White Dog went over the plan before we walked out of the door. "You and dad will go and get things set up because the van is too full to hold the White Dog Army AND the stuff needed. Then Dad will come home and get us and we will join the party for the Paws To People Christmas Calibration Station, because there is NOTHING more de-stressing than petting a White Dog; the people need us!" That was the plan.
The forecast was for clear blue skies and a high of 50 degrees F. At 10:30am as Steve and I hung curtains to create a photo backdrop at the party site, we knew the thermometer was still a long way from that. It took a little more than an hour to set things in place and by the time the photo set was complete, electricity run, tables organized, hot chocolate brewing and baked goods arrayed...it looked GREAT but it was COLD! Numb fingers and tightly wrapped scarves said it might be 50 somewhere but not here. Then the wind started gusting...not constantly but frequently enough to make you turn your back to it quickly.
"I don't know," I said to Steve torn between the idea of being smothered in warm White Dogs and the thought of them finding rest across four hours on the cold concrete blasted by the wind. "I know they are so looking forward to this afternoon, but frankly if I had the choice I would be somewhere warmer." After much debate I convinced myself that leaving the WDA at home was a better dog parent choice but I did send Steve back to the house to break the news kindly with duck jerky as an emotional salve.
Needless to say the hot chocolate was VERY popular...and most folks kept bundled up for the photos (like Herschel and his mom)...save for brave Alex who came with Rogue to create a photo for their Christmas card. She wore a cute skimpy glittery dress and I shivered as I looked at her...but Rogue pressed against her and looked up adoringly into his mom's face...it was a perfect photo.
Gordon earned a Master Entertainer Award just for the fact that he continued to play despite frigid fingers and having his music blown about by the wind gusts. Valerie's candy apples, sold to be stocking stuffers, I suspect will never make it into the socks...and most are probably already eaten. Our Paw Print tea candles made by WHN from the Dachsies With Moxie proved popular as well, especially the ones that proclaimed "JOY" and "PEACE"...those we would love to think will light a few windows in town this holiday.
We knew our idea of a Calibration Station as a place to step out of the holiday hustle and bustle was working when a few brave souls actually sat in our little conversation area (despite the cold), hot chocolate warming their hands and lips, and chatted. We were overjoyed to watch the ornaments on our Tree of Positive Thoughts grow in number across the afternoon as folks embraced the idea by adding their hope or dream for peace and homes and enough for all.
And YoYoMa's worst fear came true...we DID sell out of homemade dog treats! Great for P2P but hard on such good pups who were denied attendance and who would now not even get any pumpkin drops or Gibbie snacks. Rachael sent home chews to sustain the WDA until tomorrow when I will, as promised, make a just for them batch. But tonight they get leftover Asian nibbles from our celebratory dinner.
Here are a few photos of the day...notice the gaping holes that should be filled with White Dogs.