Walkin’ the Dog

What do you get when you combine the relentless self-absorption of Mill Valley with the cheery self-entitlement of dog owners? A cluster of dogs, people of all ages, wandering tourists and the standard assortment of Marin eclectics, all crammed into a corner of the downtown square on a foggy late afternoon for a cute dog contest. (See the slide show.)

Sponsored by Pacific National Bank, the contest attracted hundred of entries, including my mother-in-law, who entered her rambunctious terrier, Topper. A snapshot I made of him was displayed among with those of fellow contestants on the bank’s windows.

The winners — small and large — were chosen yesterday and the grand prizes (paintings of the winning dogs by a local artist) were secondary to the event itself. As dogs strained at leashes, reaching for tables of dog biscuits, chews and chocolates, owners socialized, strutted and, some too obviously, preened vicariously for their canines. Good fun.

As I meandered through the scene, I shot with my 17 mm held low to the ground, using the auto-focus to get down to the dog’s level. Some shots came out pretty well. Take a look.