In memory of Juli Meyers

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Steve Drynan, director of the Three Rivers Humane Society, in Madras, and Timber, a Siberian husky recently brought to the shelter, stand outside the three new play areas for dogs. The play areas were the result of donations in the name of Juli Meyers, of Redmond, who died in December. Monica Rendon, in the play area entrance, cleans up the enclosure for the next dog. When a longtime supporter of Central Oregon pet facilities was dying of cancer last fall, one of her friends suggested setting up a memorial to benefit local dogs.

In December, Juli Meyers, 59, of Redmond, succumbed to the cancer, but the donations had already begun accumulating to create play areas for the Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras.

Last month, the local kennels opened three newly finished dog play areas with funds donated by friends and family of Meyers, according to Steve Drynan, director of the local facility since December.

The idea of a memorial fund to build a play area was pitched to Meyers and her husband, Jeff Meyers, by Monica Rendon, of Redmond, a good friend of Meyers, and the Madras facility's trainer.

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Three play areas fenced in with 6-foot fencing are now available for dogs at the Madras kennels."They wanted to see dogs get out and play," said Drynan.

Rendon met Meyers nearly five years ago, when both were volunteering at the Humane Society in Redmond.

"She was probably the most generous, selfless woman ever," said Rendon. "There were at least 15 organizations she contributed to, and volunteered for."

One of those was the Humane Society of the Ochocos, where Drynan was director before taking over the local kennels.

About a year earlier, he had assisted Meyers, a regular donor, with the adoption and training of a mini Australian shepherd dog.

"She'd come in and bring us things here and there," he said. "She did a fundraiser through Bend Area Agility Dogs that got us over $1,000."

After Meyers discontinued treatment for her aggressive cancer back in September, Meyers' friends and family wanted to help her out by taking gifts of food or flowers, Rendon said.

"She was one of those giving people that doesn't like to receive," said Rendon, who suggested that "Instead of flowers or gifts, we'd do something as a tribute."

The Meyers embraced the idea of a memorial fund to build "Juli's Playce" — dog play areas at the Madras shelter — so Rendon approached Drynan, who readily agreed.

They posted the plan on the facility's Facebook page and website, sent out emails to friends and family, and were then overwhelmed with the response.

"It was an extremely generous outpouring," said Rendon, pointing out that they have received over $6,000.

With assistance from inmates at Deer Ridge Correctional Facility, 6-foot fencing was put up to surround the three play yards, including one specifically outfitted with fence rollers on top of the fence to keep more athletic dogs in.

On Feb. 15, after Meyers' celebration of life, a ribbon-cutting marked the official opening of the play areas, located next to the main office on McTaggart Road.

Drynan is still awaiting approval from the county for a larger play yard northwest of the office.

"It's probably going to be twice as big as the other three combined," he said. "It's going to be in the front area, right next to the parking."

Three Rivers also received a donation of 138 feet of powder-coated 5-foot fencing, which will be used for the larger yard.

Since Drynan won the contract for the facility from the county and reopened it as the Three Rivers Humane Society, the kennels are always busy.

In January and February, they took in 78 dogs, adopted out 50 dogs, and returned 32 to their owners. "We got more dogs out the door and to adoptions than we brought in," said Drynan.

The kennels have a strong volunteer base of 20-30 people, including dog walkers, as well as four "very dedicated junior volunteers."

Next up for the facility is a fundraiser called the "Disco Dog Pawty," on April 5, from 7-11 p.m., at the Madras Elks Lodge. Tickets for the party, which will feature music, dancing and attire from the '70s, as well as an auction and prizes, are $20 each.

Tickets can be purchased at the shelter, or online at the Three Rivers Humane Society's website at For more information, contact the shelter at 541-475-6889.

The shelter is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Sundays and Mondays.

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