Pictures from our puppy reunion
held on March 18th 2006

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A few times each year, we have a little Cocker convention at one of our local beaches.  It's a chance for some of our puppies (now all grown up) to get together and play...  and a big social event for our Cocker-loving friends from all over the western United States.  We call it Pupapalooza.  The most recent one was held on March 18, 2006.  Here's a look at Pupapalooza from my perspective. 

This Pupapalooza was great... the best one yet...  with a larger group of people and more Cockers than ever before.  The scope of Pupapalooza expanded somewhat over the previous versions...  it turned in to a four day event this time.  It really started on Thursday night...  when Janet and Butch, Charlie Boy's new owners, came in to town.  It was a lot of fun to see the joy in their faces as they played with the pups.

On Friday, we invited the new owners of all three of our puppies to come over for some puppy play time on our front lawn.  We also included Donna J...  the woman who will be adopting Abby later this year.  That turned out to be a fun party on the lawn right there...  something of a warm-up for several more puppy parties on the lawn before Pupapalooza weekend would be over.

Donna J with Charlie Boy on Friday

On Friday night we had a Pizza party at the Spyglass Inn, where most of the out-of-towners were staying.  That worked out really well.  We had a conference room with tables and chairs...  which was perfect for the pizza...  and the room had doors directly to outside, so that worked well with the dogs.  We had so many Pupapalooza guests staying at the hotel that the management waived the $150 conference room rental fee!

Sitting around and talking about Cockers after pizza

At the pizza party, I made an announcement that anyone that wanted to meet the puppies could come over to our house the next morning at 10 AM.  So, Saturday morning we had another puppy party on the lawn.  Since I had not announced this one on the forum, I viewed it as something of a bonus event for those that had made it to the pizza party.  Watching everyone play on the lawn with the puppies was a lot of fun, and the weather was nearly perfect.  Someone made the comment that this was what heaven was probably like...  a beautiful peaceful place with all your friends and their dogs.  That comment really rang true with me!  We finally broke things up about 11:30 so that everyone could grab some lunch before the main event at the beach at 1 PM.

Photo by Lori H

Pupapalooza at the beach was great, too.  No sign of any rain...  in fact there were hardly any clouds at all.  The weather forecasts from earlier in the week were just WAY off!  The only weather problem was that it was a bit windy...  but by about 3 PM, the wind actually died down and some of the people were removing an outer layer of clothing.  I felt like carrying a sign that said "Don't ask me that dog's name!" because people kept pointing to dogs and asking me which one it was...  and most of the time their guess was better than mine!  I was really glad that Annmarie had gone to the trouble of making name tags for the humans...  that saved me some embarrassment a few times. I did however, still manage to call Randi Kaye's boyfriend "Colin" once, in spite of the fact that his name is Corin.  Sorry about that, Corin and Randi!  I just wish everyone had their own face in their avatar on the forum...  that would REALLY make things easy!

As with past Pupapaloozas, it was just an incredibly good time to have a beach full of your friends and a bunch of great looking Cockers to play with.  I just walked around and chatted with different people for a few minutes at a time...  my version of "working the room".  It's such a wonderful opportunity to be able to chat in person with the people who are normally just Internet friends.  There were a lot of people who had been to Pupapaloozas in the past...  and also some very interesting first-timers.  I won't name names, but there were definitely some new people there who I hope we see again next time.

Things started to break up at the beach at about 3:30.  Kel and I headed back to the house and got the puppies ready for another party on the lawn.  Many of the people from the beach came over, and that was our third party on the lawn for the weekend.  I think the people in the apartments across the street must think we're quite nuts.

After a quick dinner break, it was back to the beach for the bonfire.  The bonfire crowd started small...  and I was thinking it was just going to be a few of us due to the somewhat chilly evening temperatures.  But actually what happened was that quite a few people ended up going out to nice restaurants and it took them longer to show up than it did for the rest of us.  So people kept arriving at the bonfire all throughout the evening...  and eventually I think we probably had close to 20 people.

Photo by JennFred

After all that, Kel and I just crashed when we got home on Saturday night.  Exhaustion!  It was hard to get out of bed on Sunday morning...  but we knew we had to, because it was time for Charlee Girl and Peri to get picked up by their new owners...  and time for Abby to come home from her weekend with Donna J.  Sunday morning, Kellyn spent some final time with Charlee girl.  The two of them had really bonded over the last two months since Kellyn had been bottle feeding her.  We laughed because we let Charlee Girl play on our living room floor on Sunday morning, and she kept going over to the sunny place by the window where Kellyn used to always sit and bottle feed her.  When Charlee Girl did finally leave on Sunday morning, Kellyn cried more than just a few tears.

Normally, it's a little weird to go from a house full of puppies to none at all.  What we normally do is just go out in the back yard and play ball with the adult dogs to cheer up.  This time, though, we have a special visitor for a few days...  and it's making for an interesting transition.  Oliver's owners wanted to go to Disneyland for a few days...  and we agreed to babysit him while they are there.  So, we're having some fun spending some time with one of our former puppies all grown up.  I think the experience is much like what a grandparent experiences when they get to spend a few days alone with a grandkid.  You have the time to really get to know the kid.  Having Oliver around is really interesting...  it's like having Dodger on Prozac or something.  A very mellow version of Dodger, I guess.  Dodger is very much a big strong Alpha personality, and Oliver is just the total opposite.  So, we're really enjoying having him as part of the family for a few days.

Oliver and His Mom (Morgan) On Our Couch

At the same time all of this wonderful stuff was going on, there was also some craziness happening.  Friday morning I had to break up a dog fight between Joanna and Morgan.  There was some jealousy going on over who was going to get our attention, and they ended up turning on each other.  In breaking up the fight, I managed to get bit pretty badly on one finger...  and had to make an emergency run to the doctor.  I had a bunch of small puncture wounds and one big gash that he said was big enough for three stitches.  Since a dog's mouth and teeth probably have more germs than just about any place you could imagine...  infection becomes a real worry.  I got a tetanus shot, a round of antibiotics, and a bottle of pain killers out of the deal.  Also, he decided to do just a single stitch, so that if there was any infection, any oozing stuff could drain out.  Since I only had one stitch, he put my entire finger in a splint so that I wouldn't be constantly stretching the skin and preventing the gash from healing.  So, all weekend long at Pupapalooza I had to explain to people why I had a splint on my finger.

The other bad thing was that the pain killers I took on Friday night made me totally sick on Saturday morning.  With only about a half hour before everyone was due to come over, I was barfing in to a wastebasket.  Pardon me for being gross, but I'm not talking about a little barf, either...  I tossed EVERYTHING from Friday's dinner to Saturday's breakfast!

The other unfortunate thing that happened over the weekend was that a few "troublemakers" on the forum decided to stage a rebellion.  I think they thought they were being real smart by doing this when I was tied up entertaining and would be away from my computer.  They want the right to talk about ANYTHING on the forum, with no censorship no matter how ugly the words get.  I want to keep things friendly, and I've been deleting a few things that I felt have crossed the line.  I've tried to communicate my concerns with these people one-on-one...  either by emailing them directly, or in private messages, and even by phoning one person directly for a heart-to-heart talk.  A few of them just don't get it, and want to hash the whole thing out on the forum.  So now, for the first time in the history of our forum, I've had to ask a couple of members to leave and not come back.  It's really a shame it had to come to that.  Why can't some people keep things friendly on the forum and just keep the interpersonal drama in email or private messages?  Out of our 800 forum members, all but about a handful seem to be able to do it.

So... that was Pupapalooza weekend from my perspective.  The stupid rebellion that happened on the forum did dampen things just a little for me...  but certainly not enough to ruin the weekend.  It was way too good of a weekend to let stuff like that get in the way!

I hope you enjoyed this.  Typing it wasn't very easy with a splint on one finger.  If I could have thought of words that do not use T, G, or B...  this would have been a lot easier!!!

Pupapalooza began as a reunion of our past puppies...   but you don't have to be a Zim family puppy to be able to attend.  Want to join us for the next one?  We're tentatively planning one for September 16th, 2006.  Keep an eye on our forum for more details.

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