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.
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.
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.
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.