Wednesday’s Dog-O-Ween outing was no ordinary night out with our three dogs. On arrival at Dominic’s Pizzeria, host of the costume ball, we saw many participants hiding under the tables. Or dancing on top of them.
Dominic’s staff took it all in stride; they’re used to dogs. The Gulfport restaurant’s patio is always dog-friendly and Dominic’s hosts Yappy Hour every Wednesday. Servers carried trays piled high with bags of doggy treats and nimbly balanced food, drinks, and treats without treading on any tails.
We’d started preparing well ahead of time, seeking the perfect costumes on a weekend shopping trip. Wednesday afternoon, we pulled it all together.
Jana, the white golden retriever, was easy. She watched approvingly as I applied her magenta nail lacquer and wagged happily at the sight of the bright pink feather boa and bling-y purse that completed her Femme Fatale costume.
Ever-patient and cooperative, Oriel, our red golden retriever, initially tripped over her Little Red Riding Hood cape. The hood covered her eyes. Adjustments were clearly needed. Holes cut in the hood for her ears held it in place, and rainbow shoelaces reined in the cape’s flapping sides. At last, she could walk without tripping on her costume.
Wylie was the challenge. A tall, athletic German shepherd, Wylie was attending Dog-O-Ween as Ory’s foil: the Big Bad Wolf. His Grandma nightgown needed considerable nipping, snipping, and tucking to be wearable. Ear-holes added to his nightcap enhanced his wolf-like appearance. His expression seemed to signify resigned acceptance of human foibles.
We drove to Gulfport. With a few last-minute costume adjustments, we were ready.
Other guests’ attire ranged from simple T-shirts to elaborate affairs. One large dog was dressed as a doggy bag. A medium-sized dog wore a rooster suit; another was dressed as a cow (his owner wore a matching costume). The Queen of Hearts was in attendance, carried by her gentleman-in-waiting who sported an “Off with their heads” sign. Small dogs came dressed as a hot dog, a police officer, a princess. A Southern Belle wore a ruffled skirt and gauzy hat.
The Mistress of Ceremonies, Auntie Lynda of Pet Pal Rescue, organized the two dozen or so dogs into a parade. Small dogs first, then medium-sized, and, finally, large dogs. We took our places at the end of the line and watched the contestants stroll past the judges. Many dogs, especially Jana, vamped their way through the spotlight.
Quickly dubbed “the cross-dressing shepherd” by the judges, Wylie was a runaway hit. In fact, our family swept the Large Dogs category: Jana came in third, Little Red Riding Hood took second, and the cross-dresser sashayed off with first prize.
They’ve pooled their prize money to purchase a stash of Halloween treats. Our special order will be waiting at our favorite stand at the Saturday Morning Market — Fred’s Finest Pet Treats. Here’s hoping the treats will keep them quiet as we pass out candy Sunday evening!