Friday, December 14, 2007
'Tis the season, again
There’s nothing like the holidays. A time for family and friends to gather and enjoy the sights of the season. The holidays are also a time for traditions to be observed, lighting the Yule log, kissing underneath the mistletoe and a toast to the New Year. I have come to have my own holiday tradition and it is turning into quite the event. It is hard to describe and I guess the thing to do is it give it a name. I call it “The Dressing of the Dog”.
Two years ago the Animal Shelter staff thought it would be a fun idea to dress the Pet of the Week candidate in holiday attire. Our first victim was a young pit bull named “Brad” (Brad pit bull, get it?) and he put up a small fight as the animal control officer wrestled a Santa hat on top his head.
Last year the Christmas attire was upgraded to include a sweater and booties. A sad looking puppy stuck his tongue at me as he suffered through the humiliation of being dressed up in full view of all the cats for his photo. Oh the humanity he must have thought
Moving forward to this year I had forgotten about the shelter’s yearly tradition until I arrived late Friday afternoon to take the picture. A busy week had pushed the weekly photo shoot to the last possible second and as I walked into the shelter office they greeted me with a bag of clothes and the news they had a willing subject for the Christmas picture. “Ty” a young mix breed would be our holiday model.
It seems like every year the Dressing of the Dog is a little different. Last year featured the introduction of the sweater. This year would showcase a new clothing item, the Christmas tie. Back were the ever-popular booties and Santa hat along with a green jingle bell collar. Let the festivities begin!
The first thing you notice is the dogs know what’s coming. At first they may think that they are heading out for a walk but one glimpse of those mittens and they know their fate is sealed. A frantic tug at the leash is to no avail, they must face the camera.
So they decide to dress “Ty” outside and the first article of clothing to go on are the mittens. Now dogs would rather chew their own paws off than wear a pair of mittens so the fight was on. “Ty” was slicker than a greased pig and even managed to slip out of leash. But with those mittens on he had no chance to make a break for freedom. Bells came on next slipped over his neck followed by a bright red tie with a picture of Santa riding his sleigh on it. I could see the look in his eyes, he just wanted to go back into his kennel and cry but we pressed on.
We walked him to the middle of the parking lot and made sure his Santa hat was on just right with the fluffy white ball hanging down over his ears. Usually I have problems with dogs during the Pet of the Week assignment, some won’t sit still, turn the wrong way or just want to play. “Ty” was more sedate, the costume zapping his will.
Every now and then he would turn to look and make sure none of the other dogs were watching him as he parade on the parking lot like a demented elf. I tried to shoot quickly so he could get out of his holiday getup as quick as he could. It’s the holidays I like to show goodwill to all, even dogs.
Everyone at the office thought the photo was cute, the editor even thought about adopting the dog. Heck if the photo helps him get adopted I suppose it doesn’t hurt anyone to dress for the season. But no bunny ears for Easter, I’m drawing the line there!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!