Parading again

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I’m not 100% sure why people parade. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s partly a form of entertainment — to watch marching bands and floats and various animals troop by, or to be among the troopers. It also gives people a chance to display their civic involvements: their schools and scout troops and community service clubs… and in our case, the fruits of our volunteer work with Canine Companions for Independence. Whatever the reason, parading with our puppies has been a pretty regular fixture in our lives since we got involved with CCI.

With most of our dogs, we’ve made it to the Coronado Independence Day parade. Kyndall (our 6th pup) missed it because she was in heat, and last year Beverly was too little to participate. But we’ve paraded down Orange Avenue with all our other CCI trainees, and we’ve always been happy we made the effort. The event every year draws huge, enthusiastic crowds.

At almost 15 months old, Beverly still has not yet gone into heat, and Steve and I were nervous she might do so and miss this year’s festivities. But that didn’t happen, so this morning we lined up with almost a dozen other CCI pups and their handlers. (Sadly, for the first time in memory, we could not include Tucker. At 12 and a half, he can still walk, but not for long distances.) Because we only had one dog, Steve wanted to march with Beverly, and I was content the cede the leash to him.

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Waiting for the parade to begin.

I marched next to them, and it was just as big a rush as ever when, shortly after 10 am, we turned onto the main street and took in the sight of the crowds.

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Steve was very good about regularly walking Beverly over the curb to greet some of the spectators. Kids love the puppies.

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And Beverly was great with them. Several times she snuggled up and tried to lay down next to various groups of them.

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It’s a long route, well over a mile, and it took us almost an hour to complete it. Beverly held up well, appearing calm in the face of pile after pile of horse poop, and unbothered by the obnoxious honking of the Model Ts chugging along behind us.

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As always, the group adjourned to a dog-centric post-parade party in the home of a former CCI puppy raiser with a great (dog-proofed) house very close to the Hotel del Coronado. To our amazement, Beverly mustered enough energy to do a lot of romping, albeit no swimming. She was one of the very few who had no interest in the canine pool party.

She seemed to enjoy the social experience greatly. I guess both humans and dogs still prize that.

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Normally, Beverly is a pretty dog, pleasing to look at. In the last week or two, however, she’s begun looking rather leprous. The cause of this is that the figs on our massive old tree finally have begun to ripen. Moreover, the tree has sent up a jungle of densely leafed shoots around its base. This presents the dogs with irresistible, nose-level temptation; they dive in to scout for juicy morsels. Some of the juice drips onto their fur and they emerge looking rather shopworn.

It goes without saying that we don’t encourage this. Snacking on figs can quickly ruin a girl’s figure. Still, we’d recently come to let down our guard around Beverly, allowing her occasional access to the patio, where she likes to lounge in the sun.

We’ve discovered we can clean her up short of giving her a full bath and facial. We scrub off the blemishes using only a wet washrag. But this is time-consuming. So we’re making an effort to allow her no unfettered access to the yard, at least until after Tuesday.

We want to keep both her coat and her cape as clean as possible so that she looks respectable marching in the Coronado Fourth of July Parade. ┬áThe color theme of that event may be red, white, and blue. But we’d prefer to limit the red and blue as much as possible.