RIO DE JANEIRO – “Carnival is wild” and “Come enjoy the puppies” sang the owners of dozens of dogs outfitted in costumes on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana seaside promenade in a parade that, besides providing entertainment, denounced the maltreatment and abandonment of our four-legged friends.
Superheroes and ballerinas were just some of the costumes donned by the pets for the so-called “blocão” parade – a word formed by blending “bloco” (troupe) and “cão” (dog).
Dogs and their owners began arriving for the event starting at 8 am on Sunday, and for three hours they paraded along Copacabana’s famous Atlantic Avenue, which these days is bubbling with emotion and the site of numerous pre-Carnival parades loaded with rhythm and color.
In all, almost 100 dogs took advantage of the occasion to frolic with each other, bark a bit and enjoy interacting with the people who passed by or showed up to see the parade.
Moreover, the number of people joining the parade to denounce the mistreatment and abandonment of dogs (and other pets) grew by leaps and bounds in a matter of minutes.
Rosana Vieira, 47, had a time of it coping with her three dogs on their respective leashes, but she managed to tell EFE that “Dogs also have to have fun” because “they can’t just be alone all day.”
“I’m bringing them here so that they get to know other dogs and get out of the routine of their daily walks,” she said.
Other smaller dogs, were carried around by their owners, who danced with them to the beat of the band playing nearby.
A performer dressed like a dog for the occasion sang songs prepared especially for the animals.
“Man’s best friend ... inseparable ... the one who’ll never leave you” were just some of the lyrics.
Virtually everyone was dressed up in assorted costumes and people in the crowd took photo after photo of both the dogs and the owners in the parade.
The dog parade was the first event of what will be a very active day in Rio, given that this is the last weekend before Carnival officially begins.
On Sunday, there are 46 bands scheduled to perform, filling the city with music a day after 250,000 people took to the streets to celebrate during their favorite season.