Cute costumes fill annual Sunnyvale Pet Parade

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Kiana Hinkson

Zelda, a toy poodle, rides in a homemade flower cart

From a hot dog to a loofah, pets of all shapes, colors, and sizes filled up downtown Sunnyvale with their creative costumes for the 2021 Sunnyvale Pet Parade. 

Taking place on Halloween, the parade started at 10 a.m. The Sunnyvale mayor, Larry Klein, led the parade along with Miss Sunnyvale. Other notable figures in attendance included Dane Andrew and his dog Rascal, an eight-time winner of various ugliest dog contests.  Pets and their owners strolled down a few blocks of Murphy Ave. for the parade. Those watching the parade stood on the sidewalk, cheering and taking pictures as participants walked by. 

Costume Contest Winners by Kiana Hinkson

Dogs weren’t the only participants in the pet parade. One orange cat was dressed as a surfer, wearing sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt. A rabbit dressed in a robber costume rode in style on a pet-sized Mercedes-Benz decorated with Halloween-themed stickers.

Along with walking in the parade, participants could choose to enter their pets in the costume contest. Owners who dressed their pets in the best costumes received goodie bags filled with treats and stuffed animals. The winning costume belonged to a small white dog in a garden box dressed as a flower. Second-place went to a dog dressed up as Michael Scott from the popular TV series “The Office.” 

Two community members, Jenny Chen and Lewis Lsellis, chose their dog’s costume based on her name.

“Her name is Libby, but her nickname is Lobster. So, we dressed her up as a lobster,” Chen said.

Another pet owner, Estela Luna, decided to wear a costume that matched her pet’s costume. Both Luna and Tank, her English bulldog, dressed up as Mario from the video game “Mario Bros.”

“We chose whatever [costume] was easiest for us to all match,” Luna said. 

Picking a costume idea was easy; finding the actual costume was more of a challenge. Many participants, including Luna, decided to make their costumes by hand.  

Tank’s biggest worry was his comfort in a homemade felt costume, but not every dog is so lucky. 

The Duo Duo Project, one of the sponsors of the parade, is “one of the only non-profit charities solely dedicated to ending the dog and cat meat trade in China.” The China meat trade is the selling of dog and cat meat as a delicacy.

This Sunnyvale-based non-profit organization uses events like the Sunnyvale Pet Parade to spread awareness about their mission: “We have a table here where we talk about some of what we do,” said Andrea Gung, the founder of Duo Duo Project.

Not only does Duo Duo Project have a booth at the parade, but Gung also plays a large role in the parade’s production. She is part of a three-person committee that organizes the parade. 

“We believe this event promotes a happy and united community.  No matter what people’s political stance is, when they see another dog lover, they all become friends,” Gung said.