February 16, 2018  |  12:50 pm

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s K9 Echo has been named 2018 Canine Grand Marshal for the Krewe of Mardi Paws. 

The Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws is saluting K9s that serve at its 24th annual parade taking place along the Mandeville Lakefront on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2pm.

K9 Echo is a 2-year-old Labrador trained in narcotic detection and recently assigned to the STPSO Highway Enforcement Unit. 

The Highway Enforcement Unit concentrates on traffic enforcement and intercepting traveling criminals primarily on the interstate systems in St. Tammany Parish. 

When she’s not working enforcement on the highways with her handler, Deputy James Kelley, Echo loves playing with her favorite rubber ball on a rope, getting love from her new mom (Deputy Kelley's fiancée, Lauren) and sleeping on her back. 

K9 Echo was purchased using funds donated by a private citizen.

The theme of this year’s Mardi Paws Parade is “Fables, Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes.” All four-legged participants will be in costume and a panel of professional judges will select the costume winners.

Anyone interested in participating with their canine can pre-register at www.MardiPaws.com or sign up on site on Sunday. There is a $25 registration fee per dog, with proceeds benefiting charities that helps kids and canines.

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), which was established by actor Ian Somerhalder of the television shows “The Vampire Diaries” and “Lost,” has purchased 100 acres of land near Mandeville. About 70 of those acres will be set aside to preserve the bayou, and the remaining 30 acres will support pet projects that serve the needs of animals, youth and the community at large. Scott’s Wish, which provides aid for patients with leukemia and life-threatening illnesses, is the other beneficiary of Mardi Paws events.

We invite everyone to come out and enjoy the Krewe of Mardi Paws parade Sunday afternoon and meet K9 Echo and Dy. Kelley.