Canine companions of all sizes and varieties swamped the Langley Shopping Center parking lot last Saturday morning for the annual Reindog Parade in McLean. Packs of greyhounds disguised as Christmas gifts vied with English bulldogs decked with antlers, for prizes in the costume categories of the pageant.
Reindog judge and Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois (R) said the competition was intense. "It was really tough. They went from one extreme to the other," said DuBois. Judge Ellen Field echoed that sentiment, saying, "We had a really tough time this year. There were a lot of great dogs."
More than 100 dogs and their human families showed up to the event to show off their holiday spirit. The Reindog Parade is sponsored by the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce. "We do this for community spirit," said Frederick Roehner, outgoing Chamber president and master of ceremonies. "It's a community event to get people to shop McLean first and to get people together for the holidays, in the holiday spirit."
Several local animal organizations were on hand at the parade to let people know about the pet services in the area. Animal shelter and rescue groups reported that many families approached them about adopting animals they saw at the parade. Carolyn Flajnick, the president of Virginia Greyhound Rescue, said, "We are here to introduce greyhounds to the McLean community. Everybody seems to be getting a thrill out of seeing them, and several people have dropped by the booth asking about adoption."
Moorenko's Ice Cream supplied a special vanilla doggie ice cream for the participants. The ice cream, intended only for dogs but made with the same organic ingredients used in their human ice cream, is sold only around the holidays and is extremely popular. Not a single dog refused the treat, and nearly all sniffed around the booth looking for seconds.
Franklin Sherman Elementary School student Meghan Wheeler, 11, happily attended the event with her dog Cody. Though she was having fun, Wheeler professes it was all for her dog. "Cody likes to be around a lot of other dogs and he gets to dress up as Santa, so I brought him," said Meghan.
Roehner said, " The object of today is just to have fun."