Friday, January 25, 2013

Saying Thanks

 Some of you know about Willow's dramatic (and heart wrenching) rescue the day Sunriver Firefighters pulled her out of the cold Deschutes River where she had been lost and stuck for nearly two hours last November.  I know I'll never forget it.  Many of us in Sunriver have had the firefighters come to the rescue of our loved ones.  We thank them profusely, maybe bake them some cookies but that is usually about it.   Since they are a service organization they are not allowed to accept the kind of gifts we would normally like to give. 

As Al and I were taking them some coffee cakes last week, they let us know something  we could do that would mean a lot to them and I thought I'd pass it along.  As you might expect it is along the lines of being of service to others - we were not surprised. 

69 flights, 1,311 steps, 788ft of vertical elevation (in full gear, including tanks)
Climb. Conquer. Cure.

What is the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb?
The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb is a timed race up the stairs at the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle in full fire gear and SCBA. There are 69 flights of stairs, 1311 steps, and 788ft of vertical elevation. Although it will be challenging, it pales in comparison to what blood cancer patients must go through. All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Last year this amounted to $1.2 million.

Three of our reserve firefighters are participating in the event this year. It is a worldwide contest and only 1500 firefighters are allowed to compete. This year all the spaces were gone in eleven minutes.  Matt, Casey and Jeff have qualified for this year.   Our firefighters need to raise at least $500 each in donations to LLS. The three participants are training at Sage Springs and are paying their own way to Seattle. If you would like to help them reach their donation goal you can do so at the Sunriver Fire Station or, if you prefer, you can make a Sunriver team donation at:

Casey, Matt and Jeff also have individual Stairclimb sites for accepting donations:

Matthew Wright:

Casey Johnson:

Jefferey Whitworth:

Otherwise I'm sure thank you's and brownies are always welcome ! If you  are from somewhere else in the world, I know your firefighters always appreciate your support.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sis, a Short Happy Story

The volunteer notes on Sis indicated that she was quite timid and recommended to include one-on-one time to build her trust and confidence.  As I started back to her kennel I wondered if I might have to ask a staff person to assist me in getting her out.  Sis is a three year old tricolored hound, very pretty.  As I arrived at her back door I did my first double take; Sis was up on her hind legs wagging and wiggling.  She retreated quickly as I entered her kennel but came back  to me when I held out my hand to I got her harnessed.

In the exercise yard she began her sniffing circuit, fairly predictable for a hound.  I sat on the bench  to see if she would take the initiative to come to me for some one-on-one time but she was too occupied with sniffing.  I began walking while talking to her. At one point I called her from a distant corner and she came bounding to me, eager for pets (video, sorry for the weird stuff at the end, I recorded it upside down and needed YouTube to edit it - live and learn!). After a few minutes it seemed like a good time to start our walk.

At first she was very focussed on new smells but after just a short time she began turning around and making eye contact with me every few minutes.  I've sometimes walked hounds who have never gotten to this level of connection with me.  On our return  as Sis and I walked along the sidewalk next to the parking lot we met a couple just getting out of their car - Sis's future family!  They had met her earlier and were returning to finalize the adoption.  Sis will be living on a 10 acre property with two great people who already think she is the best.  In my opinion, the volunteers had a big influence on this adoption.  I remember seeing her initial website photo; a very timid dog cowering in a corner;  her profile affirmed that picture.  The dog adopted today is affectionate,beautiful, confidant, and responsive.  I know she will make a wonderful companion.


How could you not notice Phillip; he is even cuter in person, a beautiful smooth haired German Pointer pup (8 months). As I arrived at his back door he was up on hind legs eager and bouncing.  When I told him to sit, it was kind of a bouncy sit but enough for me to get inside his kennel to get him harnessed and ready to go. We started in the exercise yard where Phillip showed me that he retrieved beautifully, dropping the ball in front of me most every time.  Phillip also came when I called him and sat immediately for a treat.

Once we started our walk, I was prepared for Phillip to be more like some of the older pointers I've walked, independent and driven by their hunting DNA.  Phillip is not.  He walked along interested in his surroundings of course but also cognizant of staying connected with me.  He turned around and made eye contact often as you might expect from a cattle dog.  He is just an amazing young guy.  I know he will make a wonderful companion for some lucky person, let's hope soon.

Friday, January 11, 2013


After nearly two years of volunteering, I have to admit to a bit of complacency.  All of it went out the window today!  The shelter was down to just a few dogs and Drake, a beautiful young boxer/lab mix was the only one requiring an experienced volunteer;  my choice was easy. He met me at the back of his kennel up on his hind legs; I did what I usually do, calmly told him to "back" then waited for him to quiet and back up.  I do not use the word down, since when I say that, I expect the dog to lay down. After several minutes, I realized that Drake was NOT going to get down off his hind legs.  Plan B:  I slowly began to push the door open, saying "back" all the while, unfortunately being somewhat hampered by a full water bucket placed at the door opening, I had to wonder when the the bucket was going to tip over.   My objective of getting in his kennel quickly was not going well. Drake was excitedly bouncing everywhere intent on getting out his door.  In an instant he got past me into the inner kennel area and was dashing around; there I stood, harness in hand.  I called him and fortunately he soon got close enough for me to get him harnessed.  As I was about to attach his leash another volunteer came in and lent a hand.  Drake and I finally made it outside and thankfully the exercise yard was vacant; I felt that he really needed some energy burn off.

Drake was very nervous, unable to focus on basic commands  too stressed even for treats.  I let him sniff around the exercise yard  and tried some ball throwing but, though he exhibited the chase response, the retrieve  part was more than shaky.  I went to one end of the yard and called him but his attention span just was not there.   I thought a short walk with some quiet sniffing would be a good next step.  Drake did seem a bit more relaxed on the walk.  He was still weaving (moving right and left) for about the first ten minutes but, except for the frequent whining, seemed fairly normal during the walk.

On our return the other exercise yard was vacant, I really felt that he was not yet ready to go back to his kennel.  I was happy to see that in just a short time he had made progress.  He not only chased the ball but he brought it back (video, weird stuff at the end, eventually I'll figure this out!) ).  As I walked around the yard he followed me.  All of the whining had stopped.  Drake still needs to improve, but I know he will progress rapidly as  volunteers work with him.

On our return the Volunteer Coordinator had some excellent suggestions on dealing with a super stressed dog that I will remember and pass along:  Deal with the stress before dealing with anything else.  I should have started our session in a quiet room with just Drake and I. Along with possibly calming him, it could have enabled me to read him a little better and sooner.  I'm afraid I have to give myself a grade D with Drake; hopefully I'll do better the next time I have a challenging dog.  Today was a good wake-up call for me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Minnie, Denny and Bryan Find Their Forever Homes

Minnie and Denny have been adopted  but the staff member I spoke with did not know if they are with the same family.  I'm sure these two will do fine either way.  They are so different in temperament they are apparently comfortable doing their own thing with or without each other.  By now Minnie is likely a permanent fixture in someone's arms!

Byran has also found his forever family and I would imagine has left all shyness and timidity at the shelter.  He is such a sweet little guy, I know he and his new family are having a very Happy New Year.