A slice of local life: Who we are and what we do

Adopt a Dog and Linda Vanderberg

Dog deliverance is the business of Adopt a Dog’s Linda Vanderberg.

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
Dog deliverance is the business of Adopt a Dog’s Linda Vanderberg.

With this article, the Hood River News begins a new weekly series offering a glimpse into the daily lives of local individuals and organizations.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...”

For ownerless dogs at the Adopt a Dog program of the Hukari Animal Shelter in Odell both images were accurate to describe the history and future lives of the adoptable canines.

Linda Vanderberg would know. She is the executive director of the nonprofit pet adoption program serving Hood River County and she gets to see both extremes of that spectrum for the animals in her care.

“Welcome to the chaos,” said Vanderberg, as she ushered in Wednesday evening’s arriving adoptive families, while seven potential adoptee-dogs were frolicking about the front office, exploring, greeting, snuggling and generally ingratiating themselves with the assorted children, couples and families.

Ringo, a short-legged, affable mutt, who readily “kissed” everyone arriving for adoption night, was found as a stray on a rural county back road. Izzy, hobbling around on a broken shoulder, arrived after being rescued from a domestic violence situation. Zuni flashed an irresistible puppy-smile, along with his brother; both were found abandoned a few days before.

Ringo’s story falls into the “best” category: Five families arrived on Wednesday to claim his friendly, waddling charms for their own. He went home with a couple who drove in from Portland after their dog of 15 years passed away.

But not every dog’s story has a fast, happy ending.

“Luigi, a little black terrier, had two families come see him last night, but neither took him,” noted Vanderberg, who hopes Luigi doesn’t join Ryder, a long-term shelter guest who has been housed now for nine months. And there is Izzy, with his current limp, who will require owners with an interest in helping him heal.

For Vanderberg, adoption nights are one of the bright spots of her busy week. Some of her other time at the shelter is spent in routine dog care: playing, washing, feeding, walking, “poop-patrolling” and providing behavior training.

While these chores provide a wonderful amount of pet-fun, the increasing numbers of program dogs also require a lot of additional help.

Vanderberg and three part-time staff are supported in the many dog-specific tasks by a cadre of 12 stalwart volunteers.

These dedicated, local dog-lovers free up the staff’s time enabling them to interview potential adoptive families, assess incoming dogs, administer vaccinations, write grants, fill out paperwork, record and share the history of each dog, meet with owners wanting to surrender dogs, work with local veterinarians, contact other shelters, post information to their website, pay the bills and otherwise run a very compassionate and sophisticated organization.

Vanderberg does all of these jobs in her “20-hour-a-week” position, which usually takes from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. most days of the week.

“I’m here I guess because I’m an animal lover whose volunteer work led to a job,” said Vanderberg ... lucky for all the local, orphaned dogs.

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Hood River Adopt a Dog is located at 3910 Heron Drive in Odell; 541-354-1083. Adoption days are Wednesday evenings, 5-7 p.m., and Saturday mornings, 9-11 a.m. Fees cover spay and neuter costs and vaccinations. Donations are always gladly accepted.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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