Pride 2017 With Dogs
Pride and puppies mix well, with a few precautions!
Pride is here, and with the state of the world and the cultural impact that's having on the LGBTQ community I've seen a renewed commitment show up, in the streets to march, and mourn, and celebrate together in community. I LOVE Pride, and I LOVE dogs—put the two together, and I'm pretty much over the rainbow! I asked readers to share pictures of their dogs from Pride this year. Look how cute these dogs are!
My youngest dog Sirius is now five and a half months old, so this is her first Pride and I was really excited to share the experience with her! I worked a booth at Brooklyn Pride last weekend, and it got to be bring my puppy to work day! While at pride this year I spent a lot of time watching the ways dogs interacted with the festival, and it was wonderful to see that with very few exceptions the dogs i saw were comfortable in crowds, happy, and had guardians that were tuned into them!
Thinking about bringing your dog to pride? Here are my top 5 tips to make it a good experience for your pup!
Summer has arrived! While you're at pride don't forget to keep you and your pup hydrated! Be sure to bring lots of water, and be prepared to buy more water if you run low. Also be sure to keep to the shade and grassy areas as much as possible to prevent your pup's feet from being burned by the concrete.
2. Respect your dogs' boundaries
Not all dogs like large public events, and for a lot of dogs the best way to celebrate pride is by leaving them at home. Just a couple of weeks ago we went to a friends bbq and brought our youngest and oldest dogs leaving my anxious middle pup at home with a new bone. I missed her that afternoon, but I knew bringing her would be for me and not her, she was very happy spending a quiet afternoon alone and not having to navigate crowds of strangers, or unfamiliar dogs. Also think about the size of the festival you're bringing your dog to and let that help that guide if it will be a good experience for your dog. For example, I wouldn't bring Sirius to Manhattan pride because of the inability to quickly remove her from the festival if she got stressed or overwhelmed. Brooklyn Pride is a much (relatively speaking) smaller festival, and because I’ve socialized her she's to busy farmers markets before I was confident she wouldn’t find pride stressful.
3. Don't let strangers undo your training
Pride is exciting, and queers are pretty much always excited to see dogs. At Brooklyn Pride I even had a dyke run away from her toddler in a stroller to come pet my puppy! I love that people are excited to greet my dogs, and I only bring my dogs that are pretty much always up for meeting strangers. I also expect my dogs to remember their manners! For me that means: four paws on the ground (no jumping!), and an extra reminder for my teething puppy keeping her mouth to herself. Especially if you have a puppy people will often encourage bad behavior, or dismiss it as cute, especially dog loving lesbians! If you want to raise a well behaved canine member of society don't get caught up in the excitement of pride and let people undermine your training goals when they say hello to your dog. Turn pride into a fun training session for your dog!
4. Pack the first aid kit
Anytime I bring my dogs anywhere I like to be prepared for the unexpected with extra poop bags, treats, extra leashes, and a first aid kit! I almost never have need for it, but I did this weekend! In the middle of Pride I found a tick on Sirius! There is a huge issue with ticks this year and especially in the Northeast, but this the last place I expected to need to remove one! Thankfully my partner is less squeamish than I am about a bug sucking my baby’s blood, and together were able to quickly remove the tick using tweezers from our first aid kit!
I love a good accessory on a dog. For Sirius' first pride I opted for a rainbow tie dye bandanna to help catch the drool, and add a bit of pride flair! Be sure any accessory you put on your dog is safe, not something they can eat/choke on, and that it’s comfortable and doesn’t restrict movement.
Do you bring your dog to pride? Please share pictures in the comments!
About the author:
Sassafras Lowrey is the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books—“Lost Boi,” “Roving Pack” “Kicked Out” “Leather Ever After” and “A Little Queermas Carol”—have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Ze is a Certified Trick Dog Trainer, and assists with dog agility classes. Sassafras lives with hir partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued shepherd mix, and a Newfoundland puppy along with two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at www.SassafrasLowrey.com.