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Archive for November, 2009

Police kill dog that attacked owner

A 120-pound Rottweiler-pit bull mix named Jesus was shot and killed by police in Rockville, Maryland after attacking his owner Saturday night.

Police say the dog’s 38-year-old owner, who lives in the Twinbrook area, suffered bite wounds to his arm, chest and thigh.

The dog was killed by two shots from a police officer’s handgun, the Washington Post reported.

“We tried everything,” said Rockville Police Chief Terry N. Treschuk.  “We just had to make a decision and bring this to an end.”

Police were called to the house, in the 5800 block of Ridgeway Avenue in the city’s Twinbrook area, at 6:20 p.m. Saturday and found the owner with wounds to his chest, thigh, arms, feet and hand, officials said. Three children in the house were not hurt, police said.

The owner, who asked police to capture and euthanize the dog, was admitted to Suburban Hospital and underwent surgery.

Police said the dog had apparently become agitated when the owner closed his bedroom door to keep him out. Officers tried for hours to capture the dog, first using a capture pole and a Taser. When those failed, police said, the decision was made to shoot the dog.

Deaf and blind dachshund follows his nose

rudolphWhat would you name a dachshund, born deaf and blind, who counts on his nose to show him the way?

To Marcia Fishman, the answer was obvious: Rudolph.

After bouncing between four other homes, Rudolph was adopted by Fishman two years ago, and he’s gone on to become a visitor to elementary schools, and the subject of a children’s book.

“Rudolph’s Nose Knows,” written by Fishman, is about a blind and deaf dog teased by other dogs because he bumps into things. When he turns out to be the only one able to rescue a bird stuck in a hole, he becomes a hero.

As a team, Rudolph and Fishman visit schools around Detroit to help show kids that disabilities are surmountable, and that teasing — whether over a red nose or some other physical challenge — is a painful and misguided waste of time. Fishman hopes that Rudolph, the dachshund, can help teach children to accept others who might appear different from themselves.

Last week, they dropped in on more than 60 third-graders at McIntrye Elementary School in Southfield, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“Shut your eyes and hold your ears as tight as possible,” Fishman told the students. “Don’t feel sorry for Rudolph, he is a happy dog. But I want you to understand what he experiences every day of his life.”

Though he can’t hear or see, Rudolph is helping to instill compassion and acceptance in the children, Fishman said. “He’s spreading a great message. I will never forget what one child said to me last year, after he hugged Rudolph– ‘I am going to tell my mommy that I want a deaf and blind dog, too.’ “

You can teach a mold dog new tricks

Oreo-Laughing-715332Among all the things dogs’ noses are sniffing out to make the world a better and safer place — drugs, explosives, missing children, fleeing felons, diseases, bedbugs, pirated cds, sewage leaks, cell phones in prisons — here’s one I hadn’t heard of:


A Princeton, New Jersey, company is using canines to detect potentially lethal mold in homes, offices and classrooms.

1-800-GOT-MOLD?  calls itself America’s leading mold inspection company, and claims to be the nation’s first franchise operation to recruit man’s best friend to pinpoint the location of hidden mold in buildings, preventing potential health dangers, which include fatigue, headaches, respiratory problems, and even cancer.

Mold Dogs (and the term has been trademarked) can locate the source of hidden mold growth, even in its early stages.

The company’s founder, Jason Earle, realized that  traditional mold-detection involved a lot of guesswork. While air sampling is commonly used to detect household molds, it often fails to locate the precise source of the problem.

 Mold Dogs save time and money and allow the company to avoid unnecessary invasive procedures, according to Earle, who suffered from mold-related health complications as a child.

Earle’s dog Oreo is the first mold detection dog in the northeast and one of the first nationwide, he says.

(Photo: Oreo, courtesy of 1-800-GOT-MOLD? )

Atlanta’s airport adds a dog park

atlantaairportAs part of its new ground transportation center, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has opened its first dog park — a place for traveling pets to get a little romp time before and after flights.

Originally slated to be open green space, the idea evolved into a dog park, according to the airport’s website.

“This seemed to be a good step forward to serve our customers traveling with dogs and our customers wanting to enjoy the flowers,” said Kathryn Masters, project manager for the dog park.

The fenced, 1,000-square-foot area on the south end of the ground tansportation center contains rock as well as grass, benches,  biodegradable bags for pet waste and even some artwork, though this particular scrap metal sculpture looks like an accident waiting to happen. (That’s not a comment on its artistic value, just on what appear to be its sharp edges.)

Only two dogs are allowed at a time because of the area’s size, but owners can let dogs off leashes.

(Photo from Atlanta-airport.com)

A Dog Named Christmas

dognamedchristmasA dog adoption promotion dreamed up as fiction has become a reality, and on a national scale.

After Greg Kincaid’s novel, “A Dog Named Christmas,” was published last year, a reader named Pam, who worked at a veterinary clinic in Florida, got inspired by what transpires in the book: Hayley, the fictional manager of a fictional animal shelter is so upset at seeing her kennels full that she calls up the news media and makes an offer — anyone who agrees to take a pet home for Christmas can return it afterward.

So Pam gave the same promotion a shot in real life. Her “Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays” program resulted in all 37 dogs at her shelter being dispensed to foster homes within 24 hours of the story appearing on a Pensacola TV station. One hundred more viewers who saw the report asked to be put on a waiting list.

Author/lawyer Kincaid made up the promotion while writing a story for his family a few Christmases ago, according to the Kansas City Star. It evolved into a published novel, and a TV movie that premieres tonight.

“A Dog Named Christmas” — the story of how a dog changed the lives of the family who adopted him — will air at 8 p.m. on CBS. In conjunction with the broadcast, CBS has agreed to sponsor a nationwide “Foster a Lonely Pet” program with Petfinder.com. More than 2,000 shelters and rescues across the country are participating.

Most shelters, despite their urgent need to find homes for dogs, refrain from encouraging holiday adoptions. Dogs adopted on impulse and as Christmas gifts often end up getting returned or, worse yet, abandoned. But placing them in foster care for the holidays relieves the pressure at shelters, ensures they will be returned if unwanted and often leads to full-fledged adoptions.

And it gives a shelter dog a nice break for the holidays.

“We do a lot of nice things at Christmas,” Kincaid said. “I was thinking, ‘Why is it that we have all these shelters with animals in them, and people don’t seem interested in extending the same generosity to them?”

(For more news and reviews of the latest dog books, visit our Good Dog Reads page.)

Here’s a real nailbiter

Ashley Saks left her dog, Roxy, with a friend when she went out of town, along with  instructions that – due to the 2-year-old basset hound’s habit of getting into things — she be crated when no one was home.

When the dogsitter made a quick trip to the store, without crating the dog, Roxy, sure enough, got into something — a pile of nails, more than 100 of which she swallowed.

“I counted about 130, but I don’t know how many she threw up before she was taken, so it could’ve been more,” Saks said. X-rays showed a clump of about 100 or so nails stuck at the base of Roxy’s stomach, according to News 4 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Saks said a veterinarian sedated the dog and used a device to pull the nails out through the dog’s throat, a few at a time, in a procedure that took more than an hour.

Amazingly, the nails didn’t puncture any of Roxy’s internal organs, and she seems to have recovered fully.

French town offers hamster-themed hotel

hamsterhotelLooking for a romantic getaway abroad?

You, too can live like, not a king, but a hamster at a new hotel in the French town of Nantes, eating grain, running in a giant wheel, drinking out of a steel spout and sleeping in haystacks at the “Hamster Villa.”

All for only 99 euros ($148.10) a night.

“The hamster in the world of children is that little cuddly animal. Often, the adults who come here have wanted or did have hamsters when they were small,” said Yann Falquerho, who, along with Frederic Tabary, runs the company that operates the hotel.

Among the first guests were Maud and Sebastien, who told Reuters they saw the hotel as a place “to become a hamster, eat seeds, change our way of life…come out of our daily routine.”

(Photo via Reuters)