German Shepherd Dogs (Reflections on Last Year’s Wildfires)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow, I will return to discussing our young German Shepherd Dogs and the future of Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels, but for today I cannot allow the month of August to pass without discussing a small miracle on our behalf and a horrible tragedy to over 400 families in the Mannford, Oklahoma area. 

Last year on Thursday August 2, 2012 a fire was started nine miles South of Mannford, OK when Billy Cloud threw his lit cigarette down on the ground just outside his trailer.  The summer of 2012 brought most of the Midwest including Oklahoma a continuation of severe drought that started in 2011 with record high temperatures of 110 degrees to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Fires Burning Toward Keystone German shepherds & Kennels

The lit cigarette ignited a wildfire that burnt over 90 square miles and burned down over 400 homes.  Throughout August 2 and 3, 2012 the wildfires raged several miles from us at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels.  On August 4, 2012 my wife and I had lunch in Mannford and had a false since of safety against the fires since they raged so far away.   Upon returning to home and the kennels, the wind shifted and the fires started burning straight toward us.  Late that afternoon we lost electric and could see the fires approaching us.  Roads in and out of our area had been closed, and while we had several wonderful clients and friends offer to come out to pick up our dogs and then drive them to safety, they were not allowed in.  We were ordered to evacuate, but we would not leave our dogs so we stayed to fight the fires.  We thought that we could save our kennels and house by manning several water hoses around our property.  However, as the fire approach, we lost all water pressure.  The Creek County Rural Water District water well pumps went out just as the fires approached our property.  Without water we became very concerned for our own safety as well as the safety of our dogs.

Fires at 5:30 PM approaching Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels Property
Fires at 5:30 PM approaching Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels Property

At the time that we had lost water pressure a small fire truck came roaring up our driveway and told us that they only had 5-minutes of water and that they would not be able to save our house.  He pointed to the woodlot that was 100-yards away from our house and said once the fire gets into the canopy of the trees the heat would be so intense that our house would just explode into flames.  The firemen yelled for us to let loose the dogs from their kennels and to get ready to jump in the pond to save our lives.  The fireman said they would be in the pond right behind us.

I was never so proud of my German Shepherd Dogs, as we let them out of their kennels, they remained calm and none of their normal squabbles or barking took place.  They all knew that the situation was serious and they all stayed around but out-of-our-way.  With the gates open they would be able to escape and return after the fire had passed.  

At this time the smoke had grown thick with very little visibility.  While only about 5:30 PM, it appeared to be twilight just after sunset.  After burning down our neighbors’ houses, the fires jumped Highway 48 and started raging up our property.  I will never forget standing in the driveway watching the fireman raise his helmet and start scratching his head.  The fires had hit our forest and then began to die down and go out.  The fireman was befuddled because for three days he had watch these fires hit woodlots and then just roar out-of-control.

I yelled down to the fireman that I had burnt my property earlier that year in March, burning all the leaves and fallen branches on our twenty-acres.  He said that controlled burn had saved our home and kennels because the fires did not have the fuel to reach the forest canopy.  We returned the dogs to their kennels, and watched the fires burn around while burning more of our neighbors’ homes. 

Fire As It Burned Down Our Neighbor's House and Approached Our Woodlot before Dying Down
Fire As It Burned Down Our Neighbor’s House and Approached Our Woodlot before Dying Down

We were saved from the fires, but due to loss of power, we did lose over 2,000 pounds of frozen venison meat for our dogs, most of the contents of our refrigerators, all four-corner fence posts, and suffered two-weeks without power with record high temperatures of 110 degrees and above.  The Water District did restore water service on the 5th of August so we only had to haul potable water one day.

We were spared by providence because I was led to burn my property, which I had not done in about three years.  Due to the senseless act of a drunk thousands of people suffered the loss of everything that they owned, and while no human life was lost several animals and even a customers Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog perished in the fires of 2012.  Even though I am an experienced ecologist and have been trained in fire management and prescribed burning methods, I learned given the severe environmental conditions that we experienced in 2012 that wildfires can become extremely dangerous and unpredictable.  I would most likely move our dogs much sooner and not stay if ordered to evacuate if ever faced with similar circumstances.

Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on this litter and future available litters: http://www.keystonegermanshepherds.com/PuppiesForSale.htm.   We currently have Walker, a male puppy left.  Walker is a wonderful highly intelligent and a very quick learner.  Walker will be perfect for a family looking for an obedient and loyal companion that will provide home protection.  Families with existing pets such as dogs and cats will be a good fit for Walker.  Walker is very sociable.  Remember that we do ship puppies.

 Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.   Also, please see our web page: KeystoneGermanShepherds

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

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