Photos by Catherine Alford, Traven Stout, and Emily Hirtle

The Luckiest Dogs in Louisiana

09:00 March 17, 2021
By: Laurel Shimasaki

This St. Patrick's Day, the Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws are manifesting their own luck—for shelter pets. After the krewe's fetching dog house floats project last month, the krewe has partnered with Baldwin Subaru to "raise attention for some of the more difficult to adopt dogs" from St. Tammany Parish Animal Shelter.

Complete with its own website, the You Lucky Dog (+ A Cat or Two!) initiative is working hard to get homes for the unhoused pets with the most love to give. "The pandemic continues to throw high intake animal shelters a curve with adoption appointments limited and off-site events very restricted," the website explains. "There are only three ways animals get out of a shelter. By adoption, by transports, or by euthanasia, and we do not want to see the third choice happening. Will you help us spread the word?"

In addition, Mardi Paws is holding its own photo contest. Six winners will be named in six different categories: Get your Green On, Best Owner/Dog, Best Leprechaun, Most Creative Dog, Who's Your Paddy?, and Who's the Greenest of Them All? Winners in each category will win prize packages, and the best overall St. Patrick's Day costume or themed pet will receive a photo package by NOLA photographer Traven Stout. To enter, email up to 3 photos per dog by March 28 at 6 p.m. (the email address is available on You Lucky Dog's website). Already, the month-long photo contest has generated a great response. Check out the charming photos (we are obsessed with Precious Jochum) for inspiration.

One dapper dog, Swampy, had a story that grabbed the attention of national outlets like Southern Living, Yahoo! News and Entertainment, and People. "Swampy's original parent passed away just a few short months ago, leaving him orphaned and alone," the People article explained. "A kind, homeless individual took him under their wing but eventually had to give him up too."

Garbed in a shamrock vest, orange bowtie, and leprechaun hat, the 15-year-old bully breed mix grinned for the camera. After seeing Swampy's story online, people fell for his charming underbite and the shelter received calls from across the country.

A pup-date on Swampy's Get Lucky, Adopt Me! page explained that "the drawback was that Swampy has lived his entire 15 years as an only dog with very little socialization, and, as a result, he occasionally has snapped when other dogs get in his face." A solution was found when Baywater Animal Rescue in Maryland found a fitting foster home for Swampy. He moved on March 14, and though he's not in Louisiana anymore, the Krewe of Mardi Paws promises to keep us updated.

Swampy is just one success story, and the folks behind You Lucky Dog hope to keep racking up wins and homes for pets. St. Tammany Parish Animal Shelter is offering half-off pet adoption pricing all March long. Each adoptive dog/cat parent will receive a "Lucky Charm" bandana and free shamrock that will enter them in a chance to win a small tote packed with a feeding bowl, toys, and treats.

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