The French loves their dogs and in 2007, South ‘n France celebrated Bastille Day doggie-style! We hosted a Puppy and Poodle Parade sponsored by Dog Living Magazine
. The French love some pretty strange things - snails, stinky cheese, Jerry Lewis. But they redeem themselves with their love of dogs. Dogs are such a huge part of the French culture; you can find them almost everywhere-even sitting under the table while their owners dine in restaurants.
Since we were celebrating blocks away from our food production facility (where dogs are forbidden), we thought Bastille Day would only feel complete if we included both humans and hounds! Nine doggie contestants and their owners entered the parade to win magnifique doggie-themed prizes, with the Grand Prize going to the dog who best represented the spirit of France. Our contestants were: Weeman, Honey, Georgie, Copper, Beetlejuice, Coquetta, FooFoo, Houdini, and HoneyBun!
Forget the catwalk; this was a veritable fashion dog walk with contestants walking the red carpet runway in doggie haute couture. Stand-out fashion ensembles included a bride (Vive la mariée!), a princess, a ballerina, and a very chic dog escorted by his Chanel-sunglasses-clad owner. Wearing their matching plaid berets, Beetlejuice and Melody looked as though they had just finished a day of shopping on the Avenue Faubourg-Saint Honoré.
The miniature French poodle named FooFoo tried to steal the show with her magenta-pink toenails, but it was Copper, Le Chien Français, in his red beret and tri-color scarf who won the hearts of our local celebrity judges. The win was especially meaningful for Copper because just the week before, his longtime doggie-brother and roommate, Bud, had passed away. The Bastille Day Celebration lifted his spirits and those of his owner, Elizabeth Cushing who shared a moving tribute she had written to honor the late, great Bud. She wrote: “I've learned a lot from Bud …. a few lessons I would like to share with you:
1. Being easygoing is a good thing... if you take life as it comes and enjoy each day, you can live a really long time. Bud’s vet told me that given his size, he had lived to be the equivalent of about 101 in human years.
2. Don't complain... everyone likes you more. And people will pet you a lot and give you treats.
3. Be loyal to your family and friends... they're the most important people you will ever know. Make sure they know it by giving them a nuzzle.
4. Take some time to watch the world go by. Bud spent a lot of time on the porch just taking the world in. Whether it's on the porch, at the beach or some other special place, enjoying a special moment (or a nap), is a great thing.
5. Be optimistic. Heck, Bud chased those same birds at the Shores for years and didn't catch a thing. But, he persevered. Then he moved to Wrightsville Beach and caught a duck on Easter morning in front of 200 people at the sunrise service. Gee, if he had stopped trying, he would never have accomplished his dream.”
Some may say the world is going to the dogs, but on Bastille Day 2007, we all agreed that this wasn’t such a bad thing after all...