Puppy pageant draws crowds to fundraise

Tank the Saint Bernard waits in-between sessions of the WKU circle of sisterhood’s puppy pageant on March 31. This segment of the pageant featured dogs and their owners in accompanying costumes.

Julie Sisler

WKU’s finest gathered at the Colonnade on Sunday afternoon — WKU’s finest pups, that is.

Twelve pups and their owners entered the Circle of Sisterhood’s first annual puppy pageant that day.

Event coordinator Haley Doerr said she was excited to have involvement both from the Greek community and other organizations and members of the WKU community.

“I thought the turnout was great,” Doerr said. “We had a number of puppies across different organizations and throughout WKU.”

The pageant included categories like spirit wear, costume wear and talent. Puppy-owner duos were judged on things like outfit coordination, how well behaved the puppy was and how they responded to essay questions within the application.

The Colonnade was filled with laughter and awe as attendees saw dogs play fetch, shake hands and stand on their hind legs.

Jessica Undis said she brought her 2-year-old border collie mix, Tuy, because the event sounded fun. She was excited for the opportunity to show her adorable pup off.

“I just think he’s really cute, and I want to show him off to people,” Undis said. “I just thought he’d be perfect to perform with.”

Undis and Tuy sported matching homemade shirts that sported the letters of Undis’ sorority, Sigma Kappa. Undis said she spent a few hours preparing the costumes for the event as well as training Tuy to shake hands and give her a kiss on the cheek.

Nikki Held, who entered her 3-month-old golden retriever, Briley, said she didn’t do much on the training side but was going for the cuteness factor.

“We’re just going to fetch,” Held said. “And stand there and look cute.”

Blake Kontgias said he was there to show support.

“I’m here to support Sigma Kappa,” Kontgias said. “And my son, Tuy.”

Doerr said the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation supports organizations that work to remove barriers in the education of women, and the event raised money for organizations that support women’s rights and education throughout the world.

“We aim to fund entities regardless of location, but we are particularly interested in the United States and developing countries,” Doerr said. “We hope to help end oppressive brutality against women internationally by uplifting them from poverty through education. Since our founding in 2010, we’ve been able to support organizations working to remove barriers to education in 24 countries on four continents.”

Held said she entered Briley because she believes the Circle of Sisterhood supports a great cause.

“I think this cause is significant to anybody — any woman in general,” Held said. “Providing education to girls that don’t have the abilities or resources to get it on their own, it’s such an important and good cause to support.”

To Undis, Circle of Sisterhood and the puppy pageant provide the community with a common cause to unite them.

“Young women in other countries are just not as likely to get a good education,” Undis said. “I think it’s great that the whole community can rally around it and come together to support this cause.”

Aside from the cause, the event attracted attendees who were looking to get some stress relief via spending time with cute puppies.

“Anytime you get to see dogs is a good time,” Kontgias said.

Doerr said she hopes this event will serve as a relaxing opportunity that will keep attendees coming back each year.

“This event is a time to de-stress from any school or outside obligations,” Doerr said. “The puppy pageant will be an opportunity to witness and cheer on the cutest pups.”

Ethan Handel and his puppy, Blitz, took home the first place prize. They were rewarded for their efforts with a basket of goodies.

Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Julie on social media at @julie_sisler.