We’ve had a lot of dogs over the years.  They were “dogs of the world,” who spent their time going around to hearings all over, and living in Delaware and Minnesota.    In the last seven years, we’ve lost four German Shepherds, who died of old age, one quickly with liver failure, the others slow decline over years.

Dogs don’t live nearly long enough.  That’s pretty tough to handle, but death, well, it’s life, and that short dog’s life comes with dogs.  Unexpected accidents and trauma is much harder to handle.  And that happens too often with dogs.

Not long after we moved to the “new” house, and met our neighbor and her dog Stella.  Stella got out into the world a lot, an escape artist, and that’s how she met Alan.  One day he was out working at the bench in the yard, and Stella escaped, and came over and introduced herself.  They became fast friends:

We’d always say hello when she was in the hard, and Alan would often climb up into her yard to make it personal.  When she was being boarded, Alan went to visit her and walk her.  When she’d get loose and we’d hear her name across the back yards, he’d run out and help round her up.  She was an escape artist, and it happened pretty often.  Sometimes it took a while, and she’d come in and visit until her mom got home from work.  I’ve given her a couple of baths because she’d get into doggy perfume up there on the bluff, and clean, she’d be the most welcome house guest.  By us, that is — Sadie wasn’t exactly thrilled!

We’re dogsitting Stella while our neighbor is on vacation, a much deserved trip to Europe. Stella was our friend, and we wanted to take care of her rather than have her sent to doggy jail with the other two dogs.  We got her stuff, got her rabies and vet info, our neighbor’s contact info in Europe (contact might be sketchy), and we were off.  We took her with to Isanti to pick up yet another boat motor, and she got to meet a HUGE friendly shep:

On Tuesday, I took Stella on a day long road trip down to Albert Lea to visit with clients, where we made a couple of stops and she checked out life in the middle of a wind turbine project.  Wednesday, we were home all day, entertained by a housecleaner who was helping on a major kitchen cleaning.  When I went to feed Stella afterwards, I opened the door to the mudroom, where the food is, the outside door was open a crack, and Stella flew past, ran to the door, opened it, and was on her way (she’d gotten loose before with us, even removed her gentle leader from the dog rope!).  I ran out, called for Alan, and we were both out calling for her, as we’ve done so often, and not more than two or three minutes later, I heard a screech and then a dog yelp, and knew…

Alan had been in our neighbor’s back yard, where Stella usually goes after a grand adventure. I was in the side yard between our houses. We got there in seconds, and Stella was sitting on the far side of West.  She’d run out into the street (West has over 4,000 cars daily!), and was hit.  The woman who’d hit her had stopped, she was horrified and shaken, and she came running over, and her daughter came over too.  She called the police.  Stella was sitting quietly, looking “OK” but her back legs were not working.  After a quick assessment, I ran down to get the car, pulled up, and we got her in the back of the car.  The woman she’d run in front of was so concerned, and it wasn’t her fault, and I tried to reassure her, and her daughter, saying that it was all on me, that Stella got out on my watch, that was my fault. There was nothing she could have done differently, and she stopped, did what she could to help (and she was very good in an emergency, maybe it’s her being a mom, she was level and helpful, a take action kind of person).  We used her and her daughter’s phones to get to a local vet and get the number and directions to the emergency vet.  Then we gently moved Stella to the back seat so that Alan could be with her on the way.  I so appreciated her help and both her and her daughter’s calm concern.  After tearful hugs all around, I went back to our house, and we were on the way. (If you’re out there, THANK YOU!!!)

Stella never cried, other than the moment she was hit.  She was conscious, alert (oriented times three?  I didn’t dare ask her who the President was because she might bite!!), panting, not yelping or whining.  On the way to the emergency vet, she was laying on her side, head in Alan’s lap, frequently trying to get up, using her front legs, and Alan kept her calm on the way down to Rochester.

We got there, carefully carried her in, where she was examined, x-rayed, etc., back not broken, but spinal cord damage, she was paralyzed, with deep pain feeling only, there was some connection, but… it was grim.

We weren’t Stella’s owners, and she was on a boat in eastern Europe.  Right the outset, up front, we’d agreed to cover emergency costs, plunked a card down, but they had to check with the manager before they agree to treatment without owner authorization.  WHAT?  This is an emergency!

They did agree to treat her.  She spent the night at the vet, recognized us when we were allowed back to say good night, and she tried to get up. We spent some time with her and then went back home, to return to pick her up at 7:30, when she’d be discharged to our vet.  In the morning, she came out on a gurney, with catheter and IV port, conscious, quietly wanting to get up, raised head, looking around.  We got her in the car and again she rode with Alan calming her, Stella snuggled up against him, contact all the way over to Kenyon.  We definitely wanted a second assessment and opinion from someone we trusted to have the animal’s interest at heart.

Should we have said we were her owners?  Her owner was on the other side of the planet, and could not change the horrible situation, there was nothing she could do.  I had what I think was a good sense of what Stella’s owner would want for treatment, and having worked on so many Living Wills, having had so many old dogs, and dealing with my parents in hospice, I was prepared to make decisions, but had no authority, and we’d not discussed any of this expressly.  We should have.

Sooooooooo, the moral to the story.  Vets don’t want to/can’t treat or euthanize an animal without consent from the owner. If you’re boarding your dog, or if you’re dogsitting, discuss everything about that dog’s care as if you were writing a Living Will, and write it up, include this with your pet’s luggage.  If there’s any chance it will be difficult to reach the owner, like a BWCA trip, or a march along the Great China Wall, consider a power of attorney to make decisions about emergency care for the animal (mindful that animals are regarded as property), with specifications about what situations you’d authorize someone to act, what situations you’d want to be called for, notified about, what if you can’t be reached when an immediate decision must be made, and what you’d rather wait to know about until you got back.  We were able to get through to Stella’s owner fairly easily considering we had to call a German boat in Budapest, who contacted them on a bus on a day trip!  Or maybe the phone/text message did get through or email worked.  Probably all of the above.

For consideration to modify for your pets:

The Minnesota Health Care Directive

Power of Attorney Short Form – Minnesota Attorney General

The realities of life, and of death, really suck sometimes, but it’s important to acknowledge it and deal with it.  I hadn’t really considered the full range of possibilities and responsibilities that come with caring for someone else’s animal, or having someone else care for mine, despite these many years of living with companion animals and taking care of others’ animals.  DOH!  Disaster happened on my watch… with some planning, it would have been a little easier to handle.  And if I’d noticed that the back door was open just a tiny crack… If I’d kept Stella in the kitchen… sigh…

And then there’s the stories about my brother’s dogs, and his birthday… for another day.

As we celebrate “National Character Counts Week” declared by our Twit-in-Chief:

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 15 through October 21, 2017, as National Character Counts Week

… here’s the latest example from the guy who wouldn’t know character if it bit him in the ass, which it does regularly:

Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States

Right… “promoting healthcare choice and competition.”

In today’s STrib:

Minn. joins suit against Trump’s halt to health insurance subsidies

There will be a comment period, so might as well start commenting NOW:


Tell tRump what you think, in technicolor.

Get ahold of Congress too, let them know what you think about this abuse of power through yanking dollars:

U.S. Senate: Senators of the 115th Congress

Find Your Representative · House.gov

Here’s an example of missing the point entirely:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), however, has severely limited the choice of healthcare options available to many Americans and has produced large premium increases in many State individual markets for health insurance. The average exchange premium in the 39 States that are using www.healthcare.gov in 2017 is more than double the average overall individual market premium recorded in 2013. The PPACA has also largely failed to provide meaningful choice or competition between insurers, resulting in one-third of America’s counties having only one insurer offering coverage on their applicable government-run exchange in 2017.

Hmmmmmmmm, this is about health “insurance” and I don’t see anything about “health care.” As usual, Trump is not noting the distinction!  The points above are about problems with the health insurance industry.

Once more with feeling, we want HEALTH CARE and not HEALTH INSURANCE.  The issue above about cost of premiums going up, and that’s the insurance companies, and the complaint is about “only one insurer.”  When are we going to get insurance companies out of the mix?  DOH!

Wisconsin Power and Light, owner/operator of the Bent Tree Wind project is under the Alliant Energy corporate umbrella.  Recently, Wisconsin Power & Light filed a response to the noise study for its Bent Tree wind project:


In this response, well, it’s not wind turbine noise, it’s the birds! It’s the rustling leaves!

Here’s the noise study, in case you missed it:

Bent Tree_Noise Monitoring_20179-135856-01

(click for larger version)

Got that?

Wednesday, October 11

11:45 and 6:30

Red Wing Ignite Building

419 Bush Street

Refreshments served!

Our community is in part what we make it to be, and the key to change is showing up.

On that note, for your review:

Red Wing Citizens Assembly Event Report

Oh my, seems that Association of Freeborn County Landowners has struck a nerve.  Freeborn Wind Energy (Invenergy) has responded:


Here’s the Response of AFCL to that Reply:

Reply_Association of Freeborn County Landowners_Petition for Task Force

There are some pretty wild statements, attributing motives and purposes that are off the wall:

  • Apparently, aware that a task force could not meet its traditional statutory duties, AFCL argues for the creation of a new purpose — that such task force should be appointed to help resolve contested factual issues. Response, p. 7.


  • AFCL appears to be seeking and Advisory Task Force that would persist through the contested case proceeding. Response, p. 8.


  • AFCL’s request for a Scientific Advisory Task Force is, quite transparently, a second try to commence a rulemaking relating to wind turbine noise. Response, p. 8.

Oh my… Here’s the statute, and a review of that demonstrates that the first two of their presumptions are contrary to law, and ya know, there are some lawyerly rules (Rule 11 anyone?) against those types of arguments misrepresenting the law:

“AFCL argues for the creation of a new purpose?”  No.  The only purpose specified in the statute, but stated in a way that leave it open to other purposes, is one of “evaluating sites.” That’s in the second sentence of Subd. 1.  What typically happens in a task force is that the application is reviewed, members comment on it and raise issues and proposed additional options.  That’s called informing the record.  That’s what task forces do, contribute their first hand knowledge of their community, and use that to evaluate sites, to propose alternate sites (which should be in the application but are not!). The charge is to be specified by the Commission.

“Persist through the contested case proceeding?”  After the Chisago I task force, which intervened in the first Chisago contested case, Northern States Power made sure that wouldn’t happen again, and in 2001 pushed to get language into the statute that did exactly that:

The task force shall expire upon completion of its charge, upon designation by the commission of alternate sites or routes to be included in the environmental impact statement, or upon the specific date identified by the commission in the charge, whichever occurs first.

Minn. Stat. 216E.08, Subd. 1.  DOH!  No way can the task force “persist.”

“AFCL’s request for a Scientific Advisory Task Force is, quite transparently, a second try to commence a rulemaking relating to wind turbine noise.” No.  I’ve filed a lot of rulemaking petitions over the years, and even more petitions for task forces.  With the 2016 petition to the MPCA for rulemaking on wind noise, the Commissioner said that there wasn’t sufficient “understanding of wind turbine noise and its potential effects” for rulemaking:

MPCA-7030 Denial of Rulemaking Petition

Soooooooo, if there is insufficient understanding, how do we build that understanding to the point its sufficient to support rulemaking, how do we “monitor the science” for a decision regarding future rulemaking?  Yes, seems to me this is what a Scientific Advisory Task Force is for!  And it’s my belief that the last time this was done was the Stray Voltage report from the “Science Advisors”back in the ’90s, appointed by the Public Utilities Commission to consider stray voltage:


This report came up several times in the Arrowhead Transmission Dockets in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and was not at all helpful in advancing understanding of stray voltage, that took a few successful plaintiffs, like Zumberge and Cook in Minnesota, but this is a way to develop the record. Worth noting is that this Science Advisors report was before Freeborn Energy’s attorney Lisa Agrimonti’s time… though I know Mike Krikava would remember!

I have a rulemaking petition for both Minn. R. Ch. 7030 and Ch. 7854 on deck, but as far as I can see, nothing has changed in MPCA’s “understanding” of wind noise and impacts on human health. We need to get the information into the system somehow. A Scientific Advisory Task Force — that is why this statute was created, that’s the purpose!  DOH!

The Response of Freeborn Wind Energy has zero credibility. Did they make these arguments up while sitting around the bar after the Line 3 hearings last week? Good grief…