The things I put up with for Boomershoot

Just after Boomershoot 2008 I received the following email:

Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 2:46 PM
Subject: boomershoot


Once again I want to thank you for ruining another fine Cavendish springtime weekend; as you well know, they are far and few between in this “quiet” North Idaho community. I spent the weekend caring for my dog who is absolutely terrified of the noise generated by your idiotic activities of one quarter of a mile away. I also spent fifty dollars at the vet for tranquilizers to get him through the ordeal.

Too bad you can’t direct your intelligence to a more constructive cause.

XXX XXX, a resident of Cavendish for 37 years.

I forwarded the email to a friend who works with dogs and asked for advice. I then procrastinated for nearly a year before attempting to address the issue in a polite manner. My attempt was:

From: Joe Huffman []
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2009 11:52 AM
Subject: RE: boomershoot

I’m very sorry you and your dogs are upset by the noise. I have consulted someone who has worked with dogs who had problems with loud noises and she had some suggestions. I thought she might be able to attend again this year. She had offered to stop by and work with you and your dogs some. It turns out she will not be able to attend. Her comments:

Tell him that one of the range safety officers is disabled woman, and has a service dog who can be at close range and the dog is practically unfazed by the sounds of close-up gunfire/explosives.* This dog was once-fretful/skittish dog at the slightest sound — even that of a falling leaf (no joke). The dog is a survivor of brutal beatings due do gang-related pit bull abuse but has overcome most of the sound-related trauma, thanks to training and desensitization, so the dog can now handle loud sounds.

Every dog is different. We’ve had other people w/ their dogs attend Boomershoot in the past and their dogs seem unfazed by the sounds. In fact, the neighbor dog is so unfazed by Boomershoot sounds, he sometimes playfully runs through the field (aka shooting range), and we call a “cease fire” to ensure the dog’s safety. We’ve waited up to 30 minutes before, until the dog playfully ran back home.

I have to disagree with you on the view that the activities are “idiotic”. Thousands of people think otherwise. The Seattle KING5 television station did a very positive video of the event which was nominated for an Emmy award in 2006. Newsweek and Outside Magazine and others have had positive articles on it as well. People travel from all across the country and sometimes (including this year) even from Europe to participate. This year, as nearly every other year, we have spectators driving from the Seattle area just to watch. All have found it to be a constructive cause.

Again, I’m sorry our once a year activities cause your dogs so much anxiety. We are having another event next weekend with a few boomers going off on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and hundreds of them on Sunday the 26th. If it would help I would be glad to compensate you for the problems with your dogs. I would be glad to send you a check for $50 to cover the medications or for you to take them someplace else. If this is agreeable to you please give me your mailing address and I’ll get the check in the mail as soon as I can.


Joe Huffman
Boomershoot Event Director
P.S. It’s over a mile away, not 0.25 mile.

The email bounced so I forwarded it to my brother Doug asking if he had a current email address for our neighbor. He did not but offered that I might be able to find his work email address. Then a couple hours later I received the following email from one of my cousins in the area:

Sent: Friday, April 17, 2009 2:34 PM
To: Joe Huffman
Cc: Doug Huffman
Subject: dogs

Hey Joe,
Our German Shepherds are becoming very anxious and even upset in anticipation of the upcoming boomer shoot. I think the cat maybe disturbed also, however all three say that fifty pounds of T-bones would probably settle their nerves.

He had me going there for the first half of a sentence but I figured it out and fired off the following reply:

From: Joe Huffman
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2009 3:09 PM
Cc: ‘Doug Huffman’
Subject: RE: dogs

Would that be 50 pounds each or 50 pounds combined?

And since you didn’t specify I will assume any bone tributes can be delivered in powdered form.


The things I have to put up with for Boomershoot…


6 thoughts on “The things I put up with for Boomershoot

  1. Dogs getting anxious one year apart? what a load of BS. I’d say the dogs are probably reacting more to the owner’s increased anxiety rather than Boomershoot.

    Boomershoot is over 3 days. Why not take poochy off on a road trip to the countryside and spend some time giving them TLC away from the noise if they REALLY care about their dogs? I’m sure the dogs would love it!

  2. The second set of dogs (and the cat) getting anxious was my smart-ass cousin giving me a bad time. Doug had forwarded my email on to him for evaluation. I suspect the entire community has heard of the story now.

  3. The person with the skittish dogs should attend boomershoot, with the dogs. Comforting the dogs during the shooting and booming would let the dogs know it’s all OK. That’s how I taught my German Shepard 4th of July fireworks were fun, not scary.

    Nice of you to try and help the complainer, though.

  4. I knew something had to be up when I read the words “German Shepards”. If it is the house I’m thinking of, I’ve driven past it both before and after the event (not to mention the two days before it) and seen a pair of Shepards just lounging in their fenced area. Either they were heavily sedated or could care less.

  5. The thought of someone else having fun is more than some people can handle. Pathological envy is an alltogether terrible thing.

  6. My dog a border collie was terrified of loud bangs. He hated fireworks and every July forth I would take him for an early walk and if one sparklerwent off , he recognized the sounds of fountains as a prelude to the loud stuff, he would run home and go inside and stay under my desk. He got worse instead of better and started to be afraid of storms. So these dogs have to suffer the problems and it is best to leave them inside or use tranks if they get destructive. My other dog hates gunfire and hides under the truck but she has been shot at once so she has good reason to dislike it.

    Any dog afraid of gunfire will have problems with other large bangs and fireworks happen very year.

    Offer to pay for the meds,but the you are not the dogs only problem. The owners have to deal with it. It may be best if they take that weekend and take the dogs with them on a trip.

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