Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Dog Walk, more than just saving animal lives!

It's amazing how you can have the best intentions for a Saturday morning, then want to cop out when the alarm goes off. But I had agreed that we should do the dog walk. I loathe the concept that animals have to lose homes and often be put to sleep for no other reason than that they might be old, a mix that doesn't appeal, or because they just can't find an owner quickly enough and time is running out for them.

So I crawled out of bed. Bryee and Jess showed up and took the dogs in one car and I followed in the other (so I could head to the audition and get Chynna when it was over.) I couldn't park anywhere near the registration point at Bayfront, so I thought the intelligent thing to do was park at Chynna's school and walk the few blocks to the walk. I mean, the day was a walk, right? But there was construction, so, bizarrely, I was actually blocked from walking in a straight path. Still, a longer walk to the walk, and I was there.

Well, I loved it. Where else but in a flat picture you can see or touch could you possibly see a pair of one pound tea-cup Yorkies next to the biggest Dane known to man? Every possible breed and mix was there, some just in their birth suits, and some with scarves and a few in actual costumes. I didn't see a single dog fight, and people were as friendly as I've ever known. We all had questions, we all had advice. Toto actually got to meet a few other Cairns, and Nikki was able to hob-nob with at least six other huskies. A high point was a huge mix--wolf and husky. Nikki looked like a miniature next to him. He was gorgeous--his actual owner is a serviceman who has been deployed, so the fellow's roommate has now had him for many years. He's calm and sweet, so he must be receiving a lot of love and attention!

There was a group of about six massive Basset hounds, Danes, Greyhounds, you name it. The big and the small, the black, white, tan, and beige.

The thing is, the dogs came in all varieties. So did the people. Some of us were offering our animals water at the pools set up for the animals, and some of us were offering agua. Some of us were black, some white, some yellow, and some were mixed. I heard a fair amount of Russian, French, and German, as well as Spanish and French. We were old, young, and in between.

It was one of those days when I knew why I love living here so much. We are just as varied as all those breeds of dogs, and many of us are good old American mutts. We all knew a good cause when we saw one. And here's one great thing about a good cause. You meet people you have other causes. Or people who have an interest in something else you do. It's a ricochet effect of laughter, fun, and talking, and learning more not just about dogs, but people.

We spent a lot of the morning with Graham and Camille, owners of Completely Canine where Bryee worked for many years. They definitely love animals, and they run a great store. I have had my dog for ten years. He looks at me and ignores me. If Graham whispers the word sit, the dog is all ears. Graham knows how to train animals with infinite patience. There's no cruelty or punishment, just a reward system of caring. I think he's going to have really great kids.

There should have been something negative--something a little off always happens, that's life. But it didn't. Kelly Craig was hosting, and having been interviewed by her a few times, I was glad to see her. She's impressive; she's real. It didn't surprise me that she was out to help the humane society. There was plenty of water for people and pets. I just can't think of anything negative.

Oh, well, there was the walk back to my car. I'm used to the one way streets, the people who all stop at the same time in the same place, the junkies who wander into the road . . . but this thing about walking detours was new. So, okay, by the end, I was hot, tired, and burned. And the walking detour seemed very long. But that was it.

A great experience with Jess, Bryee, Nikki, and Toto, a zillion other Miami pets, and a zillion other Miami people.

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