The wolf… OK, the wolf dog. The patron saint of animals. The photo shoot. What could possibly go wrong?
Feral cats. Rain. Yep, that’s it!
Everything started out rather nicely. Overcast day. Great for a photo shoot. Shasta, with her harness on, and I walked out to the middle of the property into a clearing surrounded by trees. I had her regular 6 foot leash and the 15 or 30 foot leash. I can never remember how long it is. It’s very long. Great for training “stay.” I had the box with her costume in hand. Camera around my neck. None of the feral cats I feed seemed to be around. Great! No distractions.
When we got to the clearing, I opened the box and started to put Shasta’s costume on. The costume: a child’s monk robe. I already had tried it on her once and trimmed the length and the arms down to fit her; so, she wouldn’t trip on it. Just as I was attempting to put the rope belt around her waste, she began to pull. I looked up. Cats! Wonderful.
The feral cats must have heard the commotion or my voice. They have a healthy curiosity about them. Then, again, it might be unhealthy. Shasta has a high prey drive and loves the chase. Good for her, and me, she also minds me, to a point. On leash, she isn’t too bad; although, it can get frustrating as she attempts to pull in the direction of the cats.
I got her rope belt on, and I tried to place her monk wig on her head. Shake. Off the wig goes onto the ground. I placed it on her head again. I began to back away. She let it stay.
I got a good distance from her and put her in the viewfinder. Click. Darn! Cat got her attention and…. She moved. Blurred photo.
I looked up from the viewfinder. Shasta is pulling. Her robe is under her back feet. Her hair is hanging off to the side of her head. I looked in the direction she was looking. There. Several cats decided we were putting on a show. No fear. Just sitting there. Taunting her. Sighhhhh
I gathered her up. Set her back in her spot. Told her to stay. She did. She sat down. OK. I can do some sitting photos. I really wanted standing photos to show off the costume with the rope belt and all, but we can do this too if it’ll calm her down.
We took some nice shots of her sitting. She is really good at the sit, stay and me walk off to take a photo.
Unfortunately, it’s a little harder and becomes a lot of work to have her stand and stay… especially with cats gawking at her. Round and round we went. We must have walked back and forth a hundred times. Sit. Stand. Come. Stay. Pick up the wig & put it back on her head. Pull the robe out from around her feet and set it back on her properly.
As frustrated as I was becoming because the cats wouldn’t leave and Shasta just couldn’t ignore them, I was laughing inside at some of the hysterical moments. At one point, after placing the wig back on her head for the umpteenth time, she shook her head and the hair piece went flying like some wild flying squirrel just went airborne from her head. Her attention back on the cats. I can only imagine what the cats were
saying to one another. “big, bad wolf dog wearing a dress!” And what would Shasta’s response be? “Shut up! It’s a robe.”
Just as I got Shasta to cooperate slightly, and mind you, she’s usually very good about her photo shoots, it started to sprinkle. I hung my head and sighed. I almost gave up. We stayed a couple more minutes and I hoped I got some usable photos.
I stripped Shasta of her costume, boxed it back up and headed back to the house. Not long after we got inside, the skies opened. It poured buckets. The good Lord and Saint Francis must’ve been watching… and laughing their butts off.
Why do I go through this? Because a few years ago, I saw an ad for Petco’s online costume contest. Take a photo of your pet in costume in a scene that matches the pet’s costume. She was Little Red Riding Woof the first year. She was a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing another year. I try to keep the theme wolf-related. My attempt at being clever. This year she’s Brother Wolf and/or St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.
We usually hit the 2 big costume contests near us. We’re rural; so, there aren’t many. Usually Petco & Atwoods. This year Atwoods didn’t hold their pet costume contest. A let down. Theirs is usually very good with a good turn out. I contacted them, and they said they weren’t doing it this year. I told them how popular it was and that our store usually has a large turnout from small dogs to large dogs. They said they’d have to look into it and consider doing it again next year. Bummer! I’ll have to save this year’s costume for next year in case Atwoods does it next year.
On the other hand, Petco did hold theirs. We went in and there was some good competition. The usual little dogs dressed in their cute store bought costumes were there. It’s hard to buy store bought costumes for big dogs. I find stuff to put together for Shasta’s. This year there were a few large dogs at Petco’s event. One very large Newfoundland puppy was dressed as Popeye… or was that pupeye? A Lab was dressed as a lumberjack with the lumberjack hat and all. Very cute! Shasta made her grand appearance in her Brother Wolf/Saint Francis costume. She even had a cardboard cutout cross with the words “Brother Wolf” on it. Of course, I had to explain who she was and why. Wolf dog. Wolf theme. Saint Francis and the Wolf. The story is an old one. It was better this year because I just released my short story Brother Wolf available for sale on Amazon/CreateSpace.
As we all stood there, the Petco employees went around with their score cards and looked over each dressed up pup. They talked to the owners asking questions about the dogs and their costumes. Everyone was having fun and enjoying each others costumes. Shoppers came in and asked to take pictures of the dogs.
Finally, the time came. The employees counted up their votes.
The winner is….. the wolf!
Woooooo hoooooo…. SHASTA, WE WON!!!
I profusely thanked everyone! All the employees. All the other participants. I was so excited.
Shasta… eh-em… Brother Wolf/St Francis won first place!
What did Shasta win? A $15 gift card. I thought about what to do with it and thought: Shasta went through all the embarrassment of getting dressed up and dragged out to Petco in a costume in mid-80s temperatures; so, I bought her as many toys as $15 would buy. I bought ½ priced ones to get more. Everyone got a bag of treats
Shasta is good about dressing up. The wolf part of her makes her extremely shy. Interestingly, she is a little more outgoing… like she thinks she’s incognito… like she thinks people can’t see her.
I’m not one who goes for dressing up their dogs, but I have to say, since the first contest we entered all because of that one online “in scene” costume contest, which we didn’t win, it’s been a great bonding, time together experience. It’s become something we do together. Just Shasta and me! I love her so much for putting up with me and my silly Halloween costumes and dragging her around to two towns allowing me to show her off.
If you have a dog or a cat or any pet, remember to have special moments with them. They certainly aren’t here as long as we are, and memories are everything.
For the record, Shasta let me know the photo shoot was done by finally turning away and refusing to look my way. I laughed and asked her, “guess we’re done, huh?”
Some more photos from our photo shoot and from Petco including the Shasta as Brother Wolf/St Francis photoshopped “in scene” photos: