Animal Rescue of Fresno: Happy Homes for Handsome Hounds

By Wendy Hunter

Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns and shadow of April showers. — Byron Caldwell Smith

Greetings and salutations my fellow Fresnans and other Central Valley-type dwellers. I know, I know, you’ve been chomping at the bit for my latest article like a restless pony in the Kentucky Derby. Well, loosen up on the reins of your impatience my friends because all the things you ever wanted to know about ARF’s latest successful Home and Garden Show are about to be revealed. Just to be clear, there are no horse races at the show, but if there were, we would have come thundering across the finish line in first place. They would have showered our booth in roses, handed us the biggest gold-plated trophy we could carry, and given the dogs a lifetime supply of biscuits, bones, and Beggin’ Strips. We may have even scored a few extra cinnamon rolls. Hey, a girl can dream. Seriously, there was no way we could lose; we had the energy, the motivation, and a big blue Dutch Brothers truck right outside our door. Caffeine for all! Plus, we had the loveliest collection of doggies around, including a passel of puppies that were more popular than Alka-Seltzer at Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest. Belch.

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Home is where the dog is. — Abby Geni

Once again, the ARF crew managed to make the most of a postage stamp-sized space. Kennels were stacked into what resembled a two-story block of affordable city apartments. Unfortunately, the second floor inhabitants were bound and determined to torment their downstairs neighbors, sticking wet noses and pesky paws where they didn’t belong. And just about all these rowdy renters could kiss their deposits goodbye because potty pads were shredded and strewn everywhere along with slobbery half-eaten treats. Kids, that is no way to get in your landlord’s good graces. And c’mon, what kind of a first impression is that to make on potential adopters? Manners! Luckily, ARF volunteers came prepared with all necessary supplies, including paper towels, trash bags, and the indispensable rolls of doggy waste bags. It’s important to keep your booth space clean and sanitary, especially when there are ninety-seven visitors crammed in your area all vying for a chance to pet the dogs. We didn’t want any child’s chubby fingers getting stuck into a tiny pile of something we may have overlooked. “Joseph, get that chocolate off your hands! Wait, didn’t you have a vanilla cone?” Uh oh…

 ...he is so very happy to be alive that he feels he simply must wag his joyful little that all people may know of his complete contentment. —Dayton Wegefarth

Luckily, that scary scenario didn’t take place, and the H&G Show went off without a hitch. Well, except for when some knucklehead scooched down under a table to retrieve her backpack, and had a little trouble getting back up. That’s right, it was yours truly who came crashing down on the cement floor, scraping up my knee and bruising my ego all at the same time. Ouch. And that was just in the first half hour…geez. But any embarrassing injuries were well worth the effort, because we adopted out a total of twenty-three dogs, a new ARF record. Incredibly, thirteen of those lucky pups were on Saturday alone…amazing! The H&G Show opened on a Friday, where several deserving dogs found their forever families. Fridays are always a little slow because many working stiffs, myself included, are still chained to their cubicles. Now, I understand that a job is very important, and we need our paltry paychecks, but I guess Big Business has a heart just like the Grinch—too sizes too small. Ugh, don’t these supervisors know how important the H&G Show is? Don’t they get it? Don’t they see how much more fun I could have playing with puppies than studying spreadsheets? Priorities, people, priorities…

A family is a unit composed not only of children, but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. — Ogden Nash

And while the first day was relatively mellow, Saturday, on the other hand, was something completely different. Hmmm, I’m trying to think of just the right word. Madhouse? Bedlam? Pandemonium? I’m not quite sure how else to describe it, the place was absolutely CRAZY. I don’t normally exhibit claustrophobic tendencies, but when the crowd in our booth grew five rows deep, I had to step back and take a deep breath. Oh my gersh, the decibel level alone made my ears throb. Despite this cacophony, I soldiered on with my fellow ARF volunteers. We must have talked to fifteen people at a time, answering unending questions about the dogs and our facility. These conversations are great for business, but rough on the throat. Hand me the Ricola, stat! And it didn’t stop there, we were also peppered with general inquiries about the show, like where the bathrooms were, which lunch truck had the best chow, and why the beers were so darn expensive. Um, sorry dude, you’re on your own. 

The dog was created specially for children. He is a god of frolic. — Henry Ward Beecher

Have I mentioned how many kids were at the H&G Show? Did I bring up all the strollers, buggies, and Little Red Wagons? Did I discuss in great detail all the screaming, crying, whining, begging, and pouting there was? Must have slipped my mind, with the faded memory of popcorn, ice cream bars, and sticky suckers in my face at every turn. Or maybe I was distracted by the nightmare of gigantic balloons floating from tiny wrists around every corner. AAHHH! Why do they torment me? Don’t they know those things could POP at any given moment? Oh, the humanity. But even though there was a whole mess of children roaming about, for the most part, all of them were fairly well behaved. I was ecstatic for all the dogs who went home with kids in the family, knowing they would soon be snoozing on the bed of their new little human. You can see from some of the photos that both kid and canine were quite contented. I have to admit it can be exhausting trying to calm overstimulated boys and girls, while pulling puppies for petting purposes. And no, I’m not sorry for that animated alliteration. But once you see the joy and excitement in those smiling faces when holding a puppy, some for the very first time, it’s a pretty cool thing. I have actually seen a few kids burst into tears, overwhelmed by the love they feel just cradling a tiny pup to their chest. It is quite a remarkable feeling. Even if there is a big blue balloon on their arm.

In a household of toddlers and pets, we discover this rule of thumb about happy families—that they are at least two-thirds incontinent. — Robert Brault  

All in all, ARF couldn’t have asked for more success than what we achieved over a span of three days. The Home and Garden Show is kind of like Target; it’s a one-stop shop for just about anything you need. Perhaps you’re looking for a luxurious spa package that won’t break the bank, or maybe you need a new  patio set. They’ve got both. Heck, they even have lots of pottery items to complete your backyard, like gigantic tortoise benches, ceramic suns to hang on a fence, and cute metal ants playing instruments to accompany your wind chimes. You can try out vibrating chairs, sample coffees, purchase flavored popcorn, listen to live music, pig out on soft tacos, and buy the kids water blasters for the upcoming heat of summer. And if you’re looking for a new addition to the household, the H&G Show even has some four-legged friends that are waiting patiently to see you. Animal Rescue of Fresno is always proud to participate in these shows, and we appreciate each and every one of you who attended. We’re always happy to bring our dogs for the public to see, and even more ecstatic when one of them goes home. We do get attached, and it can be sad to see them go. But in the end, this is what we wish for them all: a home and family of their own. Thank you to everyone who made our wishes come true.

 Animal Rescue of Fresno
4545 E Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726

 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 since 2014. She grew up in Fresno and has been an Office Assistant with Fresno County for 7 years. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.