On June 2, State Street is going to the dogs. Of course, this is nothing new. For 13 years now, the Big Dog Parade has rolled from De la Guerra Plaza south to the beach along State Street while featuring more than 1,000 costumed dogs and dozens of elaborately decorated floats. But some floats are more elaborate than others, and two sisters and their 15-year-old Shiba Inu named Yogi are likely going to be a dominant force in the march. “We’re definitely the biggest threat this year,” said Jenny Slaughter, 35.
Far from being underdogs, she and her sister Crissy, 36, have marched for 10 consecutive years in the parade with Yogi, and twice they have come out at or near the top. They won the regal “Best in Parade” award and a trip to Canc°n in 2004 after building-on their flatbed motorcycle trailer-a pirate ship, complete with a crow’s nest, a plank, and cannons that blasted out clouds of vapor. Yogi posed as captain.
Last year, the Slaughters arranged their trailer as the “Dirty Dog Saloon.” With a bar, a mini piano, and a poker table graced with cards and chips, the arrangement rolled past more than 20,000 spectators. Two Australian shepherds trotted alongside, dressed as horses, while Yogi, costumed as the card dealer, wore a classy old coat and kept an ace up his sleeve. “Everyone thought he was a stuffed animal,” said Crissy. “They always do.” The intricate float gained the sisters “The President’s Choice” honor, which included a prize of a weekend’s stay at San Ysidro Ranch.
This year is a special one for the Slaughter sisters. They are launching a business together, and on the sidelines of the parade they will have a booth featuring their new line of dog costumes-a little late for the parade, perhaps, but plenty early for Halloween, for those interested in sending their pets trick-or-treating next October.
It will also be Yogi’s last appearance in the parade. “He’s retiring,” said Jenny. “He’s getting really old now. He’s been in the parade every year for 10 years. We always say it will be the last time because he’s really slowing down, but this time it’s for real.”
The Slaughter sisters, both environmental biologists at area consulting firms, will not reveal the theme for this year’s float, which they have spent months planning with their friend and coconspirator Jennifer Squires. However, they promise it will be their grandest scheme in their decade of marching in the Big Dog Parade. The sisters also recognize that every reign of glory must end, and for them and Yogi, this Saturday’s parade will likely be the last.
For more information and to pre-register, visit bigdogs.com/parade. You can also register on parade day, June 2, at 8 a.m.; the march begins at 9:30.