If every dog has its day, for dachshunds in Key West that "day" is New Year's Eve. About 200 of the short-legged, long-bodied dogs and their owners are to stroll through the island's picturesque downtown during the ninth annual Key West Dachshund Walk.
Set for noon Tuesday, Dec. 31, the smile-inducing event provides an informal, family-friendly prelude to nighttime New Year's Eve revelry. Dachshunds, their human companions and fans are scheduled to gather at the corner of Whitehead and Fleming streets to begin the canine celebration.
Many dogs typically wear offbeat costumes or accessories. Standouts in last year's parade included dachshunds dressed as wieners in oversized fabric buns, a duo portraying rival NFL cheerleaders, a bride and groom garbed in formal wedding attire and a four-legged ballerina sporting a purple tutu.
The walking route, deliberately kept brief to cater to the dachshunds' short legs, is to encompass the 400 block of Fleming Street, 500 block of legendary Duval Street and entire one-block length of Appelrouth Lane. Old or sedentary participants can ride along in wagons or strollers.
A supply wagon is to carry water for thirsty walkers and plastic bags for quick cleanup of any accidents — as well as providing transport for dogs that get tired along the way.
Parading pooches are expected to include miniature and standard dachshunds ranging from shorthaired to wirehaired to longhaired. In addition, each year a few canines from other breeds manage to take part, becoming honorary dachshunds for the day.
There is no cost to participate, but donations of dog and cat food are requested for the community pet-food pantry operated by St. Mary Star of the Sea Outreach Mission.
Spectators can watch the pooch parade and meet the participants on Fleming Street between Whitehead and Duval streets.