Choppy made it through her first Mardi Gras parades today!

Now, technically, dogs are not supposed to be on the parade route. This is a rule that, at least in my experience, is regularly flaunted (it’s definitely not the only rule regularly flaunted when it comes to Mardi Gras). There are dogs all over the parade route – hanging on the neutral ground, walking the route between parades, and just generally enjoying the party atmosphere.

100_0653There are three dogs in this picture. All of which are violating the dogs on the parade route rule.

Each block on the parade route has at least a couple police officers manning it; mostly they do things like take pictures with tourists and chat with whoever is nearby and looks willing to talk. Where we watch the parades, the crowds are not what you see on television. It is very family-friendly, and while it is often crowded, almost everyone has lawn chairs and space to get out of the crowds lining the route; on the neutral ground, they are grilling and basically having a giant tailgate. So, the police officers typically have little to do, and they stand around for hours watching others drink. I imagine it is a rather boring job.

Now, having a bored police officer nearby, I started chatting with said officer, who was petting Choppy and definitely not in any hurry to kick her off of the parade route (as it turns out, he didn’t even know that this rule existed until part way through the day, which may have been at least part of the reason he didn’t have any problem with the dogs on his part of the route). I learned some random Mardi Gras facts that have no bearing on my life going forward from the officer, but will no doubt take up valuable brain space that could be used for other, more valuable trivia (I mean, really, it’s not like Trivial Pursuit is going to start having questions about how the police officers get food while working the parades, which is one of the random things I learned about. For those who are curious, they have to come up with their own food during the day, even though they are working long shifts and really don’t get many breaks).

Choppy was a trooper throughout the day. The parades are really, really loud: there are bands, piped in music, tractors, motorcycles, snap & pops, and any number of other things that make noise, both as part of the parades, and as made by people watching the parades. The parades can be a sensory overload for a person; I can only imagine how it is for a dog. Between the giant floats, the horses, the bands, and the crowds, it has to be scary. But Choppy just chilled at the back of the crowd, occasionally hit by some beads, and just gamely taking the whole thing in. I hope she maintains this level of chill throughout the trip.

More Chilling in a Chair at the ParadesChoppy at the parades, acting as if she does this everyday.

I’m definitely going to test Choppy’s ability to handle strange situations tomorrow, though. We are marching with the Krewe of Barkus, a dog parade through the Quarter. I’m pretty sure Choppy has no idea what I have gotten her into.