February 19, 2014 - When Henry the hound mix first came to Young-Williams Animal Center, he had been hit by a car in North Knoxville. A dislocated hip and broken pelvis left him unable to move his back legs.
Henry was much closer to death than adoption.
Yet, thanks to two surgeries made possible by the Harry and Carolyn Galbraith Animal Compassion Fund, Henry regained his strength and was adopted in August 2013, earning him the honor of grand marshal at the Seventh Annual Mardi Growl Parade and Festival on Saturday, March 1.
The Clayton Foundation, City of Knoxville and Friends of Young-Williams Animal Center invite all Knoxville-area pet owners, animal lovers and furry friends to celebrate this inspirational dog, while enjoying the day's festivities and supporting the animal shelter. The event features a pet-friendly parade at 11 a.m. and a festival in Market Square from noon-2 p.m.
"Henry's story has the ending we want for all of our animals," said Jeff Ashin, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. "He reminds us of how meaningful a new beginning can be for the animals in our shelter who are looking for a loving home. Henry has inspired many of us to really cherish life with our pets. What better way to celebrate than by walking in the Mardi Growl parade with your dog?
"We hope every Knoxville pet owner and animal lover will come to Mardi Growl to have fun and enjoy the festivities – all while supporting the adoption of animals through Young-Williams."
All proceeds from the annual Mardi Growl event benefit Young-Williams Animal Center, and everyone, with or without pets, is encouraged to come downtown to watch the parade and partake in the festival.
"The annual Mardi Growl event has become a tradition in Knoxville, celebrating our community's pet-friendly initiatives and commitment to animal welfare," Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. "The event is a great way to raise awareness and funds for Young-Williams Animal Center, so that the shelter can help even more animals in need like Henry."
The costume parade for dogs and their owners is set for 11 a.m. on March 1. Early registration for the parade is $15 per dog and ends Friday, Feb. 26, and the first 1,000 Mardi Growl registrants will receive goodie bags. Registration is available at www.young-williams.org.
Day-of-event registration is $20 per dog and starts at 9 a.m. The parade begins at the PetSafe Downtown Dog Park located at the corner of Summit Hill Drive and Central Street in downtown Knoxville.
Parade prizes will be awarded to dogs in categories including Best Vol Spirit, Ugliest, Pet/Owner Look-alike, Best Dog Couple, Best Costume, Best Dog Pawk and Most Unique Mixed Breed/Mutt.
Following the parade, the pet-friendly festival on Market Square from noon-2 p.m. will include pet-related product vendors; $10 microchips and $10 rabies vaccinations; animal welfare and rescue group booths; face painting and balloon animals; and more.
Knoxville's Mardi Growl is presented by the Clayton Foundation, City of Knoxville and Friends of Young-Williams Animal Center, and event sponsors include WBIR-TV, Channel 10; B97.5; Merial's HeartGuard Plus and FrontLine Plus; DeRoyal Industries; Hill's Science Diet; Haslam 3 Foundation; Enrichment Federal Credit Union; Pinnacle Bank; Brittany and Whitfield Bailey; Young Williams Law Firm; Harper Fiat; Smart Bank; and Erie Insurance.