One of the worst moments in my life came about a year and a half ago, when the dam that looms over my town the largest earthen-filled dam in North America, mind you was proclaimed in an emergency broadcast to be in danger of imminent failure. I was 20 miles away, perfectly safe, with my younger dog, Woody. But my husband and my heart dog, Otto, and my son's dog, Cole, were all at my house, just five short miles downstream of the dam, and three blocks from the river channel that would likely be obliterated by the 3.5 million acre-feet of water behind the dam. My mouth went dry and my heart was pounding as I tried to call my husband. Despite the fact this requires pressing only two buttons, with shaking hands it took me over a minute to make the call.