Those of you who have been reading the PDOG Blog since the beginning know that we hold an annual Canine Kissing Contest at the Planet Dog Company Store. Proceeds from the event support the Planet Dog Foundation, and help us fund service dogs, therapy dogs, military dogs, K-9 search and rescue and other ways that dogs work to help people in need. We invite our friends and fans to come in, have a seat on the big red dog bed, wait for the offical timer to say GO! and then let their pup kiss them for as long as he or she is willing.
We have always enjoyed some nice coverage from our local press for this event, and last year we were even contacted by a nationally known network interested in featuring the event on an episode of their upcoming series.That show never aired in the U.S., and nobody beyond our local fanbase really seemed to notice or care about our little Valentine's Day celebration. Until now.
This year, the Bangor Daily News ran their story, complete with clever wordplay and a rather graphic image of the winning kiss. Maybe it was a slow news day, because the Huffington Post picked it up and posted it in their Weird News and the word was out. The story was picked up by news outlets all over the country and even made it to the Daily Mail in the U.K.
Not one, but two different shock-jock morning programs called to mock the event on the air. We were asked if we had a Kiss Your Horse contest. There was mention of the Bestiality Convention. Spectators were referred to as voyeurs and participants as exhibitionists.
Comments on various sites ranged from supportive and congratulatory to disgusted and hateful. Suddenly, our fun annual event that has helped us raise thousands of dollars for our canine service grant program had become an international debate.
What do you think? Do you let your dog lick your face, even if you wouldn’t show it off in a public contest? Are we bordering on the obscene with our annual event? Do we apologize to the squeamish who find the practice appalling, or do we let love rule and keep our Kissing Contest on the annual calendar?