Prepare your dog for a special walk-out
Dogs are playing an increasingly large part in our modern lives. No longer merely workers or hunting companions, our dogs accompany us to many previously forbidden places and events. Some communities set aside special parks for dogs to play in, making fields, lawns, rivers or ponds, or even agility equipment available to members of the community. A note on dog parks: although many people enjoy bringing their dogs to dog parks, make certain that they are safe for your dog. Small dogs are at risk when off-leash with larger dogs. Large dogs can create risks for both small dogs and people if they are aggressive or out of control.
Fun Matches: Some dog shows are not just for show dogs. If you want to have a good time with your dog, consider entering a fun match. These matches are not only operated to give future show dogs a chance to hone their skills; some clubs that sponsor these matches also include the general public in the fun. Pets might be judged on best condition, best matching dog and owner, or best group costume. Some breeds seem to lend themselves to certain roles; for example, at one match show one owner and her Bedlington terriers appeared as Little Bo Peep and her sheep!
Restaurants: Although there is still a health code in place that protects people from animals contaminating food, some restaurants are providing extra seating for their patrons who have dogs. Many of these restaurants provide courtyard or sidewalk seating and even create special food dishes and menu selections for their canine diners.
Other cafes provide the opposite services, serving and entertaining primarily canine diners. These eating establishments often cater birthday parties and sponsor "cocktail" hours. Although semi-formal dress is not required, some owners like to provide the extra-special collar, bandana, or hair bows for such occasions.
Parties and Events: Some people treat their pets like they would treat their children. For that reason, doggy birthday parties and special events are becoming more common. If giving your dog a birthday party seems like a good idea, then consider providing specially-made dog birthday cake and treats. If you don't feel like making it yourself, specialty shops such as Three Dog Bakery have reasonably priced birthday cakes and cupcakes made of unbleached flour, whey, eggs, and carob. Round out the treats with some frozen doggy "ice cream" from your local grocery store and you're set for refreshments! Sprinkle your dog's coat with some non-toxic glitter available from grooming supply stores or provide the birthday dog with a special t-shirt or costume to make her day complete.
Include Your Pet in Your Special Event: Make your special day complete by adding your dog. Some couples include their dogs as part of their wedding, using them as attendants, flower girls, or ring bearers. Although you may be asked to have your ceremony outside in order to include your dog, many members of the clergy will happily officiate at a ceremony that includes her as one of the wedding party. Formal attire designed for pets is not difficult to find, although patterns are also available if you prefer that your dog's formalwear exactly matches that of the other wedding party members.
Mardi Gras!: Most Louisiana parishes forbid dogs from attending regular Mardi Gras parades. However, a large number of cities are now issuing permits for special canine Mardi Gras marching clubs. In New Orleans, two canine marching clubs, known as "krewes" are licensed annually. The best known club, the Mystic Krewe of Barkus (a play on the name: Bacchus), selects its queen from the dogs in the local Humane Society. All other members of the annual krewe "royalty" come from the general public, based on donations.
Even if you choose not to make a large enough donation for your dog to become a member of royalty, your dog can still participate in Mardi Gras. Regular krewe memberships are usually available for under $50 and usually permit one human escort per dog admittance to the parade. Mardi Gras costumes for both human and dog alike are frequently outrageous. If you don't feel skillful enough to create your own costumes for a parade, a pair of matching Mardi Gras boas can be used to great effect.
As with anything that you do with your dog, you should be certain that your dog is both physically and mentally prepared. Dogs that march in parades should be conditioned for walking long distances, especially little dogs who may not be used to long walks. They should also be mentally prepared, socialized, so that they are not afraid of or aggressive toward other dogs or intimidated by any crowds that form along the route. Finally, dogs should also be given at least a minimum of obedience training before going into a parade situation. Although your dog should not be expected to walk at heel during the entire even, knowing that your dog will at least sit, down, stay, come when called, and walk on a loose leash will make your participation more enjoyable.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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