Top dogs socialize at Vero Beach Hotel & Spa

VERO BEACH —  The Vero Beach Hotel & Spa officially went to the dogs Thursday evening, with a Top Dog competition and leash-cutting ceremony, putting out the welcome mat to our furry friends.  Oliver, the hotel’s director of pet relations, was in top form himself, greeting dogs and humans alike with a sniff and a wag. The surprisingly well behaved dogs ranged in size from tiny Chihuahuas to a large, but quite shy Irish wolfhound, with pure-breeds and shelter dogs socializing paw-to-paw.  Dr. Valerie Biehl, a local veterinarian, even brought birthday hats to celebrate her Burmese Mountain dog Baxter’s second birthday; Baxter looked particularly handsome in his suffer-dude jams.

The canine competitions got underway following the leash-cutting, with pooches vying for prizes donated by Donald O’Leary of Hearth and Hound on Ocean Drive.  Competition was fierce and O’Leary and fellow judges, Connie Cotherman, Phaedra Kohler and Susan Hunt had a hard task ahead of them.

In the end, the winners were Biggest Scaredy Cat – Oghei, owned by Nicole Torre; Biggest Diva – Love, owned by Dr. Susan Love; Best Kisser – Coach, owned by George Young, Jr.; Most Vocal – Harvey owned by Carol O’Conner and Best Looking – Schatze, owned by Herb and Phyllis Bradley.

The sale of raffle tickets for prizes donated by the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, Dr. Biehl and local dog trainer Amy Robinson raised $1,000 for the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County.  At the hotel’s summertime adoption social, the dogs brought in by the Humane Society were all adopted. As part of Kimpton’s nationwide pet program, pets are welcome to stay at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa with no additional fees or deposits. {igallery 67}

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