Dawg Picnic
posted by TheDon

On Sunday, my rescue group had our annual alumni picnic honoring our founder. It’s a fund-raiser which raised almost $7,000 this year, despite a really serious threat of major storms. I spent most of Saturday grilling the burgers and dogs, wrapping them in foil packs suitable for re-heating over the grills in the park we used for the party. On Sunday I kept the bun-fillers (including veggie burgers, natch) hot and ready to eat as the crowd kept rolling in. We raffled off a set of Air Tran “tickets to anywhere”, won by a very lucky contestant. OK, it was Mrs. TheDon. I swear it wasn’t rigged, to the best of my knowledge. Really. I think.
Our founder, Bren, was a one-of-a-kind person. She was a successful local artist who took the money she made from selling her art, and from gentrifying a house in the city, and bought a house in the sticks to do rescue. The house had a daylight basement, and she filled it with dogs – sometimes as many as 50 at a time. She would load up the mini-van and go into Atlanta, taking applications from potential adopters. She gained and lost volunteers on a regular basis, but slowly built up a core group of people who have been the heart of the group for a long time. I met her early in 1999.
Over the years she developed ways of identifying the best homes for dogs, with the goal of finding a permanent home which would care for the dog under all circumstances. She developed techniques for dealing with dogs who were flight risks, who were potential biters, who had medical problems – you name it, she figured out a way to deal with it. She loved the dogs.
Bren attracted people with her love of dogs, her personal charm, her intelligence, her wicked sense of humor, and her knowledge of all things canine. For many of the volunteers, she was the first lesbian they had met, and the first atheist. She opened a lot of minds on a lot of subjects. She wasn’t always the easiest person to love, but if you cared about dogs she was always ready to work with you.
In March of 2004, Bren lost her decade-long battle with cancer, but is still with our group in every other way which matters. She left most of her estate to the rescue group she founded, and we have a nice, professional facility to show for it. Her rules are our rules, and if she could visit us now she would be proud and amazed. She taught me everything I know about dog rescue, and is the biggest reason that I am still in rescue.
I miss her less than I used to, but could cry for her after writing this post. I hope you are all lucky enough to meet someone as passionate and caring as she was. I hope you get to keep her in your life longer than I did.

4 Responses to “”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Ted, please take back your site from TheDon. Enough about the doggies and the mixed drink recipes.

    That photo of the goth lady with her nasty little doggie makes me want to puke! Marie Provost is rolling over in her grave!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Nice story. Note to commenter: Yeah, sure, goth lady is so much worse than Michael Vick.

    Many that work with rescues are ever acknowledged at all. It’s really sick that it bothered to post such a nasty thing.

    It’s on your head now. Try and do something nice for someone. I bet you won’t be able to stop yourself from bragging about it.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    To commenter (#1): I am sure you have your own way of making the world a better place. Would love to hear about it.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    To the first commenter: That comment said a lot about you.

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