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Our Laguna: Chili, dogs take their star turns at parade

Canines, chili and cats captivated the crowd at the 13th annual Laguna Beach Pet Parade and Chili Cook-off Saturday at Tivoli Too.

Nine contestants vied for Best Chili Recipe — judged by Gloria Fine, restaurateur Michael Kang, police Sgt. Jason Kravetz, Angie Miller and Donna Macey, subbing for her husband, Fire Chief Michael Macey.

Prudential California Realty was the winner. K’ya came in second, followed by the Marine Room Tavern.

Michelle Boyd cooked the Mar Bar entry and Aggie Dougherty and Sandy Davenport served it.


Other entries included 2008 winner HOM Real Estate Group; Rosanne Kline’s recipe for Surterre Properties Inc.; Tesor Properties; and Team Laguna, led by Dani Purcell, which featured chili from Nick’s on South Coast Highway and won the People’s Choice Award.

The pet contest was judged by Mayor Kelly Boyd, Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, Jeff Booth, and veterinarians James Levine and Matthew Wheaton.

They had plenty to judge. There were two cats and 72 dogs entered in five categories. Some of the pets were entered in more than one category, but none of them got more applause than Bogart, a Boston bull terrier, judged the Most Gorgeous Senior (10 and older).

Bogart, who lives with Dan and Corin Mulrenin, who took it all in stride, got a standing ovation as he ambled around the show area.


A Yorkie, named Chester, came in second.

Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she invented kittens and puppies. Aaahs greeted the entries in the baby pet category. It was puppy love that gave Amy Spence’s Cona first prize. And cockapoo Murphy did owner Laura Dowdy proud coming in second.

Thurston Middle School Principal Joanne Culverhouse kept the parade lively, introducing the pets and their owners in nonstop talk and wisecracking with the audience for two straight hours — she remarked that at least one of the dogs needed serious therapy when Elvis and Priscilla were introduced together in the male category. She also introduced Mark Lease’s Scampi, an entry in the best costume category, as the flower child from “Woofstock.”

However, Kathie Taylor’s black standard poodle named Jetta, costumed in honor of Chippendale’s, took first place. Lance Stewart’s Diva was the runner-up.

Pipsqueek was chosen as the prettiest female in the contest, followed by a King Charles Spaniel named Calie. Pearson’s cocker Spaniel, Sophie, won the award a few years back.

Runner up in the Most Handsome Male category was a 14-month old Rottweiler named Max, owned by Bijan Charachhin. The winner was Russell.

Tyler Murray provided the music for each entry, chosen to suit the animal’s name or the breed — an amazing feat because the pet registration was only an hour or so before the contest began at 1:15 p.m.

Each entry in the contest paid $10. Chili tastes were $1 each.


The event grossed more than $11,000, according to Caroline Raines, co-chairwoman with Marcus Skenderian. Proceeds will benefit the Laguna Animal Shelter, the Pacific Marine Animal Center, Bluebell Foundation for Cats, all in Laguna, and the Pet Rescue Center in Mission Viejo.

The animal shelter is “life-oriented,” meaning efforts are made to find either the owners of animals picked up in Laguna or a compatible new home. Meantime, they are given needed medical care, including neutering and spaying.

Volunteers help staff the shelter, taking phone calls, greeting visitors and walking the dogs.

For more information, call (949) 497-3552 or visit the shelter at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, open daily form 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The marine mammal center rescues and cares for stranded sea lions and seals. When healthy, the animals are released back into the ocean, often at Crescent Bay Beach. It is always a celebration.

Each of the released animals is tagged with an identification number, color coded to indicate treatment and where it was given.

Volunteers are welcomed by the professional staff.

The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, next to the animal shelter.


Bluebell Foundation provides a haven for cats. Right now about 50 are sheltering at the two-acre facility at 20982 Laguna Canyon Road. Some are available for adoption, but many will live out their lives at Bluebell, a fully-licensed nonprofit.

The Pet Rescue Center provides a temporary sanctuary until new homes can be found for rescued pets, which are given medical care. The center also offers lost cost spay and neuter services to the public and works with established shelters and animal groups working against unnecessary euthanasia, due to pet overpopulation.

Flying High

Dr. James. G. Hall graduated from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1961. A year later, the young doctor was yanked from his internship and sent to tend U.S. Army pilots and flight crews in Vietnam.

“Through the Eyes of a Tiger: An Army Flight Surgeon’s Vietnam Journal” by Dr. Jay Hoyland, Hall’s pen name, recounts his transition from a civilian physician to a captain in the army, serving for a year at the Soc Trang Airfield in the Mekong Delta.

“We provided many medical evacuations of American and Vietnamese soldiers from scattered locations to Soc Trant: each one an adventure,” Hall said. “We lost pilots and soldiers to enemy gunfire and helicopter crashes, each one a difficult loss.

“The military is a brotherhood and this year [in the service] provided me with rich friendships. It was not all war and conflict. Our units helped the children and staff at a local orphanage and leprosarium. We collected enough money to buy a washing machine for the orphanage.

“Off hours, we gathered regularly at our Tigers’ Den for recreation and movies and enjoyed and appreciated the infrequent USO shows.”

The book offers a personal view of the period in American history that ended with the assassination of Vietnamese President Diem and three weeks later the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Hall will be reading from his book from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Latitude 33 Bookstore, 311 Ocean Ave. Beverages and Vietnamese appetizers will be served. Hall grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. After his discharge from active service, he completed his residency in adult and child psychiatry. Hall practiced in Orange County for more than 30 years and is now retired. “Through the Eyes of a Tiger” is not his first book. He previously wrote “The Palace of Versailles: A Novel.”

Hall and his wife, Janifer, live in Laguna Beach.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; call (949) 380-4321 or e-mail