Maryland, Day Four: Don’t Poop in the Grass

Doghouse and Capitol building

Doghouse and Maryland Capitol building in Annapolis

In case you didn’t see the announcement about Day Three: Delaware, and are wondering where it disappeared to, read the Day Two: New Jersey blog for a plausible explanation of why we just up and decided to blow off Delaware. Nah, I wouldn’t do that. It was for the dogs, of course!

As it turns out, it was quite a good thing for safety’s sake that I didn’t do Delaware on the 4th of July, because I was able to continue down to Annapolis and meet up with my hubby for the night of the 3rd and the 4th. On the drive I kept telling him that there was something wrong with the van, and I thought it was the wheel bearing since it’d already gone once before and it sounded the same.

As soon as I got there, he test drove it and said I was lucky it didn’t totally blow out on the way there. The next morning we took it to the only open shop we could find—it being the 4th of July—and they were nice as could be and really tried to fix it for us; unfortunately, with so many stores being closed, they couldn’t find the part.

We went over a million different scenarios of how to handle the situation, but kept coming back to me not being willing to lose any part of the tour, so that had to be my #1 consideration. I had made a promise to a lot of people and a lot of dogs to be at each of these locations, and I was not going to go back on my word if I could help it.

Since I needed to be at the Annapolis Capitol building at 8:00 a.m. this morning, and the van wasn’t safe to drive, we determined the best course of action was to be at the Chrysler dealer when they opened at 7:00 a.m., leave the van there, and hope that they could give me and my doghouse a ride to the Capitol steps.

Good in theory, not so much in practice.

We left the van at the dealer's, hoping to get it fixed

We left the van at the dealer’s, hoping to get it fixed

The dealer had 35 appointments and 25 cars left over from the day before, for a total of 60 cars that needed fixed ahead of ours! There was no way the van was getting worked on there today.

Our next plan was to buy the part and take it to the first shop, where we were told they couldn’t use the part we bought because they had to buy it themselves. OMG! So we told them to just buy it, and we would return the part to the dealer and get our money back. At this point there was no sense in quibbling about anything that stood in the way of getting the car fixed so I could get to Richmond for tomorrow.

Joe pulling the smaller doghouse out of his car for me

Joe pulling the smaller doghouse out of his car for me

Since this shop didn’t have a shuttle service, I had to swap out my bigger, decked out doghouse for the small one I brought along as an extra in case someone needed it, and Joe drove me over to the Capitol in his car.

By the time I arrived at the Capitol in Annapolis, MD, it was 8:25. I tried my best to get there on time, but some days you just have to settle for Good Enough. This was one of those days.

Fellow Chainee Yvonne Curry was already there and waiting with her chain for the doghouse I’d promised her. I remember reading somewhere about Facebook having a saying painted on their wall along the lines of  “Done is better than perfect.” I love that, because I don’t think you can run an organization and hope to get anything accomplished if you sit there and wait for perfection. It ain’t comin’.

Yvonne and I made do with the situation at hand, and just chained up to the same thick chain at the end of the tiny doghouse. We were only slotted for two hours, and were not allowed to chain up right in front of the steps, but had to be in the little commons area between the state house and the road.

Doghouse with our sign in the background

Doghouse with our sign in the background

It was the location with the least visibility to date, and even though I was disappointed that we couldn’t be closer to the road, I set about the process of giving the commons the ‘homey’ touch we all know and love.

Lt. Parker came out to have me sign the permit, and we really enjoyed his sense of humor. Everyone I’ve dealt with to date has been very nice, and I’m exceedingly grateful for their kindness.

When we asked him about free speech and where we could move our doghouse to to finish our eight hours after our allotted two hours at the Capitol was up, he told us he’d check with his supervisor, but we could probably just stay there since no one else was scheduled for today.

He proved good to his word, and returned shortly to tell us “He said you can stay, but just don’t poop in the grass.”

Haha. Good one!

Yvonne Curry, my fellow chainee

Yvonne Curry, my fellow chainee

I’ve enjoyed the company of all my fellow chainees, and love to hear their stories of what motivates them to come join me in eight hours of hot, sweaty, boring, hell. It’s always for the dogs, of course.

Yvonne volunteers for both a local rescue group and a local animal shelter, is retired, and still has a very active life giving back to the animals. She lives with two bulldogs who were pulled from chains in the same backyard as part of her family, and she can’t imagine how horribly they were neglected while left in the backyard. It’s often the personal connection to a certain dog that makes people want to take the stand, and Yvonne’s passion for the cause definitely stemmed from her love of her own family dogs, and the horrors she’s witnessed with embedded collars and chained dogs coming into the shelter.

We started out the morning with some shade, but it quickly went by the wayside as the sun climbed the sky above the Capitol. The temperature climbed with it.

Me in front of the MD Capitol Building in Annapolis

Me in front of the MD Capitol Building in Annapolis

The high for today reached 101 degrees in the full sun, and we felt every second of it. I kept wondering how many dogs were suffering and dying at each exact moment, and I couldn’t help the feelings of helplessness that engenders in me. I don’t like that feeling.

Open Door at one of the MD office buildings

Open Door at one of the MD office buildings, allowing the cool to blast out to us

Interestingly enough, we were saved from expiring from heat stroke by a waste of tax payer money in the form of an open door about 20 feet directly in front of us. This door remained open all day long, and the coolness of the AC wafted over to us like a cool breeze sent directly from above. It took us a little while to figure out where the cool air was coming from, but once we did, we both positioned ourselves directly in its path until some shade hit the other side of the courtyard in the afternoon and we wondered over there and sat.

We had one piece of media for the day, although they didn’t actually talk to either of us, just took some footage and we assume the anchors put it together with our release. We don’t even know what station it was. And Cindy Smith, a supporter and founder of Snip Tuck, came for a couple hours in the afternoon and took photos for an article on the eastern shore.

Cindy Smith, founder of Snip Tuck

Cindy Smith, founder of Snip Tuck

The heat is expected to continue for days, and I am not looking forward to another eight hours in the sun tomorrow…the poor dogs who have suffered in this heatwave still have no relief in sight, and no understanding of why they are forced to live in such a cruel fashion. I pray for a change.

I probably can’t expect another open door with AC leaking out toward me to keep us cool tomorrow, but you never know! Stranger things have happened.

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