Dog tale defines ‘community’

Laura Cowan, longtime summer visitor to our island and professor at the University of Maine in Orono, recently posed the question “What is community?” to me as we were discussing a potential UMO course offering that involves Swans Island. Ironically, on the same day, and possibly the same hour, Ken and Beth Weldon and their dog Rosie were experiencing an answer to this query on the other side of our island. Ken shares their story with us.

“My wife, Beth, our 15-month-old chocolate Lab Rosie and I were visiting Swans Island for the first time. Rosie is our ‘child.’ We are that kind of dog people. At Fine Sand Beach, we were having a great time – sun, beautiful scenery, fetch the stick in the surf with Rosie –when we noticed that Rosie had a puffy eye. We thought it was a bee sting or some other minor malady, and we put her on a tie out leash away from the surf and in the shade. We went to get her water bowl, and upon returning, we noticed that her muzzle was somewhat swollen and visibly increasing; it was apparent that something serious was happening. Beth and I packed up and rushed towards the car, but by time we got to the car, Rosie was very swollen and wheezing. We headed to The Island Market and Supply (TIMS) store to get Benadryl and seek advice. There began a series of encounters with islanders that is proof positive why ‘small town’ life and people are best. Several locals dropped everything to help us, and in the end Rosie was fine.

Upon arrival at TIMS, I rushed inside and announced (read “yelled,” as I was in a near panic) that I needed Benadryl for a severe allergic reaction. The woman at the counter there grabbed the Benadryl and said, ‘Go! You can pay later.’ As we were giving Rosie the antihistamine, a young woman who had been inside the store – We didn’t get her name; she drove a white sedan and had 1 or 2 kids in car seats – looked into our car and said, ‘I know a vet tech who lives on the island. Follow me.’ She then led us to the vet tech’s house, where she and her family also dropped what they were doing and all pitched in to help. Unfortunately, I didn’t get their names either. They evaluated Rosie, washed out her face and mouth, and suggested that she may have been stung by a jelly fish or even a stray stinger in the surf. They also called a veterinarian who happened to be on the island working on his house there. He advised us over the phone and said that he would see her immediately. The vet tech then jumped into a car full of strangers and a very sick dog and guided us to the veterinarian’s house, where he looked Rosie over, watched her for a while and advised us on how to care for her.

For the remainder of our stay, Rosie swam only at the quarry. Our hosts even dog sat for us so that Beth and I could go to places like Martini Point without fear of another crisis. In the following days, many people asked after Rosie and expressed their good wishes. I think that Rosie had her 15 minutes of fame on Swans Island. In the end, Beth and I enjoyed the rest of our trip. What is the difference between a crisis and an adventure? A happy ending, thanks, in this case, to the kindness of strangers on your beautiful island.”

Happy birthday to Eden Tamulonis, Sheila Smith, Ken Dutille, Hannah Grace Joy, Raylene Banks, Fern Burns, Jerry Cease, Harlan Lunt and Max Creswell. Anniversary blessings to Ed and Deb Schwabe, David and Annette Joyce, David and Kathleen LeMoine and Josh and Christal Applin.

If you have news to share, please email, call or write me by Sunday noon if you need it to be included in the following edition. Email me at [email protected]; drop a note to Kimberly Haller, P.O. Box 94, Swans Island, ME 04685; or call me at 526-4488.


Kimberly Haller

Kimberly Haller

If you have news to share, email or call me by Sunday noon if you need it to be included in the following edition. Email me at kkhall[email protected]or call me at 526-4488.

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