Life on Whidbey: Island Eagles have fun performing good deed

By Eileen Brown

Word gets around this town and not just by text message. Local cats and dogs, using secret forms of communication, went on Red Alert. Santa was coming to town and they desperately wanted to have a few minutes with the big guy.

Thanks to the Eagles of Whidbey Island Aerie 3418, countless adorable pictures were taken with the end result a donation of $930 to the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, WAIF.

Money came from generous individual Eagles and pet owners who, for just a few dollars, left with a photo for their mantel.

In all, with 100 dogs and cats, there were 68 sittings and the entire event went beyond the 3 p.m. closing time.

“Santa didn’t get much of a lunch break this year,” laughed ROSIE BARRETT, Eagles’ event organizer. “We had a much bigger turnout than we expected.”

ANNIE CARSON, a volunteer camera woman, took dozens of photos. Other Eagles’ volunteers spent hours preparing for and publicizing the event.

Patty Stanford reported some tense moments when a few dogs mistook Santa’s leg for a hydrant. “But there were no other casualties,” she added. “Volunteers kept the animals calm and happy.”

The Eagles presented WAIF Executive Director JULIE LAUDERDALE and WAIF Board President PAMELA HILL-KEEVA with a check on Jan. 3. In exchange, Barrett and TOM NELSON (“Santa”) accepted a certificate of appreciation from WAIF.

Lauderdale and Hill-Keeva thanked the Eagles volunteers for their hard work and explained how the money will help sustain homeless dogs and cats at the WAIF shelter until suitable homes are found.

If WAIF didn’t care about our homeless animals, who would? They rely on benefactors such as the Eagles to keep the lights on and pay for food and vet care. We don’t really need to wait until Christmas to give. Just go to http://waif

animals.org and download the donation form.

It can change your life

I love the Winston Churchill quote that says there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. He could as easily have said “boy” or “girl,” especially those who face special physical and emotional challenges.

HOPE stands for Horsemanship Opportunities for Potential Equestrians. It has been part of Whidbey Island life for over 20 years.

HOPE offers individual and group therapeutic horseback riding lessons. Besides learning to ride, students are taught to groom and tack their horses and have a chance to take part in their annual horse show. In a nutshell, they help students become independent, confident and responsible for themselves, their horses and other people.

No experience is required to volunteer. You may wish to help riders and their horses get ready for their lessons, walk alongside to steady a rider, greet students as they arrive for lessons, become a board member, help out in the office or doing some fundraising.

Before the Oak Harbor winter session begins on Feb. 21, volunteers will attend two training sessions to cover the basics, learn to work with horses and learn to assist riders.

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 25. Call executive director Denise Boyette at 360-221-7656, visit www.hope-whidbey.org or email hope@whidbey.com. The rewards are great for a commitment of as little as 1 ½ hours a week.

One last note, by using www.good

search.com powered by Yahoo each time you search the Internet and pick HOPE Therapeutic Riding Program as your favorite charity, HOPE will benefit.

Art popular in

State House

Opportunity doesn’t always knock. Sometimes it slips through the side door.

Artist RANDY EMMONS saw a newspaper story with a photo of MARY MARGARET HAUGEN hanging the work of local artists in her Olympia office.

“I called her staff and they told me to come to the next local League of Women Voters meeting to give her some of my art,” Emmons said. “She took three of my paintings back with her: ‘Admiralty Head Lighthouse,’ ‘Klickitat’ and ‘Rural Route,’ a painting of some old buildings near Monkey Hill Road.” The art will be for sale.

The Senator said she loves to display Island County artists’ work and particularly liked the “Rural Route” painting.

See Randy’s paintings at the Penn Cove Gallery in Coupeville where he works several days each month. Call 678-1176 to find out when he’ll be there.

A single shot

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. was in his Memphis motel preparing a sermon entitled “Why America may go to hell” on April 4, 1968. As he got ready to go to dinner, he stepped onto the balcony where his life was ended with a single rifle shot.

The 1964 Nobel Peace prize winner said when accepting his award, “Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”

Monday, Jan. 21, is a federal holiday in his name. Generations past and many to come will be inspired by his sermons and speeches. See you on the way to the mountaintop.

Call me at 675-6611 or write to lifeon

whidbey@yahoo.com. See you on Jan. 23!

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