Bringing Home Bee | Through Wildfire, Dust and Wind Storm

In her latest column, North Bend resident and pet trainer/owner of Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, takes you on her journey to bring her new puppy, Bee, home to the Snoqualmie Valley from the breeder in Eastern Washington.  It wasn’t a breeze of a journey either. Read on…


When I scheduled my puppy pickup date I had no way of knowing a good portion of Eastern Washington would be on fire. At the time, all I was concerned with was missing all the Labor Day traffic over the pass, so I booked a hotel in Spokane, found a friend to share in the driving and decided to go get her the last weekend of August.

My new dog “Bee” was located in tiny Rice, Washington. The plan was to drive to Spokane, stay overnight and pick her up the next day before driving back home. I could have had her delivered, but it’s important to meet a puppy’s parents when you can.

Bee's parents.
Bee’s parents.

You can learn much about your new pup by seeing the parents. I wanted make sure the parents were not very nervous or aggressive as temperament can be passed along. You would never see such tendencies until much later in life so it’s nice to make sure the parents are well-adjusted pooches.  I also wanted to see that they were in good health and the environment the dogs were born into was a safe and clean place.

So Saturday morning my friend Cindi and I stocked up on road food and took off. We had carefully monitored the fire situation near Bee’s home and were cautiously optimistic that we could safely get to her on Sunday morning.

Our first sign of fire was in Ellensburg. The forecast had been rain and high winds, but it was a sunny bright day. We spent most of the ride from Ellensburg to the Columbia River trying to decide if what we were seeing on the horizon was smoke or merely clouds from the predicted storm.

I-90 conditions on 8/29/15
I-90 conditions on 8/29/15 in Eastern Washington

Suddenly as we crossed the river we were detoured to the south with no explanation. It turns out that in addition to the fires, we were now having dust storms because of the dry weather and high winds. I-90 was closed from Vantage to George. It was a long windy detour, but soon we were back on track.

Melissa and Cindi in windstorm.
Melissa and Cindi in windstorm.

Suddenly, at about Moses Lake, the sky darkened and we were smack dab in the middle of a dust storm. The light was odd and spooky. Tumbleweeds came out of nowhere to fly across the road. The weird brown haze followed us all the way to our hotel in Spokane. We went to bed hoping everything would go well the next morning as one of the fires was very close to our route.

The next morning, fueled by Starbucks, we set off for the sticks. We passed tiny town after tiny town deep into the Huckleberry Mountains. Our last turn said “Primitive road. No warning signs” and we wound higher and higher up into the hills. We passed a big cat rescue, many mailboxes with bible verses emblazoned on the sides and lots of horses and cattle. At the very end of a long drive we were met by many tiny dogs and a nice woman who finally gave us “Bee”

The drive home was spent cuddling Bee and marveling at how sweet and calm she was for such a small puppy. Someday I’ll tell her the tale of how her dog Mom and Aunt Cindi drove through wind AND dust AND fire to bring her home to the Snoqualmie Valley.

So far she’s worth it.

bee in car
Bee on the way to her new Snoqualmie Valley home.

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