Pets were completely out of the question when I was in junior high. While I saw pets as benevolent creatures, perfect for couch cuddling while watching my favorite TV show, Three’s Company, as well as an opportunity to show off my new found I-can-totally-stay-home-alone-I’m-nearly-in-high-school responsibility, my mother saw them as dangerous and unclean.
The dangerous part, I understood. Dozens of times I’d heard the tale of my mother’s ‘almost fatal’ dog attack while she was eight months pregnant with me. The dog that she described as similar to Cujo, but ‘much meaner and way more fierce and rabid’, chased her down a driveway and back into her car. She waited, fearing for her life for what seemed to her like hours before the owner came out and called the dog back. Escape seemed pretty obvious to me, “why didn’t you just drive away?” I asked the first time I heard the story. She explained that in the chaos of running to the car she’d dropped her keys.
The unclean part, I tried to understand, but I was still too young to truly know the full scope of OCD germaphobia tendencies that had been passed down for generations, like a ghastly antique wedding band that would haunt me for many years.
Like most kids, I wanted anything I was told I couldn’t have. A pet of my very own was on the top of my list. Reluctantly, my mom gave in and I became the proud mother to a few goldfish and even some hamsters. All of which died of natural causes, if you can count the hamster mother eating her babies (which was apparently a common hamster survival instinct) that occurred when I couldn’t resist opening the closet door and disturbing the hamster-book-suggested one straight week of total post-birth darkness.
What I really longed for was a dog. In my twenties my dream came true and at long last I became a dog owner. I named my four-week-old chihuahua puppy, Nina, after my favorite singer Nina Simone. Nina and I began a platonic love affair that only a pet owner can relate to. I’d never loved anything that I couldn’t carry on a deep philosophical conversation with so much. I brought Nina pretty much everywhere with me during those early months when she was small enough for me to tuck into my over-sized handbag. Nina was and is everything I could have hoped for in my twelve-year-old pet fantasies. Sure, she had her cons, like barking at strangers, or at the thought of strangers. Many afternoons, she’ll run to the window and begin a barking fit. I’ll rise from my laptop only to find no one at our door or even on our street. Somehow, she seems to know if someone in the next town is taking a mid-day stroll. chihuahuas are very protective like that.
Nina has taught me a lot about patience and unconditional love. She turned me from a non-dog person into someone who loves canines and understands the intense bond between a dog and its owner. Unlike me, my aunt and the other half of Patchwork Show and Craftcation, Delilah has always been a dog person. She is the first to exclaim loudly, “look at that face!” when she meets a new dog. Of all the occasions when I watch her cozy up to a strange dog and proceed to immediately make a new friend, it happens most often at Patchwork Show Long Beach.
Out of all the Patchwork Shows, our Long Beach location boasts the most four-legged guests. It’s awesome to see so many different breeds prowling the aisles and being welcomed to the show with ice cold water as well as our staff, vendors and guests show them some love.
Last Sunday at Patchwork Long Beach, it was hot. Really hot. One of our canine guests got overheated. Delilah and our staff attended to the ailing pup, reassuring the owner and bringing the dog, Duncan, some chilled water. When the water didn’t do the trick, one of our staffers jumped in her car and rushed the dog to a nearby animal hospital for treatment. Luckily this tale has a happy ending. The day after Patchwork, the dog owner let us know that Duncan was doing was doing well and getting back to his old self.
This is the perfect example of one of the things I love so much about Patchwork. The sense of community. One for all and all for one. Whether it’s one of our staff members stepping to help a dog or one of our vendors kindly loaning me a dolly to bring in trashcans at the end of the day or one of our guests sending a sweet post-show email to let us know how much fun they had at Patchwork, this is the stuff that keeps me going! I’m so grateful for every single person that makes each of our events possible.
This Long Beach show was our most well-attended Long Beach festival yet. In the past we’ve dealt with heavy winds and even a rainstorm but last Sunday the weather albeit hot, was lovely! It seemed like I couldn’t turn my head in any direction without seeing someone eating one of Front Porch Pops popsicles and with surprising flavors like ain’t misbehavin’ mojito and mango chile who could blame them. We had over 200 vendors. As I walked the show, I loved talking with first time vendors and seeing how much creativity and time they put into their innovative booth displays as well as checking in with vendors that have been a part of the Patchwork family for years. We had four, yes four! Music stages rotating musicians all day, who played everything from folky indie songs to covers of classic standards on ukeleles to rock and roll.
Big thanks to all of our guests, vendors, staff, sponsors and volunteers who made Patchwork Long Beach awesome! Check out some photos from the Long Beach show below and see the full album here. Thanks to CINThYA NUÑEZ, a former Patchwork vendor turned photographer who took the last group of photos.
If you missed our Long Beach show, don’t fret, we have one more spring show this season. Join us at Patchwork Santa Ana on June 15th, and of course, bring along your four-legged-bestie.
photos above are credited to nicole stevenson, photos below are courtesy of CINThYA NUÑEZ.