For the Love of Shelter Dogs*

Yard Sale and Adoption Fair
June 8, 2009, 3:00 am
Filed under: Adoption Fair

This weekend was the shelter’s second yard sale. For a couple weeks we’d been asking for donations from the public of items we could sell, so that all the money we raised could be donated to the shelter. We got a lot of donations, from clothes to CDs to sheets to various household items.

On Friday night, the day before the yard sale, Mariamme and I went over to help organize all the donations and get everything ready to set out. Right off the bat I was assigned the task of examining and “sniffing” the sheets, blankets, towels, and other made-out-of-fabric donations. I wasn’t too thrilled about this, but I did it anyway. Most things didn’t smell worse than would be expected for a yard sale. Occasionally I came across something horrendous, usually smelling of cat pee or sweat or feet, but most of the donations were great. There was one blanket that will haunt my dreams, though. It was at the very bottom of an otherwise clean and stink-free bag. I pulled it out by the corner, just in case. It unfolded to reveal dried vomit, probably from a cat. I threw it and squealed the very stereotypical “girly scream” and backed up against the wall. The woman, Carolyn, who donated her yard for the sale and Mariamme both looked over, saw the vomit, and squealed along with me. Now, we’re not a very squealy bunch, unless there’s something with thousands of legs skittering around our feet. Carolyn said “Yeah, we’re throwing that one away.” I squished myself to the wall more and said “I don’t want to touch it again!” She came over and wrapped it in the plastic garbage bag and carried it over to her trash can. We had to ask, though, who would donate something covered in vomit (pet vomit or otherwise) to a fund-raising yard sale? I can only hope they didn’t know it was there, though I’m not sure how they could have missed it.

That was the most disgusting find of the night, but there were a couple of interesting ones. Someone donated a green leather jacket that looked like either a bad biker’s jacket with a weird dye-job or something from a Michael Jackson music video. Of course, I couldn’t resist trying it on. It looked pretty unworn, so I figured it was probably safe. It fit me pretty well, but I don’t think I’d have any use for a green leather biker-meets-Michael-Jackson jacket.

Someone donated a pair of silver-sequined shorts that, I’ll admit, I was very tempted to buy. I resisted, though. The last thing I need is silver-sequined shorts. For one, I don’t wear shorts, and for two, I don’t think I’d ever wear any pants or shorts that were covered in sequins. But then again, styles do change. They could come in handy some day in the hopefully very distant future.

Mariamme and I left Carolyn’s house around 10:00. We got to her house around 7:30 the next morning to help set up all the stuff. The yard sale wasn’t supposed to start until 8:00, but when we got there her driveway and garage were packed with yard-salers. We asked her and one of TPTB from the shelter how early people started coming, and they told us the first person showed up around 6:45.

Mariamme and I got to work unloading items from the shelter van. Apparently someone who works with Pier 1, maybe at a warehouse or something, donated a whole bunch of stuff. We had one of those mini-storage-places full of donated Pier 1 goodies. Mariamme and I unloaded the truck and watched the stuff get snatched up within a few minutes. We thought that was the end of it and whoever came later was just out of luck and missed the really great stuff, but another van-load came that we unpacked and set out. The second batch disappeared really quickly as well. Unfortunately we had to leave before the third truck load arrived. We had signed up to lead an adoption fair and had to grab a quick lunch and head over to pick up the dogs.

We ended up bringing Zed, a lab/retriever/pit mix, and Tess, a shepherd mix. They were great dogs to have. Zed is a little shy, so he likes to sit quietly near you or flop himself across your lap. Tess was happy to be sitting next to you, greeting the people, barking at the dogs, or laying in the shade. She tended to get worked up when a dog walked by that didn’t come close enough for her to sniff, but she was easily calmed down.

Tess is a smart girl. She already knew how to sit for a treat. I managed to teach her “lay down” and “shake” within a three hour period. Mariamme managed to teach Zed “lay down” and he could’ve learned shake if he hadn’t been startled by every car that passed.

We didn’t get many donations and no one got adopted. Tess got seriously considered, but the woman decided to go home and think it over for a day or so. Hopefully she’ll decide that she really loves Tess and wants to adopt her.

Overall the day went pretty well. We gave attention to needy dogs, taught them some tricks that may help them get adopted, and spread the word about the shelter. We corrected a lot of misconceptions. Everyone always asks us how long we keep the dogs at the shelter, and they’re always surprised when we say “We try to keep them as long as it takes to find them homes.” We always hear “Oh, so you don’t just keep them three days and then euthanize them?” That’s the popular stereotype. True, a lot of county shelter are horrible places for dogs and cats to end up, but our shelter isn’t like that. I wish more people knew that not all shelters are the same. I want people to realize this. A lot of people are afraid to go to animal shelters because they think they’ll be dark and dirty places, filled with suffering and death. If we can just teach more people that not all shelters will be depressing or frightening I’m positive we’ll be able to find more homes for pets.

Zed, cautiously accepting a treat

Zed, cautiously accepting a treat

Sweet sad Tess, patiently awaiting her new family to come and find her

Sweet sad Tess, patiently awaiting her new family to come and find her


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