I worked at a pet expo Friday and yesterday. On Friday, one of my fellow volunteers brought their foster dog, who did fairly well with all the attention. Yesterday, I brought my foster dog, Kaiser. I was really proud of how well he did. Pet expos can be pretty stressful for a dog because they have to endure a lot of petting and poking.
First off, I'd like to applaud the parents who teach their children to ask before petting a dog they don't know. Lots of kids did remember to ask before petting Kaiser. Obviously, we would not bring a kid-hating dog to a pet expo, but I think children should observe dog safety rules in general. My daughter is required to ask before she can pet a dog. She also may not bother a dog that is eating or sleeping. Anyway, most of the kids who came by were very polite and well-behaved. Sometimes I wonder about some of the adults, though.
One lady came by and said she wants to make snowsuits for dogs. She whipped out a measuring tape and started measuring Kaiser from every angle. When she measured his butt, Kaiser wondered why she hadn't at least taken him out to dinner first.
Kaiser held steady for over three hours of petting and attention. Eventually, though, I could tell he was over the whole scene. He started barking at any man wearing a baseball cap. Since our shift was almost over (we just needed to wait until some of the volunteers from the next shift showed up to relieve us), I pulled Kaiser back behind our table and kept him close to me. Of course, that didn't stop a few determined souls from coming back behind the table and attempting to make contact with him. I told one man, "He's really tired and he's taking a break. He's been barking at men in hats."
The man was wearing a hat but seemed to have no intention of moving along to the next booth. "Do all Boxers bark at men in hats?" Sure, it's right in the breed standard. I successfully kept Kaiser behind the booth for the rest of ours shift, but he kept trying to climb into my lap. He was stressed and started shedding a bit. I think a hair went straight for my eye (I am mildly allergic to dogs). Moments later, my contact fell out and I couldn't get it back in. I just sat there winking at people until it was time to go.
The lady at the next booth had it rough. I'm accustomed to answering questions at pet expos and to having every other visitor look down at the dog and say, "he must smell my dogs." However, the lady at the next booth had two Chinese Crested (the hairless variety) in her booth. After spending two days sitting next to this poor lady, I promise I will never again complain about some of the goofy questions we get ("does he bite?" oh sure, we always bring the biters out to hang with the kids). After the first hour, I had memorized the answers to the Chinese Crested questions myself.
"No, they're not cold." (the dogs were laying on a heated blanket. They weren't cold, but eventually the lady put jackets on them just because she couldn't take the questions anymore)
"They're both females."
"Yes, they are supposed to look like that."
All in all, it was a fun weekend. Kaiser represented the breed well. P brought the kid to the expo on Friday night and she won a plastic pile of dog doo at one of the other booths. As you can imagine, plastic poop is like comedy gold to a five-year-old. She keeps leaving it in spots around the house. We repeat the same exchange every time.
"Mom, someone pooped!"
"Was it your father?"
And so on it goes.