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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

November 21, 2014 at 6:08 PM

It’s time for the Saints to go marching

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Sketched Nov. 18, 2014

It’s almost show time for Fassli and Darla.

Friday morning, the enormously cute St. Bernards will be cheering up the crowds at the Macy’s Holiday Parade in downtown Seattle.

They’ll be joined by more than 20 other “Saints” and their owners, including Rick Boldt, of Auburn, and about 30 other members of the St. Bernard Club of Puget Sound. The owners wear black pants and red jackets while their “reindeer” pull kids and grown-ups in festively decorated carts.

It’s a scene that brings happy tears to the eyes of some spectators, Boldt said. “Everybody wants to pet the dogs and take photos with them. … They just brighten people’s lives.”

The St. Bernard Club has a long history, dating back to the 1960s, but it didn’t join the parade until 2009, when Boldt mustered up the courage to inquire about participating and was accepted.

The Macy’s Holiday Parade has also been a highlight of my November calendar for a few years, when I march with my co-workers representing The Seattle Times. We have our own dog, too, and while the huge inflatable puppy with a newspaper in its mouth is cute, it can’t compare to these real-life gentle giants.

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Boldt and his wife, Sheri, have raised many generations of Saints over the years. Dog amenities in their home include a big “Saint Bernard Boulevard” playground, a customized bath tub with a side opening for easy entry, and a grooming station where Darla stretched out nicely while I made this sketch.

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Despite all the high maintenance, the Boldts said their St. Bernards give them a lot of joy. “They are so loving. All they want to do is please you.”

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