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Frames of Time...

059_04 - Zonie Con Goes to the Dogs
Once in awhile, the whole family gets to participate.

In 1998, a new convention, Zonie Con, was debuting in Arizona. Rachel and I thought it might be fun to attend a "first" con. She and I had attended the first Conifur. I, alone, had attended the first San Diego Comic Con, the first Anime Expo, and several others.

We checked about pets with the hotel, the Francisco Grande Hotel and Resort in Casa Grande, Arizona. They said it was not a problem. So, for once, we decided to take the entire canine family. At that time our pack consisted of Hoss, a mostly black Great Dane, Bronx, our first Harlequin Great Dane, Jordi, our first female Great Dane, and Nikoma, our Akita. As previously mentioned, we enjoy going places where we can take our kids from Disneyland to Ren Faires to conventions.

The drive from the San Bernardino Mountains to Casa Grande, Arizona, was generally pleasant. The kids seemed to enjoy the changing scenery. I particularly remember the pups' reaction to the huge propeller wind mills outside of Palm Springs. Bronx, our brash one barked. Hoss, our simple one, just stared in amazement and puzzlement. (It reminded me of the time Hoss stared, seemingly forever, at a flag blowing in the wind a top a pole wondering just what it was.)

Once at the hotel, we arranged the room to fit us and the kids. We sectioned off the bathroom as a "safe area", mostly for Bronx. He had a toe injury that he fussed with and didn't want any blood on the carpet. Then we set up a number of blankets and bedding items on the floor.

The convention itself was one of the smallest crowds I had seen in some time at a convention. I don't think more than 50 folks showed up. However, there is a charm in small conventions in that the atmosphere is fairly laid back, almost living room in nature.

During each day, we would rotate the kids into our seller's space. Con goers dropped by to chat with us and pet the kids. Nikoma even got his own con badge! (It only seemed logical since the con had been named after a canine, Zonie the coyote.) The hotel personnel seemed to enjoy the kids and be amazed by their size.

Of note at the location was the number of toads visible. They seemed to hop around the grounds everywhere you looked. These creatures, that must have looked like rocks that jumped, most visibly amazed Hoss. This became an activity one evening as a "toad hunt" was formed. Everyone took a container (ice bucket, cup, whatever) and teams tried to capture the most. After a specific amount of time a count was taken and then the toads were released. It was then noticed that Hoss would hop each time he saw a toad jump. Everyone began laughing as we watched Hoss play with his "toadies" as we came to call them.

At the end of the con, many of the congoers came to say good-bye to the kids. We packed up and headed home. Again, the trip was pleasant. It was also very quiet as the kids slept soundly after their adventure.

Sadly, most cons today are held at hotels unfriendly to canines. It seems unfair considering they allow human children, which are often noisier and messier than canines kids. Even convention centers keep canines out, but allow dangerous strollers. (Dangerous? Just wait till you trip on one or get run into by one.) Hopefully some group will hold one where the whole family could enjoy it.

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