Sunday, August 28, 2011

The 2011 Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue Reunion

They came in cars and trucks and vans. They came by ferry and road and foot. They came from Saltspring and Quadra Islands, from Topley and Richmond and Campbell River, from Courtenay and Cobble Hill, Lantzville and Victoria. They came from Nanoose Bay and Nanaimo, from Cowichan Bay and Duncan, and of course some came from Crofton. And I’m sure I missed a few places.

They came. Turtle Gardens adopters and Turtle Gardens dogs. Friends and supporters and neighbours and kin. Adopted dogs and fostered dogs, Turtle Gardens dogs and other dogs too. Dogs and people. People and dogs. The sign in sheet lists 29 humans and 32 dogs, but I know there are people who forgot to sign in and dogs whose names I didn’t get - I think, altogether, there were about 35-40 dogs and 30-35 people. At least. And I was afraid no one would come!

A major event at the camp next door led to bumper to bumper traffic on the little dirt road in and a wee bit of confusion for some (note to self: better signage next time!), but the sign at the camp stating “no dogs allowed” got most lost TGers turned back around.

And soon they were striding across the fields, being greeted by a host of rambunctious off leash dogs. A little intimidating for some, but we coped and no fights broke out and no one bolted. (Note to self: next time have sign in right by the gate, and then direct people and their dogs to a hang-out area further away).

There was a nice shady spot protected by a tent, with photo displays and handouts, dog cookies and bottled water, buttons and magnets and t-shirts and bandanas and all sorts of print materials. We visited and chatted and played with the dogs, who were busy playing with each other.

Most of us headed down to the beach about one o’clock. The tide had come in quite a ways so a long amble on the sand wasn’t possible, but there was still lots of beach for playing and swimming and sitting and talking.

We raised over $300 in donations, introduced unsuspecting park visitors to a mighty fine rescue group, exhausted some dogs and a lot of their humans, traded adoption stories, and had a great time.

I’ve posted a few of my favourite photos* in this blog entry, but I took many, many more. You can see all ninety or so of mine on Photobucket, and download any that are special to you. Just click on this link

I am terrible at remembering names, so in most cases I have not indicated who’s who. I wish I remembered everybody’s names – some days I have trouble even remembering my own. But I do know that the dog roll included Amie and Kabuki and Amber and Ruby, Cree (formerly Toast) and Trixie and Isabelle and Sail, Coco (formerly Clover), Abby (Hannah), Skootch and Morel, Muskwa and Tonsi, Findley, Fissure, Missy, and Doots, Des, Lola, Tilly, Molly, another Missy, Opie, Tanner, Huli, Dolly, Quinn, Vimy, Drew, Fifa, and more. I truly apologize to those dogs whose names I didn’t get – you are no less important and certainly no less loved!

There are still more photos (and video too) from other attendees, on the Turtle Gardens blog – and still more coming in, so keep checking that blog.

Meeting everyone was wonderful.  Sitting on the beach, with all the dogs playing in and out of the water, was wonderful. There were so many special moments, it is hard to recount them all, but here are some of the highlights for me:

  • Seeing wee Tilly run up to Dave and greet him with love and enthusiasm! She sure hasn’t forgotten him!

Heheheh, of course Dave remembers me!

  • Meeting Isabelle, Lisa B’s senior foster dog who is the doppelganger for my granddog Becky and every bit as wonderful! If I didn’t have a full house of seniors, I would adopt her in a flash. I am in love.

Isabelle, my granddog's doppleganger

  • Watching Coco (formerly Clover) gain a wee bit of confidence throughout the day, and finally play with the others on the beach.
Ummmm, wanna be friends?

  • Seeing Marla, Noon, and Cree (formerly Toast). There’s a story here – Marla came to my house to have a look at a dog barrier I had advertised on line. She had Noon in the car with her, and mentioned she was looking for a second dog. I gave her the nudge she needed to send in an application on Toast, and a couple of days later it was a done deal. And Toast’s new name is actually Mo Chroi (shortened to Cree) – which is Irish for “My heart”. What a great name for a great dog!

"My Heart"

  • Watching Dave, Brian and Lisa B with the dogs – three faces, hands and hearts of Turtle Gardens. You rock!

Dave and New Girl

  • And getting a farewell hug from Dave.  :)

There are so many people to thank. All I did was check on the park regulations, send out some information, and bug people incessantly for stuff to go on the tables. Behind the scenes, others loaned the tent and tables and got water and baked cookies and printed materials and picked up and/or transported items. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And thank you, everyone, for coming. Most of all, thank you Yvette and Dave Labatte, for doing what you do - rescuing dogs and finding them the best possible homes.

I usually don’t cope well with crowds and chaos, but yesterday’s crowd and yesterday’s chaos leaves a warmth in my heart and a smile on my face, and memories that will last forever.

(* Note: I generally don’t post pictures of people without checking with them first – I hate it when people do that to me - but as very few are close up and many are on the TG blog, I took my chances that no one objects. However, if your picture is on this blog or on my photobucket account, and you would like it removed, please email me using the contact at the side.)


turtlegardens said...

AWESOME!!! Thank you so very much. Love the smile on Tilly aka Spot. So many memories. Bless you, Yvette with a big smile

Anonymous said...

It was an wonderful day with amazing people and amazing dogs.
The weather was perfect and the tide just right for the dogs to go swimming. I know the dogs had a blast and I hope the people enjoyed our " hidden jewel" off leash park as much as we do.


Morning Bray Farm said...

I'm not sure why, but I'm all teary-eyed after reading this post. Maybe it's all the happy endings and wishing that they all could be that way.

What a beautiful day with beautiful dogs and beautiful people. Everyone (dogs and people) looks so happy. What a wonderful thing you did! :)

lynda and Ella said...

Looks like one special fantastic day and such wonderful memories for everyone. I loved seeing all the dogs, even those I don't recognize! Jean I'm wondering about Dave's "new girl" and how he acquired her?