THE LURE OF treasure hunting has called
to everyone at some point or another.
(Costco members experience it every time
they visit the warehouse.) But for some, the
call is stronger.
“I started it as a hobby with my kids.
After we found our first ring, we were
hooked on ring-finding,” says Dan Roekle,
a Middleton, Wisconsin, Costco member.
“And after about two years of doing it, I
actually turned it into a business.”
The calls to find lost rings are increas-
ing, but the venture is not quite lucrative
enough for Roekle to quit his day job.
“It’s a side business that I do on nights
and weekends, or as often as my wife lets
me get out,” he explains. “But during the
day, I’m an IT guy. I sit behind a desk staring
at a computer screen, so when the phone
goes off with a lost-ring hunt, I jump at the
opportunity to get out and explore nature.
I bring my kids along, too, which is great.”
Roekle started searching for rings in
2011. “Somebody had posted a lost ring ad
on Craigslist,” he recalls. “We had a metal
detector, so we said, ‘Let’s go see if we can
help him out.’ We went out and, about 30
minutes into the search, we had found it.”
They got a warm feeling and a small
reward for their efforts and, in 2013, Lost
and Found Ring ( lostandfoundring.com)
was born. Most searches come from people
who have found Roekle on Google, or from
stories in local papers or word-of-mouth.
He has driven as long as six hours one-way
to get to an assignment.
Roekle says ring-finding is not about
simply knowing how to use a metal detector.
“Ring-finding is an investigative process,”
he says. “Before we even start searching, we
ask a lot of questions. I encourage people to
write down everything, everywhere they
were, while their memories are fresh.
It’s those tiny details sometimes that
lead us to the right spot.”
When Roekle does get paid for
his efforts, he tends to put the money
into new and better equipment. But
sometimes a plea for help leads to
more than money.
“Just the look on people’s faces,”
observes Roekle, “is enough of a payment most times.”—SF
IT’S NO SECRET that cats are having their
moment. The internet is rife with videos showing kitties of all ages in all their glory. Kolleen Fox,
a Costco member in Sedro-Woolley, Washington,
says, “Cats are amazing. They’re the perfect
package of grace and function and symmetry.
They’re wild, but they’re domesticated.”
So it was natural for her to want to get into
business with the furry felines, which led to the
creation of Cat Nap Inn ( catnapinn.com), a bed-
and-breakfast just for cats, in Alger, Washington,
about an hour and a half north of Seattle.
“I was in the health care insurance industry,
and I wanted to love going to work every day,”
Fox explains. “I stumbled across an article
about luxury boarding facilities, and I started
researching. I went to a how-to class; I traveled
five states and Canada. It took three years, and
I opened my doors [in 1999]. It was a dream
Since then, Cat Nap Inn has welcomed
2,500 “guests.” Twenty-five rooms, with either
a window or a virtual fish tank, are available for
finicky visitors. There are six levels of rooms, or
suites, from the Executive Studio at $20 a night
for one cat to the Gone Birding Suite at $48 a
night for one cat. Kitties are kept separated
unless they’re from the same household and
get along. Each suite has its own HEPA ventila-
tion, so the cats never share air.
“The facility was designed for cats,” Fox
emphasizes. “Everything was built with health
and safety and what cats like in mind. While love
and play come with our rates, we offer all sorts
of extra services. Many people indulge them-
selves when they go on vacation, and [they] like
to do the same for their kitties. We have our
Spoil Me menu. It features Tasty Treats, which
is a Shrimpsicle or the Surf No Turf [wild Alaskan
salmon], and our fantastic turndown service,
aka the Sweet Dreams Package, which includes
a cozy blanket, a Snuggle Safe [a heated micro-
wave pad that stays warm up for 10 hours] and
a bedtime snack.”
In fact, the cats are treated so well, they
often balk at going home with mom and dad.
“Sometimes people get a little offended,” Fox
says. “I tell them that’s a good thing—a good
thing that they’re not in a rush to go home.”
Dan Roekle hunting treasure with
his trusty metal
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Above: A staff member
has reading time with
a guest. Below: Owner
Kolleen Fox with a
The cat pamperer
PHO TOS: JIM RAMAGLIA