Amber had spent an hour trying to dress Domino for the parade. First, she put a straw hat on his head, but he shook it off before Amber could tie the ribbon under his chin. The blanket she put on his back was only there for seconds before he used his teeth to remove it. In the end, Amber had to settle for a flag bandana tied around his neck. Her brother Kyle brought Domino to the park just as the dogs were lining up for Bark in the Park. Amber and Beth Anne would be leading the parade. Since Beth Anne didn’t have a dog, she borrowed Cher from the Andersons. Clarisse had dressed Cher for the event in a red, white, and blue tutu with a patriotic flower on top of her head. Even the leash was red-and-white–striped with blue stars.
Fifteen dogs would be participating in the parade. There was a Chihuahua dressed like the Statue of Liberty and a mix-breed dog with a patriotic collar and a big red bow tied around its bushy tail. There was a pug who looked embarrassed to be wearing a crocheted red, white, and blue cap and booties. Jennifer was there with Tigger, who was wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt just like her owner’s. A schnauzer named Bosco was dressed like Uncle Sam, complete with a top hat and tails. His owner, Mrs. Brooks, was anxious for the parade to begin. She told Amber that she had to help her husband, the town butcher, set up the hotdog-eating contest. Bringing up the end of the parade was a basset hound named Wilber, whose belly almost rubbed the ground as he walked. He was wearing a banner that said, “Happy Fourth of July.”
The parade began just ten minutes late, with the dogs cooperating more or less. The stroll around the park would take only about twenty minutes, even allowing for nature calls. Everything would have gone off without a hitch except for one oversight. Mr. Brooks, who was preparing for the hotdog-eating contest in the picnic area near the parade route, momentarily left a tub of hotdogs on the ground while he went to get the buns. It was Bosco who saw it first, or maybe he smelled it. Mrs. Brooks did her best to hold him back, but the desire was too strong. Tearing the leash from her hands, he made a beeline for the tub of hotdogs. Once the other dogs saw what Bosco had in his mouth, there was no stopping them. They raced to get their treat—all of them, that is, except Cher, who only ate gourmet dog food, and Wilber, who waddled over at his leisure to find the tub empty.
“I’m so sorry,” Mrs. Brooks apologized over and over. “I’ve told Craig not to feed him hotdogs, but he does it anyway.”
The dog owners grabbed the leashes and attempted to pull their dogs away. Dogs snapped and growled and chomped on the hotdogs until every scrap was gone.
“It looks like Bosco is the winner of the hotdog-eating contest!” Walt said, laughing.
From The Handy Helpers: Red, White, and . . . Bloopers.