Yesterday, Emmett and I volunteered at Girl Power, an event designed to promote leadership and self-esteem in grils age 9 to 14. Our booth focused on responsible pet care and animal advocacy. It was an awesome event, and I was incredibly impressed with all the girls who stopped by our booth.
In addition to Emmett, the booth was staffed with a cat and a ferret. Ferrets look an awful lot like chipmunks and squirrels. Emmett loves to chase chipmunks and squirrels. However, Emmett is so incredibly food-motivated that as far as the ferret was concerned, all Emmett really wanted was to eat the ferret’s bowl of food. If I looked away, he tried licking the food bowl through the ferret’s cage. Only once did he perk up as the ferret dashed by, but I diverted his attention and that was that. Same thing with the cat. Mr. Blue the cat was getting Chex Mix as a treat, which Emmett just could not understand. He tried everything to get the cat’s handler to look at him, sitting pretty, wagging his tail, licking his lips, even waving hi at a couple points. The only time he paid the cat any attention was when a little girl accidentally dropped the cat mere inches from Emmett’s face. He lunged a bit then, but can you blame the guy?
The girls who stopped by were excited to pat Emmett, the cat, and the ferret. We’ve done similar events before where, after a good scratching and a few questions about Emmett, the kids would move on. At this event, though, the girls engaged in the booth, asking intelligent questions, and grabbing the literature and bookmarks. Part of the booth included a poster about dog fighting, puppy mills, and Brownie the cat. Some of the girls had seen Brownie on the Today Show, most of the girls easily identified the pit bulls in the anti-dog fighting posters, but almost none of them had heard of puppy mills. The great part about the booth was that these messages were secondary to the fun parts of patting the animals and watching Emmett do tricks, but most of the girls really engaged, looking at the posters, and asking great questions.
After the three-hour round-trip drive and the two hours at the event, Emmett zonked out, though he did perk up when I stopped at the Starbucks drive through and got him a puppy latte, his favorite after-work treat!