Friday, June 28, 2013

City Dog: How to Safely Take Your Dog to a Parade

One of the highlights of our summer, especially for Miss M, is attending Chicago's Annual Gay Pride Parade. It's incredible to see the entire community banding together to support ideas of equality and gay rights. And this is an especially big year!
Since our pups crave attention, the parade is a good way to go out and meet people. Because really,  who can resist a pitbull in a tutu or fedora?
At the same time, with the parade drawing nearly 1 million people, it could become overwhelming for some pups. There are a lot of crowds, loud noises, and drunk people wanting to grab Miss M's jowls.
We had written this post about training and exposure to make your pup comfortable attending their first parade.
Here are some things we've learned to plan ahead to keep our dogs safe and comfortable at a parade.

Scout the Parade Route:
We know that different areas of the parade might be more crowded and crazier than others. We learned to avoid the areas north of Belmont on the route which has the biggest crowds and a lot of drinking in the streets. We chose a more family-friendly area near Diversey and Clark. Here the crowds aren't as big and wild.
We are also able to anticipate the area that will be shaded for the majority of the parade. When we first arrive the area where we usually stand is sunny, which causes a lot of people to search elsewhere, though we know that it quickly becomes shady for the majority of the parade.

Mark our Territory:
It is important for us to make sure our dogs have a space to themselves if they become overwhelmed or it begins to get too crowded. We bring blankets which we spread out on the ground to 'mark our territory' so the dogs have a place to lay. While people are always trying to squeeze into little spaces along the parade route, they are hesitant to actually stand on people's blankets. Folding chairs would work well also.
We also choose spots that have outlets if the dogs need to step away or go on a potty break. The sidewalk can become very crowded, but the location we chose is near an alley where barely anyone walks.

Keeping our Dogs Comfortable:
Since it can get really hot, we make sure any costume they were is breathable. Mr. B usually wears a brimmed hat--which is a benefit since he has little fur on the bridge of his nose and it tends to get sunburned. We practice wearing our costumes at home so it isn't a new stressful thing they're dealing with in addition to the stress of the crowds and noise. And if they don't feel comfortable wearing the costume for the entire time, we will remove it.
We also make sure to bring plenty of water and we are always aware of the dogs' comfort.

If anyone is planning on attending, the pups will be watching just north of the Diversey and Clark intersection on the west side of the street. Come join us, or stop by and say hi!
Also...Miss M always has a dilemma because she is unsure of what to wear.
What does everyone think Miss M should wear: ballerina, fairy princess, angel, butterfly or queen?

The parade from Mr. B's view (watch the first one!)
How we find our costumes and make them stay on
This happens too.


OG said...

Miss M should be either a queen or ballerina :)

Kate said...

oh definitely a queen!!!! she's gonna be surrounded by them anyway. new year, great new things happening for the LGBT community, new costume definitely needed :)

SherBear said...

Miss M should be a queen!!! I mean she is one everyday, so not hard to play the part ;)

Courtney said...

Since I haven't seen pictures of a queenly Miss M yet, I vote for queen.

Lauren Karl said...

Thanks for the advice, my two pitties are attending the parade for the first time this year and I was worried about finding a spot that's not too crowded!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. B should go as the Queen! Can't wait to see photos from this year's extravaganza!

Unknown said...

Definitely a queen.

TheWilsonZoo said...

The tutu with the angel wings and the tiara! Ballerinas often wear all 3 after all!

Two French Bulldogs said...

Great tips! You guys should be in the parade
Benny & Lily

My Two Pitties said...

Good tips! I am planning on bringing Kaya & Norman to the SF Pride parade for the first time this year. They love people and don't mind crowds so I think it will be a blast for them. I am going to scout out a family area as opposed to the drunken crazy part!

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