TAMPA, Fla. – More than 250 people dressed their pets in Halloween finery for the third annual BluePearl Veterinary Partners Beastly Costume Contest. And while a pair of Yorkshire terriers took the top prize, all of the animals were winners.
That’s because their efforts raised $5,000 for Frankie’s Friends, a charity that provides financial assistance to pets whose families are unable to afford lifesaving specialty or emergency treatment.
The first-place prize of a $150 American Express gift card went to Jessica Ward, a veterinary technician from Richmond, Mich. She dressed her Yorkshire terriers, Penny and Charlie, as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.
Penny turns 10 next week, while Charlie is 6. She’s had them both since they were puppies and even created a Facebook page devoted to their antics.
“I saw the costumes at a pet bakery while picking out a birthday cake for Penny last year and knew they would be perfect,” Ward said.
In second place, and the recipient of a $100 American Express gift card, is April Martinez of Omaha, Neb. She dressed her 6-year-old Chihuahua mix Zeus-Zoo as Marty McFly from Back to the Future, complete with hoverboard, sports almanac and a clock tower in the background.
Taking third place and a $50 gift card is Clarisse Andrus of Dearborn, Mich. She is donating her prize to Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
Her dog, Peanut, a Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, was dressed as Darth Vader. Peanut was a longtime patient at BluePearl in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he was treated for autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, Peanut passed away at age 5.
Andrus has created a Facebook page in his memory to raise awareness about his disease and the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
The contest ran from Oct. 1 through Oct. 27. Participants were asked to upload a photo of their cat or dog in a costume to the BluePearl Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/BluePearlVeterinaryPartners.
Visitors to the site were encouraged to vote for their favorites, and more than 10,000 votes were recorded in all. For every vote, BluePearl Veterinary Partners agreed to donate $1 (up to $5,000) to Frankie’s Friends. All proceeds will go to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions.