06/16/10 — Crowds come for annual ice cream social and pet parade

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Crowds come for annual ice cream social and pet parade

By Aaron Moore
Published in News on June 16, 2010 1:46 PM

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Kendyll Sumler, 12, holds a puppy that is up for adoption at the Wayne County Animal Shelter at the annual ice cream social and pet parade in downtown Goldsboro. More than 600 people with more than 60 dogs attended the free event which was put on by The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. and the Wayne County Animal Shelter. People were treated to free ice cream, games, face painting, clowns, moon bounce and a pet contest. The pet parade, however, was canceled due to the heat. The goal of the event was to educate the community about local animal organizations, with all proceeds going to local animal groups.

It was a classic summer scene Tuesday evening as children, dogs and adults all gathered at the end of Center Street, where a large sprinkler hooked up to a fire hydrant sprayed water down on everyone, much to the delight of the kids.

It was the fourth annual pet parade and ice cream social, put on by the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation. The DGDC partnered with the Wayne County Humane Society and the Wayne County Animal Shelter to put the event on and provide a place for Goldsboro residents to come enjoy free ice cream and show off their four-legged family members.

"It's a great way to come out and have a good time," said Laura Landers, DGDC's event coordinator.

Some of the events featured were inflatables for kids, free ice cream from Pet, a free Coca-Cola stand, games for the kids and a contest for the cutest, biggest and smallest dogs, as well as the dog with "a face only a mother could love."

Tara Benitez and her two kids, Kuri and Tyler, said they hoped to enter their rottweiler Mack into the biggest dog contest -- but as for the winning prize, Tara said Mack didn't need whatever was in the free gift basket from Pet Supplies Plus.

"He's already spoiled rotten," she said with a laugh.

But while everyone came to the event for the fun, some were also there on a mission.

Barrett Parker, president of the Wayne County Humane Society, said her organization did not receive a lot of profit from the pet parade, but that it was more important to them to show up and have a community presence.

"Some may not even know there's a Humane Society," she said. "We're all about education."

The Humane Society does not have its own shelter, but it works in conjunction with the Wayne County Animal Shelter to protect animals at risk and help find them good homes. They also have spay and neutering education programs to teach people about the risks of overpopulation, as well as a feeding program that helps people in need feed their animals.

"We're just happy to be here, anytime there's an event with animals we can go to. It's been a fun event for four years," Barrett said.

Another group enjoying the celebration of dogs while getting its name out was the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, volunteers for which said they were seeking publicity.

When asked why Great Danes were the most special dogs to her, volunteer Christina Magliochetti had only good things to say as her own 3-year-old Addy leaned against her, looking for a rub.

"They're the best," she said enthusiastically. "They're very calm for starters. They're very loyal, very easy to train, every good thing you could imagine."

Christina said she got Addy two-and-a-half years ago when her father pulled the Great Dane puppy out of a backyard breeding operation. Addy's mother actually died from being bred every cycle, Christina said. She just couldn't handle it.

"I joined (the Rescue League) because I love her so much," Christina said, giving her Dane a pat. "She's my baby."

Addy, like many of her fellow Danes at the parade, was once in an abusive home, but is now living a life of luxury with her own full-size human guest bed in Christina's house.

"She slept in my bed with me till I got in her way," Christina joked.

Christina said she has not been with the Rescue League long, but she is already a foster mother to two other Great Danes, and is excited about continuing to help her favorite dogs.

Addy came in second in the contest for the biggest dog, and her friend Piper, a black-and-white spotted Dane, came in second for cutest dog.