On December 29th, the dog-friendly cafe - Paws for Coffee - organised a special event where East Sheen residents and their loyal companions could partake in a festive parade down the high street.

Dressed in full festive attire, dogs joined their owners in Paws for Coffee to kick off the celebration with a complimentary coffee, a bag of dog treats and a puppacchino; the dogs seemed to adore the combination of goat’s milk and black pudding in the treat but the owners seemed a little less infatuated! The group of 30 (or so) mingled with their fellow dogs and owners and sized up the competition for the costume contest yet to come.

11 o’clock heralded the start of the joyful parade; the group of locals processed down the street, accompanied by their canine companions and a few excited exclamations from passers-by. Arriving at the first ‘pup-stop’, owners collected a gift bag of treats for their lucky pooches. Sheen Pets Shop then greeted the congregation with yet another batch of doggie snacks as pup-stop number two. At last they reached The Hare and Hounds pub where the costume competition would commence and the dogs could finally be treated to their well-earned snacks.

With such a stylish bunch of dogs the judging proved quite difficult, however a final decision was made, settling on resident yellow labrador, Luna, as the winner. She donned a vibrant Santa Claus costume comprised of a red t-shirt, a matching Santa hat and a full white beard to really complete the outfit. Such dedication to her character and costume (despite a couple wardrobe malfunctions) really earned her the top spot. Second place was awarded to Summer the snowman and third to Lottie the reindeer. They all won various treats and toys, while the owners were gifted £10 vouchers for the cafe.

The collaboration of founder and manager of Paws for Coffee, Louise Rawlinson, with the East Sheen Business and Retail Association proved very effective; both offered up their skills to create a family-friendly, dog-friendly and highly rewarding experience for the East Sheen locals, which supported various local businesses. Thomas Jones (Luna's owner) stated, "It was a really fun experience. I hope we can make it an annual event!" 

The day also acted as a charity event; the entry fees of all the contestants were donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

My article also appears here: http://www.eastsheenvillage.co.uk/santa-paws-lots-of-fun-at-the-first-east-sheen-puppy-parade/