Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Halloween contests lurk for pets: run away!

The challenge had been issued, and probably pets everywhere have begun to scurry under beds, hide behind curtains and leap off high balconies or moving half-ton trucks.

A note was sent to staff at this newspaper and our sister newspapers in the East Oregonian Publishing Co.: dress your pet in a Halloween costume, take a picture and you may win a prize.

“Be sure to include your name, your pet’s name and breed, and a description of the costume along with your photo,” explained the internal memo that we probably were never meant to share externally, beyond our staff and our company newsletter.

While this type of contest was presented in a good-natured, nobody-gets-hurt type of context, unfortunately there will be victims.

First, the people who try to dress their pets.

For those who attempt to get their pet Goldfish named Fluffy to wear an eye-patch, peg fin and pose as a pirate, there will be revenge beyond your darkest dreams.

For those who dared get that fat feline named Miss Kitty to wear the sumo wrestling costume — mainly because the toga, the tutu and warrior princess outfits kept being mysteriously buried in the litter box — there will be visible, painful scratches scarring your arms and other parts of your exposed body for life.

And for those who have no imagination, there are always great suggestions on the internet, but you will need to bear the consequences later.

An Associated Press quotes a story in the Panama City News Herald about how the town’s recent Halloween Pet costume contest went over well, with 120 pet owners shamelessly showing their 127 pets to judges to earn prizes.

“Winners included a pair of dogs dressed like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, a ferret dressed like a princess, a hermit crab dressed like a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch and a chinchilla dressed like a cowboy,” said the story.

Which brings us to the second part of today’s episode of “pet owner beware”: the other victims will be the pets themselves.

Consider what goes through the minds of these critters and birds, as they question “Why, why, why? What did I ever do to deserve this? Was I a bad boy? I mean, really, really bad? I swear I didn’t do nuthin’! It was … the cat! The cat did it! Dress it again in the tutu! I’ll show you where she hid it THIS time!”

Yes, there will be deep psychological damage done to these pets. Horror movies don’t haunt their dreams, it’s these dress-your-pet contests that make them whimper in the dark of the night … and broad daylight. And especially in the spotlight.

However, with a little bit of coaxing, one of our staff was encouraged to enter his dog.

She’s a hunting dog who successfully tied her owner in how many birds they each got last weekend, and for the last few days she was probably quite proud of her accomplishments.

Until he dressed her in the camouflage outfit last night. With the vest. And hat. And … what appears to be a camouflage bandana.

According to her owner, the poor dog did not enjoy this experience. In fact, the miserable pooch believed she was being punished, and the picture really tells it all. Try to find where she has tucked her tail, look at those sad eyes, look at … well, hopefully the judges will look at the originality, the brilliant idea, the patient work that went into dressing a good hunting buddy like this. I do hope the owner gets a prize.

Particularly because it’s a Capital Press camouflage hat. (Renew now or get a new subscription to Capital Press at 1-800-882-6789 and you too can give a hat like this! For yourself or your favorite pet!)

Of course, back on the farm, seldom were our farm animals and poultry seen as pets, but more often they were our work companions.

For those who weren’t useful chasing skunks or catching mice, those were the ones that had a chance for being dressed.

Usually, that was reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas only.

And they were delicious.


Anonymous said...

This is just what I needed, it brought back memories of my sister and I spray-painting my dad's dog pink for the May Day parade, and also adorning our puppies with head gear to transform them into Pilgrims and Native Americans. The sad thing is that the Pilgrim/Native American thing wasn't even for a contest, and we weren't children, we were 22 and 21 years old. Yikes!

Elaine Shein said...

Gee, any pictures of that to share of this past event?
I won't even ask how — or if — you ever got the pink paint off the puppies...

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