It's hard to build dramatic tension when I'm just so excited about something. But let me explain. Last Saturday, Paw Pals of Quincy held its third annual Mardi Pals in the District (which is downtown Quincy for those of you not from around here). There was a parade, a costume contest (more on that next week) and, most importantly for this household, wiener dog races.
The races were divided into three groups: The Cocktail Wieners (under 10 pounds), the Ballpark Wieners (11 to 20 pounds), and the Plumper Wieners (self-explanatory). Yes, these Paw Pals people have a sense of humor about this. Jake is somewhere between 13 and 15 pounds.
There were four heats for the Cocktails and Ballparks, but only one for the Plumpers. The winners of each heat ran in a final race to qualify for the championship race. Yes, the Plumpers had a leg up here--they only had to run one race, but then, that's probably for the best. Jake was in the third of the Ballpark heats.
The guy in green, there in the middle, was the announcer for the event. I wrote down Jake's whole name--the part about the three legs and the wonder wiener--and that guy read the whole thing. Now, I'd spent the previous two hours parading my dogs around and talking to people, so I already had built up my fan base. But when he read the Jake's whole name, he added, "Don't let the three legs fool you, folks. He's not slowed down by all those extra legs. He's built for speed!" The crowd loved it.
The dogs were all loaded into this plywood contraption. Envision, if you will, a horse-racing chute. Now envision it at 1/6 scale, with outhouse-style cutouts for each dog to see through. You get the idea.
Did I mention I was doing this with Gater, The Kid, a camera, and that's it? Next time, I'm bringing along an extra set of hands. But the park was filled with kind-hearted souls who held Gater for me while I filled out registration forms, went to the bathroom, and raced my wiener dog. God bless kind-hearted souls.
Anyway, on with the race!
Okay, we're set. We're on the finish line, The Kid had two treats cribbed from the Sam's Club display, and I'm ready with the camera. The crowd counted down from three, and the chute was open! And they're off!
See how the majestic wiener dogs spring forth and fly down the track (also known as Hampshire Street)! See their ears flop mightily in the racing wind! See the limbs moving so fast, it looks like they aren't even there!
(Eadweard J. Muybridge would have had a field day with this shot. Look! It proves a wiener dog can run with, um, let me count--ONE leg on the ground!)
The chalk was the finish line, and Jake was first by about three feet! Now, I don't necessarily think that he was faster than all the other dogs--but all the other dogs were slower.
Mommy? Why is everyone yelling? Did I do something good? Or something bad?
Wait--two treats? I DID GOOD!
Now, sadly, Jake bombed out in the finals round. The crowd was about five times louder, and he got completely discombobulated. So many people were yelling his name that he got turned around.
Note, if you will, the tail and ear in the forefront? That's the winner. Jake is aaaaalllllll the way in the back left corner, facing the wrong way. Yup. We lost that round, by about half a block. Da agony of Dafeet, ya know.
But we got a nifty, homemade, first-place ribbon! The Kid took a pretty good picture, huh? He's actually almost as good as I am half the time.
Finally, after a fun-filled four + hours of dogs in a park, we headed home to celebrate with . . .
The victory nap.
My little winner. I'm so proud!