Halloween is awesome, and we would know. We're dogs in costumes.

Pocky, a pug, is dressed in a military costume. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Adults, kids, and even pets like us get to dress up and make believe however we want on Halloween.

(There's even candy involved, which is a nice bonus.)


Superdog catches a frisbee. Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images.

But sometimes people want to divide our imaginations by gender, and we're not into it.

Take a walk through any costume party or Halloween aisle and you'll see what we mean.

Boys and men get to be traditional police officers. Girls and women? Not so much.

Golden retrievers Champ (L) and Jordan (R), dressed as SWAT team members. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Girls and women get to be butterfly princesses. Boys and men? Well, you get the idea.

Daisy, a bulldog, is dressed as a princess. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

The whole thing is pretty gross. (And we know gross. We eat cat poop.)

A dog dressed as a spider takes part in Halloween dog parade. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Why? Because men don't own masculinity, just like women don't own femininity.

Hanging a gender on a costume doesn't make much sense at all, especially for kids who are still sorting out their identities.

Dachshund-terrier mix Robin, dressed as a mail carrier. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

As young people sort out their identities, who are we to keep them from expressing themselves?

Bon the dog poses as an iPhone. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

This Halloween, take a cue from us, the pets in your life (and our pet-parents), and dress how you want.

Bambi, a Dachshund mix, is dressed as Superman. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

We're dogs in costumes, and unless you look really closely (why would you, though?), you can't even tell whether we're male or female.

We're just playing dress up.

Rudy (L) poses as Michael Jackson and Parker poses as his girlfriend in the "Thriller" video. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

We're walking, barking furry reminders that setting aside gendered costumes and outdated expectations matters.

Why? Because being who you want to be in this world matters.

A dog dresses as the wolf masquerading as Grandma from "Little Red Riding Hood." Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

This year on Halloween, do us pets a solid: Encourage the kids in your life to choose whatever costume they want.

After all, when children dress up, it's more than play — they're learning too.

Bella Luna, a Pomeranian, is dressed as a chef. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

If that means shopping in a different section or skipping the party store entirely this year, so be it.

Terrier-pitbull mix Parker dressed as a unicorn. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Short of appropriating someone's culture or heritage, everyone deserves to play as they please.

A Chihuahua is dressed as an aviator at a Halloween dog costume parade. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

That's what Halloween is all about.

Just when you've seen everything, a dog cowgirl. Photo by Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

So have fun. Be safe. And, most importantly, be yourself.

(Or, better yet,  the costumed version of yourself you want to share with the world.)

Tommy attends the 3rd Annual Bow-Wow-Ween. Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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