Let me just say this right up front: I am not a cat person. Oh, I know this just sets me up to receive hate mail, but (1) I don’t like boxes of shit in my house, and (2) they get mad at you and pee on your stuff anyway. And once they pee on something, you might as well burn it. That’s not a pet, that’s a terrorist.

No, I like my dog just fine, thank you. Sure, we have our issues, like her staring at me constantly, or barking when the baby is sleeping. But she loves me unconditionally and would rather die than go potty in the house. To me, the dog is the ideal pet.

Despite my affection for my dog, and the probability that she could benefit from some socializing, I have not joined the Canine Social Club. Their mission is to promote off-leash exercise and social interaction for dogs in a responsible environment. Think of it as play dates for dogs.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a member, or even have a dog, to attend their Howl-O-Ween party on Saturday, October 23. Last year’s party was hilarious. It started off with about forty costumed dogs and their owners happily parading down Main Street on their way to West Park (this year’s event is on the U-M Diag). They marched in order of size, from smallest to largest. I’ve never seen so many delighted dogs in one place before.

After the parade came socializing and the costume contest. Lizz Pratt and her dog, Honey, won the Funniest Dog award. Honey was a cardinal and Lizz was a tree. They entered the contest under the Best Pair category, but the judge took one look at Honey’s red feather costume, started laughing, and proclaimed her Funniest Dog. Then came the barking contest, and other games.

I thought it odd that none of the dogs seemed to mind the blaring music. Whit Hill and the Postcards’ musical humor was manifested in the form of original dog songs and apropos covers like “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog” and “Walk the Dog.”

Some of the costumes I saw: A woman and her standard poodle, both with pink, dyed hair. A large, long-haired male Rottweiler wearing a tutu (“He’s really comfortable with his sexuality,” reported his owner). A funny little whippet dressed like Zorro. A black Lab as Little Red Riding Hood (complete with blond wig). A golden Lab mix and his owner who wore matching tie-dyed T-shirts.

Sadly, I had to leave my Bitty home that day, but she’s not one to hold a grudge (see above). She just waited patiently for me to come home and resume my role as the greatest, most supreme human being in the universe. And ya know, after spending the day with so many great dogs and owners, I actually feel as if I might be able to live up to that role.