RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — As Rio de Janeiro kicked off its Carnival on Saturday, about 100 dogs barked and wagged their tails to the tune of samba music as they paraded in front of pet lovers in a canine costume competition.
The “Blocao” — a mixture of “bloco” which refers to Carnival street parties and “cao,” or dog in Portuguese — brought about 300 people to Rio's Barra da Tijuca. Dog costumes ranged from fairies, and superheroes to clowns and cartoon characters.
Edson Chianca, 36, brought his 12-year-old Saori to the parade in a Minnie Mouse costume. He dressed the same way so the pair matched.
“It is a great initiative, this is a good moment for pets to socialize,” said Chianca.
Mari Jordão, 52, has attended the Blocao since 2014. Dog “mothers need to be careful, bring water, carry their dog if the pavement is too hot,” she said.
Blocao is one of the few events that challenged a city ban on street parties last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has taken place for about 20 years.
Marco Antonio Vieira, the organizer of Blocao, said he has no intention of humanizing pets with the pet parade and the contest that picks the top five best dressed dogs.
“Thirty years ago they lived in our backyard, now they live on our beds. It is good for them to be with the owner. When the dog sees the owner happy, he is happy too," Vieira said.
“Some people have worked on their dog costumes for three months,” Vieira said. “There's nothing but happy people here.”