Dog-O-Ween is a howl

Alex Merkle-Raymond, Author

The second annual Dog-O-Ween event, created by a Palo Alto High School alumna and hosted by City of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto Animal Shelter, took place at Rinconada Park this past weekend.

Dog-O-Ween was started by Kristen DeStefano, Class of 2014, last year. DeStefano worked at Friends of Palo Alto Animal Shelter and came up with this idea for the annual fundraiser from an event she saw at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve when she was little.

“My involvement was planning out what costume categories there were, helping find sponsors and [recruiting] volunteers [from] high schools,” DeStefano said. “I met with the Palo Alto city planner to figure out all the restrictions Palo Alto has about fundraisers in their parks so we could plan around it.”

The categories the dogs are judged on are “Scariest Dressed,” “Best Group Theme,” “Best Couple Costume (dog and owner)” and “Most Imaginative Costume.” There are prizes for dogs that win in each of these categories, and there is also a raffle to win gift cards from places like CREAM, Fraiche and Sam’s Chowder House.

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Almost a dozen Paly students volunteer with FOPAAS during the week and showed up at Dog-O-Ween to volunteer and participate, including the FOPAAS youth board liaison and Paly senior Kylie Wilson.

“I didn’t hear about Dog-O-Ween until I started working for FOPAAS,” Wilson said. “It’s pretty new, but it got a pretty good turn out for only being the second year.”

Last year, some of the money raised from Dog-O-Ween went to cataract surgery for a stray dog, who can now see and has found a new home. There was a large turnout of dogs, most of which were costumed, and spectators, most of which donated to FOPAAS to help raise money for its cause.

“I don’t have a dog, but I think they’re the best things in the world, so it was the thrill of a lifetime to hang out for a couple hours with some dogs in Halloween costumes,” senior Riley Cassidy said.