Rescue Dogs of the Oso, WA Landslide – Part 2

In the past few days Seattle’s KUOW 94.9 and KCTS 9 have featured interviews with those most affected by the Oso, WA landslide, which just six months ago (March 29, 2014) devastated an entire community 60 miles northeast of Seattle. I remember hearing descriptions on the news of rescue workers searching for victims in the huge debris field–conditions were extremely dangerous and the going was rough.

FEMA search dog onsite to help find victims of the Oso, WA Landslide.

FEMA search dog onsite to help find victims of the Oso, WA Landslide.

Highly trained search dogs from across WA and the country were flown in to help guide the search for victims.

Governor Jay Inslee acknowledges a tired search dog with a scratch behind the ears.

WA Governor Jay Inslee acknowledges a tired search dog with a scratch behind the ears.

Soon news reports about the dogs and their skill began to pour out of the area. Not only were the search dogs helping in the disaster zone, but “trauma dogs” were onsite in shelters to provide support to worried, grieving survivors as well as exhausted workers.

 

 

 

Fire fighters were critical to the search and recovery mission.

Fire fighters were critically important to the search and recovery mission.

I collected photos of the dogs featured in news stories and saved them on my desktop. I found comfort in knowing they were in Oso helping on so many levels. I post them now with respect for their meaningful contributions and to acknowledge their key role in the recovery mission.

Spending a moment with an understanding friend.

Spending a moment with an understanding friend.

Helping to keep spirits up at the command center.

Helping to keep spirits up at the command center.

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Rescue Dogs of the Oso Landslide – Part 1

Just six months ago, bucolic Steelhead Drive in Oso, WA was destroyed in a matter of seconds by a landslide of mud, trees, rock, and water. A cliffy area above the town liquified and roared like a freight train toward the river below taking everything in its path, including forty three souls. In the past few days KUOW 94.9 and KCTS 9 have featured interviews with those most affected by the disaster, including “a woman rescued from the mud, a couple who lost their home, a first responder struggling with post-traumatic stress, and leaders, municipal and spiritual, still working tirelessly for their community.”

I remember hearing the first reports on the radio about the slide, which occurred 60 miles northeast of Seattle. People at the scene plunged into the jumble of rock, downed power lines, pulverized houses and broken trees hoping to reach victims calling out for help. The muck was dangerous and the going slow. Some of the voices faded and disappeared.

Returning from the search, a four-legged rescue worker.

Returning from the search, a four-legged rescue worker at the Oso landslide.

Then reports emerged of sniffer dogs arriving on the scene. Four-legged trained searchers were soon guiding the rescue teams to the living and the dead. And, comfort dogs were brought in to nurture the worried survivors staying in shelters and also the workers, who searched and searched despite exhaustion and terrible danger.

A rescuer doing the work. Sincere. Determined. Undaunted.

A rescuer doing the work. Sincere. Determined. Undaunted.

I found myself collecting screenshots of the dogs that appeared in the news accounts that I read over the days and weeks. The dogs seemed to be a bright light of hope shining through the fog of loss. It comforted me to know they were on the ground in Oso.

Rescue team at the Oso landslide. Trained sniffer dogs helped speed-up the search.

Rescue team at the Oso landslide. Trained sniffer dogs helped speed-up the search.

Helping out at the shelter: comfort and care delivered to worried souls.

Helping out at the shelter: comfort and care delivered to worried souls.

On the job -- tracking scents undetectable to humans. Dogs were key to Oso Landslide rescue efforts.

On the job — tracking scents undetectable to humans. Dogs were key to Oso Landslide rescue efforts.

I did not save information about the dogs’ names or owners, the photographers who took the pictures, or the news channels that published the photos. Because this is my blog that few read and from which I earn nothing, I am taking the liberty of posting some of these photos now.

I do this in memory of those who lost their lives and those still in the process of recovering.

And, I do this in honor of the dogs who did so much to help.

Our canine friends make the world a better place simply by their being in it.

"I am here to help. How you are doing? You can tell me everything and you don't have to use words."

“I am here to help. How you are doing? You can tell me everything and you don’t have to use words.”

Finding one’s voice & being a voice for animals — the incredible journey of wildlife biologist Alan Rabinowitz

Listening to this podcast I felt myself in the presence of greatness: Alan Rabinowitz, wildlife biologist, overcame stuttering and the devastating emotional trauma it caused to become an advocate for the downtrodden, pursuing life with openness, compassion, and wisdom.

When Mr. Rabinowitz was growing up he discovered that, amazingly, he could talk to animals easily, clearly, and without stuttering. He sought refuge in their company. Now he is “paying it forward” by working to help the world’s endangered cats survive the encroaching march of habitat destruction. This is a great listen.

Have you seen the bumper sticker that has a paw print and these words “Who Rescued Who?” That image came to mind as I listened to The Gift of Stuttering and Animals, a moving excerpt from the original interview with Mr. Rabinowitz. (See link below.) This story affirms that being in the presence of animals can lead to life-changing transformation and healing.

Thank you, Mr. Rabinowitz for sharing your deep and universal story with the world.

A Voice for the Animals with Dr. Alan Rabinowitz (October 13, 2011) [encore] by On Being is licensed under a  Creative Commons Licence.

Lucy the Chimpanzee: A “haunting epic” tale from Radiolab that you will never forget

When I heard the life story of Lucy the chimpanzee on Radiolab I felt as if I had taken a spear through the heart. I connected with her innocence, her suffering, and her abandonment as if I were touching a downed live electrical wire.

Lucy was adopted at two days of age by a couple who raised her as their child. Later, after having been raised as a human, she was taken to Gambia and released on an island to live with a group of wild chimpanzees.

Lucy encountered one beautiful bit of good luck in her life: Janis Carter, who studied chimpanzees in Gambia, worked to help Lucy adjust to her new life. With great compassion and persistence she did what she could to ease Lucy’s sense of profound abandonment and loss.

Listen to this story. Once heard, you will never forget it. It haunts me now, almost a year since I first heard it, and I know it will stay with me for the duration.

May it inspire us all to protect the lives of animals everywhere. Click the photo for the link to the audio.

Lucy the Chimp: A True Tale of Staggering Sorrow & Loss

Lucy, wherever you are, may you be at peace now. May you live on in the heart of limitless grace. http://www.radiolab.org/story/91705-lucy/

Lucy the chimpanzee was raised as a human in the 1970s and 80s by Dr. Maurice and Jane Temerlin. Black and white images of Lucy with the Temerlins from Dr. Temerlin’s now out-of-print book, “Growing up Human,’ courtesy of Science and Behavior Books, Inc. Photos of Lucy in Gambia courtesy of Janis Carter. Slideshow produced by Sharon Shattuck.

Lucy clings to Janis Carter in their last meeting.

Lucy clings to Janis Carter in their last meeting. Then, resigned, drifts away into the forest.

We Have A Secret — Coping when a dog passes away

...and when I call, no one but I can see the bending grass.

And only I can see you pause
at every brook I pass…

We Have A Secret

We have a secret, you and I,
that no one else shall know,
for who but I can see you lie
each night in fire glow?
And who but I can reach my hand
before we go to bed
and feel the living warmth of you
and touch your silken head?
And only I walk woodland paths
and see ahead of me,
your sweet form racing with the wind
so young again, and free.
And only I can see you pause
at every brook I pass
and when I call, no one but I
can see the bending grass.

Author Unknown

 

Fantastic Documentary: The Animal Communicator — Speaking in a language older than words.

Click the baboon to watch!

Photo credit: Portrait_Of_A_Baboon.jpg en.wikipedia.org

Do you remember a time when you communicated with an animal? Do you remember understanding each other completely, experiencing each other’s being?

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11936/The-Animal-Communicator?goback=.gde_164999_member_5802345555992526848

“Anna Breytenbach has dedicated her life to what she calls interspecies communication. She sends detailed messages to animals through pictures and thoughts. She then receives messages of remarkable clarity back from the animals.”

I felt bathed in wonder and awe as I watched this story unfold. This film gives me hope that one day, before it’s too late, humans can re-establish a mutually respectful interbeing with animals. We will recognize our interconnectedness and communicate across perceived boundaries, just as our ancestors did millennia ago.