New York, NY -- What could be better than hundreds of dogs in costumes? How about thousands of New Yorkers celebrating them as they stride down Avenue B.
On Oct. 21, the Tompkins Square Park Dog Run put on its 33rd annual Halloween Dog Parade, and despite multiple obstacles, it was bigger and better than ever before.
Joseph Borduin, lead volunteer at the park and organizer of the parade, had to cancel the parade twice before the city, generous sponsors, and the community came together to save it.
"I couldn't do this without them. We were a three-person operation, like this takes a village and they brought us a city," said Borduin.
Declaring himself the "Head Pooper-Scooper" of Tompkins Square Park's Dog Run, Borduin typically manages the community volunteers who maintain it. But over the years, his responsibilities have expanded to organizing the annual Halloween event that, in turn, raises money to keep the dog run up to date.
Between unforeseen construction disrupting potential venues and costly solutions being the only way forward, Borduin made the tough decision to cancel the event two times.
"But then the mayor reached out and his office and they said 'Joseph, listen, the city needs this,'" Borduin recalled.
Mayor Eric Adams's office was willing to provide any support it could to ensure the event could move forward, but Borduin still needed to find a way to pay for it.
"I get on social media and start to put out requests for help and then I see someone reaching out to me from Get Joy," said Borduin.
Get Joy is a dog-food company centered on health and wellness. Through nutrition, they hope to improve the lives of families and their pets.
"When we learned about the parade being canceled this year, we quickly raised our hand and said, 'How can we help?'," said Tom Arrix, CEO of Get Joy.
"Next thing I know, someone's telling me they want to pay for the entire event. I thought that's just in movie scripts like, this doesn't happen to me. This is not my reality. I clean up dog poop," Borduin said, still in disbelief.
Between sending an army of volunteers, helping with securing permits, and other logistics, Get Joy wanted to step in and support Borduin in any way possible.
Host and Judge Fern Watt described the event as "The Met Gala for New York City's canine community."
"They put their heart and souls into this," said Borduin.