Week of October 19-23

Categories: On the Road with Marlin
"Toby" enjoys volunteer Morgan's lap
“Toby” enjoys volunteer Morgan’s lap

It’s been a tough week for me. My readers may remember that I mentioned in my last blog that I was overly tired, but what I didn’t realize was that I was in the process of coming down with my first case of sciatica. To the uninitiated, this is a pinched back nerve that runs all the way from your back and down your leg. It throbs painfully nonstop. I couldn’t sit or lie down, but standing was okay for a while. Worst of all, I couldn’t sleep due to the pain. But I still returned to work after two days off and went through the motions. All I could focus on was pain. I had planned on driving our dogs to Euro Pane for a walk through Pasadena, but decided to have the dogs play in our training room instead. As for me, I’d sit for a while, stand for a while and walk for a while. Worst of all, I couldn’t go into the kennels because I couldn’t get down to the dog’s level! Friday morning, I threw in the towel and called my doctor. He took me in immediately. With some medication, I was finally able to focus on dogs and get ready for the weekend. I was even able to get into the kennels and walk a few big dogs without much pain. (Did I mention I love my doctor?) I worked late Friday picking out dogs, stopped by El Sol for a quick meal, and was actually able to sleep through the night!

Saturday, Oct. 22, I woke up almost giddy with a general lack of pain! I arrived at PHS, met the volunteers and we headed over to Verdugo Park in Glendale for the Glendale Police K-9’s in the Park festival and the Glendale Kiwanis Great Rubber Ducky Race. Volunteers and dogs were: Mary Ann and “Ethan,” the mellow black pit bull; Bill and “Scooby,” a friendly greyhound mix; Judy and “Olive/Elizabeth,” the pug/mystery mix; Betsy and “Rusty,” a very shy Chihuahua mix; Cheryl and “Prada,” the mellow pit bull mix; and Kelly with “May,” a sweet Chihuahua/min-pin mix.

“Rusty” spent most of his time trying to walk away from the Mobile Unit to meet up with a Doberman pinscher from a training group next door. “Prada” and “Ethan” loved to play together and attracted quite the crowd of onlookers. The rest of the time they either chewed on toys or snoozed. “May” tended to follow “Rusty” wherever he went and sometimes would hang out with “Olive.” “Scooby” went for a few walks and then slept on Bill. “Olive” wasn’t too interested in playing with little dogs. She wanted to play with big ones and barked frustratedly (hmm, is that a real word?) because we just didn’t want her getting squished! Moving a bit out of the area in the park, she calmed down and was very focused on the treats Judy had for her.

At the Rubber Ducky part of the festival, you would rent a rubber duck that was placed in a pool, then when the gate was opened, they all flowed down-hill. The winning duck got a prize for the owner! That was a lot of fun for the people, but I did worry a bit when the guy dressed up in a giant rubber ducky costume walked over to our area and a few of our dogs began to eye him carefully! The giant duck decided to walk back to his area, and not a feather was ruffled.

We did get our dogs on stage at one point and were able to show-case all of our dogs to the people at the K-9 festival. We were well received by a very friendly crowd! Overall, it was a busy and hectic day, but a lot of fun. Just as we were packing up, a couple showed up to meet “Olive.” They had another pug at home, so a hold was placed on “Olive,” and the following day, she was adopted!

"Prada" can't get enough of the toy bucket!
“Prada” can’t get enough of the toy bucket!

Our plans for Sunday, Oct. 23, were to go to Tommy Bahama at the Paseo Colorado, but a confusion in schedules due to a change in management there led to a cancellation. Monrovia PetSmart always welcomes us even at last minute, so I gave them a call. They were holding a Monster Mash with dog trick or treating for that day and yes, we were welcome. Many passerby dogs had costumes and the store was done up very nicely with all kinds of Halloween decorations. I did have costumes on hand for our dogs, but they were all too restless and I decided I really didn’t want them chewed up.

Volunteers and dogs were: Eva and “Ethan”; Kathleen and “Prada”; Nancy and “Scooby”; Lissa and “May”; Diana and “Pal,” a very talkative border terrier; and Sarah with “Toby,” the hyper white pit/Dalmatian puppy mix. We got set up in front of PetSmart and the big dogs all headed off for a walk. “Toby” suddenly pulled out of Sarah’s hand and took off briefly. (Welcome, Sarah, to the club of volunteers who have been terrified to see their dog get loose!) When a dog does get loose, it is never recommended to chase after it, since the dog thinks it’s a game and keeps running. Our volunteers know to call to the dog using excited high voices to get his attention, offer treats or toys, and carefully surround him. “Toby” ran up to a man in the parking lot and calmly sat down in front of him. Game over.

We kept “Toby” busy the rest of the day having him chewing on things since it was apparent that he was teething. “Prada” and “Ethan” played a while, then got into the chewing mode also. “Scooby” was a bit barkier this day. I think it was so many dogs in costume that confused him, but he did get some naps in for the day. “May” was quiet and seemed fascinated by all of the big dogs, but also got along well with “Pal.” “Pal” was quite talkative. Barks if he wants to be petted. Barks if he wants to be picked up. Barks if he wants a treat. I should have named him “Sir Barksalot.” He barked to get into my lap, and being the type to spoil a dog, I picked him up. Then he barked for me to pet him. Clearly he was training me! He snuggled in so closely that at one point, he even began to crawl inside my shirt! For all his talkativeness, he sure was a cute and lovable dog!

As the day went on and dogs began to drift off to sleep, one dad and his two kids showed up and became interested in “Ethan.” They spent a lot of time playing catch with him. “Ethan” is great at catching a ball! There is now a hold through Tuesday to bring the rest of the family and their dog for a meeting. Paws crossed!

Other Mobile dogs to mention: Actually, I missed two Mobile Dogs being adopted a few weeks back: First, “Mindy” a super playful pit/Dalmatian mix had been adopted. Also “Frank” a powerful playful pit bull also was adopted. “Harley,” another Mobile Cat from last weekend, was adopted. “Gatsby” the shy Chihuahua/something mix was adopted, as well as “Bella,” the foxy-looking Chihuahua.

Coming up next weekend: On Saturday, October 29, we will be at the Crescenta Valley Dog Park located at 3901 Dunsmore Ave., La Crescenta, inside CV Park from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. While we will not have the Mobile Unit there, volunteers Cheryl, Kelly, and Ruth will have a booth and a doggie agility course set up for all the dogs coming to this open house. As for me, I will be taking dogs, oh, and the Mobile Unit, to the Rose Bowl for the Annual L.A. County Boy Scout Expo from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Then, on Sunday, October 30, we will be back at PetSmart in Monrovia for a regularly scheduled appearance there. It will be from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and is located at 745 W. Huntington in Monrovia. For now, I’m happy to be back “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!