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Day: July 23, 2015

“All Dogs Go to Kevin” by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang


All Dogs Go to Kevin” by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

c.2015, Grand Central Publishing
$26.00 / $29.00 Canada
325 pages


Your dog knows all the basic commands.

He can SPEAK, indoor voice and outdoor voice. He’s got SIT all buttoned up, with his behind planted firmly on the floor. He can STAY all day long if you need him to, and he FETCHes like a pro – which is great. You’ll need him to fetch you some tissues when you read “All Dogs Go to Kevin” by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang.

With few friends and a need for solitude, nerdy teen Jessica Vogelsang knew that she was expected to attend college but she wasn’t happy with her choices. Being a doctor “was the most palatable option” but by her senior year in college, “the luster had worn off the idea” and she was “completely confused.” Stubbornly determined, she soldiered on, until the day she followed students into a lab to observe surgery on a pig.

She graduated, went home, and enrolled in veterinary school.

Vogelsang came late to being an animal lover.

When she was eight years old, her parents allowed a Lhasa Apso named Taffy into the household. The dog was grumpy but Vogelsang understood, since she also just wanted to be left alone. Taffy was the first dog she loved and she was rightly upset when, years later, her mother had the elderly pooch euthanized without notice. Really, though, as a veterinarian, Vogelsang understood that, too.

A seize-life-by-the-throat kind of guy named Kevin had introduced Vogelsang to the man who would become her husband, and she was married by the time Taffy died. Her dog’s death made Vogelsang long for the pitter-patter of little (puppy) feet, so she and her husband adopted a Golden Retriever, Emmett, who’d been abandoned.

He ultimately saved Vogelsang’s life.

Goldens, however, are prone to cancer, which is what befell Emmett, who lived long enough to see two children born to the family. His death left a void that Vogelsang couldn’t bear and her children couldn’t grasp: in a misunderstanding, they thought Emmett had gone to stay with family friend, Kevin.

Not forgotten, Emmett gave way to Kekoa, then Brody, then…

We like to believe “that… we own [our pets],” says Vogelsang, at least until the “lease has expired.” The truth is, “We teach our dogs to ‘stay,’ but they never do.”

It’s really quite trite to say “I laughed, I cried” at this book. I know it is, but I can’t help it: that about sums up what I found in “All Dogs Go to Kevin.”

Author Dr. Jessica Vogelsang doesn’t just write about dogs, though. This is also a book about family, friendship, untimely loss, and making dreams come fearlessly true. It contains those behind-the-scenes tales and unique client stories you expect in a book by a veterinarian. We learn an important lesson about new motherhood that’s “delivered… by a Golden Retriever.” And yes, if you’ve ever loved and lost a pet (particularly, a dog), this book will make you laugh, and you’ll cry.

At the very least, for sure, “All Dogs Go to Kevin” will make you SIT for awhile.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

25 Fields for Oregon expands its scope

A look at the 25 fields for Oregon concept. (Submitted)
A look at the 25 fields for Oregon concept. (Submitted)

Of the Keizertimes

It all started with the seemingly simple idea of adding much-needed soccer fields.

But the 25 fields for Oregon project has expanded far beyond that.

Carrie Cool, executive director for the project launched in late 2012, had originally hoped to have 25 soccer fields open by the start of 2014 on 195 acres of land along Chemawa and Portland Roads, approximately across I-5 from Volcanoes Stadium.

“We’re still working on it,” Cool told the Keizertimes earlier this month. “We will see it through. It’s a whole process. It’s not easy.”

That’s because Cool and other 25 fields project leaders have been forming partnerships with members of the agricultural community, with a focus on research that can be done. That has included conversations with people like Steve Reid, a researcher at Oregon-based DLF Pickseed.

“We talked about the implications for chemical research like fertilizers used on all parks,” Cool said. “There are implications for using better and less chemicals. We talked about machinery research. Then we talked about public education and more. We talked about all of these potential uses for the fields. There’s nothing like it in the world to have a living laboratory for a sports field. (Reid) said it is like a researcher’s dream come true.”

Cool has also had conversations with officials at Oregon State University regarding turf management. Two project members have made trips to Washington, D.C. to give public education information to people in the seed and turf communities about what the project could mean.

In addition, there have been conversations about the site being the future home for OSU Extension Service in Marion County.

“They’d like to be in Marion County where farmers can more easily access it,” Cool said. “Partnering with us, they can have the acreage they need for incubator farms and exhibits.”

Having 25 fields would allow researchers to try different techniques and see what the results of each would be.

“There isn’t anywhere in the world that there’s a living laboratory for the study of impact on sports turf,” Cool said. “They don’t have anyone running on it before and after the rain, they don’t have chemical research. With this, they could do different blends (of chemicals) to see how that would work. There are all of these different aspects now how we can join with the agricultural community, which is something we’ve been looking at for a long time. It’s a win-win situation. It has really started to gel.”

Different fields could have different seed blends, irrigation protocols or turf management techniques. Reid has joined the 25 fields of Oregon board to help.

“We understand the sports club side of things, but to manage all of this scientific stuff would be another entire education for me,” Cool said. “We’re bringing in people that get this. They all seem genuinely excited about our idea.”

Based on earlier timelines coming and going, Cool is hesitant to give an estimate on when the fields might be open. Besides, she is wrapped up with the project’s growth at this point.

“All along we’ve had to have strong relationships with Oregon stakeholders,” Cool said. “Did we realize there was this ripple effect and all of these positive things? We thought there must be something, but we had no idea it was this big. To possibly give Marion County Extension a home, we didn’t realize that was possible or how important it could be.

“We were looking for agricultural stakeholders ties, but we didn’t realize to what extent we could really partner with them,” she added. “We didn’t grasp what the agricultural community needed. This is big and really cool. We haven’t met a stakeholder yet that is negative on it. We have a positive impact on everyone we’ve met with.”

Cool is fine with the expanded scope of her project.

“It’s going to be really rewarding to have this facility that started as a youth sports park and is now so much more,” she said. “It’s not just for Keizer, Salem or Marion County, it’s for the Oregon agricultural community.”