Costumed dogs raise funds for Evanston Animal Shelter at Trot for Tails Walkathon

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Pyrros Rubanis/The Daily Northwestern

Roy, dressed as Snoopy the Flying Ace, poses after winning the grand prize at the Trot for Tails costume contest. Those attending the contest raised over $30,000 for the Evanston Animal Shelter.

Pyrros Rubanis, Reporter

In its second biggest fundraiser of the year, the Evanston Animal Shelter hosted a dog costume contest and walkathon Saturday morning, featuring dogs in costumes ranging from rocket ships to Scar and Simba.

The annual contest raised over $30,000 for Evanston’s largest animal welfare non-profit. This year, the event, called Trick or Treat Trot for Tails, left its previous location, Centennial Park, for the home of the Evanston History Center, the Charles Gates Dawes House.

“We’re always looking for a way to reach out,” said Grace Lehner, Directory of Archives at the Evanston History Center, “And we thought this fundraiser would be a fun way to greet a new group.”

Shannon Daggett, director of community engagement for the shelter, said the event brought in 80 registrants to the new, larger space at the Evanston History Center, along with four puppies and four dogs currently looking for families at the Evanston Animal Shelter.

Three judges from the shelter’s board of directors selected the best costume in a parade of several dogs.

Dressed as the beloved Peanuts’ dog, Roy won first prize for his costume as Snoopy, piloting his doghouse against his eternal rival, the Red Baron. Roy’s owners, Dino and Natalie Northway, adopted him from the Evanston Animal Shelter several years ago and bring him to Trot for Tails every year.

“It’s just so fun for Halloween,” Natalie Northway said. “Roy was a stegosaurus last year, a full costume… all you could see was his face.”

Also appearing in the parade, adorned with a blossoming flower, was Melie, another dog adopted from the shelter.

She originally came to the shelter barely breathing and required immediate veterinary care to survive. She had lost two-thirds of her hair, and her spleen had failed, her current owner Cathy Palivos said.

“They practically re-arranged her insides,” Palivos said. “She was a hot mess… but such a sweet dog. I fostered her because she needed a quiet place to recover and then I decided I couldn’t part with her, so I kept her.”

Evanston Police Department Officer Random Johnson opened the parade with his K-9 companion, talking about the dog’s initial training in Europe and his recent graduation to full police service.

Proceeds from the walkathon go to housing costs, veterinary care and behavioral training for cats and dogs at the Evanston Animal Shelter. Daggett told the crowd about Miss Cardi, a stray dog the shelter housed for 13 months, which was enough time for her lost family to locate and reclaim her.

“All of your support here today,” she said, “Helps us reunite families and their pets or get them into homes… (because of you,) Cardi didn’t have a time limit.”

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