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Colorful costumes and traditions highlight 2014 Pet Parade in downtown Olympia

The 85th annual Pet Parade kicked off Saturday morning with dozens of four-legged friends marching through downtown Olympia in colorful costumes.

The event was bittersweet for the family of Frisky, a 14-year-old spaniel mix who has joined the parade nearly every year of her life. This year may be the dog’s last parade, owner Tamara Crane said. Frisky is losing her sight and hearing, and might have a brain tumor, Crane said.

Because of the dog’s ailing health, Frisky was unable to walk in this year’s parade — and instead rode in a wagon with Crane’s daughter Julia, 7. The two were dressed as parrots in a nest. Last year, Frisky and Julia won a Judge’s Choice award for dressing as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

“We just love coming down and doing this cool thing as a family,” said Crane, who showed off pictures of Frisky over the years.

Brent and Jennifer Olson, with daughter Addison, were thrilled that their Great Dane, Harley, won a Judge’s Choice award in the big dog category. The 130-pound Harley was participating in Saturday’s parade despite suffering from bone cancer, said Jennifer Olson.

“He recently went through radiation therapy and chemotherapy,” she said of Harley, the biggest dog at the parade.

Although the majority of entrants were dogs, other animals joined the fun, including a pair of goats and a turtle. Among the feline representatives was Karma, a cat owned by Olympia residents Ben Bettinson and daughter Mia. About nine months ago, the family rescued Karma after she had been abandoned on a wood pile as a newborn kitten.

At Saturday’s parade, Karma was wearing a pink shark fin and a harness with a leash.

“This is her second time out of the house,” Bettinson said of Karma, who was getting antsy in her basket before the parade started.

The cat declined to comment for this story.

This year’s parade theme was “The Monster Mash.” The parade traveled from Heritage Park through downtown Olympia and ended at Sylvester Park, where participants enjoyed free ice cream. Grand prizes were announced by George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, which sponsored the event with help from Hanson Motors, Olympia Federal Savings and the Olympia Downtown Association.

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