My goal this week was to visit both the Flagler County Humane Society and Florida Hospital Flagler to pick up volunteer application forms. Easy breezy – within 45 minutes on Tuesday I’d driven to both places, parked, gone inside to pick up the applications, and returned home.
At the humane society I was asked to sign up to return for a walk-through of the facility so I could decide where and what I’d like to do. No need to procrastinate, I thought, so I said I’d be back at 1 p.m. today.
I was met this afternoon by a staff member and quickly taken through the various rooms of cats and dogs. This is a huge facility, and they are very active in the community, with adoption events going on practically every month. They are dedicated to finding good homes for their charges, and everyone I met there – both staff and volunteers – was friendly and helpful. After my tour I was told to come back to work anytime at my convenience and to feel free to help out in any area where I felt comfortable. I asked about dog walking and was told I’d need to be trained by one of the other regular walker volunteers.
On my way to put my purse in the car – so I could go back inside and love on some kitties – a dog walker rounded the corner with a sweet mid-sized dog. I introduced myself, said I needed training, and she said, “Great! Come back in, and we’ll pick out an easy one for you to start on.”
I told my new friend I knew I couldn’t handle really big dogs because of a shoulder problem, but I thought mid-sized dogs would be fine. She introduced me to a sweet mix and showed me how to enter the cage and attach a leash. She picked out another dog for herself, and out we went.
My immediate thought was, “Wow! This dog isn’t leash trained!” Well, duh, Brenda, what made you think he would be? After 15 minutes of being pulled around the large area the facility uses for dog walking, I knew I was probably going to need to choose another task. But, what the heck, I decided to try one more.
There were two really excited dogs sharing a cage – both smaller than my original pick. One was a hound mix, and the other a pit bull mix. They were super friendly and sweet – both weighed maybe 40 pounds – and they were really young dogs. They were so excited and hyper we decided to take them out to a large fenced in area where we could unleash them and let them run off some of their energy.
We made it out there in record time because both dogs were pulling like a couple of locomotives. We entered the fenced in area, closed both gates behind us, and unhooked the leashes. Bam! They were off like a shot and raced around and around the pen, first one leading and then the other. We laughed watching them fly back toward us . . . right up to the second the pit bull ran head first into my right knee at full speed. I was standing sideways to him, and it felt like being hit by a 40-lb bulldozer. I crumbled and fell, thinking, “My knee is shattered.” I rolled around on the dirt for a few minutes holding the knee and telling myself what an idiot I was to let something like that happen on my first day. The lady I was with was scared to death (by the way she is probably 10 years older than me, weighs about 10 lbs., and can handle dogs three times bigger than she is).
When I finally stopped rolling, I crawled over to fence (because I wasn’t going to let this little tiny woman try to help me up). I pulled myself up and realized I could put weight on the knee, bend it, and walk with only a little pain. Then we had a big laugh, and I told her I’d accept my “F” in dog walking and move on to something else. The two tired out pooches walked like little angels back with us to the shelter. I went to the office to report my “incident” and tell them I thought I’d go hang out with the cats for a while.
Lesson: I am 67 years old. I have limitations. I can socialize the puppies and kittens. I can pull the adult cats out of their cages and give them special attention. I can learn which dogs are of the “gentle” persuasion and give them some TLC. I can fill food and water bowls and clean cages. I can help in the office. I can take my camera and get some cute shots of the adoptables for the web site. There are all kinds of things to do there that won’t require pulled muscles and knee braces. Boundaries . . . I have to accept them.
Ted reminded me late yesterday afternoon that there was a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral at 7:35 last night. The sky was full of stars, so we thought we’d maybe have a chance of seeing a little light down the coast when it went up (100 miles away).
The launch was delayed a few times, but close to 8 p.m. they started counting down, and Blake, Ted and I hurried up to the skywalk.
We were thrilled to know we’d be able to see launches like this from our house. What a surprise and a bonus to living here!
A LITTLE MACKINAC
Yall have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Sunday!