I was concerned that the costume wouldn’t hold, the helmet or sword would go askew and obscure his vision and movement, that Lomax would wiggle his way out of it in the mad excitement of meeting dozens of new pups and people, that a spontaneous game of puppy flag football would break out and his fine red sash and faux-leather skirted accents would pay the price before the judging began. The contingency plan, of course, was that I would assert it was all part of the act, that Lomaximus had just emerged victorious from a brutal gladiatorial contest.
But there was no need. My beloved charge, my handsome little man, was well-behaved and fairly controllable…and I must say, looked mighty proud and confident in his getup. The much-hated helmet that had inspired death-ray looks of canine scorn in practice runs at home remained secure upon his lofty brow (he was too happy about the presence of others and being the center of attention to care much for the minor inconvenience). No one mauled him, nor did he maul others, though he did earnestly long for some extended sniffs in the general direction of the intact females in their pretty dresses and tiaras.
I had the opportunity to FINALLY, after just over two and a half years as a “future puppy raiser” attending meetings with either no dog or someone else’s, officially introduce myself and my furry foster child. Our happy moment was met with applause and cheering from those who have known me as their go-to puppysitter and a joyous participant in others’ graduations. Of no less importance was my announcement that Lomax was NOT dressed as a Trojan, as he had been announced (I am a UCLA grad with blue & gold blood in my veins), but as “Lomaximus, mighty Roman warrior.”
We came home with a (presumably) delicious rawhide chew tied in festive ribbons, the prize for Best Dressed…which we absolutely were, without question.
Finally, a hearty “Hats Off To You!” goes out to my good friend and former boss Ian at New Deal Studios, without whose tools, expertise, creativity and appreciation for the absurd I could not possibly have modified a child-sized Roman soldier costume to fit a wiggly Labrador Retriever. Thanks again, Ian! I owe you another latte.