Most of all, I remember looking out our office window and seeing pieces of the control tower outside. Why the whole structure didn’t come down through our ceiling is still a mystery.
Early in my SAR career I was at a trailhead in King County readying Sierra for a hike. We weren’t searching. The hike was conditioning for me, and getting Sierra used to the normal sights and smells of the woods.
As I was getting her out of the truck and getting my own gear ready, two women across the parking lot kept looking at me.
Of course, I was the manly SAR expert, with the special pack for me and collar for the dog. Finally, they approached. Were they going to ask me about trail conditions? Some critical piece of information for enjoying their hike or staying safe?
“Sir, we just wanted to let you know you have a dryer sheet stuck to the back of your shirt.”
I never missed a beat. “That’s right ladies, I do. The wilderness is unforgiving, and you never know when a dryer sheet will save your life.”
Not even Sierra bought that, much less the ladies. But we all had a good laugh. If there’s anything better than a hike in the woods with your dog, it’s hiking with your dog while laughing.
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….is stranger than fiction.
It’s no secret that in my first children’s book Sierra the Search Dog starts out being Sierra, the dog that wins at hide and seek.
Here’s a YouTube video showing exactly that. It’s an overload of cute to begin with, and then Ollie the dog dimes out Mom and Dad as they play hide-and-seek with Junior.
Note how Ollie puts his nose to the opening between the closet door and the floor. There’s no doubt he used his nose to help win the game.
This also requires the young man to have understood what Ollie was doing, and investigate by opening the closet door. And yet we adults have trouble reading our dogs’ body language. Hmmm.
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This whole children’s book thing has been immensely fun. As a writer, I’m used to painting “word pictures,” but I’ve never had to deal with real pictures.
“Sierra Becomes a Search Dog” is written, drawn and in the production stage. It’ll be for sale soon. My artist Taillefer is now working on the second book in the series “Sierra The Search Dog Finds Fred.” In the story, Fred goes missing and his buddy Ted calls on Sierra to help find him.
The first question we have to ask is “What does Ted look like?” It’s called a character study, and we make sure each character’s appearance enhances their role in the story.
Taillefer dropped me the attached character study of Ted. Mary Ann and I laughed out loud (with joy) when we saw the picture. Grandparents reading the story will recognize Ted as an aging hippy, the kind of guy who might now work at a coffee shop or bakery. We think the kids will like his hair and moustache….and oh, those glasses.
Fred, however, will remain a secret until publication. After all, Sierra uses her nose to find him. If we plaster his picture all over like some kind of wanted poster, then just about anybody would be able to find him.
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