Make America a Nice Dane Once more: Brooklyn Canine Parade Elects Chief | Animals
In an election year punctuated by sexual assault allegations, calls for political opponents to be incarcerated, and the ridicule of the disabled, there seems little greater catharsis for New Yorkers than disguising dogs as llamas or Cyndi Lauper in the name of more benevolent competition.
On Saturday, the 18th annual Great Pupkin event in Brooklyn followed the popular Halloween dog parade in Tompkins Square Park a week earlier. Dog costumes weren’t limited to the creepy, and made for a fair amount of surrealism in a pretty ridiculous year.
The Brooklyn event drew several thousand dog lovers, but perhaps surprisingly, there weren’t many Donald Trumps. The choice, however, was always present: a dog was presented on stage in a basket with puppies under the title “a basket with adorables”.
Another mutt was given a poncho with the name “Bad Hombre” and a sign saying “I can dig under the wall”. The nod wasn’t just about American politics – one woman chose to dress up as Elizabeth II, hang a Union Jack over her dog, and hold a sign that read “Barxit”.
There were allusions to titans of politics and entertainment, with a George Washington dog escorted by its owner in a tricorn hat, and a formidable curly Prince wig and purple outfit worn by a French bulldog.
“We wanted to go with David Bowie, but Prince just seemed a little more iconic,” said the dog’s owner, Sarah.
When each of the 135 competing dogs was introduced to a loud crowd – the field was cut off from the 165 last year – it was clear that this was a very modern affair in Brooklyn. The area’s most recent gentrification, Fort Greene, is evident but has been rammed home by the number of dogs disguised as pumpkin spice slats. Another dog was disguised as a lobster, its owners cooks, to match the ocean to table theme.
One family decided on Werner Herzog or Werner Herzdog and supplied a cardboard background of the Andes and huge cue cards with quotes from the work of the German director. The children seemed just as enthusiastic about Herzog, or maybe just Herzdog, as their parents.
Special efforts are required to win the grand prize of a bag of dog delicacies. The defending champion, disguised as a working piano last year, was a strong favorite after arriving as a chainsaw with engine noise and a handler dressed as a lumberjack.
A sense of theater is also a crowd-pleaser: one group built a long silver cardboard tunnel, covered it with silver, and named it “Shrink-O-Matic,” in which a large dog was fed on one end and a smaller one emerged from the other . An improvised milk cart was embellished by a Pomeranian who posed with milk bottles on his back.
But the clear winners were a couple who had their nine-year-old Yorkshire terrier Chester dressed up as a llama. Chester was placed on the torso of a lama on wheels that acted as the neck and head, while its owners supported the theme by wearing a poncho and elongated llama head and face painted white, respectively. The effort was called “Doggy Llama”.
“Carrie was out in Peru and thought Chester had a llama face,” said Alex, the poncho wearer. “Chester whines when he’s dressed so we thought we’d do that. Plus, it’s funnier that way.
“It took us about a week to put it together. It’s a great community event. We had a Star Wars theme last year, but it didn’t go that well. We must find out what to do next year for sure. ”