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Mardi Growl Grand Marshall -- Little Brown Dog

little brown dogKNOXVILLE -- Little Brown Dog - who touched the hearts of dog lovers close to home and around the world after being severely injured when her former owner dragged her behind a pickup truck - will be the grand marshal when Knoxville's Mardi Growl takes to the streets tomorrow.

The fourth annual costume parade for dogs and their owners in downtown Knoxville is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 5, beginning at the city's PetSafe Downtown Dog Park. The park is located on the corner of Summit Hill Drive and Central Avenue.

A festival on Market Square will follow from noon-2 p.m.

Parade prizes will be awarded to dogs with the best costume, the most volunteer spirit and canine congeniality. There is also a pet-owner look-alike prize and the "Naked Dog Award" for the most handsome non-costumed dog. Last year more than 350 pets and their owners donned their Mardi Gras costumes and joined the celebration.

"We're thrilled that the excitement and attendance for Mardi Growl continue to grow year after year," said Tim Adams, executive director of Young-Williams Animal Center. "This fun, festive celebration raises funds that help us shelter adoptable animals as we work to find them forever homes. Mardi Growl is great example of our community's commitment to make the Knoxville area recognized as the nation's Pet Friendliest community."

Knoxville's Mardi Growl is produced by the City of Knoxville and Young-Williams Animal Center, and event sponsors include PetSafe, WBIR-TV, B97.5 and the Knoxville News Sentinel. Mardi Growl aims to raise awareness of the pet adoption efforts of Young-Williams, and the event's proceeds benefit Young-Williams.

All Knoxvillians are invited to come downtown to watch the parade featuring Little Brown Dog and join in the festivities on Market Square.

Little Brown Dog goes by Sasha Brown now after being adopted by Dr. Patti Sura, an assistant professor and surgeon at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center who treated her in 2009.

The story of the 17-pound dog's abuse and recovery drew widespread attention and UT's Veterinary Medical Center received thousands in donations from scores of people in East Tennessee, across the United States, in Canada and Europe.

"Little Brown Dog is a perfect choice to lead Knoxville in a celebration of animals," Adams said. "She reminds us all of the unconditional love, trust and uplifting spirit that pets bring into our lives, and she's a symbol of the generosity and passion of the animal supporters in our community."

Mardi Growl festivities on Market Square feature services like $10 microchip identification and rabies vaccinations booths; pet-related product vendors; and animal rescue groups, among other attractions. Many of Market Square's restaurants feature pet-friendly patios.

The first 750 Mardi Growl registrants will receive a doggie goody bag that includes pet products and information as well as a festive Mardi Growl boa for pet owners to wear during the parade. On-site registration is $15 and starts at 9 a.m. at the PetSafe Downtown Dog Park.

Pet owners who would like to remember a pet and support Young-Williams can have their deceased pet's name added on the "Rainbow Bridge" for $10. The memorial bridge will be located in Market Square on the day of the event.

For more information on Mardi Growl, to register for the parade or have a pet name included in the Rainbow Bridge memorial, visit or call 865-215-6599. Additional information is available at

The Young-Williams Animal Center is the official animal shelter for Knox County and the City of Knoxville. The center is a nonprofit organization, community-supported through public and private donations, that turns no animal away and is dedicated to the sheltering and placement of animals, general animal welfare, and public education of companion animal issues.

Young-Williams Animal Center is located off Sutherland Avenue at the entrance to John Tarleton Park at 3201 Division St. and is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Young-Williams Animal Village is located at 6400 Kingston Pike adjacent to Deane Hill Drive. It offers animal adoptions seven days a week from noon-6 p.m.

Published March 4, 2011

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