Has It Gone to the Dogs?
Halloween is such an amazing time in Rehoboth Beach. Everywhere you turn, there’s a goblin, a ghost, a ghoul, and well, maybe even a fairy—or two! The oppressive heat of summer lifts, giving way to breezes carrying the smell of ocean far and wide.
And as beach waft meets boardwalk, our senses skyrocket, tricked into believing there is no better treat, no savory delight more necessary to our very survival, than that sugar-pizza-fries oasis lying just ahead.
So grab your treat and push toward the bandstand, for this year is 30(!) years of the Sea Witch® Festival, an event which includes the human costume parade, pet parade, Sea Witch® Hunt, kid’s games on the beach, trick or treating, hayrides, vendor area, and free live entertainment at the bandstand all weekend long.
Yes my friends, most importantly, it is pet parade time, which means mostly dogs. Pugs in tutus and beagles in superhero capes are just the very tip of this four-legged, costumed iceberg.
But there’s News!
Because while celebrating 30 years of Sea Witch® is special, this year our community gets to double down and celebrate something else exciting: the first year of our First State becoming the first (and ONLY) state in the union to be rated a no-kill state.
On August 5, Brandywine Valley SPCA tweeted out “NEWS! Delaware is officially the first AND ONLY no-kill state in the country! That’s the news from the national Best Friends Animal Society Conference, where we received an award for our leadership in that achievement and for other no-kill initiatives like our Second Chance program and disaster relief work.”
“When every shelter in a community achieves a 90 percent save rate for all cats and dogs, that community is designated as no-kill,” the Best Friends Animal Shelter notes on its website. The 10 percent margin of error factors in euthanasia for pets who are suffering from irremediable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being rehomed.”
Delaware boasts a 92.9 percent save rate, meaning about 12,000 of the approximately 13,000 pets in its shelters were saved. Best Friends Animal Society defines “saved” as pets “returned to their owners or provided with expert care and safe places to call home.”
Linda Torelli, marketing director of Brandywine Valley SPCA, recently told CNN, “The Brandywine Valley SPCA has a live release rate of 95 percent for the more than 14,000 animals a year we intake. Within Delaware, we intake more than 60 percent of the animals entering shelters and more than four times the next largest shelter, so our policies have had a significant impact on the state becoming no-kill.”
Pretty darn celebratory, isn’t it?
So now I’m wondering if they have a poodle in need of leading a parade?
You see, once upon a time, as in nine years ago, television’s TLC aired a special, Extreme Poodles. It was what you’d call a one-off. And that was that. At least until they did what the business calls “repurposing” and brought it back out this past September with a new title, Wait! That’s a Dog?
As one critic noted, “think Toddlers & Tiaras with poodles and neon dye and you’re about 80 percent there.”
Enter the world of creative grooming—a special kind of dog grooming that involves transforming poodles into all sorts of creatures via strategic scissoring and paints. You will be either amazed or appalled watching a poodle become a roller derby girl, bemused as one becomes a lion, and astonished by the tale of the owner, the poodle, and the camel. And so it goes. (If you can’t catch the whole show, there is a trailer floating around on YouTube.)
So for me, this year the pet parade’s Grand Marshall should be the Brandywine Valley SPCA, for its role in making the First State First in Care for our Animals. And I think they should bring a poodle, white, black, or tie-dyed, in need of a home. So if someone in our community is in need of a poodle, they could easily find their new addition leading the way!
I also think, while this is all great, it doesn’t have to stop here. Maybe next year we can follow Holland and become the First State to have NO STRAY DOGS. No tricks. No treats. Just your love, your time, your commitment, with a visionary SPCA. And, a 31st pet parade to woof, yap, and celebrate!
Until then, walk, watch, enjoy. We done good!
(And one last note: It’s Halloween. Please remember black cats are not bad omens. In some countries, they are even considered good omens, harbingers of great luck. So if you have a black cat, keep it safe. If you see a black cat, do no harm. And if you need a cat, think black, and adopt!) ▼
Stefani Deoul is a television producer and author of the award-winning YA mystery series Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventures, with On a LARP and Zero Sum Game.