Sunday, 18 July 2010

Double Goosebumps

What a week. First we lost our gorgeous bunny Mono, then Thursday we had to have a cat and a dog put to sleep and by Friday we had to rush Midnight the cat into the vets as she had virtually lost the use of her back legs. That sheer panic feeling had struck me again and I later ended up saying to Catherine that the week would really be topped off if it poured down with rain on our Summer Festival the following day. And so, of course, it did.

The first lonely few of us arrived on site very early and sat there in our cars watching it rain. After nearly an hour we decided to just get on with it. But it wasn't long before the heavens really opened, and then some more, and then some more and by 11.15 I was all for giving up and going home, but the team were undeterred and insisted we battle on, so we sat and waited, and every time there was a break we scurried into action to set up some more.

By the start time at 12noon there was little break in the weather but over the next hour it began to ease off and people started turning up on site. By 2pm the sun was shining and it stayed out and dry for the rest of the afternoon and even during packing up time (Brucie bonus!).

We didn't get the number of attendees we had expected but we still got a good turn out and we put on a great 'show'. I'm guessing people decide what they are going to do for the day in the morning, and by the sounds of the traffic reports, they'd chosen the Trafford Centre over a soggy field (and who can blame them!).

But nonetheless we had a riot with our dog show and lots of our old friends turned up and it was just wonderful to see how all the dogs were getting on since being adopted. There were some surprise attendees and I got all excited and goose bumpy - there was Lady, Gemma & Snoop,Tommy, Heidi, Dolly, Ben, Paddy and I know there were others too but my mind has gone blank, so I apologise to those I missed out (send me a piccie and I'll post an apology!). Anyhow, it was just wonderful to see them all, and to see that we do get it right and we do make a difference and that there really are happy ever afters after all.

I got even more excited when our old friends started winning in some of the classes(no, I wasn't judging, just compering). And when Heidi (pictured above) won Best in Show I got all emotional and had 'double goosebumps' and her mum and dad and the judges got all emotional too! Heidi really was a huge shining beacon of inspiration yesterday. When she came into our care last year she was a nervous wreck, having lived with an alcoholic and his 6 other dogs, and very definitely been physically punished. She was eventually confiscated from her owner by the police and we took in 3 of the dogs, who we named Rita, Sue and Bob.

To see Heidi one year on was just amazing - she truly was a different dog, so desperately fond of her owners, so incredibly well trained and so very confident and happy. It really was the stuff of magic and just goes to show that it is all worth it, even though it doesn't always feel like it at times.

And, despite the awful weather at the start, we took a great sum of money, £1268, which really is a lot considering how bad the rain had been. It also helped soften the blow for the loss of £225 on paying out for a fancy bouncy castle we couldn't use (they insisted on full payment even though we couldn't safely use it).

We also saw 53 dogs at the free vet health checks, the 4 dogs we brought along behaved themselves beautifully and we received interest in two of them, we did really well with our ethical cafe, the Punch and Judy show, circus skills workshop, climbing wall and donkeys were all hugely popular, oh and we had a Coronation street actor come along with his children to enjoy the event too! By the end of the day there were seemingly lots of happy faces, including mine (despite my soggy, sore feet)and a real sense of achievement to boot.

I am truly grateful to everyone who braved the weather to help out or come along to support us. My highlights were definitely seeing our old friends, the Punch and Judy man's puppet dog (I'm a sucker for puppets!)and the live bands were great too - they were such troopers.

So thank you so much to everyone, let's hope we can pull out all the stops for our sponsored dog walk to make up for losses at the Summer Festival. And oh, I would be very grateful if there wasn't torrential rain again like last year, please!