I’ve always been the type of person that didn’t believe in dressing up animals. I hate those email jokes where there’s some poor attired feline who looks ticked off (obviously,) and I would never humiliate a cat with an outfit. I felt bad for my friend’s Labrador when she slapped a pair of plastic antlers on its head at Christmas                                                     time. Once again, Frankie’s changing my ways.

I was swayed by the persuasive tactics of commercial marketing. Have you seen the rows of pet costumes at Target? They’re adorable. Last year, still unconvinced, we did things my mom’s way — last minute. We were stuck with the unoriginal, far from clever, hot dog dog costume. Maybe this would’ve been cuter if Frankie actually was a Dachshund, but a Pekingese as a hot dog wasn’t that funny. I was a little embarrassed walking him the morning of the 31st, not to mention constantly worried he was going to pee on his getup. (Though I now know these costumes are made with strategically placed straps for safe and comfortable widdling.)

Amazingly, Frankie seemed to not only tolerate it, but enjoy it! Maybe it was all the extra attention he was getting, but there did seem to be an extra bounce in his step. Frankie has always trotted happily, but as ridiculous as it sounds, as a hot dog, he pranced.

This year, we’ve done things my way. Planned out and well in advance. Frankie’s Halloween gear was originally a sweater. Black and white striped with a skull and crossbones. Simple. Cute. I steered away from anything that looked too uncomfortable or went on his head. (I may have changed my mind, but I still have my compassion.) The problem was, his sweater looked like it had gone a couple rounds in the dryer. Way too small, it only came halfway down his back. I marveled that my mom was even able to get it on.

The sizing charts of pet costumes and a book on the Pekingese have called Frankie’s weight into question. The book says “dog show standards” (yeah, right) are limited to a maximum of 14 pounds. At last weigh-in, Frankie tipped the scales at  20. The sweater chart listed his breed as size small. Yet, what I received looked fit for a Chihuahua. We were told he’s all Pekingese, but he’s a rescue, so either he’s a very big boy or he’s mixed with Bulldog, which would explain his absolute stubbornness.

Validated for beginning the process early in the month, I returned the miniature sweater in favor of two more outfits, in hopes that one would work. One did. And Frankie felt so good about it at photo time, he turned toward the camera at his name like he was working the red carpet.

The Hawaiian Guy

In the end, he’s a contest winning Hawaiian Guy. That’s right, the dogs are having a party and costume contest on Monday at daycare. As a columnist in Tallahassee says, this is what happens in America when you don’t have children. Silly yes, but I’m embracing it. If you see us on the street on Monday, I’ll be the one proudly walking the prancing Hawaiian Guy.

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