Dogs dash at Muttster Mash
Disguised dogs have bone to pick with contest
STORY SUMMARY »
Dogs made a pact with humans thousands of years ago in which they gave up the dangers of living in the wild in return for living indoors, enjoying regular meals and occasionally being dressed up in silly costumes.
JAMM AQUINO/ JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
"Dog" the Bone-ty Hunter, aka Hale Hina, a Tibetan spaniel owned by Allen Agor, won first place in the Hawaiian Humane Society's Muttster Mash dog costume contest, complete with the feather on the right side.
When I arrived at the Hawaiian Humane Society's Dog Park Sunday morning to judge a Halloween doggie costume contest, it seemed that quite a few of the canines were decked out in the most humiliating attire imaginable -- including my own pooch, Boomer, in his tacky orange aloha shirt and red devil horns. They had to be rethinking their compact with mankind.
Frieda -- a tiny Chihuahua-terrier dressed in a pink taffeta tutu with a toy hypodermic syringe hanging around her neck -- particularly seemed to be thinking that being chased through the Serengeti by a rampaging wildebeest would be preferable to being dressed up as what her owner conceived to be a cute imitation of Courtney Love.
CHARLES MEMMINGER / CMEMMINGER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Bill Corba dressed his dog Freida as "Courtney Love," with a syringe tied around her neck.
That sentiment appeared to be shared by Hale Hina, an equally tiny Tibetan spaniel in black leather jacket, dark sunglasses and feathers dangling from her ears. Yes, dear old dad had turned her into "Dog the Bone-ty Hunter." What? There was no American flag tube top available so at least she could have dressed up as Dog Chapman's wife, Beth?
At least Boomer could slink under the judges' table and watch the fashion carnage unfold while in hiding at the first Muttster Mash, sponsored by Hawaii Pet Nanny and Ohana Doggie Day Care. Poor Hale Hina suffered the worst fate of all for a dog in a weird human costume: She won first place and ended up on TV.
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CHARLES MEMMINGER / CMEMMINGER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Charles Memminger's dog Boomer posed with 9-year--old Paris Starn. Paris' dog Pua came as a pumpkin and won second place in the "scariest" contest.
Halloween used to be for kids. Then adults took it over, using the annual occasion to get dressed up like Freddie Kruger or Madonna and get smashed on pumpkin margaritas. Now Halloween has gone to the dogs.
At least that's what it looked like at the Hawaiian Humane Society's Dog Park on Sunday where a dog dressed as Superman busily investigated the backside of a little mutt dressed up as "Dog the Bone-ty Hunter," apparently looking for kryptonite. A dog the size of small horse wearing a Spider-Man costume raced around the park to the shock of a little cocker spaniel dressed, for some reason, like a chili pepper.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kayla, a Tibetan terrier, above, came with owner Sachi Etherington dressed as a bumblebee.
A Siberian husky sporting black-rimmed goggles and a garish yellow, red and green knitted cap and wristbands tried unsuccessfully to literally blend into the woodwork, hunkering down amid the wood chip-covered park ground. Like my own dog, Boomer, whom I had tastefully decked out in a loud yellow-and-orange aloha shirt and red devil horns, the "Rasta" husky seemed utterly unamused at the proceedings.
In fact, many of the dogs seemed acutely uncomfortable in their gauche getups. But being forced to wear silly costumes once or twice a year is the price dogs pay for giving up their life in the wild. Hey, if getting dressed up in stupid costumes and making fools of themselves is good enough for humans, it's good enough for dogs. (Cats would NEVER concede to such humiliation.)
But, at least from the human perspective, this fright-filled dog-day afternoon was for a good cause. It was the Muttster Mash, a fundraising event for the Hawaiian Humane Society put on by the dog-sitting businesses Hawaii Pet Nanny and Ohana Doggie Day Care. Tammy Kubo, owner of Hawaii Pet Nanny, and Ohana owners Michele Jim and Anna Doell figured more than 160 dogs were loping around the park, many in costumes. Dogs would compete in contests to earn the titles of scariest, funniest, most original and cutest dogs. (They couldn't have a contest for "smartest" because all those dogs stayed home. Joke, Tammy, small joke.)
Tammy had drafted me as a "celebrity judge" for the Scariest Dog contest. I don't know which was scarier, the dogs or that Tammy considered me a celebrity. I didn't feel so bad since she had also "asked" (i.e., commanded) her husband, Hawaii U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo, also to be a judge in the big Most Original Costume competition. (Note to Ed: You might not want mention this on your résumé if you are considered for appointment to the federal court bench.)
A Chihuahua-fox terrier named "Lacy the Dino Dog" won Scariest Dog, beating out a Shih Tzu, owned by 9-year-old Paris Starn, dressed as a pumpkin. I've found that dinosaurs are generally scarier than pumpkins, unless the pumpkins are launched by a cannon. But I suspect this was just a building year for Paris and that she'll return next year with her dog dressed as something really scary, like the resident agent-in-charge of the federal Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. (Coincidentally, sitting next to me as a judge was Tracy Elder, resident agent-in-charge of the federal Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The third judge was Vernon Woo, a former state judge who wasn't that scary.)
Not surprisingly, the exceedingly well-decorated -- and ironic -- pooch "Dog the Bone-ty Hunter" took first place in the Most Original category, beating out the slightly confused, pink-haired, fake-syringe-wielding Chihuahua-terrier "Courtney Love."
My dog Boomer, also defeated in that category, took his loss with customary good grace, ripping his aloha shirt to shreds on the ride home and vowing to tear my throat out while I slept should I ever try to put a costume on him again.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
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