Bandit seemed a little nervous.
The 9-year-old rat terrier was surrounded by strangers and his Elvis-inspired jumpsuit – complete with bellbottoms − kept falling to the side.
“I don’t dress him up much,” Bandit’s owner Pam Jackson said. “Now, my mother-in-law dresses up her Chihuahua … she’s got tutus and dresses.”
Ordering the Elvis suit was a no-brainer as Pam’s husband, local radio personality Jerome Jackson, is an Elvis tribute artist. Pam added some colorful rhinestones to Bandit’s suit to match the Eagle jumpsuit Elvis wore during his 1973 concert “Aloha from Hawaii.”
Bandit will show off his Elvis suit during the Howling at the Moon Dog Fashion Show and Food Drive on Sept. 14 at Eastgate Park in Dothan. The event, hosted by Dothan Leisure Services, starts at 9 a.m. and will include food trucks, vendors and live music with the dog fashion show at 10 a.m. Donations of unopened dog and cat food will be collected for the Dothan Animal Shelter as admission.
Getting your dog into fashionable clothing is a lot easier if a dog has been wearing clothes since it was a puppy. In some cases, the dogs even like it.
“Especially the little ones, if they’re tired and cold when they’re little puppies, they like to put their jammies on and some people just like to dress their dogs,” said Sally Hunsicker of For Pet’s Sake in Dothan. “Most dogs, if you start early doing that with them, are fine with it – they really don’t object.”
For an older dog not accustomed to being dressed, Hunsicker recommends going slowly and starting with simple pieces to gauge your dog’s tolerance for clothing.
“I would start with things like doing bandanas or little vest-type things like some of the harnesses so that they’re used to having something on them and you can progress to trying costumes,” Hunsicker said.
With costumes and more elaborate pieces, Hunsicker recommends first dressing the dog at home and allowing the dog to move around in the clothing to make sure the costume doesn’t impede movement.
“A lot of dogs like to have clothes on,” Hunsicker said. “And some of them are even kind of proud about having something on and then others aren’t too interested in it. You just kind of have to judge your own dog and see what they’re happy with.”
Organizer Debbie Reed of Dothan Leisure Services said Howling at the Moon will include an adoption drive.
The dog fashion show will be judged with prizes for winners. Reed said the event serves two purposes – to gather food for the city’s animal shelter and to encourage use of the amenities like the dog park at Eastgate, located on Sanitary Dairy Road on the east side of town.
“It’s a plus-plus,” Reed said. “It’s a food drive but a chance to show them the dog park that Leisure Services has built for them.”