***post not appropriate for small children to read***
A call went out for a couple of 8th grade volunteers to help out at the school book fair by dressing up as Clifford the Big Red Dog and encourage families to head to the book fair. I immediately thought of Ashley.
After running it by her, I signed her up for the first shift.
First up: putting on the bulky costume:
Then there was the challenging walk from the office to the lobby where she stood and posed for pictures with adoring fans.
Ashley quickly realized she cannot see close up out of those giant eyes. She could see people coming towards her, but could not tell if they wanted a high five, a handshake, a thumbs up, or to rub her belly. The rubbing of the fur was an odd sensation. "Emily Elizabeth" guided her hand to the appropriate position to help the kid do what the kid wanted to do.
It was awkward hearing people call her AshClifford or having people try to see who was inside the costume (obviously she is a dog!).
I found it funny seeing how kids treated her. It brought back a flood of memories of our Disney trips hanging out with characters. There were those who were afraid of her (or at least unsure of her), then there were the families taking just a quick picture. The one that reminded me most of us, though, was the little girl who just wanted to hang out with Clifford and ask him questions ("do you like bones?") and talk to him. Ashley did not know how to respond since she could barely hear the questions. The mom finally guided her away.
The end result was she enjoyed the experience. She would be willing to do it again with proper training and a better fitting costume. She ended up positioning herself so Clifford's head did not droop in a way that made her back hurt. She now appreciates why the characters only hang out for 30 minutes at a time, something as a little kid she just didn't get.