Monday, November 16, 2015

Uncle in Vermont by Kenneth Weene

Uncle in Vermont
Kenneth Weene

She loved traveling, delighting in hotels and particularly enjoying room service breakfasts: scrambled eggs not too firm or a cheddar omelet, a side of bacon, toast buttered and strawberry jam, hash browns with ketchup, and coffee—light and sweet. Uncle, our twelve-pound terrier-poodle mix, had little use for me, but she did appreciate my serving her hotel breakfast. Another thing about Uncle and hotels stays: that was the only time she would tolerate a leash. Yes, she did understand the rules that people imposed even if she knew they were stupid and surely didn’t apply to a dog who knew exactly where to go and what to do without being told. 

For all her love of travel and of hotels, Uncle (Her paradoxical name my wife and the dog’s choice. I was told the alternative had been Steve.) had one vacation spot she particularly loved. That was the Kedron Valley Inn in South Woodstock, Vermont. 

We started going to the Kedron Valley because of their animal policies. Not only did they welcome dogs, but they had a lovely stable from which we could take great rides into the rich Vermont countryside. Uncle loved it not only because of the great breakfasts and the absence of leash rules, but more importantly because it allowed her to enjoy some of her favorite pastimes.
First and foremost was drinking. Yes, I mean booze, or to be more exact – Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. For all her regal ways—and Uncle was sure she was a descendant of royalty—Uncle was an alcoholic. She liked nothing more than padding into the lounge, sitting in front of the fire, and being served her favorite libation. By the way, while she would if necessary drink her sherry from a lesser vessel, Uncle did prefer stemware, which she never knocked over. 

Once the innkeeper understood Uncle’s wants, he was happy to fill them—even when my wife and I were not in the room. When we would go for one of those lovely rides, Uncle, who never walked more than a few hundred yards before settling to the ground and waiting for one of us to provide carriage service, would slip out of our room and down to that comfortable lounge. Eventually and with some difficulty, I convinced Paul, the inn’s owner, that Uncle did not have her own money and that I would only pay for two drinks a day.

“After two, you pay,” I said.

Reluctantly he agreed. After all, she was a regular.

For Uncle the Kedron was more than drinking. There she could indulge in other favorite activities. One involved the two-acre swilling pond. Uncle did not swim. Slogging under the weight of her waterlogged coat was an effort well beneath her standards. However, she did love to watch our Airedale swim. Jennifer would swim for hours if allowed, and Uncle—big sister that she was—would bark herself hoarse providing encouragemen—or was it criticism. 

Uncle did not take kindly to other dogs, and there were many at the Kedron. On each visit, she quickly established dominance over them, usually by tricking them into running into stationary objects like automobiles and doors. It was clear that Uncle remembered which trick each dog would fall for, but it was equally apparent that none of the housedogs remembered her. There are dogs and then there was Uncle.

Uncle loved Vermont in all five seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter, and mud. It was one of her great delights to watch us, her humans, try to cope with the various conditions and activities the seasons offered. What a joyful day it was for her when we tried cross-country skiing. It was one of the few times Uncle actually took physical part in one of out activities—carefully coming over to sniff us each time we ignominiously landed on the ground. Oh, what a wicked grin she had that day.

Once we were comfortably ensconced at the Inn, Uncle was always ready for a drive though the countryside. There she could indulge her only passion that came close to her love of drink. Uncle was a bovine fanatic. Let us drive by a pasture with cows, and she would leap about the back seat and sometimes onto my wife’s lap all the while screeching her excitement. 

In fact, Uncle was so enamored with cows, that when our son bought a pair of leather pants, it took two of us to remove her from his leg, which she maniacally clutched and humped.
In case one wonders, horses, sheep, pigs, chickens—nothing but cows elicited that excitement.

I know there are many wonderful things in Vermont, gorgeous countryside, lovely villages, handsome covered bridges, impressive mountains. Of course we tried downhill skiing and snowmobiling, bought maple syrup from local trees, and admired the colors of fall. We did all those things and more, but none bring a smile to my face or a laugh to my heart that comes close to the joy of those memories of Uncle at the Kedron Valley Inn. 

Ken & Roz Weene
Ken Weene’s poetry, short stories, and essays can be found in various print and electronic journals and collections. His novels, Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum, and Tales From the Dew Drop Inne are published by All Things That Matter Press, along with two electronic shorts, Two Tales of Terror and El Catrin. Ken co-hosts It Matters Radio on Thursday evenings and edits “The Write Room Blog.”  A new book, Broody New Englander, should be out soon. Currently Ken is editing a new novel, Times to Try the Soul of Man, and working on Red and White, a novel of the Native American experience.

Ken’s website is

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Maggie's story: Rescue dog inspires a book

Maggie's story: 

Rescue dog inspires a book

Emily Hall
Contributing writer of the North Kitsap Herald

Maggie, a rescue dog, at 9 weeks old. Her journey from abandoned and abused to love and health has inspired a book.

SILVERDALE — By the hopeful look in her bright brown eyes, no one could have guessed that at just seven weeks of age, her puppyhood was taken from her.

It would take someone extraordinary to notice the trying spirit of Maggie Anne, showing her will to flourish in the seemingly dog-eat-dog world.

She was a pitiful thing when she was abandoned over several hundred miles from her present-day Bremerton home. At the time of her rescue, her stomach was so insufficiently developed that she could not digest regular dog food. She would run at the sight of any person who attempted to approach her, a post-traumatic response to the abuse inflicted on her by her previous owners.

Rosemary “Mamie” and her husband, Douglas Earl Adkins, of Bremerton were devastated by the passing of their Labrador retriever, Sandy, a member of the family since birth. To fill the void caused by the loss of their four-legged companion, Douglas and Mamie began volunteering at the Kitsap Humane Society — where they found Maggie. At first, it was hard for the couple to cope with the death of Sandy, especially after years of endless love and care. While the Adkinses hadn't considered bringing another dog home, they saw Maggie and, in her deprived condition, were convinced to let her into their hearts.

Saved from an untimely death, Maggie soon became Mamie's and Douglas's canine child.
It took some time for Maggie to adjust to a nurturing environment. At first, she was cautious and fearful around people; because of the physical and emotional damage inflicted during her young life, she did not know who to trust. During these trying times, the Adkinses worked closely with Kitsap Animal Rescue and Education (KARE) to rehabilitate and steer Maggie toward the right path to behaving and functioning well.

Her stomach's inadequate development prevented her from eating like the other dogs. Specially prepared recipes had to be made for her. Thus, the conception of “Maggie's Kitchen Tails.”

now approaching her second birthday,
is a happy and healthy dog

“Maggie's Kitchen Tails,” written by Mamie and Douglas Adkins and Martha Char Love, is a collection of recipes specifically for dogs, along with chronicles of Maggie's heroic journey as a rescue dog. The book also explains what dogs are and aren't supposed to eat. Since youth, Maggie's food had to be steamed and dehydrated until she recovered from her rescue. All of the recipes in this book have been tried, tested, and dog-approved. The food is even human-grade.

“Maggie's Kitchen Tails” will be launched on Oct. 31, Maggie's second birthday. There will be book signings across Kitsap County; the first one will take place at the Silverdale Library on the evening of Nov. 5. Proceeds from this book will help animal rescues such as KARE, PAWS, and the ASPCA. To check if there's a book event in your area, go to

The book will also be featured at KARE's second annual Wine and Wag Gala on Nov. 14. At this benefit event, you can meet the authors and possibly the dog behind the book.

Mamie and Doug Adkins have been activists in the community helping animals.

“Every spirit deserves a happy home with a family of their own, to live free of fear, abuse and hunger, knowing they are loved above all else,” Mamie stated. “The shelters are filled with pets that have no familiar beds of their own, no toys that belong to them and many without even their own names. Please open your hearts and do what you can to help these animals find their happiness in a forever home.”

Since her rescue at seven weeks old, young Maggie Anne has come a long way. A few weeks shy of turning 2, the German shepherd/border collie mix has become the picture of progress. Her coat is healthy, shiny, and soft, and anyone could see in her eyes that because of the Adkinses’ patience and care, she is now truly living — and cradled in love.

Above: Maggie, now approaching her second birthday, is a happy and healthy dog. Contributed photo

Stop by and visit our web site and check out our Maggie as she has inspired a book with a collection of short stories and dog treat recipes. 

Maggie’s Kitchen Tails:

Dog Treat Recipes and Puppy Tales to Love
Be sure to order your copy today!
Douglas E. and Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins
Martha Char Love

About the reporter:

Emily Hall lives in Bremerton, Wa, attending Olympic College. She is studying education with the hopes of transferring to the University of Massachusetts, slated to graduate in 2019. One day, Emily aspires to be an elementary teacher.

In her spare time, Emily works for the Olympian, where she is a reporter for the college’s newspaper. She also has an internship with the North Kitsap Herald.