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Animal charity scores big at La Jolla Pet Parade

La Jolla Pet Parade & Festival this year was a huge success judging by merchants’ reactions and the amount of money raised to support animal-welfare nonprofit Spay Neuter Action Project (SNAP).

“We netted about $12,000,” said Candy Schumann, SNAP volunteer executive director in an e-mail.

Schumann added one major change being contemplated in the future would be to add walkers who could line up sponsors/donors for their walk and make it competitive.

“The highest three sponsors/money collectors would win major prizes,” she said. “But, if people just want to walk they can do that too.”

Schumann added better use could be made of the event raffle, and more entertainment could be provided to keep people interested and busy.

Nancy Warwick, one of the originators of the event, noted there are copies of the pet fest sponsor book containing coupons and special offers from local merchants that are being sold at her book and stationery store for $10 to further benefit SNAP.

“It’s not only a great deal, but it is also a way to drive business to our business sponsors,” she said.

Noting the booklet was new this year, Warwick said, “it reflects our effort to best promote those businesses that helped sponsor the La Jolla Pet Parade.” She added all parade walkers received a copy of the booklet.

Janet McCulley, owner of Muttropolis pet boutique in La Jolla and Solana Beach, said she got nothing but glowing reviews from merchants about the parade.

“We were thrilled with the turnout for the parade and anecdotally the feedback from merchants has been very positive,” she said, noting Muttropolis enjoyed a high double-digit increase in business versus the prior year.

McCulley said that at The Museum Cafe after the parade, “nearly every patio table that afternoon had a dog also ‘seated’ at the table.”

Warwick’s also enjoyed increased traffic and business the day of the parade, its owner said.

Mary Ellen Morgan at Engel & Volkers, a first-time parade sponsor, talked about the experience.

“I think we created a lot of goodwill,” she said. “We were working at a booth where we took photos of owners with their dogs that was a thank you for people who supported the pet parade.”

Morgan said her real estate business, though it may not have gained much directly, benefited enormously indirectly from the event. “It gave us a chance to tell them about our company and that we’re a very pet-friendly shop, always having fresh water and treats for the dogs,” she said.