Just after Boomershoot 2008 I received the following email:
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 2:46 PM
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 [mailto:email@example.com]
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.
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
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…