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Dog and family help fete President

Mary Ellen Fydenkevez of Sunderland had a closer-than-front-row view of the pomp and ceremony of Monday’s presidential inauguration, marching in the inaugural parade with her family and foster pet Fenway.

Reached by phone shortly after 8 p.m., Fydenkevez said both people and dog were exhausted after a long day preparing for and marching in the parade.

“It’s a long day, it’s a hard day, it’s a hard day on people, it’s a hard day on the dog ... but it was so exciting, it was so thrilling to see people lining the streets, to march by the viewing stand and watch both Vice President (Joe) Biden and President (Barack) Obama wave at us as we marched through just made it so worthwhile,” Fydenkevez said.

Fydenkevez, husband Thomas of Sunderland and daughter Jessica of Somerville — twin daughter Jackie could not get away from work — and black Labrador retriever Fenway joined a contingent of 135 people and 67 dogs representing national nonprofit organization Canine Companions for Independence in the parade.

CCI gives free service dogs to disabled children and adults and was one of about 40 groups selected from nearly 3,000 applicants to participate in the parade, Fydenkevez said.

The family joined the group in a Virginia park at 8:30 a.m., met with press, went through security at the Pentagon, where they heard snippets of the president’s inaugural address over the loudspeakers, were on and off buses, waited at the staging area by the Washington Monument and finished their day around 7 p.m., Fydenkevez said.

“The big highlight, of course, is marching by the viewing stand and seeing the president and the vice president and the dignitaries as they wave at us as we’re marching by, there was so much excitement in the air, it was just amazing, it was quite an adventure,” Fydenkevez said. “Although I’ll say the whole day was quite an adventure.”

Fenway is nearly done with the first stage of his training and will be returned next month to CCI’s Northeast headquarters in Long Island, N.Y. for advanced training, making this one of his last adventures with the family.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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