2017 as Little Red Riding Hood.
Mears wore a Belle dress, and she said she was shot from the last ballroom dance scene of the Walt Disney animated film.
In contrast, Longview’s Rachel Ditterber has a woman, and her hybrid variety, Lily, uses the triangle as a triceratops. She said she designed her own outfit and won the runner-up of the best duo.
However, Dittenber said she attended a more serious purpose: to support the shelter, and she adopted Lily about four years ago.
“I found her from the shelter, I love her,” she said. “She was found to be a wanderer in South Longview.”
Ditterber hints at the intent of a relaxed and happy game in which the dog owner competes in six categories: the best duo, the most primitive, famous characters/personality, superheroes, the most horrible and the most beautiful.
According to Chris Kemper, head of the shelter, Howl-O-Ween aims to raise funds for shelters and Longview Dog Park and raise awareness of the need to adopt dogs and cats. The shelter and the dog park held the event, and Kemper said the event attracted more than 200 participants.
“A lot of the dogs we were present today participated in our activities last year,” said the host’s Kemper. He added that the contestants participated in approximately one-third of the dogs used during the 2016 and 2017 seasons at Howl-O-Ween.
Kemper said the shelter was opened in July 2016 at H.G. Mosley Parkway and is currently close to 180 to 200 pets.
Event organizers also try to protect pets from disease, and by vaccination and microchips, the likelihood of losing pets is greater.
“We have to get more microchips, and I have to get more rabies vaccines,” said Shannon DeRosa, executive director of the shelter. She said that 39 dogs received microchips and 47 were vaccinated during the event.
Longview’s newcomer Ryan Pritchett said that Howl-O-Ween was a great event and his veterinarian, Elizabeth, volunteered to serve as a judge. The couple recently moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.