One thing you will notice right away about St. Croix is that the people here love their dogs! In fact, they love them so much that dogs get their own annual parade! In February each year Krewe de Croix (a non-profit group of Lousiana transplants and Mardi Gras enthusiasts) puts on a fun event called the Krewe de Barkus Parade on the boardwalk in Christiansted to help raise money for animal welfare here on the island, and to showcase some of the dogs that are currently up for adoption.
I witnessed my first Krewe de Barkus Parade this year…and it was a lot of fun! Participants entered their costumed dogs and immedately went on to the judging panel which took place in front of the deck bar. Once the judges reviewed each entrant the parade began, pups were paraded along a couple of Christiansted streets before ending prancing back down the boardwalk where the winners were announced and awards were presented.
The parade boasted everything from dogs wearing a shirt or costume, to dogs and their owners dressed alike or in related costumes. Even some of the “spectator” dogs were dressed up! The stand out costumes for me were a group of children, two dads and their little terrier all dressed like clowns in brightly colored rainbow wigs…including the dog! There were also a couple of friends dressed as lion tamers complete with top hats walking a chow that had been shaved to look like a lion with a giant mane. As they paraded along the boardwalk they would stop and the chow would actually jump through a hoop they were holding, just like a lion at the circus!
At the end of the parade Krewe de Croix announced that the big winners of the day were the family of clowns and the lion tamers…but, I thought all of those dogs and their loving owners were winners! I loved watching the camaraderie between the people and their dogs, the friendliness of the St. Croix community towards each other and towards all of the animals that participated or came out in support, not to mention it was all for such a good cause! Some of the shelter dogs even walked away with the promise of a fur-ever home.
This is a fun event for the whole family (the furry ones especially), so make sure to catch the next Krewe de Barkus Parade! For more information on adopting a loving dog or cat please visit The St. Croix Animal Shelter (www.stcroixawc.org). Maybe we’ll see you and them in the next parade!