First, let me say that I adore my Off-Site Team Coordinator. She is energetic, enthusiastic, patient, persistent, and has the stamina of an Amazon warrior-priestess. Like those hapless dudes from "Wayne's World", "I am not worthy!" So, because I adore her, I agreed to help out this afternoon at an Adoption event held at the Unity Park in Magnolia, TX.
The park is so new it doesn't show up on Google Maps. It was 25 miles from my house (not including a return trip to the Shelter). On a Sunday afternoon. On the Fourth of July. In 95 degree F, humid weather. In the mud, since the park was just finished (and is located in the piney woods). With two small tents for shade. And about 14 dogs, three young kittens, a gaggle of teen-aged girl volunteers and a total of three volunteers (spread throughout the day, not all at once) plus my dauntless Team Coordinator.
As adoption events go, it was a FAIL. Set-up began at 12:30 p.m. I arrived at 3:00 p.m., bringing more water, four bags of ice and a storage bin of fleece blankets. Magnolia is a small farm town in a rural area surrounded by a mix of low- and high-end subdivisions. The primary attendees of this event were families who live in either Waller, Grimes or Montgomery County. They are already dog owners. They have cats. And horses. And goats. And probably chickens, too, although I didn't ask. They were very, very nice, and we had lots of help walking dogs. But no adopters. Not even nibbles. Everyone appeared to have their quota of animals.
The little Chi-Mix in the middle was our only adoption today.
The red Miniature Pinscher is my "Rusty" look-alike. He is now my foster dog.
Toward late afternoon, we did place a Chihuahua mix with a woman who lived nearby. The little dog was worn out from a weekend whirl of off-sites. I hope she won't throw up later tonight from the heat. It was bloody hot. We laid plastic ziplock bags filled with ice under the fleece blankets to keep the dogs cool. We gave everybody (including ourselves) a lot of water.
The action picked up closer to evening--the park planned to host a fireworks show. I saw people coming in with their dogs. The dogs were oblivious to the fact that in an hour and a half, they would be barraged by fireworks noise. *sigh* Some people don't think.
Take-down was hampered by a sudden, intense rain shower (thank you, Hurricane Alex). Wet dogs, wet blankets, wet crates, wet tents. And mud.
What it looks like to the kitteh under the van.
Then a young cat got loose (a tween girl helper lost her grip) and darted under my car to cower in the spare tire. Three teenaged girls, the sorrowful tween helper, and a five-year-old boy who actually corralled the cat when it darted away from the teen-aged girls. They were filming the whole scene with their phones. It will probably be on YouTube. It was very funny, really. The young cat was unharmed.
Finally we were packed--dogs in a Volunteer's horse trailer, my van, and my Team Coordinator's van. Plus the three young cats, the crates, the bins, the folding tables, two tents, and a bunch of very wet and stinky fleece blankets. We pulled out of the muddy venue. We didn't get stuck.
We drove back to the Shelter on what in Texas are called "FM" (Farm-to-Market) Roads. They are two-lane highways that are rapidly being widened to four lanes because of suburban growth. The are no streetlights and few stoplights. In Texas, we like to drive fast. My Team Coordinator drove fast. The volunteer with the horse trailer drove fast, too. I drove over the limit but was last in line. I'm a coward.
A few miles from the Shelter, a State Trooper was parked in a dirt drive, hidden by pines. In Texas, the State patrol cars are black, with a few white markings, and it was nearly dark--the gloaming. The blue and red lights blazed. The officer pulled over my Team Coordinator. She was doing 65 in a 50 or 55 mph zone (the limits bounce around on this stretch of highway). The volunteer towing the horse trailer slowed down. I was trailing and only had to lift my foot from the gas. We didn't stop. We continued to the Shelter.
The Shelter has a Twilight Zone air at night. I hate going to the Shelter at night but, as I said, I adore my Team Coordinator. At the Shelter, the Foster Coordinator, who is a paid employee of the county but who is has a Volunteer's never-quit attitude, was still there. It was almost 9:00 p.m. I asked if she lived there. She just laughed.
Outside, there was popping and banging. The big fireworks display put on by The Woodlands Township was underway. From the Shelter, we could see bits of the sparkles. The noise carried loudly on the humid air, and was augmented by the noise of the fireworks blown off by all the freedom-loving Texans in the loosely-governed subdivisions around the Shelter. The dogs in the outside runs were barking non-stop. But they were safely penned.
This is the "Dog Lady" van. Tonight it smells like wet dog.
My Team Coordinator arrived a few minutes later. She said the officer gave her a warning. Her van was full of wet dogs. She was soaking wet, head to toe. She was grateful for the warning, but thought we would be laughing at her. Not at all. We were just glad she got a warning. The officer must have felt sorry for the "dog lady." That's what we are, you know. We don't mind. We're doin' it for the dogs, anyway. And those ungrateful young cats, too.
Photo Credits: Ribbon--scan from my own magnet; Kitteh--I Can Has Cheezeburger Hall of Fame; Police Lights: The Interwebs. Thank you Google Images.