Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meet Wendell

I take workshops at Actors Advantage Studio sometimes. It's a very nice facility with good casting directors coming through (I've taken about four or five workshops there) located round Robertson somewheres in the B-Hills.

They are also affiliated with dog adoption programs and often ask for volunteers. Strangely enough, lots of casting directors and acting facilities are involved in some sort of animal rescue org. But AA Studio says that in exchange for a four hour shift on a Saturday, an impoverished actor like myself can get a free workshop! Whee!  (But you have to be on their mailing list.) ANYway, I said "yes yes yes!" when I got an email. And one may think I did this only for the free workshop, but NO.  That ain't true. Like a stoner pulling into a Trader Joe's parking lot, I have been majorly feining... for some volunteer work - specifically with animals; sweet, sweet little animals that I can cuddle, walk or feed treats. My mother volunteers with wild birds (owls, eagles, vultures, etc) in Kentucky and I hear AMAZING stories.

Last Saturday at the West Hollywood PETCO, I volunteered for Ace of Hearts - a dog rescue organization (one of MANY) located in Beverly Hills.  Surprisingly, a billion people showed up and we were overstaffed, but not surprisingly, none of them wanted to shake a jar full of change and one dollar bills while holding a sign in the cold at the corner of Doheny and Santa Monica.  So I did that with their most faithful volunteer, ol' Barbara. She's a master of the donation process, approaching cars like a sweet little old lady and then thrusting a jar full of guilt in their faces. Haha, I'm kidding. She gets major kudos for taking the most unpleasant job and performing it with persistance and gusto. I tried to do the same, but I kept getting yelling at cars as they approached knowing full well that they can't hear a damn word I'm saying. It made me feel bolder though to vocalize the needs of the organization, so I rolled with it for awhile, momentarily spinning in circles from the madly whizzing sports cars and taking full advantage of cracked windows and red stoplights, heh heh.

Purposefully avoiding animal shelters while hardcore craving a pet (my animalogical clock has been ticking for about 4 years), I was quite astonished to see that ALL the dogs were fully grown. Well?! I didn't know! In fact, half the dogs (out of 15 or so) were old boys, one nearly blind from cataracts and constantly slipping around in his own slobbery crate, barking at nothing and everything. It was a little maddening. I teared up almost instantly while staring at a fat sweetheart of a bitch named Thelma. Oh, these dogs they all had so much LOVE to give.

Anyway, in the duration of my volunteer work - aka jar-shaking, name tag making - I found out that people can foster dogs while the dogs wait for a permanent adoption. YyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyES!!!!!! I will do that! I can do that! Ace of Hearts desperately needed foster people for their dogs. Not only do you get a cool dog to hang out with for a month (perhaps longer if you choose), not only does Ace of Hearts provide you with food and doggy supplies, not only are you making a sweet pooch feel love until someone is ready to love him forEVER, but each time you take a dog into your home, you have opened up a slot in the kennel for a new dog to move in that is typically saved from being euthanised. I signed the Foster form, and BOOM Monday morning I get a call that they have an emergency dog named Wendell that they need me to take, so can I take him?

Nervous! Um, uh, well, yes, I guess, what is this dog like? Will he chew my shoes up? Is he housebroken? Had he had a traumatic life? How big is he? How do I do this? Do I really wanna do this? Do I really wanna commit to a month of being responsible for this animal?!?!

Yes, yes is the answer. I saw Wendell, actually, the day of the pet adoption, but I didn't get a good look at him. He is the only dog I didn't see properly.  All I remember is that he looked like a fox and seemed rather crafty inside of that cage. It turns out that Wendell is SO new to Ace of Hearts that they really don't have any info on him. They don't know what breed he is, they know he was a stray and found on the streets somewhere, they don't know of any trauma and they need me, the Foster Parent, to do the research.

It's been one day thus far with ol' Wendell. Three walks, two poos, and 75,478 tail wags later, I do not regret this decision at ALL.  If you are interested in fostering a dog, please go to this site which explains the process thoroughly: Be A Foster Pet Owner 

Also, consider adopting Wendell. He was obviously owned by someone before because he has a very domestic demeanor.  He has coloring like a border collie, looks proportionally like the dragon in The Neverending Story, and an adorable snaggletooth juts delicately from the end of his snout. He sleeps upside down and he has difficulty with separation anxiety (which I hope to research and help him heal from).  He is also the perfect size, 20 plus pounds. If you are interested, let me know. Below is a pic of WENDELL! Updates as the month goes on.

Mostly - ACE of HEARTS is in need of DONATIONS, not just adoption. Please visit their site and give $5 or more so that the dogs can get medical expenses covered, boarding covered, nice doggie beds and good food. I had no idea a surgery for a dog could cost so much, but one particular dog named Bob has a neurogical disorder. It costs $3000 to identify the problem and another $5-6000 for the surgery. What? That's frickin' crazy! A doggy doesn't have a wallet! They don't even know why they are here on this earth! They just wag their tails and slobber, lick, and love!  Donate, adopt or foster. One, or all three. Do it!

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