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Little dogs, big attraction

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2004

For the 11th year in a row, Soldotna Progress Days parade watchers Saturday will have the opportunity to view dozens of wiggling bodies and wagging tails of the dachshunds taking part in Weenies on Parade.

"It's just a given that we will be doing it again this year," said event coordinator Diane Fielden who, along with her husband, is responsible for the inception of the annual event. "As long as the dogs can hold out and I can hold out, we'll do it forever."

The first "Weenies on Parade" featured Fielden's two dachshunds pups at the time as well as close to 20 other dogs and owners. That number has steadily increased over the years, and last year's parade boasted 48 dogs.

"Many of us may not talk much during the year, but we'll all just show up,

said Fielden. She also said that the participants in the parade are quite diverse.

"Some are owners with just a single dog, and some have a group of dogs. We have one woman from Kasilof that brings nine or 10 of them," Fielden said.

Smooth-coated, wire-haired or long-haired dachshunds she welcomes them all.

"Anyone with a dachshund can bring their dog and walk with us. We get people from Anchorage and all over. Sometimes tourists watching with dachshunds will just join in. The more the merrier," Fielden said.

It's not just the Weenies on Parade participants who enjoy being part of the Progress Days parade. The on-lookers always get a kick out of it too, according to Fielden.

"We get lots of 'oohs' and 'aahs' because we're such a funny sight. Everyone seems to like us," she said.

Again this year, dogs and their human care givers will be treated to water and biscuits after the walk. According to Fielden, "It's a long walk for dogs with such little legs."

Dachshund owners interested in marching in the parade are encouraged to meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot next to Cad-Re Feed on the corner of Aspen and Marydale in Soldotna. All dogs must be on leashes and accompanied by a human companion.

"We'll be there with our weenies and our banner," Fielden said.

Joseph Robertia is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. He has worked with wildlife and domestic animals for more than 10 years as a veterinary technician, a zoo keeper, and most recently as a zoologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He welcomes any pet-related questions or story ideas, but please none of a veterinary nature. Ideas and questions can be sent to his attention by e-mail at clarion@alaska.net.



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