Two legs and four - It's a family affair

For 85 years The Olympian’s annual Pet Parade has been giving kids a chance to outfit their dogs, cats, horses, bicycles and themselves in creative costumes. The really ambitious make floats.

This year even the event’s poster and other marketing materials show off one kid’s creativity.

“We had a contest and invited children through age 18 to do a drawing for the theme,” said parade coordinator Karen McClennen.

The winning drawing, “Frankenpooch,” came from the imagination of 14-year-old Joseph Gardner of Olympia, a freshman at Timberline High School.

Joseph, who won prizes in the parade twice, decided to blend monsters and pets to illustrate the theme, “The Monster Mash.”

“I thought that Frankenstein was pretty much the most iconic monster in the Monster Mash,” he said.

His drawing was chosen from among 32 entries, McClennen said.

Joseph and brother Lyle Gardner, 16, a junior at Timberline, will be among the judges for this parade.

The boys grew up with the event, parading with their dogs and their parents, Kathy and Paul Gardner, in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

“One of the years, we dressed up as Beanie Babies, and one year, we dressed up as superheroes,” Joseph said. “One of our dogs was Captain Underpants, and the other was Bolt.”

The Beanie costumes, complete with tags hanging off Paul Gardner’s hat and Kathy Gardner’s glasses, won the family division champs in the Wheels category.

“In 2009, we dressed up in Hawaiian dress,” Kathy Gardner said. “We won a Judge's Choice award that year. Our dog Casey wore a hula skirt and a coconut bra. We found a stuffed pig that we roasted over a barbecue.

“We really enjoyed doing this as a family.”

Lyle and Joseph had pretty much outgrown their interest in the Pet Parade until the contest — which Joseph’s grandparents suggested he enter — brought them back.

“The past couple of years, we hadn’t really watched it,” Joseph said.