Costumed pooches by the dozen

The Halloween Howl at the Hiawatha Community Center was a treat and not just for the dogs involved. A cadre of canines, most dressed in their best costumes showed up and got a chance to strut, scamper and do a whole lot of sniffing.

The event, held as a fundraiser for the West Seattle Food Bank featured a pet photographer, vendor booths, a raffle and most importantly for the dogs and their owners, a costume contest. There were dogs dressed as ladybugs, wizards, bikers, bears, skunks, and quite a few caped canines too.

The winners were:
1st Place "Buddy" as Mr. T
2nd Place "Sydney" as a Scarecrow
3rd Place "Jin Jing" as a Lady Bug
4th Place "Daisy" as an Angel
5th Place "Seamus Shovelpaws" as a pumpkin.

The fundraising goes to help the food bank which reports that demand is up close to 20% over last year. The food bank helps over 2000 families with meals.

Click on the image for a slideshow of some of the fun.

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

Chico, dressed as Merlin is a rescue dog looking for a home. He lives at the Crown Hill Veterinary Hospital and is said to be extremely good natured. Click on the image to see a slideshow of some of the fun

When Diane MacDonald got her miniature Schnauzer Max around 10 years ago she had no idea what his favorite thing to do would be.

He's a normal, people loving dog, very social, she said.

"When we have people over to the house he makes the rounds from lap to lap and If you start petting him he's your friend for life," MacDonald said.

But he has a peculiar habit. He eats Kleenex.

"He likes to go into the waste basket in the bathroom and pull out the Kleenex and pull it out," she said. "He really eats it."

He's also a very loyal friend. The family had an 18-year-old cat who passed away last year.

"We had Bernie set up in the living room, he was in his little bed by the window and Max just came over and sat with him the whole time, until he passed," MacDonald said. "Max and Bernie were great companions. Max is by breed a 'ratter,' so he likes to track things. There were times when Bernie would be sitting in the middle of the living room floor and you could see Max tracking him all around the house, walking around the cat, going all over the house and coming back and saying 'There you are!' It was like something out of a cartoon."

Photo credit: 
Kim Robinson

Max is a Miniature Schnauzer and is very social. He's also a very loyal friend with a big heart, said his owner Diane MacDonald.

Four-year-old Chief is a Golden Retriever and "He's completely addicted to the water," said his owner Tad Grinke.

The Grinke's got the dog in September of 2005 from the mall.

"My wife picked him up, somebody in a mini-van had a litter of golden retrievers and he was the fattest, fluffiest one so that's what she chose," said Tad Grinke.

Tad's wife, Bianca Grinke, named the dog after a character in the movie "Frequency."

About Chief's love of the water Tad said, "Anytime we get within a mile of the water he starts going crazy and as soon as he is able to will just leap out on all fours into the water. He's definitely a water dog."

Bianca agreed. "You can't walk him by the water, he will pull you right in," she said.

Chief is also extremely true to the breed's name.

"He will just non-stop until he falls over dead continue to retrieve," said Tad. Chief loves people though he seems to prefer adults.

The Grinke's son Damian said, "He's starting to like me."

Bianca, Tad and Damian all agree that Chief has taught them patience and the unconditional love that pets just give you.

"He's a real good boy," added Tad.

Photo credit: 
Kim Robinson

The Grinke family took a break from shopping at the Farmer's Market and stopping by for a cup of coffee and a cake. Their golden retriever, Chief, has been part of the family for four years now.

The Woodland Park Zoo will allow its animals to smash pumpkins as part of the zoo's enrichment program to enhance the lives of the animals, "promote natural animal behavior, keep animals mentally stimulated and provide added enjoyment for visitors," according to a news release from the zoo.

The Pumpkin Bash is presented by Franz Bakeries and visitors can watch hippos, bears, elephants, monkeys, and other animals crunch, smash or stomp on pumpkins  Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Here is a schedule:

Jaguar, 10 a.m.
Arctic foxes, 10:30 a.m. (Saturday only)
Hippos, 10:30 a.m.
Orangutans, 10:30 a.m. (Saturday only)
Siamang, 10:30 a.m. (Saturday only)
Lion-tailed macaques, 10:30 a.m. (Sunday only)
Wolves, 11 a.m. (Sunday only)
Grizzlies, noon (Saturday only)
Sun bears, 12:15 p.m.
Gorillas, 1 p.m. (Sunday only)
Gorillas, 1:20 p.m. (Sunday only)
Ocelots, 1:30 p.m.
Tigers, 1:30 p.m. (Sunday only)        
Snow leopard, 1:30 p.m. (Sunday only)
Otters, 1:30 p.m. (Sunday only)
Elephants, 2 p.m.
African wild dogs, 2 p.m. (Sunday only)
Lemurs, 2 p.m. (weather permitting)

Photo credit: 
Lori Veres/Woodland Park Zoo

Hippos, bear, elephants and more to smash pumpkins at Woodland Park Zoo's annual Pumpkin Bash presented by Franz Bakeries.

Carla Cole's dogs, Rita and Fido are lovers. They love to meet new people, they love to go for walks, and within the past year, they have begun the process of making puppies.

They are red miniature poodles and are a "mating couple," according to Cole.

Rita is 2.5 years old and comes from Pend Oreille Valley north of Spokane while Fido, at 1.5 years, comes from Reno, Nev.

"Their tails are not 'docked' and the fact that I did not put poof poofs on their heads that's why you don't immediately recognize them as poodles because they are not styled like poodles," Cole said. "They are so different. Fido is a heavy ball man, and she's a tugger. Fido will retrieve until the cows come home but Rita wouldn't fetch a ball if it meant her last meal. She likes to tug."

The pair has one set of puppies already and based on what happened last week, Cole is expecting another set of them in mid-December.

"They are just young dogs, still learning," Coel said. "Yesterday morning Rita was really really interested but Fido was playing hard to get, but by evening he had decided that his hard to get program was over. He said, 'OK, this is getting kinda dull.'"

Photo credit: 
Kimberly Robinson

Fido and Rita are red miniature poodles despite their lack of a traditional poodle hair cut. "They are charming happy little dogs," said their proud owner Carla Cole.

Jennifer Grassley left her husband Bret home alone for a weekend two weeks ago. Upon returning home, she opened the door and saw an animal carrier and said "Oh, what did you do?"

He had found some kittens for sale in the paper, checked them out, fell in love and brought them home. He even gave them names, Hansel and Gretel, perfect for a brother and sister team.

It didn't take long before Jen loved the kittens and now they are a family of four. The kittens are just 9 weeks old and sleep all night long. They do use a litter box and have not had any accidents, but Bret had to help them to the litter box in the morning at first to re-enforce their training.

At 8-and-a-half weeks old Hansel weighed 35 ounces and Gretel weighed 27 ounces, but they are growing "like wildfire," the couple said.

Gretel is a ball of fire and Hansel is a little more mellow like a good big brother. They have toys but they play with lots of things including their tails.

Photo credit: 
Kimberly Robinson

Hansel and Gretel are very similar looking kittens, each bearing a nearly identical black and white pattern. But Hansel is the mellow big brother at 35 ounces and Gretel is the feisty little sister at 27 ounces. "I wanted to make sure to have a brother and sister," said owner Bret Grassley. "It wouldn't have been right to break them apart."

It's that time of the year again when pet owners and religion dovetail for the "Blessing of Pets" ceremony at churches worldwide.

At Providence Mount St. Vincent, 4831 35th Ave. S.W., Father Tom Marti and Sister Christine journeyed floor to floor to bless resident fish, birds, and cats. An entourage of dogs with owners in tow followed close behind and even packed their pups in elevators to keep up with Father. The resident fish appeared unphased by the holy water.

"We thank the Lord for today, for St. Francis of Assisi," said Father Marti, who is in residence at St. James Cathedral downtown. "Referring to the pet procession, he said, "They inspire us to be more kind and more gentle in our own lives and with our animals and with all creation."

"Maggie is a three year cancer survivor," said Jeff Leach of West Seattle, describing his 10-year-old golden retriever. "Her right front leg has been amputated."

"It was harder on us than on her," admitted his wife Pam. She and Jeff volunteer at Providence. "Golden retrievers, all dogs, have so much spirit."

blessing pets1.jpg
Photo credit: 
Photo Steve Shay

Father Tom Marti and Sister Christine bless the resident fish at Providence Mount St. Vincent Saturday, Oct. 3, during his floor-to-floor tour of the facility during the Blessing of Pets ceremony. This custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures.

Woodland Park Zoo’s fall/winter hours will go into effect beginning Oct. 1 through April 30. The new hours of operation will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Also beginning Oct. 1 are reduced fall/winter admission fees: Adult (13-64) $11; Child (3-12) $8; Toddler (0-2) free. Seniors and people with disabilities receive a discount and zoo members receive free zoo admission year-round.
Rainy Day Tour
As our weather turns to liquid sunshine, there’s still a world of fun and discovery at the zoo, and lots of indoor exhibits and venues to keep you warm and dry. Bats, snakes, monkeys, jaguars, grizzlies and a world of “bugs” are among the array of fascinating animals to enjoy while staying dry. A Rainy Day Tour map is available on under “Activities and exhibits.”

Zoomazium keeps young ones safe and warm while connecting with animals and habitats through the natural language of childhood – play! Hike up a mountain, crawl through a nurse log, climb a towering strangler fig tree or squirm through a dark cave. Visit for a schedule of daily programs in Zoomazium. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Zoomazium tree Ryan Hawk.jpg
Photo credit: 
Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Zoomazium keeps young ones warm, dry and safe while connecting with animals and habitats through the natural language of childhood - play! The indoor, nature play space is open during zoo fall and winter hours, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily

Hannah Stewart wakes up every day with her dog Bailey at the foot of her bed -- that's where he sleeps.

Bailey is an 8-year-old Lhasa Apso and the Stewart family acquired him at the pound as a rescue animal. He has been part of the family for about a year.

Bailey is a very polite dog, according to Hannah.

"Sometimes he bows down to us," said Hannah.

He enjoys a special squeaky shoe toy for fun, but perhaps his most unusual trait is that he likes sardines, though he also enjoys hot dogs.

"He's been a great addition to the family," said Hannah's father Mark Stewart.

How to nominate your pet for Pet of the Week:

Want to nominate your pet for Pet of the Week? Stop by the VCA West Seattle Veterinary Hospital at 5261 California Ave. S.W. and just ask for a form. A nomination is not a guarantee of appearance and your name and photo may appear in our newspaper and online.

Photos may or may not be used and our "Pet Reporter" may be in touch with you to arrange to take a photo. Pets nominated will be chosen on the basis of uniqueness of the pet and the quality of the story and information submitted.

Photo credit: 
Kim Robinson

Bailey is a Lhasa Apso who often "bows down" and loves to eat sardines and hotdogs.

Boo is a pit mix rescue dog that Lauren Kipp found in upstate New York about three years ago.

The two moved across the country in a rental truck and relocated to the Alki area where they walk every day. Boo loves to play with squeaky stuffed animals and play hide and seek.

When friends come to visit one person hides in the closet or the bathtub then they ask Boo, "Wher'd they go?!" She runs around the apartment looking everywhere until she finds the missing person.

Boo loves to eat apples and peanut butter together, she won't eat apples alone. Lauren said, "She is my very best friend. She always cheers me up when I am sad. She is a really good cuddlier and always wants to sit on your lap."

She is a little big for a lap dog but Lauren said she makes it work.

How to nominate your pet for Pet of the Week:

Want to nominate your pet for Pet of the Week? Stop by the VCA West Seattle Veterinary Hospital at 5261 California Ave. S.W. and just ask for a form. A nomination is not a guarantee of appearance and your name and photo may appear in our newspaper and online.

Photo credit: 
Kim Robinson

Boo loves apples and peanut butter but only as a combo. She won't touch the apples without her special topping.

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