After having had a couple of weeks off from work, I was back and at it again this week. I wish I could say that my wife and I went somewhere wonderful during those two weeks, but the worst cold I have had in a long while took hold of me and I was flat on my back most of the time. And just about the time I started getting better, I had to go back to work! I have to learn to start timing my illnesses better…
Well, this weekend, January 16 and 17, was the gigantic Asian-American Expo at the Pomona Fairplex. I drove out on Friday to find my booth and get our supplies moved in. It was a madhouse of people, trucks and moving boxes. It took quite a while for me to find a parking space for my SUV and I carted all my stuff in but couldn’t find the building. We were in Building 8 and I found 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. But there was no 8! I took a chance on one other building that wasn’t labeled and that was it. But then, I forgot which was my booth number and I had to call back to PHS for someone to check my paperwork! It took a couple of hours, but I got us set up and ready for the weekend.
On Saturday, we met at PHS at 8:30 to load up our dogs. Volunteer Pamala had a Dogue de Bordeaux named “Candy.” She was a real sweetheart! (Actually, they both were.) Volunteer Cindy had Margot, a nervous and energetic Chihuahua mix. Volunteer Kelly had tiny Chihuahua “Bon-Bon” who was chocolate-colored. Volunteer Eva had “Buddy” our older Beagle/Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix. With us were two brand new Back-Up Volunteers, Terry and Morgan. We arrived at the Fairplex to mega-traffic and I managed to maneuver the Mobile Unit through and talked my way past all of the parking security to a drop-off zone near Building 8. I did have to park elsewhere, but the dogs and volunteers got in quickly. I finally got the Mobile Unit parked and hiked back to our booth. There, in our booth were about a dozen or so huge crates filled with frozen meat! As all the dogs honed in on the meat smell, the food people sped up their removal of the meat! They actually forgot two crates and we could have had quite a barbecue, but I made sure they were finally taken and we got moved in! “Candy” was too big to hang out in our booth, so we moved her into the aisle and what a traffic jam that created as everyone had to stop to pet her! She was so mellow that even the tiniest kids would get a slobbery kiss from her. Occasionally, “Candy” would lie down and roll from side to side to get as many belly rubs as she could collect! Little “Bon-Bon” decided she loved all people but didn’t like any of the other dogs. Since we were about three booths away from a vinyl balloon booth, when one of those balloon exploded, it was like thunder . . . and “Buddy” wanted nothing to do with it. We had to keep him farther away from the noise. “Margot” just wasn’t happy with all the crowds and people and the nervous energy it gave her kept Margot and a very soon-to-be tired Cindy on the move almost all day! More balloons popped and “Buddy” just finally curled up underneath a chair with his back to everything. The hours went by; people stopped in by the hundreds, but no adoptions took place. As we approached 5:00, I decided we had had enough and we called it day and hit the road. “Buddy” was almost giddy with happiness to be out of there! It was heavy traffic on the way back and I think everyone was glad to be back.
But my work for the day wasn’t over! I needed all new dogs to take out for the next day since I didn’t want to overtire Saturday’s dogs by taking them out again. I researched every dog, I knew I could only take one or two large dogs and the others had to be small. I had my eye on one cute Chihuahua, but he was already shivery in the kennel and I thought the Expo would be too much for him. As darkness settled in, I found two new dogs that had just been turned in by their owners. One, “Elvis” was a dog we had adopted out from Mobile about four years earlier. I even remembered giving him the name of “Elvis” and the owners had kept it. Now, at 11 years old, the owners decided “Elvis” was too much for them and turned him in. The other was a very cute and affectionate black and white Shih Tzu named “J.J.,” also 11 years old and also turned in by an owner who decided he couldn’t keep him anymore. I had one big dog that was ready to go out, “Jedi” who had been on Mobile a few times before, then “Odie,” a cute little tan Chihuahua/Dachshund mix turned in by an owner who said he was working too much and didn’t have time for her. (And I always thought “Odie” was a male name . . . ) I still needed one more small dog and I decided to take out “Bon-Bon” again tomorrow since she was young and energetic. I finally got out of the office at about 8:00 and since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I made a quick stop at my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Sol.
The alarm went off at 5:45 am and I couldn’t believe it was Sunday morning already! I dragged myself out of bed and told myself that I could do this! But, boy, was I moving slowly! I was exhausted and some tendrils of my cold were still hanging on! I still managed to get to PHS on time to get ready for the day. I met up with all the volunteers at 8:30 and we headed out on the road. Volunteer Louise had “J.J.” Volunteer Mary had affectionate “Odie.” Volunteer Cheryl had our lap-loving Pit Bull, “Jedi.” Volunteer Mary Ann had “Bon-Bon” and Volunteer Betsy had “Elvis.” We again hit the heavy traffic trying to all get into the Fairplex which not only was hosting day two of the Asian-American Expo, but also had a huge Antique Car Show and Swap Meet going on at the opposite end. Security directed me to a remote parking lot over a mile away from our building! Well that was just plain crazy! I explained the need to get closer since we had dogs. The guard simply pointed again in the direction of remote parking. So, I just drove past him as he just shook his head in disgust. What can I say . . . I’m such a rebel! Other security recognized us from the day before so I easily made my way over to the drop off lot. This morning, I just dropped off the volunteers and their dogs but I didn’t walk them to the ticket gate. Of course, someone there would not let them into the area saying that no dogs were allowed. Had I known that would happen, I would have gone with them instead of driving off to park, but eventually the main office clearance came through and they were let in. I didn’t have to park so far away this morning as yesterday, so I didn’t have to hike it in as far! This day was a lot busier and people came in waves by the hundreds! In walked one little girl to meet “Odie” and “Odie” almost jumped into her arms. It was her dog and she explained that her father didn’t like that “Odie” had peed in the house, so rather than train her, he had taken his daughter’s dog and had brought her to PHS and had fabricated the story about working too much and had no time. And yes, I saw the miscreant . . . I mean . . . father, and he wouldn’t even come close to our area to see the dog. We promised the little girl that we were doing all we could to find a new home for this very affectionate and lovable dog and she thanked us with tears in her eyes. It was heartbreaking! As for the other dogs, “Jedi” plopped himself on the aisle walkway, much like “Candy” had the day before, and went to sleep . . . jumping up only if someone had a treat or was carrying food! Yes, the Rescue booth next to us had a bunch of cute puppies which attracted a lot of attention, but we had “Jedi” in the aisle getting as much attention as all the puppies put together did! People stopped to pet him and he just snoozed through most of it . . . rolling over on his back a few times for the obligatory belly rub! “J.J.’ latched onto a chew toy and spent his time throwing it around and chasing after it barking happily. Then I got a text message from PHS that an adoption hold had just been placed on “J.J.” so it was another reason for him to be happy! “Elvis” would calmly sit and watch people go by, and if you got into a conversation, he would focus in on you as if he could follow every word. He also loved greeting kids and getting his ears scratched. Back-up Volunteer Tyra took “Jedi” a few times and he would become even more of a couch potato than ever, stretching out even more into the aisle. Dogs tend to absorb your feelings and energy and Tyra was a very calm and laid back person making “Jedi” even more laid back as well. If people didn’t stop to pet him, they would stop to take his picture! “Bon-Bon,” for all her youth and energy, was slower today and napped a bit more, but still wanted all the attention she could get. She even started to tolerate a couple of our dogs as the day went on.
Around 4:30 I was noticing very tired volunteers and nearly all our dogs were sleeping, so even though the event ran until 7:00, I decided it was time to pack it all up. We got everything packed and onto a cart, and we made our way through the crowds towards the exit. We were just walking past a pounding rock band when everything shifted on the cart and it all fell to the ground! I’m sure the force of the music knocked it all over! I was surprised . . . not a soul offered to help pick up the scattered supplies . . . a couple of people even looking disdainfully at me as some of the supplies invaded their space. Our two Back-up Volunteers, Tyra and Ron helped me to gather up items, a couple of the dog handlers helped and we hurriedly got it all packed up again. I was tired, my cold was flaring up, and I was irritated with the lack of help from the crowd . . . plus the pounding rock music was grating on my nerves . . . it was time to high-tail it out of there. We got over to the oh-so quiet and empty drop-off area, and I went to get the Mobile Unit. Once I got to the Mobile Unit, even though I had placed orange cones all around it to guarantee enough space for me to maneuver out, cars had pushed themselves as close as they could get . . . well, I guess their drivers had done that, not the cars! It took multiple maneuvers with me having to get out several times so I could eyeball just how close I was to a certain car, and with inches to spare, finally cleared the area to drive over and pick everyone up! And to make a long story short (I know . . . it’s too late for that!) we finally made it back to PHS. I still had work to do; write-ups on each of the dogs, a newsletter to the Mobile Volunteers, and this blog. As I sat down to type, my eyes blurred, my head hurt, and my fingers couldn’t find the right keys. I decided I had had enough, and headed home around 7:00. My wife had some pizza ready for me, and then I sank into my recliner with my dogs piling on me and the cat draping herself on me, and I was out!
Today, Monday, I woke up just before noon. My cold has a hold on me again, but I did my finishing work and am again looking longingly in the direction of that recliner!
Other Mobile dogs to mention are “Contessa” the big Cane Corso and “Nomi” the super energetic Puppy Pit Bull from last weekend were both adopted! “Murphy” the black and white Pug/Rat-Terrier/Jack-Russell-Terrier/mystery mix was picked up by a Rescue to go to a Foster Home. And lastly, I have to congratulate Volunteer Greg and his fiancee’ for adopting “Lola,” a brindle Boston Terrier (who I had planned on taking on Mobile . . . until the adoption). “Lola” was a sweet and mellow lap dog and we wish the new family all the best.
Coming up this week, Wednesday, January 20, the Behavior Department will be riding the Mobile Unit for the monthly “Walk Through Pasadena” stopping in at Euro Pane Bakery for goodies! I will be dropping them off in an undisclosed location somewhere on Union St. so they can make that walk! Then, on Saturday, Jan. 23, we will be at PetSmart in Hastings Ranch between 11:00 and 2:30 located at 3347 E. Foothill Blvd., in Pasadena. On Sunday, Jan. 24, we will be at Petco in San Gabriel from 10:00 to 2:00 located at 7262 Rosemead Blvd,. San Gabriel. And now, I’m off to the recliner to probably dream about being “On The Road.”