Monday, October 29, 2012

A Winning Interlude

HidingFor the moment we still have power. The weather outside is, actually, frightful but we're doing ok. Assuming these facts remain true why not update you on the weekend's other shenanigans?

Long about July there were big plans for a Starsky & Hutch themed Halloween costume. Come October Michelle and I revised our plans. She was so busy I asked if she could throw a cape on Ben, make Dracula, and I'd fashion a little Renfield out of my boy. I'd go as Van Helsing, just to support the theme. For me this would mean creating a tiny doggie straitjacket and locating some fake bugs to sell the Renfield-specific angle.

But then, of course, I had an idea. He needed a jail/asylum cell. It would only work if he could be in a cell! I'm not qualified for that sort of construction. So I sent out the call to Pony Express. She, too, is wildly busy so I made it clear that she should do this only if she was really sure she wanted to. Though she works a lot for her business sometimes she actively makes time for creative projects to feed her soul. She decided this was one of them.

Happy With Being Tolerated Since last Sunday evening one or the other of us has been in my apartment working on some aspect or other of the costume. Each time we picked up our implements of creation Eddie would walk quietly into his crate and curl up at the very back. If we needed to fit him for things we had to haul him out of there to do it. Dragging a dog out of his safe place makes you feel like a super awesome dog person.

At about 2am Friday, with the contest on Saturday morning, we discovered that the jail cell, which was supposed to be worn/carried by the dog, didn't fit him. It was just small enough that when he walked it bumped his legs and he hated that enough to refuse to walk at all. Pony Express was frustrated and discouraged by that but when I asked her to make a handle for it so I could carry it and jail him on stage she agreed. By Saturday morning he had a cool little straitjacket with buckles and straps and a tiny jail cell covered in bugs with a bat on top and a rat down below. It was spectacular.

The Great Pupkin is a pretty big event. Hundreds of spectators, at least 100 dogs, vendors and costumes and photographers and press. It's grown from the original 20 dogs parading around the circle to this mammoth, nearly independent, being. With Teddy's Girl I ran the registration table and we were so busy that Cat came specifically to wrangle our dogs so we could work faster. After the judging had gotten underway we packed up and moved down stageside. I carried half our registration materials, the dog, my backpack, and the cell down the hill and over the steps and through the crowd and arrived next to Sara with a thump.

Winners! At this point I was free to work on costuming my own dog. I dropped his jail cell on the ground so I could have both hands for the straitjacket and wouldn't you know what he did first thing? Crawled right into that cell, curled up and hid. Crate training for the win! I had to haul him out to get the jacket on him and he went back in. While this was a super good sign I still had no idea what he'd do on stage. He loves an audience but, who knows?

We lined up. I decided to unhook the fake sleeves from his front legs because they were hindering his movement. I let them hang for a strappier effect and his walking improved immensely. Ben and Michelle weren't able to get there so I had signed Ed up as "Renfield, searching for his master, Dracula." We were announced and Eddie paraded around the stage perfectly. I set the cell down center stage, lined him up with the entrance, and told him to go inside. He hesitated for a moment and I got worried. I grabbed some chicken out of my pocket, knelt down next to the crate and in he went and sat right down!

Rikke, our trainer and one of the judges, raised both her arms in triumph and the crowd went wild! Like I said, the dude loves an audience.

By the skin of our teeth we won a prize. Competition was, as always, quite stiff. We got the coveted ribbon, a toy for the pooch, and a gift certificate to one of the local fancy coffee joints, Bittersweet. That last part is the best of it because Pony Express loves coffee and she worked her ass off for this costume.

We're already deciding how we might re-purpose the cell for other costumes next year.

All photos courtesy of Catherine Kunicki.  Note my half assed VanHelsing costume with cross and holy water bottle by Sara Stopek and cool boots thrifted by Kath.

1 comment:

  1. Eddie was a real trooper! Great work on the costume and cage.