The big news about this La Jolla Christmas Parade was not that it was charming.  It usually is, and the sunny skies and warm afternoon drew a big crowd, which made the whole event even more festive. No, it was that the CCI Puppy Drill Team looked far sharper and more disciplined than it did at the Coronado Fourth of July Parade. Darby didn’t have much of a clue as to what was going on. But if she had, she would have been proud.

I credit Pattie Urie, the team founder and brains of our operation. It was Pattie who organized extra practice sessions throughout the fall, and she who found the snowflake “crowns” worn by the pups this year and their sparkly blue capes. She also alerted the pup handlers to white scarves available from Walmart that definitely made us look more professional.  It paid off.  Our lines were more or less crisp. We moved more or less in unison. The crowd oohed.

Darby, on the other hand, seemed to take it all with a grain of salt. There’s always a long wait before our group gets to line up and march, which must feel agonizing if you’re young and furry and fired with desire to do nothing more than play with all the other pups assembled. But Darby patiently endured the wait until we got to stand.

Marching down Girard Street, she seemed exceptionally well-behaved to me (though perhaps the drums and bagpipes and Clydesdales had put a dent in her normal exuberance.) One thing for sure: she stood out, being the only black pup among the drillers.

Another thing for sure: if Darby didn’t think the drill team was the most fun she’d ever had, Tucker looked happy enough for the two of them. He didn’t drill, being long ago released from puppy servitude. He just trotted along in the team’s wake and wagged his tail and smiled and smiled.

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