Monday, January 4, 2010

Walking in the parade

   New Year's Day was Saturday and we had the great fortune to be invited to participate in the Comerica New Year's Day Parade in Dallas. This used to be known as the Cotton Bowl Parade. But, since the Cotton Bowl is no longer held in the Cotton Bowl and has been moved not only away from the historic stadium, but out of Dallas to Arlington and the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the parade is simply the New Year's Day Parade.
   It wasn't just us that were invited to wave at folks along the parade route, it was all of the Border Collie Rescue Texas, of which we are members.
   It was a real honor to be asked to participate, as the only other dog organization ever asked to take part is the Golden Retriever Rescue. In addition to securing an invitation, a sponsor is needed to take part, and a local radio station came through for us. That station is KRLD 1080 AM.
   The day started off well, with various members of of BC rescue meeting in the parkinglot of the American Airlines Center for visiting time before the parade started. While that might not sound like that big of a deal, keep in mind that members of Border Collie Rescue Texas live all over the state, plus one who lives in Oklahoma and one in Louisiana. And, for those who don't remember, Texas is a big state.
   In all, more than 25 members of our rescue group came to enjoy the festivities.
   With the temperatures in the low 50s, standing in the sun in the parking lot was pleasant, and I wondered if the matching sweatshirts we were all wearing might be just a little on the warm side. Then we rode the shuttle to the staging area.
   At the staging area, the tall downton buildings cast large shadows and made areas of sunshine few and far between. The shaded area of the staging area soon became chilly, and participants from floats, to marching bands and others sought the slivers of warm sunshine.
   As the sun moved through the sky while we all waited, waiting participants did what might have appeared to be a coreographed slow dance migrating with the areas of sunshine. People and dogs milled about, visiting, moving, visiting, moving.
   Soon it was time to line up. As each float got into position, the anticipation built — in both our people and their dogs.
   Our banner was there, the parade director ws telling us it was time to go, and we did. Out into the sun, which shown straight down the street, with throngs of people lining the sidewalks. Those sidewalks were also in the sun.
   All of our dogs tugged their leashes, and perked up with the cheers and waves from the crowd. Our 12-year-old BC, Maxx, was loving the limelight. Younger dogs in the group veerd to the sides, seeking attention from the crowd, and were rewarded with pettings along the entire route.
   Then, before we knew it, it was all over. We had covered the almost two miles of the parade route, people were tired and dogs were looking for water. Smiles adorned every face — on people and dogs.
Maxx slept the whole way home, and after taking a trip out to the backyard when we got there, he crashed on his bed in front of the TV.
   It was a good day.

Blake Ovard is a professional dog trainer and a top-three finalist in the Extreme Mutt Makeover. He can be reached via e-mail at

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