I decided to do a little creative grooming for the Fire Muster. White Poodle plus Fire Muster Dog Show equals Dalmatian Look-alike contender! So I checked with my groomer, a Poodle grooming specialist, a hair dresser, a pharmacist and online creative grooming sites. The consensus was anything temporary, without bleach and safe for children’s hair would be ok. There are specially formulated vegetable dyes for dogs available, but not at any supplier near me. Food colouring and Kool-Aid is also ok, but I wanted black colouring so needed something else.
I got a temporary dye spray bomb designed for kids and fancy dress costuming. I cut different sized circles in a small piece of boxboard and sprayed Leo’s hair. I didn’t spray his legs, near his eyes or under his belly – avoided sensitive areas and anywhere he could easily lick. I figured better safe than sorry. Kids aren’t likely to lick their dyed heads, so “safe for children” isn’t exactly the same as “safe for dogs”.
I found out the dye is indeed temporary and, even when dry, easily smudges when touched. So I had to keep retouching him after people patted him, and finally learned to say “you’ll get dye on your hands if you touch the black spots”.
At the registration table for the dog show we’re told there’s no category for Dalmatian look-alike this year. Years spent watching dogs in black-spotted t-shirts and Border Collies wearing firemen’s hats walking away with that special prize! Leo and I had no exhibition trick worked out, no Plan B. I knew we didn’t have a chance at “Cutest Dog” when I saw the Chihuahua in the little ballerina dress and silver booties. The Chihuahua did win, as did a beautiful German Shepherd as “Older Dog” and a gorgeous little Dalmatian in the “Puppy” category. A Shepherd-Husky won “Best Trick” and a little Papillion won “Best Overall”. We won only a lot of attention and oohs and ahhs. Leo was perfectly happy with that. Charlie went in au naturel, hoping for “Cutest Dog”. But even he can’t compete with a Chihuahua in a tutu.
Later, Leo got his spots washed out. Charlie watched, relieved that he was passed over for bath time.
First posted on my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Sept. 7, 2010.