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Dog Parades vs. Dog Shows

By Amy Fernandez

The dog game is rife with controversy. These days it’s impossible to navigate any corner of this sport without slamming into it. So, in the interests of resetting the tone, let’s talk about a raging controversy that’s safely removed from dog shows. Perhaps not in the strictest sense…technically, it still involves putting dogs on public display for expert evaluation.

Dressing up dogs…yes, I said it. There are few topics that snap those battle lines in place so quickly. No one lingers in the DMZ of this subject.

So, here’s the news…the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade is ON! It’s been an iffy prospect for a while. But, it’s a go. And they truly are dancing in the streets.

In case you’re thinking ‘so what’…well, that’s what I’m here for! Let me start with a rundown of the actual event- which to clarify in advance- is unrelated to the ultra-famous NYC Halloween Parade which actually takes place on Halloween, (Oct. 31, except for 2012 when then-mayor Bloomberg commandeered tradition, but that’s irrelevant.)

The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade has been an NYC tradition for 29 years and counting. What started as an offshoot of the Tompkins Square Dog Park social scene quickly evolved into an oddball contest that has merited media coverage ranging from Time Magazine to the Wall Street Journal, even the Guardian!! Obviously, it’s holding traction beyond downtown dog fanatics in addition to some major corporate sponsors and impressive prize money.

It requires no entry fees or deadlines although I’ll venture a guess that contestants are already working on next year’s spectacle. The point is that they take it very seriously. So seriously that rumors of its possible cancellation triggered a tidal wave of outrage that pretty well guaranteed that this annual high style, canine march will be happening for the foreseeable future.

This brings me to the main point of this article; and I am sure you thought I lost the plot by now. Dogs–in the sense of indispensable human companions–are at an unprecedented pinnacle of popularity in this country. Not a year goes by when those pet industry annual revenue streams don’t surpass all predicted expectations. Americans own more dogs than ever, spend more money on them, and don’t hesitate to display their devotion through public exhibitions like this parade.

And since I’ve been to this deal once or twice, I can confirm that purebreds are NEVER in short supply. They actually form little marching crews to proclaim allegiance to various breeds.

Okay, we got that ironed out so let’s meander off-topic again…no, maybe back to the real topic.

The general public has clearly not lost interest in dog ownership-especially purebred dog ownership or the lively business of participating in competitive challenges to show off their own particular canine superstar. And yes, I know a costume parade isn’t a dog show and includes participants of uncertain heritage, however, the overwhelming majority of them are recognizable purebreds. More importantly, when asked, their owners are delighted to confirm that fact. In case there’s any lingering doubt, the general public appears to be recovering from its designer dog fling and heading straight back to appreciating dogs with type and quality.

Judging by Facebook, several thousand people are geared up and ready for the parade. To put it bluntly, this quirky, homegrown costume show is likely to attract more public support than many real dog shows pull in these days. Something is going very wrong and it has nothing to do with dogs.

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Posted by on Oct 29 2019. Filed under Breaking News, Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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