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Preston, a beagle puppy, shows off his Superdog outfit, and begs for treats.

Costumed canines on Halloween prowl

Preston didn’t seem to like his spandex superman costume.  The 10-month-old Beagle kept spinning around, jumping up, looking for treats….

By Daniel Hallen , in Feature story Life , on November 4, 2009 Tags: , , ,

Preston, a beagle puppy, shows off his Superdog outfit, and begs for treats.
Preston, a beagle puppy, shows off his Superdog outfit, and begs for treats.

Preston didn’t seem to like his spandex superman costume.  The 10-month-old Beagle kept spinning around, jumping up, looking for treats.

“We wanted Preston to have a day to have fun,” said Mei Lee, one of Preston the Superdog’s owners.

Preston was not alone in his discomfort with clothing.  “Normally we put on their raincoats, and they won’t move,” said Kirsten Detlefsen.

She is the owner of a six-year-old Cocker-multi-poo, who was dressed as a Rebel environmentalist, and Buddy, a three-year-old Papillon-cocker-multi-poo, dressed as a Jack-o-Lantern.

Preston, Willow and Buddy were three of more than 18 dogs who attended Commercial Drive’s first Halloween Pet Parade and costume contest in Vancouver.

Factbox3The parade was founded by Michelle Barile, executive director of the Commercial Drive Business Society, and three other local groups, the SPCA, Britannia Community Centre and the Grandview Woodlands Community Policing Centre.

It was inspired by other pet trick-or-treating events around Vancouver. It was a way to promote community, awareness about pets and about safety.

Barile said the business society and policing centre used to be at odds.

“When I started two years ago, that partnership wasn’t taking place: these events weren’t happening,” she said.  “It seems to be so much more rewarding when you’re partnering and working together.”

“I started the event because I’m a dog lover,” said Barile, “but further to that, I wanted to partner with the SPCA, and promote their cause, adoption, and awareness, and also raise funds for the SPCA, and host a good fun community event.”

Scariest, funniest and most unusual

Echo, a Blue merle sheltie, looked ready to audition for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow.  He won the scarriest costume contest.
Echo, a Blue merle sheltie, looked ready to audition for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow.

The parade involved a 500-metre hike around Grandview Park, through the Britannia Community Centre, and back to the park through an alley.

The event culminated with a contest, judged by applause, for the scariest, funniest, and most unusual looking pets.

Echo, dressed as a pirate, was top dog in the category of scariest. Licorice, the Skunk dog, was the winner as the funniest.

In the category of most unusual, an unnamed dog, dressed as Cinderella reigned victorious.

When asked what she would change for next year, Barile said, “More prizes.”

Post-contest, pets and owners trick-or-treated to dog-friendly businesses along Commercial Drive.

Pooches help protect property and neighbourhood

The event was also an opportunity for the Grandview-Woodlands Community Policing Centre to recruit dogs and dog owners for their Pooch Patrol program.  Six new volunteers signed up.

The program takes advantage of dog walkers’ daily routes to serve as a form of neighbourhood watch.

Happy, a Shih Tzu, is comfortable in bumble-bee chic.
Happy, a Shih Tzu, is comfortable in bumble-bee chic.

It is considered another way to “make residents feel comfortable reporting things they’re concerned about,” said Adrian Archambault, coordinator of the GWCPC.

Archambault said the pet parade was a light-hearted way to increase residents’ sense of security in their neighbourhood.

“The more means you can give people to know what to do about situations that have to do with crime prevention and safety,” said Archambault.

“I think that’s what helps give people a sense of security.”

Happy in costume

Denise Meade, a senior manager at the BCSPCA, shared some tips for ensuring costumed dogs were comfortable, as she registered pet participants.

“It’s important to know that, when you’re putting dogs in costumes, that you’re not covering their ears or impeding them from walking,” said Meade.

Meade used Happy, a Shih Tzu-turned-bumblebee as the ideal example of a good costume.

“Happy’s head isn’t being impeded, Happy’s legs aren’t being impeded; her tail’s not covered up.”

“She can still socialize with other dogs, and yet have a cute costume.”

Comments


  • “Remember: Dogs may see people in costume as large stuffed animals — this could lead to humping or attacking, or both.”

    Sage advice for these troubled times.

  • Great article. You combined interesting information with some good humour. What Lewis is referring to is a bit funny, whether intended or not. Thanks for including the fun photos!

  • Very cute Daniel! Despite Preston’s reluctance to be a superhero, he certainly is one very photogenic beagle. I enjoyed the serious part of the message too. The “Pooch Patrol” as part of Neighbourhood Watch–brilliant idea! I wonder did Miles sign up? I imagine this was a great way to promote thicker bonds between dog lovers in the area. It will be interesting to see how many more pets turn out for the second annual event next Hallowe’en.
    Great job…I loved it!

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