Posts tagged ‘Wenatchee’

Seventy Three Days

This is  a story of survival and perserverence,  written in the Chesapeak Bay Retriever newsletter.  I was given permission to share this wonderful story by Chris Shannon, a client of mine and one of the rescuers of this very lucky dog.

Jake, an 11 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, was alone and trailing his leash behind him in the hills near Wenatchee, WA for seventy-three days. Sometimes it was sunny, sometimes he faced a bitterly cold rain or snow.

It was not the first time Jake had been left alone to fend for himself. He had been picked up by animal control staff from a condemned home where he had been left to live under deplorable conditions since his owner became ill. He was undernourished and afraid. But it was during his transfer to a CBR Rescue foster home where his life took one more turn for the worse. He was scared, he pulled loose from his transporter, and he ran through a busy intersection and up a highway onramp with every bit of energy he had left.

Word spread throughout the area through both traditional print and social media outlets, prompting scores of people to be on the lookout for Jake. There were several sightings but it was not until almost two weeks after his escape that confirmation came that Jake had settled in a small canyon near the highway. He had apparently been subsisting on a roadkill deer carcass and was even more desperately thin. Once there was confirmation of his location, two local women who NW Regional Director Carol Williams calls “Jake’s Angels” and one Washington-based CBR Rescue volunteer took on the challenge of catching Jake.

Mary and Chris (and Chrisʼ husband Mike) kept an eye on him and made sure he had fresh water and nutritious food each day. They lost sight of him more than once when he moved to new locations, but they never gave up on the search. When a traditional trap didn’t work, a “Missy” style trap was purchased and set up.

They kept track of Jake using a motion sensor

Despite their efforts, the only thing the trap caught was a cat. Jake was too smart to be lured in. A motion sensor wildlife camera helped make sure he was coming in to feed each evening. No matter what the obstacle, Mary and Chris continued to make sure Jake had clean water and warm, nutritious food twice each day. He received warm bacon, roast beef, and kibble. Sometimes stir-fry steak strips with a side of kibble. Rib bones heated slightly because “he doesn’t like them cold” were also on his regular menu along with his favorite spaghetti and meatballs. Without all of the people who helped save him, Jake would never have survived 73 days alone in the wilderness.

After weeks of attempts to entice Jake into one trap or the other, a snare device was deployed. Mary, Chris and Mike crawled through an irrigation canal under the highway and waited for hours each night in the cold and dark to hear the “SNAP” of the snare. November 24, “SNAP”! They caught a cat. November 27, “SNAP”! Another cat. November 28, “SNAP!” and Jake was back in human hands!

Jake’s Angels never gave up. He was finally captured by a Humane Canine Snare system on the Friday after Thanksgiving — the 73rd day after his escape.

Jake happy again in his new home

Jake has since cleaned up nicely! He moved to safety in the foster care of Liz Krizenesky, a CBR Rescue volunteer in NE Washington. A very special thanks to Mary, Chris, Mike and Liz, and to all the folks in Leavenworth and Wenatchee for never giving up on rescuing Jake. There were some pretty special treats under last Christmas’ tree for Jake… a new home! Liz and her husband, Joe, have adopted Jake. They all remain friends with Mary, Chris and Mike.

For information on this rescue group, or to give a donation, contact:

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief & Rescue, c/o Carolyn Baughman, Treasurer, P.O. Box 2187, Poquoson, VA 23662


October 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

One fiery night of devastation turns into seven months of anguish

A 001

My son and daughter-in-law Ben and Wendy Baker were married in 1993 and a year later went to work for Farwell Products in Wenatchee, WA, a company that had been in existence for more than 50 years. Farwell Products manufactures Doc Farwell’s Grafting Seal, Tree Paint and Seal & Heal.  These are pliable, thick coatings to apply to trees and vines for grafting, tree protection and tree surgery.  The small business is a two man operation, Ben in production and Wendy in the office.

In 2003 Ben & Wendy bought the business from Wendy’s father and began to increase sales, selling to distributors all across the United States and Canada. Life was good, and business was good.  So good in fact that in 2014 they made the decision to build a bigger, more modern facility in East Wenatchee to house their business so they would be able to increase production even more.

The construction of the new building has started!

The construction of the new building has started!

Ben & Wendy excited about the new warehouse

Ben & Wendy excited about the new warehouse

In the fall of 2014 they broke ground on the new building. After months of red tape, permit issues, inspection considerations, faulty equipment deliveries and all the other headaches associated with the erection of their new building, in the summer of 2015 it was near completion.

In the meantime, Ben & Wendy ordered the new lightnin mixer in anticipation of the completion of the new building. This mixer would enable more flexibility and precision to the mixing process. A brand new fork lift was delivered.  And after a 6 month wait, the new air mixer was delivered.  Ben had started to pack up materials and product in preparation for the move.

Flames surrounding Wenatchee

Flames surrounding Wenatchee

The summer of 2015 was a hot, dry one. There had been a drought and the hillsides surrounding Wenatchee were tinder dry.  On June 28th a wildfire erupted just north of Wenatchee coined the “Sleepy Hollow” fire.  Within hours the fire was out of control.  It was the hottest, fastest fire anyone had ever seen.

The huge, not embers blowing towards town

The huge, not embers blowing towards town

By that evening the wind was carrying the enormous, flaming hot embers everywhere, making its way to the commercial district in the northern part of town.

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Flames shooting out of Farwell Products

Flames shooting out of Farwell Products

Propane and chemicals stored in the area began exploding, spreading the fire to several surrounding warehouses.

Farwell Products left in ashes

Farwell Products left in ashes

Nothing left...

Nothing left…

The next morning showed the devastation. Thousands of acres were burned, 28 homes on the outskirts of Wenatchee were destroyed and several warehouses in the commercial part of town were left in ashes.  Farwell Products was one of them.

The brand new forklift was destroyed

The brand new forklift was destroyed

Immediately Ben went to the warehouse to assess the damages. Everything was a total loss.  All of the equipment and the entire inventory he had on hand were gone.

The clay mixer pulled from the wreckage

The clay mixer pulled from the wreckage

He managed to pull out the clay mixer. Because it is made of carbon steel, it could withstand more heat.  It was warped and twisted but Ben knew it was crucial to try to salvage it since it was needed for the manufacturing of the product they produced.  He loaded it on a trailer and sent what was left of the charred mess to a fabricator to see what they could do.  The days and weeks that followed were a blur.  They dealt with insurance companies, well-wishers sent their condolences, and they waited for the final phase of the new warehouse to be complete.

Orders were coming in. Wendy was dealing with the daily phone calls explaining to everyone that the warehouse had been burned to the ground and that they were re-building as fast as they could to get operations back up and running.  Some were very understanding, others not so much.  “But can’t you just send us a couple of gallons?”, “Sorry, our entire inventory of product was destroyed and we don’t have any way to produce any more.  How can you not understand that?”  It was a very frustrating and stressful time.

The pump (the most important element to the new production process was ordered in August.

The beautiful but empty new warehouse

The beautiful but empty new warehouse

By the middle of September, all inspections were satisfied and the new building was ready to be occupied. Over the next couple of months the new raw materials were ordered and delivered.  The new mixer and tanks and machinery were ordered and slowly but surely started coming into the warehouse.  A new fork lift was delivered.  The clay mixer was salvaged and straightened and rebuilt and delivered at the end of August.  The clay was delivered in September (unfortunately the pallets had shifted during transport and the entire load had to be unloaded by hand and restacked, but it was finally here).  And the pump?  Well, it was on back order.  So they waited…

The rebuilt clay mixer

The rebuilt clay mixer

More orders came in along with more unhappy customers in need of their product.

The product is being mixed one, slow batch at a time.

The product is being mixed one, slow batch at a time.

By the middle of October all the raw materials had been delivered and all of the machinery except for the pump had been delivered. Anxiety finally overcame Ben and he decided he had to do something, so he started mixing the materials the way it was done in the very beginning, without the pump.  It was a tedious and slow process.   He tried this way and that until he finally got a product he was satisfied with.

By the 1st of December he was back in production trying to satisfy some of the orders that had been pouring in.  One slow batch at a time.  And then in the middle of December it happened!  The pump finally arrived… And it was broken! After months and months of trying to salvage the company, this was a heavy blow to Ben and Wendy.

The second pump arrives...finally!

The second pump arrives…finally!


On the 18th of January, four and a half months after placing the order, the second pump arrived.  It has been installed and I’m happy to say that on the 30th of January, 2016 Farwell Products is finally back in full production in their beautiful, new warehouse.

Ben & Wendy. Finally back to full production!

Ben & Wendy. Finally back to full production!

Filling orders!

Filling orders!

So many people forget the lasting effects a disaster has on the many people who lost their homes and businesses on that devastating night of June 28th, 2015.  I just wanted to tell the story of one incident…one family…one business… that took 7 months to recover, and is still recovering from that night.  I believe the key force that has gotten Ben & Wendy through this ordeal is their positive attitude, their belief in the product they produce, and their strong love and bond they have for each other.  Together they are a team.  They never lost hope.  Farwell Products, the company that was founded so many years ago, is lucky to have Ben & Wendy as the Keeper of its product.


February 13, 2016 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Pet sitting and the loss of a sweet old Lab

For the last week and a half I’ve been pet sitting, first in Seattle, then in Wenatchee.  In Seattle I watched Clarence & Charlie, a couple of sweet pups that keep me on my toes and make me laugh every day (Man I LOVE my job!!!).  Clarence is wearing a cone because he has just been neutered.  But it didn’t slow him down one bit!

Clarence & Charlie

Clarence & Charlie

Then this week I came back in Wenatchee to watch two rambunctious, spirited, and absolutely amazing Chessies, Maggie Mae and Uncle Gus, along with sweet little Alex the cat.

Maggie & Gus

Maggie & Gus

The last time I watched Alex she was very sick.  Her blood pressure had shot up and damaged some of her eye sight.  She was in pretty bad shape.  But boy did she bounce back!  She has regained some of her eye sight and has a good feel for her surroundings and, I’m happy to say, gets around great again and is back to her old sweet self :-).

Little Miss Alex

Little Miss Alex

With a heavy heart I am sorry to say that lovable old Brook, a 16 year old Chocolate Lab has passed since I’ve last been here.  She had been failing for quite some time.  She was blind in one eye and had lost her hearing. The last time I watched her in September I knew that her time here would soon be over.  She was having trouble getting to her feet, but her spirit was still strong and she still got excited to play a bit in the yard and get her rubs and treats.   My eyes are filled with tears just thinking of her now.  Good-by my sweet Brook.  I will miss you for a long, long time, but I am so glad I got to be a part of your life.


January 19, 2013 at 10:21 am 1 comment

Three Weeks in Wenatchee – Visitors from Holland, Birthdays and Pet Sitting

I had a long overdue extended stay in Wenatchee lately.  The first week we were visited by my cousin Margriet and her husband Han from The Netherlands.  It’s been six long years since I’ve seen my cousin.  In 2006 I met her in Venice and we took a cruise through the Greek Islands.  A trip that neither one of us will ever forget, it was fabulous!  And it’s been even longer since she’s come to Washington for a visit – about 10 years.  As time goes by faster and faster as we are getting older we both realize the visits MUST come more frequently from now on.

On Thursday, the first night they arrived, we went to the Country Club for dinner.  Seated from left to right are – My sister Bonnie’s husband Gary, Margriet’s husband Han, Bonnie, niece Christi & Brent, sister Kathy, Dutch cousin Margriet and me.

Out to dinner with the family

On Friday, after spending the day visiting, we went to my other cousin Bruce and his wife Graces for dinner and more conversation.  The food was fantastic and the organic cherry wine (made by them) was as usual THE BEST!

Enjoying a wonderful evening at the Spencers

Saturday morning we went to Farmers Market to visit Bruce & Graces booth.  Bruce’s son and family met up with us there.  It was a fun reunion for everyone!

Margriet & Han with cousin Bruce

Margriet & Han with the Spencer family

Later that day Kathy hosted a huge dinner so the entire family could come and visit Margriet & Han.  My son and his family as well as my daughter from Lynnwood and her family were able to come, along with all the other relatives and friends.  It was a busy, busy day!

Preparing the meal

Lots of kids, too!

So good to be together again!

Showing Ava a game from Holland

It was so nice to see Margriet & Han again!  By Monday they were heading over the pass towards Seattle to fly out on Tuesday.  The time went way too fast.  Until next time Margriet & Han!  We love you so much!

The following week was my sister Kathy and my birthdays.  Our birthdays are only two days apart and we are two years apart.  My sister Bonnie is the middle child so needless to say we were like triplets growing up and we are still very close.  There’s just nothing like sisters!

To celebrate Kathy and my birthdays we went to the Sleeping Lady in Leavenworth.  My grandson Christian Baker just graduated from high school this last spring and is on his way to being a chef.  He is so lucky to be able to work under the very impressive Executive Chef Kenneth MacDonald.   After driving through the property and seeing deer meandering around, we arrived at the Kingfisher Restaurant.  I have to say I have never had such a unique and delicious meal in a long, long time.  Everything was prepared with local or organic ingredients, and the salad bar was to die for!  It was worth going just for that alone.

Enjoying an evening at the Sleeping Lady with my grandson Christian Baker

The last part of my time in Wenatchee was pet sitting three dogs.  One very comical and energetic Yellow Lab Bella, one soft and cuddly Cocker Spaniel Bentley, and one very old and precious Beagle named Daisy.  Just behind the house are miles and miles of foothills to run around and explore.  Bella tells me in no uncertain terms when it’s time to go.  So off we go every day, Bella and Bentley running all over as I try to keep up with them.  Great exercise for all of us.

It’s hunting season so the pups wear their orange vests

Beautiful view of Wenatchee Valley

Daisy has run the hills for enough years.  She now prefers to stay home and take a nap.

My sweet little Daisy

I’m now in Bellevue pet sitting a couple of other dogs.  It’s always hard to leave the pups I’m staying with but I also look forward to the ones I’m going to.  And I know that I’ll be back another day to walk the hills with Bella and Bentley and give lots of love and massages to Daisy!

November 5, 2012 at 6:51 am Leave a comment

The Day Our Valley Went Gray – The Wenatchee Complex Fire

Photo take by DZ Photography

I left Wenatchee for Seattle yesterday and am now sitting in the dining room with bright sunshine coming in the large picture windows.  Oh how I’m enjoying this after so many days of burning eyes, sore throat, and a thick fog of smoke surrounding the Wenatchee valley.

Photo taken from photo gallery

Last Saturday, September 8th, lightning struck several places around the valley causing around 50 fires.  Since the fires started mainly around Number 1 Canyon, the fire was named the Canyons Fire.  Because of the high winds, hot weather and dry conditions the fires escalated quite fast.

Photo posted on Facebook

Sun setting behind the Canyons Fire

And before we knew it, there were fires surrounding the valley.  As soon as one fire was contained another escalated and merged with another fire.  By Tuesday, Sept. 11th, the Canyons Fire merged with the Twin Peaks fire west of Wenatchee and now there were over 1000 acres burning.  Now the fire is named the Wenatchee Complex Fire.  Updates started coming in on evacuation notices.  For days everyone was on alert not knowing if they would have to evacuate their homes or not as the fires came closer and closer to the residential areas.  There was a Level 2 evacuation notice just up the road from where I was pet-sitting.

Photo taken by Landon Michaelson,

Thanks to the hard work of all the firefighters that converged in Wenatchee, as of now, there has been only one out-building destroyed and no one has been injured because of this fire.

Fire Fighters camp at Confluence Park

Photo from

Under a fog of heavy smoke, fire fighter crews get ready for a night of sleep.

Sign CMI employees placed on their office building overlooking Confluence Park

Finally the winds died down.  This helped the fires from spreading as fast but unfortunately it caused a new problem.  The entire Wenatchee Valley was covered in smoke.

Our beautiful Wenatchee Valley was now a smokey, ashy, unhealthy basin.  Health warnings started coming in.  Anyone with respiratory problems were to stay indoors.  After school sports programs were cancelled.  Even Cashmere school was released early because of the smoke pollution.  I was pet-sitting two very energetic dogs who need their exercise but I was worried not to run them too much because of the unhealthy air conditions.

Gus & Maggie

Smoke covered Wenatchee Valley

By Wednesday, Sept. 12th, 124 homes were under Level 3 Evacuation notice.  As the firefighters diligently worked on containing the fires, the smoke in the valley increasingly got worse and the air quality was in the “hazardous” zone.

Looking down the street in Wenatchee

The sun was an eery orange and red color.

And that’s when you could even see the sun through the haze.  At times the smoke was so heavy you couldn’t even get any sunlight at all.

Sun behind a cloud of smoke

As of now it sounds like the smoke is finally thinning out around Wenatchee a bit but is still at a dangerous level.  There are still several fires in the foothills and it seems like there’s no end in sight.  Like I said, I was able to leave the valley to get some fresh air and sunshine but many of my family members and friends are still there so I’m hoping that these terrible fires will soon be extinguished.

September 16, 2012 at 6:59 am Leave a comment

A Fiery Week in Wenatchee

The Canyons fire near Wenatchee. Taken by Landon Michaelson from Badger Mountain.

Wow, what a week this has been!  I’ve been pet sitting in the Wenatchee area this week.  Three adorable dogs and one sweet little cat.


Maggie & Gus

Sweet little Alex

All was going well.  Saturday I decided to go to the Farmers Market to pick up some things and to visit my cousin.

Wenatchee Farmers Market

Me with my cousin Bruce

It was a beautiful day and I had a great visit.  But by Saturday night everything changed.  A huge lightning storm came out of knowwhere and starting several fires around the Wenatchee Valley.  With the hot, dry, windy conditions, it seemed like as fast as one fire was put out another became out of control.  Some of the bigger fires were merging.  This is a picture I took while driving from the store back to the house on Sunday evening just as the sun was setting behind the rising smoke from one of the fires.

By Monday morning the whole valley was engulfed in smoke.  The schools cancelled their after school sports because of the heavy smoke and the newscasters are warning people with breathing problems to stay indoors.

This afternoon I could see smoke rising just behind the ridge from the back yard of the house where I’m pet sitting.

It is my sister’s birthday today and I figured the fire was still several miles away so I went to the restaurant to help celebrate Bonnie’s birthday with her.

Bonnies birthday dinner

While driving home I saw that the fire behind the ridge had grown and was really visible from the road now, yikes!

When I got to the house I watched the orange glow of fire on the top of the mountain just behind the house.  Thank goodness there’s a river and lots of green trees between me and the bottom of the hill.  I heard on the news that Sleepy Hollow Road was on Level 2 Evacuation (get ready to evacuate).  Sleepy Hollow Road is just down the road from where I’m at, but it’s on the other side of the river.

I’ve been here for a couple of hours now and I can only see a dull orange glow at the top of the hill now.  The wind has calmed down and the temperature is falling thank goodness.  Hopefully by tomorrow most of this will be under control.

September 12, 2012 at 4:46 am Leave a comment

Left a little too long alone

Don’t let this happen!  Be sure to hire The Road Runner Pet Nanny to keep your pet happy and occupied while you’re away!  I’ll give him lots of love and attention…and keep a clean and neat house too!

June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Easter 2012

My sister Kathy hosted Easter this year as she has for several years now.

Kathy with Joni

Kathy lives in our family home where we grew up so we now have the fifth generation enjoying this holiday in the same home, in the same yard.  That’s very special to me.  I remember as a child my sisters and I running out to the back yard to find our Easter baskets, and after my sister and I were married and had children we still celebrated Easter at “Grandmas” house.  All the kids have great memories of those days.

Of course the day before the Easter eggs needed to be colored.  Heather and LJ volunteered, and I have to say they did an excellent job!

LJ and Heather coloring Easter eggs

I hosted Easter at my house for several years when mom got older but after my mom passed and Kathy moved back into the family home, she is back to hosting it.  This year our entire family was able to come.

The two youngest members of the family are my Grandson LJ and my cousin Bruce’s grandson Oliver.  Perhaps a little too young to remember the fun but they still got baskets of goodies.

Heather with LJ and Christina with Oliver

It is sooo much fun watching the excitement on the kids faces when they go out to hunt for Easter eggs.

My great-grandson Mason with Bruce's granddaughter Ava

LJ checking out his Easter basket

Austin & Colten hunting for their special "Golden" eggs

Another tradition my mom started when we became adults was to have a special hunt for the grown-ups.  She never wanted to leave anyone out of the fun, and neither did my sister.

Cousin Bruce, daughter-in-law Wendy and daughter Heather getting clues for the adult hunt

Daughter Heather with my two grandsons LJ and Christian

The pups had a great time running and playing in the yard too!

Jackson, Ava & Bogey

It was a wonderful day and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the coming of spring than to share  it with the people you love.

April 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Back in Wenatchee

Wow, it seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Wenatchee.  I’m here pet sitting three adorable and lovable dogs.

Daisy, Bentley & Bella

Besides enjoying walking around Birch Mountain with the pups, I’m able to spend some much needed time with my family and friends before heading back over the pass to the west side again.

February 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm 1 comment