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Dog lovers gather to remember 19 dogs who died in Tumwater fire

By Rolf Boone Olympian (Olympia, Wash.)

A half-dozen dog lovers gathered at twilight Sunday at Percival Landing to remember the 19 dogs that died in a Tumwater fire 10 days ago.

They held flowers, they lit candles and they observed a moment of silence as Sara McLaughlin’s “In the Arms of an Angel” played in the background. Afterwards, they cast white rose petals into Budd Inlet. Almost on cue, a harbor seal surfaced in the water.

Although it wasn’t a large gathering, Kari Lee of Dream Team Angels Rescue, a dog rescue organization, thanked everyone for attending.

“Our numbers are so important in bringing awareness to animal cruelty,” Lee said.

Nineteen of 35 dogs died on Jan. 5 in Tumwater at Furever Homes, a privately run animal rescue facility in the 4900 block of Rural Road Southwest. According to Tumwater Fire Chief Scott LaVielle, a neighbor called 911 about 3 p.m. Thursday after seeing smoke coming from the building, which is a converted home.

Firefighters entered through the front door and quickly found the source of the fire: a dryer that had been left running unattended.

Eddie Dayan of Portland, who said he volunteers with the Oregon Humane Society, heard the story about the dog deaths and then came up to participate in the dog vigil.

“It made me sick,” he said about hearing the news. “I’m a dog and cat person.”

After the music ended, Lee read some prepared comments, touching on the kindness of dogs.

“Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend, never owned a dog,” she said. “… No matter if they’re not feeling well, they still give sweet licks to those who care.”

“Sweet dreams and goodnight,” said Lee, before she cast her flower petals into the water.

Also in attendance was Cyndy Hahn, of Olympia, who maintains the Justice for Diamond Facebook page, a page created to remember Diamond, the 3-year-old pit bull mix that was found dead, hanging from a tree on March 21 in the Summit Lake area.

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