Rio de Janeiro’s carnival festivities may have been cancelled – but the city’s dogs were still able to hold their own annual parade.
Pet lovers from around the city gathered on Saturday for an annual event that draws dozens of humans with their furry, four-legged companions to compete for best costume.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the street parties and traditional parades at the Sambadrome were cancelled to avoid crowds, but the dogs had their day anyway with the “Blocao”.
The word is a mixture of “bloco”, which refers to the traditional carnival street parties, and “cao” – dog in Portuguese.
Dozens of costumed dogs joined their owners for a Carnival parade inside a private club in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes neighbourhood.
The parade normally takes place along Avenida Atlantica bordering Copacabana beach, but this year Rio’s mayor banned any public celebration.
Marco Antonio Marinho, 66, who has been organising the canine parade for 18 years, said: “The Cariocas (as Rio’s residents are called) carry the joy of carnival in their veins.
“We invited a restricted audience for a commemorative and distanced event that prevents Carnival 2021 from ending as if nothing had happened.
“In this pandemic, many people adopted dogs to cure their loneliness in isolation. Faced with Covid-19, we are together with our dogs,” he said.
Out on the parade floor were Boquino, a dog dressed in a clown costume, and Cleo, dressed in a Snow White outfit.
For many participants, the pet parade was an opportunity to leave confinement for a moment and regain some of the usual carnival joy.
“I could not miss the parade today. It is a spacious, airy and very familiar place,” said Francisca Freire, who joined the parade with a Yorkshire dog, Eve, dressed like a doctor in a medical apron, with a mask and stethoscope.
Ms Freire and her dog have participated in the pet parades for six years.
“It is an escape from quarantine. Actually, the dogs are taking us for a walk,” she added.