Circling the Square

Ruth Trout, the 95 1/2-year-old mother of Circling the Square columnist Connie Owen, shares her fruit cup with Otis.

A couple of weeks ago my mom spent time at St. John’s Medical Center and a highlight of her stay was a visit from one of the Pet Partner dogs.

Otis, a beautiful 6-year-old golden retriever, strolled in and greeted each person in the room. I asked him if he was up for an interview and he couldn’t quit wagging his tail.

What makes you so special?

I let people know how important they are to me. I like to make people happy and laugh. I especially like it when I make my mom happy. I work two jobs, Wyoming K9 Search and Rescue and Teton County Pet Partners.

Where did you receive your education and how long did you train?

I don’t think I will ever stop learning. My mom has taught me everything I know, but She gives me lots of hugs and let’s me meet a lot of people that are really nice to me and they also give me hugs and treats.I also learn a lot when the kids at the Literacy Center, the Learning Center and the library read to me.

Can you tell us something about your successes as a search and rescue dog?

A: I work really hard when I do search and rescue and I love it. All people smell different and they really like to leave their smell all over everything they touch. Sometimes people don’t understand how I can find people in deep snow or water, but they give off a lot of odors.

It’s like a big scavenger hunt. I find all kinds of things: wallets, phones, rings, glasses and even money. If I find people, they are so happy and sometimes they cry and I don’t know why.

Who is your human?

My mom is Amanda Soliday. She takes me everywhere she goes. She also takes my brother, Ripley, for long skis and walks in the woods and around town. We have a kitty, too, which sometimes I like better than my brother. Ripley bites my tail or back legs and even when I tell him to leave me alone, he won’t. He is so clueless.

What is your biggest complaint with your human?

Sometimes she is too busy working and not playing outside with us. She also gives me a bath after I’ve rolled in some really fun and smelly things or in the most incredibly soothing mud puddles. She also likes to keep my nails trimmed and I just think that this practice is annoying. I can dig better when my nails are longer.

What do you like best about your human?

She knows where to scratch me (like my ears) and she rubs my belly. She takes me to fun places.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to sleep, but I really like to swim. I love all of my jobs. At the end of the day I feel that I really make this a better place to live.

Where do you sleep?

I sleep right next to my mom on the other pillow, unless my brother beats me there first. If that happens, I sleep by her legs. The kitty will usually snuggle between me and my mom.

Do you have any bad habits?

I don’t think so but my mom is always telling me, “no barking.”

What is the naughtiest thing you ever did?

When I was really young, it would drive me crazy when I had to watch my older brother go out and find people while I had to sit in the car. I would show her and chew up the visors or books she left in the truck or anything plastic.

Describe yourself using just one word.


Tell us something about you and your human that others might not know.

I like to dance with my mom. I also love chasing a laser light. My mom was the first female elk feeder on the National Elk Refuge. She comes from a large family (one of 13 kids!). She’s trained five search dogs that were all golden retrievers and all of them have been Pet Partners. Amanda and Roscoe were the first Pet Partner team to visit St. John’s Medical Center. She worked at Grand Teton National Park in the maintenance department and was also a firefighter and EMT. She was an EMT for the Town of Jackson.

Email your Circling the Square information to Connie Owen at or call her at 734-9512.

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