Working on the weekend isn’t always my favorite way to spend a Saturday and Sunday, but I was more than happy to do it this last go around because I got to cover Bark and Paws.

I’m a huge fan of dogs. If I show up to an event or house party of sorts, one of the first introductions I tend to make is with the resident pooch. In fact, I often prefer pets to people. So when I was assigned to the cover Denison’s dog-centric event this past weekend, I was thrilled and if I had a tail of my own, there is no doubt it would have been wagging like crazy.

This being my first Bark and Paws, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew there would be some contests and some of K-9 accessories to peruse, but what I found was so much more. Dogs were decked out in tutus and sunglasses, and McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky, Denison’s fire safety dalmatian dog mascot, were on hand as well. Vendors were selling doggie formal wear and one even had broth-based “Bowser Beer.” And most enjoyable of all was the parade of pups down Main Street. I met Mini-Aussies, lovable labs and even a 145-pound Great Dane who was only 11 months old, but still big enough to strap a saddle on.

Some of you may remember that I have a dog of my own —Bentley, a brindled Australian Shepherd and Great Pyrenees mix. He’s my best bud and I even refer to him as one and only son. I never thought I’d be a such a proud and puppy parent, but that’s exactly what I am.Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring Bentley along for Bark and Paws. I had other assignments that day and though I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded hanging out at the office, I would have felt a little guilty making him wait around for me to finish my work.

To get my mind off the distance between me and my dog, I focused on the reporting task at hand and talked to those who attended the event. The two burning question I had were, “Why on earth would any want to dress up their dog so elaborately?” and “How can one tell if their dog loves or hates being dressed up?”

For the first question, I found that most people said it was just plain fun to put their pooch in some clothes that are usually reserved for us humans. And most admitted that their dogs probably didn’t like their outfits and cited some rips and tears in the garments as evidence of their displeasure.

I’ll put the occasional bandana on Bentley, but I will also confess that I once forced him into a hooded sweatshirt. His discomfort was clear to see and I quickly disrobed him, but not before snapping a few photos for friends to see. In the end, I think people dress their pets up because we see them as family and practically human. And even though they might hate our fondness for their fashion, our dogs always seem to forgive us for the wild, untamed things we do.

Happy birthday to Chris Reed, Jared Lucas, and Dwayne Lambert, all of Sherman; Yubeydy Maldonado of Leonard; Sally Fillebrown of Pottsboro; Ronnie Walton of Colbert, Okla.;

Happy Anniversary to Lemuel and Norma Lowery, of Collinsville, 60 years;