RSS Feed http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/ RSS news feed for the Living in Olympia Blog +Fri, 26 Aug 2011 18:33:00 -0700 en hourly 1 http://livinginolympia.info/ http://livinginolympia.info/upload/logo.png RSS Feed http://livinginolympia.info/ <![CDATA[Photos of the Newly Updated Percival Landing Boardwalk]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/photos-of-the-newly-updated-percival-landing-boardwalk-55/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/photos-of-the-newly-updated-percival-landing-boardwalk-55/#comments +Fri, 26 Aug 2011 18:33:00 -0700 5 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/photos-of-the-newly-updated-percival-landing-boardwalk-55/ Amidst all the excitement of Sand in the City opening today I was able to sneak down to the newly re-opened Percival Landing to take some photos. If you are around town you should definitely go check it out, and if your heart is in Oly but you currently reside elsewhere you will be amazed at the transformation!

]]>
Amidst all the excitement of Sand in the City opening today I was able to sneak down to the newly re-opened Percival Landing to take some photos. If you are around town you should definitely go check it out, and if your heart is in Oly but you currently reside elsewhere you will be amazed at the transformation!

Enjoy! And if you want more information about the Percival Landing makeover check out this link.

 

Percival Landing has re-opened in Olympia WA

 

The Harbor House at Percival Landing in Olympia WA

 

Beautiful Updating of Percival Landing in Olympia WA

 

Art on Percival Landing in Olympia WA

 

New Percival Landing Olympia WA

 

The Harbor House built during Percival Landing Reconstruction in Olympia WA

]]>
1 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/photos-of-the-newly-updated-percival-landing-boardwalk-55/feed/
<![CDATA[Sand in the City 2011 in Olympia]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sand-in-the-city-2011-in-olympia-54/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sand-in-the-city-2011-in-olympia-54/#comments +Fri, 26 Aug 2011 08:26:00 -0700 5 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sand-in-the-city-2011-in-olympia-54/ With the beginning of a new school year just around the corner, this weekend makes a perfect time to kick back and play in the sand. Now if only Olympia had some sand...

]]>
With the beginning of a new school year just around the corner, this weekend makes a perfect time to kick back and play in the sand. Now if only Olympia had some sand...

Not to worry, the Hands on Children's Museum has it covered. 240 tons of sand will be dumped at Port Plaza, just behind Anthony's Homeport Restaurant, where over 200 competitors will work their magic and create sand castles fit for royalty. What I'm talking about is Sand in the City®. 

Here are some of the key details:

COST: Free (Donations are encouraged though!)

WHAT IS IT FOR?: The event benefits the Hands On Children's Museum. Plus its just a good time!

WHERE IS IT?: Sand in the City takes place at Port Plaza, behind Anthony's Homeport Restaurant in Olympia. Get Directions

HOW CAN I HELP?: Volunteers are always needed or you can make a donation. More info here

 

Sand in the City 2011 Schedule

Sand in the City 2011 in Downtown Olympia WA

FRIDAY

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m: FREE! Team Sand Sculpting Competition, Arts and Crafts and Face Painting

6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m: Seaside Soirees - Must be 21 or over and pre-registered. Kick off the fun of Sand in the City with a dock side party and cruise. Then head ashore to enjoy the SandBlast Waterfront Gala. More info here

7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m: SandBlast Waterfront Gala - Must be 21 or over and must pre-register. Enjoy live music, food from Anthony's and Wagner's Bakery, along with a selection of Northwest beers and wines. More info here

 

Saturday

10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m: FREE! Community Beach Party day. Check out the sand castle displays, enjoy live children's music and entertainment, or get hands-on with the many activity booths. More info here

 

Sunday

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. FREE! Grandparents Day. Tour the sand sculpture displays and vote for the People's Choice Award. The winner will be announced at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Also enjoy live music and entertainment or go play at the activity booths or giant sand pit!

 

Can't make it to Sand in the City 2011 in Olympia but want to donate? Click Here

]]>
0 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sand-in-the-city-2011-in-olympia-54/feed/
<![CDATA[Good GRuB: What's good for the youth is good for the community]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/grub-olympia-non-profit-farm-53/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/grub-olympia-non-profit-farm-53/#comments +Thu, 18 Aug 2011 07:18:00 -0700 11 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/grub-olympia-non-profit-farm-53/ Empowering people as individuals ultimately empowers a community. GRuB is a grassroots organization dedicated to nurturing our youth, who in turn nurture the land, and somehow it all comes full circle.

]]>
It's a farm, right in the heart of Olympia. Their mission is clear, "Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB) is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to nourishing a strong community by empowering people and growing good food."

But how do you do that? One way is to reach out to the future leaders of a community...the youth. The agricultural based "Employment and Drop Out Prevention Program" works to involve teens in the foundation of the farm, growing vegetables, which are then given to the food bank, distributed through the farm's CSA or sold at the Marketstand (run by the Youth as pictured above). Read more >>

Says Kerensa Mabwa, Community Engagement Coordinator at GRuB, "The youth come here for what they think is a job but somewhere along their volunteer process they stop seeing themselves as recipients of a service and start seeing themselves as providers for the community."

Additionally, GRuB is dedicated to plugging people into farming to create a self-sufficiency around food security. A perfect example of this occurs through GRuB's Kitchen Garden Project (KGP) which connects low-income residents in the community to resources, provided by GRuB, to grow their own fresh food. Read More >>

By focusing on building communication and leadership skills the seven staff employed at GRuB are creating strong voices in the community. But you don't have to be an employee to make a difference.

There are many opportunities to volunteer, here are just a few:

  1. Drop-in volunteering during the growing season
    *  Wednesday, 3-6 pm
    *  Sunday, 1-4 pm
    You will be asked to fill out a volunteer entrance form when you show up but no appointment is necessary.
  2. Have knowledge of gardens or building things? Become a garden mentor or builder during the Spring Season.
  3. Help during community events with set-up or staffing
  4. Support the market stand for fresh fruit and vegetables as well as flowers. Learn more >>
  5. Support the Soire, September 10th, Learn more >>
    * Bonus, Tall Boots Photography is donating a photoshoot to be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to GRuB. If you have an item you'd like to donate click here >>  If you'd like to win the Tall Boots photoshoot attend the Soire!

If you'd like to get in touch with GRuB use the Contact form on their website >>

]]>
1 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/grub-olympia-non-profit-farm-53/feed/
<![CDATA[The 82nd Annual Pet Parade in Olympia]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-82nd-annual-pet-parade-in-olympia-50/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-82nd-annual-pet-parade-in-olympia-50/#comments +Sun, 14 Aug 2011 09:21:00 -0700 9 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-82nd-annual-pet-parade-in-olympia-50/ On Saturday, August 20, 2011 is Olympias 82nd annual Pet Parade. Yes, for 81 years this delightful event has been a part of Olympia's summer family fun - fun for human and non-human family members. Observers are welcome to bring pets, too. As long as they're comfortable being around other animals. The Olympia Pet Parade is one of those charming happenings that makes Olympia feel more like a small town than a capitol city.

]]>
On Saturday, August 20, 2011 is Olympias 82nd annual Pet Parade (http://www.theolympian.com/petparade/). Yes, for 81 years this delightful event has been a part of Olympia's summer family fun - fun for human and non-human family members.

Observers are welcome to bring pets, too. As long as they're comfortable being around other animals.

Pet Parade in Olympia WA 2011The Olympia Pet Parade is one of those charming happenings that makes Olympia feel more like a small town than a capitol city.

For as long as I've known about the parade, it has always had a theme. Most people (and many pets) in the parade are dressed in costumes. This year the theme is "Movie Madness: Villains vs Super Heroes".

Here's how it works... Kids under 16 years old bring their pets downtown & march in this parade. It's free & nobody even has to register in advance. Just show up for lineup (8am) at Heritage Park on Water Street - the park with waterjets that's across from Capitol Lake (http://olympiawa.gov/city-services/parks/parks-and-trails/heritage-park-fountain.aspx). Between 8:30-9:45 judges look at the entrants & decide who will win prizes in one of several categories.

At 10am the parade begins and goes only 8 blocks to end up smack dab in the center of town in Sylvester Park (http://www.go-washington.com/Sylvester-Park/). It's a short route, which makes it much easier for youngsters and small animals to participate in than Procession of the Species.

At the end of the parade, there's free ice cream & goodies for all at Sylvester Park!

Olympia WA Pet Parade 2011If you attend (or become part of the parade) feel free to bring donations of unopened packages of pet food for Thurston County Animal Services. Although donations will be accepted, they are not required or even expected.

Search online for Olympia Pet Parade, and you can find videos and snapshots from years past.

Kari & Andy

(My cat, Andy, has to get credit for co-authoring this post. He decided to sit next to me in the big armchair as I wrote it. Even more interesting is that he sat upright, like a human, with his back against the back of the chair. What leads me to give him co-author credit, though, is that he had his right arm resting on my left arm the entire time. As I typed, his arm moved along with mine and he carefully supervised the mouse pointer & cursor as I typed.)

]]>
0 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-82nd-annual-pet-parade-in-olympia-50/feed/
<![CDATA[Trinacria Ristorante in Downtown Olympia - Intimate and Authentic]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/trinacria-ristorante-in-downtown-olympia-intimate-and-authentic-49/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/trinacria-ristorante-in-downtown-olympia-intimate-and-authentic-49/#comments +Fri, 12 Aug 2011 22:28:00 -0700 5 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/trinacria-ristorante-in-downtown-olympia-intimate-and-authentic-49/ I'll go ahead and admit it. I have snobbish tendencies when it comes to Italian food. But, as anyone who has traveled to beautiful Italia will agree, it is extremely tough to find authentic Italian cuisine here in the states. And just like in Italy, it is fitting that the best food around just happens to be located in the most unassuming of places. Nestled next to the Electric Rose Tattoo Parlor and the Brotherhood Tavern in downtown Olympia, a Sicilian treat lies waiting behind the most modest of doors. Trinacria Ristorante Italiano in Olympia is perhaps the closest I've come to replicating both the cuisine and the environment that I fell in love with in Italy.

]]>
I'll go ahead and admit it. I have snobbish tendencies when it comes to Italian food. But, as anyone who has traveled to beautiful Italia will agree, it is extremely tough to find authentic Italian cuisine here in the states. And just like in Italy, it is fitting that the best food around just happens to be located in the most unassuming of places.

Nestled next to the Electric Rose Tattoo Parlor and the Brotherhood Tavern in downtown Olympia, a Sicilian treat lies waiting behind the most modest of doors. Trinacria Ristorante Italiano in Olympia is perhaps the closest I've come to replicating both the cuisine and the environment that I fell in love with in Italy.

One of my favorite meals during my time in Italy was a dish called Spaghetti al vulcano, which I enjoyed while spending a weekend on the volcanic Aeolian Islands just north off the Sicilian coast in the Mediterranean. It was a very simple dish of spaghetti noodles tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with crushed red peppers and garlic. I don't know what it was about that combination, but the gentle flavor of the olive oil mixed with the bold spice of the crushed peppers has stuck with me ever since. You can imagine my joy when I noticed Spaghetti Aglio e Olio on the Trinacria menu, an exact replica of the dish I enjoyed on the island of Lipari nearly 10 years ago. And Chef Eugenio did not disappoint. Really, the only difference was not having the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop for the meal. But that is a minor detail when you are talking about food as good as this.

Trinacria Ristorante Italiano - An authentic Italian restaurant in downtown Olympia WAA word of warning though, don't show up to Trinacria without reservations. While it may appear to be a "hole in the wall", the secret is out on this place, and if you show up unannounced there might not be a table left for you. Also, be sure to visit the cash machine because credit cards are not accepted at Trinacria.

Good Italian food is sneaky. If you rush through it you will never appreciate the subtle, delicate flavors of the fresh ingredients. There is a great phrase that Italians love to say to Americans - "C'e tempo". It means 'there is time' or 'there is no hurry'. So, if you do decide to give Trinacria a try, treat yourself to an authentic Italian dining experience. Turn off the cell phone, order some wine, and slow down. You'll want to savor the experience.

Have you eaten at Trinacria? Please share your experience in our Go Local section!

Trinacria is located at 113 Capitol Way N. Downtown Olympia.
Call in your reservations today! 360-352-8892

]]>
0 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/trinacria-ristorante-in-downtown-olympia-intimate-and-authentic-49/feed/
<![CDATA[Summer is...Concerts at the Gorge]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/summer-is-concerts-at-the-gorge-48/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/summer-is-concerts-at-the-gorge-48/#comments +Wed, 10 Aug 2011 08:24:00 -0700 11 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/summer-is-concerts-at-the-gorge-48/ There's no denying that trucking over to Eastern Washington for a Summer concert at the Gorge is one of the perks of being an Olympian. What a venue! The river, the hills...the music. What about you? Have you been to the Gorge? Where did you sleep? And, most importantly, who did you see?

]]>
Summer concerts at the Gorge in Eastern Washington are the best!There's no denying that trucking over to Eastern Washington for a Summer concert at the Gorge is one of the perks of being an Olympian. What a venue! The river, the hills...the music.

My husband and I recently saw Phish, which was the perfect way to initiate ourselves into concerts at the Gorge. Laid back and low key we didn't deal with any traffic (even into the venue) or crowds (we actually had space around our lawn blanket!)

We left Olympia and headed north on I-5, popped onto 18, before turning onto 90 for the final stretch into Ellensburg. Bonus, we stopped for lunch at North Bend Bar & Grill, the homemade potato chips are delicious!

We stayed overnight in Ellensburg, which ended up being about a 45 minute drive to the Gorge. Got there a few hours before the concert was scheduled to start and tailgated with some friends in the parking lot before heading through the gates.

Later I learned that you can bring bottles of water in as long as they are sealed. Fruit was okay too but a friends 5 Hour Energy was confiscated. I was really just thrilled to be able to bring in my camera (and take this photo of my friend...who had no idea, but, that's the risk you run when you hang out with a photographer!)

Now that I have one Gorge concert under my belt I feel like the next one will be better...something tells me the more you go the more tricks you have up your sleeve.

What about you? Have you been to the Gorge? Where did you sleep? And, most importantly, who did you see?

]]>
2 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/summer-is-concerts-at-the-gorge-48/feed/
<![CDATA[Our Olympia: Sand in the City and Make Olympia]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/our-olympia-sand-in-the-city-and-make-olympia-46/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/our-olympia-sand-in-the-city-and-make-olympia-46/#comments +Tue, 09 Aug 2011 21:40:00 -0700 6 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/our-olympia-sand-in-the-city-and-make-olympia-46/ Ah, Olympia. There’s no place like it on Earth, I mean that sincerely. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to travel the world. My military commitments dispatched a younger me to the rugged mountains and chaotic streets of Seoul, South Korea, the cobbled and storied avenues of Savannah and London, the biergarten houses of Bavaria, and the breathtaking costal paradises of Amalfi and Capri. For me, Olympia is a microcosm of all those places rolled into one - its a dream land.

]]>
Ah, Olympia. There’s no place like it on Earth, I mean that sincerely. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to travel the world. My military commitments dispatched a younger me to the rugged mountains and chaotic streets of Seoul, South Korea, the cobbled and storied avenues of Savannah and London, the biergarten houses of Bavaria, and the breathtaking costal paradises of Amalfi and Capri. For me, Olympia is a microcosm of all those places rolled into one - its a dream land. If you’re like me there’s always a good reason to visit downtown: a family visit, meeting, or need for inspiration is cause to head downtown Olympia for coffee, lunch, a show - communal or otherwise. There’s always something to do for those of us who seek to find it.

Of course nothing is created without first engaging the imagination. I’m sure we can all agree that imagination and creativity is abundant in Olympia. My 6-year-old son and I love going downtown and taking photos of the murals and scattered urbanity in Olympia’s downtown. We’re honing our photo production skills in preparation for this year’s Sand in the City.

Sand in the City in Downtown OlympiaStreet murals in downtown OlympiaDowntown street fair Make Olympia

I think his photos are far better than mine – and while the pictures you see here are from last year’s Sand in the City, we’ll take couple and share them with you and you can tell us what you think. Or, share your own – its up to you. Sand in the City is one of the many annual events that really make Olympia such a great place to live.

I was excited to find that Olympia’s downtown business community was taking an active role in their own survival; particularly in the company of a comic-book villain-like economic environment. Make Olympia, a downtown Olympia street market co-op sponsored by Enterprise for Equity, will host three street markets this summer in downtown Oly. The markets are held on Washington street between 4th and State and are a perfect example of the moxie found in the innovators in our fair city. Enterprise for Equity is a great resource for new business and its great to local business working together to move the Puget Sound further. Its another reason why I’m glad I’m living in Olympia.

]]>
1 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/our-olympia-sand-in-the-city-and-make-olympia-46/feed/
<![CDATA[New on the Market in Ken Lake]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/new-on-the-market-in-ken-lake-45/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/new-on-the-market-in-ken-lake-45/#comments +Wed, 03 Aug 2011 11:57:00 -0700 5 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/new-on-the-market-in-ken-lake-45/ This beautifully updated rambler in the Ken Lake neighborhood of West Olympia just hit the market today. For those looking for a move-in ready home in a quality established neighborhood....welcome home. The attention to detail in this home is what separates it from the competition. Plus, the neighborhood amenities of Ken Lake make it really stand out!

]]>
This beautifully updated rambler in the Ken Lake neighborhood of West Olympia just hit the market today. For those looking for a move-in ready home in a quality established neighborhood....welcome home. The attention to detail in this home is what separates it from the competition. Plus, the neighborhood amenities of Ken Lake make it really stand out!

2328 Lakemoor Dr. SW, Olympia WA 98502

Home for sale in Ken Lake neighborhood Olympia WA2328 Lakemoor Dr. SW in Olympia WA - Home for sale in Ken Lake neighborhoodhomes for sale in Ken Lake neighborhood Olympia WA - Real Estate listing

Ken Lake homes for sale in Olympia WAHomes for sale in Olympia WA with lake access - Ken Lake neighborhoodHomes with large yards in Olympia WA - Ken Lake in West Olympia

Property Info
3 Beds    1.75 Baths    2,053 Sq.Ft.    .29 Acre Lot    $282,500
Beautifully updated and remodeled Ken Lake rambler. New windows, roof, electrical panel, flooring, counters, paint, and more all within the last few years. Open concept floor plan with the kitchen flowing nicely into the family room and dining room. Cozy family room with a fireplace and gorgeous built-in wood shelving. Large bedrooms and updated bathrooms. Plus it is loaded with practical features like automatic lights in the closet and pull-out shelves in the kitchen cabinets. This is one of those homes that just feels good to walk into!

Outside the home, you can enjoy mature landscaping and a fully fenced back yard. There is a covered patio area in the back yard with built in storage for your lawn tools. In addition to the 2 car garage there is an extended driveway along with RV or boat/trailer parking along the side of the home. Community lake access, security patrols, and more community perks, make Ken Lake a great place to call home!

Listed by City Realty, Inc.

Get More Info or Email Me / Call 360.797.5888

]]>
0 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/new-on-the-market-in-ken-lake-45/feed/
<![CDATA[Sports Physicals for Local Student Athletes]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sports-physicals-for-student-athletes-44/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sports-physicals-for-student-athletes-44/#comments +Wed, 03 Aug 2011 09:15:00 -0700 5 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sports-physicals-for-student-athletes-44/ On Wednesday, Aug.10, Providence St. Peter Family Medicine will hold a walk-in sports physical clinic for middle school and high school athletes beginning at 5:30 p.m. The clinic will not close until all physicals have been completed. A $20 fee will go directly back to your child’s school, supporting athletic programs.

]]>
The following article was contributed by Providence Health & Services Southwest WA. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more great information and important announcements!

Get in the game!

Student athletes go back to school with sports physicals

Are you the parent of a North Thurston School District athlete? Providence St. Peter Family Medicine can help you check off the sports physical from your back-to-school list.

On Wednesday, Aug.10, Providence St. Peter Family Medicine will hold a walk-in sports physical clinic for middle school and high school athletes beginning at 5:30 p.m. The clinic will not close until all physicals have been completed. A $20 fee will go directly back to your child’s school, supporting athletic programs.

“We’ve been offering this sports physical clinic for the past 10 years to help Olympia’s young athletes prepare for the upcoming sports season,” says Lowell Dightman, MD, from Providence St. Peter Family Medicine. “Sports physicals are important to identify any health problems that could interfere with an athlete’s participation in a sport. This helps your child to be a healthier, stronger athlete.”

What to expect?

During a sports physical, the doctor will ask about medical history and complete a physical exam which includes:

  • Measure the athlete’s height and weight.
  • Check the athlete’s blood pressure and pulse.
  • Test the athlete’s vision.
  • Listen to the athlete’s heart and lungs.
  • Evaluate the athlete’s posture, strength and flexibility.

Providence St. Peter Family Medicine is located at 525 Lilly Road N.E. in Olympia. For more information, call 360.493.7230

Sports physicals in Olympia and Lacey by Providence St. Peters

]]>
0 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/sports-physicals-for-student-athletes-44/feed/
<![CDATA[The Story of Cutter]]> http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-story-of-cutter-43/ http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-story-of-cutter-43/#comments +Tue, 26 Jul 2011 20:40:00 -0700 5 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-story-of-cutter-43/ Every dog has a story to tell. Unfortunately for us, we're not able to hear most of those stories. Every once in awhile though, a dog comes into our lives and makes us a part of their story. This is what happened to me, and though I don't know the beginning or end of this dog's story, I was lucky enough to be a big part of the middle. This is the story of Cutter.

]]>
Every dog has a story to tell. Unfortunately for us, we're not able to hear most of those stories. Every once in awhile though, a dog comes into our lives and makes us a part of their story. This is what happened to me, and though I don't know the beginning or end of this dog's story, I was lucky enough to be a big part of the middle. This is the story of Cutter.

Each night, between the hours of 9 and 10, I take my dog Sonny out for a walk. Last night was no different, as we headed out the front door just after 9 pm. Sonny is normally a pretty mellow dog. Sure, he is just as excited about his walks as any other, but he usually plays it cool until we get off our property at least. Last night however, he bolted out the door and down the steps, almost tearing his retractable leash right out of my hands. Assuming there must be a cat in the road I followed along, trying to retract his leash to a reasonable length. But once I got onto the sidewalk I froze. Staring at me from my front lawn was a very surprised looking male pit bull.

My eyes immediately scanned the streets and sidewalks, expecting to see some frantic dog owner chasing after their escaped pup. But the streets were void of any activity and this dog still had its eyes set squarely on me. I gave a quick analysis of the dog and could tell that he was wearing a collar, though he was not well fed. He didn't seem too concerned by my barking pudgy 25 pound Corgi mix (even though Sonny is pretty certain he is a 120 pound stallion). I could tell by his body language that he was not considering attacking me so I knelt down and let out the slack in Sonny's leash to see how the dog Cutter meeting Sonnywould respond. His response said everything I needed to know. He gave an obligatory sniff of Sonny's rear, then got down in a playful stance ready to play a game of pounce and chase. Sonny didn't seem to mind too much so I let them play for a minute, expecting that frantic owner to come running down the street at any moment. But when they didn't show up after 5 minutes or so, I decided we would go about our walk and hope that the dog went on his own way.

However, the dog apparently thought a walk sounded like a splendid idea, so he joined us as we made our way down our usual route. He followed along nicely, deviating only to water a few bushes along the way. The dogs were doing so well together that I let Sonny off his leash in a large grassy area at the outskirts of our neighborhood. They sprinted around happily for awhile until I decided I better go find this dog's home before it became too late at night. I noticed he had a tag on his collar with a phone number so I gave it a try. It was the number to the Tacoma pet shelter and they were closed for the night. So, we went back home and I put Sonny in the house so I could head back out with this dog, hoping I would either run into that frantic owner or the dog would recognize familiar turf.

At this point in the story I should mention that I live in a master plan community with over 1000 homes. There was no chance I could make it to all those homes, or even all those streets, before midnight. But I gave it a solid effort. With this new companion strutting confidently off-leash next to me we hit the streets. We came across several people, but none claimed to recognize the dog. We began to head back toward home when I noticed a woman with 2 children walking toward me. For a moment I thought this might be that frantic owner, then quickly my hope dissipated as I could tell they were just out for an evening stroll. I asked them if they recognized the dog, to which they of course said no, but the dog must have thought they looked familiar because he took off after them (much to the horror of the mother). Figuring I was off the hook I continued toward home. But as I turned onto my block, the dog came flying around the corner, tongue waving, and proceeded to jump on me and give me ferocious kisses across my face.

If you are a dog lover like me then you know that this is where I realized I was going to be keeping this dog overnight. I took him through the side gate and let him roam the back yard while I slipped inside to let my wife know what was going on. She snuck a peak at him through the window and commented on how cute he was, then turned around and apparently sensing my strange bond with this beast said "you can't bring him in the house, you know". I did know, so the dog remained out back as we sat down and turned on the TV. But before we could even find a show to watch, the dog began howling. Not a cute, whimpery howl either. No, this was a full-on howl at the moon wolf cry. With neighbors close by at all sides, and the clock now reading 11:00 pm I decided that this would not be acceptable. I went out back and led the dog around to the front yard.Cutter finds a safe place to sleep for the night I didn't want to release this poor dog to the wild where he could be hit by a car or be scared and attack someone, but I also didn't want to wake the neighbors or invite him in for a sleep over. So, I sat on the front porch with him for a few minutes and gave him a good ear scratch. The appreciative snorting sound was quickly followed by closed eyes and the next thing I knew the dog was fast asleep on my welcome mat.

I snuck inside, thinking I was home free. But soon the howling began again. We ignored him for 5-10 minutes and he eventually gave up. I didn't check to see if he had run off for fear that I would just make him start up the howling again. Instead I just went to bed.

I woke up this morning, assuming that since I hadn't been woken up to howling during the night that the dog had gone on its way. I went to the front door to check, and was both shocked and somewhat relieved that the dog was right where I had left him, curled up on the welcome mat. He immediately perked up, looking for more of the ear scratching that I had left him with the previous night. I laughed and gave him a quick scratch. Then I sat with him, drinking my coffee, until 8:00 rolled around so I could call back to the Tacoma Pet Shelter.

Cutter greets me on my front porch in the morningI reached the shelter and gave them the license number from the tag on his leash. They gave me the owner's name and number, and told me the dog's name was Cutter. I repeated the name and his ears perked up. I quickly hung up and dialed the number I'd been given. I reached a generic voice mailbox so I began leaving a message. Halfway through my message I noticed that I had an incoming call from that same number so I quickly finished my message and switched over. I answered and said hello several times, but all I could hear was some muffled noise and background voices. It was a pocket dial. I sent a text message to the same number, thinking maybe that would get their attention. Then I waited.

Several hours passed by. I sat anxiously in the back yard with Cutter, wondering what to do. Not wanting to turn him in to the local shelter, I decided to at least call down there to see if they could offer any suggestions. I got through to a man (whose name I wish I could remember because he really went the extra mile to help) and told him the story. He looked up the phone number I had been given for the owner but said they had no record of that number in their system. Then he decided to search online for the number and buried amid all the usual reverse phone lookup websites he found a business website with the number attached to it. He said there was one other person listed as a contact on the website and he gave me that number. That extra little bit of research changed Cutter's story dramatically.

I was now hot on the trail. The woman who answered when I called the new number was naturally confused and caught off guard by my rambling story, but when I mentioned the name of the registered owner and said I had her dog, she jumped to life. She remarked at how strange it was that the dog had gotten out since the owner had a fenced back yard. I asked her if she knew whether the woman lived in my neighborhood. She replied that she didn't really know the neighborhoods that well as she had just moved to Tacoma recently. I said, "well I'm not in Tacoma, I'm in Lacey." She said "Oh my!" then told me she would call the owner right away and give her my number.

A few minutes later my phone rang. When I answered, an excited voice identified herself and expressed how happy she was that I had found her dog. She explained to me that she and her two kids had adopted Cutter as a tiny puppy and bottle fed him. He was the family pet. Then, about 5 months ago Cutter was stolen from their back yard in Tacoma. She said her kids have been devastated ever since and that they were all convinced they would never see him again. I bit my lip, choked back a tear and asked her when she would like to meet to get him back. She said she couldn't meet me until after 5 when she was done with work but that she was so excited to bring him home.

In an odd way I was relieved to get to spend a few more hours with this dog. For whatever reason we had bonded and he had found safety in my presence. I loaded him in the car and headed out to get a stronger leash. He didn't mind the ride at all and sat alertly as my copilot. Part way through the ride he got fidgety though and decided the back seat had better views. I could hear him rustling around and when I turned to look back I saw him perched happily in my daughter's car seat. It was a fitting move for this gentle giant.

Baby on board! Cutter rides in my daughter's carseatHe's just a big baby, Cutter in the car seat

We made a brief stop at my office, where he layed on the floor and had a nap. Meanwhile, his owner called me back and said she was free to meet me now. We made arrangements to meet at 7:00. An hour quickly passed and I had to run out to show several condos to an interested buyer. I got Cutter out to the parking lot at my office and opened the passenger door for him. He hopped right in, but when I went around to the driver side he decided to jump over to my seat before I could get in. I opened the door and tried to bribe him into moving but apparently he felt like driving. I couldn't get him to budge. I decided to try the back door, thinking maybe he wanted to cruise in the car seat again. No luck. Finally, a client leaving my office came over and helped me coax him into the passenger seat long enough for me to hop in.

When I arrived at the condos for my showing appointment I barely was able to squeeze through my door without him joining me. I hadn't even made it to the lobby doors when the howling began. I apologized to the man I was meeting and explained to him the circumstances. He found it amusing, so we went about our tour of the building. When I came back out the howling had subsided but Cutter was now firmly planted in the driver seat. I got him out and took a stroll around the building, hoping to build enough trust that I could get him in the car without him thinking I was going to leave again. That didn't work too well as he refused to move beyond the driver seat again. Knowing I couldn't move him I decided to close the door. He looked perplexed at the swift change in the balance of power. I moved around to the passenger side and he took the bait, jumping clumsily into the back seat. While he struggled to regain his footing I rushed back around to the driver side and jumped into my seat. Acknowledging defeat, he perched his front paws on the center console and gave me a big wet kiss on my ear. I told him it was time to go home.

We headed to our meeting place and I found myself visualizing this storybook ending where Cutter comes running across a field, ears flapping, tongue and tail waving into the outstretched arms of his long lost family. While reality wasn't quite so romantic, it was clear that Cutter knew he was home. When we arrived at the meeting place and I opened the door, he quickly bounded out to greet his owner. After a big hug around the neck and some kind words from the owner he ran over and jumped into the back seat of her car, where I can only assume he promptly fell asleep and enjoyed his first happy dreams in quite some time.

While this chapter of Cutter's story has a happy ending, there are hundreds of pets each day that find themselves wandering down a strange road, not sure where home is. If one of them finds their way to your front porch, don't just ignore them and hope they go away. Take the time to help them find a safe place. You never know the circumstances of another's life so treat everyone with the kindness and respect they deserve. And perhaps most importantly, don't settle for being a passenger in life, take a play out of Cutter's book and insist on getting behind the wheel.

The story of Cutter

]]>
7 http://livinginolympia.info/index.php/olympia-wa-news-blog/the-story-of-cutter-43/feed/