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World Animal Day fundraiser set for Oct. 3

Set under the gaze of the great lion emblem on the top of the Nevada County Bank building and the Lola and Jack flags featuring a bear and a bulldog, a special gathering to celebrate World Animal Day is happening in downtown Grass Valley on Oct. 3 during the Sweet Pickins Vintage Outdoor Market.

Hosted in their outdoor booth by the “cutest shop in town” Lola and Jack, a selection of animal-themed gifts will be dedicated to this fundraiser. The most delectable bakery around, Cake Bakery, will launch their new gourmet dog biscuit in celebration of World Animal Day. Puppet company, Swazzle.com, will present a Halloween photo booth featuring muppets Cat and Conrad the Condor and for a small donation, people can get their photos by photographer Sandra Boyd. People can also get a portrait in honor of their favorite animal painted on the new mural at the Grass Valley/Nevada City Animal Shelter for a donation as well. This event is the brainchild of animal advocacy nonprofit Rational Animal and funds raised will go to help local animal rescue organizations.

“World Animal Day is a great time to partner for the animals,” says Susan Brandt, founder of Rational Animal, the animal advocacy nonprofit organization she founded and now brings to Nevada County since moving to Grass Valley in 2016. “I’m so excited to be working with these big-hearted people who also have excellent businesses and organizations who are eager to dedicate this day to raising funds and awareness for our local at-risk animals.”

Community outreach representatives from Grass Valley/Nevada City Animal Shelter will join for a portion of the event to help answer questions from the public about the work of the shelter.

Also, newly formed The Birds of Prey Experience, an all-volunteer educational group providing information about wildlife, will also be there to meet the public with some very special birds.

Protocol to prevent the spread of disease is suggested for all attending.

Last year, Rational Animal’s World Animal Day fundraiser was online with music photography gallery Morrison Hotel Gallery and raised funds with the help of music icons who signed fine art prints including Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and Pete Townshend of The Who. Due to the success of this fundraiser, Rational Animal has been able to donate $10,000 to the UC Davis Wildlife Disaster Network and $1,000 to Gold Country Wildlife Rescue to help animals injured in the California wildfires. A $1,000 donation was also given to Sage Compassion for Animals helping low-income people with emergency vet care. Rational Animal has contributed to the following organizations in Nevada County: Grass Valley/Nevada City Animal Shelter (cases of dog food, homemade beds, “adopt me” vests); Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release (indoor signage, awards and grants for veteran rehabbers), Hospitality House Pet Program (leashes, muzzles and pet beds).

About Rational Animal

Rational Animal’s mission is to create media and events to increase awareness and help at-risk animals. Founded in New York City in 2002, and beginning our work in Nevada County in 2019, Rational Animal creates humane education events and media to increase awareness and help at-risk animals. Our programs include Mothers Comfort Project, where we organize sewing events for youth groups, schools and people of all ages to sew animal beds and toys for animal shelters; we create public service announcements and signage for local animal groups to promote their work for at-risk animals; and we award the Orange Animal Guardian Ribbon to people who do good deeds for animals. www.rational-animal.org @rationalanimalorg #orangeribbonforanimals #motherscomfortproject


To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilizing it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognized as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare. www.worldanimalday.org.uk/

Source: Rational Animal


Joan Merriam: Disaster planning

It happened in Paradise in 2018 … in Plumas and Sonoma counties in 2019 … in the Bay Area and the North Coast last year … and in Northern California, right now. Disastrous and deadly wildfires.

Drive ninety miles northeast — just fifty miles as the crow flies — and you’ll be in the heart of the Dixie Fire, the second largest in California’s history. Fifty miles to the southeast is the Caldor Fire. Both of them together have incinerated over a million acres, destroyed close to 1300 homes, killed uncounted numbers of wildlife, and forever changed the lives of us all.

I’ve talked about disaster planning before in this column, but thought now would be a good time to revisit the subject.

We all know, all too well, that it could happen to us.

Your Own Safety

First, of course, we need to ensure our own safety in case of a disaster: we can’t do anything to help our animals if we’re incapacitated. That means having a plan for quickly gathering your important items and your animals, knowing how to get out of your house, identifying the roadway escape routes, and establishing a communication plan that assigns someone outside your area to act as contact in case you get separated from your family.

Safeguarding Your Dog

First and foremost, make sure your dog is wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags, which should include the dog’s name and your phone number (both landline and cell). It’s just as important that your dog be microchipped: it’s inexpensive and painless, and will help reunite you if your dog ends up in a shelter.

Make paper or digital copies of all your dog’s vaccination records — especially rabies — and make sure they’re easily accessible. Include details of any acute medical conditions and prescription medications.

Put a “Save my Pet” sticker in the window or near the front door so that firefighters know there is a pet inside. (I carry a similar card in my wallet to advise emergency personnel that I have animals at home if I’m injured or unable to communicate.)

Having both a human and canine “go bag” that you can grab instantly is critical. Your dog’s bag should include five days’ worth of food and water, medications or a medication list, first-aid kit, your veterinarian’s contact information, a recent photo of your dog, and a familiar toy or blanket that will help your dog feel safe in a strange location.

Remember that smoke from wildfires can be just as toxic to you dog as to you. Once you start smelling smoke, get your dog indoors immediately, and shut all the windows and doors. Avoid walks or extended time outdoors. If you’re uncertain about the air quality, go to AirNow or other sites that show the AQI in your area. Keep in mind that older dogs or those with cardiovascular or respiratory issues are at high risk of smoke irritation. If you notice continuous coughing or wheezing, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, or eye irritation in your dog due to poor air quality, contact your veterinarian.

Prepare for the Worst

What if the worst happens and you find yourself facing an impending wildfire? I can’t say this strongly enough: EVACUATE IF YOU’RE ORDERED TO DO SO. Remember: an order is mandatory; a warning simply asks you to remain alert for an order. That being said, it’s best NOT to wait for a mandatory evacuation order, since leaving as soon as you get a warning makes the process less stressful, and helps you avoid tragedies such as being surrounded by fire when you’re caught in traffic backups. Remember: your home and possessions can be replaced, but your life and the lives of your animals can’t.

Always have a plan to get your dog out of the house if you’re evacuated. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. (In the recent River Fire, one of my colleagues was unable to get home from work, and lost all three of her beloved dogs.)

What else can you do to prepare? Sign up for for Nevada County’s CodeRed, which sends emergency alerts to your cell or landline via text message, phone call, or email.

Go to CalFire’s Ready for Wildfire page for a printable evacuation guide.

Give a set of house keys to a friend or neighbor who can rescue your pets if you’re not home.

Finally, be aware that ash, flying embers, and nearby flames can be extremely dangerous for your dogs: not only are they at risk of direct burns to their coat and skin, they can also suffer inhalation burns to their respiratory tract.

Events like these terrible wildfires can make us feel helpless, but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. There are things that every one of us can do to keep ourselves and our beloved companions safe — but we have to do it before that kind of crisis hits.

Joan Merriam lives in Nevada County with her Golden Retriever Joey, her Maine Coon cat Indy, and the abiding spirit of her beloved Golden Retriever Casey in whose memory this column is named. You can reach Joan at joan@joanmerriam.com. And if you’re looking for a Golden, be sure to check out Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue

Events like these terrible wildfires can make us feel helpless, but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. There are things that every one of us can do to keep ourselves and our beloved companions safe — but we have to do it before that kind of crisis hits.
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Cheryl Wicks: Volunteers are priceless


Every month I write an article about some aspect of your pet’s behavior or medical condition.

This month I am writing with a slightly different twist; Sammie’s Friends would like to invite members of our community to volunteer at Sammie’s Friends. We could never do what we do without so many wonderful animal loving people helping out. We could never do what we do without so many wonderful animal loving people helping out. (I wrote this twice because it is that important and that profound.)

We have had volunteers from 16 years old to 93 years old over the years since the volunteer program started 20 years ago. Back when the volunteer program started there was a 68% euthanasia rate at the animal shelter and now it is less than 1%. Having volunteers quickly brought the euthanasia percentage down significantly. I once calculated that all the dog walking had equaled walking around the Earth three times and about 250,000 kitty kennels had been cleaned and about 50,000 phone calls had been answered. What on Earth would we ever do without those amazing volunteers?

We have had volunteers that started out 20 years ago walking dogs and as the volunteer aged they transitioned to the Kitty Kove working with smaller animals and as the volunteer aged more decided to volunteer at the Thrift Store and raise money to help the animals. That’s some kind of crazy dedication, I would say. A few Sammie’s Friends volunteers have been with us for the entire 20 years.

If you would like to volunteer (and we hope that you do) you can go to https://www.sammiesfriends.org/volunteer and read about the various volunteer opportunities and fill out our online application to get started. In summary there are opportunities working with the dogs, cats, in the office and our wonderful Sammie’s Nifty Thrift Store.

In the dog area, dog walkers are always needed, and people who can wash dishes, do laundry, mop floors and generally clean things up are always needed. In the cat area mostly cat kennel/room cleaners are needed to clean litter boxes and feed and water the kitties. Floors need to be swept and mopped, trash needs to be emptied, dishes and laundry need to be done.

In the office phones need to be answered and other kinds of office chores need to be done. At the Thrift Store volunteers are needed in the clothing area to sort, price and put out on the racks. Volunteers are needed to operate the cash registers.

If you have questions about volunteering Sammie’s Friends’ Kitty Kove can be reached at 530-274-1955. The dog facility can be reached at 530-471-5041. Sammie’s Friends Animal Shelter is located at 14647 Mc Courtney Road, Grass Valley, CA. 95949. Sammie’s Nifty Thrift can me reached at 530-273-0603. Sammie’s Nifty Thrift is located at 535 E. Main St., Grass Valley, CA. 95945.

Many thanks to the many volunteers in this community, at Sammie’s Friends and the many other nonprofits that need help.

You keep all the good work — that the nonprofits are able to provide — moving forward. You are priceless!

Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie’s Friends


Kitty Kove: 530-274-1955

Dog Facility: 530-471-5041

Sammie’s Friends Animal Shelter: 14647 Mc Courtney Road, Grass Valley

Sammie’s Nifty Thrift: 530-273-0603, located at 535 E. Main St., Grass Valley

More info: www.sammiesfriends.org/volunteer

Gracie’s story: A miracle of rescue and healing


For the past five years I have volunteered to photograph local rescue animals to provide photos which are used to search for adoptive families. Every animal and their story is both heartbreaking and elating as local volunteers and donors contribute thousands of hours and funding to care for these disenfranchised animals and place them in new homes. This story is about Gracie, who had no hope for a new home; she was found on the streets of Modesto and placed in the Stanislaus Shelter with paralyzed hind quarters in addition to being malnourished. She was destined to be put down at the shelter.

One of our local Rescue Groups, Scooter’s Pals, became aware of Gracie’s prognosis and formally rescued her from the shelter. Scooter’s arranged for her to be fitted with her “wheels” which enabled her to walk unassisted and placed her with a Foster Mom in Grass Valley, Carol Rosevear. Gracie received treatment from a local Veterinarian to include several months of antibiotics for her bone infection and Sturvite stones in her bladder. She was also given high-nutrient food. In consultation with a homeopathic practitioner, Ms. Rosevear added laser therapy, water therapy, acupuncture, and massage with her own developed mud treatments to Gracie’s treatment plan. Then, approximately three months after Gracie was placed with Ms. Rosevear, she took her first steps unassisted by her “wheels.” Gracie has continued to walk on her own and is now awaiting her forever home as she is adoptable!

Sandra Boyd is a photographer in Nevada County

Miracle dog Gracie is available for adoption through Scooter’s Pals.
Photo by Sandra Boyd


Cheryl Wicks: Safety tips for your pooch

Some things trouble me as I go out and about. I’m hoping that sharing my concerns will help some animals and their pet parents. Here are some ways to determine whether your dog is able to and will enjoy running with you while you run or ride your bicycle. The age of your dog is important. While there are no hard and fast rules, you might check in with your vet if your dog is over 8 years old, to help determine the dogs readiness for strenuous exercise. Some dogs develop hip problems or have some arthritis as they age. I had a pitbull I ran with until he was 14. He had lots of energy, was in great physical shape (as verified by his veterinarian) and Teddy and I did not run as fast on foot as a bicycle can go. It is recommended that you not go further than two miles on your bike with your dog running next to you. If it is on pavement a shorter distance is better. The pounding on something so hard can be hard on your dog’s hips, knees and musculoskeletal structure, in general.

The temperature is another factor to take into consideration. I have seen many dogs being walked on pavement during these very hot days. This will burn your dog’s feet. You can test the temperature by putting the back of your hand on the pavement for seven seconds; if your hand can’t take it neither can your dog’s feet. You can do this little test with your bare foot too, if you’re up to taking your shoe off. When it is 77 degrees outside it can be 125 degrees on the asphalt which can damage your dog’s feet in 60 seconds.

Please be kind to your dog.

Before running your dog or walking him/her on hot pavement be cognizant that your dog can overheat easier than you can. Dogs do not sweat; the only way they have of cooling themselves is by panting. Dogs need plenty of water because panting can dehydrate your dog very quickly. If your dog gets overheated, cool him off with cool towels and cool water. Do not use ice as this can send your dog into shock or a seizure. It is best to keep your dog in a cool place and minimal exercise when it is over 75 degrees. Your dog’s tongue will tell you when he is in danger of becoming overheated. The tongue will get red and expand in size as your dog gets more overheated. Check it out by looking at your dog’s tongue.

Keep in mind also the size, snout length and coat length of your dog, as these factors will affect your dog’s ability to enjoy a run or even just a walk. A chihuahua running alongside your bicycle has to take a lot more steps than your 70 pound lab. Your short-snouted pug or bulldog is better off taking only very short walks when the weather is cooler. They simply can’t breathe as well as the longer-snouted dogs. Some dogs, such as Chows, Huskies, Sheepdogs, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, have double coats which help to cool the dog in the summer and keep them warm in the winter. Many other dogs with heavy coats do not have this double coat and get super hot. Some very short haired dogs like pitbulls have little protection on very hot days.

The metal bed of your pick up will scorch and destroy your dogs feet as fast as the asphalt will. 100,000 dogs are killed annually riding in truck beds. In addition to the danger and the extremely hot metal bed, the dog has hot wind and sun pounding on it. This is a recipe for great suffering and death and a guilty conscience for something that could be so easily avoided. Artificial turf, predominantly made of plastic, can quickly damage your dog’s feet when the weather is warm, as it can get even hotter than asphalt. Do the same test with the back of your hand or bare foot.

In many cases your dog will be the most loyal, devoted loving friend you will ever have. They depend on you to keep them safe and look out for their well being.

Treat them as the precious gift they are. You will never regret having treated your best friend well.

Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie’s Friends

Joan Merriam: Post-pandemic guide to leaving your pup at home

For the last eighteen months, many of us have been working from home with our dogs by our side. That’s the good part. The not-so-good part is that our constant presence hasn’t prepared them for our post-pandemic return to work and school. You’ve been there with them all the time, then suddenly you’re gone. For some dogs, the abruptness of that change can push them into a vortex of fear and worry.

This is the classic definition of separation anxiety, which is when a dog that’s left alone exhibits fearful or problematic behaviors like destructive chewing (sometimes on things like doorjambs and furniture), nonstop barking, urinating in the house, or feverishly trying to escape. Even if your dog has never been anxious before when left alone, separation anxiety can be triggered by the unexpectedness of you being gone when before, you’ve been there with them all the time. If you’re heading back to work or school after being a homebody for the last year and a half, here are some ideas to help with that transition.

First, know the signs of stress and anxiety. Panting, pacing, shaking, whining or howling, yawning, drooling or licking, and changes in eyes, ears and body posture (including stiffness or tucked tails) are all signs of uneasiness in your dog. If leaving the house for even short periods of time triggers these behaviors, you need to take steps to help your dog now, while you’re still home.

One of the things that can be reassuring is to keep a consistent schedule for feeding, potty and exercise. Dogs thrive on regularity, and knowing what the next hour or day will bring.

Some dogs also find comfort in a kennel or crate. It’s important, however, to take time to teach your dog that this is their safe place and not a punishment. Practice crate “stays” lasting no more than ten or twenty minutes, where your dog hangs out in the crate while you’re doing things around the house. Sometimes it can help if you put some treat-filled toys into the crate with your pup. As soon as the time’s up, open the crate door and welcome your dog out. Repeat this for a few days until your dog feels completely comfortable. No matter what, never leave a dog inside a crate for longer than four hours at a time.

If your dog tends to become anxious when you’re getting ready to leave, you need to get it used to the sights and sounds of you going away. Be sure to keep your exit calm and routine rather than making a big deal of saying goodbye: this can make a big difference in how the dog experiences your departure.

Help your dog associate leaving with something positive instead of scary by giving them a stuffed Kong or other treat-filled toy before you walk out the door. Finally, there’s the element of practice. Especially if your dog has never been left alone before, it’s critical that you practice leaving home without them, starting in short increments. This is a slow process that can take several days or even longer, so be patient.

First, pick up your keys or purse as if you were leaving, then put them down again. Do this several times throughout the day.

Next, open and close the door. Don’t go out yet: just get your pup used to the sound and sight of the door opening and closing, and nothing bad (like you walking out!) happening as a result. After you’ve done this several times over several days, go out the door, wait five or ten seconds, and come back in. This helps reassure your dog that you will come back. Increase your time outside the door to several minutes; then start the car and drive it out of the garage or driveway. Drive back to where you were right away, and come inside.

The final step is to actually drive away from your home, leaving your dog for fifteen or twenty minutes. Put your dog wherever he’ll be while you’re actually gone for the day, whether that’s a crate, in a special room, or free-roaming the house. Over the next few days, gradually increase the amount of time you’re gone.

Some dogs experience such high anxiety when their person isn’t with them that you may need to seek the help of a certified trainer or behaviorist. In the meantime, consider taking your pup to doggy daycare a few times a week, or hire an experienced dog walker who can come in each day and take your dog for exercise and human companionship

Trying these tips can help insure that going back to work doesn’t have to mean misery for your dog or you.

Joan Merriam lives in Nevada County with her Golden Retriever Joey, her Maine Coon cat Indy, and the abiding spirit of her beloved Golden Retriever Casey in whose memory this column is named. You can reach Joan at joan@joanmerriam.com. And if you’re looking for a Golden, be sure to check out Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue

One of the things that can be reassuring is to keep a consistent schedule for feeding, potty and exercise. Dogs thrive on regularity, and knowing what the next hour or day will bring.
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Horse wellness venture launches with retreat

In a sign of economic recovery, Ananda Village, a spiritual community closed to the public in Nevada County throughout the pandemic, has opened its doors with a new equine wellness center called Herd Spirit. The center offers destination retreats and private coaching in equine assisted learning and yoga practices.

Of the services, client Adam Trowbridge says, “I would recommend this to anyone looking for healing, clarity, and personal growth in their life. Herd Spirit has been transformative for me, a great source of healing and growth, and has brought me a tremendous amount of clarity. I can’t recommend this highly enough.”

Herd Spirit is run by Ananda-born resident and yoga teacher Gita Matlock and well-known horse trainer and coach Ezra Marrow, once local to the county and now resident of San Luis Obispo area. Their first retreat open to the public launches this month on July 30.

Equine assisted learning, the core modality offered by Herd Spirit, has gained recognition as a means of improving communication, team-building, emotional regulation, and even offers psychological and physiological healing for participants.

Herd Spirit retreats offer two-day immersive experiences for participants in experiential learning with horses. Private coaching is available year-round for individuals and couples. Plans are in the works for public classes in yoga and meditation with horses. Participants hungry for in-person experiences and spiritual travel are signing on from across the country to try this creative new program in our county.

More about Herd Spirit available at www.herdspirit.com.

Herd Spirit retreats offer two-day immersive experiences for participants in experiential learning with horses. Private coaching is available year-round for individuals and couples.
Provided photo
Herd Spirit is run by Ananda-born resident and yoga teacher Gita Matlock and well-known horse trainer and coach Ezra Marrow, once local to the county and now resident of San Luis Obispo area.
Provided photo

Cheryl Wicks: Kids and dogs


I once read a book called “Dogs and Kids — Parenting Tips.” I read this book shortly after a Shar-pei puppy named Sammie moved into my life. I had neither kids nor dogs and quickly could see I was in over my head. I started reading books and all of them said “A Shar-pei is not the right dog for a first time dog owner.“ I said to myself “Oh my goodness, now what? I already have the dog.” That’s kind of similar to having a baby that doesn’t behave as you expected it would. So you have to learn because that baby is yours. If you settle down and decide I can figure this out, you can.

The premise of the book is that kids and dogs’ needs are often similar. 1. They need to know they are safe. 2. They need to have food and water in adequate amounts. 3. They have social needs that can be met by you and other family members and friends. Children and dogs that are not attended to become problems. They have active little brains and bodies that need to be exercised, and 4. Kids and dogs need to know the “rules of the road.“ If the rule is that the dog is not allowed on the couch, then when it gets on the couch it must be immediately corrected.

Correction and discipline do not mean abuse. It means we have rules and we abide by them. If you are consistent with your rules you will create safety, confidence and a secure dog or person. One of the things my dog trainer told me with Sammie is that once you ask him to do something you must carry it through until he does what he is asked. If you come home from work and you are too tired to carry this out with your pet or your child, then don’t ask.

Shar-pei’s are strong willed, determined, “I want to do it my way” kind of dogs. I could see the wisdom in what my trainer said almost immediately.

I never forgot those words of wisdom. I decided what the rules needed to be and then never waivered from them. I am pretty sure that two of Sammie’s siblings were turned into shelters because they were not properly taught and disciplined and were aggressive and pushy by the time they were a year old. Their owners could no longer deal with them and the young dogs were clearly not right for the leadership role in the household. You need to be the leader, that does not mean being a tyrant or abusive in any way.

If you let your children do whatever they want you will have spoiled children that have no understanding of boundaries and limitations.

They grow up to think they are the center of everything. It works the same with your dog. You can play with them, love them, treat them really well, but you must also let them them know there are boundaries to what they can do and family rules they must follow.

I have a dog now, who with little training, causes no problems with anyone. She’s just a good girl. Sammie was the most amazing and interesting dog, but he needed consistency and to know that I was the pack leader. My trainer said “He’s the kind of dog that will take a mile if you give him an inch.” I spent a lot of time in his early years establishing what was OK and what wasn’t and providing consistent consequences when doing things that weren’t right. He became a confident, well balanced dog that was a constant amusement and joy to be around.

Your children need to be treated as individuals and so do your pets. Some are easy and some are not. Sometimes some of the most delightful children and pets are the most high spirited and not always the easiest. They keep you on your toes.

Recently I read about a person who got a dog at one of the Central Valley shelters on his last day before euthanasia. She crossed her fingers and hoped she was doing the right thing. She said the dog was a good dog with others animals and with people. The dog was also high spirited and somewhat out of control. She said she took the dog home and he settled right down. When dogs, like children, feel secure and cared about they often behave better.

The secret to having well behaved and yet outgoing, fun children and dogs is safety, care and clear and consistent understanding of what behavior is acceptable. If you need help consult an expert for guidance. I can be reached at cheryl.wicks@sammiesfriends.org for help and referrals.

Love your pet, enjoy them, and provide boundaries and you will have an amazing experience.

Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie’s Friends

Rough and Ready woman’s rabbit wins recognition

The Rhinelander National Show was held on June 26 in Danville, Indiana. Rough and Ready resident Lorena Ferchaud flew to the show with two Rhinelanders and won Best in Show with Ferchaud’s Luca, a one-and-a-half-year-old Black Sr Buck. Her Black Jr doe Ferchaud’s Hot Pants was 1st in her class of Jr Does.

Lorena has been raising Rhinelanders in Rough and Ready for 22 years. The Rhinelander breed was created in 1901 North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The breed was first imported to the United States in 1923, but the breed died out by 1932 due to the difficulty of achieving the correct markings. The breed was again imported in 1972 and was accepted into the American Rabbit Breeders Association Standard of Perfection in 1975. It is currently listed as one of the 16 endangered rabbit breeds by the American Livestock Conservancy.

The Rhinelander National Show was held on June 26 in Danville, Indiana. Rough and Ready resident Lorena Ferchaud flew to the show with two Rhinelanders and won Best in Show.
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Joan Merriam: Walking with your dog — Head for the hills

Last month, I shared some ideas for walking with your dog in the lower-elevation areas of our region. Now that we’ve begun experiencing some of the sweltering days that summer can bring, let’s take a look at options for hikes in cooler, higher destinations.

Pioneer Trail

If you want to hike with your dog into the county’s more remote mountain region, you couldn’t ask for anything better than the Pioneer Trail. Beginning at the Harmony Ridge Market on Highway 20 across from the Wheelhouse, the trail parallels the highway all the way to White Cloud, where it crosses the road and heads well into the back country, down to Bear Valley, and eventually to Lake Spaulding. (A lesser-known route is the Harmony Trail, which takes off at the market and marches parallel to and below the Pioneer Trail for a few miles and then drops down into the Rock Creek watershed.) There are a number of spots further up Highway 20 where you can catch the trail, including the Conservation Camp turnoff, Lone Grave, White Cloud and Omega Road.

Hallelujah Trail

A little farther up Highway 20 is the Skillman Horse Camp, the starting point for this trail that’s part of an interconnected network that includes the Stanton, Big Tunnel, Omega, and Towle Mill trails, plus the Pioneer. Be aware that this is a multi-use route, which means that you’ll encounter everything from mountain bikers to horseback riders to joggers. The area includes more than 10 miles of trails, so bring along a picnic lunch!

Pacific Crest Trail

While you probably know that the Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to the Canadian border, you may not know that it also traverses part of Nevada County. From Interstate 80 at Boreal, the trail crosses Donner Pass Road just east of Sugar Bowl and heads north-northeast into Sierra County, and south into Placer County. Since this trail traverses extremely wild and rugged country, much of it at elevations above 7,000 feet, be sure both you and your dog are in shape, and that you’re fully prepared with water and food. Go to the Pacific Crest Trail Association website at www.pct.org for detailed information and maps.

Mt. Judah/Donner Peak Trail

Another high-elevation hike offers some of the most breathtaking long-range views of Donner Lake you’ll ever find. The trail starts off with a nasty field of loose granite you need to traverse, and the last leg up to the top of Mt. Judah is very exposed and windy, but the rest of the hike is considered “moderate,” and the views are worth the struggle. It’s easily accessible from Interstate 80, just four miles from the Soda Springs exit.

Donner Rim Trail

Encircling Donner Lake itself is the Donner Lake Rim Trail, which eventually will run 23 miles from Truckee to Donner Summit. Fifteen miles of the trail are now complete, snaking through the forests of huge cedars and alongside massive granite boulders left from the last Ice Age. Along the way, you’ll find magnificent views of Donner Lake, Mount Rose and the Pacific Crest. This too is a very high-elevation hike, starting at 6500 feet and eventually reaching almost the 8000-foot level. Exit I-80 at the Donner Lake Interchange; on the north side of the freeway is a large dirt parking lot

No matter where you decide to go in our high country, keep in mind these “rules of the road:”

• Always bring plenty of water for both you and your pup

• Carry snacks like nuts, dried fruit, or granola bars that are nutritious, give you energy, and aren’t too filling. (And carry snacks for your dog, too!)

• If you’re hiking solo, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back

• Bring along a first-aid kit just in case

• Keep your cell phone and a compass with you; it’s very easy to get lost or hurt in the back country

• Bring a leash, and obey trail rules about dogs on- or off-leash

• Leave no trace: leave what you find along the trail, and don’t leave your garbage for someone else to pick up

You can find information on more high-country trails in our area on AllTrails.com, Nevada County Gold, GoNevadaCounty.com, and the US Forest Service. To find hiking trails that are especially dog-friendly, go to DogTrekker.com.

See you on the hiking trail!

Joan Merriam lives in Nevada County with her Golden Retriever Joey, her Maine Coon cat Indy, and the abiding spirit of her beloved Golden Retriever Casey in whose memory this column is named. You can reach Joan at joan@joanmerriam.com. And if you’re looking for a Golden, be sure to check out Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue

The view of Donner Lake from the top of Donner Peak.
Photo by Joan Merriam