Saturday, 23 May 2009

A Much Needed Pool Party

Today brought the long-awaited for Pool Party with Boe, the Combat Stress Dog. A Combat Stress dog is a relatively new program in the military and the dog's purpose is to serve as a therapy dog for the servicemembers, relieving stress and increasing morale. Although we had originally hoped to have the party earlier in the deployment, collecting supplies from over in Iraq proved time-consuming and by the time we set the date the party essentially became Boe's going away party (she goes home in a week). This worked to our advantage however, as people made an extra effort to venture out on an extra hot day .

I set my alarm this morning for 10:15am which is significantly earlier than when I normally arise, but there was lots of set-up to do. My teammate picked me up at 11:30am. We arrived at the office and began setting up plastic tables and chairs in the courtyard and laying tarps that would protect the delicate grass from the pool, a kiddie pool approx 5 feet in circumference. We decorated the gazebo and tables with leis and little rubber duckies. We had Hawaiian patterned table clothes, cocktail umbrellas and paw-print napkins. At 1:00pm we headed over to the DFAC to pick up the fruit and dessert trays plus the drinks that we ordered. This was in addition to bags of chips, pretzels, cookies and Fla-v-or Ice pops that we'd purchased. The desserts immediately began melting in the 108 degree heat so we dropped the food back at the office before heading to the ice point to get the much needed bags of cubes.

The ice point was blissfully cool as a KBR employee hauled bags of ice from a industrial sized freezer. 20 bags later we were back at the office trucking ice bags out to our giant cooler that would house the bottle of water and juice we were going to serve. A little before 2:00pm our guest of honor, Boe, the black lab, arrived with her entourage. She started racing around the courtyard like a crazed maniac and at first didn't seem to understand the concept that the pool was for her! She would tentatively stick her snout in the water and then back away as though she was doing something wrong. Only by the end did we have her dunking.

Our guests began arriving right at 2:00pm and from there on out the party was thriving. We had a great turn out, with at least 50 people attending over the course of an hour and a half. People definitely came to say goodbye to Boe, but ended up staying to socialize and with the arrival of the Air Force (and the longer people stayed out in the merciless afternoon heat) a water war began between the Air Force and the Army using the many water guns we had supplied. The whole thing was hilarious with several of the officers getting involved referring to the water guns as "pistols". Boe was clearly the highlight of the party as everyone migrated to whatever she was doing, and she ate like a celebrity getting little nibbles of whatever a guest was eating in addition to the doggie bacon strips we'd bought her.

At 3:45- 15 mins after the party's end- we still had people hanging around which is a sure sign of a party's success. The Air Force guys that instigated the war, now soaked from head to toe, offered to stay late with me and clean up so with their help clean up was a breeze. All in all, I had a fabulous time at the party (even though I got sunburned with my hat on!) and really without intending it, our party made this holiday weekend feel real for me, when most holidays out here feel like just any other day.

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