Little Darling, Beethoven, Squirrel, Teddy Bear, Mop Top, Tootsie, Churro, and Super Trooper. These were my playmates on Sunday afternoon at the Pet Food Express in my town. A chorus friend had asked on Facebook for helpers. It sounded fun, and I thought, why not?
When it came time to go do it, I’d had a bit of a scare the night before. A full stomach and a late birthday party, plus a long ride home made for a mini-disaster. Only ten blocks from my house, a burst of acid shot up into my throat, and I couldn’t breathe. I jumped out of my car and ran around in the dark until I could cough it out. A woman driving by stopped and called 911. I am sure it scared her and her two daughters to see me in a panic like that. Not being able to breathe will do that to a person.
It was a late night going to bed since lying down could’ve caused more trouble. The dogs woke me up at the usual time, but I pushed them away and slept in, until 7:30. Afraid to eat breakfast, I made a trip to the drugstore for the Sunday Chronicle, then a trip to see Sis, then off to the pet store in the pouring rain.
My friend is the East Bay foster coordinator for Soft Paws Rescue. She had her team of helpers, plus me and another lady. We were put inside the pen with the adoptable dogs. My first job was to clean up the pee and poo that they made after getting out of their crates. Soon eight dogs were wagging their tails and running around us. We brought in two folding chairs to sit on between clean-up jobs. Then Jacquie handed me a brush to groom the dogs so they’d look their best for potential adopters.
Lots of people and their pets wandered into the store. We were way in the back, so not everyone made it to see us. But those that did stuck around. They had all kinds of questions. An older lady with her King Cavalier named Red Bull was looking for a playmate for him, a quiet one. By the time she left, she’d filled out the paperwork with her eye on Little Darling, a white fluff ball of a dog.
Then a bunch of fifteen year old guys came over on their break from the driving school a few doors over. They came into the pen and sat down and let the dogs climb on them. I know at least three of them were enamored with the dogs, because they came back on their next break.
A nice couple with two adorable boys stopped by. One of the boys’ eyes lit up, and I knew they were going to get a dog or at least do the paperwork. They had an eighty pound boxer/mastiff at home and were looking for a more compact dog to take with them on outings. They had their eyes on a couple of choices: Squirrel, with her weird-colored coat that looked rough but was soft to the touch, the energetic Chihuahua named Churro with the stiff front legs, and the sturdy fluffy Teddy Bear, who was the newest dog and not sure he wanted to be there.
Beautiful Beethoven, an Aussie/Kelpie beauty, was a little too mellow, not excited about much of anything. Mop Top was trying to hump all the dogs all afternoon, no matter their gender, funny-looking and hilarious. I held the 10-year old Papillon named Tootsie most of the time.
As I brushed the dogs’ coats (Beethoven sat still the longest) and chatted with the boys all afternoon, it took my mind off my stomach issues. Yes, I have a problem that needs to be addressed. No, I don’t want anybody to wrap my esophagus around the opening to my stomach since the valve is shot. I’ve managed to live with it for twenty years.
I need to figure out what caused the acid to erupt last night. I have some theories. My younger sister’s homemade lemon curd topping that was delicious on pound cake but made it impossible for me to lie on my stomach for a massage on Tuesday? The rich cookies I ate Friday night after I sang at the chorus concert? The piece of pizza I had for lunch yesterday with my son? The lovely dinner I ate at the birthday party before two hours of enthusiastic dancing? The long drive home in my tight clothing? All of the above?
Whatever the reason I am once again reminded that whenever I try to act normal and do what everyone else is doing, I am going to have a problem.
I forgot about that for three hours on Sunday afternoon.
Volunteering with a dog rescue group? It’s cheaper than therapy and a lot more fun.