On a recent camping trip to the Wallowas, our family of five encountered a series of small catastrophes that included two flat tires and a sudden and unexplained medical problem in our beloved dog.

The first flat tire was made worse by rain, a lack of cell service and a jack that busted mid-way through our effort to change the tire. We sat in the dark for hours and waited for a Good Samaritan. He arrived in the form of a local man who cheerfully hopped out of his rig and spent the next hour or so lending us a hand.

As we returned from Buckhorn Lookout the next day — Father’s Day — our lab mix, Racer, experienced a medical crisis. A local woman out for a hike recommended Dr. Severin Knutsen of the Enterprise Animal Hospital. We called Dr. Knutsen who, without hesitation, said he would meet us at his clinic.

As we drove into town, another tire blew on the gravel road. AAA at first declined to send a tow truck. I described our predicament to a local woman who had stopped to help. She put us in touch with Mike Musia, owner of Mike’s Garage in Joseph. He hastily arranged to dispatch a tow truck driver who safely delivered us, our three young daughters and our stricken dog to the Enterprise Animal Hospital, where Dr. Knutsen interrupted his own Father’s Day celebrations to help. Later, Dr. Knutsen made two house calls to our motel to address Racer’s ongoing issues.

In our long experience as pet owners, Dr. Knutsen was the best vet we have dealt with. He was professional, responsive and compassionate.

It is easy in this American moment to see our differences as a threat. But 36 hours in Wallowa County reminded our family of what binds us all together: our shared humanity, our generosity and our willingness to help one another.

Our summer road trip was cut short, but we will always remember the kindness we were shown by the good people of Wallowa County. Thank you.

Noelle Crombie and Mark Halpern


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