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8:33 AM Sun, Jan. 20th

Marvin's Window

Cherri Darnell relies on "Moppett" to carry important medical information and supplies she and her husband, Richard, need.

"Moppett" is a female mix breed containing bullmastiff, German shepherd, Australian shepherd and blue tick bound blood.

(Miner photo by Mitchell Batson)

"Moppett" is a mix of female bullmastiff, German shepherd, Australian shepherd and blue tick hound, owned by Richard and Cherri Darnell.

She will turn 2 years old on July 4.

"There were six pups born in her litter and the mother dog killed all of them except Moppett," Cherri Darnell said.

"She was the runt that fell through the cracks.

"Her mom died of postpartum fever, and while cleaning up I found Moppett buried in the dirt.

She was so small she had to be fed with an eyedropper because doggie bottles are bigger than she was."

"Moppett" was an orphan when she was four days old.

She now is a service dog, similar to Seeing Eye dogs used by the blind and hearing-impaired dogs for people with a loss of hearing.

But the difference is that "Moppett" is a medical assist dog.

She carries pouches that resemble a horse's saddlebags around on her back.

The pouches contain crucial supplies and information for the Darnells.

"I'm a diabetic and Richard is a heart patient who has to take a lot of medications," Cherri Darnell said.

"Moppett carries a list of his medications, doctors, surgeries done and who to contact in case of emergency.

Richard can't remember everything I take, so she also carries a test kit for diabetes for me and a bottle of nitro tablets for him."

"Moppett" has another important role to play.

She picks up dropped objects such as keys, canes, hairbrushes and pill bottles on her owners' command.

It took about a year to train "Moppett," beginning with obedience classes.

The Darnells also contacted and worked with other people who own service dogs or are trainers.

While most service dogs are protective of their owners and will allow no stranger to approach their masters, "Moppett's" training was the opposite.

See MUTT, Page 2

She has been taught to go to everyone because the Darnells work extensively with children by providing balloons on special occasions.

And the children like to pet "Moppett." She also accompanies the Darnells on visits to the residents of The Gardens Care Center.

"All of the kids at our church (Kingman Christian Church) helped raise her," Cherri Darnell said.

"We had to feed her every two hours, so we passed her around the first two months and all of the kids would take turns putting their fingers in her mouth.

"People used to think she was a guinea pig because she could fit into the palm of my hand.

She now weighs 47 pounds."

The Darnells provide balloons for fund-raising events, charity groups and church picnics.

They have done so for about 10 years.

"Moppett's training is ongoing," Cherri Darnell said.

"Service dogs need to be adaptable since you never know what sort of situation you're going to be in.

"She has traveled on a Greyhound bus to California for 12 hours with no problems.

She also goes to church with us Sunday and has her own rug to lay on there."

Cherri Darnell was born in San Diego and married her husband more than 25 years ago.

They spent 10 years working in self-storage management and five years as volunteer firefighters for two departments near San Diego.

They worked simultaneously for the San Pascual Volunteer Fire Department and Deer Springs Volunteer Fire Department in Escondido.

Richard also was employed for nearly 10 years by the San Diego Wildlife Animal Park and Zoo, Cherri Darnell said.

The couple moved from San Diego to Kingman in 1995 after Richard was disabled because they were looking for a less expensive place to live, she added.

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397 ext.


When did stupidity become politically correct?I looked out my window at the blowing wind on Mother's Day and wondered about the good old days when motherhood, apple pie and American cars were politically correct.

Now, we have to write books to remind people that stay at home mothers are really doing something important for the family and the country.

I have not checked for sure, but I expect apple pie is on someone's list of high carb foods that are taboo for the latest weight loss fad.

Cars are built in so many countries with parts from other places that an American car is difficult to define.

Honda, Mercedes and Toyota build cars here.

Several models of every major American car are the same as foreign models and built overseas.

All that is most confusing.

Now I read that there is a good reason why more than 80 percent of the employees of American colleges are registered Democrats.

This is the case in spite of the general population being almost evenly divided between registered Republicans and Democrats, plus a good many are registered as Independents.

All that is tolerable if all sides are tolerant.

But, when I read in the Las Vegas paper's editorial page the opinion of one professor as to the reason for so few Republicans on university campuses, I get angry.

Student groups at UNLV surveyed the faculty across departments and found the campus to be more liberal than the more famous bastion of liberals, the University of California at Berkeley.

The students found nothing but Democrats in the history, economics and sociology departments.

The thing that got me ready to fight was the reason given by one of the professors for the large number of liberals.

Ted Jelen, a professor of political science at UNLV, was asked why so few conservatives were on the faculty.

"Liberals are smarter," he said as quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

He went on to explain himself.

"I'm quite serious," Jelen said.

"The Republican Party has taken some outrageous positions on issues like abortion and free speech, and has in effect priced itself out of the intellectual market."

Has this professor not looked at the demise of communism and socialism as economic systems in Eastern Europe and Cuba? Has he no idea how free enterprise has made Americans the wealthiest country for all its citizens?

Has he not noticed that so-called free speech codes have been imposed against students and faculty at those "intellectually smarter" liberal universities?

Was it free speech on liberal campuses that allowed liberal students, without any punishment, to pick up and destroy papers distributed by conservative student groups?

There was a time when conservative groups were intolerant of the liberal voices on campus and that was just as wrong.

I send my children and grandchildren to college to learn about a variety of viewpoints, not just those that are considered politically correct.

While in a graduate school class on the sociology of communication, I was told by the instructor to shut up.

His reason was simple, I was over 30 and he told the class no one over 30 had anything worth saying.

I needed the grade so I kept my mouth shut, no matter how difficult some of you might find that to believe.

I got even before the term was over.

The professor reached his 30th birthday during the time he was teaching the class.

But, that did not shut him up.

He raised the age bar to keep himself politically correct.

If the divided American electorate hears enough such garbage as Jelen told the Las Vegas newspaper, conservatives' tax dollars to pay the university salaries of all those liberals could disappear.

A professor of political science should understand that part of budgeting tax dollars in a democracy.

I looked in by dictionary and found that neither intelligent nor dumb was a synonym for any political party.

"Out of touch with reality" might be how some would define "professor."

I am searching for a change to the old days when there was more respect for differing opinions.

A good discussion, even a heated discussion, of an issue can shed some light and even discover a good solution that had not occurred to either side.

I am tired of the media emphasis on the extreme views.

I am tired of name-calling and finger pointing.

I am tired of people, even university professors, who have all the right answers.

I like the cliché that says "God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak."

Some days I hunger for more motherhood, apple pie and American cars and less instant, confusing and overwhelming information.

Marvin Robertson is the Miner's business/city government reporter.