Submitted by Kathy Bell
Where can you find spiders, tacos, cheerleaders, cowdogs and butterflies all together? At the Ottawa Halloween Dog Parade, of course.
Doggies, big and small, from all over the city, will sniff d their way to Dovercourt on October 19 and put their paws up for best-dressed categories. Last year’s competition was fierce, and the judges – Patricia Boal, Amy Karlin and Graham Richardson – will have their work cut out for them to pick this year’s “Best in Show”.
Inspired by New York City’s annual Halloween dog event, the Ottawa Halloween Dog Parade is a family and hipster-friendly event, which proves having fun really is a dog’s life. Along with prizes for pooches, there will be a bouncy castle for the kids and a photo booth where you can take photos with your dog.
Admission is free, but there is a $10 registration fee required for canine competitors. Dog owners are welcome, and in fact encouraged, to dress up as well.
The Ottawa’s Halloween Dog Parade is fundraiser in support of Dovercourt’s Work and Volunteer Program for Adults with autism and other special needs (WAVE). WAVE participants, or apprentices, are active in the community through work placements and volunteering.
You may have met the WAVE apprentices out-and-about in Westboro, Hintonburg, or other communities. Apprentice work crews volunteer each day at various local businesses and organizations.
“The WAVE is program that focuses on community integration, learning through recreation, building social skills and meaningful friendships, and most of all…it’s a place for everyone,” says Caitlin Booth, a WAVE Program Coordinator.
WAVE apprentices can be found at the Village Quire every Tuesday.
“The apprentices tidy and straighten cards. We price new merchandise and if customers come to the cash, WAVE apprentices take control and ring them through,” says owner Molly van der Schee. “In addition to my own good experience with the WAVE apprentices and job coaches, I was most pleased when a customer of mine said, ‘this is good for everybody.’ From my perspective, this is how we build a strong community where we can all thrive.”
Funds raised during the Dog Parade will contribute to expanding WAVE’s programs through job training for apprentices and staff, sensory equipment and supportive technologies that enhance community participation.
“WAVE is a one-of-a-kind program in Ottawa for adults with special needs that provides for my son, Kevin, the opportunity to have a productive and active life like other young people his age,” says Vikas Sharma, a parent of a WAVE apprentice. “Kevin is so happy to go to work every day, which includes volunteering and placements at the Parkdale Food Market, the Ottawa Heart Institute, Ikea and Home Depot. I love it when people tell me they see Kevin in the community having such a good time with his friends.”
Visit the Ottawa Halloween Dog Parade Facebook page to learn more about the event, register or make a donation to the WAVE program. Parade-day registration and donations are also possible.
For more information about Dovercourt’s WAVE program, visit dovercourt.org/enterprise/wave.
So, join WAVE for a howling good time on October 19. Bring your dog-loving friends and get creative! You won’t be barking up the wrong tree!