Dog Craze

I learned an important lesson about life at the Mainx24 parade this weekend:  people love diversity.  I’ve often thought the opposite–that people tend to be most attracted to those that are most like themselves.  But the most exciting part of the parade and the greatest crowd pleaser was the mass of dogs ranging from the tiniest tea cup to miniature horse.

Diversity is especially crowd pleasing when the extremes are side-by-side.  Witness the image of the Great Danes walking by a Chihuahua riding in a baby stroller.  Who couldn’t love that?

Dogs are fascinating in part because of the wide variety of shapes and sizes they come in.  Of course, having been domesticated and bred by humans for thousands of years, I guess we’ve sort of forced the process.  But compare this to cats, who have also been domesticated for thousands of years.   The range of healthy cats’ weights seems to be about 4-28 pounds (Note:  this is information from the internet, which only allows people to publish accurate information ;-)).

Compare that to dogs who supposedly range from 1.5 pounds to well over 200 pounds.  The 2007 Guinness Book of World Records holder came close to 300 pounds, but that dog was so overweight, it was criminal.  We owned a 225 pound Mastiff, although we trimmed him down to just over 200 pounds to protect his joints as he got older.  He looked slightly on the too slim side at 205.  However, he lived to be 11 (that’s pretty old for a Mastiff) and was still happy to go for walks up until a week before he died.

But, back to my point.  According to Nova, even scientists do not understand exactly why the dog is so variable.  When you think about the differences in size, ears, muzzles, tails, fur, color, feet, athleticism, and personality, there really isn’t any other species that comes in so many varieties.

All I know is that even non-dog people are fascinated by the variability of dogs.  And there’s no better way to tap into that fascination than to get about 100 dogs to walk down the street together wearing silly costumes in a parade.

Photographically speaking, it was sheer chaos.  There were so many people and dogs moving around, it was hard to see a shot, let alone get one.

About 5 dog rescues were there walking adoptable dogs side-by-side with the pampered pets of owners recruited by the Dogood organization of Chattanooga.  It wasn’t clear if any of the dogs actually knew how to walk on a leash–they were all so busy checking out each other, the crowd, the remnants of tossed candy (which was an improvement over the occasional “treat” left behind by the horses) that they seemed to forget they were on a leash.

I was impressed that even with the chaos of tangled leashes, the walkers all managed to stay on their feet and keep the dogs moving down the street.

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