Dana Brothers, Outreach and Communications Program Manager

Joined HNW 2/2017

The number one thing on my bucket list is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with a camel. Not just any camel: a Bactrian camel to be exact. That may seem a bit far-fetched, but there is a story I need to tell to clarify how this idea came to fruition.

Every year we have an amazing fundraising gala where donors in our community join us to support the mission of Hospice of the Northwest, and to raise money for services provided to the patients and families that we serve. In September of 2017, our theme for this event was ‘Ancient Egypt.’

Early that summer, I was tasked with finding a little something extra to add to the gala. After many phone calls and interviews, on the date in question I secured the appearance of Sean the Camel. Not surprisingly, he was a smashing success! For two hours he posed for 400 pictures, and during that time he captured my heart. In the ensuing weeks I thought about him constantly: I could not get his kind and gentle spirit out of my head.

Five months later, after copious research and some modification to my property, I drove to a small town in southern WA and brought home my very own baby Bactrian camel named Banjo. My goal is to take him through the Pet Partners of America therapy animal certification program, and to have him join me on educational presentations around our community.

There are lots of misconceptions about camels. People think they are mean-spirited and stupid. They often comment that camels spit and bite and are unpredictable. Not surprisingly, myths persist about hospice care as well, so my intention is to educate people about the reality of what we do, and share the kind and gentle spirit of Banjo.

That initially was my objective, but reading the Cheryl Strayed book, “Wild” inspired me to stretch beyond my comfort zone. That’s when I created a B.H.A.G., as founding president of Starbucks Howard Behar calls a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” I don’t have a timeline established yet, but it seems fitting that my big, hairy camel is going to help me achieve my big, hairy audacious goal of hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, dispelling myths and sharing stories.