Home & Garden Show Follow-Up: A Tail Waggin’ Weekend

by Wendy Hunter

Ash, adopted at the Home Show
 Adopting a dog is like getting a tattoo on your face. You better be committed. —Anonymous

Holy moly, Batman, am I exhausted! The 2021 Home & Garden Show has come and gone, and it might have been the longest 72 hours of my life. My back still aches, my head still hurts, and my fragile footsies are still swollen. Standing around for nine hours on a hard cement floor really takes a toll on your body, especially if you’re over a certain age. And by a certain age, I mean twenty-two. Almost the entire ARF crew this weekend, including yours truly, were no spring chickens. This wasn’t our first rodeo, and we definitely felt it. Loading and unloading dogs, putting together and breaking down kennels, packing up giant plastic tubs, and wheeling wobbling towers of dog crates out to the ARF van required superhuman strength. Where was Clark Kent when we needed him? Not only that, but the Home Show is definitely not for the meek and mild. You have to be willing to walk up to total strangers, strike up a conversation, and be ready to answer the myriad of questions they toss your way. “What kind of dog is that? How old is he? How long have you had him? Is he housebroken? How big will he get? Does he bark? Does he dig? Does he dance the Watusi?” Okay, I just threw that last one in there, but you get the picture. By the way, visitors snapped so many photos, it was like the paparazzi was there. The dogs remained unfazed, but we sleep-deprived volunteers ran for cover anytime an iPhone flashed our way…

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An old dog, even more than an old spouse, always feels like doing what you feel like doing. —Robert Brault

Miss Lilly
This year’s Home Show was a banner event for us, not only because we kicked COVID to the curb for a few days, but because we adopted a total of nineteen dogs. That’s right, NINETEEN. A new record for ARF, and one that surprised the dickens out of us. Not only did we adopt out many of our puppies, but every other age as well, from adult to senior. 

I don’t fall in love easily, at least not in the human world, but certain dogs just make me fall head over heels. Case in point; Lilly, a nine-year-old chocolate and chestnut Doberman with soulful eyes that look right through you. A shy, skittish girl, she doesn’t care for loud noises. We weren’t sure how she’d do at the Home Show, with hundreds of people and the decibel level right off the Richter Scale. But to our amazement, she did incredibly well, and licked the hands of every visitor who came to meet her. We ARF volunteers were hoping with all our hearts that she would find a nice calm home, and she finally did. A lovely woman came to adopt our girl, and she now has plenty of room to run and enjoy her new life. Go Miss Lilly! 

Another lucky senior was Moo-Moo, a happy-go-lucky Cocker Spaniel, who’s thirteen years young. This caramel colored cutie didn’t come from the best home environment, but you’d never know it because of her delightful demeanor. Moo-Moo found a family to love and spoil her for the rest of her life; trust me, that little stub of a tail she has will NEVER stop wagging.    

Then there were the puppies, oh my goodness, the popular puppies. They received so much attention, it was crazy, and there were tons of applications for them. Some people may think that ARF is very picky when it comes to placing our dogs, especially the puppies. That’s not true; we are extremely picky when finding the perfect home for ALL of our pooches. The reason we’re so persnickety is because ARF is not just an advocate for the dogs, we’re the only advocate for them. We are their voice. 

The pup who garnered the most interest was Kyanite (Ky), one of the gorgeous dappled trio that was part of a litter of nine. These unusual spotted tykes were the talk of the show, and there were many oohs and aahs throughout the weekend. It was a big decision as the adoption crew browsed through the applications for Ky, but in the end, he ended up in a fantastic home. 

Sometimes, we just have no clue what breed a dog is, and it’s usually a guessing game. This was the case with Woody, who looks like a cross between a Weimaraner, a Lab, and possibly a Vizsla. Hey, we’ll make the paperwork say whatever you want. With beautiful hazel eyes and a coffee-colored coat, Woody was quite the charmer. He was eventually adopted by one of the vendors at the show, and made the long trek up to Shasta County to meet his two new sisters.  

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.—Robert Benchley

As an ARF volunteer, it’s hard not to have favorites. Before the Home Show, I had never met Max, a short-legged cup of mocha, who looks like someone took a Lab and shrunk it down to a more portable size. He’s the type of dog who gets along with everyone, his tail going a mile a minute, and his eyes begging for attention. Max didn’t get adopted until the last day, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was the constant welcoming committee, jockeying for position in his kennel, hoping for the occasional belly rub. In the end, he was adopted by a lovely little boy and his mother. She asked her son several times if he wanted a puppy, but he adamantly refused and answered, “No, I want Max.” What a fetching pair they made, and the bond seemed to be instantaneous. As they left, our ARF president said, “Max finally found a boy of his own.” 


Another lucky dog who found her forever home was Sassy, a small vanilla Chihuahua mix, who definitely made her presence known. And then there’s Ash, a tiny charcoal-gray Terrier mix, with some crazy wire hair that sprouts from his head. I’ve a feeling some bows and barrettes may be in store for him down the road. Pictures please. We also bid farewell to Tommy, an affectionate boy who resembles a Doberman crossed with a Min-Pin. With his exuberant personality and love for the great outdoors, he made many new friends at the show. Hey, I’m Tommy! What’s your name? Where you from? Wanna play? Race you to the park!


Of course, we can’t forget Blossom, a tan and white Chihuahua with a gentle soul. She wins the award for First Pick in Show, as one of the vendors couldn’t resist her captivating appeal. An itty bitty bonbon to satisfy her new owner’s sweet tooth, Blossom will bloom into a perfect petunia. 

All in all, the Home Show was a fantastic success for Animal Rescue of Fresno. It’s always interesting meeting new people and re-connecting with former adopters, who can’t wait to share pictures of their ARF dogs. Now that this event is over, we hope to resume some of our own functions this year. For example, we’re planning another yard sale in a couple weeks, on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12. Please come out and browse our selection of clothing, electronics, home goods, books, DVD’s, etc. Also, feel free to drop off gently used items that you’d like to donate; it’s all to support the ARF dogs. Check out our Facebook page for more information. www.facebook.com/AnimalRescueFresno


ARF would like to thank everyone who came out to the Home and Garden Show to adopt one of our deserving dogs, and giving them a place to call their own. We hope to see you at the yard sale!

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. —Gilda Radner

Animal Rescue of Fresno
4545 E Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726
Website: arf-fresno.com

 Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section on Kings River Life, and the Pets section here on KRL News & Reviews. Check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. Learn more about ARF on their website.

Wendy Hunter has been volunteering with ARF for four years. She grew up in Fresno and recently became an Office Assistant with Fresno County. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.