Every dog has his or her day, but Saturday definitely belonged to Millie, a Great Dane from Pendleton who took the top prize at the Howl-O-Ween Dog Costume Contest at Spillway Park in Umatilla.
The event, organized by the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce, had a small, but enthusiastic turnout. Besides Millie, there was a dachshund and a pair of pug mixes. Each came away a winner Saturday, but none as big as Millie – both figuratively and literally.
Dressed up as Big Bird from Sesame Street, the 130-pound Millie paraded around willingly – if not so proudly – in her yellow top and feathers. The costume was a home-made getup and Saturday wasn’t the first time Millie modeled the outfit.
“We decked her out last night,” said Millie’s owner, Tom Tangney. “She’s the costume queen. She likes to be the center of attention so we humiliate her all the time.”
The 3-year-old Great Dane was flanked by Tangney’s grandchildren, 2-year-old Grace and 3-month-Ben, whose parents, John and Tammy Fisher borrowed Millie from Tangney for the contest. The Fishers are both teachers in Umatilla. Grace seemed to enjoy the contest, but Ben couldn’t have cared less as he slept through the entire event.
In the end, Millie won in two categories – Best Costume and Most Original. Penny the dachshund, wearing a jack-o-lantern costume, won the Scariest Costume award. The pug mixes, Mya and Olive, won Best Trick and Funniest Costume, respectively. They were dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Penny’s owner is Angela Turner of Umatilla. Mya’s owner is Erin Bequette of Hermiston and Olive’s owner is Jessica Fitch, also of Hermiston.
The contest was the inspiration of Chamber Director Karen Hutchinson-Talaski.
“There was a dog costume contest in the Tri-Cities last year and I thought that was a neat idea,” she said. It’s ironic that Hutchinson-Talaski came up with the idea to host the dog costume contest, considering she has never owned a dog as an adult. The well-known cat lover knew better than to try the contest with cats.
The judges for the event were Dave Beaver of Wal-Mart, Jessica Keller of the Hermiston Herald and Libby Bovent, owner of Love My Dog Day Care.
Each dog came away with a basket of prizes, as well as a goodie bag of treats.
“It was a small turnout, but we had fun,” Hutchinson-Talaski said.