The Best Memories Come From Special Moments

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Jul 222020

Throwback photo from the 90s. Peter Goodwin, his mother, Bette, Bert Galant, Baron, and Annie.

About 13 years ago, Annie Davis, known to many as “Elf Mama,” was working in the Fire Marshal’s office. I was working at the Amity Observer Newspaper back then.

Annie called me and asked if I could come to the office around 3:30 p.m. or so “And bring Baron,” she said.

Longtime residents and town workers may remember my golden retriever and best buddy, Baron von Saberwolfe. Annie loved him, as did a lot of town employees, firefighters, and police officers.

When Baron and I arrived, he made a bee-line to Tim Smith’s office then ran into the Deputy Fire Marshal’s office to find Annie.

Annie waved us into the fire inspector’s office where she was talking to three people I’d never seen before, then introduced me to the Goodwin family.

She explained that the family was donating animal air masks to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for fire emergencies when a pet would need resuscitation or fresh air. She said that Baron was the perfect model for a photo to show how they would be used.

Now, Baron was a sweet, easy-going boy, and he was always willing to help in any way, but when it came to putting his whole snout into an enclosed cup, well, that was a different story.

I tried, Annie tried, and the Goodwin family members even attempted it, but the big guy wanted nothing to do with it.

UNTIL the light bulb went off above Annie’s head. She took the largest mask and brought it into the firehouse kitchen where she’d made some Chicken Picante for the guys.

When she came back, she handed the mask over and said, “Call Baron.”

When the mask was extended, Baron shoved his face all the way into the mask and I captured the moment on camera. (You can see Annie laughing in the background)

“What did you do?” we all asked.

“Picante sauce,” Annie said with a sly smile. “I put a spoonful of Picante sauce in the bottom of the mask, I knew he couldn’t resist it.”

I’m not sure how many times the masks have been used at fire scenes, but I just found this photo, and it brought back a flood of happy memories. Both Annie and Baron are gone now, but their memory lives on. And this thoughtful, generous gift from the Goodwin family helped our OVFD to save the lives of the most vulnerable family members.


Correction: The original version misidentified the generous donors as the Case family. My apologies for the error.