By JB Clark
TUPELO – Dogs dressed like Elvis, pigs dressed like fans and a lemur walked the red carpet Saturday morning during the annual Elvis Pet Parade and Pageant.
The winner of the Best in Show prize was Maggie May, a Shelty from Pontotoc who was shown by her owner, 4-year-old Benjamin Hall, with Maggie May in an Elvis cape and Hall in full gold jumpsuit.
“It feels good to win,” Hall said, as he did his best Elvis dance moves while holding the grand prize trophy. Hall has been practicing his tribute artist moves since he was a year old.
Each of the 22 dogs entered were doted on by onlookers and other pet owners, but three more exotic pets stole the show, on and off the stage. Two pigs, one dressed in a heart dress and the other in sideburns and a cape, and a lemur competed Saturday.
Makel Hutchins, owner of Moo, the mini-micro pig, said Moo was wearing a heart dress because she’s a huge Elvis fan and her favorite song is “Love Me Tender.”
Helene Jordan, of Sherman, brought her 1-year-old lemur, Ozzy, to the pageant so he could adjust to being around people. She said he does great at home with her dachshund.
“They groom each other and Ozzy just rides around on his back,” Jordan said.
A portion of proceeds from the event, which came in at over $300, will go to the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, which had representatives on hand taking cash and pet item donations as well as selling shirts.
“It’s been really neat to see all of the animals,” said Brittany Rogers, of the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society. “A lot of people told us they got their animals from the shelter. The proceeds we receive are really helpful, and it’s also a good opportunity to get involved in the community.”
The pageant continued to grow this year with three more contestants than last year, and Jessica Hollinger of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association said that is in large part due to the help of the Dilworth Small Animal Hospital joining as a sponsor last year.
“Last year was the first year we were a sponsor and we fell in love with it as a cause because it’s so fun,” said Laurie Dilworth Simons, a veterinarian at the Dilworth Small Animal Hospital. “We want to do anything we can that supports the human-animal bond and gets people excited about doing things with their pets.”
PET PARADE WINNERS
• Best in Show: Maggie May, shelty, with Benjamin Hall, of Pontotoc.
• Pet-Owner Lookalike: Chuck, English bulldog, with Jeremiah Lassley, of Tupelo.
• Most Unusual Pet: Moo, micro-mini pig, with Makel Hutchins, of Tupelo.
• Elvis Lookalike: Dixie, Boston terrier, with Laurel Wilson, of Rogersville, Missouri.