By Samantha Joseph
STUART -- A parade of about 100 dogs competing in four categories will raise funds for the Treasure Coast Hospice's "pet peace of mind" program.
Pup-arazzi Pet Parade is an annual show of area dogs. It features pets competing for blue ribbons and other prizes in four categories, including a pet look-alike contest, best "bling" or accessories, most impressive pet tricks and most glamorous.
"The goal is to have some fun, spread awareness about 'pet peace of mind' and let the community know that we now offer this service to our families," said Jennifer Ferrari, foundation resource manager for Treasure Coast Hospice.
Attendees of the parade help support the program, launched in 2011, to allow hospice patients to remain with their pets by providing volunteers to walk, feed and care for animals in patients' homes.
"Our pets provide us with unconditional love, and 'pet peace of mind' ensures that hospice patients are with their beloved animals during their end-of-life journey," said Pup-arazzi event chairwoman Peggy Bates.
Last year's Pup-arazzi Pet Parade drew about 50 dogs and 100 spectators. Organizers expect twice as many participants at this year's event, scheduled for Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Fur Seasons Resort for pets, located at 1310 S.W. Treasure Coast Commerce Way, Stuart.
The registration fee for dogs participating in the contests is $25 per pet. Spectators enter free of charge.
The inaugural parade raised about $1,200 last year to help pay for vet care, food, grooming and other services for pets whose owners were in the last stages of life.
Several area agencies and residents support the program. Among them are Dr. Jason White of Port Salerno Animal Hospital, who serves as the consulting veterinarian and activist Allola McGraw.
Starbucks Cove Road will donate food and beverages, and radio personalities Mo and Sally of KOOL 105.5 will serve as this year's emcees. Representatives of the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast will also be onsite, offering pets for adoption.
To register a pet, visit www.tchospice.org/puparazzi. For more information, call Ms. Bates at (561) 313-0628.