Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bark in the Park

At Chloe’s recent weigh-in we noticed a poster at the vet’s office for the annual Bark in the Park which is organised to support the Irish Blue Cross and as two of the fabulous furry fiends are rescue dogs, they persuaded me that they should give something back.  So we all signed up for the one in St Anne’s Park, on the 17th May.

Coming up to the big day I was a little worried about how we would get there.  St Anne’s Park is about a three quarter hour walk from my house and to be honest, at Tim’s age, that would just do him in. But Izzy had never travelled in my not so large Ford Focus, and hadn’t shared such a closed space with Chloe before.  They do get along well, but they are bitches and they do have their squabbles…. The car was out of commission until a couple of days before my cousin Tracy, aunt Breda and Tracy’s son Garrett came to visit, and while they were here there was no time for a rehearsal.  I had visions of the car rocking round the roundabout from the impact of approximately 90kg of canine sibling rivalry.  So come this morning, I dressed them Bark In The Park 073 all in their harnesses about an hour before we set off, and let their hysterics fade to bewilderment at the delay in departure.  When they were suitably confustigated by this, (see pic on left) with assistance from Derek, who lined them up and let them out of the house one at a time,  I carefully packed the three of them in..

Izzy hopped into the boot like a trouper.  I’d stuffed the boot with dog cushions so it was, by her lights, pretty luxurious.  I’d dug out the harnesses for Tim and Chloe and clipped the two of them on to the seatbelts in the back seat. I rammed the “lid” from the boot between the front and back seats so Chloe couldn’t do her usual trick of diving into the front passenger seat just when I’m negotiating something complicated.  And we proceeded all the way up the road, round the corner and back to the house when I realised I hadn’t packed their damn leads!

Tim is something of a back seat driver and likes to comment loudly and extensively on every move we make on the road. He becomes particularly loquacious at red lights. His bark is not unlike an old fashioned country singer.  Chloe is into drive-by barking and prefers a high pitched continuous hysterical nagging every time anything that has more than two legs heaves into view.  Izzy is not given to saying much, but when she does make an interjection she comes out with a most unladylike deep bass boom that Paul Robeson would have been proud of.  As I really do have to keep the windows open in the car (so it doesn’t entirely fog up from all the hot air the dogs generate) there were some pretty startled people along the way.

But, I am pleased to relate, there were no arguments.  Occasionally I could see a huge rag bag head popping up in the rear view mirror, over the back seat head rests and got some not so gentle prodding from Chloe as she attempted to manouver herself along with the rear right seat belt into the front left of the car, but otherwise the trip passed uneventfully.  Cunningly, I brought the car to a different gate than the one where the other dogs would assemble, in order to avoid strangulation of dogs or driver if they saw a crowd of canines just outside the car. 

At this point I was somewhat concerned about how they would react when they saw so many dogs but I can say now that I am really and truly proud of all three.  They were, like the other dogs there, somewhat taken aback at the sheer number of dogs, there must have been around a hundred, and they were so busy taking it all in they forgot to do their usual lunging and barking act, and engaged in polite sniffing, wagging and generally nice, friendly, cute dog behaviour.  The general attitude of the canine contingent was one of bemused amusement, with a few of the smaller ones retreating into handbags or owner’s arms (and one Great Dane, who failed to realise or just plain didn’t care that her owner was only about five foot three).

Unfortunately, as my hands were full I didn’t do to well with photographs, but there will be some posted on later this Bark In The Park 077 week.  There was one rather nice lurcher who joined us with her owners and smaller pal, and Tim fell instantly in love – unfortunately, as you can see, she was not so interested in him…but he was so interested in her he forgot to act the old man and pranced round the park like a teenager, which was nice for me as for once I did not get pulled in half which is what happens when he decides to slow down to an amble while Chloe and  Izzy are still charging full steam ahead. We made it round the park with no major incidents (except the lurcher almost strangled me with her extending lead, but we’ll draw a veil over that one… the marks will fade pretty soon, I think). 

Bark In The Park 079 Typically for Ireland, it was a lovely day.. right up until 3:00 pm when it started to rain and by the time we finished the round at about 4:30 it was pretty much a deluge.  My waterproof jacket isn’t, I learned at about 3:15, all that waterproof.  But never mind, it was a fun way to spend an afternoon. 

The furry fiends were absolutely exhausted from all this and were so quiet in the car on the way home I thought they had expired. Here they all are just after we got back.  That was about 5:30 pm. It’s about 8:30 pm now and so far nobody has moved a muscle……

Bark In The Park 253 Bark In The Park 251 Bark In The Park 255

By far the majority of the dogs there were rescues, and most of those were large pedigrees, such as the very shy Great Dane, a wolfhound, an absolutely gorgeous Bearded Collie, SEVERAL Basset Hounds, including a French Basset (which looks like a sort of tidied up regular Basset) . I don’t know what that says about people who buy expensive dogs, but there’s a whole bunch of people out there with fantastic animals who would never have been able to afford them other than going to a rescue centre.  We raised €75 (thanks to the girls in RCPI, you are all brilliant!) and hopefully some of my online friends will have donated to the Blue Cross through the links I posted on Twitter and Facebook.  Proceeds will go towards a new small animal clinic in Inchicore, Dublin 8 and it’s not too late to donate, just visit

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