SATURDAY. SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 | Detert Park | Jackson

Each year in September, A-PAL Humane Society presents one of its principal fundraising events, BARK in the PARK. Here is an opportunity to spend a day enjoying the cooling air of late summer among friends--human and canine. Strut your Mutt at 9:00 AM sharp, then, throughout the day enjoy games, an adoptable dog runway show, the live music of Wicked Sisters, genuine wood-fired pizza from RC Pizza Wagon, free rabies shots, free face painting, lots of great vendors and a huge raffle. As always, the proceeds will benefit A.PAL Humane Society, whose tireless and generous advocacy in our community has enhanced so many lives--human and canine. Same-day registration for the Strut begins at 8:30 AM. To register in advance, download the form here.




Friday the 17th

$9 for 9 LIVES for 9 DAYS


BARK in the PARK
Saturday the 24th

All Treats, no Tricks

Animals and their people

Bring JOY to your WORLD
This month, ACAC & AC
and Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) become partners in an inspired dog training program,

To hug, or not to hug?
PART II  Citizen Maggie

from Jim Birmingham
Jim Birmingham is a life-long animal lover, longstanding supporter of worthy animal causes, member of A-PAL, volunteer at ACAC&AC, Coonhound Guy, and Distinguished Old Gentleman.

By the time Maggie came home with us, I was a highly experienced Coonhound owner. 
I had looked at two, maybe three appropriate websites to achieve this status. I knew all there was to know about Coonhounds. "Laid back" was my favorite description, since I had a vision of us sitting together on the front porch, me in the rocker and sweet Maggie lying at my feet, with one eye barely open, content to be with the one who'd rescued her from the shelter. Together, we would while away the hours listening to the birds in the meadow and letting the world go by. Everyone knows that's how hounds are, and I couldn't wait to start this new life with Maggie.

The next morning, I found out Maggie had the energy of an Indy 500 car, and pulled on the leash like a runaway locomotive. I had read that Coonhounds needed plenty of exercise. Now I knew why. No problem! I would simply take her on frequent walks. On these walks, Maggie saw fun and excitement up every tree, behind every bush, and under every leaf (i.e. gophers). Her nose was totally in charge and whatever brain function existed prior to the walk were put on hold. Most of the time, my body position was at least 45 off vertical, and by the time the fun ended I was close to exhaustion, if not total collapse.

Five or six walks each day was the routine for the next few weeks. No way could I let Maggie off-leash; she would have been in the next county before I could react. The walks were grueling. My  legs couldn't move fast enough for her. Up and downthe hills we went, through the brush, me continuously correcting her for trying to get our cats. After a couple of weeks of this, I had to let her off the leash. I did. Maggie was very quiet for a second or two and then launched...the genie was out of the bottle! She ran continuously larger circles around me before bounding up our steepest hill to the fence. I didn't know any creature could move that fast! She made multiple trips up and down the 600' back fence looking for an opening. Breathlessly, I caught up with Maggie, cinched her up, and made it back to the house. I had never seen enthusiasm like that in my life!

Early on, my biggest worries were for my cats, who looked very much like prey to Maggie. She delighted in chasing them and, even better, she loved it when they had to climb trees to stay out of her way. Their safety was my highest priority and everything possible had to be done to ensure it. I needed to establish myself as "the leader". So, I enrolled Maggie in training classes, hosted by Margaret Blair at Twin Cedar K9. Maggie was on her way to a Canine Good Citizen Certification. She would probably graduate with honors!

I couldn't wait for the first night of class. I imagined everyone dropping what they were doing, awestruck at the sight of Maggie and the Distinguished Old Gentleman confidently striding up to them. Beautiful Maggie, with her wonderful face and slim, muscular body! Long-limbed! Graceful! A superb specimen of a dog! The glory of the past would soon be relived...those days when the young fighter pilot eased the throttle of his F-104 Starfighter into afterburner...pointing it towards the awe-stricken crowd as it breathlessly awaited a flyby of the world's finest fighter aircraft... pulling it up to a vertical climb and accelerating to Mach 2, accompanied by a glorious sonic boom. Nothing could be better than that...
except THIS!

Maggie and I confidently strutted up to the class, half-expecting applause. I stopped momentarily to say hello to a friend when suddenly, my ears were split-not by a sonic boom-but by a sound so loud it caused everyone to turn and look.
Unbelievably, it was Maggie; howling, growling and aggressively threatening the most gentle, calm, and docile dog there...a 6-month-old Golden Retriever pup. At that moment I realized the next few weeks might not be a cakewalk.

Maggie did pretty well the first session, learning a few basic commands. As training continued, however, she became more and more resistant to some of them. "DOWN" was the one she especially hated. We spent much time at home practicing, though, and she quickly progressed. Still, during class, she often refused to react to commands she had performed brilliantly at home. I was convinced she did this intentionally to embarrass me. It was a setup! Other people's dogs were so obedient and eager to please. What was wrong with mine? Why did she whine, cry, and yelp when all I wanted her to do was follow a simple command?

After eight weeks of this, it was finally time to take the test for the Canine Good Citizenship Award, and I dreaded it. How would Maggie act in front of all those highly experienced, all-business American Kennel Club experts? The stress was so great I thought of withdrawing, but we had come so far and Maggie was doing better.

Maggie and I arrived 30 minutes before our scheduled test time so we could practice and get ready for the challenge. We went off into the woods to be by ourselves, away from distractions. First HEEL, then SIT, DOWN, STAY, COME, and HEEL again. It was a disaster! Maggie wouldn't do anything and complained loudly as I became ever more frustrated. The low point of our practice was the DOWN command. She acted like she was severely injured and cried more and more as I tried gently to coax her to the ground with the leash. Once again, I thought about bowing out of the test. Soon, we would both be a public spectacle; having to hide from all who knew us. We would only be able to go out at night. Maggie would have to ride in the back of the car where there wouldn't be any windows, so that no one would recognize her. Ridicule would follow us wherever we went.

We walked slowly to the event's starting point without enthusiasm or hope. It was time to demonstrate SIT and DOWN and we began. When I commanded SIT, Maggie immediately responded and did it. OK! I gave her that, but I knew how she hated DOWN. I uneasily gave the command with a breaking voice, and Maggie once again did it! I couldn't believe what had just happened. It was like the sun coming up in the west! I know she did this just to confuse me, to show me that all the fuss over the last eight weeks wasn't worth it.

Next, we went on to HEEL and she did great. People with umbrellas in their hands...people using walkers... didn't bother her a bit. She excelled when a tester came up and handled her, looking in her mouth and ears, and checking her feet. The rest of the test went without a hitch and, once again, I felt a moment of glory re-emerge. Finally, when Maggie had successfully completed all of the steps, it was time to fill out the paperwork so that she could be declared a true Canine Good Citizen!

Confidently and proudly, I turned my dog over to an AKC representative, so that I could write. Without warning, that horrible "Cujo" sound erupted from Maggie. I couldn't believe it! Again, it was the sweet, gentle, very young Golden Retriever that had set Maggie off. Everyone, including me, screamed at her and, as I looked at the certificate in the lady's hand, I knew it would never be ours. Unbelievably, I was wrong. The nice lady who'd been trying to hold Maggie either felt sorry for us or declared the test "over" in the hope that we would leave ASAP. We did, and never looked back, lest she had suddenly changed her mind.
Next month, PART III: Living the DREAM
Our Partners: ACART   from Jon Baldwin
When the volunteers of the Amador County Animal Response Team looked up from their training exercise the evening of September 9 last year and saw billows of smoke rising over the ridge behind the American Legion Ambulance headquarters, they knew immediately this was not going to be a routine training meeting.  They were witnessing the initial blowup of the Butte Fire.

Before the evening was over, two volunteers, Kathy Vicini and Carol Scarrone, had the ACART supply trailer positioned at the County Fairgrounds and were completing setup just as the first evacuated animals rolled in.  Before the event was over, 13 days later, they and many other volunteers had put in over 2,000 hours providing shelter and care for more than 450 displaced pets, horses and livestock.  At the end, in spite of the initial disorder that accompanies disaster, all but one of the animals were returned safe and sound to their owners. There were even three baby goats born while at the fairgrounds shelter. 

ACART, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, has been in existence since 2009 and was formed by a group of Amador County residents who saw a need to provide care for pets and other animals displaced by fires and other emergency events.  Red Cross shelters admit only service animals, so families are often hesitant to evacuate if it means leaving their non-human members in harm's way.

FYI: AB 797, Right to Rescue Act
Every year, thousands of animals die in hot, unattended vehicles.  On an 80 degree day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 120 degrees in only 10 minutes.  The temperature in a closed vehicle goes up to 150 degrees on a 90 degree day.  Concerned citizens who come across animals left in vehicles during warm months and in need of rescue aren't sure what to do.  They rightly fear being sued or arrested if they take steps to free the animal.  California AB 797, which was approved by the California Legislature last week, allows Good Samaritans to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal if specific conditions are met.  The Good Samaritan needs to follow various steps prior to entering a vehicle. 
  • Check that the car cannot be opened.
  • The animal must be suffering harm or in imminent danger.
  • Contact law enforcement, fire department, animal control or 911.
  • Remain with the animal in a safe location until law enforcement, animal control or emergency responder arrives.
  • Do not use more force than necessary to rescue the animal.
  • Immediately turn over the animal to law enforcement, animal control or emergency responder.
So long as these steps are followed, Good Samaritans would be protected from criminal prosecution of liability for civil damages. "Right to Rescue Act will save lives," stated Assembly Member Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) who jointly authored the Bill. "In an emergency, Good Samaritans should be confident that they won't be sued for taking heroic actions to rescue a pet. We hope this never has to happen; this effort is also about spreading awareness of the danger of hot cars, and that leaving your pet in harmful conditions is already illegal."
California AB 797 heads to Governor Jerry Brown for signature. 
DIXIE: Cooperation saves another life.

Dixie is a lovely cattle dog. She was seriously injured when she fell onto the highway from the back of her owner's pickup. The surgery needed to repair her fractured femur was beyond the financial reach of her people. Dixie was turned over to the shelter. The Rusty Fund and APAL combined enough resources to cover the medical costs for this young dog. Jackson Creek Veterinary Clinic was able to repair the damage. Dixie is now in foster care while she is rehabilitated. She will be adopted as soon as she is pronounced fit. This is the very kind of medical attention and follow-up care that ACAC & AC could not give without the generous help of APAL and the Rusty Fund. Thanks, again and again, to all donors who make Dixie's story a success.

We'd love to hear from you. Send your story, with photos if you have them, to Lisa Peterson.

Help us build our BARN
PHASE 2 of the original building plan for ACAC & AC's new facility called for a barn. That part of the plan was set aside once PHASE 1 was completed, until a recent endowment from the estate of a local and generous animal benefactor got things moving again. Specifications for the new barn are being reviewed now, but more money will be needed to get it built. If you would like to help, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Amador County Community Foundation, and specify in writing that it is for the Amador County Animal Control BARN. Donations can also be made online at the Amador Community Foundation website.

If you have questions, contact the Foundation at 209.223.2148.

Thinking of being a VOLUNTEER?
If you would like to join the dedicated ranks of volunteers at Amador County Animal Control & Adoption Center, you can view or print a Volunteer Application here, on the Amador County Website. Final applications must be submitted on the county's original pink form, so you will need to pick up an original at Amador County Animal Control & Adoption Center, 12340 Airport Road, in Martell. They will walk you through the process.

Note: Volunteering is good for your Heart, but the benefits don't stop there. One of our new volunteers has lost 16 pounds since she started walking dogs six months ago. 
Interested in what's going on in the animal community? Join our mailing list and get this newsletter every month.