dog listening with big ear


Barks from Starks,
Spring 2019


It’s easy to recall the urgency of that cold February day, driving from Cannon Falls to Oronoco with a 2-day-old puppy in my arms. He’d been orphaned by a mama who died during whelping, and 275 miles away, there was a surrogate ready to take him in. 

Several volunteers helped in a relay-style transport to give this lone survivor a chance at life. After a quick handoff in a windy fast food parking lot, I drove the final leg to his destination foster home, bottle feeding him in my arms.

On the subject of new beginnings, Paws Abilities Dog Training is purposefully giving rescue litters a head start in life. Their new effort, Project Puppy, pairs trainers with foster homes to help puppies learn social skills and to lay the groundwork for their lives as well-adjusted dogs. It’s making a huge difference. See p. 10.

Rescue volunteers aren’t the only folks who come together quickly to help area pets in need. Several local veterinary clinics have recently improved their facilities to allow for quicker and better service medically (see p 19). Whether it’s making a new beginning possible or giving a second chance, no doubt these veterinarians are helping pets live longer and healthier.

Speaking of second chances, how about an accidental animal sanctuary that is saving goats and other farm animals one by one? Owners Becky and Tara Lien didn’t purchase their Northfield area property to rescue neglected animals, but they are answering the calling, taking in “the ones that nobody wants.” See p. 15.

And sometimes the most beautiful beginnings come from unexpected circumstances. After being diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that affects muscle movement, Jon Kittleson turned to his lifelong love of art. He creates pet portraits and says his “art represents the power to overcome any challenge, mental or physical.” See p. 12.

This issue is full of inspirational stories—along with our 2nd annual Golden Paws Award winners, who are dedicated to caring for the pets we love so much.

And as for the little orphaned puppy, Chip? He made it. You can read his incredible story on p. 30.

Here’s to the season of new beginnings. Happy spring!