On Sunday morning we participated in the annual First Responders Half Marathon. We have McMullin staying with us again so he and Brodie came out to cheer us on. They were a big hit. Everyone wanted to stop by and say hello to the pair.
As I was approaching the end, Don handed me the “boys” so that they could cross the finish line with me.
Brodie also helped Laura and Heidi cross the finish line.
We have a short term addition to our fur family. This is McMullin and he is one of the puppies that were donated to Hope Heels to train as a service dog. He is an 8 week old smooth Collie. He will be staying with us until he has a puppy raiser family to go to. He’s only been in the house for a few hours but he seems to have settled in just fine.
I volunteered to do the free motion quilting for members of my quilt guild who made a quilt top for Our Lady of Grace. Ioleen pieced this quilt from blocks that were donated by guild members. She gave me the freedom to quilt it however I wanted to. As usual, once I get going on the longarm I can’t stop myself. Hopefully she will like it.
A few months ago I was surfing for some info on composting and I came across a link to the City of Edmonton Master Composter Recycler program. I read through the info and immediately knew that this was something that I wanted to join. I put in my application, I was given an interview and I ended up one of the lucky 30 people that were selected to participate in 2014. We had our first two classes this past week. The participants range in age from maybe the early 20’s to the 60’s and everyone seems passionate about the environment and what they can do to minimize their impact. Yesterday’s class was a real eye opener for me. We talked about what items can be put in the blue bag. I was pretty disappointed to discover that probably close to 5o% of the stuff I put in my blue bag was wrong. Did you know that the only plastic shopping bags that are acceptable for recycling in Edmonton are the ones you get from the grocery store….that’s it. They don’t take the plastic bags that we put our fresh produce in, they don’t take shopping bags from retail stores, plastic packaging etc. On the positive side there was nothing that I put in the trash that should have been put in our blue bag. If you are ever unsure about what can be recycled, here is a link to a handy on-line poster that you can print. A good rule of thumb is that is has to be bigger than your fist and smaller than a basket ball (except flattened cardboard, it can be bigger).
I’m really looking forward to Tuesday’s class on composting. We even get to try our hands at setting up a worm composting bin. I’ve been bugging Don for years to have one in the house. Now’s my chance!!
Last weekend we were in Slake Lake to participate in a large multi-agency Mock Search put on by the Slave Lake Regional Fire Service. There were people from the RCMP, Edmonton Regional Search and Rescue, Canadian Search Dog Association, Slake Lake Search and Rescue to name a few. We had 9 dogs teams there representing Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. It was a very well planned and thought out exercise that had scenarios and search areas to suit each group. We even had helicopters flying low over head throughout the day. The dogs did great and didn’t seem concerned about the noise or the low flying choppers. No one encountered any bears or angry wildlife and we all had a great time.
Today members of our Modern Quilt Guild got together for a sew day. Some worked on their own projects and others worked together to make quilted incubator covers for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Alex Hospital. These covers help block out the light to make for a more relaxing/soothing rest for the little ones inside. I was on quilt duty. I managed to quilt enough pieces for 2 covers. One with an overall grid pattern and the other with a large improvised baptiste fan design. I hope we get to see how they look when they are put to use.
I am proud to say that Don and Tango passed their annual RCMP Cadaver certification last night. They had three 20 x 20 metre fields that they had to search, one had no material in it and the other two had 1-3 samples. The scent sources were placed 48 hours prior to the test. They were allowed 30 minutes per field but they completed all three fields in approximately 20 minutes. They found all samples and correctly identified the negative field. Don said that it was a ‘thing of beauty’ watching our girl work the fields. Tango got Timmy bits as her reward and the skinny guy and I are going out for dinner tonight for our celebration. Yeah Team!!!!
This past weekend Team Tango participated in a multi-agency mock search in the Slave Lake area. The training scenario was a plane crash in the remote wilderness with 15 passengers and crew that needed to be located and rescued. The search included 4 helicopters, 2 fixed wing aircraft, 3 boats, approximately 30 quads and 110 personnel. They utilized an actual 1975DEC29 plane crash site which added to the realism of the search. The disaster scenario tested the readiness of many agencies including Slave Lake Regional Fire Services, RCMP, Environmental and Sustainable Resource Development (Fish and Wildlife, Lands and Forest), Slave Lake Regional SAR, Edmonton Regional SAR, local aviation companies and of course the Canadian Search Dog Association.
Team Tango was deployed to two search areas and travelled by quad into the crash site. They also did a person search demonstration for the Slave Lake Regional Fire Chief. The big thrill of the day for Don was getting to ride in a helicopter with Tango. I think Tango was more fascinated with the flashing lights and reflections inside the helicopter than she was with the actual flight. Our girl is a little OCD when it comes to watching and chasing reflections. Here is a video and some pictures from the mock search:
Last night we attended the opening night of the Wolf to Woof exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum. It was exciting to see Tango’s picture hanging in the museum. There was a wonderful formal presentation and we got to hear the stories behind all the winning pictures. There were 30 winners chosen to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Friends of the Royal Alberta Museum Society (FRAMS), 10 in each of the following 3 categories: Best Buddy, Hall of Shame and Hall of Fame. Tango was a winner in the Hall of Fame category. We were presented with a beautiful framed copy of her picture and bio. When the exhibit ends this fall, we will also get the framed picture that was hanging in the gallery all summer.
I highly recommend checking out the exhibit. It was well done and very informative for people of all ages who are interested in dogs.
On Sunday we volunteered to set up a booth at the Humane Society’s annual Pets in the Park. Tango was a little excited when we first got there. Both she and Don were wearing their “search gear” so she thought that she was there to work. Once she figured out that there wasn’t going to be any searching, she settled down and helped greet all the visitors and their pets.
Don and Tango passed their annual RCMP certification test today. Although it has been raining non-stop all day they went ahead with the testing. The large articles have been laying out in the test field for two rain filled days, but Tango found them all. The people search was picture perfect and a thing of beauty. She hit on the scent more than 75 yards away. They were tested on 4 profiles today: large articles, small articles, people and alleys. Their cadaver test will happen this fall. I wasn’t allowed to watch the certifcation tests because I am too much of a distraction for our girl. While she is searching she likes to do a ‘run-by’ just to say hi to Mom.
I’m so proud of them. We are going to have a celebration dinner tonight!!!
Team Tango continued their search in the River Valley on Tuesday. It seems like every picture and video that has been taken of the search features Don’s rear end. People are starting to tease him that that is his best profile.
We hope that the search will provide some closure for the many families affected by the large number of missing women in the Edmonton area.
Here is a new link to an Edmonton Sun article. Again….I don’t know how long these link will be active.
Today Don and Tango took part in a search at the request of the RCMP and Project Kare. All the local print and tv news groups were there. Although there were 3 teams from the Canadian Search Dog Association it looks like most of the coverage features Don and Tango….probably because my girl is so beautiful and photogenic.
We got up this morning and took our ‘kids’ for a walk and then gave them their special Christmas breakfast…kibble smoothered in tuna. They snarfed it up and then cleaned each other’s bowls. After we opened our presents, Don and I headed off to the Humane Society to spend some time with the puppies there. I am a regular volunteer dog walker but today, since the shelter is closed, I was allowed to bring a guest for a tour and visit. Our Humane Society has won awards for their innovative shelter and companion animal adoption programs. We did some walking and lots of smooching and chin scratching. We were thrilled when we got to see Esperanza (see her full story below) and her fat, healthy puppies. It was encouraging to see her putting a little weight on her injured leg. It was a wonderful way to spend our Christmas morning.