KREWE OF BARKUS: Four-legged mutts, two-legged friends rule 2023 Mardi Gras Mutt March

Published 9:15 am Thursday, February 23, 2023

NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou’s liveliest Mardi Gras Krewe on four legs joined a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the Natchez Bluff for the 2023 Mardi Gras Mutt March: Krewe of Barkus.

“It was just a chance to bring the community together to enjoy their dogs and hopefully educate people about the number of large adult dogs available at local shelters,” said organizer and founder of Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue, Kathy Fitch. “There are a lot of really nice adoptable dogs right here in the Miss-Lou.”

Fitch said dozens of dogs and around 125 dog owners and animal lovers enjoyed a fun day of participating in a parade in Mardi Gras costumes and competing in events judged by Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and his wife, Marla Gibson.

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“In addition to having a lot of participation from people who came out to enjoy a day with their own dogs, we brought 10 from HPR and then Vidalia Dog Pound brought three and Concordia PAWS brought three. Any one of them could have brought in quadruple the number of dogs that they did.”

Fitch said while some offered donations to the shelters, the festivities were free for all thanks to various sponsors.

She thanked Tractor Supply and Pet Sense which donated gift baskets; Gene’s Tires which donated two free oil changes; Tate Hobdy and the team at Dairy Queen for their donation of two $25 gift cards and 25 free mini blizzards; Wendel Melton and The Southside Market for their donation of three 50 pound bags of dog food; Davidson Liquors for their donation of gifts for Dan and Marla Gibson.

“Also, a big thank you to the HPR Veterinarian Dr. Tracey Peltier and the entire team at Southside Veterinary Clinic who provide care for all the HPR pets,” Fitch said. She also thanked the large number of volunteers who made the event a success.

“Every shelter dog had a handler and every dog had a great day enjoying time with people,” she said. “Unfortunately, none of the shelter dogs went to forever homes, but you’ve got to plant a seed somewhere. Hopefully, this will spark some interest and people would start to think about adopting adult dogs. That is the hardest group to place. Everybody wants puppies but they will eventually all grow up to be the size of these loveable adult dogs stuck in shelters. We used to be able to transport a lot of large dogs and that took care of them, but that has slowed down in the last year for a lot of reasons. … A lot of the shelters are not accepting as many large adult dogs as they used to.”

Fitch added there are around 40 adoptable large adult dogs at HPR at 17341 River Road.

“They are all fabulous, social and just looking for families,” she said. “Almost all of the local shelters have their adult dog space filled. Any time you adopt a shelter dog you save two, the dog you adopted and the dog that will take its place at the shelter.”

Contest Winners:

·      Chavez, owner Jackie Mardis, was named King of the 2023 Krew of Barkus

·      Pepper, owners Ashley and Ryan Comer, was named Queen of the 2023 Krew of Barkus

·      Zeus, an HPR shelter dog, won the title of Duke of the 2023 Krew of Barkus by spectator vote

·      Drea, an HPR shelter dog, won the title of Duchess of the 2023 Krew of Barkus by spectator vote

·      “Best Use of Theme” was awarded to Ole, Paul and Renee Peterson

·      “Best Group” was awarded to Rukkuss, Kelly Rand and Anthony Roberts

·      “Best Dressed Dog and Owner” was awarded to Jack, Megan Guido and Della Brook

·      “Most Creative Costume” was awarded to Lulu and Cheryl Freeman