People who know me know that I'm a dog person.
Except for a stretch when I lived in apartments where having a dog made no sense, I've had a dog since I was 8 years old. Dogs are good people.
I freely admit to being a bit of a male chauvinist when it comes to dogs — I prefer them big, or at least medium-sized. I'm still pushing Chloe, our newest pup, to get past the 40-pound mark.
I brag about my dogs in this space, and elsewhere. I have almost as many pictures of them as I do of my grandkids — not. But I do have a few.
But I'm a piker of a dog advocate when compared to Justin Rudd. Rudd and his partner Ralph Millero have become locally famous for their love of dogs, and bulldogs in particular. Hundreds, if not thousands, follow the saga of the latest bulldog (this one is named POTUS) on Facebook and elsewhere.
But what sets Justin apart is the way he parlays his love for dogs into good things for the community. He single-handedly took on the campaign to create a dog beach in Long Beach — and Rosie's Dog Beach continues to be popular today.
Most people know Rudd as an organizer — he puts together something like 70 events a year. The biggest, with the exception of the Turkey Trot 5K and 10K, revolve around dogs.
The Bulldog Beauty Contest has morphed into a huge dog competition. And this Sunday is one of Long Beach's real claims to fame — the Haute Dog Howl'oween parade.
This is the 18th year that Rudd has encouraged people to dress up their dogs, and often themselves, for the amusement of spectators and other dog owners. This thing continues to grow, and attracts regional (and occasionally national) media attention.
The parade goes on for 90 minutes or so as a couple hundred entries walk the red carpet. Rudd has expanded the event to include a kids' costume contest, an area for vendors and dog adoption groups — and he has one of the biggest pumpkin drops around.
Now I'm not a big fan of dressing dogs up in costumes. Heck, I wouldn't put a bandana on my dog even back in my hippie college days.
I argue that it is beneath the dignity of the dogs I own to put on a funny hat or a clown suit. Others tell me that their dogs love it, with dog bling drawing lots of attention — and I agree dogs love attention.
And, in a confession of a bit of a guilty pleasure, I do my best to attend. I think I've made 14 of the previous 17, and I expect to be there Sunday when the pumpkin drops.
Justin does most of his promotion online, but allow me the retro opportunity of offering details in print.
The party starts at 2:30 p.m. this Sunday at Marina Vista Park on Eliot Street. It costs $10 to enter a dog in the parade, and owners are encouraged to dress up too (some of the larger entries are elaborate beyond belief).
It's free to watch, but if you want a good look front row seats are $10 each ($5 for the cheap seats). The kids and adults Halloween costume contest is free to enter, and steps off just in front of the dogs at 2:25 p.m.
Parking can be a trick, with most people parking in the Marine Stadium lot and hoofing it over to the festivities. There will be food trucks on hand.
For more information and to enter, go to www.hautedogs.org/howloween.
I'll be the guy with the camera. Okay, I'll be one of the many people with a camera. Come on down. And thank Justin when you see him.