Dogs are no strangers to the Tournament of Roses Parades held in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day (or the day after) for the past 135 years. Perhaps most memorably, live surfing dogs and not-so-live digging dogs have been featured on Rose Parade floats. In this year’s parade, dog lovers should keep an eye out for the Pasadena Humane float and, for the first time ever, an official parade “First Dog.”
Pasadena Humane Float Raises Awareness of Homeless Pets
Among the VIDs (very important dogs) in the 2024 parade are those riding on Pasadena Humane’s “Feed the Love” float. In addition to floral pets, the float features a few lucky dogs from the shelter who are now in loving forever homes.
Also riding the float is Lua, a Pit Bull mix who arrived at Pasadena Humane as a stray back in 2022.
“Lua is the perfect representation of many of the ‘longer stay’ shelter dogs at our shelter and other shelters around the country over the past year,” writes Pasadena Humane President Dia DuVernet. “She’s a well-mannered, middle-aged, large-breed dog who is likely overlooked due to her breed, age and size.”
Lua is “sweet, playful, and extremely loving, and adored by our staff, volunteers and her foster family,” Pasadena Humane wrote in a Facebook post. “Lua is honored to be representing all the amazing dogs in shelters across the country who are waiting for their new homes.”
First-Ever Official Rose Parade ‘First Dog’
The first-ever official Tournament of Roses Parade “First Dog” is Murphy, a 5-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever who just happens to belong to Tournament of Roses President Alex Aghajanian. Murphy will be riding with his family on a double-decker red Omnibus,
“I knew about a year and a half after we got him that including him in the parade was a way to include other dog lovers,” Aghajanian told the Los Angeles Daily News. This year’s parade theme is “Celebrating the World of Music: The Universal Language,” and Aghajanian also wanted to celebrate his love of dogs.
Murphy’s official coat was created at Maestro’s Custom Tailors in Sierra Madre, Calif. It’s made of silk, with loops for a fancy bow-tie collar. Murphy had to visit the shop a few times for fittings—and to get used to those fittings.
“He’s not a human,” Kristine Keshishyan, whose husband designed Murphy’s coat, told the Daily News. “Because when you say, ‘Stand up,’ he lays down.” Murphy was given some treats to help make the fittings go more smoothly.
Keshishyan has been afraid of dogs since she was a little girl, but “First Dog” Murphy changed that. “It’s the first time in my life I petted a dog,” she told the Daily News. “It was a good day.”
Aghajanian said Murphy is the smartest dog he’s ever known. “It makes you want to talk to him, but then, when you ask him a question, you realize he can’t talk back to you,” he told the Daily News.
Happy New Year! My wish for 2024—besides world peace—is that Lua and all other amazing adoptable dogs find the loving homes they deserve.
The 135th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade livestreams and airs on various channels starting at 8 a.m. PST on Jan. 1, 2024.
Photo: Pasadena Humane