The pandemic has disrupted so many things in so many lives, big and small.
The temporary absence of “Pets on Parade” falls somewhere in between. The Arizona Humane Society’s weekly animal adoption television show first aired on December 8, 1958 and aired through March 2020 when the incredible series was put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now it’s back.
Pets on Parade returned to Channel 3 (KTVK) on October 15. It airs Saturdays at 11:30 am
“Having ‘Pets on Parade’ back on the air after a two-year hiatus has been absolutely incredible,” Kelsey Dickerson, the show’s host, said via email. “It feels like we’ve never been away!”
This is really cause for celebration. The big irony, of course, is that “Pets on Parade” would have been most valuable during the pandemic, when people could have capitalized on the goofy good vibes — and found homes for animals they needed.
But the show was never quite gone.
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Pets on Parade went live during the pandemic
“While the length of the off-air show was unknown, AHS was working to provide weekly content through its social media series ‘Pets on Parade: On the Road’ – a miniature version of the show that featured an adoptable each week and other events related to AHS on the shelter’s Facebook and YouTube channels,” Dickerson said.
That’s a good thing – because people were looking for it.
“During the pandemic, we received dozens of requests from delighted viewers about when the show might return, which further fueled our fire and desire to bring the show back,” Dickerson said. “We are so grateful to these loyal viewers who share their adoption stories with us and tune in every week.”
There’s no question that Pets on Parade provides valuable services.
“Not only is it the cutest show on TV, it’s inspirational and life-saving,” Dickerson said. “’Pets on Parade’ provides a unique opportunity to feature adorable, adoptable pets from the Arizona Humane Society each week and to highlight the lifesaving work AHS does for the Valley’s most vulnerable pets – the sick, injured and abused homeless pets. ”
A show that looks and feels local in the best possible way
But there’s something else important about Pets on Parade. You can now stream pretty much anything you want, whenever you want. (In fact, you can find weekly episodes of Pets on Parade on YouTube.) And the idea of a TV channel has become similar to the idea of a telegraph – you’ve heard of it, but nobody really uses it anymore.
That was not always so. But as more people become network-agnostic, that’s trickling down to some extent to local stations. They used to be the place to go to find goofy characters to host weekend horror movies or morning kids’ shows. They still have morning shows that are local copies of “Today” or “Good Morning America,” and most have a sports show, but this weird do-it-yourself show is harder to find.
Pets on Parade is one such show.
It looks and feels local in the best possible way. And precisely because animals are such an important element — and since animals are so notoriously unpredictable — there’s an easy-going nature that adds a lot to its appeal. Who doesn’t want to see a dog howl or a cat squirm as they help spread the word for a good cause?
“Thanks to the show, there’s a unified voice for the voiceless pets that AHS cares for every day,” Dickerson said. “From animal education and resources for pet owners, to feel-good stories and tales of rescue and survival, alongside crazy kittens filling the screen or big goofy puppies attacking our volunteers with kisses, the show brings such special joy to our hearts that only pets can do.”
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The show “really is an Arizona staple” that’s gotten even better
That’s not to say the show wasn’t professionally produced. It is. And the unexpected break made it even more so.
“Although we missed ‘Pets on Parade’ when it wasn’t on the air, the hiatus gave us an opportunity to modernize the look of the show while still retaining the nostalgic feel we all know and love,” Dickerson said. “POP is truly an Arizona staple, and we couldn’t be happier with the new ways we can highlight our adoptable pets while bringing cute puppy and kitten antics straight to our viewers’ homes.”
Dickerson grew up with her family watching the show, which was hosted by the late Marge Wright for years.
“Watching POP with my grandmother is one of my earliest memories,” Dickerson said, “and to now be able to say I’m the host is such a beautiful, full-circle moment. It is a great honor and a privilege that is dear to my heart. I am so grateful for this role in supporting AHS’s sick, injured and abused pets and to everyone who makes this possible for me each week.”
Pets on Parade will be 65 years old in 2023. That’s a good run for any show, pandemic or not. And Dickerson sees no signs of stopping.
“The show has stood the test of time,” she said, “and really is a staple, bringing joy, laughter and hope right into our living rooms.”
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