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Dogs may have their day: Garfield Ridge Chamber plans pet parade

A

neighborhood that many would say is one of the most dog-crazy spots in all of

Chicago may soon get its first-ever pet parade, thanks to its business

community.

Members of

the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday afternoon that they

plan to stage a pet parade in June, with an exact date and time to be

determined. Members said they anticipate it would be held at Wentworth Park,

57th and Narragansett.

Plans were

unveiled at the chamber’s February meeting, held at Crossroads Community

Church. About two dozen chamber members were on handÑrepresenting a range of

businesses, health and legal practices and more.

“Aside

from being a lot of fun, this is an opportunity for chamber members to get

their name out there in a positive way,” said GRCC President Mary Ellen Brown,

a driving force behind the idea. “It’s a way for the business community to support

the neighborhood, so that the neighborhood, in turn, will support the business

community.”

By a show

of hands, at least two-thirds of chamber members at the meeting indicated that

they themselves or their employees would participate in a pet parade in some

way.

“Honey

will be there,” Brown smiled, as she mentioned her nine-year-old cocker

spaniel/cavalier spaniel mix. “She’ll want to be the grand marshal.”

Brown said

the parade may be a relatively small event this year, “but it could grow and be

popular over time. If you look at the pet parade in La Grange, the turnout is

phenomenal. There is a huge number of pets and people there.”

Chamber

Vice President Dr. John Baetti, a cat fancier who breeds Devon Rex cats as a

hobby, doubted that his designer felines would participate in a parade, but

said that his chiropractic practice would be a part.

“I think

it could be good for the community, and I would hope to see animals other than

dogs participateÑmaybe a snake or a bird or a [leash-trained] cat,” he said,

adding that at least one member of his staff is a dog lover who would probably

take part in the fun.

Chamber stalwart

Ed Kozak, not a pet owner but known to many as a man with a light-hearted and

colorful sense of humor, said he would certainly participate in some way.

“It would

be a lot of fun, and I would not want to miss out on it,” he told the Southwest

News-Herald after the GRCC meeting. “I don’t have an animal to bring, but who

knows what kind of animal-themed costume I might show up in?”

Brown said

the GRCC hoped to enlist the support of 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski to

make the pet parade a reality.

Contacted

by the Southwest News-Herald as the meeting progressed, Zalewski said he is

“totally supportive” of the idea.

“My hope

is to have our free pet chipping program at the same time,” the alderman said

in a text message. “I’m sure our ward residents will enjoy it and participate.”

ÊZalewski

observed that he has owned dogs all his life, including most recently Ace, a

French mastiff. Before that, he and his family owned a shepherd and boxers.

Details about the pet parade and other GRCC events will be

announced in the weeks ahead in the Southwest News-Herald.

The next GRCC meeting is set for noon Tuesday, March 6 at

Crossroads, 5433 S. Austin. All chamber members, as well as other business

owners, are invited to attend.

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