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By Hersch Wilson/For The New Mexican
But I think we have to spend some time focusing on another looming crisis: The urge to put your dog in a costume for Halloween.
I write this after wrestling with our dog, Tank. He’s 110 pounds of a dog who is pretty sure that he doesn’t want to wear angel wings. I believe that he doesn’t want to wear angel wings because he knows it’s against his type. He sees himself as a devil-may-care, do-what-he-wants — a guy’s guy kind of dog. Not an angel.
Sully, our daughter, doesn’t care. She thinks it’s cute.
Hard to argue with “it’s cute,” but I’m going to try.
To start, I ask the question: In those moments when you — like me — watch endless Facebook posts of dogs and dogs in costumes, have you noticed the expressions on the faces of the dogs? Have you ever seen a dog smile as if to say, “Wow. I am so happy to be dressed up as a Velociraptor!”
I haven’t. In fact, the expression I see is a very familiar one. It’s exactly the expression I have in a Kodak snapshot of me when I was 11. My mom had dressed up the four of us to go to Easter Mass. I’m in a dark suit, white shirt and tie. I look dejected, miserable and clean. Even my white socks are sparkling clean. Not helping, our German shepherd, Shawnee, is in the picture smirking at me.
I recall the rest of the experience vividly: Sitting in Easter Mass next to my dad, the priest talking about death. So I started thinking about death, then baseball, then death again, then how tight my collar was. Then my dad nudged me in my ribs and said, “Shush!” I think I had muttered, “and the batter steps up to the plate to face Wilson, the rookie left-handed phenom.” So I thought about death more. Then I looked at Karen Rodger’s hair in the pew ahead of ours and wondered what she was thinking. And I thought, this is what death must be like! How long can this torture possibly go on?”
All I wanted to do was to go home, throw on jeans and a Minnesota Twins T-shirt and go run in the pasture and roll in the mud.
This is my sense of the dog experience of being in a costume: “Get me out of this Velociraptor, get up and let’s go find some mud!”
Of course, I presented this thesis to my family. Curious looks and then, “A Velociraptor costume? That would be so cute!”
No one said this would be easy. I was just one father standing against the tide of cuteness.
Of course, my other daughter does have a little dog, a Shih Tzu mix named Tallulah. She’s about 10 pounds. I get the point that Tallulah in a Velociraptor costume might be cute …
Ignore that last sentence! We need to stand on principle here!
As I was contemplating all this later, Laurie, my wife, called and said, “You’re right about the angel wings and Tank.”
Vindication! Then she added, “How about bat wings?”
And I thought, “That’s not a terrible awful idea. Tank and I in bat wings, roaming our neighborhood, scaring children …”
Stop! What was happening?
What was happening was I was learning, yet again, that the women in my family are like the Borg of Star Trek legend: “Resistance is futile.” Yet they always say it with a smile. In these situations, I’ve learned it’s best to just go with the flow and try to apply some common-sense rules. Here are a few.
1. At least pretend that your dog has feelings and can be embarrassed. Don’t humiliate him or her with an inappropriate costume. No Great Danes dressed as mariachi singers. No German shepherds costumed as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
2. Make sure they are comfortable: Nothing tight! Nothing that covers their eyes. On Halloween night, bring water and treats, lots of treats (that’s Tank’s suggestion).
3. Remember most dogs just want to be with you! So, I guess if this costume thing is just a ruse to be with your dog, it’s OK. But no ballerina tutus!
So yes, I had caved in to the powers that be once again. Sully saw me moping around the house and decided to cheer me up.
“I promise,” she said, “as soon as Halloween is over, we can talk more about whether Putin is going to invade the Ukraine. But for one night, Tallulah as a Velociraptor! Tank as a bat! Awesome!”
And I thought, maybe for one night. And we could get a Batman mask — not for Tank, just for me.
Hersch Wilson is a Santa Fe author who yearns to understand all things canine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Shelter still at top in CrowdRise challenge
The Santa Fe animal shelter continues to be in the top place nationally of a social media fundraising campaign this week, battling dozens of animal-welfare groups in a challenge that could earn the shelter $50,000.
The Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge, which launched Sept. 30, is a competition for nonprofits focused on reducing shelter euthanasia. The team that raises the…
Posted by Ben Swan on October 23, 2014 at 1:07pm
If you shop at:
Albertson's - please stop by our Adoption Center at Petco and pick up a Community Partners card and swipe each time you check out at Albertsons.
Smith's - simply log in it to https://www.smithsfoodanddrug.com and link your Rewards Card to Felines & Friends.
Amazon.com - log into http://smile.amazon.com/ instead of the regular Amazon site. Search…Continue
Posted by Bobbi Heller on October 15, 2014 at 8:02pm
EYES WIDE OPEN PLEASE SANTA FE FRIENDS from Julie Kokin Miller: At approx 5:15 this evening (Monday) a black lab ran in front of my car on Alameda near Don Gaspar. I hit the dog with my car but she kept on running. I have been with the owners looking for her ever since. They do not live in this area (Albuquerque) so the dog is running scared. I don't know how injured she is. Can you please help me get the word out…Continue
The event is a celebration of the 40th anniversary of film,…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on October 9, 2014 at 10:44am
Rummage sale benefits Wildlife Center
A Saturday fundraiser dubbed Boutique, Estate And Rummage Sale or BEARS, will benefit The Wildlife Center.
The 9 a.m. sale is in the parking lot of St. John’s Methodist Church at Cordova Road and Old Pecos Train in Santa Fe. In addition to a great selection of things to purchase such as jewelry, books, sporting goods, artwork and tools, the center also will have live educational raptors on display.
All proceeds will…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on October 9, 2014 at 10:34am
Variety show supports animal group
A variety show Saturday will benefit a nonprofit group that helps companion animals of homeless people.
The Jewel Box Cabaret, which has been described as the “most unique, original and exciting Las Vegas-style variety show in Santa Fe,” is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Armory for the Arts Theater. Tickets are $20.
All proceeds from the performance benefit the Street Homeless Animal Project, a nonprofit that provides food and…Continue
Posted by Ben Swan on September 19, 2014 at 9:59am