Sailor, a Bark Ranger at Fort Frederica

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Bark in the Park event at Fort Frederica.  We had our second Bark in the Park a couple of weeks ago (last year was canceled because of the government shut-down).  We had about 40 dogs and their human companions show up for the parade.  After the parade they were sworn in as Bark Rangers and many of them visited us in the living history area.


This week we had a visit from Sailor, one of our Bark Rangers.  Lots of local people come to walk their dogs in the park.  Some come every day, especially since we put in the one-mile nature trail.  On Monday, Denise – a resident of the island – and her Bark Ranger Sailor came and walked the nature trail.  They do this several times a week and we are used to seeing them.  Sailor is a very friendly golden retriever and likes to say hello to everyone at the park.

When Denise and Sailor were leaving, Denise fell on the main sidewalk out to the parking lot.  No one saw her fall, so we aren’t sure exactly what happened.  She might have tripped over Sailor.  Or she might have caught her foot on the edge of the sidewalk and rolled her ankle.  The first we noticed something was wrong was seeing her roll over slowly and Sailor dancing around her.

When Denise fell she hit her forehead and it was bleeding like crazy.  Tim and Gail, two of our volunteers, and Ranger Michael headed out with first aid supplies.  But it became clear as they rendered aid that Denise had a concussion.  At first she gave us her husband’s cell phone number and name and told us where he worked.  But after a little while she couldn’t remember his name or where she was.  She kept asking us “what happened?  Why is there blood everywhere?”  So Ranger Michael called 911 to have her transported to the hospital.

Denise had plenty of volunteers and staff hovering around, so I looked for a way to make myself useful.  Sailor was tied to the stair handrail and was very upset at being separated from Denise.  We needed him out of the way to be able to tend to Denise, but he was distressed.  I went inside and got a handful of doggy treats and then sat on the steps with Sailor.  Sailor was very interested in the treats.   He sat on command, shook hands, and even laid down for a little while.  I talked to him and told him what a good boy he was.  He calmed down and decided that the best place to be was in my lap, especially while the EMTs were there.

Sailor and I sat on the steps together until it was time to close the park.  Then Ranger Steve took him for a short walk so I could close the register.  Denise’s husband, North, came to pick up Sailor and get him settled at home before going to the hospital.  The next day Sailor and North stopped by the park to tell us thank you and let us know that Denise did have a concussion and had gotten ten stitches.  They kept her in the hospital two nights for observation.

A few days later the whole family came by to deliver a thank you note and some chocolate chip cookies.  Denise still can’t remember anything about the accident, but she and Sailor were glad to be walking in the park together again.