It was, indeed, a big day.

Although preparing for over a month for Petmania, true to what seems to be the normal regime these days, we were doing things at the last minute and flying down the road for set up at the big event.  Glynetta (aka: Mother and Secretary of Miss Alli’s) arrived promptly for the assignment of our booth, and was on the ball first thing.  She picked a spot…then changed her mind and picked another…and began unloading a few things from her car.  A nice man assisted her with the tent, and we were on our way to a good start!

At least she was…I was going on 3 1/2 hours of sleep and moving like a slug, despite my efforts.  So, instead of leaving my house by 9am, Abraham, Pyr Alli, and I left about 9:30.  I said to myself…”Okay…everything else is done, so you’ll still have 45 min to and hour to set up by the time you get to the mall.”  I was relaxed…until I hit frustrating traffic on the little two lane road I take into town.  I was the 6th car back (remember – this is the SC country traffic), and we were moving as slow as snails.  I made a point to take deep breaths.

We were to meet Deanna and Melissa at mother’s house, as it was a good central point, and in addition, they could put on their Miss Alli’s t-shirts.  Melissa was traveling from Anderson, about a half hour away, and was hitting the same sort of traffic dilemma on the highway.  I finally arrived at Mother’s, to find her at the grocery store (we are hungry people, and she knew this would kick in at the event), but nobody else had arrived.  I changed shirts, grabbed the laptop and banner, and found my brother, Jonathan, walking in the door (aka: VP of Miss Alli’s).  We waited a few minutes, and then Deanna, Melissa and mother arrived a few minutes later.  Everyone was provided with the Miss Alli’s t-shirts and we, somehow, finally got out the door. Unfortunately, it was about 10:35 when we left, with a 10 minute drive ahead and a start time of 11am, so set up was to be in a jiffy! Panic mode!!

The entire morning it had been misting, but we were hopeful for a  reprieve, as according to the weather map, it should have passed and headed north fairly quickly.  Somehow, I think the map had a bit of a technical error, as we were provided with a light mist until about 1pm.  Worse, the wind was being quite argumentative.  As soon as we’d set up a display, it’d be knocked over by the wind.  We repeated the “set up, blow down” process several times, along with the picking up of change in the donation jar after it was carried through the air via the ornery Mr. Wind.  After so many knock overs and pick ups, Jonathan and Glynetta ventured off to find a tarp for the side of the tent, in the hopes of providing a barrier of protection. Deanna put a water bottle inside the donation jar as a weight….hey, it worked!

In the meantime Crystal arrived, although we were behind, we finally finished up. Deanna had developed an attachment, known as Alli, the Great Pyrenees, so she handled watching and walking her, socializing her with everyone she met…Alli loved this!! Abraham joined Melissa in a gallivant around the event, wagging and slobbering everywhere, even finding a hot Yorkie babe.  Much to my dismay, he felt that he wanted to chase the hottie tottie Yorkie down and ask her for a date, and in the process twisted Melissa around and down to the ground while she was involved in a conversation.  Oooooh, Abraham!! Fortunately, Melissa is well versed in animals, and laughed about it, but I felt terrible…Abraham, on the other hand, was clueless as to what he’d done. He simply continued to wag, slobber and smile.

When Jonathan and Glynetta returned, they set up the tarp, which was, in deed, a big help.  Crystal and I began hanging the photos that were for sale (which are still for sale…more on that later!), as it seemed that although the wind hadn’t settled, the mist seemed to have let up a bit.  Things were beginning to feel better and more relaxed.

Both dogs were a big hit, receiving lots of “oooh and ahhhs” with talk of how beautiful they were…despite the fact that Alli’s hair still hasn’t completely grown out and Abraham’s drool caused a bit of a mess on his mouth and chest.  They both enjoyed being noticed and loved hearing they were stunning (who wouldn’t?).  Echo joined us, as well, although she was great about blending in the navy crate.  She did receive some affection, however, from passers-by.  She’s such a good kitty.

We had settled down and enjoyed the “Best Dressed Contest,” glad that the Greenville shelter’s Rescue Coordinator won…Yeah!  We talked to a few people and even managed to have a few bites of chocolate and potato chips.  All seemed to be going well, despite the gloomy, chilly weather.

About that time the monsoon arrived.  We took down a few items with the hope that it would quickly pass, but soon found just about everything was getting wet.  Leaving his lunch break behind, Jonathan came zooming up in mother’s car, our little knight and shining armor, to help us out.  We regretfully began close shop, and the rain began to hammer down…luckily we learned that we were positioned at the bottom of the slant in the parking lot, so we were standing in a deep puddle of water in a matter of minutes…what fun! 😀

We couldn’t move fast enough…the monsoon had us all soaked and pretty much everything we had with us.   Melissa and Deanna braved the wind and rain to get Deanna’s car and my van, and when they drove up they were sopping wet, as was Jonathan from putting things inside Mom’s car.  Crystal and I were still somewhat dry at this point, at least from the ankles up, frantically shoving things in boxes and trying to prevent any further damage. This was most difficult, for the rain was so hard it was developing almost a screen to view through, and it was coming inside of the tent. We got the pictures in the car first, as to not ruin them, as well as the animals, and Jonathan continued to throw things in vehicles. Needless to say, after we all tossed this and that into various boxes and cars, Crystal and I were by that time soaked, as well.

We did manage, however, to get it all done, and began loading people into cars. At that time Crystal and I realized we still had to breakdown the tent…oops.  So, with not a clue how to do it, we made our attempt to tear it down. We managed to lower it, which was necessary, but it only caused us to bend over to figure out how to do the rest of it, in a Hunchback of Notre Dam sort of fashion.  I looked next to us and decided to ask the guys next door, since they had the same type of tent, running over to them and spitting out “So how do we do that with ours??” About that time I hear Crystal yell “I think I figured it out!”  Excitedly, I ran back to join Crystal, and we figured out that with the click of a button we could bring all four corners together.  Deanna jumped out to help us, and in a few seconds we were loading it into the back of Crystals SUV.

I have to say, everyone was incredibly supportive and unquestionably SUPER to endure the rain.  When I say we were soaked, I mean SOAKED…truly looked as if we’d been submerged.  Not a hair was dry on us, our clothes stuck to our skin, and we left a trail behind us when we crossed the parking lot and walked into Applebees…where there was no rain, mind you.  Yes, the parking lot was dry, no umbrellas, no raincoats…only very wet Miss Alli’s Rescue volunteers leaving drops behind them.  Regardless, we enjoyed a good lunch, the animals crashed for a nap, and the dear girls were even ready for the next event.  They are some troopers to say the least!

While we all may suffer from a cold this week (paws crossed that we don’t!), we still somehow managed to have a good time.  Hopefully we’ll be able to have another event without the torrential rainfall.  I do believe it would have gone well if the weather had been more agreeable.  I hope the organization that established it will try again at a later date.  In the meantime, here are some photos from PetMania 2009!

Our Booth!

Jonathan and Abraham

The Best Dressed Contest

A participating Harley Beagle

A very handsome observer of the contest.

Ellie, the French Bulldog that won the Best Dressed contest.

A Great Dane Rescue mascot wearing a boa for the contest.

Deanna with Alli…and Alli avoiding the camera…she was a bit shy from her frizzy rain hairdo.

Finally, after several attempts, a decent photo of Alli!

Abraham taking a break after his walk.

Hopefully we’ll have another with less rain.  If so, hopefully you can attend!

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