Duluthians dish on their cool canines

By Holly Kelsey-Henry Photography by Jeff Peabody


If you’ve ever listened to B-105 you’ve probably heard on-air talent, Cathy Kates tell tales about her dogs. At one time this meant sharing whimsical little vignettes about her near-perfect schnauzer, Ruemmele (Rum-lee). So when he passed of old age, Cathy’s family naturally went in search of another perfect little schnauzer to fill their hearts. They brought home the adorable little big-eared Bauer.

What they got in their new furry friend, however was a far cry from what they had in Ruemmele. “Schnauzers are very smart,” Cathy explains. “Ruemmele was human. He understood English, he understood my emotions and he was very mellow. Bauer, not so much. We were so hoping to find another schnauzer with the temperament of Ruemmele. At first, we attributed Bauer’s athletic behavior to being a puppy. As he got older, we suspected he wasn’t a purebred and checked with our vet.”

The vet explained that some of Bauer’s mannerisms suggested he could have been born in a puppy mill situation.
“When we first put his dish of food down he would attack it and if we tried to reach in and help him steady the bowl he would get very defensive,” Cathy says. “Thank goodness we patiently broke
him of that habit, but it was very concerning.”

Then came the separation anxiety and a tendency to chew on everything — from rugs to walls.

“We asked the vet if he could possibly have ADHD. He always wanted to play and would literally sit on my laptop for attention. He is smart in a cunning sort of way. He loves to go for walks, have toys and balls thrown for him, loves fleece blankets and needs to be touching a human all the time.”

Oddly, he’s also a fan of TV. One day the family noticed him watching the TV as if he understood what was going on. He was so involved they couldn’t pull his attention away from it. He loves football and hockey, and any animal that appears on the screen gets his dander up.

“We watch Jack Hanna’s Animal Kingdom on the weekends,” Cathy says. “He literally will wake us up at 5:30 a.m. so he can be sitting in front of the TV when it comes on. Totally hates manatees — go figure. National Geographic is another favorite and he has several animal movies that we put in randomly. I feel a bit guilty using TV to hold his attention, but he seems to enjoy it and it makes him tolerable. All this aside, we love him dearly and he gives me something to talk about on morning radio.”




Peter Froehlingsdorf and Ari Eilola decided about a year ago it was time to add another four- legged friend to the mix. Their lab, Poika, who was aging, needed a friend. The two had previously rescued a mastiff and knew adopting a rescue was the right thing for them to do.

“We knew we wanted a doodle of some sort and we were willing to wait until just the right one came up,” Peter explains. “Former editor of The Woman Today and good friend, Sheryl Jensen, just happened to be meeting with Rescue a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) foster dog mom Holly Henry when she heard about Humphrey, a black goldendoodle needing a placement. Sheryl called us immediately and told us she had found just what we had been looking for. After setting up a meeting with Holly, we knew Humphrey would be just the right fit for us.”

Humphrey came into the couple’s home in September and his entrance has been nothing but a positive one on so many fronts. Poika and Humphrey became fast friends. He also happily melted into the daily routine of walking and playing with the neighbor dog, Blu. The most pleasant surprise, however has been Humphrey’s enthusiastic visits to Peter’s classroom.

When Humphrey came into RAGOM he was afraid of people, most notably, men.

“His gentle and patient personality with the students has been incredible,” Peter says. “He lets the kids pull on his ears and squeeze him without hesitation. These visits reinforce the idea that interaction with a gentle, friendly pet has significant benefits. I can’t help but see Humphrey smile as the students walk in the room calling his name. We are not sure who rescued who. Did we rescue Humphrey, or did he rescue us? Regardless, this cool canine has found his forever home!”



When St. Louis County Deputy Sheriff Ben Fye reports for duty, he knows his partner has his back — and he also knows he’s qualified to do so.

His partner is Diesel, a 4-year-old, 80-pound, badge-carrying German Shepherd K-9 who is trained in narcotics detection, evidence recovery, suspect search and tracking.

Diesel began his work with the department in June of 2014 after attending three months
of training with Deputy Fye.

His journey began in the Czech Republic where his sole purpose was to be trained to protect
and serve. And, while Diesel is perfectly capable of sniffing out drugs, taking down the bad guy and finding lost children, he serves another purpose in his handler’s life as well.

“Of course when he isn’t working he’s just man’s best friend,” Deputy Fye explains. “To the point he actually has separation anxiety if I leave him.”

Wait. Big, brave, snarling Diesel has separation anxiety?

So much so, Deputy Fye notes, that he has a titanium tooth which replaced the one he broke trying to get out his kennel.

“He comes from phenomenal lineage and has been trained to be a very serious threat to the bad guys,” he says. “But in his heart he’s just a good dog with lots of love to share. I can take him into kindergarten classes and he’ll be everyone’s best friend. But when he is deployed, he takes his work very seriously. He loves to work.”
All of which comes at considerable expense. While clearly Diesel is not officially on the payroll, his purchase price, flight to America and initial training and certification ran the department around $11,000. The AMSOIL Northland K-9 Foundation contributed $5,000 toward the purchase of Diesel and another K-9 for the county. Thus, Diesel’s name was chosen as a way to thank AMSOIL and founder Al Amatuzio for their generosity.
According to Deputy Fye, it’s well worth the expense to have a K-9 on board.

“I completely understand there will be days when I will have to put him in harm’s way,” he says. “I know he is here to protect and serve. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love him like a co-worker. He’s got our backs.”



Anyone who watches FOX 21 knows who Brewster is. He belongs to anchor Dan Hanger and is one crazy character.
“I met Brewster while covering a story at the animal shelter in Hibbing,” Dan explains. “I’ve always loved animals and knew I would get a dog of my own at some point, but I was not at all expecting to do it six years ago and so randomly. Here’s why, the little six-month-old at the time stood out as one independent boy in a shelter full of cats and dogs of all sizes. He did not care one bit about them. He was on a mission all over that shelter and he had a look about him that was just different, like me.”

So, after about a third visit to the shelter to cover the story, Dan adopted him. And so the tornado of a relationship began. Destruction and chaos, mostly. Through the years Dan has regularly documented all
of Brewster’s craziness and destruction, like tearing up shoes, barking at a mirror, chewing up more than a dozen pairs of glasses, playing on Park Point, running away and hitting a car and making a bunch of appearances in parades and on FOX 21.

“People call his name out all the time at parades,” Dan notes.

“So funny! Brewster is truly a one-of-a-kind partner in crime who has such a unique personality about him that makes me laugh so hard sometimes … and he makes me so frustrated. Just like a real relationship.”



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