Why we look a little different

Well …

It all started when ohmidog! began experiencing repeated downtime over the weekend.

There were five calls to my web hosting company, and each time it was restored, but I was advised the website had too many “processes” running and I should change some things.

So I started changing things — “optimizing my images” and doing other maintenance tasks that anyone who puts out a website should understand.

Problem is, I don’t — and I ended up looking like this.

Best I can tell, I accidentally activated a new theme while trying to do something else. And now the old theme is nowhere to be found.

I’ll continue working Monday to see if I can get it restored. If not, expect a new look and some confusion as I either figure out how to run a website (after 10 years of doing one), find someone to do it for me, or lose my mind.

Burned dog adopted by fire department


A dog who was severely burned in a house fire in Georgia that killed her owner and another dog has been adopted by a fire department in Florida.

Ruby was only a few months old when she was burned in a house fire in Blakely, Ga., and spent more than a week in critical care with third-degree burns.

After recovering, she was taken in by the Suncoast Animal League in Palm Harbor.

After several months with a foster mom, she has been adopted by the Palm Harbor Fire Department, Bay News 9 reported.

“Ruby is ridiculously smart, learning to sit, give paw, lay down and roll over in a matter of days,” said the foster mom, Karey.

With the support of Fire Chief Craig Maciuba the Board of Fire Commissioners and Firefighters, the decision was made to adopt her.

On Sept. 12, Ruby’s adoption became official.

“She already knows how to stop, drop and roll and we’ve been teaching her to crawl low (under smoke),” said Elizabeth Graham, public education officer. “She’s a part of the family now and I can’t wait to see how many lives she will touch, she’s a survivor.”

Ruby will be a member of the Palm Harbor Fire Department family and will assist with public education outreach programs teaching fire prevention and safety.

She will be sworn in during an official public ceremony on Oct. 12 where she will receive her official fire department badge.

The Palm Harbor Fire Department will be collecting donations for Ruby to provide for her care, medical bills and a large fenced in area for her to run and train in.

(Photos: Palm Harbor Fire Department)

Congress extends limits on VA dog research


Congress has voted to extend its restrictions on dog testing at the Department of Veterans Affairs through fiscal year 2019.

In the experiments at McGuire VA Medical Center, dogs were implanted with pacemakers and forced to run on treadmills until they collapsed or died.

The practice came under restrictions last year after WRIC (8News) in Richmond brought it to the public’s attention. This week, WRIC reports, Congress has voted to continue those restrictions.

Under the legislation to continue limiting the research, federal tax dollars can not be used for the deadly dog experiments like the testing uncovered at McGuire unless there is absolutely no other alternative to using dogs.

If that is the case, the study will need direct approval from the VA Secretary.

8News first exposed the experiments in March of 2017.

In July, it reported that an employee at the medical center had come forward with photos of the experiments.

In September of last year, amid threats to defund the research, the VA announced it would be restricting and increasing oversight of the experiments in Richmond and similar experiments at two other VA facilities.

WRIC documented 39 cases in which dogs at McGuire, some of them puppies, had been surgically implanted with pacemakers and forced to run until they collapsed.

The VA says the research part of an on-going study into heart disease.

Over 50 house members on both sides of the aisle requested the measure to de-fund the animal testing be extended through fiscal year 2019.

The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk.

Flo notes: Hurricanes can bring out the best and worst in TV news reporters


Used to be the way for a local TV reporter to win the hearts of viewers was to show him or herself struggling against the elements during a violent weather event.

Or so they seemed to think.

Most assuredly, that mindset is still at work, or at least it was with the newsman below, whose on air performance to stay on his feet during Florence — while regular folks in the background walk casually by — has gone viral.

What most reporters have come to realize, though, is that the way to viewers’ hearts — especially during hurricanes — is to show dogs and cats, preferably being rescued.

Better yet, if you’re a TV reporter, help rescue a dog yourself.

A reporter for WTVD in Raleigh dispatched to New Bern, N.C. interrupted a Facebook Live video to “help” rescue a dog in knee-deep floodwaters.

Julie Wilson saw a woman trying to save her Rottweiler — her daughter’s therapy dog — from the water and offered to help.

Wilson didn’t enter the house with the woman, waiting outside instead, but she can be seen on the video assisting, helping to carry the dog to safety while assuring her “You are OK baby girl.”

Later, she says, “Nobody is leaving the dog in this mess. That’s what we are doing out here.” You can see the full live stream here.

Unlike the wobbly reporter higher up in this post, Wilson isn’t being criticized online, only praised as a hero.

Comments on the story online suggest that she be given everything from a raise to the blessing of God. Read one retweet: “Saw this today.. and i was so moved.. her co workers said how she was a animal lover and didn’t even drink coffee… . just gave from her heart….a true everyday hero…

Mike Seidel, the Weather Channel reporter, meanwhile, is being lambasted, but the Weather Channel defended him in a statement: “It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted.”

What’s clear is that simply braving the elements doesn’t cut it anymore. A TV reporter who wants to feel the love needs to be shown with a soggy dog, or a drenched cat — preferably one he or she helped rescue, optimally with the cameras rolling.

None of this is to say Julie Wilson didn’t do a fine reporting job, or that her intentions weren’t pure, or that she didn’t do the right thing in helping out the woman and the dog.

Only that I could do without TV reporters — even though they are doing a brave and noble job — trying to hammer home how brave and noble they are during a crisis.

The tragedy is bad enough without blatant heartstring-tugging, which, like blatant price-gouging, always tends to come after a hurricane like Florence passes through.

Freelance journalist Marcus DiPaolo got into the heroics as well, tweeting this rescue of kenneled dogs he said he took part in:

We assume that is DiPaolo holding the camera, and it’s not clear what more he did beyond grab the collar of one of the freed dogs and say “C’mon, puppy,” but from the tweet and his use of the word “we” he apparently wants some credit for the rescue as well.

Amid all the social media promotion of their own heroics, it’s important to remember that — honorable as those might be — it’s rescue workers and homeowners, not journalists, who are doing most of the rescuing out there, which brings us to the kitty at the top of this post.

It is of Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten being evacuated in New Bern on a rowboat Saturday.

It was taken by a newspaper reporter, Andrew Carter, with the Raleigh News & Observer.

No, Carter didn’t pluck the cat out of raging floodwaters himself. No he wasn’t rowing the boat. But he did do his job.

Because, yes, covering a hurricane is vital, noble, heroic and all that stuff, too — just on its own.

If a reporter can help save a life — human or animal — by all means do it, but do it out of compassion, as opposed to reasons such as going “viral,” self-promotion, or over-sized ego.

Leashing the wife: Not advisable


A Maryland man police say was leading his wife around by a dog leash at the York Fair in Pennsylvania was charged with simple assault.

West Manheim Township police filed the charge against 66-year-old Walter W. Wolford, of Hagerstown, on Saturday, according to Penn Live.

Police said Wolford, of Hagerstown, had his wife, Catherine, attached to a red nylon dog leash and yanked the leash, causing her head to jerk back, resulting in red marks around her throat.

Wolford told officers said he only gently tugged on the leash, which he told investigators he used to keep his wife, who suffers from late-stage dementia, from getting lost.

Officer Bradley J. Cleck said in reports that he was called to the York Fair to investigate the incident and saw that Catherine Wolford had red marks on her throat.

He tried to speak to her, but she did not know where she was, or her name, he said.

Walter Wolford told the officer he was embarrassed about the situation. He explained that when the couple visited the fair last year, she had wandered away and was lost for 90 minutes. He said he put her on a leash to prevent that from happening again.

He originally attached the leash to her waist, but it somehow moved up around her neck, he told the officer. He said he had only “gently tugged on the leash so she would stop.”

After consulting with the York Area Agency on Aging and the district attorney’s office, police charged Wolford with simple assault.

He is set for a preliminary hearing Sept. 28.

The York Fair, billed as “America’s First Fair,” is has been held on on the first Friday after Labor Day for more than 250 years.

(Photo: York County Fair from Pennlive.com)

An apartment complex that will require dogs

In a world where landlords commonly refuse to allow renters to have dogs, it’s worth noting that an entrepreneur in Denmark is building a complex that will REQUIRE renters to have dogs.

An 18-apartment complex is under construction in Frederikssund Municipality in northern Zealand — and it will only rent to people who have dogs.

It is being built by Niels Martin Viuff, according to The Local.

“There is demand from some dog owners who are tired of there being so many places where dogs are not allowed,” Viuff says. “We want to meet the needs of dog owners. Many are very lonely.”

The complex will be called Hundehuset (“The Dog House) and, while it will require dog ownership, it plans to restrict the size of dogs — none over 100 pounds.

“We will be avoiding the largest breeds, so (the apartments) won’t be crowded with dogs. But if you have small dogs, more than one is fine,” he said.

Viuff said that potential tenants would be required to bring their dogs to see him before signing rental contracts.

Cats will also be allowed to live in the apartments, and Viuff said he’s also building another complex aimed at cat owners.

An official with the Danish Kennel Klub, Denmark’s largest association for dog owners, praised the concept, and said it served as a consultant on the project.

“This is super exciting, it’s innovative, and we look forward to following progress and seeing how the project develops,” Lise Lotte Christensen said.

Christensen was part of an advisory group that made suggestions as to how to make the apartments more canine-friendly, including by installing tougher flooring and a dog bathing area in the gardens.

Authorities in Vietnam call on residents to curtail the eating of dog meat


Authorities in Vietnam’s capital are urging residents to cease eating dog meat, saying the popular dish is tarnishing the city’s image and risks spreading rabies.

Roasted, boiled or steamed, dog meat can be found in markets and food shops across the capital city of Hanoi.

Dog meat is considered by many in Vietnam, as in Korea, to be a delicacy that is thought to increase stamina.

The Hanoi People’s Committee warned residents to stop eating dog meat partly for image reasons and partly to prevent the spread of rabies and other animal-borne diseases, Channel News Asia reported.

Hanoi Vice Mayor Nguyen Van Suu said in a message published Tuesday on the city’s website that slaughtering and consuming dog and cat meat is disturbing to foreigners and “negatively impact the image of a civilized and modern capital.”

The committee also urged residents to stop eating cat meat, often dubbed “little tiger” on Vietnamese menus.

There are about 493,000 dogs and cats in the city of Hanoi, the vast majority of which are kept as domesticated pets.

There are 1,000 shops selling dog meat.

Three people have died from rabies in Hanoi since the beginning of this year, and two others were confirmed infected with the disease, according to official figures.