We set out shortly after 8 a.m., lowering our Viking longship into the creek that runs through our neighborhood and dog-paddling away from the shore. The recent heavy rains would prove helpful, ensuring that the various tributaries criss-crossing Dallas-Fort Worth remained navigable. True, we could have reached the Pug-O-Ween venue in Arlington in less than an hour via automobile, but Wendell and I wanted to get in touch with our Norsepug forebears. We wanted this experience to be as authentic as possible. For on this, the holiest of pug holidays, we were not mere pugs in costume. We were Vikings.
Six hours later, we eased to the shore near Meadowbrook Recreation Center. We were ready to loot and pillage, to claim one of the best-costume prizes that had eluded us in years past. On this sunny Saturday afternoon, the ayatollah Viking horde would not be stopped! We ran toward the venue, frightening small children and grown-ups alike with our lightning-quick advance. Like the fearsome Scandinavian warriors from the Middle Ages, we had no interest in stealth -- which would be difficult anyway, given my heavy breathing. No, we had our eyes on the prize -- and nobody would stand in our way.
Of course, a few hours of pillaging can really wear a pug out. Such was the case with my blond-bearded brother, Ulf Wendellson, who found a comfy purse to lie down on.
He also took a nap in our longship. Fortunately, I was able to stay alert to watch out for would-be intruders. And to pose for pictures.
When it came time to go before the judges, I proudly strutted the gymnasium floor, my Viking blade shining in the afternoon sunlight. Wendell began our march in the longship, The Rawhide Raider, where he could guard our treasure chest of rawhide bones. But after mother pulled it 10 feet or so, Wendell jumped out to impress the judges with his athleticism. We made our lap around the gym to rapturous applause, pausing before the judges to let the full force of our Viking garb sink in.
Mother did most of the work on the costumes, using two fur materials, two faux-leather materials, two sets of toddlers' thermal underwear and various other odds and ends to craft our costumes. She made our horned hats, our fur cloaks with bone fasteners, our fur leg-bands, and our weapon belts. Father painted our shields and served as blacksmith for my sword. The humans considered making Wendell a battle-ax, but they ultimately felt he wasn't yet mature enough to handle such a weapon. Father also colored Wendell's beard with a Hi-Liter. Our sea-faring vessel was hand-delivered from our grandmother and grandfather from Oklahoma. They built the amphibious vehicle on a wagon chassis, along with our aunt, a skilled artisan shipbuilder who painted the vessel's intricate details.
After making our lap and giving it our all, we returned to our corner to watch the other competitors and sniff our neighbors some more. A big gray-and-black rescue pug in need of a home stood beside our longship in his enclosure, wagging his tail and luring the humans in to pet him with his jovial personality. God willing, he and the other rescue pugs at the event will make somebody who visits dfwpugs.com a great pet.
Finally, it was time for the judges to announce their decision. First the third-place finisher in our Ghoulish Groups division was announced. Then second place. Then first place. We did not win -- again, we would go home empty-pawed. Oh, well. It was still fun. And we knew that -- if we wanted to -- we could still raid the judges' neighborhoods afterward, plunder their valuables and burn their homes down to a smoldering pile of ash.
All in all, it was a great afternoon. We got to be Vikings. We picked up some free food samples. We sniffed approximately 280 fellow canines. We raised money for a great cause, DFW Pug Rescue. We saw some fun costumes. And did I mention that we got to be Vikings? Not a bad day's work.
Below is a slideshow of some more of our photos from the event. Mother and father had a bit of a bias toward Viking photography, but some of the other pugs' costumes are included as well. I don't know why Photobucket insisted on making the pictures so small, but you can enlarge any image by clicking on it. Hope you enjoy the show half as much as we enjoyed being there.