Dog lovers’ paradise at Fiesta 4 Paws 2017

April 25, 2017 GMT

It’s not an official Fiesta event, but Fiesta 4 Paws, now in its 12th year, has the same kind of colorful, friendly spirit that marks San Antonio’s favorite party season.

Organized by Dr. Olga Jaimez in the parking lot of her 4 Paws Animal Hospital, 3630 S.E. Military Drive, the festivities bring together dogs and dog lovers of all kinds for a costume contest, hat contest, “show us your shoes” contest and a general all-around good time.

“I grew up on the South Side,” said Jaimez, a veterinarian. “I know Fiesta can be expensive, so we wanted to have a free event for the community, so everybody can come party with us.”

Thelma and Rudy Rodriguez are frequent winners with their creative entries. On April 22, their five small dogs played the parts of the late Selena, her entourage and, in a macabre turn that delighted the crowd, even the woman who was convicted of killing the Tejano star. That dog, wearing a black wig with aplomb, poked his head from jail bars that were on the back side of the stage where Selena posed with a microphone.

“It’s a fun community event,” said Thelma Rodriguez, who recently retired from Lanier High School.

“You get to know other people who love dogs. San Antonio needs to get more pet-friendly. We’re on a good roll and we need to keep it rolling.”

More than 40 dogs were registered for the free contest, which had numerous prizes for the winners. There were free sodas, free nachos and free cake for everybody.

Dottie and Erica Foneseca brought their daughter, 2-year-old Alexandria, and three of their five dogs to the costume contest. They also have two cats at home. The happy little girl and frisky dogs were dressed as yellow-and-black bumblebees.

“We love animals,” said Dottie Foneseca, 46, a counselor at Southside High School.

Many of the dogs that attended the event were rescues, such as Mary Pitt’s Jellybean, a tripod who was “driving” a taco truck for the contest. Pitt, 34, said she had created the highly detailed moving truck, complete with food items and a sink inside, Friday night.

“I just got out of the hospital, I had pneumonia, but I’ve been looking forward to this all year,” Pitt said, beaming. “I enjoy meeting other dogs and people who love dogs.

“Jellybean is a rescue,” she added. “When I first looked in her eyes, she had this diva-ness. I just love her. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!”

Geneva and Paul Baker brought three of their eight Chihuahuas to the party: Sherry was dressed as Frida Kahlo, with a unibrow lined above her eyes; Bailey was wearing a colorful serape; and Champagne had a colorful flower wreath around her neck.

“These are my Homeland Security,” Geneva Baker, 57, said. “They don’t let anyone come near the house.”

This was the second year that the Bakers brought their dogs to Fiesta 4 Paws.

“It’s a family event,” said Paul Baker, 56. “Some people really go all out. You get to see different sizes, different kinds of dogs. It’s a lot of fun.”