The Fiesta Pooch Parade is an annual tradition each April in San Antonio as part of Fiesta, an 11-day, citywide celebration of the city’s heritage and culture. Dogs and their people dress up and strut through neighborhood streets ( right in front of my home) to the delight of spectators all along the route.
To make sure that this or any other pooch-friendly event stays fun and enjoyable for canines and humans involved, here are a few doggie etiquette rules that I have learned fist hand by my own Pooch Parade experience:
- Careful with the costumes. Consider the weather and your dog’s comfort. I feel sad for the sweet little niblets that parade by my house with their puppy crowns hanging in their puppy eyes and their costumes twisted around their back paws. Puppy’s costume should fit well and allow him or her to see and prance about comfortably while wearing a matching fiesta sombrero and doggie size serape.
- Don’t be a parade pooper. Carry a few plastic grocery bags tucked into a zip-top bag — use the grocery bags to clean up the mess and the zip-top bag to contain and carry your puppy poop away.
- Know your dog’s temperament. If you have a dog that’s nervous around crowds or doesn’t like kids, leave her at home. There’s a good chance that someone will want to pet your parading pup so make sure she is ready for attention. Spectators, keep your kids from running up to pet dogs in the parade – this can spook even the best-behaved canines. If your dog lives along the parade route, the noise and excitement of a long parade of dogs marching by might be too much for her. Make a comfortable place for her in a quiet room away from the hubbub.
- Water with care. Some dog-loving spectators along the parade route (ME!) put water out for hot and tired dogs. If you are one of these kind souls, be warned that the bowl will get slimy and nasty very quickly. If you decide to put out water, keep it clean and fresh, especially after big drooly dogs stop by for a drink. If you’re in the parade, bring water and a little dish for your pooch and pull over to the side when she is ready for some refreshment.
- Avoid throwing treats. Cheerfully throwing dog cookies (ME!) onto the doggie parade route can create a variety of hazards, from dogs lunging for the same goodie (then fighting over it) to creating hazards for humans tripping over leashes or stumbling on dog treats. If you want to provide goodies for the dogs on parade, keep a decorative bucket of treats handy and a little sign inviting pet owners to help themselves.
The annual Pooch Parade is always fun and with a little consideration and attention to small details… the Pooch Parade can be paws-itively wonderful for everyone involved.
The 14th Annual Fiesta Pooch Parade supports the Therapy Animals of San Antonio, bringing people and animals together for healing. For more info, please visit www.therapyanimalssa.org.