May 14, Dallas (Bonus Stop!)
SPCA of Texas
2400 Lone Star Drive (Adoption Lobby)
The LOVE SAVES THE DAY tour continued to roll through Texas, making its second Texan stop at the SPCA of Texas in downtown Dallas. Their beautiful new facility opened just over a year ago and continued the trend of bright, airy, beautiful shelters that we found in Texas. We also got to hang out with the many happy (and well-loved!) cats and dogs who are lucky enough to live here. Rather than doing a traditional blog post, my husband, Laurence (staunch supporter and professional interviewer) has instead agreed to do a Q&A with me about the shelters we visit and our general experiences on the road. Scroll down for the Q&A and more photos--and don't forget to follow the tour's Pinterest page to see dozens of photos of each tour event as soon as they go up!
Laurence: So here we are in Austin, having just made the drive from Dallas.
Gwen: It feels like we're covering a lot of ground with all the driving between cities we've been doing, but if you look at the map we've hardly made a dent. Texas is so huge!
Laurence: Still, it wasn't a bad drive to Dallas from Houston. Everyone told us it would take four-and-a-half hours, but we did it in three-forty!
Gwen: Bravo, baby. Good driving.
Laurence: I know you’ve heard me telling this to every Texan we meet, but I’m loving this 75mph speed limit on the highways. Makes me feel good zipping along at 85.
Gwen: I should add here that, as Manhattan-ites, all this drive-time is a pretty exotic experience for us. We hardly ever get to drive, except for the occasional weekend in Jersey with your parents.
Laurence: And when do we ever get a chance to go 85? The Jersey Turnpike and Parkway are 55mph highways.
Gwen: Gotcha, McQueen. I’m glad we left Houston at 7:30am, either way. We got to our hotel, the downtown Dallas Omni, before noon. The early check-in was key--
Laurence: --for a little pool time after lunch. I know. You were so psyched!
Gwen: You can take the girl out of Florida, right?
Laurence: It was definitely hot enough. In the high eighties in the early afternoon. And a beautiful hotel, too. Great mattresses, soft towels, and good shampoo.
Gwen: Are you really sure you want to do these Q&As?
Laurence: What’s the problem?
Gwen: Sweetie, you’re talking about the hotel shampoo.
Laurence: How about this, then: a zillion channels but still no HBO.
Gwen: Our second Texas hotel with no HBO! I'm having a serious Veep and Game of Thrones jones. We’ll have to have a marathon when we get home.
Laurence: There are worse ways to spend three hours. Speaking of which, let’s talk about your event at the Dallas SPCA. Definitely another smash!
Gwen: I think so. And a great group of staffers and volunteers. And what a building!
Laurence: Their circular kitty atrium has all those papier-mache fish hanging ihn the middle—the surrounded by cat walkways and pens. It’s set up like a gigantic fishbowl. Brilliant.
Gwen: Well, the idea is that we're in a fishbowl, and the cats are in all these glass-walled rooms watching us--which really is brilliant. A big part of the challenge shelters face is having to overcome this idea of being a place with rooms filled with cages imprisoning sad cats. It can be tough to get people to come in because they think of a shelter as a sad place. The SPCA of Texas is just such a beautiful space to begin with, and then by inviting the cats to watch us, rather than vice versa, that makes it an engaging space as well. And the staff and volunteers are as warm and welcoming as the space is. They really went all-out for our event. They even had wine and cocktails and these utterly adorable cookies and quesadillas shaped like cats! It was a bit of a different format than the other tour events, because Jocelyn White--who's a Dallas style reporter and president of their BARK Board--did a Q&A with me rather than my typical reading. But I like that the way I normally do things got shaken up a bit. I'm going to be doing an awful lot of these, so there's nothing wrong with changing up every so often!
Laurence: And it was great to see Matt, too. He took some nice pictures.
Gwen: Yes! I haven't seen him in about three or four years, and he was living right here in Jersey! It must be fate that he just moved to Dallas last month. I’m glad we got a chance to grab a drink after the event.
Laurence: I don’t know how many drinks you could have grabbed after your two Makers Marks!
Gwen: Two?! I only had one. Stop trying to perpetuate this idea of me as a drunken writer.
Laurence: The event was outstanding, baby -- who’s counting?