By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“We're kind of struggling with that one,” Kristy Sholinder said of Max, her family's 5-year-old German shepherd mix.
“He's such a big lover that too many people around may get him a little overwhelmed.”
Max was diagnosed in December with wobbler disease, essentially a slipped disc in his spine, that strikes large-breed dogs. It eventually could paralyze him.
Surgery to fix Max's neck would cost up to $7,000 — a cost the Sholinders can't afford.
So, Kyle Sholinder, 15, decided to throw a benefit concert.
The event, starring local teens such as John Doster, Lenora Hofer, Annika Pederson and Shania Yockey of Port Angeles, and featuring a silent auction, is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Olympic Vineyard Church, 3415 S. Peabody St.
“It kind of sprung up on me, how quickly it's gotten here,” Kyle said.
A donation to the Save the Dog fund is the cost of admission into the concert.
Those who want to sample a variety of donated food can pay $5 for buffet-style access.
The names of those who already have donated to the fund will be on a list at the door, and they will not have to provide more donations to be admitted.
The Facebook page Kyle set up for Max and the concert — www.facebook.com/savemydogmax — has 100 people signed up who say they definitely will be there.
“And a lot more people have said they plan to come,” Kyle said.
An active dog that loves running through the woods, Max now has to spend his days inside the Sholinders' house so he doesn't worsen his condition, Kyle said.
Kyle has enlisted more than a dozen local musicians for the concert lineup, along with the Port Angeles High School jazz band and his worship band from St. Matthew Lutheran Church.
Kyle himself has organized a band of friends who have been rehearsing nonstop for the past couple of weeks to play the Save the Dog show.
The story of a boy trying to save his dog gained the attention of several news outlets, including Seattle radio stations.
Flood of donations
That led to a flood of donations from dog-lovers and current and former residents of the North Olympic Peninsula.
“It's really been overwhelming, the support that's come in,” said Kristy Sholinder.
To date, the family has received more than $3,300 in donations, she said, through a PayPal account and a Save the Dog account at Sound Community Bank in Port Angeles.
They've also received a number of items for a silent auction, from gift certificates to local restaurants and hotels to a free spay or neuter for a pet to a quilt donated by a women in Georgia who ran across Max's and Kyle's story.
Several local restaurants also have donated platters of food for Saturday night.
Proceeds exceeding the cost of Max's treatment will be donated to the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society.
The Sholinders have started a Save the Dog account at Sound Community Bank in Port Angeles, 110 N. Alder St., and have set up a PayPal account for online donations: email@example.com.
For more information on how to help with Max's treatment, contact the Sholinders through their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/savemydogmax.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.