October 14th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 40
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Kuma the Karelian Bear Dog gets a fancy new house
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
ASA Contracting’s Ben, Josh and Andy Vanderplas, Home Hardware’s Justin Green, Fish and Wildlife Officer John Clarke and Bear Smart volunteer Christy Poole transported a fancy new dog house for the community’s Karelian Bear Dogs.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
The doghouse is a place you go when your partner is displeased with you for one or more reasons and is usually somewhere you don’t want to be.

It’s a place where your partner won’t speak to you, or look at you. According to the Urban Dictionary, most will stay there for between one to seven days until their partner has calmed down, forgiven them for their unacceptable behaviour or stopped menstruating.

But for Kuma the 14-year old retired bear dog, the doghouse is the place to be.

Bear Smart volunteer Christy Poole said Kuma was the first Karelian Bear Dog ever to be employed by Alberta Fish and Wildlife and spent more than a decade doing bear control in the Pass before retiring several years ago.

Kuma is a product of the Justice and Solicitor General’s Karelian Bear Dog program. The dog is trained to use shepherding techniques to teach bears to recognize and avoid inhabited areas.
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During wildlife encounters, Kuma would force bears to leave the area by standing her ground and barking, which helped keep Fish and Wildlife Officer John Clarke safe at response sites. She was also handy in responding to conflicts involving moose, sheep, elk, wolves and cougars, she could detect wildlife carcasses from a distance and she was the public face of the BearSmart program at public education sessions.

Kuma’s been living out her retirement in a small, beaten down, 15-year old doghouse in Clarke’s backyard.

But that all changed when Andy Vanderplas, owner of ASA Contracting, donated a nicely built, L-shaped doghouse complete with insulated walls, siding and carpeting to Clarke and his bear dogs.

“It’s a very fancy dog house. It’s totally built to scale,” said Vanderplas. “One of the older dogs needs a more comfortable place and we decided the building would be best used for that. [Clarke] does a lot for us. He does a lot for the community so why wouldn’t we do this?”
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The doghouse was built several years ago by former ASA Contracting employee Derek Robutka while completing a carpentry apprenticeship course at Lethbridge College, said Vanderplas.

Last week, it was transported from Vanderplas’ yard to Clarke’s on a Blairmore Home Hardware truck crane that did the job free of charge.

Kuma will share the space with along the community’s two nine-year-old working bear dogs Koda and Alice.
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October 14th ~ Vol. 85 No. 40
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