Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Funds needed for dog ACL surgery

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Photo courtesy of Star Gazing Farm.
Derry, 5, tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his left hind leg. The owner of Star Gazing Farm in Boyds is raising money to pay for his surgery.
Star Gazing Farm’s flock of adopted stray and abused animals has been on guard lately, as their protector, Derry, a Maremma sheepdog, has been sidelined with a leg injury.

Derry, 5, tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his left hind leg, and Anne Shroeder, owner of the nonprofit animal sanctuary in Boyds, is trying to raise $3,400 to pay for his surgery.

‘‘What’s really bad about it is that he’s not a dog dog, he’s a working dog, so now all the other critters are in danger,” Shroeder said last week. She added that when Derry tore the ACL in his right hind leg two years ago, the farm lost several ducks to predators.

The farm is home to two other pups, Sage and Tigba, but Derry is the only working dog, she said.

Shroeder said the injury occurred suddenly, and that torn ACLs are common among large dogs, especially ones that are physically active.

Donations, which are tax-deductible, will be accepted until Oct. 30, with Shroeder financing the remaining balance herself.

‘‘We have to do it no matter what,” she said. ‘‘It’s not an option to say no.”

So far, about $300 has been collected, she said. To donate or for more information, visit⁄help⁄derry-operation.php. Donations can also be sent to Star Gazing Farm, P.O. Box 162, Boyds, MD 20841.

DHS teacher aims high

Raul Ortiz, head of the successful Automotive Technology Program at Damascus High School, was selected to be one of seven finalists for State Teacher of the Year for 2007-2008.

Ortiz was named Montgomery County Teacher of the Year last April. State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick announced the selection of the finalists Aug. 23.

More than teaching auto technology skills, Ortiz serves as a role model for what his students can achieve and inspires his students to continue learning.

After spending 19 years as a master automotive technician, Ortiz decided to become a teacher and continued his education to earn his teaching certification, then went on to earn a master’s degree equivalency in education.

Ortiz has guided Damascus High School through the rigorous process of achieving two of the highest certifications possible for an auto technology program. He also has built partnerships with local dealers and repair shops, placing students with employers.

The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, students, parents and higher education.

The Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced Oct. 5. In addition to winning cash and other awards, the winner will spend the coming year as a speaker and advisor in the state and will go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year Award.

Race for a cause

Get some exercise and raise money for a good cause during the inaugural Lymphoma Research Ride, a non-competitive bike ride Sept. 30 for the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s research and education programs.

The ride is open to survivors, family, friends, community members and corporate teams, and participants can choose either a 25- or 50-mile route.

The ride is limited to the first 150 riders who register and raise $1,000 by Sept. 30. As of last week, $152,667 had been raised, according to the ride’s Web site.

Registration begins 9 a.m., and the race begins 10 a.m. at Poolesville High School, 17501 W. Willard Road, where it will also end. The post-ride celebration lunch begins at 1 p.m. The route will wind around rural Montgomery County and be suitable for all skill levels.

For more information, contact Rachel Nathan at or visit⁄ride2007.

Get green

Montgomery College, Germantown Campus offers a variety of horticulture courses for plant lovers, garden club members and those interested in continuing education classes. Classes start Sept. 5. and 10. Some meet at the school and some at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.

For more information, contact Stephen Dubik, professor and program coordinator, Landscape Technology Program, Montgomery College at 240-567-7803 or e-mail Register online at

This column is for and about you! Submissions for People and Places must be received by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Send news tips, story ideas and other items to Melissa Chadwick via e-mail at, fax at 301-670-7183 or mail to The Germantown-Boyds-Poolesville Gazette, 1200 Quince Orchard Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878.