Tackled with the never-ending energy, ideas and creativity of Lisa Martin, she puts on this huge event every year to gather her past adopters and adoptees into a great Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue Reunion Weekend.
We had 124 dogs and 131 people attend this year. She had helpers with food, prizes, setting up, tearing down and reserving campground sites for those who wished to camp (I helped with that!) I had to get up at 4 am in the middle of winter, six months before, to sit in a freezing car to get in line to make the reservations for this particular summer weekend. Calumet County Park is not yet online, so it has to be made in person. First come, first served. I had to reserve 20 campsites for over $1,000 at one fell swoop! Once that was done, then it was coordinating payments back from people, setting the right names to the right sites, and making sure nobody got left out! Ahhhh it all worked out.
To give you a little taste of what our day was like,
here is a fun video put together by fellow adopter, Joyce Naps.
(I know that most shelties look alike to many of you readers, sooooo
any time you see a blue bandana it's Finney
and a pink bandana it's Binney)
We helped on Wednesday to get all of the prizes and auction items loaded up and hauled to the event venue site. It took FOUR vehicles to get it all there! Lisa sure collects a lot of wonderful items throughout the whole year to use in our silent auction.
Our soninlaw Jesse made a campfire ring which we donated in Finney and Binney's honor. It was called "Dogupations" and had various working dogs depicted around the ring doing their jobs. Herding, hunting, and sled dog racing. It is a real work of art, and the auction bidding brought in a nice tidy sum for the Sheltie Rescue Fund! The happy winner is putting it at her cottage up north, and she will send a pic once it's all up in place. Jesse can custom make them with just about any motif, contact him at jwadeip
Before the day of the event, I had picked up ten big play balls from Walmart. I carefully lettered each one to transform it into a colorful Big Round Sheep.... I tossed each one into their little fenced in potty yard. Finney and Binney were a bit flummoxed at first by having more than ONE to chase and herd around their yard.
But soon they herded them and got them in line (literally!)
"We done a good job!"
Steve had to work on Friday, so I drove the motorhome out and got it backed into our campsite with NO spotter to help me! (good thing I have backed into this campsite a few times before, and I do have a backup camera on our motorhome) I got us all set up and the dogs were eager to get out and meet other shelties!
Steve's shoulders sure were aching from pounding in stakes with a slegehammer.
Friday night started out with a big buffet meal at a local seafood place, and many of the attendees go to gather and greet and eat. Some went to a new place in Neenah where you can eat out on a patio with your dog on leash by your side.
We hung back at the rig and got settled in and visited with the folks coming into the campsites. We had 20 campsites booked all in one area, which was wonderful for visiting and socializing our dogs back and forth too.
We all gathered at one central campsite for a campfire and visiting and of course.... dogs dogs dogs!
Saturday morning was "The Day" with a lot of folks scrambling and getting things set up and ready bright and early. There were vendors with items to sell, auction baskets to set up in rows, tables to cover for food, and various activities to take place before people even started checking in. Lisa had it all arranged and everything went off with nary a hitch. Well.... the bakery kinda goofed up on the cake---
(T'wernt no Sheltie... that's a Golden Retriever, folks!)
People started coming in the tent and pavilion in droves, with excited dogs in tow. Checking in, greeting each other, sniffing butts (the dogs) and seeing folks we have not seen in a whole year!
Now about that secured play area? I tossed the big balls out into the open space for play and herding activities for the dogs.... and boy oh boy did they have fun!
Here are some pics:
There were also a few "non-shelties" present....
This little papillion guy of Kay Detample realized those balls were a bit big,
but this frisbee was just right!
(photos by Scott Johnson are used with permission)
It was pretty hot, but the rain held off all day!
The tent was perfect for shade,
and both Finney and Binney found comfort under our chairs!
and here are three YouTube video clips of the dogs having a blast!
(remember Finney is wearing a blue bandana and Binney a pink one)
Throughout the day, folks browsed the silent auction items,
and placed their bids.
Then we all had to go back from time to time to check on our bids,
and put in higher ones on the most wanted items.
What a great array of stuff!
On hand was a "Pet Communicator" who could help you understand what your dog is trying to tell you... and some folks had some very revealing and on-the-spot readings!
Kids were sent on scavenger hunts to win prizes, and folks recieved various awards from things happening throughout the year. Certificates were handed out for all the newest adoptions of dogs (Binney included) and we all had a great time visiting other doggie folks.
There were some vendors of products to buy, and huge array of food done up by our very own Joyce Naps. It was a Mexican Taco Bar and had a baked potato alternative if you so wished. Rows of food and dessert and drinks rounded off a great feast.
Lisa arranged for a fellow artist friend to come
and carve a 40 pound block of cheddar cheese!
Yes, only in Wisconsin would this be considered a fascinating display!
Richard Kaye, author of the book
was on hand to sign copies of his book.
His dog, Julia, was a Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue Dog,
and Richard wrote a wonderful book
with proceeds going to the rescue charities.
He signed my copy in honor of Duke and Ducky.... sigh.
Remember I had told the story of how Finnegan came to be? How his mommy, Daisy, was in a hoarder's mobile home of 38 dogs and was pregnant before even being one year old and had puppies? That is how Finney came to be. Once Daisy had her puppies, and they were old enough to be adopted, Daisy went to live with a great gal named Brittany in Illinois.
Well, it turns out that our Binney was rescued from the same hoarding situation, and it appears that she was approximately the same age as Daisy when the raid was done on the mobile home. All of the dogs went into the Michigan Rescue to get documented, provided health care, spayed or neutered, and then distributed to other area rescues for adoption.
But Binney was not well, and she had heartworm and a lot of issues and went into foster care instead. She needed special health care before she was adoptable. So it took longer before she was adoptable.
So why I am rehashing all of this???
We think Binney and Daisy are sisters!!! Records by the hoarder were sketchy and probably altered to be able to sell the most puppies with AKC papers, so who know which dog came from what litter! But look at these two.... The just HAVE to be sisters!
They are sooo alike in looks, mannerisms, body types and habits. Daisy showed extreme interest in Binney and seemed to recognize her right off the bat, and both spent a lot of time sniffing each other, and ignoring any other dog around! Finnegan knows his mommy too, and has met up with her on several occasions already.
Side note---- Well, since the mommy dog Daisy came to the reunion, along with her pal Cooper, they needed a place to sleep. We let their owner Brittany stay at our house for the weekend. They enjoyed a peaceful place to rest at night since she wasn't a camper-type-person. So Daisy and Cooper got to hang out in Finney and Binney's house! They even got to relax in the mornings out on our front porch-----
Saturday evening as things wound down, Steveio and the guys decided to get that expensive rental tent down and stowed away in case of bad weather. It sure went DOWN a lot easier than when it went up!
Here is a video clip of that process:
Of course, we had a gorgeous sunset---- and the weather was beautiful!
Everyone gathered around the campfire again and enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, beverages, and tales of dogginess.
On Sunday, a bunch went out to the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton for a brunch gathering, and we then started to double check the grounds for any doggie doo-doo remains. Leaving the picnic grounds and the venue building and the campground spotless is a MUST if we want to return next year.
Some folks stayed on overnight at the campground yet on Sunday (like us) and we could see a big big storm coming on Monday morning. Bit by bit folks pulled out, but we had to tear down and fold up some rented popup campers and deliver them back to their owners. By the time everyone left, I was still folding down the last one alone in the pouring rain! but... I got it done!
Steve came on his lunch hour and helped haul back the last rented popup camper, and I drove the motorhome to our house, while he headed back to work the rest of the day.
Our dogs went NUTS racing around the house, looking for those two dogs whom they could smell that had been IN their house! They finally figured out which room the dogs had slept in, the guest room. They were in and out and up and down on the bed about ten times looking for Daisy and Cooper (who had gone home the day before)
I found the sweetest thank you note from Brittany and Cooper and Daisy for staying at our house. Plus she gave us a gift certificate to our favorite little deli in Chilton... and left Steve some beers in the fridge! Oh... and some of that big 40 pound chunk of cheese! hahahahaha What a perfect houseguest. She stripped her bedding and left it and her towels on the washing machine, dirty dishes in the dishwasher and the place was spotless. Yup, she can come back again. Finney would love to see his mommy and Binney to see her sister... Cooper can be along for the rounding out of the set of two boys two girls. LOL
On Monday night, we still had to deliver another rented popup back to Appleton that evening, and Lisa had me do my FIRST animal transport for the rescue group! I had to pick up a crate of five baby kittens at the local vet and bring them to her place of business http://www.stockbridgecrittersitters.com/ for adoption. Awww
(and NO, we didn't keep any!)
Lisa treated us out to a nice dinner for doing popup camper delivery... thank you, Lisa! I don't know where she gets her energy, but we were totally POOPED OUT by the time we got back home.
What a great four day weekend for us,
full of doggone good fun!