Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Dog memorialized on wine label
By MARY STEVENS DECKER
A dearly departed pet, remembered for retrieving hundreds of lost baseballs at Redmond’s Hartman Park, has been memorialized on the label of Carivintas Winery’s 2003 Santa Barbara County Syrah. Wine bottles honoring Ripley “The Search Classifieds Baseball Buddy” were shipped out all over
the country last month, to members of the Dog Lovers Wine Club. Search
Browse Classifieds Carivintas, a California-based boutique
winery, was created to support and promote non-profit organizations including animal rescue groups and animal shelters. Co-creators of the wine club, Matt Hahn
and Fleet Hamilton, are dog lovers and strive to showcase the benefits of pet ownership. They seek inspirational stories and photos from dog owners — and each month, select a special canine to feature on a wine bottle.
A tribute to the Golden Retriever named Ripley was submitted by former Redmond residents Shauna and Dean Kattler.
Speaking to the Redmond Reporter from her current home in Dublin, Calif., Shauna explained, “My parents gave Ripley to us right after we were married in 1992.”
She and Dean lived in Sammamish from 2001-2003 and in Redmond from 2003-
2005 with Ripley and another Golden Retriever named Holly. Twice daily, they walked the dogs around Hartman Park where Ripley became obsessed with searching for “runaway” baseballs, which
later were donated back to the Redmond Little League.
As Shauna wrote in her letter nominating Ripley for Dog Lovers Wine Club
recognition, “His tail wagged like a
metronome as he zigzagged in and out of bushes with his incredible radar nose guiding him to where each lone baseball lay silent, calling out from the shadows to be found. Triumphantly, he emerged with a ball in his mouth though it was short lived until his nose caught whiff of another one and off he went in pursuit of another.”
When baseball season was over, the
Kattlers would plant some of the balls he’d found and let him experience the thrill of the finding them all over again.
During the fall of 2004, Ripley began to have trouble walking and needed the aid of a harness. Shauna said she would hold
the dead weight of his backend while he walked on his front legs in somewhat of a wheelbarrow effect. He was eventually diagnosed with DM (Degenerative
Myopathy) and then cancer. By May of 2005, he was completely paralyzed and had to be moved around on a cart but his
fondness for snatching up balls in his mouth didn’t diminish.
Before Ripley passed away on May 8, 2006, Shauna said that countless
strangers told her how touched they were by seeing him. People shared coffee, doughnuts or hugs with her and said they
admired her devotion to her disabled pet.
When the Kattlers visited Redmond this September, they scattered Ripley’s ashes at Hartman Park, carefully retracing the steps around the baseball diamonds he loved so much.
Explaining how Dog Lovers Wine Club
selects the animals to be featured on its labels, Hahn said, “There’s no specific formula. It depends on what tugs at our heartstrings. Dogs are such social animals, they follow you around and there is a strong bond between people and their
dogs that really resonates with our members.”
He added, “Our wine is the vehicle to connect people with certain programs like the Humane Society. Many of the featured dogs are rescue dogs and by telling their stories, we share unique messages of companionship.”
To learn more about the Dog Lovers Wine Club, visit www.dogloverswineclub.