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Dogs, owners gather for a good time in Fort Mill

One came wearing her purple Clemson Tigers tutu. Another had on a harness with a stuffed horse jockey. Many wore festive Halloween bandanas.

They all came to Walter Elisha Park hoping to sniff out a good time.

Dog-lovers, their canine companions and animal rescue advocates gathered Saturday for the fifth annual Dog Gone Good Time Festival to benefit the Humane Society of York County.

Wearing her best Clemson outfit – just like her human companions – miniature pinscher Bailey sat atop one of her humans, Lucas Johnson, as she watched other dogs run around sniffing each other, drinking from large bowls of water scattered throughout the park, and winning prizes.

“We love taking her to places where there are other dogs,” said her other human, Leanna Brazzell, while looking at a photo of the pooch perched on Johnson’s chest. “Look at her, she’s smiling.”

Proceeds from the event will help the rescue group provide food, medicine and shelter for dogs and cats, which costs the Humane Society nearly $34,000 a month. Organizers also hope the event will promote adoptions.

Proud owners strutted their dogs in front of judges for canine-pride-worthy competitions such as “Best Black Dog,” “Best Oversized Lap Dog” and “Happiest Dog.”

The best-in-black dog award went to a pug named Duke, who glanced over at Kathy Hawkins of the Humane Society as she showed him his blue ribbon. Duke curled his tongue out, panted a little and focused his attention on the other black dogs as they walked from the judging area to sniff out a new adventure.

While the Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and miniature dachshunds darted around during the “Happiest Dog” contest, several of the larger dogs plopped down seemingly just to take in the scene.

Missy, the large black poodle, wanted to prove she had earned the title of “Best Oversized Lap Dog.” Jaime Battaglia picked up the competitive pooch and walked around the judging circle as Missy proudly straddled her human – never once trying to wriggle away.

She didn’t take home the title, but she did win “honorable mention.”

Oscar the miniature dachshund only came in second for “Happiest Dog,” but you wouldn’t know it by the way he skipped around chasing his green tennis ball. His human, Edward Daniels, proudly admits his rescue dog is a winner.

“He came in second place two years in a row at the wiener race in Rock Hill,” he said. “He’ll be in it again in October.”