The South Bay puppy raisers march in the Downey Christmas Parade every year. It’s a great opportunity to spread holiday cheer as well as awareness of the GDA program. The dogs get terrific exposure to crowds, marching bands, horses, and all kinds of other distractions. It’s fun for the people, too. Everyone dresses in Santa hats and red vests, and gets to spend the first hour or so trying to prevent their puppy from chewing the garland off its jacket.
This year, our day began at Baker’s Square restaurant, where we met the group for breakfast. After attempting to settle Truman under the table in the presence of some exuberant young puppies and apparently fragrant intact females, we relocated, I was able to use both hands on things like utensils for my pancakes, and he did just fine.
Here’s how it went: The walk to and from the parking lot to the parade staging area was practically longer than the parade itself. Truman — who is usually a champion loose-lead walker — nearly decapitated himself by pulling so hard on the leash, he was so excited. My left arm was killing me by the end of the route, but I know he had a great time. Everyone applauded for the dogs, and the excited shouts of “puppy!” and “doggy!” from children lining the route were a welcome addition to the shouts of holiday well-wishing. And, this being Southern California, it was a brisk and Decembery 78 degrees outside.
He was NOT tired afterward.