Monday, May 13, 2013

Wait, What Month Is It?

Welcome to May, the month of "holy shit, did I really sign up for all of this?" Guest appearances to be made by two new jobs, officiating an adopting, taking a new foster, two dog-centric conferences, a board meeting, flyering for the next GYF! fair, speaking at a nurse conference, a photo shoot, and planning a five day hiking trip - all on top of the usual activities needed to run this House of Horde Beasts.

Whatever you do, don't stop running.
Photo by Paige.

Today we bring you a short recap of BAD RAP's Rescue Jam in Oakland, California, hopefully to be followed by a longer recap later when I get a chance to sort out my notes (which I have still not forwarded to my fellow conference-goers - sorry, guys!). Rescue Jam, hosted at Bad Rap's famous Rescue Barn, was attended by rescue and shelter volunteers from all over the world. We covered topics from "How to Run a Successful Foster-Based Rescue" to evaluating potential program dogs to battling compassion fatigue. The best part of Rescue Jam?


And also, I got to make out with celebrity dog Elliot.

Photo by Sara N.
After the Jam, we had a day to wander around being tourists. Our wandering took us out to Muir Woods National Park. Muir Woods is a redwood forest an hour-ish north of Oakland, which meant that I got to check "hike in a redwood forest" off my bucket list.

I can't say what walking through the redwoods was like for my companions, but I think I'm close to being able to put words to how this forest made me feel. Many, many moons ago, I was a regular church-goer. I attended a large, somber, ceremonial church and stepping inside always made me feel awed and insignificant - but not in a painful way! Instead, it grounded me, reminded me that the weight of the world did not rest on my shoulders - and as a result, the weight that I had been carrying slid away from me.

So it was with these trees, their heavy somnolence pressing against me, weighing down my troubles until I am forced to leave them behind in the woods, allowing the rest of me to press on unfettered. These trees in their millenia-long histories have survived the rise and fall of nations, stood tall through fires and storms without consideration for human hysterics brought on by sinking ships and flying bullets. They were here before me, and their reassuring stability will almost certainly be here long after I am gone.

After Muir Woods, we hit the other end of the spectrum, grabbing lunch at Fisherman's Ward in San Francisco. I ate what was probably the sea-faring version of smelt and wanted to take our Irish-accented waitress home with me. Then there were sea lions.

Our last day in California, I managed to harass, threaten, and annoy all my friends into one last stop: the studio and shop of Paco Collars in Berkeley. Here, I bought entirely too many collars and don't feel even a little bit guilty about it. I also got to meet Paco Collar's founder, Ana Poe, who is possibly one of the coolest moms ever and whom I may have developed a little bit of a girl crush on (don't tell Ana . . . or my husband).

Photo of me and Ana and the wonder baby
and all my awesome new collars by Sara N. 
I also convinced my new Paco Collars' besties to come to Minnesota and do a collar-making class in July. Or, more accurately, they may have mentioned they were planning on coming to Minnesota anyway, and I was all, "OOH! OOH! OOH! I wanna help! Pick me! PICK ME!" like a great big, embarrassing dog nerd.

But whatever, I shall take my Great Big Embarrassing Dog Nerd award and wear it proudly.

Bonus picture of me making out with a puppy behind bars because I was that desperate for some doggie lovin'.
And also because I really like this picture and can't figure out where else to put it.
Photo by Sara N. 

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