Canine Couture

Gilroy resident Ollie shows off his frog costume.

Think fashion is only for humans? Think again
Khaki trench coats, shiny rhinestones and pink satin jackets that say “drama queen” are some of the hot trends in this year’s fall fashion lineup – but not for humans.

When it comes to fashion for canines, forget the old bandana-around-the-neck look. Designing lines of doggy wear has become a focal point for several stores over the past few years, and pooch owners in the South Valley are filling their carts with the latest four-legged snow boots and argyle sweaters.

“He loves to get dressed up,” said Gilroy resident Kellie Bourke, 26, about Ollie, her Yorkshire terrier. “He just looks so cute in his little outfits.”

From tank tops to winter sweaters, Ollie’s wardrobe is extensive, and Bourke said his flamboyant taste won’t go unnoticed on Halloween.

“He was going to be Yoda, but his costume hasn’t come in the mail yet,” said Bourke, who ordered the costume online.

Instead of dressing as the well-known Star Wars Jedi Master, Ollie will prance around town trick-or-treating as a frog. But he’s not about to be outdone by Brooklyn, a dachshund owned by Bourke’s cousin and Gilroy resident Terra Fachin, 24. This year, Brooklyn will be sporting a hot dog costume.

“He’ll be the hot dog and I’ll be the mustard,” Fachin said with a laugh.

Aside from keeping Brooklyn looking cute, Fachin said part of the reason she clothes her dog is because he shivers.

“I buy him a lot of sweaters because he gets cold,” she said.

Smaller dogs sometimes get cold more easily than big dogs, said Becky Butler, manager of Pet World in Hollister, and sweaters are one way to keep them warm. But another reason the dog-dressing trend has gained popularity is because many Hollywood stars like to show off their adorned pups, Butler said.

“I think a lot of people see celebrities dressing up their dogs and they think it’s cute, so they do it as well,” she said.

Another reason Fachin and Bourke enjoy dressing their dogs is that, for now, they consider the dogs to be their children, and spoiling the pooches is part of the fun.

“My mom and dad consider Ollie to be their grand-dog,” Bourke said.

For pet owners who aren’t sure about dressing their dogs every day but still think it sounds fun, Halloween is the perfect excuse to go all out.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in for costumes,” said Tracy Clem, a sales representative at PetSmart in Gilroy. “The dogs look cute.”

Pet owners who think their pooches – and cats – are beyond cute can enter their pets in a Halloween costume contest at Petco in Morgan Hill or Gilroy on Oct. 29. Morgan Hill’s store supervisor, Mary Jo Bernard, said the contest is always fun, and she disagrees with people who think it’s ridiculous to dress up a pet.

“It’s something fun we can do with our pets,” she said. “We can take them out and show them off.”

Puppy in a purse

Gilroy resident Andrea Habing carries several items in her purse, and if she wanted, she could probably fit her tiny pooch in there as well.

Feeling sad after her daughter left for college in September, Habing decided she wanted “a new little baby to love.” Her solution: a tea cup Yorkshire terrier named Lulu.

“She will get to be about 4 1/2 to 5 pounds,” Habing said. “She’s so tiny and so adorable.”

So-called purse puppies are dogs that are so small they can be carried in handbags. Miniature breeds of Yorkshire terriers, dachshunds, Malteses and bichon frises are a few popular purse-puppy types.

For Habing, who grew up around small dogs, owning a little dog was something she had wanted for years. Initially, her husband, Jim, wasn’t too thrilled with the idea, but now he adores Lulu, Andrea said.

“We’ve only had (Lulu) a month, so we haven’t taken her out much yet,” Habing said. “She did go with us to (California Polytechnic State University) to visit our daughter. And my sister lives in Nashville, so we’ll eventually take her out there.”

The Habing family’s other dog, Patches, has yet to comment.

Pet halloween costume contest

Think your dog or cat has the coolest Halloween costume? Bring them Saturday to Petco, 313 Vineyard Town Center in Morgan Hill or 8767 San Ysidro Ave. in Gilroy for a pet costume contest. Registration begins at 1:30pm and judging starts at 2pm at both locations. The owner of the pet with the best costume will win a Petco gift card. For more information, call (408) 778-7838 for the Morgan Hill store or (408) 846-2844 for the Gilroy store.

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