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2008 Christmas Parade

by Kyler Laird last modified 2008-12-08 15:23

12 of our dogs participated in the Lafayette and West Lafayette Christmas Parade thanks to some wonderful volunteers.

date: 2008-12-07 (3175 days ago)

dogs: Bozo/Bo, Dexter, Dobky, GP, Huntley, Keowee, Marley, Sarge/Bob/Calder, T-bone/Tiburon/Tibby

p1000246 p1000249 p1000253  p1000255 p1000259 p1000261

I considered entering the parade along with the clinic/kennel but delays pushed us beyond the deadline. Although I was disappointed I was also a little relieved. Then I got a message from a friend telling me about a parade entry open to all local rescues, organized by Patricia Wolff. I finally got in touch with her a few days ago and she was very welcoming.

I've been fretting about how to handle all of our dogs in the parade for quite awhile and it all came together today...barely. I finished modifying Grazie's old Radio Flyer last night; it has a new undercarriage and a modified steering tongue to fit a new DogWorks hitch I just received. Morgan took it for a test drive this morning and even though he hasn't pulled in ages he pulled like a pro. I spent the rest of the morning making lines for a sled, rubber sledge, and old tire. It was down to the wire when I loaded the house dogs in Kitty's vehicle and headed to the kennel.

While Kitty secured two parking places near our parade start position I let the kennel dogs out. I had almost decided not to bring Bozo but Kitty said she got some volunteers at church so I decided to load him also. The four kennel dogs (GP, T-bone, Huntley and Bozo) were a tight fit in the back of my Jeep but they got along well.

We parked and met our friends John and Sue who had offered to walk the Pyrs. They've had family Pyrs of their own and I appreciated having them available to handle GP and Dexter. My car full, however, was not easy to wrangle. I finally clipped Bozo on a tether in the car but in doing so allowed T-bone to escape. It amazed me; I've never let a dog get past me like that and this was a bad time for it to happen. Fortunately we had good help. Sue quickly got to him and almost had him in hand when a cat appeared and he was off again. Soon he ran my way. I think he was going to try to duck past me but I took no chances and dove at him for a solid tackle. He didn't seem bothered by the firm handling.

It took quite awhile to set up the wagon, sled, sledge and tire and get the dogs connected but we were blessed with fantastic help and it all just happened. Eventually we were on our way down the street. Morgan pulled the wagon with Bob and Grazie, with Rae trying to contain the riders. Huntley and T-bone, lead by Audrey, pulled the tire. Rachel walked Dobky. Sue took GP while John walked Dexter. Kitty handled Marley and Jarreau. And I hooked on to try to stabilize T-bone while guiding Bozo, who was connected to the rubber sledge which was in turn pulling a plastic sled holding a bunch of gear I brought. It was a rough start but we were starting to get the hang of it by the time we reached the starting position a couple blocks later.

The group had a truck pulling a flatbed trailer with bales of straw. Kitty quickly decided to ride along with Jarreau and Marley. Bob wasn't staying in the wagon so he went on the trailer too. Dobky went back and forth, giving Rachel a workout. Allison met us with Keowee and also handled T-bone, leaving me to guide Morgan and Bozo.

Although we arrived after the 2:00 start time we still waited another thirty minutes to move. It's good we didn't show up "on time!" Morgan was raring to pull the entire time and it was good to move. As we moved, the fire engines came in behind us. Yeow! They were very loud. Of our group, only Jarreau was bothered by it but Kitty remained in control of him. The organizers graciously switched us with a couple cabs so that we had a few yards of buffer and that made it much less painful.

Along the route everything went well. The dogs quickly settled into their roles. I was delighted to see Sue and GP working the crowd. From Sue's description, he's a natural, basking in the attention from the children. Huntley was also working the crowd but he looked a lot more awkward doing it. He certainly is enthusiastic! Bozo had quite a load to pull so he didn't cause me much of a problem and he seemed at home in the busy environment. Morgan, of course, pulled like he'd been doing it every day, weaving back and forth across the street as we waited for the slower moving traffic, with Grazie waiting patiently in the wagon.

At the end of the parade we loaded most of the dogs and gear onto the truck and trailer but I decided Bozo still had some energy so I ran back across the river to the car with him and Morgan pulling an empty wagon (except for when I rode in it a bit). They were both great on the return trip. It was a beautiful way to end a beautiful afternoon, full of wonderful weather, dogs, and people.


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