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Archive for December 11th, 2009

Amid family’s sorrows, lost dog is found

20091211_inq_ptuti11-aIt has been a rough few weeks for Wilma Berrios and Tuti.

Three days after Berrios’ uncle died while waiting for treatment in a Philadelphia hospital emergency room, her dog, a 3-year-old male miniature pinscher, wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers hoodie, ran away, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported

In between spending time with her family to mourn her uncle, Berrios walked her neighborhood streets, sometimes in the early hours, posting and handing out fliers with Tuti’s picture — for nearly two weeks.

Eventually, both a letter carrier and a  police officer phoned Berrios with sightings of Tuti, and in tracking down those leads, she learned that Tuti had been picked up and taken to the SPCA animal shelter in Hunting Park.

When she arrived there, though, Tuti was gone. It turns out he’d been picked up by a rescue organization,  N.J. Aid for Animals in Sicklerville, and taken to New Jersey to be put up for adoption.

The SPCA contacted the rescue group and on Thursday Berrios and Tuti — still wearing his hoodie, but minus a couple of appendages — were reunited. The rescue group neuters all animals for which it seeks homes. Neither Berrios nor Tuti seemed to mind, the Inquirer reported. 

“I’m overwhelmed,” Berrios said.  “I’m so happy. There are no words in the dictionary to express how I’m feeling. I didn’t think I would get him, but there’s a God up there.” 

Berrios’ uncle, Joaquin Rivera, was a Philadelphia musician and community activist. He went to Aria Health – Frankford Campus for treatment of chest pains, was robbed of his watch while he sat in the waiting room and died while waiting, which hospital staff reportedly didn’t notice for an hour.

(Philadelphia Inquirer photo by Akira Suwa)

Two wheels for Tuzik

More than six months ago, a dog was hit by a car in St. Petersburg, Russia, and left to die.

But witnesses to the accident picked up the dog and brought him to a veterinary clinic. A veterinarian performed surgery, for free, but the dog’s spinal injuries were such that he lost the use of his back legs and wasn’t expected to walk again.

He was taken to an animal shelter, whose staff couldn’t bear the thought of the dog, who they named Tuzik, spending his life laying in the shelter’s dirt yard.

After a flurry of Internet searching and email exchanges, hampered by language differences, arrangements were made for Tuzik to be shipped to the U.S. and taken in by Pets With Disabilities, a non-profit group in Prince Frederick, Maryland.

The organization rescues and finds home for animals who have been injured through trauma or disabled by illness. It provides support and resources for the families of disabled pets and for shelters attempting to place special-needs animals into loving homes. Joyce Darrell and her husband, Michael Dickerson, founded the organization in 2000 after their dog Duke broke his back playing as a puppy. Tuzik10-09

Tuzik arrived in October.

“Why a dog from Russia? We were wondering the same thing for many months,” Darrell says on the Pets With Disabilities website, “But Tuzik was on a mission to find a better life – and meet a family that would appreciate all he had to offer.” Darrell says he has “brought a sense of royal majesty to the rescue. It’s hard to explain, but when you sit with him, you have no pity for him – he really is not looking for that…

“He’s moving around the rescue with more confidence everyday. He’s begun to play with toys – and he has a huge heart to offer the right family.”

Tuzik is available for adoption. To see more of him and the organization’s other disabled dogs in need of homes, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Pets With Disabilities)

“Super dog” breeder charged with cruelty

What do you get when you try to cross a bull mastiff with a Shar-Pei?

In the case of James Marinakis, arrested.

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control removed dozens of abused and neglected animals from his 27-acre property near the Everglades, where investigators say he was trying to breed a “super dog,”  CBS 12 reported.

Marinakis, of West Boca Raton, faces animal cruelty charges for beating dogs, leaving animals outside in the hot sun without food and water, letting sores fester, and leaving them covered in feces, officials said.

Investigators said Marinakis was trying to breed “centaurians” — a cross between a bull mastiff and a sharpei.

Officials said the seized animals suffered from skin conditions and sores. Witnesses reported seeing Marinakis beat the dogs with a golf club and PVC pipe, according to the report. Marinakis, who doesn’t have a license to breed dogs, has been cited more than a dozen times since 2001 in connection with  animals on his property.

Wedding ring found in folds of dog food bag

A Tennessee couple found more than kibble when they lugged a bag of dog food home from the pet store this week.

Within the bag’s creases was a wedding ring.

Krista Berg of Murfreesboro called the manufacturer, then the pet store, where she found the ring’s rightful owner, employee Mike Stoddard, who’d apparently lost it while stocking shelves at the Murfreesboro PetMart.

The couple returned the ring to him, according to News Channel 5.