PACIFIC VETERINARY SPECIALISTS & E MERGENCY SERVICES has moved to 2585 Soquel Drive We are excited to announce the merging of Pacific Veterinary Specialists with the specialty and emergency services of Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital as of February 1st. We will be offering comprehensive specialty and emergency services at the newly renovated hospital at 2585 Soquel Drive to meet all of your petâ€™s needs.
2585 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Mon-Fri: 7:30am-6:00pm Sat and Sun-closed
Kimberly Wilkins, DVM
ocal Pet Sto st L re e B
WITH OVER 100 YEARS OF COMBINED MONTEREY PENINSULA REAL ESTATE EXPERIENCE, YOU WILL BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND A TEAM OF REALTORS THAT KNOW THE INS AND OUTS OF A COMMUNITY THE WAY THE MONTEREY PENINSULA HOME TEAM DOES.
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“My wife and I had a wonderful experience working with Rachelle Razzeca! She treated us like family. Want to bring your dog along in my car, no problem! Dogs are allowed in their pet-friendly office as well. Rachelle stayed on top of things, and she patiently helped us sort out our wants and needs. With Rachelle and the Monterey Peninsula Home Team, we received expert guidance on negotiation strategies and contract conditions. The level of service Rachelle provided has been exceptional!” ~Michael Gordon
“All dogs are therapy dogs. The majority of them are just freelancing”
lthough humans domesticated dogs at least 15,000 years ago and maybe a lot longer, we still maintain a strong bond with their wild relatives. Non profit organizations like the Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center seek to educate the public about the plight of these wild animals. As they continue their mission to rescue and rehabilitate these canine cousins and other wild animals in need.
Publisher Editor/Photographer Graphic/Ad Design
CARIE BROECKER SCOTT BROECKER OLIVIA CAJEFE TRINIDAD
CARYN ST. GERMAIN
One such cousin whose species has almost disappeared from the wild is a New Guinea Singing dog named Belle. Read her story on page 14. Speaking of singers, Doris Day just celebrated her 97th birthday! And as she does every year, her three-day birthday celebration is dedicated to helping animals by raising funds for the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Copy Editor Marketing Executive
Are your dogs the joy of your life? Why not show them just how much you care with a little extra pampering? Canine massage therapy could be just the ticket. How far might you have to go for that? How about an in-house appointment? Dina Eastwood gifts her dogs with the luxury of doggie massages and tells us more about the benefits of Canine Massage Therapy.
Subscriptions are $30 per year within the United States. To subscribe, please send check payable to Coastal Canine, P.O. Box 51846 Pacific Grove, CA 93950 or subscribe online at www. coastalcaninemag.com/homedelivery.html.
Some of our dog trekking stories in this issue include traveling the United Kingdom via dog-friendly trains and boats by Belinda Jones, our interview with a Vienna dog photographer, Ria Putzker, whose photo graces the cover of this issue, and finally, to go to where no dog has gone before in search of human love and companionship- read about mountain climber, Don Wargowsky, and his fateful bonding with a dog named Baru high up in the Himalayas. And don’t forget to have a look at the "selfie moments" captured and sent in by our readers starting on page 10.
Woofs! Scott and Carie Broecker
Please direct letters to the editor to: email@example.com 831-601-4253 Please direct advertising inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org 831-539-4469
Join our online mailing list at www.coastalcaninemag.com. Coastal Canine Issue #42, Spring 2019. Published quarterly (four issues per year). Copyright © 2019 Coastal Canine. All rights reserved. Coastal Canine is dedicated to the memory of Sunshine Broecker. Disclaimer: Coastal Canine is intended for entertainment purposes only. Please seek professional assistance from your veterinarian or qualified dog trainer before implementing any information acquired within these pages. Any resources mentioned are provided as a convenience to our readers, not as an endorsement.
Coastal Canine is printed on 30% recycled paper. All inks used contain a percentage of soy base. Our printer meets or exceeds all Federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Standards. Our printer is a certified member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) The FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.
Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 7
table of contents
Rescue Me: Southern Belle Belle, a New Guinea
Singing Dog is rescued from a lifetime of neglect. Loved by her family, Belle has become an ambassador to the wild.
Dog of the Day: Keeva At 13, Martina, a typical, healthy, active teenager was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. Suddenly, she is severely allergic to almost everything. Keeva, her service dog, has changed and saved her life and continues to do so almost every day.
26 Canine Massage Therapy Dina Eastwood writes about canine massage therapy and how a recent home visit by a certified Canine Massage Therapist benefitted her own dogs.
32 The Fine Art Photography of Ria Putzker Ria Putzker,
a 21-year-old Austrian photographer, has quickly risen to be an expert in her field. Have a look at some of her outdoor dog portraits and read our interview to learn more about her.
43 Bone Voyage In the United Kingdom, dogs are allowed
on just about all public transportation! Travel writer and native Brit, Belinda Jones, gives the scoop on traveling by bus, train, tube, ferry, and canal barge when traveling with Fido in the UK.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary Providing sanctuary and
rehabilitation to wolves, wolfdogs, large cats and other wild animals in need, the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples, Florida is a safe haven and education center.
53 Ainâ€™t No Mountain High Enoughâ€Ś Going where no
dog has gone before, Baru a stray dog in Nepal, climbs a 23,000 peak in search of companionship. Read this story written from her viewpoint to find out who rescued who.
On the Cover: Charlie the Aussie poses atop Peilstein Mountain above the Kaltenleutgeben Valley in eastern Austria. Photo by dog photographer Ria Putzker. Learn more about Ria and enjoy her beautiful photography on page 32.
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C OA S TA L CA N I N E M AGA Z I N E A D D I R E C T O R Y AGILITY California Canine ........................... 50 From the Heart .............................. 60 Living With Dogs ........................... 62 ART The Painted Cork ........................... 25 Sara Allshouse Fine Art .................. 55 Catherine Sullivan Art ................... 28 BOOKS Dogs are People Too ...................... 42 Legend .......................................... 25 DAY CARE Dawg Gone It ................................ 15 Klaws, Paws, & Hooves .................. 17 Paws at Play .................................. 60 EVENTS Fall in Love BirchBark .................... 13 Pinot for Paws ............................... 59 GROOMING Suds ‘N Scissors ............................. 57
Top Dog of Los Gatos ..................... 49 HEALTH & WELLNESS A. Herman, Dog Therapist .............. 47 All Animal Mobile Clinic ................ 29 Animal Cancer Center .................... 29 Animal Hospital at Mid Valley ....... 23 Animal Hospital of Salinas ............ 60 Cheryl Beller ................................. 47 Cottage Veterinary Care ................... 4 Dentistry For Animals .................... 54 Monterey Peninsula Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Clinic.... 29 Natural Veterinary Therapy............. 16 Nichols Veterinary Care.................. 45 Ocean Animal Clinic....................... 29 Ophthalmology for Animals........... 21 Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists................................... 2 Pet Specialists, Inc.......................... 29 Steinbeck Country Small Animal.... 57 INNS Cypress Inn.................................... 22
PET SITTING & BOARDING Carmel Valley Doggy Bed and Breakfast ........................... 62 Central Coast Petsitter ................... 61 Dawg Gone It ................................ 15 Diane Grindol ................................ 61 Katy’s Walk, Stay, Play ................... 62 Klaws, Paws, & Hooves .................. 17 Little Pup Lodge ............................ 59 Milagros Pet Services .................... 45 Redwood Romps ........................... 62 REALTORS Rachelle Razzeca, Keller Williams .... 6
SYNTHETIC TURF Synthetic Turf of Monterey Bay ...... 41 TRAINING California Canine ........................... 50 Del Monte Kennel Club ................. 61 Divine K9 ...................................... 61 From The Heart Animal Behavior Counseling and Training .......... 60 K9 Ambassador ............................. 25 Living With Dogs ........................... 62 Monterey Bay Dog Training Club ... 62 Pam Jackson ................................. 61
RESTAURANTS Abalonetti ..................................... 60 Trailside Café ................................. 61 STORES Diggidy Dog .................................. 64 Earthwise Pet ................................ 52 Pet Pals ............................................ 3 The Raw Connection ........................ 5
contact us at michelle@ coastalcaninemag.com or call (831) 539-4469
REDWOOD ROMPS! When Deanna Scoggin Torra was a teacher, the first thing she would do at the start of the school year was check the calendar to see when she could plan camping trips with her dog. And if coworkers expressed an interest in dogs, she would send them links to rescues. She was always looking out for dogs. Deanna started her dog care service, Redwood Romps!, following a career change that was triggered in 2010. She had been laid off while getting a master’s degree in teaching Englishlanguage learners. With more free time, she began volunteering and fostering dogs through the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. During that period, she became aware of residents in her apartment building coming home from work, letting their
dogs out, and leaving them outside, alone again. It was then that Deanna knew she wanted to be more involved somehow in caring for dogs—and Redwood Romps! came into being in 2012.
Felton www.redwoodromps.com (831) 252-1397
Deanna makes house calls, does feeding, administers medications, and she has taken care of special needs animals including dogs with leg braces. Her regular 30 to 60-minute walking locations include Henry Cowell Redwoods in Felton and Sky park in Scotts Valley. Deanna currently has two dogs of her own - Martina & Guapito (meaning little handsome guy.) Deanna knows how valuable that bond is between people and their canines. She supports her clients in any way she can so they can spend more time with their dogs themselves—even if it means her own services aren’t needed as often. Her goal is “to increase well-being for the entire household.”
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S E L F I E S 12 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
CHOOSE YOUR COOL
SUMMER PHOTO CONTEST
Send us photos of your dogs keeping cool or just hanging out looking cool. Dogs escaping the heat in front of a fan or at a pool, beach, lake or river. Or just hanging out looking cool with a pair of shades, goggles, visor, hat or a wet bandana. Email photos (at least 1200x1200 pixels) to editor@ coastalcaninemag.com. Submission deadline is July 1, 2019.
2019 Inaugural Gala Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 Ferrantes Bay View Room Monterey Marriott Help us as we honor local animal welfare HEROES
Please Join Us!
Monica Rua and
Carie Broecker call or go to website for tickets
RULES Each file should be named with your full name. Photos must have been taken by the person submitting the photo. Photos will be judged by Coastal Canine staff. Limit of one submission per person, please.
Financial hardship should never cause the loss of any family pet.
category | topic
Belle Rescuing a New Guinea Singing Dog By Carie Broecker
Belle, a rare New Guinea Singing Dog, had been neglected for much of her life, but that didn’t stop an Alabama breeder from advertising her for sale for $500. Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center (SWS) in Naples, Florida, was contacted by a Singer Rescue about Belle’s situation to see if SWS could help her. Belle had been living in a backyard pen with no attention and no vet care for years. SWS has a strict policy against buying, selling, or breeding so could not purchase Belle from the breeder. Instead, Singer Rescue raised the funds to purchase Belle and then transfer her to SWS so she could have a chance at a better life. Singer Rescue sent Matt Person to pick up Belle. Matt is a veterinary technician, which came in handy because Belle was in rough shape. When Matt arrived, he was told Belle had been living with a male Singing Dog, but he had passed away “mysteriously.” He most likely died from neglect. Matt feared that Belle might not make it through the night. She was emaciated and had severe infections in both ears that were affecting her brain and throughout her sinuses affecting her teeth, several of which had to be
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removed. Her nails were long beyond the point of recognition and must have been painful to walk on. She was eight years old. It is anyone’s guess how long she had lived this way, enduring one painful day after the next.
Going to Monterey? Bring the Dog!
She was taken directly to a veterinary clinic where she received intensive care and TLC for the next several weeks. Antibiotics and proper nutrition went a long way, and Belle was on the road to a full recovery, but she still had a month of medications, spay surgery, and the removal of multiple cysts ahead of her. SWS is home to coyotes, panthers, wolves, dingoes, a bobcat, and a mountain lion. All the animals at the sanctuary needed to be rescued for one reason or another. SWS also has a male New Guinea Singing Dog named Melbourne. The hope was that Melbourne and Belle would hit it off and make a life together at the sanctuary. When they were introduced it was not love at first sight. Belle was so weak, the sanctuary staff feared she couldn’t defend herself if Melbourne took a disliking to her. They were in a bind. What to do? Someone needed to adopt her, but not just anyone. New Guinea Singing Dogs are classified as wild animals in Florida. Only someone with a special wildlife permit could take Belle.
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Deanna Deppen, the Executive Director for SWS knew just the person—Theresa Schultz, their Education and Events Coordinator. Theresa started with SWS as a volunteer in 2014. She had a background in retail sales, but a love for and interest in the work the sanctuary does. She was a dedicated volunteer for two years and was then hired onto the staff in 2016. There are various levels and testing for volunteers and staff to be able to handle the different animals at the sanctuary. Theresa now has the highest level access to the animals and has the privilege and responsibility of interacting with all the residents at the sanctuary, including wolves, raccoons, coyotes, panthers, and bobcats. The experience has changed her life and given her life purpose and meaning.
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cc | rescue me
Deanna called Theresa and said, “Belle needs a place to live. Will you and Jay adopt her?’ Theresa said she had to talk it over with Jay, her husband. Jay, a big animal lover, didn’t have to be persuaded. Right away he knew they were the best family to help Belle. Belle, it turned out, is extremely docile for a “wild” dog. Jay and Theresa already had a playful five-year-old Shih Tzu named Dickens and a somewhat grumpy eightyear-old Bassett Hound named Charles. They weren’t an obvious match as Belle’s adoptive siblings, but the meet and greet amongst the dogs went off without a hitch. They spent the whole day together, and Belle was the most chill dog Theresa and Jay had ever seen. Nothing fazed her. Dickens wanted to play? No problem. Belle got too close to Charles’ toys or bed, he’d tell her off, she’d walk away. It took a few weeks for Belle to really feel at home and let herself be in her full joy. She now runs up and down the hallways chasing Dickens. She runs around the
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ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHY WOLF SANCTUARY
cc | rescue me
The New Guinea Singing Dog (New Guinea Highland Dog) is often referred to as a “singer,” and has a distinctive voice that is different from other canids. A singer’s howl has been compared to yodeling, with alternating high and low tones. Shown visually on a sonogram, the song is said to be similar to that of a humpback whale. Each individual dog has a unique voice, but when singing together in a group (known as "chorus howling"), the dogs generally become in sync with each other.
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backyard with the “zoomies” and is discovering how to play with toys. She has learned to relax and let her guard down. Belle has become such a model canine citizen, that she is now a New Guinea Singing Dog ambassador and an excellent “spokes-dog” for SWS. Belle joins Theresa at educational events and lets children and adults of all sizes pet her and “ooh” and “ahh” over her. Whether Theresa is speaking to a classroom of 30 people or a stadium of 1,000 people, Belle doesn’t bat an eye. She is patient and gentle. Theresa and Jay are also discovering that Belle is extremely intelligent. She can figure out how to open doors and she can climb just about anything to get what she wants. It’s as if she is always studying what’s going on and storing the information for when she might need it. She keeps them on their toes! One thing is clear—Belle must certainly know that she struck gold with the Schultz family. Jay says she is “daddy’s little girl.”
dog of the day | keeva
A story in real time By Pam Bonsper
Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 19
3/26, 2:30 p.m. I call her mom to set up a time for an interview with Martina.
Which I do.
“Martina’s at home,” Loretta tells me, “and I’m on my way there.
“How about if she calls me at her own convenience?”
How about if you call in about 15 minutes?”
I suggest. “I’ll be here all evening.”
But Martina is taking a shower.
I know quite a bit about Martina Baker by now, but decide to watch her YouTube videos one more time before she calls. I am not surprised as one hour goes by, then two. A teenager’s priorities are a teenager’s priorities. Late afternoon turns into evening, and it is three hours later in Maine where Martina and her family live. She has more important things to do than chat with me, I think to myself. She’s sound asleep by now. But I know better. I go to bed feeling very strongly that something has happened to Martina. Through watching her videos, I have fallen in love with this darling and daring fifteen-year-old girl, this wise sage in a young teen’s body, this sober and dedicated educator, this fragile and ferocious fighter. 3/27, 8:30 a.m. I wake up from a dream about a little girl and a service dog. Crazy, but we were together in a foreign country riding motorcycles. I turn on my computer and check my emails. There’s one from Loretta. Hello Pam, I am so sorry for not calling back last night. Martina was not doing well after her shower unfortunately and had some reactions, which made it difficult for her to talk. Could we do this evening? Loretta I answer her email and realize this is Martina’s story in real time. Her life is unpredictable; her world is the foreign country in which she travels. She explains in one of her videos, I am allergic to the world. I basically just try to get through every single day—every day is a struggle for me. But she wasn’t always allergic to almost everything. She wasn’t always fighting to breathe. She was just a typical kid with a little sister and a family and dogs and running through fresh-cut grass and smelling the perfumes of spring. She wasn’t seeking the solace of her bedroom. But now she does: My room is like a safe bubble. I’ve removed everything that could hurt me. It’s a very nice place where I can just breathe.
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She is like my best friend that knows all about me. Having a service dog is not a one-way street. We take care of each other. I am her best friend too, and would do anything for her as she does for me. I am so thankful for her. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) is a rare syndrome that struck Martina when she was 13. Her symptoms appeared out of the blue: trouble breathing with physical exertion; breaking out in hives; allergies to heat, perfumes, smoke, smells, even places. Her diagnosis took months, her treatments and hospitalizations were frequent, her prognosis totally elusive. Notes I took from her videos: When I wear my mask, people look at me and say cruel things. Canâ€™t go to school. So many medications every single day. Take four EpiPens with me. Always covered with hives.
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dog of the day | keeva I picture Martina wanting to be interviewed for this article and not being able to. 3/28, 10:00 a.m. I decide to send what I’m writing to Martina. She won’t have to talk, just type. I’ll ask her to tell us about her amazing service dog. I think back to the brief conversation I had with her mom two days ago. “I never thought any of this was possible,” she said. “It was Martina. She did all the researching on the internet. I had no idea the difference between emotional support, medical alert, and therapy dogs. One day she just announced, I know what will help me. I need a service dog because I can’t do this all on my own. If I can’t talk or breathe, I need someone to help me! I write to Martina: Hi Martina, this is Pam. This is the start of my article. I know you aren’t able to talk to me but maybe we can make this work. Can you type a few words? For instance, how your life has changed since getting Keeva, how she alerts you, or whatever you would like to say to our readers. I know you are dedicated to informing people all over the world. And I have fallen in love with both you and Keeva. If this doesn’t work, that’s okay too. This is your story and we’re sticking to it!! 3/30, 8:30 a.m. I get an email from Martina: My life has changed so much since Keeva came into it. She has made me feel less alone and safe. The first week we got her, we went to a restaurant. Restaurants are dangerous for me because I never know what might trigger my symptoms and send me to the emergency room. We were eating something I thought was safe and Keeva was sleeping under the table. She suddenly shot up and went for my face to alert me, and then began trying to pull me out of the restaurant. I didn’t even know anything was wrong. Then I felt my lips and tongue swelling, and the hives starting. I let her start to pull me out but I could not remember where the exit was because when I start having a reaction, I
THE WORLD-RENOWNED PET-FRIENDLY CYPRESS INN Invites you and your four-leggers to visit Carmel. Pets are welcome throughout the hotel, in the cozy living room or in the charming courtyard for lunch or evening appetizers.
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get confused. I remembered the trainer said she knew how to find exits so I said, “EXIT” and Keeva found the door. I immediately took my rescue medicines, and I did not have to go to the emergency room. Before Keeva, I would sometimes go into anaphylaxis 3 times a week and have to use my EpiPen, and go to the hospital. She helps me avoid triggers and alerts me to them, and can let me know if I am starting to have a reaction even before I know I am, so my hospitalizations are down to 1 or 2, every 4 to 6 weeks. I can sometimes take medicine to avoid anaphylaxis because of her alerts. She is always watching over me, even when we are sleeping (and yes she sleeps in bed with me!!). One night, I was dreaming I was suffocating and I woke up to Keeva over me, licking my face. I was in anaphylaxis. I took my EpiPen and had to go in the ambulance to the hospital. She was right with me the whole time.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF LORETTA LEIGHTON
She is like my best friend that knows all about me. Having a service dog is not a one-way street. We take care of each other. I am her best friend too, and would do anything for her as she does for me. I am so thankful for her. 3/30, 11:30 a.m. I send Martina an email thanking her for finishing this article. I am sending it to the editor. I can’t add a thing except to encourage all of you to go to Martina’s following links: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsZg_CA7qeJooKpxKPJJJ6Q. https:// www.facebook.com/caoimheMCAS) And check out her Instagram: Instagram martina_baker15.
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Martina has helped so many others with MCAS and other conditions and wants everyone to know how having a service dog has changed her world and how it might change theirs. BTW: Keeva’s name is technically Caoimhe, pronounced Keeva. Irish meaning: “gentle, beautiful, precious.” Message to Martina: You have those qualities too! And thank you for your help.
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Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 23
DORIS DAY’S BIRTHDAY As they have for the past five years, locals and fans from all over the world gathered in Carmel the last weekend in March to celebrate Doris Day’s birthday—her 97th this year. All proceeds went to Day’s charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF.) Two of DDAF’s local grantees, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) and the SPCA for Monterey County, were in attendance, and both had lucky featured pups who found their forever homes. POMDR's 12-year-old Shih Tzu named Snickers—who happens to be blind—is now living large and loving life with his new mom, Lori, and canine siblings on the East Coast. The other dog named Daisy, an adorable one year old terrier mix from the SPCA found her forever family as well! While she was adopted by someone
To be part of Doris Day’s mission to help animals and the people who love them, please visit
who didn't attend the event, her on-stage cuteness inspired many calls about her. She's now snuggling with her new loving family in Salinas.
24 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
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CANINE MASSAGE THERAPY BY DINA EASTWOOD
The stiff old pug is putty in Rachel Ray’s hands. Ray, a canine massage therapist, kneads 17-year-old Chica like dough. “Ah! There’s the release,” she says calmly, but with pride, when Chica gives an elongated exhale after being gently prodded for a couple minutes. Mochi, 12 and battling failing mobility, spies what’s going on and noses her way onto Chica’s bed to have her turn. She, too, quickly falls into doggy heaven. “I love it when whoever I’m working on and I deeply connect,” Ray explains, hands in fluid motion. “We get into a sacred space. There’s a silence, a connection, where we find a safe space for each other.” It’s safe to say that not so long ago, the mention of canine massage would have been thought of as silly. But, the field has gained traction with veterinarians across the country and with practitioners who study the art, some now becoming certified. A quick internet search will show therapists in many California cities. In dog-saturated places like
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the Central Coast, it’s not strange at all to call upon an animal massage therapist. “It’s definitely gotten more popular, but there’s room for all of us,” Ray says. According to the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork (IAAMB), which is working to establish industry standards, not all of America is keen yet on massage for dogs. The practice is legal in fewer than twenty states. The rest only allow it with a veterinarian’s “prescription” or not at all. California is one state where it is legal, and the practice is flourishing. Two prominent training schools are located in Ojai and Petaluma. Ray, who’s massaged everything from a guinea pig to a rhinoceros, has trained in Ohio, Santa Rosa, and Pacific Grove. She obtained a level-three training in animal Reiki,
“She has never met anyone at the door before, she has never sat at the dining room table when we have had guests, it’s like having a new dog. What did you do?’ I replied, ‘Massage, of course!”
another method of bodywork that has traditionally been used on humans. her furry clients seem to be asking for. “I blend it all so Before dedicating herself primarily to bodywork on
much—I sense what they need. When I’m dog sitting,
dogs, Ray worked in vet hospitals, taught massage
my dogs always get touch. When I walk one little client in
to humans at the Monterey Institute of Touch,
Pacific Grove, he comes over and lies down. He knows he
and worked in hospitality. She uses her skills, her
isn’t going on his walk unless he gets his massage first.”
many years working around animals, and mostly
Sessions involve the use of essential oils if the dog and
her intuition to give each client their best unique
human are okay with it, and then an observance of the
experience. Massage is her most popular offering,
dog’s demeanor; how it walks and interacts. Ray is then
but she mixes techniques to accommodate what
able to work her magic.
Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 27
As Ray speaks in soft, lush tones, Tango, the spry 13-year-
one of Rachel’s favorite type of clients, a former hooligan
old Chiweenie, approaches Rachel and rolls on his back,
turned lover boy. “All I am is a tool,” she explains as she
paws to the sky. He bares his tiny white teeth in what can
rubs his reddish upper body, now tinged white from age.
only be called a smile. Tango, a rescue and former biter, is
“I have techniques they may recognize, which then brings them into a place of confidence and safety
greeting cards, prints, 72 designs available
catherinesullivan watercolor & acrylic artist
all artist’s proceeds go to PeaceOfMindDogRescue.org. 28 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
and feeling loved. Not judged. I give them the opportunity to reconnect in a different way with themselves.” She calls her work “spiritual massage” as opposed to a sportslike massage, but says her work is great for dogs who are post surgery or suffering from anxiety or musculoskeletal disorders. “It is so meaningful to me when I help a senior feel better through massage. Especially those who have arthritis.” Rates depend on the size of the dog and what their needs are, but sessions are 30 minutes to an hour at a cost of $35 to $65. Finished with her session, Ray strolls back to her portable office, which she calls the “angel mobile,” completely decked out for dogs and their care. Before leaving, she reflects on how her work helps not only her furry clients, but also their humans. One of her favorite success stories is about dog sitting for a lady who had three dogs including one so timid, it would hide when Ray arrived. “The owners called me a few days after returning
SAVE BIG ON YOUR PET’S FIRST EXAM to town and asked, ‘What did you do to our dog?’” she says with a chuckle. “They said, ‘She has never met anyone at the door before, she has never sat at the dining room table when we have had guests, it’s like having a new dog. What did you do?’ I replied, ‘Massage, of course!’” With that, Ray greets her own four-legged posse, disappearing into a cloud of white fur and happy barks, and is off to work wonders on the next lucky dog.
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Monterey Peninsula Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 150 Monterey, CA 93940 | www.mpvesc.com 30 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
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THE FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY OF
RIA PUTZKER In just seven years, 21-year-old Ria Putzker has gone from photography student to teaching workshops across her native Austria as well as other European cities. Her specialty and passion is dog photography. Her calmly posed subjects are brilliantly photographed in natural light with sharp foregrounds and subtly blurred backgrounds hinting of the beautiful locations with flowers, forests, mountains, lakes, and streams. Other dogs are captured in action, bounding towards the camera, or playing with falling leaves, snow, or floating bubbles. From individual dogs to groups of dogs, posed or in action, using natural light or a studio portrait setting, Ria captures timeless moments and the true character of the dogs she photographs.
Q: Did you grow up having dogs? A: Since I was young, I was always begging my parents to get us a dog, but they always refused since they knew it was a lot of work and responsibility. After a long time, a friend of my mother rescued a litter of puppies, and after we met them, my mother just couldn’t say no anymore after she had seen those big puppy eyes. I was twelve years old then and my long awaited dream finally came true—we welcomed our family dog Phoebe at home! She is the best dog you could wish for and I am glad that she accompanied me through my school years. She is a Dachshund mixed with a Parson Jack Russell—lots of stubbornness, lots of energy, and lots of charm! Q: How did you get your start in dog photography? A: I have always been fascinated by animals. When I started photography, I photographed everything. Flowers, bugs, houses, but especially pets. My main subject was my dog Phoebe. I loved to stalk her, but I never let her pose or anything then. It was not until I was about 17 that I started to photograph other dogs. Mostly those of my friends and family. I started to do little shootings just for fun, and I also started to let my photo ideas come to life by positioning the dogs and let them stay. Q: How many dogs do you currently have? A: I currently have two dogs: Phoebe, the eight-yearold Dachshund mix, and Maki, a one-year-old street rescue. Maki is mostly Kooikerhondje in appearance and character. The most loving and friendly dog with a great will to please and a very good nose. Q: Do you train your own dogs? Do they like posing for you, or is it difficult to keep them still sometimes? A: Phoebe hates to stand still and usually has a very bored face while doing so. She is very “Dachshund-
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like” in this matter: her own head, her own rules. So I only take pictures of her on very few occasions. She has gotten a lot better since the beginning, but she is rarely excited when she sees me taking out my camera! So when I got Maki, it was very important for me that she poses for my camera; I wanted to have at least one dog that loves to pose. So I trained her very soon after we got her and I was very pleased to discover that she likes to pose very much. She learned quite fast and now she loves to do tricks for me since
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she always gets the best treats while getting photographed! Q: Do you use an assistant? A: Yes, if it is possible. Taking pictures is always a lot easier if you have an assistant with you. When I am doing client shootings, the owner of the dog positions it and I try to get the dogâ€™s attention by doing weird noises or by squeezing squeaky toys. When I am photographing my own dogs, I rarely have another person with me so I have to do everything on my own, which
can be challenging sometimes, especially when the dog has to do some tricks at a distance. Q: Do you have a lot of good photo locations close by where you live? A: I have a beautiful national park only a 10-minute drive away from where I live and a gorgeous park with many different flowers, but I have to say I donâ€™t like to shoot at the same location over and over. I love to discover new, interesting places, even if they are farther away.
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Q: What do you try to achieve in each of your dog portraits? A: I want to capture the character of the dog! Every dog is different and I try to let their nature show in the picture. I want the dog to be the main subject of the photo, so I love to use a low aperture to get a soft background.
Q: What elements help create the mood of your photos? A: Light! Light is the most important subject in photography. It sets the mood of your picture. My favorite kind of light is in the evening when the sun is going down and makes warm colors and soft shadows.
Q: Do you use flash or do you always prefer natural light? A: I never use a flash during my outdoor shootings, only natural light. But I do use a flash light system during my studio photo shootings.
Q: What personality traits do you like to capture in your photos? A: It depends on the dogâ€™s character. I try to judge the dog by its behavior and then I aim to capture what I see: the fun of a clown, the
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majesty of a leader, the alertness of a keeper, the devotion of a loyal friendâ€”or simply the romantic looks of a beauty. Q: Do you have a most memorable photo shoot? A: I often meet up with other dog photographers and we photograph each others dogs. Last year in November we met up at a beautiful lake in Austria called Langbathsee. We were there in the morning so everything was frozen and misty. It was such a breathtaking sight and I took some of my favorite shots there.
Q: Do you have a favorite photo that you have taken? A: Yes, there is a special photo I like very much. It shows a Catahoula Leopard Dog standing in a small shallow pond in the Danube National Park with the sun lightening the background. It looks at its own reflection in the waterâ€”very still, very focused, and very relaxed. The mighty dog with the fragile reflection is a frozen moment in time for me. Q: What is your favorite lens to use? A: My favorite lens at the moment is the Sigma 85
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mm 1.4 ART. I love the sharpness and the quality of the photos it takes. It has also a nice focal length so you donâ€™t have to be that far away from the subject, which is nice when photographing your own dogs! Q: How long have you been teaching dog photography workshops, and which countries have you done them in? A: I started teaching dog photography about a year and a half ago. Up to now Iâ€™ve only held workshops in Austria, but there are many more countries planned for the next years, such as in 38 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
France this fall. But I also offer online editing coaching in English and in German, and I already have a lot of clients all over the world. One actually was in Canada, which required us to coordinate the time difference! Q: Do your dogs go with you on your workshop trips? How do you travel? Are all trains dog friendly? Are there any problems crossing borders with dogs? A: I never bring my dogs with me for workshops since I want to focus on one thing only. My dogs would get bored lying around all day. I mostly
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travel by my car, but also by plane or train. When I travel with my dogs—such as for meeting other photographers abroad—I prefer going by car for it is the most convenient way to have all my equipment with me. In Europe there are seldom any problems with crossing borders as long as your dogs have all vaccinations, especially rabies (which my dogs have). Q: Do any of your workshop attendees bring their own dog/s? A: Yes, I allow dogs during the photo shooting part of the workshop, but only if another person is
supervising the dog since you shouldn’t focus on two things at the same time. Q: Do you arrive a few days early to workshops so you can scout out photo shoot locations? A: When I have to travel a long way, I always arrive at the workshop location at least one day early to set everything up and to see if everything works. Also, my workshops start early in the morning, so it is easier for me because I don’t have to get out of bed too early! The person who organizes the workshop for me usually scouts out the photo locations for me since I rarely know the Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 39
cc | art places I travel to and it can be quite tricky to find the really good spots. But I trust my local partners and have never been disappointed! Q: Where will your next workshop be? A: The next workshop will be in Paris this fall! It is my first workshop outside Austria, so I am very excited! Iâ€™m doing it together with the very talented photographer, Audrey Bellot! Q: Will you do any workshops in the U.S.? A: Currently, no workshops are planned in the U.S. It may be a bit difficult to arrange for, but you never know! Meanwhile, I offer my online photo editing coaching also in the U.S. No difficult organization necessary except handling the time difference. Q: Do you photograph in national parks and are there restrictions on bringing dogs into some areas? A: Yes, sometimes the dog needs to be on the leash. But most of the time, if there are no people around, I take the dog off the leash just for the few shots and then put it on the leash again. Not a lot of people complain about that. Or I just remove the leash in postproduction.
Q: Are you preparing for spring-flower portraits of dogs? A: I am always on the lookout if the flowers I want to shoot are blooming. You have to be quick to get lucky, since most of the flowers only bloom for a few days and then they are gone. But I love to photograph dogs in magnolias in spring or in roses in summer, and I love heather because you can find it nearly all year round.
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I do shootings, online editing coaching and photography workshops. If you are interested in one of my offers, want to collaborate with me, or just meet up with me, send me a message on Facebook or an e-mail to email@example.com.
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AN IMMORTALIZED FRIENDSHIP How much do you love your dog? How about rendering his highly detailed likeness in a giant floor mosaic gracing your homes entranceway? The family of this sweet dog did exactly that over 2000 years ago! This Ptolemaic artwork from Hellenistic Egypt dates to between 200-150 BC and resides in Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria, Egypt.
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Great British Travels with your Dog— Part One: Getting Around By BELINDA JONES
Planning to roam the UK with Rover? Native Brit Belinda Jones gives you the inside scoop on how to travel by train, bus, tube, ferry, even canal barge!
One of the great perks of traveling with your dog in the UK—aside from the pubs that welcome your dog to splay hearthside and the cafes that supply towels for muddy paws—is that pups of any size are allowed on most public transport*. You’ll find Fido on the iconic bright red dou-ble-deckers and even on the London Underground—provided you can physically pick up and carry your dog on the escalators. This is to prevent injury, and speaking as someone who once got a coattail snagged in the grip of those moving metal steps, it’s a wise move. Some stations have elevators, which are preferable, but unfortunately not all do (worth noting for those with big suitcases as well as big dogs). Our Corgi pal Winny (Instagram: @ winnythecorgi) is a regular on the tube (subway), though this wouldn’t suit every dog as it can get extremely hot and crowded. You would need to a) completely avoid rush hour and b) bring a portable supply of water. Bodie and I opted for the bus, but again these can be noisy and crowded and there did seem to be an unusual number of people who are either afraid of dogs or simply not fans of chunky dogs with a wonky under-bite, which left us feeling quite uncomfortable! If you have the extra pennies and the traffic is not too congested, an iconic black cab offers an abundance of floor
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I don't think I've ever traveled on a train without striking up a conversation with a dog-lover and Bodie always laps up the extra attention, especially from children who tend to have something sticky he can lick off their face”. space, and “clean and friendly” dogs are accepted at the driver’s discre-tion. Just look for the lit yellow taxi sign on the roof or use the app: taxiapp.uk.com But the nicest, breeziest jaunt around the Big Smoke has to be aboard the MBNA Thames Clipper River Bus—you get to sail past (or visit) wonderful sights like the Houses of Parlia-ment, London Bridge, and the Cutty Sark ship at Greenwich. Pier departures are every 20–40 minutes, dogs travel free, and
humans pay £19.80 for an all-day hop-on, hop-off ticket. You’ll find lots more fare options and info at thamesclippers.com Of all the modes of transport available, Bodie and I most often find ourselves on the rails. In the South West, train travel is cheaper and faster than the local buses (half the price and the time to my nearest city of Exeter) and pups travel for free! (Regional buses charge an extra £1 fee for your dog to join you, and Bodie doesn’t care for the buzz of the engine reverberating through the floor!) It also seems more the norm to find dogs on trains—everyone is used to stepping over something shaggy lolling in the aisle or finding Fido under the table of one of the four-seaters. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled on a train without striking up a conversation with a doglover, and Bodie always laps up the extra attention, especially from children who tend to have something sticky he can lick off their face. If you book way in advance and are flexible with your timings, you can occasionally find rea-sonably priced first-class tickets with trainline.com or nationalrail. co.uk, but a great alternative if you are traveling on a Saturday, Sunday, or bank holiday is the “weekend first” option, allow-ing you to upgrade your standard ticket from about £25. It’s well worth the extra comfort and legroom, not to mention the free tea/ coffee and snacks! On most routes all you need to do is find an available seat and the guard will come to you, though some companies like Virgin Trains (so dog friendly a trainspotting pup helped model their new uniforms!) offer the option to book this in advance at virgintrains.co.uk/experience/first-class/ weekend-travel (Unlike Amtrak in the US, there are multiple companies operating trains around the UK, all with different policies!) My biggest caution with doggie train travel is boarding and dismounting the train. Sometimes this requires quite a step up/down between levels— and sometimes there’s a perilous gap. On a recent
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day trip to the arty town of Totnes, Bodie had his front paws on the train, but his rear ones slipped and he fell backwards, down onto the tracks. This was utterly terrifying and I had to lie down on the platform and wrench him up by the scruff of his neck and an awkward yank to his leg. This was a small three-carriage train and the guard heard me calling for help and saw the door was still open, but some trains have automatic doors (you press to open when the sign illuminates). I now carry Bodie on and off. If you have a bigger dog, you can arrange for a ramp (also used for wheelchairs) so your dog can board safely.
Although most of Bodie’s adventures are in the South, Bodie’s Lhasa Apso pal Elsa of pawsacrossbritain. co.uk lives in the Midlands and recommends the 45-minute scenic river cruise of Shrewsbury—just £8 including historical commentary (sabrinaboat.co.uk), and the amazing Puffin Island cruise with Seacoast Safaris in North Wales. Ninety minutes for £10.95. (seacoastsafaris.co.uk)
To compensate for that chilling story, I’ll tell you about the fabulous Dartmouth Steam Railway (dartmouthrailriver.co.uk/visitor-info/dogswelcome) with its vintage carriages transporting you back in time as you chug along the coastline from Paignton to Greenway Halt. (From £17.50 for you, £2 per dog) From here you meander down a leafy driveway to Agatha Christie’s summer house and extensive gardens. Did you know she dedicated her Poirot novel Dumb Witness to her Terrier Peter? (nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway)
Speaking of sailing . . . Waterways Holidays offers a fabulous range of dog-friendly boating va-cations around the UK, ranging from sports-style cruisers suitable for one small dog to nar-rowboats, which can accommodate four! All their staff members are dog owners so can offer great advice, such as recommending one-level steering cruisers for larger or older dogs who might struggle with steps. Many boatyards don’t charge a pet fee but if they do, it’s a rea-sonable £15 to £35 per animal. Some even provide a doggy life jacket for a small deposit!
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Or how about going hunting for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland? Jacobite Cruises (jacobite.co.uk) welcomes well-behaved dogs free of charge. (£32 for human passengers.)
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(waterwaysholidays.com/pet_friendly.htm) So there you are, lots of ideas for getting out and about in the UK. Next issue we’ll be looking at where to go and where to stay to maximize the tail wagging in your travels! * The main exception when it comes to pet-friendly public transport is the UK’s version of the Greyhound Bus (National Express, Megabus, etc.) as they only accept assistance dogs.
Belinda Jones is a dog-besotted British magazine journalist and bestselling author of eleven romantic comedy novels and a feeelgood road trip memoir titled Bodie on the Road - Travels With My Rescue Pup in the Dogged Pursuit of Happiness (Skyhorse Publishing). Her Instagram handle is @bodieeontheroad
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a safe refuge for wild
canines and others
By Caryn St. Germain It is a story that has been heard too often. A person acquires a wild or exotic animal for a pet, thinking that it will learn the ways of domestication. Then, when the animal’s true wild nature persists, becoming too much to handle, the unthinkable is done and the animal is “released.” Or, perhaps, it ends up in a crowded animal shelter. Such is the story of one big, beautiful Wolfdog named Yuki (Yu-kı̄). Fortunately, Yuki’s tale did not end there. The chapters of his life continued to unfold, and in 2008, at the tender age of eight months old, he was rescued by an exotic-animal organization, Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center (SWS). It is because of stories like Yuki’s that the sanctuary exists. When sanctuary founders, Nancy Smith and her husband, Kent, were called to the east coast of Florida to pick up Yuki, they knew immediately that he was a much greater percentage wolf than originally expected. He has, indeed, been revealed to be 87.5 percent gray wolf, 8.6 percent Siberian Husky, and 3.9 percent German Shepherd. Yuki also seemed to have an outgoing nature, and he was considered, initially, to be a possible “ambassador” for this spirit-animal rescue and hominid education mission. Unlike full wolves, who tend to be shy and retiring in the presence of strangers, Yuki runs right up to anyone entering his domain. And while full wolves can become trusting and 48 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
affectionate with people over time, Wolfdogs tend to be very selective about whom they allow into their enclosure. If Yuki likes you, you’re in—and he bonds so closely with some people as to become defensive of them, most probably because of his domestic dog percentages. “He’s not cool with more people than he’s cool with,” says an SWS spokesperson. At the sanctuary, Yuki has a small number of female volunteers who are fondly referred to as his “harem.” The relationship between woman and wolf is one of complete affection, and both are completely protective of the other. This choosy Wolfdog has also allowed a female Wolfdog (specifically, a New Guinea Singing Dog) named Bella to reside with him, and though “. . .Yuki is much larger than her, she is by far the dominant one,” adds another volunteer. If he doesn’t like you, Yuki can become aggressive. And while that may not always make for the best ambassador, Yuki has
OF LOS GATOS
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHY WOLF SANCTUARY
National Certified Master Groomer
40 years of practical experience
recently become the charming, graceful face of the sanctuary, when a photo of his “fat side,” making him look enormous sitting with harem member and volunteer, 5’4” Brittany Allen, went viral.
Small intimate environment
“Yuki loves women, showing off to visitors, and being super goofy,” volunteers said in the viral newsfeed. At almost 12 years old, when he isn’t doing that or being fed, Yuki spends his time at the sanctuary relaxing in the sun. Also finding refuge at SWS, alongside Yuki and Bella, are an amazing assortment of wolves, Wolfdogs, several exotic species of foxes, New Guinea Singing Dogs, cougars, bobcats, prairie dogs, Florida gopher tortoises, tiny Aussie marsupials called “sugar gliders,” raccoons, and a domesticated skunk named Mork. Not only a safe haven for displaced wild and exotic animals, SWS also has a mission to “. . . educate, educate, educate,” according to Nancy. Shy Wolf visits dozens of local elementary schools each year to spread the message of the importance of wolves in natural ecosystems and the importance of conserving those natural environments, and to teach respect for wild and captive-bred exotics. Often volunteers will bring animal ambassadors with them, which are very popular with the students. This also helps young people to understand the level of responsibility required to care for pets. At the sanctuary, guests can participate in a Healing Hearts experience, too.
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SWS animals come from abused, abandoned, and neglectful situations. Humans, who have had similar experiences in their lives, form a magical, healing connection and learn about kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, courage, and unconditional love as they hear the animals’ stories. After visiting with the animals, guests have fun working on art projects such as painting wolf houses or making holiday ornaments or other animalinspired crafts, followed by lunch near Cimarron the Cougar. Creativity helps healing and building confidence and selfesteem. Guests of the Healing Hearts program leave with a very special necklace containing their wolf Indy’s hair enclosed in a glass vile. “Why Indy?” the website reads, “Our Indy girl is blind, but she is always happy and finds her way. We teach that if Indy can find her way, then so can our guests. The wolf now walks with them giving them courage and strength to find their way.”
SWS also works very hard to educate people about Wolfdog ownership, and to find forever homes for the adoptable animals in residence there, including Singing Dogs, chinchillas and ferrets. Finally, SWS offers education on the importance and “how to” of disaster preparedness. For over twenty years, Nancy and Kent have been rescuing injured, stray, and displaced exotic animals, as well as educating the public. It all began in 1993 when Nancy rescued Moondance, a baby black Asian leopard, who lost a leg needlessly when she was attacked by a larger cat through the fence of her enclosure. Moondance was Nancy’s baby, and went with her everywhere, living out her 16 years of life nurtured, adored, and well loved. In 1994, the wolves began to arrive from a zoo being shut down due to problems with a game and fish commission.
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For over twenty years, Nancy and Kent have been rescuing injured, stray and displaced exotic animals as well as educating the public. â€œAfter that, they just kept coming,â€? Nancy writes, and in January of 2001, Shy Wolf Sanctuary Experience & Education Center, Inc. was officially established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. In the early days, the expense of caring for these animals was carried solely by Nancy and Kent, with an occasional donation by visitors. Today, as is the case with many animal rescues, the broad scope of this nonprofit continues to be supported solely by the generous donations of the public. Similarly, the sanctuary has been built on the dedication of the many volunteers who invested countless hours over the years, bringing the sanctuary from five big cats and 11 wolves and Wolfdogs to over 30 wolves and Wolfdogs and approximately 30 other resident animals of many species. Along with Nancy, Kent, and now Executive Director, Deanna Deppen, it is the many devoted volunteers who have helped with cleaning and maintaining Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 51
There were no paid staff members until about a year ago when the board appointed long-time volunteer Deanna Deppen to be the Executive Director. One of Deanna’s primary tasks is to help to acquire a 40 or so acre property for development. Deanna told me that there are a couple of good property prospects already. SWS is really going to need the financial help of its supporters and the community now, to continue to expand and move the sanctuary’s mission forward. With the expansion, Deanna also has a vision of SWS becoming a soft landing place for ‘retired’ breeding pairs from institutions that are trying to reintroduce wolves, such as the native Red Wolf, to the wild. Meanwhile, in spite of all of the happy rescue stories, the people of Shy Wolf Sanctuary Experience & Education Center, Inc. were reminded of the impermanence of all things last year when Yuki was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer. Yuki is persevering, so “. . . it is business as usual while we enjoy our time with Yuki,” reports Jeremy Albrecht, another director at the SWS.
the facility, feeding the animals, giving personal guided visits and raising the funds that sustain SWS.
“When the day comes that he starts showing symptoms, we will, as we always do, make the right decisions for Yuki’s quality of life,” he adds. It is always difficult to say goodbye to our loved ones, but Albrecht reminds us to remember that, “. . . while many of these animals have rough beginnings, their stories always have happy endings once they get to Shy Wolf Sanctuary. When their time with us is over, the last thing they do is make room for our next rescue and happy ending.”
Since 1998, Kent and Michael Wolf have built 15 new enclosures with the largest of these encompassing 2,800 square feet; thus filling the back of a mere 2 1/2 acre lot. Those associated with the sanctuary know that there are many more animals out there in desperate need of rescue, and SWS is simply out of space.
Visit ShyWolfSanctuary.org to read more about each and every animal in residence there, as well as visiting, adopting, educational, and volunteering opportunities, and how you can support SWS’s vision of exotic animal rescue into the future.
Family Owned & Operated 52 | coastalcaninemag.com | Spring 2019
If you’ve ever rescued a dog (which I’m betting most of you have), you know it’s not something you necessarily plan. Simply stated, a rescue dog is sometimes exactly what you don’t want or need. It’s the wrong time, you’re too busy, the demands of the dog far exceed your abilities and resources. But for some reason, you cannot ignore a particular pooch’s face on the agency website or the one that pleads from the shelter. You rescue. I interviewed a dog for this article. She set me straight: people think they are the ones who rescue, but often dogs rescue the people. This is her story: I have a name now. It is Baru. I was named after
Baruntse, a 23,389 ft. Himalayan mountain peak. I’d never had a name before, but that was no problem. I responded to Get outa here you dumb mutt! or sometimes it was a rock thrown with no words. I knew the village of Khari well and knew to stay away from people. I was quite content hanging out at the far end of the village behind the kitchen area where the mountaineers’ tents were. I wasn’t seeking out people but of course I’d accept food. One day last March, I was watching a large group of folks getting ready for their expedition. Their cooks were stirring up something wonderful. My last meal had been a few rock-hard potato peels dug out of six inches of ice. I slowly approached, knowing not to beg. One of the climbers threw something to me. Not at me, but to me. This guy didn’t look like a rescue—he was strong and healthy and had a great warm jacket. But there was something about him. He made eye Spring 2019 | coastalcaninemag.com | 53
We survived minus twenty-degree temps and 40 mph winds together. We fought our way up icy slopes and across deep crevices. I didn’t leave his side. contact and my heart melted. I invited myself into his tent that night and he seemed pleased to have me nearby. The next day the group left and all I had of my man was his scent. Later that day, I was giving myself a much needed front paw DIY pedicure when I got a knowing: I had to find that man. He needed me. I didn’t have a plan, and of course had no stowed-away bones. But I was determined to pursue him. I left my Nepalese canine community and trotted toward the Mera glacier where he said they’d be heading.
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Following my heart more than my nose, I wish I could say I barely noticed the difficulty. But as I worked my way higher and higher, it got harder to pull myself up the steep slippery inclines. I was hungry, tired and thirsty, not to mention freezing. Was this guy worth it? Finally, after two days of tough slugging ever upward, I saw dozens of people coming down the glacier on a rope. I just stood there watching. They must have thought they were hallucinating, seeing a dog in such a place. In actuality I learned later they were completely shocked. I couldn’t quite understand all the fuss. I sniffed them one by one as they came down and finally when I saw my man, I made a beeline straight to him. I heard later I was at about 2,000 feet above Khari, making it 17,500 feet. I guess that was pretty amazing for a dog. The first thing my man did was reach in his pack and pull out a big piece of summer sausage. But better than that, he was crazy happy to see me. I knew I had done the right thing: he was my rescue person, he needed me.
SARA ALLSHOUSE Fine Art
Over the next three and a half weeks, I got to know him well. I slept in his tent, shared his food rations 50/50, and followed him on one of the most treacherous climbs in one of the harshest places on Earth. We survived minus twenty-degree temps and 40 mph winds together. We fought our way up icy slopes and across deep crevices. I didn’t leave his side. He told me in the language we developed that I had to be selfsufficient. He had to make sure his clients were safe and he couldn’t put them in jeopardy by carrying me. I told him not to worry about me; I could make the trek on my own. One night early on, he told me about climbing friends of his who had died. There’s been several unfortunately, he said. The closest was Mike Brown who taught me to climb. He’s always on my mind. There’s Amy and Joe, some passed away while climbing, some were just dear friends. I felt his grief and placed my paw on his arm. He and I both realized then that I was his therapy dog. He said, You are a therapy dog for me for sure. These trips are long and I’m away from home and those I love. I’m responsible for people’s lives. If someone doesn’t go
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the way to the top. She made it to 23,389 feet. That was for the press. Of course he knew why I wanted to join him. He had told me in his own words: It is definitely crossing my mind that some of my climbing friends that have passed on, maybe they were giving you a little nudge to go up the mountain to spend some time with me. back home, it’s probably my fault. Having you here in the tent is incredibly therapeutic. You give me love and companionship I don’t get anywhere else. Those words were music to my ears. I knew why I had been compelled to rescue him. At night when I snuggled against him, I paid attention to his heartrate, his stress levels, his dreams. When he was sad, I pushed myself closer to him; when stressed, I put my head on his legs to calm him; when tired, I sighed deeply and my slow breathing put him to sleep.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY DON WARGOWSKY
It was finally the morning of the big climb to the summit. The team woke up at 1:00 a.m. They call this an alpine start . . . leaving when the temperatures are colder to mitigate the risks of avalanches and ice falls. They were down to six people, just one client. Only the most seasoned make it to the top. I knew they planned to leave me back at the base camp where the crew would take care of me. I felt his hands on me as he said good-bye. I lifted an eyebrow and went back asleep. I knew that’s what he wanted. I got a really good sleep, chewed right through the leash, snuck out at the break of day, and hauled out of there. They had a five-hour start on me so I had to make time. She covered in two hours what had taken us seven hours, he later told folks. She woke up and followed our footsteps and met as at around 22,500 feet. What she was able to do on Baruntse was something most humans couldn’t do, and I don’t know of any other dog who could do it. It was just impossible. I was absolutely blown away when I saw her. I don’t know what her motivation was to want to join me. But she made it all
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Yes, that’s exactly what they did. And believe me, there ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no ocean wide enough, ain’t no country far enough to keep me from you. I’ll be here when you come back and we’ll eat some beef jerky together and go over every inch of that climb. A mutt that’s part Tibetan Mastiff and part Himalayan Sheepdog never forgets her rescue man or the taste of his incredible summer sausage. We went together to the airport. My man didn’t want to leave me. I licked the tears from his eyes and said to him, I know it’s a hard decision for you, but that tiny condo you talked about just won’t cut it for me. I live for mountain adventures, tons of snow, crystal clean air. I belong here. His sadness lingered and I looked him straight in the eye, Remember, my man, you were my rescue, I wasn’t yours. And you’re in a better place now, so get on that plane and go back to your loved ones. I already have my forever family picked out. He got on the plane and I nuzzled Kaji, my new main man. He patted me and said, “For a Himalayan mutt, you did good Baru. You did good.” Footnote: Don Wargowsky, who lives in Washington state, plans to return to the Himalayas several times this year as he prepares for an eventual climb up Mount Everest. He will be in and out of Kathmandu, where Baru now lives with Kaji, the camp manager who adopted her. Both Don and Baru have gained back the weight they lost while making the climb, and their relationship gets stronger every day. They don’t need the language they developed while on the mountain. They find that across oceans and continents, mental telepathy works just fine.
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Uplifting magazine for dog lovers. This issue: Rescuing a New Guinea Singing Dog, Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Service Dog for teenager with Mast Cel...
Published on May 21, 2019
Uplifting magazine for dog lovers. This issue: Rescuing a New Guinea Singing Dog, Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Service Dog for teenager with Mast Cel...