D.C. dog owners and their pups arrived at the Fairmont hotel in Georgetown on Tuesday night to show off their dressed-up dogs at Howl-O-Ween, complete with a costume competition for prize baskets of doggie treats and hotel giveaways.
The event was an effort between the Fairmont and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, offering an opportunity for Guiding Eyes puppy-raisers to share their mission with fellow local dog-lovers and receive donations.
There was no shortage of dog-lovers to go around either, with dozens of dogs and their owners in attendance. Judges walked around to determine the cutest outfits, unable to hide their bias as they were bribed with slobbery kisses.
Bella Wanis and Juliet Day brought their dog Lucy, who could have been held in one hand. Lucy was dressed as Sully from Monsters Inc.; Day said she and Wanis are planning to dress up as Boo and Mike Wazowski, respectively.
“It’s kinda ironic because she’s tiny,” Day said.
Among all the festivities, the organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind collected donations while guide dogs in training gave out kisses at a puppy kissing booth.
“We don’t train them to be guide dogs — we train them to be good dogs,” volunteer puppy raiser Sharon Boyle said.
After working on basic commands and house manners with the puppy raisers for 16 to 18 months, the dogs go back to the organization for formal guide dog training.
“When you see them matched with a blind person, it’s incredibly rewarding,” Boyle said.
Hazel Osea dressed her dogs as pieces of sushi, but was proud of more than just their costumes. Osea’s dogs, Bingo and Katie, had recently participated in a linguistics research study at the University of Maryland.
Bingo is a former explosive detection dog for the TSA. Katie is “doing quite well” after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, despite being left with half a pancreas after surgery, Osea said. The event was part of Katie’s bucket list.
While not every dog owner went home with a prize, every dog went home with plenty of peanut butter treats and belly rubs, and finally got to take off the costumes their humans loved so much.