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Valley dog takes incredible journey

Sun., Oct. 19, 2008, midnight

To paraphrase the trailer for the 1943 movie “Lassie Come Home,” this isn’t a pretentious story or an epic.

It is “too real, too human, too beautiful for high-sounding adjectives.”

It is enough to make Otis Orchards resident Kathy Morse tremble in disbelief.

While the fictional Lassie ran away and traveled hundreds of miles to get home, the real-life Abby traveled nine miles through Spokane Valley to get to her regular doggy-sitters, Kathy and Lonnie Morse.

Abby lost seven of her 59 pounds and had sore paws and a slight limp, but otherwise was OK. The trip took her 15 days – days in which the Morses and Abby’s owners, Rob and Jann Chatters, and her alternate sitters, Jim and Margaret Nielson, were combing the streets for her.

Morse said she had just about given up hope when Abby turned up at her doorstep.

“I was in shock,” Morse said. “I checked her ID twice. I could not believe this was Abby, but she is very distinctive-looking.”

Morse said her hand was shaking so badly she had a hard time dialing the phone to tell the Chatterses.

The Morses hadn’t been available to watch Abby when the Chatterses, who live in Hayden, wanted to go on a trip last month. So the Chatterses took Abby to the home of their niece, Margaret Nielson, in the 1200 block of North Marguerite Road on Sept. 17.

When the Nielsons went out on Friday evening, Abby apparently scooted under a gate, Chatters said.

Morse said Abby has “street smarts.” Still, Morse had just about given up hope.

Rob Chatters said he figured it might take Abby a couple of months to get home, “but we were starting to feel a little less confident about it.”

He said Abby was happy to see her humans when they came for her at the Morse house, but was in a hurry to get home. “She’s a little bit clingy right now,” he said. “She keeps pretty good track of where we are, and she’s definitely showing more interest in her food and water.”

John Craig

Peace initiative

Steve Osmonson is winning his own private war, and to mark the victory he’s dedicating himself to world peace.

Or at least to maintaining a homemade Hatch Road sign dedicated to the cause on Spokane’s South Hill.

Osmonson recently completed intensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcoholism through Spokane’s VA Medical Center.

“They said, ‘One more drink and you’re dead.’ My liver was shutting down,” he said.

After treatment, he began thinking about a sign he’d painted more than a decade ago on two concrete barriers along the side of Hatch Road, just south of 57th Avenue.

Over the years graffiti had covered over the sign, which is on private property, with tagging, strange messages and profanity. Others had tried to step in to restore the “world peace” message as best they could, but the barrier looked shabby.

So Osmonson committed himself to repainting it and keeping it clear of graffiti.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you have a clear head,” he said.

The 53-year-old has a painting background. He and his brother owned a painting company for years. Though Osmonson can’t quite remember why, somewhere along the way he began painting “World Peace” on large buildings prior to the final coat of paint.

At times the building owners cringed. In other places, the message was a big hit.

As he’s worked on the sign, drivers have stopped to give him kudos or honked in appreciation.

Now Osmonson has landscaped above the barrier and applied multiple coats of anti-graffiti sealer on top of the white paint and blue “World Peace” letter decals. The sealer will make it easier to clean graffiti off the sign.

“I’m going to keep putting coats on there until the snow flies,” he said. “I’m married to it.”

Amy Cannata

Sweating the small stuff

If you happen to know which U.S. president served 32 days in office, or maybe the name of the Bon Jovi album that contained the song “You Give Love a Bad Name,” you might be up for trivia at Eagle’s Pub, 414 First St.

From 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, people can join Chuck Zeller, a self-described “super senior” majoring in history at Eastern Washington University, who comes up with the questions, serves as emcee and checks everyone’s answers. He’ll also come to your table to explain the rules and how the trivia game works.

Kim Hartman, manager of Eagle’s Pub for about a month, said the pub has been hosting trivia for as long as she can remember. On busy trivia nights there could be 60 to 65 customers sitting around the tables, she said.

The Tuesday night game differs from the Friday night game in that Zeller plays music between the 10 rounds of trivia on Fridays. Players must write the artist of the song on their answer sheets. Zeller awards a raffle ticket for each correct answer and has a drawing for “Eagle Bucks” between rounds. Each Eagle Buck can be used toward a dollar off the team’s tab or saved for later use.

“Minors can come and drink pop and hang out with their friends,” Zeller said, since the pub allows minors until 9 p.m.

The winning team gets a free pizza.

Zeller said he gets his questions from the Internet, Trivial Pursuit and history books from school. He also said he double-checks answers to make sure they are correct.

Not only does Zeller lead customers in trivia at Eagle’s Pub, he also does it for Eagle Entertainment, part of EWU.

“We come every Tuesday and Friday,” said Grant Griffith. “I’ve won first place one time.”

“I’m in a presidential mood tonight,” Zeller told the crowd one recent night. He asked several questions involving William Henry Harrison and sang a song to the crowd to help them memorize the names of the U.S. presidents. He asked which president was the first to put a Christmas tree in the White House – Benjamin Harrison; which changed the voting age to 18 – Richard Nixon. And the answer to which president served 32 days? William Henry Harrison, who caught pneumonia after his inaugural address.

At the end of the game on a recent Tuesday, the team “EWU 63, Grizzlies 0” was the winner.

Along with their pizza, team members get bragging rights. At least until Friday. Oh, and that Bon Jovi record? “Slippery When Wet.”

Lisa Leinberger


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