If it's Valentine's Day around Southern California, you can count on A) aisles of heart-shaped candy lining the markets and B) buckets of roses near the counter at nearly every florist shop and C) rotund 'n' adorable bulldogs walking the red carpet in Long Beach.
Okay, true, the Bulldog Beauty Contest, which hits its dozenth year out in 2016, doesn't always fall on Feb. 14; sometimes it is a day or two before. But it is associated with the holiday, very much so, and seeing a foldy, furry lovebundle decked out as Cupid is not unlikely.
But the pageant, which regularly garners national coverage, doesn't solely belong to the flat-of-snout and short-of-tail canines. The National Mutt Show is also part of the sunny lark at Marine Stadium, and the categories to enter, while not countless, may briefly overwhelm even the most dedicated of dog parents.
You can sign your little wet-nosed tyke up for a bevy of competitions set to roll on Sunday, Feb. 14, including Best Smile, Most Handsome Dog, Best Senior Dog, Best Ears, and, wait for it, Best Butt. (If you prefer you can call them the 'tocks, which is the common parlance online, nowadays, for squeeing over an animal's posterior.)
A category paying tribute to blind or deaf dogs, or canines facing a challenge, is also new for the event in 2016.
Gift certificates, frame-able pieces of paper signifying your pup's glory, and blue ribbons go to the winners of the various categories, while the victor of the Bulldog Beauty Contest will receive a year's supply of Petcurean pet food.
An adoption fair will be happening concurrently with all of the red carpet action, so if your buddy needs a buddy, stop and meet the home-seeking hounds.
This is all helmed by Justin Rudd, local philanthropist and the man who dreamed up the Haute Dog parades, processions that have become hallmarks on the hound-based bash circuit.
Does your Valentine's need something extra? Sunshine, ocean breezes, cooing over hundreds of happy pups doing their best strut? The Love Holiday, after all, isn't just about the amour found between two people.
We're sweet on our shaggy BFFs, too. And making them the stars of Feb. 14 feels like something to woof about. Woof woof.