Dogs, owners strut their stuff at ‘Harleywood’ fashion show

Bob Barker would be proud.

Dog owners and lovers descended upon Harley-Davidson of Baton Rouge on Saturday for a dog fashion show in which the proceeds benefit Spay Baton Rouge. It’s mission to help control the pet population by providing spaying and neutering for cats and dogs, is a cause near and dear to the former “Price is Right” host’s heart.

The show, dubbed the “Harleywood K9 Fashion Contest,” featured 17 dogs in two groups, under and over 20 pounds, and provided plenty of laughs, ohhhs, ahhhhs, sniffing and cuddling.

Dogs of every shape, color and size — from a tiny 4-month-old Maltese to a 160-pound Great Dane that has been featured in ESPN The Magazine — graced the red carpet with their owners, some of whom dressed in tandem with their pooches.

Highlights of the show included two huge Great Danes modeling LSU apparel, a 5-year-old Boxer dressed as the Cookie Monster and a teacup Chihuahua that refused to stay on the red carpet, choosing instead to work the crowd in true diva fashion.

The group raised $630 on Saturday, up from $550 last year, fundraising coordinator Noelle Harper said.

“I’m hoping that as we do this year after year that people will be more aware of it because it’s adorable,” said Sandra DiTusa, executive director and founder of Spay Baton Rouge. “Us crazy people who love their pets want to do stuff like this because it’s fun.”

Spay Baton Rouge was founded in 2005 and began offering spay and neuter services in March 2006.

“We’re helping people who wouldn’t normally be able to fix their pet to fix them,” she said.

DiTusa said in 2007, 11,128 pets were impounded in the parish and of that number, 9,559 were euthanized.

In 2012, 8,137 were impounded and 3,571 were euthanized.

“I think Spay Baton Rouge is really affecting the impound numbers,” DiTusa said.

They have helped spay or neuter more than 11,000 animals in seven years, she said.

Spectators without a dog were asked to donate to watch the show and the three-judge panel accepted and pushed for “bribes,” which also went to Spay Baton Rouge.

Vicki McCarroll and her 1-year-old terrier, Lily, were newcomers to the dog fashion circuit, but no one could tell because of Lily’s cool demeanor.

McCarroll adopted Lily about a month ago and entered the show as a way to spread Spay Baton Rouge’s message.

“It breaks my heart every day 11,000 pets are put to sleep and their only crime is that they’re in a shelter,” she said.

Niki Marie Hansen, owner of Jezebel, the Boxer dressed in a chopped-up blue bath robe as the Cookie Monster, is a veteran of the dog fashion show. Last year, Hansen and her 9-year-old blue Doberman, Parker, won Best Dynamic Duo dressed as Red Riding Hood and the wolf in grandmother’s clothing.

Her winning streak continued Saturday with Jezebel as Cookie Monster and her as the cookie.

“She’s just goofy and loves her cookies,” Hansen said of the Boxer. “I like to play to my animals’ attributes.”