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Sage's memorial was created on 2/14/2014.
Sage was found when she was only 3 months old, a stray slightly hit by a car on the Preston-Fall City Road, in Fall City, WA. We had 2 dogs at the time and weren’t looking for a third, but I know now it was fate that we met that day. At 5 months old, she rescued me and three hiking partners from an avalanche, and I decided she was destined to be a search and rescue dog. While waiting to be accepted into King County Search Dogs, we spent our time running, walking, hiking and backpacking. That little black dog would never tire and I can still see her running after marmots in the boulder fields with her pack slapping at her sides. Sage and I hiked 175 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail - the most incredible trip I have ever taken - just me and my dog.
In 2000 we were finally accepted into King County Search Dogs. We certified in airscent search in July of 2002 and then cadaver search in the fall of the same year. We continued cross training in water, avalanche and article search. In June 2003, Sage had her first and life saving find of an elderly woman who had fallen in a lake in Federal Way. The very next month, she found a lost rafter whose boat had capsized at Flaming Geyser Park. And then in the fall she found a bi-polar male missing from his home in Shoreline. 2003 was the year of the live finds for Sage.
In February of 2004, she located the remains of a man missing for 7 years. Just two months later she located a drowned elderly male in the Green River. August that same year she blew my socks off by locating the remains of a woman buried in a local river. I changed my license plate to K9TYD = TRUST YOUR DOG because Sage had trained me to. 2004 was the year of the deceased for Sage.
In 2005 she located the remains of a man missing for 1 year. In April 2006 she located another drowning in the Duwamish River, and then in December she found the remains of another woman buried on a hillside. Jan 2007 was a terrible crash of a Blackhawk helicopter and she helped find the remains of the crew. In June she located a murder site in a home in Seattle. In the fall of 2007 she located two missing hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Her last find in WA State before we moved, was a duffle bag with the remains of a woman who had been murdered.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, Sage tore her ACL and off we went to WSU to get her fixed. Dr. Lincoln was the most amazing veterinarian I’d ever had and he and the students were wonderful. Sage healed up well but then tore the second ACL, and off we went to WSU again. But two TPLOs and a lot of rehab and water therapy later, she went on with her search career. She climbed 6000’ and 20 miles in deep snow to find some lost souls after both her surgeries and didn’t miss a beat. Thank you Dr. Lincoln, Dr. Martinez, Lori Lutskas, Paula Bielenberg and Cindy
Hasenoerhrl for all you did for Sage and me.
In 2009 we moved to Alaska and Sage loved the weather. It helped her arthritis immensely because it is so dry up here. The searches are few and far between but then so are the people and that’s why I live here. We started a search dog team in the Matanuska Valley and I have shared all that Sage taught me throughout the years. She was doing so well at 15 ½ but was diagnosed with a bone tumor that neither of us, nor anyone else, could fight. She’d done so much good in her life that it just didn’t seem fair. I had to say good bye to my little girl on December 26th 2013 and now my life will never be the same.
I know I should be thankful for all the years I had with Sage, and for all the wonderful things we did together and for all the lives she touched. But I wanted so much more. My companion, my partner, my soul mate has been taken from me and my life is so empty without her. “If love could have saved her, she would have lived forever”.
Rest in peace munchkin. I miss you more than words could ever describe. Jake really misses you too.
Love you with all my heart.
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