Halloween Pet Parade Puts on the Dog for Charity

Dog in Halloween costume
Dog in Halloween costume

The story of what's likely the world's largest pet-centric Halloween parade -- and an unlikely charity event -- starts with a lonely dog and his sociable owner.

About a decade ago, Justin Rudd of Long Beach, Calif. thought his English bulldog, Rosie, could use canine companionship. So he started an informal, weekly "yappy hour" among acquaintances. The dogs could romp and sniff, and the owners could "talk dog stuff," Rudd says. The group met at a small park in Long Beach's Belmont Shore neighborhood, a beachside community of about 8,000 (in a city of half a million) who reside in mostly single-family homes and small apartment buildings.

It didn't take long for the social circle to grow, and for "yappy hour" to customarily end with the group of dogs and their escorts strolling together along the neighborhood's main drag, Second Street. Patrons of the shops, pubs and restaurants on Second came out to watch the procession -- and at that point, Rudd says, "you've pretty much got a parade."