If only I had thought of this sooner!
The untimely return of polio symptoms has left me unable to walk around parks, casually visiting neighbors or doing the daily "power walks" with the ladies. I do have an electric cart though, so I am mobile, but this is quite different from the slow stroll that allows you to meet and greet your new neighbors.
Quite accidently, I came upon a way to satisfy that wish: Canine Candids! Camp Venice, where we have spent the winter this year, is rife with dogs of every size, shape, and color. Why not print a "Rover Roster" so they could all be greeted by name?
Accordingly, I set out, sheepishly at first, asking neighbors if I could photograph their pet for inclusion in a scrapbook of pets. I don't know why I was surprised at the response. "Of course!" was the usual reply. At whch point, Rover would get a quick brushing and would be led to the nearest sunny spot, usually in front of a potted plant or two.
One enthusiastic man even came down from his roof to make sure Bailey was "among those present." That's Bailey, the gorgeous black lab (female) in the upper left corner of the collage.
This collage is not complete; just what I was able to do in one short afternoon. I have posted a note next to the collage on the bulletin board advising any I missed to bring their dog to our site for the final effort.
A bonus was the ability to ask people their last names. We knew the first names of all the folks around us, but once you've been friends with someone for several weeks, it's kind of awkward to say, "What's your last name?" This made it easy, "What's your dog's full name?" Or, admit it: "I'm embarrassed to ask, but what's your last name?"
An amusing aside: I mentioned to one woman something about my husband, Cor. She said, "Oh, I thought his name was Fred." I answered, "No, Fred's the dog." Well, she had heard everyone call out, "Hi, Fred" as my husband took him for his morning walk.
Fred has gone to live with some friends in Venice, FL. Those same walks became too much for Cor's lower back and it showed no signs of improving. I've known the couple a long time. They have fenced in a yard for Fred, have two cats he has become great friends with, and they take him to the PawPark often. We miss him terribly, but as one neighbor put it: You've done two things right. "First you saved him from the dog pound that couldn't keep him any longer, and two, you've found him a good home." In the collage, he is the handsome chocolate lab sitting in the first mates' seat.
So, without further ado, here is the first draft of my ROVER ROSTER - March 2009
Make your bark worse than your bite.