Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dempsey goes parading

People often tell us how much fun it must be to be able to take Dempsey anywhere. It is fun, but it's also work. According to Minnesota law, we can take Dempsey anywhere "for the purpose of training." That means that our first priority is training Dempsey, not shopping or enjoying a meal or movie. If Dempsey is having a tough day, we stop what we're doing and focus on Dempsey, and sometimes (not often, thankfully), we pack up and go home.

The other upshot is that we take Dempsey to places that we don't normally go. An example is parades. We're not really into sitting on a curb and waving at passing politicians and pageant queens, but last week, we took Dempsey to not one, but two, parades.

To keep things interesting, we picked two very different parades. The first was the Celebrate Northeast parade. "Nordeast" Minneapolis is a proudly blue-collar part of town, whose most famous resident is the fictional Sven Ivan O'Myron Wisnewski, the beer-drinking Joe who won the girl by arm-wrestling the girly man from fancy Edina.

The second parade wasn't blue-collar so much as pink-collar, with feather boas: The Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. Surprisingly, this parade is the biggest in Minneapolis, with over 125,000 spectators. I think this number counts the usual protesters, the most interesting being a guy from Wisconsin who apparently runs the only state-licensed school in the country that teaches chainsaw carving.

Arm wrestlers, chainsaw carving instructors, women on stilts, men in 8-inch heels, back-slapping politicians, clowns: Dempsey took it all in stride, ignoring all the noise, the food on the ground, and the "drive-by" petting, but sitting politely to greet anyone who asked to meet him.

I think we can now cross "parades" off Dempsey's socialization to-do list.

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