Travel Dogs Jet Set just to Party!
I have been ever so fortunate to meet the glamorous, internationally acclaimed, canine couturier Kiki Hamann. I wrote about our love for her designs even before we purchased anything from her. I also told you about my runway modeling debut and being given the title of “Dog of Hamann” in May 2012. So imagine my delight when I received an invitation from Kiki to join her and a small group of selected friends to attend her (now annual) Halloween Party! Could we come? Oh yes! We would find a way!
This is how, after spending a few days in Texas with our dear friends Marlene and Stewart (the posts are coming!), we ended up in Miami. Arriving there at the stroke of midnight, just like Cinderella, we boarded an awaiting carriage. It turned out that the car we booked – a simple economy vehicle – was no longer available so the car rental agency upgraded us. Our pumpkin turned into a Mustang Convertible! No roof down on the first night, however: with hurricane Sandy starting to make her presence known, we drove from Miami to the Redlands in heavy pouring rain.
We made it safely, if a little late. We were so glad to be there and be able to enjoy, once again, the pleasure of staying at the Maison. After a greeting of BIG huge hugs, we were led to a wonderfully comfy bed. Without any dawdling or delay, we dropped off to sleep like the dead.
When we woke up the next day, we could already feel the party atmosphere buzz in the air. Food was being prepared, decorations were going up, music was playing, and there was a flurry of activity. I quickly greeted Kiki and Alex a good morning and then dashed off to play with my friends! I met the new baby of the family – little Gigio, a tiny short-hair Chihuahua who ended up being my favourite playmate for the rest of our stay.
We helped carve pumpkins; we decorated; the bipeds and I went for a walk in the sun; and we drove out to see a bit of Homestead. That night after a nice dinner, we got to watch the rehearsal of the Burlesque show planned for the party!
What’s that? The theme? Lingerie and Burlesque! I swear only Kiki could pull this off as classy and elegant! And wow, was it ever!
Oh, what a night, my dear friends! We met so many delightful people. Fifty guests mingled, each looking more glamorous than the next! As for the Montecristo Travels Team, the bipeds had decided on a costume that would include the three of us as a tableau. The inspiration? My name! Dad and I dressed as members of a Gentlemen’s Club and Mom became our rather lovely cigarette girl. On offer? Monte Cristo Cigars! We were a huge hit!
Pictures will illustrate far better than I can describe the amazing effort and high quality of the costumes that evening. The music was awesome, thanks to DJ Galaxy.Tthe food was also wonderful and laughter filled the air. The rain had stopped; Sandy never came to Miami. A lovely breeze cooled things down and kept the evening from becoming uncomfortably warm.
People chatted, and we all got to watch the fun Burlesque show choreographed and put on by our friend Alberto, who, by the way, had the most AMAZING costume! Dad got to be in the show in the opening act.
The play setting was a gallery. The gallery owner – played by the most exquisite and talented Anastasia the Great (who was kind enough to also display some of her art) – was showing a group around the gallery. A member of the “tour group” lagged behind, admiring a particular painting of scantily clad, gorgeous girls. Like magic, the painting came alive. The Burlesque Girls teased, seduced, and drove the poor lad nuts, then froze again when the gallery owner came back in to get the straggler … on the ground with pants around his ankles, claiming the painting had come alive! It was very clever!
We also had a chance to meet up with some friends and fans. In particular, we met with Michelle and her little Chico! Michelle is such a gorgeous blond. She had bought a costume from the same person as mom (Hello Ally!). With Michelle and Mom looking in synch, it was only natural that Chico and I should as well! So Kiki did her magic and VOILA! two little red carpet outfits. My outfit had a Count influenced style, complete with lace ascot, gold and red striped silk vest, red satin bow tie and matching boutonniere. Chico had the same design but with an Italian mafia flair: black with red pin stripe suit. Our coordinating details hit the perfect high note. We were a huge hit!
We made it to bed at around 3:00 a.m., falling asleep to the sound of some people still partying away.
We had a fabulous time. No. … We had an amazing time! With all the dogs present at this party, we began to wonder: are there tips or rules to hosting and attending a party with dogs present? With American Thanksgiving and the holiday season coming up, maybe now is a good time to think about those rules of thumb. Here are the top 10 we could think of:
1. Guest: The candy (and other food) is for humans, not for canines. Keep your dogs away! Chocolate in all forms, but especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be deadly. Host: Provide some dog safe treats, perhaps on a table clearly marked as canine friendly. Water bowls are also a good idea.
2. Pumpkins, decorative corn, and holiday plants can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them. Use care with decorations and keep them out of a pet’s reach if the pets are not going to be supervised. A carved pumpkin is a must for Halloween, but if you choose to add a candle to the pumpkin, be careful. Pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire.
3. Wires and cords for electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of all pets. If chewed, a pet might suffer cuts or burns, or, worse, receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. Lots of feet – especially when in high heels – can cause serious injury to a pet. Guests: always supervise your pet and keep them out of harm’s way.
5. Don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know they love it. Those not accustomed to wearing a costume may experience undue stress. Don’t force the issue. Personally, I love to dress up, but even I have a limit. You’ll notice in the photos from the party that at one point, I am no longer in my suit. My costume was just a fancy harness, something I am use to wearing for a long time anyway, yet even it came off – not because it was uncomfortable but because I got hot and tired. And that leads me to point #6 …
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict your dog’s movement or hearing, or impede their ability to breathe, bark (or meow). Be sure to try on costumes before the big night. This is also true for holiday outfits: those Christmas outfits can be very elaborate! If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him or her go “naked.” This is about your pet, not you or any photo op.
7. Take a close look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could lead to choking. Ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or become twisted on your pet, leading to injury. When in costume, it is good practice to hold your pet in your arms (id small enough) and supervise at all times.
8. Keep pets away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours or as your guests are arriving. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets. Too many people at a party can cause similar stress. For that reason, do not even consider bringing an un-socialized pet to an event. If your pet becomes stressed, be prepared to leave the party early.
9. Guest: Make sure you know how your pet will react to crowds, loud music and being up late. If your dog isn’t used to that, then maybe re-consider bringing your pet along. Host: Provide a quiet room where tired pets can rest in peace. I really needed this at the party and was SO grateful to Kiki for not only providing us with a quiet room but also a nice comfy luxurious Kiki Hamann dog bed!
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog (or cat) has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you! This is especially true when you are going to a strange area your pet does not know.
I think I will forever remember this High Society Halloween Party. It was the most spectacular one the bipeds and I have ever attended and well worth flying all the way to Miami and the Redlands for. So, I’m curious: have you ever travelled for a party? How was it?