Each year the Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers selects a King and Queen to rule over its annual Mardi Gras Barkus Parade. The canine royals are always dogs from the Franklin County Humane Society that especially deserve a safe, happy forever home.

The theme of this year’s event is “Furry Tails Come True” and both King and Queen, each available for adoption, are hoping for their dream of a new home to come true.

This year’s royalty are Queen Stella and King Red Bono, both hounds that found their way to the shelter after being abandoned. Karen Martin, director of the humane society, selected these two dogs to highlight the plight of homeless hounds in this area.

“Unfortunately, the stories of Stella and Red Bono are not unique,” she said. “After hunting season we are inundated with abandoned hound dogs. Five have come in the last four days.”

Queen Stella is a Walker hound mix found with infected wounds and a puppy. Her wounds have healed and her puppy was adopted. As befits a Queen, she is calm, quiet, and gentle, and gets along well with her subjects. Queen Stella will make a fine family pet.

King Red Bono is a redbone coon hound mix who was found on a country road with a broken pelvis. He has healed and is a real beauty. He has impressed the shelter staff by being very relaxed and gentle.

Both King and Queen are 2 years old. Both Queen Stella and King Red Bono will occupy their own float in the Mardi Gras parade and will be available to meet the public at the humane society’s tent during the event.

The Mardi Gras Festival takes place this Saturday, Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Riverfront Park on Water Street in Apalachicola. The parade of costumed dogs and their people begins at 1 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Franklin County Humane Society and the Florida Wild Mammal Association.