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Couple and dogs get home safely

They were able to rent an air-conditioned van and enter the show

A Concord, Calif., couple and their 17 Welsh springer spaniels ' stranded in Medford after a fire Thursday destroyed their motor home ' finally have made it back home.

We're all safe and sound, Donald Ong said Tuesday. We were just very fortunate.

Diana and Donald Ong and their champion show dogs were en route to an American Kennel Club dog show in Hillsboro Thursday night when their motor home caught fire near Medford.

The Ongs and their dogs escaped unharmed, but the vehicle and its contents were a total loss.

— The American Red Cross purchased new clothes for the couple and put them up at a local motel for two nights while the Ongs searched high and low for transportation out of the valley.

For two days, the couple attempted to rent an air-conditioned vehicle large enough to transport themselves and the dogs to the show and back but were unsuccessful. The Ongs requested help from the public through the media, and the story made national headlines.

Donald Ong said that on Friday night, he contacted a rental agency and was able to secure a van large enough to transport their cargo.

The couple left Saturday and arrived in time to compete in events at the Hillsboro show, where they earned several top honors, Ong said. The couple's pride and joy, a 9-year-old male named Eddie, won Group Four Placement during an exhibition on Sunday, he added.

The family arrived home in Concord Tuesday morning.

We just want to thank everybody in Medford who helped, from A to Z, said Ong. We're very grateful.

David Alexander, general manager of the Best Western Horizon Inn, said the Ongs and their dogs were perfect guests during their stay in Medford. Typically, the motel chain only allows one or two pets per visitor, but staff decided to take a chance on the Ongs and their 17 canines.

It was no problem, Alexander said. The room was probably in better shape after (the 17 dogs left) than it is when people with just one dog stay.

We were happy to help.

Reach reporter Jill Briskey at 776-4485, or e-mail