Boy will get pick of the litter

When someone found a litter of puppies behind the Kit Kat Brothel on May 18, it set in motion a story that touched the hearts of many Carson City residents.

The puppies were brought to Primrose Lane Antiques, where Joan Jeter and company nursed them, finally getting them to eat on their own and found homes for all the dogs.

What might have been a happy ending wasn't.

The next evening, the puppies started dying.

One couple took a puppy for their 6-year-old son in the hopes it would help fill a spot left when the boy's great-grandmother died.

"My mom is an antiquer," said Indian Hills resident Valerie Marcum of mom Cindy Hayman. "She heard about the puppies earlier, thought about it for the day and decided he was old enough to have a puppy. She thought it would help him."

Valerie described her great-grandmother, Margaret Rose Fritz, as the matriarch of the family. Margaret, 83, had lived in Carson City for 28 years when she died March 28. The death was hard on everyone in the family, Valerie said, especially on her baby brother, 6-year-old Daniel Hayman.

"Grandma was like a second mom to him," Valerie said. "I remember holding Daniel in my arms when we found out she was going. It was hard on all of us, but especially hard on the little guys. He's having a hard time dealing with it, we all are. It just seems to be getting worse."

Daniel had the puppy for about a day, long enough to name him Thunder, before the dog got sick.

Valerie said she called Carson Tahoe Veterinary Hospital, where they told her that two of the four puppies had already died of some sort of respiratory disease and to bring the puppy in immediately.

At 11:30 p.m. on May 19, Valerie went home after hearing that Thunder had a chance of survival.

On May 20, she learned Daniel's first puppy had died early that morning.

"It has been a really trying time," Valerie said. "To get a first pet and have that happen was very sad. It should have been a happy ending for the puppies."

Valerie wrote a letter which appeared in Thursday's Nevada Appeal. Among the people who read the letter were the folks at the Carson City Animal Shelter.

Education Officer Pat Wiggins said Daren Winkleman, who runs the shelter and the city's health department, suggested giving Daniel a puppy from a litter at the shelter.

"We saw that letter and it got to everybody," Pat said. "I'm in the business and it got to me."

So, in a week or so, when the puppies are about 6 weeks old and ready to be adopted, Daniel will be able to take his pick of the litter.

"I wasn't expecting that," Valerie said. "It is very thoughtful and very generous."

Valerie, 33, has lived in Indian Hills since 1997. She was born in California but grew up in Carson City.

"Grandma lived in the same house there for 28 years," she said.

Marvin Heinemann stopped by to place a classified and let us know that the U.S. Postal Service carriers food drive collected 37,853 pounds of food for Friends In Service Helping and the Advocates to End Domestic Violence shelter.

Marvin also plugged the Advocates annual Taste of Downtown, which is coming up June 15.

I forgot to mention Joy Evans of the Carson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau in my story about the Highway 50 Wagon Train receiving its first Nevada flag on Wednesday. It turns out Joy arranged the whole thing.

The Carson High School Choir has been selected to go to France during summer 2003 to help kick off the yearlong 60th observance of D-Day and the liberation.

A total of 75 students plus an entourage of 65 parents and staff members are planning to invade Paris next summer. Each state is sending one choir and Sen. Harry Reid asked if Carson could represent Nevada.

Choir director Stewart Peebles said the choir is on its way to raising $231,000 for the trip, which includes eight days, air fare, hotel and some meals.

The singers will perform at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Deauville in Normandy, and will visit Omaha Beach.

Proud parent Nikki Meloskie said daughter Meaghann, 15, a Carson High School student, and son Michael, 13, have both been asked to join the trip. Michael was invited to sing in the Western Junior Regional Honor Choir.

Carson City Sheriff's candidate Bob Guimont is hosting a day in the park June 15 to raise money for the trip, register teens to vote and connect with Carson's younger crowd.

Kurt Hildebrand is managing editor of the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 881-1215 or


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