SAN DIEGO — Along with Fourth of July fireworks and barbeques, every year on Independence Day, San Diegans pick the most patriotic pet.
In this Zevely Zone, I went to Rancho Bernardo to host the 12th annual Larry Himmel Memorial Patriotic Pet Contest.
As much as America loves its Independence, we also love our animals. The contest has three categories: Small dogs, large dogs, other animals.
The Patriotic Pet Contest is named after the late CBS 8 reporter Larry Himmel because Larry hosted it five times.
Larry also lived in Rancho Bernardo for more than 30 years with his wife Joan and son Miles who met me on stage.
"Your dad loved hosting this contest because he loved an easy day at the job," I joked. Miles laughed and responded, "That's right! Who doesn't love a dog? Just come out and hang out. Thank you, Jeff, for doing this and keeping this going," said Miles.
Every year, we dress our dogs in patriotic hats, flags and cowboys?
"He has a cowboy who is waving the flag," said Tuhina.
Her dog Teelu was carrying a small stuffed cowboy on his back holding the American flag.
Linda Bloom brought a chihuahua with an identity crisis. Her dog Patches thinks he is a Rottweiler.
"I have no idea why? No idea!" said Linda. There was also Carl and his dog Miller. "He is a mutt and half Poodle and that's about it," said Carl.
When I mentioned that was a very straightforward back story, Carl quipped,
"That's it. I'm here for the car show."
Speeding things along, democracy decided by the biggest round of applause the small dog category winner was, JoJo the surfing Corgi.
In the "other animal" category, a kitty named Saint stood alone. "I think the patriotic bow tie that is probably as as big as she is," said Saint's owner.
In America, bigger is often times better. It was time to meet Rory the Irish Wolf Hound who weighs 150 pounds.
"This is his birthday," said Rory's owner.
On America's birthday at a pet contest there can only be one winner.
"I'm Aubrey and this is my dog Bentley. He is an English Bulldog, but he still loves America," said Aubrey Bowden.
The crowd decided, Bentley should be the face of democracy; a dog covered in red, white and drool.
"The most Patriotic Pet in San Diego is Bentley. The English Bull dog," I announced to the crowd.
Happy Fourth of July! This was the 12th annual Larry Himmel Memorial Patriotic Pet Contest. The event is organized by the Rancho Bernardo Community Council.
The event honors Larry's legacy of storytelling and community spirit in San Diego.
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