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Keys Blog

Little Dogs Make Big Splash In Annual Key West New Year's Parade

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Nancy Klingener
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WLRN

Key Westers and their canine companions, more specifically ones of the short-legged variety, took to the streets Wednesday for the island's 10th annual Dachshund Walk. This year an estimated 175 dachshunds took part, along with 75 dogs of other breeds, including a chihuahua flash mob.

Ruth Reiter started the event with her late dachshund Schumann, inspired by an event called HowlOWeenie in Atlanta where she used to live.

"After [Hurricane] Wilma, I just thought this town needed something fun, free and funky," she said.

It is that. Some of the dogs sport costumes, others wear signs or ride with their owners on motorized scooters. Participants traveled from all over the country.

"They asked to come," said Jeffrey Billinger of Los Angeles, who was at the parade with his dachshunds, Mr. Bailey and Bella Blue.

Besides dachshunds and chihuahuas, there were dogs of several short-legged varieties, such as Yorkies, basset hounds and Boston terriers. There were also a few of mixed breed and at least one golden retriever.

But according to the stickers handed out to the crowd, dachshunds are the "official dog of Key West."

"Why not bring the new year in with a little wiener?" asked organizer Les Steele. "It makes you smile."

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Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
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WLRN
Kathy Salazar and Molly the dachshund get ready for Wednesday's Dachshund Walk in Key West.
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Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
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WLRN
Kiwi is clearly not a dachshund but was getting in the spirit with his wiener dog outfit.
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Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
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WLRN
Frankie, a wirehaired dachshund from Myrtle Beach, S.C., wore Mexican attire for the event.
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Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
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WLRN
Jeffrey Billinger brought his two dachshunds, including Mr. Bailey, from Los Angeles. "They asked to come," he said.
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Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN
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WLRN
Grace Manger of Key West and her chihuahua, Louie, dressed alike in pirate outfits.