Will people show up with their dogs or should we (can we please?) go back to bed? Oh hell no. Not only are clients willing to brave the rain with their dogs, they're already waiting for us when we get there to set up.
Our free shots fair - aka 'Celebrate Your Pit Bull' - event in East Oakland today was planned in an area that's known for its pit bull numbers. Dog trainers don't venture into this neighborhood and there's no such thing as low cost vet care here. But there are lots and lots of dogs. With only a week's notice, the fair attracted a long line of rain-soaked pit bull owners and 50+ dogs for the usual: Free shots, free collars/leashes, free microchips (popular), free spay/neuter vouchers (also popular) and lots and lots of training/handling/behavior advice (very very popular).
The more fairs we do, the more dog owners look forward to them, and the more we learn how to be a better help the next time. A highlight is always meeting the families who adore their beautiful pets and who love to show them off. A good number went home with spay/neuter vouchers. The low point was helping one client recognize that her stranger aggressive dog was deeply troubled. Her young daughter stood next to her and wept while we talked. She seemed to already know what we were ever so gently suggesting.
What keeps us coming back is knowing that pit bull owners will show up to get help for their dogs, even in the pouring rain. If they can get out of bed for this, so can we.
Big thanks to Kim Ramirez & Christine Allen for organizing, Natalie and her Grrrls for vet-teching (you kicked ass!), Dr. Dianne Sequoia for your TLC, our out of town Campers and Oakland Animal Services for assisting, the wonderful BR crew for rolling up your sleeves without a squeak about the weather and our fab donors who continue to support this kind of outreach work.