Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joy to the World

If I'm watching Elf for the third (3rd) time in a week, then it's probably Christmas and I probably need a life.

Merry Christmas from my roommates to yours!

If you'd like some inspiring holiday words, here are some courtesy of my brother: "Writing's for chumps." Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you received all of the Great Grains your heart desired!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cut it out, Winter Woofstock!

I know I talk about cats a lot on this blog (like, a lottt) but to be honest, my heart actually belongs to dogs. I have three (3) English Springer Spaniel dogs at home in the States but as a city-livin', roommate-havin', always-workin' gal, I feel too guilty having a dog here in Toronto. So cats it must be, but sometimes I really, really wish they were dogs (just kidding I love you Money).

Since it's actually impossible to capture all 3 of my dogs in the same photograph, here's my favorite dog. I know you're not supposed to have favorite pets/kids but sometimes it just happens.

Sup, Randy?!

Hey, speaking of dogs, I was recently doing one of my daily Google searches for dog gossip and came upon something in Toronto called "Winter Woofstock." I was immediately intrigued by this stock and had to learn more. Turns out Winter Woofstock is a huge weekend gathering of dogs/ dog owners/ dog lovers/insane dog people where you can pretty much check out anything to do with dogs, buy all the things that your dog doesn't need and enter your dog into a number of humiliating (but extremely amusing) contests.

Dog costume contest? Yup, I'm gonna need to be a part of this.

As soon as I read the words "Stupid Dog Tricks Contest" my ticket to Winter Woofstock was as good as bought. I coerced my friends Heather and Christina into coming, which then inspired Christina's friend Jamie and her baby Chihuahua Charlie to come as well. See, Pay it Forward isn't just a movie, folks, it's real life!

Jamie and Charlie. It was Charlie's first big outing--we really threw him into the deep end of the pool here. He handled it well and had only moderate shakes the entire day.

My friend Ron was kind enough to lend me his dog, DJ (Donna Jo) because I felt a little sketchy about going to a huge dog festival sans dog. I was hoping no one would ask me any complicated questions about DJ's history but was fully prepared to concoct incredibly detailed and layered stories should that happen. I ended up being disappointed when it did not.

DJ is an 8 year old, half Rottweiler half Lab mix who, as Ron describes her, is very "food motivated." We witnessed this firsthand when DJ tried to eat an aged-to-perfection (i.e. solid as a rock) hot dog found under our seats on the bus to Woofstock. It was cute.

The dog sightings begin! We met this dog outside and had to stop to pet it. It was possibly named Lionel. The owner told us that Lionel had been urged to enter the Mr. Canine Canada pageant and would be competing later that afternoon. Now, at this point, while I did wish Lionel well, I immediately began thinking of when DJ would be approached by the dog model scout and when she and I would grace that dog runway and win all the prizes. And then we'd both get modeling contracts. And then I'd land the cover of Italian Vogue. And DJ would win a ton of free dog food. Winter Woofstock was blowing my mind already and we hadn't even entered the doors.

...We have now entered the doors. Way to go, Heather. Just block that sign. This was supposed to be my establishing shot. Now how the hell are people going to know where we are? At least DJ and I look good here; I've got dog model scouts to impress.

Once we paid our $10 fee and walked into the huge convention hall, it was like whoa. Dogs everywhere. Fake plots of grass and buckets of water decorating the sides of the room. Costumed pugs frantically running on treadmills.

Not lying.

There were beautiful, statuesque dogs.

...and less beautiful, less statuesque dogs (but seriously, I'd like to see that Great Dane try and pull off a sunglass/antler combo. I attempt it every year and fail).

There were also dogs with dreads. This dog knew it was way too cool to even think about entering the Canine Canada pageant.

We met this owner and his dog Timmy by the pet portrait station. Timmy is a 12 years old Pomeranian who was also entered in the Mr. Canine Canada pageant. Christina astutely remarked that Timmy looked just like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future. Timmy's owner then looked really disappointed with us.

But seriously, pretty close, right???

We could sense where we weren't wanted and there were many more dogs to meet, so we continued meandering throughout the aisles, mingling with dogs, scoring free samples of dog food (pretty sure I can make a nice profit off of those on eBay), talking about what kinds of dogs we'd be if we weren't humans (I'd probably be a Springer Spaniel, Heather went for giant show poodle...lame).

We then stumbled upon a huge dog who looked like a sad wolf. We managed to marvel at giant wolf dog, place a tiny Chihuahua on giant wolf dog and laugh at our clever size juxtaposition before its owner even detected our presence. It was like we'd all somehow inherited the stealth of ten (10) Winter Woofstock dogs. What fun!

(PS--I then changed my answer and decided that if I were a dog, I would be a giant wolf dog.)

You could pay $15.00 to get a photo of your pet with Santa. We saw Santa walking around beforehand, his slightly yellowed fake beard and dirty jacket lying on a table. He looked a bit disheveled, with about an inch of his bare leg skin peeking out from his too-short velvet knickers. It looked like he was having a rough day, but hey, being Woofstock's Santa has got to be a tough job. So much dog pee and all.

I would totally pay $15 to have a picture like this. Sadly, when we later walked past the Santa station Christina overheard one of the photographers say to the other: "We have got to get rid of this Santa." Poor (possibly hungover) Woofstock Santa :(

I really wish I had taken DJ's picture with him before Santa was honorably discharged.

There was no Mrs. Claus photo option, this was just a sweet elderly lady dressed up with her Dachshund. I would never dream of making fun of an old person dressed up in costume at a dog festival because, to be honest, I'm pretty sure that's exactly where my life path is leading me. Guaranteed you will see me at Winter Woofstock or a similar festival in 20 years dressed in a sad, homemade costume. Probably without a dog, making it even sadder.

We decided to check out some of the Mr. & Mrs. Canine Canada Pageant, where dogs and their owners paraded down a runway while commentators ( like a real life Best in Show!) narrated and prompted the dogs to show off with tricks. The majority of dogs were in costumes and the minority of dogs seemed to enjoy it.

Now, you're probably not going to want this dog as the wide receiver on your football team. Nonetheless, this pretty princess pulled off a few tricks in her tutu.

...and the crowd went absolutely wild.

While it may appear that the crowd is delighted by this denimed ballerina, let's take a closer look...


By this point I was beginning to realize that the dog model scout most likely wasn't going to handpick DJ and me out of the crowd to enter the competition. When I asked people, everyone pretended like they'd never heard of the dog model scout, like I was some crazy lady ranting about dog modelling contracts or something. There would be no strutting our stuff on the runway, no Italian Vogue covers, no modelling contracts and probably no free dog food. It really put a damper on the day for DJ and me.

So we tore that place UP. This could have been your Mrs. Canine Canada, Woofstock! But then we watched a dog obstacle course which calmed us down. Dogs running around traffic cones always has that soothing effect on me.

We ended the day by walking the red carpet meant for VIP dogs. Too bad we were red carpet-crashed by the mangy white dog trying to steal DJ's thunder; what a biotch! Don't worry-- I promptly got this dog removed and hopefully banned from all future Woofstocks. There's a time and a place, you know?

Winter Woofstock--where dogs are fun!

(writing taglines is also fun.)

The best part about Winter Woofstock? There's a summer Woofstock, too! That means this summer we get to borrow some dogs, eat ice cream and watch a dog swimsuit contest! See ya there in seven (7) months!

PS--A big thank you to Ron for letting us spend the day with DJ!

PPS--I did some research to try and find out who did end up winning Mr. Canine Canada and you know what? I think that our friend Timmy/Christopher Lloyd ended up taking the crown! Congrats, Timmy! You've earned it by the sheer number of years you've lived and because you look like Christopher Lloyd.