Keeping Up With the Family: Gone to the Dogs (and Cats)

Dear Family, Friends, and Assorted Others:

Last week was another interesting week here in the beautiful, green Pacific Northwest!

I had been bragging just a little bit (mostly to my Dad and Rick) about how much better the weather is here during the summer. I mean, in North Carolina, I would’ve spent the last 6 weeks enduring take-your-breath-away heat and humidity and heat indices in the one-hundred-and-teens. But here, I haven’t had a single take-your-breath-away heat and humidity day. Until Saturday when, saints preserve us, we hit 100. Thankfully, we’re back on the cooler end of that now and sweet Nick will no longer have to tweet “I’m melting!” tweets. (I just hope Nick doesn’t blame my bragging for us hitting that 100-degree mark! I promise I won’t brag anymore! Much.)

With the weather being mostly nicer and cooler than I’m used to, it’s been easier to get motivated to get outside and walk. Last fall and winter in NC, I had worked my way up to walking three-and-a-half miles, two or three times a week. In the bitterest part of the winter—and once I started packing for the West Coast—my walks got derailed and slowly tapered off to practically non-existent. But once I got moved, I started walking again. And now that I live around the corner from a very nice, shady sidewalked stretch of road, I really have no excuse not to get out there. Last week, I broke my own personal best record and walked 4.3 miles one day! And as much as she’s able to, my dear Sister-Friend, Morgan, grabs her doggies, Abbie and Seamus, and they join me. We watched a GORGEOUS sunset yesterday as we took our 2.4-mile walk.

I suppose now that I’ve mentioned the puppies, it’s a good time to admit that I miss my Sadie. I think it’s obvious to most folks here… I mean, I’ve got my Sadie as my wallpaper on both my laptop and my cell phone. And my friends Chris and Malcolm humored me and put her on the label of their Kombucha. One of the many, many things I’m grateful for, with the family I live with, we have the two loving heelers (the aforementioned Abbie and Seamus) here, and so I get daily doggie-lovins. Seamus lays his head quietly against my knee to get his head petted and his ears scratched. And Abbie, who took a bit longer to warm up, now no longer barks every time she hears my feet on the stairs. And yesterday, she actually laid down across my feet while I was watching a movie. So, I’m thinking she’s gonna let me stay.

But, having two TERRIFIC dogs in the house just hasn’t been enough to make up for the absence of my sweet Sadie Brown-Eyes… So…

I’ve started volunteering at the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society in Washougal, Washington. Could we be a more perfect match? I’m aching for my dog to love… And these animals are aching for someone to love them. And when I say aching, I mean it, y’all.

On my first visit, one of the volunteers noticed that a big, old pit-bull was sitting in his pen, trembling. He wasn’t whining, crying, or barking. He was just sitting there, trembling. The volunteer crouched down in front of him and began to gently talk to him and this big, “scary” pit-bull slowly walked up to the volunteer and laid his head on the volunteer’s shoulder and stayed there. The volunteer put her arms around the dog and gently petted him for probably thirty minutes and over the time, I watched the dog stop trembling and start feeling loved and secure. It was a God-moment for me. And I knew that just as all of us humans deserve that kind of love and support, so do all of God’s four-footed creatures.

My response has been to get involved. I have been back to visit the dogs and have spent a couple of days in their cat shelter. Even though I’m not a “cat person” I find myself loving these little guys, too. And in response to my getting involved, their Executive Director and their Community Outreach Director approached me and asked me if I would be interested to assist with Community Outreach. So, I’m now the “Twitter voice” for them. If you are on Twitter, come follow us at @WCGHS and chat with me there! Who knows, maybe one or more of your followers is the one that is meant to save an animal’s life.

In between the heat, the walks, and the dogs, I also managed to get my Washington state driver’s license last week. That was an experience, y’all! Last time I got my NC license renewed, I went to the Dunn branch of the NC DMV and I kid y’all not—I was the only customer there! As I was leaving, a second customer came in.

At the East Vancouver DMV, this was not the case! When I walked in, I was handed a number. Two hours and twenty-four minutes later, I walked out with my license in my hand. But my loudest complaint? They make you put your weight on your license!! Seriously, Washington? That number fluctuates daily. What’s the point in that?!

People ask me the question all of the time, what has been the hardest thing to get used to after my move. Oh, that’s such an easy answer!


It’s not just the traffic—though that’s part of it. I spent the last almost-seven years of my life in a town of 232, with no stoplights. The biggest part of it is not really knowing where I’m going. In NC, I knew where everything was and using a GPS or navigation on my phone was completely unnecessary. I had never needed to use it and didn’t know how. Now, I go almost nowhere without my navigation.

It gets easier every day, though. And when you have views like this (that’s Mt. Hood as seen from Washougal, WA), it makes it much easier to sit in traffic.

Speaking of driving and traffic… Today, I had an article published at Sharing Travel Experiences: 5 Lessons I Learned on My Cross-Country 2,886-Mile Road Trip. I think it’s worth a read, but then, I’m admittedly biased.

And now, for a sad moment…

I knew that eventually, living so far from my family, we would lose someone and that I wouldn’t be able to be there to grieve and mourn with my family. This is one of the hardest things about moving. And today, I learned that my Great Aunt Jan Davis Sharpe has passed away.

Around the time that I made my decision to move, I learned that Aunt Jan had been diagnosed with Stage 4+ Cancer and that it had spread. Her prognosis was not good.

Because she was living in Shreveport, I was unable to visit her. And because I’m in Washington, I’m unable to attend her funeral. My heart aches. But my comfort today is in knowing that she had so many waiting in Heaven for her, and today, she’s with them. Welcome home, Aunt Jan. Welcome home.

And that’s pretty much what’s been going on here—

With much love,


PS – All pictures above were taken by me EXCEPT the picture of the beautiful black pit-bull (his name is Goober!) That picture was taken by a volunteer at WCGHS and was used with permission.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Hi, Sarah! I’m glad you’re getting settled, and that you’re helping those animals. Thanks for the update. Keep them coming here and on FB!

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Kimberli! I know you can identify with my love for the animals! Hugs to you and yours! 🙂

  3. Rochelle says:

    So happy you joined the WCGHS team! I know you’ll do an amazing job.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, Rochelle! Every little bit helps, right? 🙂

  5. Rachael Perry says:

    I agree with Rochelle – we are so happy to have you a part of the WCGHS team! I am very excited to work and learn from you. Also, now I am afraid to go to the DMV. I need to update my driver’s license from Oregon to Washington soon. Over two hours is much too long!

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Aww! Thanks, Rachael!

    Take a book. 🙂

  7. Papa Bear says:

    Well it’s been a long time since I have read one of your blog posts. I sort of got sidetracked during the last six or seven months, so I had not checked up on your writing. I’m glad you have given it a different twist this time. As for Sadie, she doing great. I’ll have to take an updated picture. I am working with some treats to teach her some new techniques about obedience, since I haven’t done too well with some of the last attempts. She does real good with sitting and staying put when I put her food or water out. When I tell her to “get it” she’s ready and able.
    I so enjoyed your post today will look forward to later posts.
    Papa Bear

  8. Those pups look cute – will have to come and do some visiting with those little kiddos!!

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    I love you, Daddy! 🙂

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Andy, YES! 🙂

  11. Uncle Lee says:

    Thanks for sharing with the family, in this format. I try to follow your FB posts, and sometimes get on Twitter. I probably stay about 3-4 days behind. It is fun to read about your experiences. We miss you, but still feel like you’re just down the road due to these communications. Keep it up. You are serving God in more ways than you realize. Love ya, Uncle Lee

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    Aww! Uncle Lee, that was just what I needed to hear this morning! It’s nice to be missed, but thank goodness for the technology that makes it easier for us to stay close. Love to you, Aunt B, and Magic! 🙂

  13. Mama Bear says:

    My BABY!! YES!! I have gotten to your blogs and enjoyed the pictures and what you had to say. It is great to be able to keep up with you like this–I will try to do this again REAL soon!!!

  14. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Mama Bear! 🙂

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