Hurray for happy endings! According to Adam Carlson of people.com, after 42 days of being lost in Yellowstone National Forest, “Jade, a 17-month-old,” blue-eyed, Australian Shepherd, was reunited with her family.
How was Jade lost?
On July 23, Jade and her owner, David Sowers, were involved in a head-on collision in Yellowstone, says Whitney Bermes of Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Sower’s girlfriend, Laura Gillice, was also in the car.
Once freed from the car, Sowers was airlifted to a hospital in Bozeman with a shattered knee and multiple broken bones, reports Carlson. Unfortunately, Jade bolted from the scene when park rangers attempted to free her from her crushed cage.
The search for Jade
In her article, Bermes details the exhaustive hunt for Jade. During her 42-day absence there were several Jade sightings, as many as three or four in one day. At one point, there was a lapse of 16 days without a single sighting. Sowers and Gillice had pretty much given up hope. They traveled from Denver, back to Yellowstone four times with hopes of finding Jade. In the meantime, Kat Brekken, a senior reservations agent for Xanterra Parks and Resorts, busied herself with rescue efforts. She recalled thinking, “I have to find this dog1.”
Brekken set up a Facebook page for the search and put up posters. She used a recording of Sowers calling for Jade and played it in the areas where Jade was sighted. She even used some of Sowers dirty laundry as bait hoping to lure Jade into a trap1.
On their last trip to Yellowstone, Sowers, Gillice and their other dog Laila stayed in the park’s Canyon Village area where Sowers’ wrecked vehicle sat for several weeks before being towed. This was also the area where Jade had been most recently sighted1.
As Gillice and Laila were sitting at the edge of a meadow, out of the corner of her eye Gillice saw a black head pop up. With the help of binoculars she identified none other than Jade. According to Carlson, Gillice said, “She came bounding at me, kissing me and everything.”
Needless to say, Sowers was overjoyed at finally being reunited with his beloved dog. Amazingly, Jade appeared uninjured, other than a small cut on her lip. However, she did lose quite a bit of weight during her ordeal. “She’s skin and bones, but otherwise she seems perfectly fine,” Sowers said1.
Jade became quite a celebrity amongst locals. As the family sat outside on the grass only a few hours after Jade’s reunion with Sowers, dozens of people flocked to pet the “miracle dog.” They all expressed astonishment at her survival. “What a fantastic boost for us,” one Yellowstone employee said. “That warms my heart.” Kat Brekken, had tears in her eyes as she showered Jade with hugs, kisses, and pets1.
It’s unclear just how Jade survived as long as she did. She may have fed on road kill or animal scat. She was certainly lucky to have avoided falling victim to one of many large predators that reside in Yellowstone. Only Jade knows the truth behind her survival.
During his reunion with Jade, Sowers sported a shirt saying, “Only the strong survive Yellowstone.” He reassured his girl, saying, “I’m not going anywhere, I promise. You and I are going to stick together1.”
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Blogging for a Good Book
Recommended to me by a children’s librarian who was making a display of children’s books that adults love to read, this little book provided some unexpected moments of grace in a grumpy day.
Prolific Newbery award-winning author Cynthia Rylant has produced a book that all ages could find quirky, thought-provoking and beguiling. It may not be for everyone, since the basic premise is that God is visiting earth in various everyday situations to see what living on earth is like. Written in verse, it includes some startling moments such as when God opens a shop called “Nails by Jim,” an idea I find surprising, but oddly beautiful:
“He got into nails, of course,
Because He’d always loved
Hands were some of the best things
He’d ever done”
God Got a Dog portrays God personally with human failings and doubts:
“He knew He WAS
but he didn’t
always feel that way. Not every day).”
Like Cynthia Rylant’s other books it is idiosyncratic, unconventional and gently effervescent, and made me look at the world in a slightly different way. Reading it was a small break from the day.
These poems were previously published as part of a longer teen book called God Went to Beauty School. To appeal to a younger audience, in God Got a Dog each poem has a lovely, calm and muted illustration, with a wide viewpoint that gives a sense of large scale.
God Got a Dog will suit adult readers who are interested in children’s books and it will also appeal to anyone who is eager to explore quirky ideas about religion.
Check the WRL catalog for God Got a Dog.
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A friend asked recently what was the best technique I have found for coping with the grief of losing a beloved pet, and in the instant of loss I had no great advice other that to reassure her that, in time, the pain and grief subside a bit and all the joy and love remain and fill our hearts.
But, from a slightly longer view, I do have one general suggestion…
In some ways, losing a pet has more visceral impact than losing a person—while we may love people dearly, our relationships with most people take place to a large extent inside our heads—they are based in part on ideas, dialog, and shared interests. On long conversations that we can recall later whenever we need to hear their voice. Our relationship with a pet is less cerebral but more corporeal. We spend far more hours in proximity to our pets than to most people, more hours cuddling and playing and petting. They are a nearly constant physical presence the absence of which is keenly felt. We have all reached for the food-bowl of a departed pet and found ourselves sobbing…
For me, there is one vital technique to “getting through” the loss of a pet: spend their lives building positive memories with them. The more trips you take, games you play, and adventures you have, the more your heart will be buffered against the grief of losing them. I think back over the lives of my pets, and there is so much joy that my sadness is well-balanced. I feel deep solace in knowing how rich and full their lives were. Regret is one of the most pernicious negative emotions, so banish it while you have the chance!! Leave no stone unturned, make time to stop by the lake, take them herding, teach them that fun new skill, get them ice cream, find out what makes your pet’s life wonderful and do it!
Years from now you will think, “What I would not give for one more day so that we could…” Whatever that wish is going to be, today is that one more day, so make it great!
Databases for School Educators
Education databases give K-12 teachers the opportunity to expand learning in exciting new ways. Our school databases are visually appealing, highly intuitive, and a trustworthy resource where students can find vetted, age-appropriate content. By helping students develop the right research skills early on, educators are preparing elementary and middle school students for success in high school, college, and beyond.
Gale In Context: Elementary
Give young learners a safe place to practice research skills with this easy-to-use digital resource featuring age-appropriate, full-text, curriculum-related content covering a broad range of educational topics.
Gale In Context: Middle School
Empower beginning researchers—both inside and outside the classroom—with trusted multimedia reference and newspaper content covering the most-studied subject areas for today’s middle school students.
Gale In Context: High School
Ensure students are future-ready with engaging, authoritative databases wherever they learn. These media-rich resources integrate reliable content with curriculum-aligned materials spanning core subjects—all with citation tools that teach students how to cite references properly.
Gale In Context: For Educators
Provide educators with a better way to approach online lesson planning. This powerful resource saves time, enhances instruction, and helps teachers provide students equitable and personalized learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.
Education Protects Against the Vagaries of Life
I have written many times about how and why education is critical to the life of an animal. How it builds confidence, develops intelligence, strengthens bonds, etc.. How learning begets more learning, and understanding begets comfort, relaxation, and joy. I go on and on about this from the animals’ perspective because it is one of my deepest passions and areas of expertise.
Recently, however, I have had a series of experiences that made me want to share one distinct reason for teaching your pets a wide variety of skills that may not seem essential in the moment: things change.
Several people I have known have recently undergone huge life events that changed most of the details of their existence. They got old, injured, evicted, fired, whatever, and suddenly they had to pivot and build a new life, and their less-skilled pets became a huge impediment. If your pet is adaptable, flexible, and able to survive in a wide variety of circumstances, they will thrive, and be happy, no matter where you may end up. Even if you end up dead, or having to rehome your pet, the likelihood of an educated pet finding a good home and having a great life is far greater than if your pet is stressed, noisy, destructive, contentious, aggressive, has very specific needs, etc. Do not get me wrong—there are some pets that will never be “easy” no matter how much effort you put in, and I am not saying that owners of difficult pets are in any way “less” than owners of easy pets! I am merely saying that the more you can do to actualize any animal’s potential to be a good citizen and a delight, the more you will have increased that animal’s ability to find success and happiness in this dynamic world…