Reno's Story

From Reno's Owner

In the wake of the town board's decision not to issue a variance for the
number of dogs I have, I've been preparing for each dog to go to his new
home. What should the dog take with him to help settle in? What do the new
owners need to know about their training and handling? What do these people
need to know about the dogs' individual likes and dislikes? What their souls
are like?

One of the dogs leaving is my Reno. Oh my God. Reno.

He needs his semi-deflated basket ball. A bumper of course. A cow femur bone
preferably stuffed with peanut butter, but it's fine plain if that's all
there is. He'd like a spot on the couch if one's available, but he'd never
be rude or pushy about it.

He gives 5 with both paws individually and then "10" with both. After this,
he leaps into the air, and then spins one circle and grabs his tail. He's a
very mellow dog by nature, and this trick just cracks him up. It's his only

He barks three barks to let you know someone's arrived, and then quiets.
Other than that, he never makes a noise. His obedience is terrific, on or
off leash. His manners are terrific. He has the temperament of an angel. He
passed his Canine Good Citizen / Therapy Dog International test as a walk
in. He leaves and go lays down when you eat, although he's happy to help you
out with the leftovers if invited. He looks sad when you give him a bath or
trim his nails, but he always cooperates. Reno *always* cooperates.

He is wonderful with anyone he meets, human or animal. Any age, any
temperament. He used to go to work with me at the assisted living facility.
There was an old crotchety man who would only take his meds and come out for
meals in exchange for being able to take Reno for a walk and throw a few
bumpers for him. The only time I ever saw this man let his guard down or his
expression soften was when he was with Reno. He'd been a hunter when he was
younger. I guess the dog took him back to better days.

Reno loves to ride in the car. He makes the most wonderful face if you ask
him about "The Bird." He likes to "tunnel" through your legs, and stop in
position to get scratched above the base of his tail. His back feet march in
place as he does this. He likes to be scratched behind the ears, too.

On the day he passed the final series of tests needed for the American
Kennel Club to award him the title Companion Dog, he was mounted by another
male dog who had gotten up during the exercise known as the three minute
down. Not only did Reno not get up from his down, but he looked at me across
the ring and wagged his tail as if to say, "See? I am a GOOD boy."

Yes, Reno. You're a VERY good boy.

God help me next Wednesday when he's taken out of here.

Eleanor Herrick
Holmen, WI

I've known Reno since the day he became Eleanor's. I was there during the puppy evaluation, and watched as he was placed into her arms and reached up to lick her on the nose as if to say, "We'll be a great team!" And how right he was!

Reno is a sweet, obedient boy. Look into the eyes of his pictures, and you can see how loving he is. I will never forget seeing him at a dog show a couple of months after Ellie got him. He couldn't have been more than 4 months old. I watched El put Reno in an off-lead sit stay and move about 10 foot away before calling him to come. He came at her full force, and when he tried to stop on the smooth flooring, ended up sliding on the tile into a perfect front inches from her shoes, looking up into her face so pleased with himself. It's a look I've seen him give Eleanor over and over. I don't know that she'll be able to breathe with him gone.

Eleanor moved to her mother's home in Nov '05 to take care of her mother
during some nasty chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Her Mom's cancer came back suddenly, time was of the essence, and El had two weeks from the time of
diagnosis to the time she arrived to care for her. Of course, she brought her dogs with her. Now, it's not just Reno who is being thrown out of his home, but several of El's other dogs as well. And lest you think I don't know "the whole story" and the dogs are really a town nuisance, let me give you some excerpts from the minutes of the Planning, Resources and Development Committee Public Hearing from Jan. 29, 2007 where Eleanor appeared to try to get a variance to have her dogs. These minutes are a matter of public record, and no one who spoke at the meeting in opposition to the variance had any problem with Eleanor or her dogs. Remember, the excerpts below are from neighbors who spoke against the variance, seemingly out of fear that if El is allowed to keep her dogs, she'll start adding more dogs of all kinds until they have a commercial facility in their back yards.

* Judy Taylor - I have observed Eleanor and she does seem to do a good job with the dogs, but we had a problem a couple of years ago with a dog walking by our house, nothing to do with Eleanor, but the dog walking by was on a leash and it came into our yard and attached our dog. . .I don’t have a problem with [Eleanor], they’ve always been good neighbors and we get along.

*Debbie Guy - I’ve never had problems and didn’t know Eleanor has dogs.

*Jason Schott - Also, I did not know she had those dogs; they are maintained pretty well.

*Roy Balder - I will say Ellie has great control of her dogs. We’ve never had a problem with them.

Remember, these are people speaking against the variance, and most of them didn't know she had dogs! That speaks to what wonderful canine citizens these are!

Alabama is a long way from Wisconsin, so why am I posting this? Because anti-dog legislation is becoming a part of the fabric of our society, and we who love our dogs need to do something about it! Today the picture at the top is of Reno, and the heart being broken is Eleanor's. What if your dog, and your heart, are next?

Responsible dog breeders and owners, like myself and Eleanor, are finding it harder and harder to find places where we are welcomed. Those of you with a TarKom puppy know what incredible personalities and temperaments they have. Those traits are not accidents, but the result of careful breeding and planning. All these rules and regulations don't affect the Puppy Mills, Mass Producers and Commercial Breeders, they are either exempt from the rulings or they simply ignore them. They affect the Responsible Breeders who are trying to do the right thing and follow the rules.

Eleanor plans to fight this ruling, and we need to get behind her. Please, share Reno's Story with all your dog-loving friends. Please link to this page or copy and post it on your own site. Please post on every dog list you know, and send emails of this situation far and wide. And do one thing more. Please, write a letter to the town board. Let them know their little town is under national scrutiny, and is not being looked upon favorably. Don't be rude, but please, speak up! Letters should be sent to:

Mr. George Hammes and members of the Town Board
W7937 County Rd MH
Holmen, WI 54636

Let's all work together and keep Reno home where he belongs!!!!

God Bless,

UPDATE: 3/19/07 The battle makes the La Crosse Tribune. Read it here and then post your comment on-line as well. Please do not feel that the on-line comment is sufficient though, writing the letter is a must.

UPDATE: 3/20/07 The response to this is growing - many people are getting involved. PLEASE KEEP IT UP!! Don't stop writing those letters. If you want to send your letter by email or make a phone call, here is the contact information:

Town of Holland email:
Telephone - 608-526-3354
Fax - 608-526-6564

I realize the whole Holman/Holland thing is kind of confusing, but it has something to do with odd town lines. This is the correct place though! Also know that the outcome of this is very much still to be decided. In 1994 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania struck down an ordinance enacted by the Borough of Carnegie that limited residents to five cats or dogs per household (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Creighton, 1994). Similarly, a two-dog limit in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota was challenged and ruled unconstitutional (Holt v. City of Sauk Rapids, 1997). And finally, a Houston County law limiting residents to a total of four dogs and/or cats per household was declared unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court (Foster v. State of Georgia, 2001).Animal Limit Laws Better Alternatives

In addition to contacting the town officials and leaving a note on the newspaper site, I would encourage you to send letters to the editor of the La Crosse Tribune. The policies of the paper state that letters should be 250 words or less, and that all letters include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification purposes. Send letters to:

Letters to the editor, La Crosse Tribune, 401 N. Third St. La Crosse WI 54601;
fax them to (608) 782-9723, or e-mail
Opinion Page Editor: Richard Mial
Phone Number: 608-791-8232

IMPORTANT UPDATE:3/24/07 It's very late (well, early actually) so this will be short. But, I spoke to Eleanor tonight and it is vital that everyone read and respect the message that I am passing along. Eleanor has talked with the town clerk, and they are being inundated with messages. This is awesome, but PLEASE - it is vital that all messages be polite and respectful, and while the majority have been, there are many that have not been. PLEASE DON'T BE RUDE OR DISRESPECTFUL in what you write. Per Robert's Rules of Order, the ONLY WAY this measure can be reconsidered is if one of the Board Members who voted against it reintroduces it. Do you really think they will do that if they feel they are being assaulted and insulted via letters, phonecalls and email? Please respect Eleanor's wishes in this, as you aren't helping the situation if you don't. Thank you.

UPDATE:3/25/07 The following is a message from Eleanor:

My local, weekly paper carried the article about my battle with the town for
a variance on our dog ordinance. So many of you have already taken the time
to send emails and post to blogs on my behalf, but this is the one that
ultimately carries the most weight.

If you have the time and inclination, could you please post some thoughts on
responsible dog ownership versus arbitrary numbers?

Also, if you originally forwarded the story, could you also forward this
request to those same people? The more I can keep it in the front of
consciousness of my neighbors, elected officials, and our local media, the
better chance I have of winning my personal battle as well as the greater











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