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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

When Christmas goes to the dogs, everyone is happy

Kip the therapy dog makes rounds, 12/15/2022, at the Christmas Bureau in Spokane Valley, WA. The canine offers a calming effect on those waiting in lines.
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Some people who visited the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center before it closed Thursday spent hours in line. It’s enough to make even the most well-behaved child restless, but Michelle Breach and her golden standard poodle Kip were there to help.

Breach and Kip were one of several therapy dog teams scheduled to work while the Christmas Bureau was open. Kip had several shifts and spent hours greeting people, tail gently wagging. Many kids would exclaim something like, “Doggy!” and reach for him.

“Kip loves kids,” Breach said.

But he hadn’t met many infants, and Kip would stare, fascinated, at babies in strollers and car seats as they went by.

Breach said Kip is nearly 2 years old and passed his certification as a therapy dog in March. Kip normally makes the rounds at local hospitals and Cancer Care Northwest. “Actually, he was at Kootenai Health today,” Breach said during a recent afternoon visit to the Christmas Bureau.

Even adults were pleased to see Kip, often asking if it was OK to pet him before bending down to stroke his fur. It was a welcome respite in an otherwise long day.

“It’s really helpful for the kids,” Breach said. “The kids love it.”

Breach, who is affiliated with Pet Partners, has been working with therapy dogs for years. “I have brought two other dogs to the Christmas Bureau,” she said. “I think I’ve probably come four or five times. It’s fun to share your dog with people and help brighten their day.”


New donations of $10,085 have brought the Christmas Bureau’s year-to-date total to $335,333.08.

John Baumhofer, of Spokane, donated $3,000. “My annual contribution is in memory of those no longer with us to support the mission and dedication of the organization, staff, volunteers and donors that come together to make the Christmas Bureau a community effort,” he wrote.

Tipke Manufacturing, of Spokane, donated $1,000. Sharon and Alan Cannon, of Spokane, gave $1,000 “in memory of John E. Cannon Jr. DVM.” Michael and Carol Wilson, of Spokane, sent $1,000. “Merry Christmas for our neighbors in need,” they wrote. “We live in a wonderful community where we care for one another.”

Craig and Pauline Soehren, of Spokane, gave $500, as did Harold and Sharon Cathcart of Colbert.

Peter and Mary Lou Bach, of Spokane, contributed $400, writing, “For all the good work that you do, thank you.” Eileen Thorpe, of Coeur d’Alene, sent $400.

R.D. and Lois Banta, of Liberty Lake, gave $300. “A small assist for all the good your group does,” they wrote. Anita Indelicato, of Newman Lake, sent $300 “in memory of my parents, Bing and Linda Farmin. Thank you for the wonderful work that you do for our community.”

Bill and Dorene Reynolds, of Spokane, donated $300. “Thank you for all you do for the community and those in need,” they wrote.

Carl and Dennie Crowe, of Spokane, sent $250. “Our deepest gratitude for showing what being a part of our community really means,” they wrote.

Kelly Watson, of Spokane, donated $200 “in honor of Bill Ross Watson.” Sandra Fiksdal, of Spokane, sent $200.

Frederick and Lianne Inaba, of Pullman, contributed $150. An anonymous Valleyford donor gave $150 “in memory of my parents, Don and Lois Johnson, and my niece Devis Johnson.”

Wyatt and Liam Schrader gave $100. Barry Benoit, of Hauser, sent $100.

Patrick and Linda Smith, of Spokane, donated $50. “We appreciate everything you do year after year!” they wrote. “Area children are very lucky!” Betty Thompson, of Spokane, gave $50. Karen Chicha, of Spokane, sent $50.

Beverly Stam, of Spokane, contributed $50. “I no longer am able to help as a volunteer but can see the need that is out there for the many families at Christmas each year,” she wrote. “Please accept the $50 to help in your drive to reach $600,000 this year. A lofty but very much needed charity.”

Scott and Carrie Rider, of Spokane Valley, gave $25.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $10.

It’s fun to share your dog with people and help brighten their day.” Michelle Breach