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 Koolax & Kadigaan Get Kiara & Comtesse
Koolax and Kadigaan BOTH Get-A-Wag Puppy

Our son Koolax, who is 4 yrs old, was born premature with many difficulties and spent the first month of his life at the Childrens Hospital in Seattle. He also has severe clubbed feet and has had multiple surgeries at Shriners Hospital for Children to correct this defect, and has had to wear cast and leg braces for the first three years of his life.  He started walking when he was three years old but still has to have more surgeries in a couple years after his muscles grow more.

While we were at his last surgery at Shriners Hospital they had a therapy dog that he fell in love with. He has many stuffed animal puppies that all have names and he loves very much, he has to sleep with them all, and he even acts like a little puppy a lot of the time.   A couple of weeks ago he saw a puppy on TV and said "OHH, I want a puppy like that one, with Big Floppy Ears." He keeps talking about that puppy with big floppy ears, so we started looking into getting a dog, and our research has led us to believe that one of these dogs would be perfect, but because of past medical expenses and expenses in the near future, the price is a little beyond our budget.

We thank you for your consideration,
The McAlpins

October 12, 2011, Today is the day! 
Hi Rebecca,
We got our puppies yesterday and absolutely love them. They are so gentle and loving. They are perfect.
The first day they seemed kind of scared but they quickly warmed to our family and have realized this is their new home.  They get along with the kids great and have already become their new best friends.
I'll send some pictures soon.
Thank you so much,
The McAlpin Family

Dear Rebecca,
        It was a very nice day in Ketchikan today so we rode downtown and took these pictures.  They were taken on the dock where large cruise ships tie up during the summer.  Four ships can be in town at the same time,  this is most of our economy.  There is still a lot of commercial fishing but not as much as there used to be, (from what I hear anyway).  Logging has slowed way down over the years. Ketchikan is definitely  a seasonal economy and business slows down in the winter.  

The weather is usually wet and rainy being that Southeast Alaska is a temperate rainforest called the Tongass National Forest.   The average annual rainfall  I think is about 170 inches a year.  You have to love it like it is.
Eskimo would be incorrect terminology,  a common error, eskimos are somewhere further up north.   Southeast Alaska is mainly where Tlingit people are from.  There are also Haida from Prince of Whales island which originally migrated hundreds of years ago from Queen Charlotte Islands, british Columbia, Canada .  And the Tsimpsian from Metlaketla which originally came from the Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.  Ketchikan is in the middle of all three tribes so all three are common here, so of course that is what I am. My mother is Tsimpsian, Tlingit, and Mexican.
My Father is Tlingit, Haida, and Scottish (that is where the last name comes from).
My wife Loni is 1/8 Tsimpsian through her mother's father.  She is also Irish and Norwegian.
So That is what my children are.  
Kadigaan is a Tlingit word that means "make light with fire".
Koolax is a Tsimpsian word that means "warm one by the fire"



Meet Koolax & Kadigaan

October 2011's Get-A-Wag Double Recipients
Koolax's birth has affected our lives in so many ways that we weren't expecting,  there has definitely been added stress in just about every aspect of our lives, but more importantly there has been an immense amount of exultation and a greater appreciation for all that we have.  After spending time at places like the Children's Hospital, Shriners hospital, and even the Ronald McDonald Houses we learned that we were kind of normal there because everyone else understood the struggles and difficulties,  we also quickly realized that we not only were normal there but most of the time were more fortunate than a lot of others.  
Kadigaan, our older son, has a heart defect, which is apparently hereditary, and he see's a heart specialist that comes to Ketchikan every year.  My wife Loni had a heart  surgery when she was 18.  Kadigaan has been around doctors and hospitals quite frequently growing up and even more so when his little brother was born.  I think he has been Koolax's biggest support and closest companion, he surely spends more time with him than anyone else.  Kadigaan has always been very loving, understanding and patient. Through all the doctor appointments and other difficulties, both our boys have been able to enjoy and take delight in every situation.

   The day Koolax was born he had a light in his eye, a look of determination, a look saying “I am alright, do not worry, nothing is going to hold me down.” 

            Koolax Rockey McAlpin was born in Ketchikan, Alaska on August 2nd, 2007.   He was about 6 weeks premature and had a very traumatic birth that resulted in him not having a pulse or being responsive for several minutes.  After being resuscitated he had multiple seizures and the doctor was concerned about the condition of his brain and his overall health, so it was decided that he needed to be put on an emergency flight to Seattle and we were sent to the Children's Hospital.  We stayed in Seattle for few weeks  so they could do several tests and examinations.  The first couple weeks we lived at the Hospital and they determined that overall he was fine, but there were still other tests that needed to be done so we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for about another week and had daily appointments at the hospital.

            Koolax was also born with severe clubbed feet, there are three different types of clubbed foot defects and he has all three. So upon returning home, when he was about a month old, he had to begin a series of x-rays and casts to help correct this problem.  It was determined that he would need more specialized treatment and our doctor referred us to Shriners Hospital in Portland, Oregon.  He continued having his casts changed every few weeks until he was about 8 months old and then we went Shriners and he had his first surgery.  We had to be there for about a month so they could do a series of castings and checkups after his surgery, so of course, we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Portland. (These are Wonderful places by the way).
            Koolax has had another surgery after that one and has worn more casts, and several types of braces on his feet. We have to travel to Shriners Hospital every year for  check up appointments and he needs to have another surgery when he is about 6 years old, after his muscles grow more.  He was finally able to start walking on his own just before he turned 3 years old.  He is now 4 years old and is running and jumping all over the place and is becoming hard to keep up with.  He loves playing around with his big brother Kadigaan who is 8 years old.  He loves going on walks and bikerides, playing baseball and basketball, fishing, and swimming.  There really isn’t much that he does’t like to do.  There is one thing that he loves so much that he often acts like them...  Puppies!!!

 We Thank God for every moment we have with both our boys Koolax and Kadigaan. 

We also thank Childrens Hospital in Seattle, Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, and The Ronald McDonald Houses.


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