nightmare on main street

So I had this vision of how the pet costume contest would unfold at Petsmart. My vision:

Ben and I walk our two “graceful “dogs through the door, smiles on our faces. Doggy tongues hanging out in jubilee. Voltaire is sweet as can be, never yanking once on the leash like he usually does. Not a bark escapes Curie for she is mute. We “ooo” and “ahhh” over all the other doggy costumes before parading our canine trophies around the store – a way of telling people “Yes, yes. Look at our ridiculously dressed beasts! Aren’t we just the funniest, wittiest doggy parents ever! Har har har.”

True story. The pet costume contest was…………A NIGHTMARE. Reality went like this:

Ben and I arrive in the Petsmart parking lot at 3:30 with not a minute to lose. I’ve been up since 8:30 sewing Voltaire’s Bender costume…which to my horror is not even complete. His robot arms and legs are missing (he is an amputated Bender). Curie and Voltaire struggle with us, naturally, as we try to slip on their cute-gear in the back of the Rav4. There is no point because as soon as they jump out, Curie’s shiny blue pants are somehow dragging behind her and Voltaire’s robot head is dismembered from the rest of his body.

I refuse to acknowledge this messy beginning and continue dragging our dogs inside. Once in, I’m horrified at how loud they are; our schnauzers are in fact the two loudest dogs in the entire store. Both of them are sliding across the tile, sneering and whining at every passing man, woman and child. Curie’s head piece looks more like a battered handkerchief around her neck and Voltaire’s piercing scream gives me goose bumps. We finally make it to the sitting area where the other dogs and owners are quietly waiting in their seats, tame as sheep. I think “Please please let the rest of the day go smoothly” when Ben leans over to pick up Curie and she hastily releases two brown logs on the floor.

My eyes go wide. “Ben! Stop, she pooped!” I cry as we clumsily clean it up while trying to hold on to our skittish animals. Everyone watches in sympathetic silence.

The Petsmart host person announces that the parade around the store is about to start so we gather up our things and march out. At this point, I notice that Curie’s white Dr.Zoidberg coat has a large brown dirt stain on it and Voltaire’s coat is flipped upside down, barely hanging on by the single piece of velcro (because I ran out of time and wasn’t able to properly secure their costumes, shame on me). People are watching us and I move forward nervously, letting my still-wet hair (from my rushed shower) cover the shamed look on my face.

We make it 40-50 feet before Voltaire plops down on the floor right in front of the automatic sliding doors. Prior to this I thought “It really can’t get worse” when I suddenly witness him having EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA in the middle of the parade. He leaves behind a stinky swamp for us to clean up and I’m sure my face must have been beating red at this point. People try to go around us, dodging the disgraceful scene. Their obedient dogs put ours to shame as I run around with sheets of paper towel in my hands, making two or three trips while Ben scoops wet poo off the ground. As if matters couldn’t get worse, two kids who we hadn’t noticed before decide to hang out with us.

Girl child: Is this your dog?
Me: Yup
Girl child: Is it a girl or a boy?
Me: Uh, that one’s a girl.
Girl child: Is she….is she supposed to be a spider?
Me: (I am tempted to reply that she is actually a lobster-alien from the planet Decapod 10 who happens to be the neurotic staff physician of Planet Express) but instead reply “No, she’s kind of a lobster.”
The rest of the conversation proceeds in a similar manner.

I look over at Ben who’s dealing with the pestering male child and the look on his face screams “This is so DUMB” and “I wanna go home.” We finally clean up the mess and take both dogs outside, hoping to calm down a little. Voltaire is way too loud to stay indoors so Ben agrees to stand with him outside while I go back inside with Curie to finish the contest.

“Well, so much for spending 6+ hours on THAT costume” I think as the embarrassing duo (us) saunter back inside. Curie is not nearly as loud as Voltaire but she fidgets like a drug addict going through withdrawals, so I keep her between my legs. I look around me and see the following costumes: bumblebee, ladybug, Mickey & Minnie, Superman, spider, pirate wench, monkey, princess and some other pretty common store-bought ensembles. The host tells us that they determine the winner by how loud we cheer for each costume (the louder the better). Everyone is polite and tries to cheer in equal amounts (when it’s my turn to go up and introduce Curie, I can tell that everyone is like “Hm, Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama? I’ve never heard of the guy).

I desperately want this one family to win because collectively they look sooo stickin’ cute. Each member is dressed up like a character from the Wizard of Oz with Otis the schnauzer dressed up as the Tin Man (Otis is a regular at the dog park so I cheer the loudest for him as well as Kasey the monkey…another dog-park-goer). After a few more rounds, only Tin Man, Jack Sparrow and one other dog remain. Turns out Jack Sparrow (a tiny Chihuahua mix) wins the contest. I am thoroughly disappointed because there were two other dogs dressed up as pirates. Err, kinda unoriginal….no? What about the TIN MAN and his cute entourage!?! The owner of Otis even borrowed her friend’s KIDS for the day just so she could have a Lion and Scarecrow. That’s determination folks.

The event comes to a close and we scurry back outside, only to find poor Ben and Voltaire huddling by the pillar, hunched over in the pouring wet rain that came out of nowhere. “Boooooo!” I mentally scream as we make a sprint back to the car, both dog costumes dragging behind in the sopping pavement. Everyone is shivering…both human owners haunted by the image of Voltaire’s disastrous bowel movement. We immediately throw Voltaire in the shower and I declare never, ever, EVER to bring him back to Petsmart unless I want an aneurysm.

Lesson learned: More velcro woman!!! Make sure costumes fit securely or you will pay dearly. Cause dogs, who naturally do not belong in frilly outfits, will demonstrate their unwillingness to participate by ripping off their costumes. In their eyes it is self-defense. I kinda don’t blame them :)

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