Doggy Style

Tiny racer in her hand

"Well, even if he just sits down and licks his balls, it'll still be fun."

It's Cinco de Mayo, and my buddy B-Boy is trying to talk me into going to the annual Chihuahua races in Chandler. My companion wants to enter Blanquito, his sister's cream-colored Chihuahua, in the races and the "King & Queen Chihuahua Pageant."

I imagine B-Boy, who's 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds, carrying around this itty-bitty purse dog. I also imagine hundreds of half-hounds indulging in a Yip Fest full of rampant leg-humping, ball-licking, and butt-sniffing. I've never understood the fanatical appeal of these microwave dogs (I'm a cat person), but when B-Boy calls and tells me about the outfit he made for Blanquito, I cave and go along.

B-Boy's a longtime fan of punk rock, and he's got Blanquito dressed in an oversized spiked dog collar and a black wife-beater shirt with a Ramones patch safety-pinned to it. Ever clever, B-Boy has also affixed a button for industrial band Skinny Puppy to Blanquito's shirt. Then he takes a black marker and draws tattoos on the dog's legs — an anarchy symbol on one leg, a skull and crossbones on the other. B-Boy also draws a thick, black Mohawk on top of Blanquito's head.

Blanquito, also known as Puppers, is a mellow soul. At 5 years old, he endures the dress-up like a real sport, only flailing and flinching when B-Boy tries to draw a Clockwork Orange-style eye on him. He's not yippie or hyper at all. There are several hundred people here walking around going "Aw!" and at least a hundred other dogs, but Puppers is unfazed. He's more interested in peeing on stuff than paying attention to the countless kids doting on him. When B-Boy holds Blanquito, he doesn't struggle to get down at all. He just lies there and looks bored.

"B-Boy, do you think Blanquito can actually win this race?" I ask, watching the dog yawn.

"I don't know, maybe I should have shot him up with meth," B-Boy jokes.

I want to find a way to rig the race. Maybe one of us could run in front of Blanquito while dangling a hot dog on a string. Maybe we could put a snarling pit bull on his ass. Maybe we could feed all the other dogs peanut butter and molasses on the sly.

B-Boy takes a more conventional approach and tries to rough-house with Puppers to get him riled up for the race. They're playing a game B-Boy calls alien baby, which consists of B-Boy putting his huge hand over the dog's muzzle and gently shaking it back and forth until Blanquito gets pissed and starts growling at him.

While this is happening, I scope out Blanquito's competition. There are Chihuahuas of all sizes enthusiastically running in butt-sniffing circles, but none of the dogs seems particularly fired up about the race. Blanquito may still have a chance if one of the others decides to leave its lane to hump the competition.

When it's time for Puppers to race, B-Boy lies down on his stomach at one end of the track, and I take the dog down to the starting line at the other end. The idea is that when race MC (and KNIX radio personality) W. Steven Martin says "go," I'll release Blanquito, B-Boy will call him, and the dog will haul ass across the track.

"Ladies and gentlemen, start your Chihuahuas!" Martin announces. "One . . . two . . . three . . . go!"

I give Blanquito a little push (no throwing allowed), and B-Boy starts calling him and waving. Puppers takes three steps forward and then sits down and gives me a "What the hell?" look.

"Go!" I yell, giving him another little push.

Blanquito barks and snaps at my hand, gives me another confused look, and saunters back to sit down, shaking, in my lap. I look around to see several of the other dogs still sitting at the starting line too, looking totally frazzled and freaked out. B-Boy comes back laughing. He holds Puppers high above his head and yells, "I'm sending you back to Mexico tomorrow!"

Oh, well. Blanquito's a lover, not a fighter. He'll just have more time to rest before the "King & Queen Chihuahua" pageant.

The pageant is a parade of over-the-top cuteness. People have gone all out on canine couture. There's a chocolate Chihuahua in a colorful pancho and glittery red sombrero, with thick, fake pigtail braids hanging down over its ears. A long-haired Chihuahua is flailing about in an extravagant blue and yellow cheerleading outfit, complete with fake arms holding pompoms. One lady has a little black Chihuahua in a frilly pink princess dress, wearing a matching hat and rose-tinted sunglasses. There is even a "French Chihuahua," dressed in mime clothes, with a cushy pink beret on its head. The owner has drawn a mustache and beauty mark on the dog's face.

"There's some JonBenét-type shit going on here," B-Boy says as we pass a woman who's got her Chihuahua (named Paris, ahem) decked out in a big, frou-frou white fur hat and matching white fur collar bedecked with bling.

About 70 dogs participate in the pageant, with their owners saying a little about the dogs before the dogs perform a trick. Or pee.

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