Week of August 25-28

Categories: On the Road with Marlin

This week began on a happier note as my wife and I (and our three dogs) all headed off for a few days at Big Bear Lake. It was our 40th Anniversary and we wanted to get out of the city and relax. We stayed at a small cabin on the very edge of the lake. It was beautiful and relaxing . . . even though the lake was several feet lower than the last time we were there. Although we were worried about how our blind dog “Violet” would do in a cabin with a stairway to the second floor, our fears were quickly put to rest as she simply followed her nose and maneuvered the stairs without a problem. All too soon, we were back at home, and I, back at work. I had only a couple of days to re-acquaint myself with our shelter residents and plan for the weekend events. I was disappointed to discover that the adoption hold on “Sadie” from last weekend expired without anyone showing up. Even the two dogs I had planned to take out last weekend, but couldn’t due to adoption holds, “Charlene” and “Rufus” were still here, waiting to be adopted. Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be and the right family just hadn’t shown up yet!

IMG_0687Saturday, Aug. 27, we were at the Christian Science Church of Glendale. It was on a busy section of Brand Blvd. in Glendale so there was a lot of visibility. Church workers were very welcoming and friendly! We set up on a nice grassy area with plenty of shade, and we had a trickle of visitors all day long. Volunteers and their dogs were: Jan and “Charlene,” who is the most mellow terrier mix I have ever seen; Lucy and “Rufus,” a sweet black/white terrier/poodle mix; Betsy and “Benny,” a very confident but nearly toothless Chihuahua; Nancy and “Mindy,” a very playful and active pit/Dalmatian mix; and Carol and “Sadie,” our equally playful Lab/pit mix.

The dogs were all relaxed and well behaved. “Mindy” and “Sadie” quickly became best buddies and played almost all day long. “Sadie,” of course is younger and used her puppy-like energy to almost, but not quite, tire “Mindy” out! “Rufus” was energetic for a while and friendly with the other small dogs, but took over a chair in the afternoon and snoozed while Lucy massaged him. “Benny” is actually a big dog locked in a Chihuahua body and wherever “Sadie” and “Mindy” went, he wanted to follow along . . . with his tongue hanging out. “Charlene” was mostly in snooze mode. She did a couple of walks, but really was quite the couch potato!

We had two separate families interested in “Charlene” who actually said that, yes, they’d like to adopt her, but I never got landlord approval from one, and while the other said they were bringing their dog right over to meet “Charlene,” I never saw them again. As often happens, there were a lot of interested people, but many of them weren’t able to adopt a dog for one reason or another. Oh well, we learned more things about some of the PHS dogs and helped to socialize them even more, and this always ultimately contributes to their eventual adoption. Patience is a virtue. And so we went back to PHS at the end of a pleasant day.

Arriving back at PHS, I quickly did some updating of our dogs’ computer files typing in all our observations from the day. At 4:00, I was in our upstairs classroom greeting some new volunteers who were interested in joining the Mobile Outreach Program. In order to be a volunteer on Mobile, you must have completed several hours of dog handling here at PHS under the supervision and training of our Behavior Department. If a volunteer is cleared by our Behavior Department and by our Volunteer Manager, then I invite them to take a 1½ hour training class with me. We discussed handling techniques that are unique to Mobile dogs and talked about interaction with the public. Since we represent PHS out in the community, we need to put out our best effort. I had a small but enthusiastic group and am pleased to welcome some new volunteers!

I headed back to my office at 5:30 and focused on completing as much preparation for Sunday as I could. I was on a tight schedule since I had to get home to take my wife and grandson out to dinner at his favorite restaurant, IHOP. Basically, I just had a really, really, really early breakfast!

Sunday, AuIMG_0695g 28, didn’t start off the best for me since I overslept the alarm by nearly 45 minutes! Adrenaline is wonderful as a morning pick-me-up and I was at PHS not too far off-schedule! We headed over to PetSmart in Pasadena and got there right on time! Volunteers and dogs were Judy and “Charlene”; Eva and “Mindy”; Cheryl and “Sadie”; Bill and “Dakota,” the stoic but friendly bull dog mix; and Mary Ann with “Freddy,” the fuzzy white Chihuahua/spitz mix. Both “Sadie” and “Mindy” were still tired out from their long play session yesterday and were more sedate and calm on this day. Every so often, each would get an energy spurt, but it just never seemed to be at the same time. I showed off a picture I had taken of both of them arm in arm (leg in leg?) and nose-to-nose (snout to snout?) relaxing together.

“Charlene” was even more mellow and relaxed than you can believe a dog could ever be! “Dakota” was just happy to be out of the kennel; she sat around smiling broadly for the first part of the day and then slept during the later part of the day. “Freddy” loved to be in Mary Ann’s lap! Volunteers Morgan and Tyra showed up with tasty hot dogs and instantly every dog was as energetic as could be and them both! (You want a dog to love you? Carry hot dogs in your pocket!) We had a smaller number of visitors today than is usual for this location and I chalked it up to the hotter weather on this day. But there were still a lot of very nice people who knew their way around dogs. Later, we had a visit from teen boy who is part of our K-9 Youth Alliance program where he learned dog-handling skills here at PHS. “Sadie” knew him and they were both happy to see each other! (Actually, I think “Mindy” was a bit jealous!) Overall, it was a nice day but a bit quiet. Arriving back at PHS, we had a few dogs who really didn’t want to leave the Mobile Unit and go back to their kennels. Makes me want to take them all home! (Note to my wife: Don’t worry, I’m not bringing another dog home . . . yet.)

Coming up this weekend: On Saturday, September 3 (It’s September already? Weren’t we just in some Christmas Parade??), we will be at Petco in San Gabriel from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. located at 7262 Rosemead Blvd., San Gabriel. And on Sunday, September 4, we will be at the monthly Flea Market at Pasadena City College near the swim stadium on campus from 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Hopefully, we’ll see you “On The Road.”

About Marlin Miller

After my first entry, people have been asking, "Who's Marlin?" Briefly, I am the Mobile Outreach Coordinator for PHS. I drive the 33-foot long Mobile Unit and squeeze it into impossible spaces at a variety of community events. Inside, we have kennels for adoptable dogs and seats for enthusiastic mobile volunteers. We happily motor off to events every Saturday and Sunday and a day or two during the week as well. At these events, we display around 40 informational sheets or flyers and showcase our adoptable dogs while representing PHS. We are in such demand that our event calendar is booked several months in advance!