For the Love of Shelter Dogs*

Adoption Fair, January 31
February 2, 2009, 1:54 pm
Filed under: Adoption Fair

Saturday (January 31) was an adoption fair day! We volunteered to lead it and brought 6 dogs up to PetSmart to show off. We had trouble deciding who to bring, but we ended up deciding on Jordan (border collie/terrier mix), Titus (shepherd mix), Gilbert (Shih-Tzu mix), Gregors (lab mix), Chun Lee (Papillon mix) and Queen Latifah (lab mix). It was a pretty decent mix of mutts.

Usually adoption fair days are slow and relatively boring. The people who shop at PetSmart already have a dog, or many, and aren’t in the market for more. We usually spend the whole 4 hours sitting in chairs, petting dogs, and begging the public for donations.

This adoption fair started much the same. We picked up the dogs from the shelter and drove them across the street and through a shopping center to PetSmart. Gilbert yapped and whined the whole way over – apparently he’s afraid of being crated in the car (but we had no choice: shelter policy). We arrived, set up, and unloaded. All of our volunteers were waiting for us. This almost never happens! Usually we wait on them to show up, and they’re usually pretty late.

The dogs all seemed to get along with each other. There were no immediate snarling-growling-lunging outbursts, and this is always encouraging! I held Titus (my baby!) and we divvied up the remaining dogs among the other volunteers: the younger volunteers get the smaller dogs, and the older, stronger, or more competent get the bigger, stronger, more temperamental dogs.

We all got settled in and started greeting the public. “Please donate to the animal shelter!” “These dogs are all up for adoption from the animal shelter!” These friendly greetings turn into desperate pleas: “Please, donate to the animal shelter!” or “These dogs all need to be adopted to good homes!” And the desperate pleas eventually turn into silence.

A couple of little old ladies that were headed inside stopped to talk to us. We talked for a while, then they went in and came out half an hour later with two carts full of dog food. They picked up two small bags and left the rest with us. We weren’t sure at first that it was all donations, but when one of them turned around, held up a small bag, and said “I only have little dogs at home, that’s all for you!” we all called out “Thank you!” simultaneously.

At that point it seemed like this was going to be an all-donation-no-adoption day. We’ve noticed that we either get tons of donations and no adoptions, or a couple adoptions and no donations (or no adoptions or donations but that’s rare and usually on holidays).

So we were extremely surprised when a family with a little kid came by and seemed interested in Queen (we started calling Queen Latifah just “Queen” – shorter and less of a mouthfull). They looked at her for a while, then said they’d go talk about it over lunch and walked away. Usually people never come back. But about three minutes later I looked up and they’re headed back to Queen. The father said “I couldn’t even make it out of the parkinglot with these two. So we’re adopting her.”

The adoption went through and we were able to return to the shelter with one less dog. It’s always nice going back with one less dog than you left with. When none get adopted and we have to bring all of them back we feel like we failed. It’s disheartening.

The dogs were doing really well until someone left his German Shepherd in the car with the windows cracked. Once he realized there were dogs, the German Shepherd started barking and barking and just wouldn’t quit until his owner came back. This stirred up the Gilbert, Gregors (we started calling him Marley because of his resemlence to the famous dog – in both appearance and personality), and Chun Lee. After the German Shepherd incident, Chun Lee and Gilbert were eager to bark and growl and start fights with any dog that passed.

Titus spent the entire adoption fair curled up in my lap, or next to my lap, or sitting patiently by my side while I talked to people. He’s such a wonderful dog. A couple people seemed interested in him, but no one wanted to adopt him. Maybe next time.

On Sunday we volunteered at the shelter. No adoption fairs or events. Just plain old dog walking and training. Most of the dogs we took out were good – Titus and Priss, Missy Lou and Jordan, Max and Betty, Bunker, and Adam. The rest had behavioral issues – one dog, Lorenzo, likes to gnaw on hands and arms (not aggressively, but it sure is annoying). Another, Jazzmine, doesn’t like other dogs. None of our favorites or old-timers were adopted, but a bunch of puppies found new homes.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I hope you find a home for Titus soon! He sounds like a great friend.

Comment by Angela

Nice recap… I just remember it being cold… no just kidding. I’m glad that Queen got adopted and that I didn’t mess anything up. All of the other volunteers were great and competent so that was nice! Titus should get adopted soon; he’s a sweetie.

Comment by Adoption Fair Leader

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