His brush with death months earlier, Michlle Crockenverg said he was living life to the fullest, proudly showing off his dog, Sara, and his flare for the festive, dressed in green, gold and white at O'Brien's Irish Pub and Grill in Brandon.
There, on March 11, Crockenverg was in attendance at the St. Puppy's Day Parade, an event he hasn't missed since it started six years ago.
But this year was special, he said, because last year, "I almost died."
Late last year Crockenverg said he had a stroke, and with "all these tubes in me I said, ‘If I live, I’m going to have a ball before I go.' ”
And so he did at O’Brien’s, where pets and their owners marched together at the eastern entrance of the Irish pub, led by representatives of the Tampa Bay Pipe and Drum band.
Pets and owners took to the stage as well for a contest to determine Best Dressed Dog (Lui), Best Dressed Owner (Emma Bibeau), Best Female Dog (Heavy), Best Male Dog (Halligan) and Overall Master Dog (Tuna). This year there was a new award, for "Lady and the Tramp," which recognized Daisy and Zak, respectively.
Longtime educators Amber Statham and Noretta Sheffield were in attednance.
Stratham is the principal of Kingswood Elementary School and has been an educator for 30 years. Her mother, Sheffield, retired as an educator after 39 years in the business.
That’s a lot of time having an impact on the world of children — and decorating more than their fair share of bulletin boards.
At O’Brien’s Irish Pub and Grill and March 11, the mother-daughter team showed as well their flare for "decorating" their respective pets, Ginger and Misty Morning.
Todd Ousley was there with his dog, Shelby, who doesn't let her stature as a toy poodle affect her concept of herself as master of the home. At home, Ousley said, "she thinks it’s her house, her car, and that I work for her!”
Pub owner Sean Rice said he started the parade six years and expected it to become a hit with the Greater Brandon market.
“I thought we could do it and I thought we could always help out a great cause, Paws for a Cause, which we’ve done so every year,” Rice said.
As for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day itself, Rice said to him, that’s a celebration that lasts for more than one day each year.
“The more we can celebrate anything Irish in between the better it is,” Rice said.
As for Crockenverg, his brush with death left him with an even greater appreciation of life. His advice to others: “Spend as much time as you can enjoying it because life is too short.”