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Hounds & Horses & Tents

I always try to start the blog off with positive and uplifting things. Well, we have a lot of really wonderful, sweet, gentle creatures in our kennels (2 kennels now!) who are looking to share their love with you. Okay, that’s about the end of the positives. This is a really rough week in a fairly rough month.

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Click Image to Enlarge

REN-FEST – Lets start with the most recent of events. Jerry and I just returned from picking up the pieces of our strongest, heaviest (most expensive) tent which we use primarily for the Renaissance Festival because it is able to be in place for the full time. Well, as you can see by the photos, our tent lost a battle with a twister at the park today (Thursday 3/6). It’s a mess. Surprisingly the chairs, tables. cooler and even the water bowl were still in place. The storm apparently only picked on the tent itself which it rolled, tossed, twisted and tried to drown.

Other than that event, Ren-Fest has been very good. We’ve met lots of new people, collected a little donation money and had a few people go to the kennel to adopt. We find people pick up a brochure at this festival and come to visit us all year round. So we’ll finish out the season using the pop-up tent for these last two weekends. It will mean a bit more work because everything will need to be set up and taken down each day. Without the sides to break the wind and rain, it won’t be as comfortable but we can do ANYTHING!! Right? (I keep telling Jerry that. Then he looks at me like I have two heads. Ain’t love grand?) So we still need volunteers for the next two weekends and for Horses & Hounds (below). As for the tent, we’ll bring all the pieces to the kennel to clean and sort out and we’ll have to buy some parts and do some canvas repair but we think we can rebuild our tent so we have it for next year at least. It’s an expensive piece of equipment and this was no time to lose it. But if this rescue business was easy, everybody would be doing it! So… In other news. . .

KENNEL REPORT – Our Open House still goes on! Please feel free to come visit on the weekends. We have two buildings full of dogs until April 1st when they take the extra building away from us. We have 65 dogs right now. A dozen of them are going to the Sunburst Project as soon as they can get the hauler and the weather to cooperate to safely transport the dogs they now have in their kennel to the adoption groups. (I’ve been forwarding some neat follow up reports from our dogs that they are relocating up north. Watch for them in John’s blog.) And I understand that we have another dozen dogs coming in over the next week or so. So there’s lots of dogs and most have already been to the vet and they are ready to go home!

We used to be able to take you back to the kennel to see things for yourself. But the State of Florida, acting in what they believe to be the best interest of the dogs, won’t allow us to do that any more. But FOG is still there!!

If you are looking to adopt a dog, we are keeping a couple of “showcase” dogs in the office so you can immediately see available dogs. If one of them is not right for you, we simply try to get an idea of what dog you want and then one of our people who have licenses, will bring them from the kennel to the office or to the play yard area for you to see. We are still open for business! And we have lots of dogs. And we really, REALLY need to find them homes!

But if you have a State issued Parimutuel Wagering Division License, then you can go behind the fences again. The license costs $55 dollars and is a bit of a pain to get involving forms and fingerprints but if you’d like to help out at the kennel – and we REALLY NEED your help – get a license and come on over. There is apparently no age restriction, either.

As for student volunteers, we are attempting to keep the students that come on weekends to work with the dogs, busy washing dogs out front or doing other “front area” chores. It’s not as much fun as working in the kennel but it is just as necessary.

Want to be a Kennel Hero? Get a license and volunteer to help at the kennel. With two buildings and so many dogs, the staff is overloaded and exhausted and there’s no end in sight. Chris, the kennel manager has gotten his wife and father in law licensed to be able to volunteer to help. But it’s not enough. Our regular staff is working too many hours. If you can come in the mornings and help with 6 AM turnout or come in the evenings and help with 6 PM turnout, those are the two most crucial times and when we need experienced, licensed people the most. If you get the license, we’ll arrange for you to get the experience. An experience like no other. These dogs are the best.

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Click Image to Enlarge

HORSES & HOUNDS – There is some fun on our agenda, too. Our Hampton Farms party has been combined and moved to Simpatico Farm, the Horses & Hounds location in Lake Worth. We are holding Horses & Hounds on SUNDAY, March 23rd from 2:30 to 5 pm. We hope EVERYONE and ALL YOUR FRIENDS come to this big event. Our dual set of hosts have a few friends in the horse business and we think we may have a jousting team from Medieval Times in Orlando! Plus it looks like Pet Supermarket is going to put up a big tent there, too. You know what that means – lots of give away goodies!!!

Our Silent Auction was a rousing success last year and generated a nice piece of the money that was raised to purchase our new greyhound van. I can’t believe it’s been a year already! I actually had a very wonderful donor give us the money to put the window in the side door so I’d have better visibility and another who wants to donate the wrap for the truck to show who we are. I haven’t had a minute to do any of that! We have 35,000 miles on that truck already! Talk about it being a key element in saving greyhounds! Wow. What an accomplishment. And this year will be bigger and better.

I hear the gentleman from Hampton Farms is a French trained chef and he’s doing all the food this year! Yum!. And we’ll have the photographer at the entrance and our doggie show again. We’ll have some regular raffles and we may have a live auctioneer, too, if we can get a nice array of items to auction. If you have anything appropriate or anything you would like to donate, please contact me.

Pet Expo, Orlando – Jerry and I are headed for the Global Pet Expo in Orlando this coming week (assuming I get hotel reservations!). It’s a convention of companies selling pet products. Last year it was 9 football fields of products. We managed to get over a ton of dry and canned dog food donated to us that had been on display in the manufacturers’ booths and they didn’t want to pack it up and take it home. You should have seen how low my truck was riding on the way home! We are going again this year in hopes of a similar score. Plus it’s a really interesting show. The products and ideas are AMAZING! And frankly, we humans could use a break and the kennel could use the donations! Wish us luck!

And let me send this out with a Coming Attractions note. . .

Our goal for Horses & Hounds this year is to feed the dogs. With the current costs of our food (and we get it wholesale) and the number of dogs in the kennel and the amount they eat (gotta fatten them up from racing weight to house weight) we need just over $22,000. to feed the dogs that will be in our kennel during the coming year. That doesn’t include any vet work or transportation or air conditioning or shampoo. . . If we get another incident like the one we are in, we’ll need more of all of that. So, please come help us raise the money to feed the dogs! You know they will love you for it! And this party is always FUN!! It’s a beautiful place and the critters are wonderful. Don’t miss it. Print the attached flyer – and bring your friends. Extra flyers are available at the kennel so you can pass them out at work or the PTA or the dog park.

And let me add this story called “Dogs Welcome” –

A man wrote a letter to a small hotel in a Midwest town he planned to visit on his vacation. He wrote: “I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my
room with me at night?”

An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who wrote: “SIR: I’ve been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I’ve never had a dog steal towels, bedclothes, silverware or steal pictures off the walls or use them as a coloring book. I’ve never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I’ve never had a dog run out on a hotel bill. Yes, indeed, your dog is welcome at my hotel. And, if your dog will vouch for you, you’re welcome to stay here, too.”

My kinda guy! With that said, let me tell you to watch for our new section in the website featuring Catherine Skelly’s suggestions and reviews of unique places around South Florida to enjoy with your greyhound. Catherine, husband Bill Marengo and greyhounds Nicki and Nora, live in Coral Springs and spend a lot of time visiting restaurants and Bed & Breakfasts WITH their greyhounds as they travel. This section will be on our site soon and we can add to it as we learn more from one another. It might even inspire Jerry to get off of our couch. (Okay, it won’t. But I can dream! And maybe you’ll have better luck!)