Angels & Animal Expo

The name should have said it all "Angels & Animals" Expo. But I have to admit I didn't pay much attention to what it was called. I simply read the sign outside my vet's and saw that there was an event this Saturday that I could attend with the dogs.
It was at a local assisted-living facility, so I loaded the pugs in the car this afternoon and headed off. When we got to the facility the parking was well marked but the entrance was not, so I circled and circled, looking for a door. When I found one it turned out it was the main entrance to the facility and not the site of the expo, which was downstairs. I met a lot of seniors who seemed to delight in the pugs. Many shared stories of pugs they had known or asked to pet them and all commented on how dressed up they were in their fancy harnesses.

Wow, it might be fun to try therapy dog work I thought, but my two would have to pass the canine good citizen's test and I've never been sure we could do that. Still, all three of us relished the excitement of the residents. We made it downstairs and upon exiting the elevator found ourselves smack dab in the strangest array of silent auction items. I say strange because few had to actually do with animals. We walked down the hall where the police were doing a demonstration with their drug detecting K-9 dog, so I kept the pugs away from the activity to not detract from the demonstration. This was easier said then done as everyone kept coming over to pet the pugs. They seemed more nervous and excited than usual, like they weren't sure what we were doing there and kept barking at passersby. A woman came over and warned us that there was some concern about the police dog with other dogs, so I brought my two back outside. I was wondering if I should return. I hadn't seen any other dogs downstairs and I really  hadn't seen much happening. My brother is a police officer so I have seen the K-9 demonstration on more than one occasion, but then I figured we had come all that way so we might as well go back in and check things out.

This time when we returned, the police were gone but the room across the fall was filled with people watching a raptor demonstration. It seems the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) was on-hand and as we passed by we were warned again "No dogs in this room." I wasn't planning on bringing my pugs into the bird demonstration so we continued to the vendor display. One room was filled with pamphlets and brochures on subjects ranging from vegetarianism to aromatherapy for dogs and horses. In the center of the room sat a woman from Dog Chapel with a few Stephen Huneck items, the only truly doggie items I saw. This was the one display that caught Alfie and Waffles attention as there was a life-sized "angel pug" on the floor. Alfie barked at it and looked ready to attack before stopping to take a sniff. Everyone laughed when they realized she thought this was a friend.

Next to the Huneck display was a table of vegan cupcakes. Afraid the dogs might seize on those next and we might receive yet a third warning, I led them to the next room where there was a woman drumming, another doing animal Reiki and a third, doing pet and human readings from the medicine wheel. I suddenly grasped the "Angels and Animals" theme. This was not simply a dog-centered expo, but one with holistic, New Age concerns and focused on all animals. That was cool, it just wasn't what I was expecting and explained the lack of dogs. It did, however, make us the focus of attention by many and what was really interesting was how many people I recognized. I just couldn't place them or they me. Suddenly, it dawned on us. I had written articles about the Reiki woman and another on the new defunct Angels Among Us Pet Hostel. I was sad to hear that they had closed, I had only written the article a year before.

I thought of getting a pet reading for the pugs, but it cost $20 for 15 minutes and I figured both would have a lot to say, so instead I watched one woman getting hers done. When the drummer started up again I decided to leave as it seemed Alfie was ready to sing along. We went back up on the elevator and headed for the door, but were stopped again by a number of seniors wanting to pet the pugs again.

"I bet you're happy to see them," one woman remarked to another. "She reminds me of my Ginger," the woman said, looking at Alfie lovingly. It seemed my pugs unknowingly became a part of the expo, becoming angels to these people so happy to see them.