The Fire Muster is this coming weekend – Labour Day Saturday and Sunday – in Pinafore Park, St. Thomas. A chance to see fire fighters, fire trucks old and new, classic cars, and dogs. There are always lots of dogs at the Fire Muster. On Sunday afternoon, there’s a dog show. It started as a Dalmatian show, and there are still special prizes for Best Dalmatian and Best Dalmatian ‘wannabe’. Dogs wear costumes, do tricks or just walk across the stage. The first time our late dog Jack entered, he won Best in Show. I don’t know who was proudest, us or him. Later, he happily rooted around in his prize hamper from Hartz.
From then on, every time we were at Pinafore, he wanted to walk across the bandshell stage. Strut across it, reliving his moment of glory. I’d sing “here she comes, Miss America”, and he’d look out over the cheering audience that only he could see. The year they tore the old bandshell down he was crestfallen. I took him to the new one at the back of the park, and he walked across it. But you could see it wasn’t the same for him.
He entered the dog show every year, never won again, but always enjoyed it. As soon as he’d see dogs heading for the registration table and lining up, he wanted to join them. He liked going to Pinafore Park any time of the year, but he would get especially excited when he’d see the ladies on the boot toll at the gate. He knew it was Fire Muster time.
For several years, my husband and I worked at the souvenir t-shirt booth. Jack loved being there, meeting and greeting dogs and people. One year, though, he wasn’t really happy. We’d made him his own tshirt. He didn’t like walking around like a canine advertisement but, in his black “muscle shirt”, he brought a lot of attention to the booth.
The new dogs, Leo and Charlie, were at last year’s Fire Muster for the first time. They both entered the dog show. Didn’t win, but they didn’t care. They were happy with their participation gift treats.
First published Aug. 31, 2010 on my St. Thomas Dog Blog