OUR BEST FRIENDS

whs-logo

The Sergei Foundation

shelterpet_logo

The Animal Rescue Site

B-more Dog

aldflogo

Pinups for Pitbulls

philadoptables

TFPF_Logo

Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue

Our Pack, Inc.

Maine Coonhound Rescue

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.

mabb

LD Logo Color

Archive for December 31st, 2009

Happy New Year from ohmidog!

Are dogs the answer to lax airport security?

Could dogs have prevented Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab from boarding a plane with explosives hidden in his underwear?

CNN asked the question yesterday — the answer to which is, with enough properly trained dogs, probably.

But explosives-detecting dogs, the report points out, aren’t generally trained to sniff out humans, and having them do so might raise some privacy concerns.

Still, those quoted in the report say, something as low-tech as dogs could be our best solution to the problem.

“The fact that this individual showed up with a one-way ticket, purchased with cash and no checked baggage — he should have been pulled aside,” said security expert Larry Berg, a consultant with Berg Associates. “And at that point, if inspected by a dog, he literally could have been detected.”

“A well-trained dog and a very good, well-trained handler can find explosives with little or no false alarms,” said trainer Patrick Beltz said. “And if they had been doing it, it might have deterred him from trying to get on the plane in the first place.”

About 700 bomb-sniffing dogs currently work at U.S. airports, and they are trained to detect up to a dozen different explosive compounds, including PETN, the compound that AbdulMutallab is alleged to have smuggled aboard Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on December 25.

The report also looks at research underway at Auburn University in Alabama, where dogs are being used to sniff not people, but the air they leave in their wake when they pass by. The Auburn trainers believe their dogs can detect very small traces of explosives and then follow the trail to the person carrying a bomb.

Company for Christmas: Down to Darcy

DSC07726

 
The saint is gone. The sinner remains.

After a four-dog Christmas, I’m down to two — my dog Ace, and the visiting Boston terrier, Darcy.

Cheyenne, the blind Lab, went home today, and with not a single demerit on her record.

Darcy notched up a few, resulting in her serving some time (above) during her stay with me. But she spent most of her days playing with Ace, in my lap, or on the couch with a marrow bone (which would keep her occupied for hours).

She was the pup of my pack — not yet two, and not entirely aware, it seemed, that she’s a dog. She was sort of the opposite of Lucas, the big yellow Lab whose personality seems to shout, “I’m a dog, dammit.”

I tried to convince Darcy that she too was of the canine species, but I don’t think she bought it.

DSC07736As the youngster of the group, she was everywhere — and she never walked to get there. Instead, she’s always in a speedy little trot, which makes it appear she needs to go to the bathroom, which was sometimes the case. Trouble was, it was impossible to distinguish betweeen her hurry-hurry-gotta-pee-now trot, and her usual trot.

So I’d open the door to let her out and she’d stand there with a look on her face that said “what are you kidding? It’s 20 degrees out there.”

When one dog got attention, Darcy would inevitably run over and demand some as well. And whenever I left my TV-watching chair, she’d hop right into it, refusing to leave when I came back.

Darcy slept in the crate at night. The first night she cried for a minute, and Ace, who normally beds down with me, stayed downstairs with her. Other than bedtime, she only did a couple of other short stretches in the crate — either for disciplinary infractions or during visits from my landlord, who chose this week of all weeks to repair my leaky ceilings.

Darcy, I found out, enjoyed drywall almost as much as the marrow bone, gobbling up the crumbs the landlord left behind.

I yelled at her for that, and for a few other things, but all in all she was a joy to have around. Despite her dribbles and dumps, mostly remedied after the first couple of days, her lack of any visible off-switch and her tendency to enthusiastically explore everything, she brought me more smiles than anything else.

She’s full of personality, a master of the “who-me?” look, and far too cute, with those big bulging eyes, to stay mad at for more than 15 seconds …

OK, maybe 30.

(To read all of the Company for Christmas series, click here.)

Where coonhounds spend eternity

On a dreary Labor Day in 1937, Key Underwood wrapped his faithful hunting companion of 15 years in a cotton sack, buried him in a three-foot deep grave in a meadow in northwest Alabama and used a hammer and a screwdriver to chisel his dog’s name into a rock: Troop.

Since then, 184 more hunting dogs from across the U.S. have been laid to rest in the remote wilderness of Freedom Hills — all of them coonhounds.

The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard is, according to its website, the only cemetery in the U.S. that allows only coonhounds.

coondogcemetery

The burial spot was a popular hunting camp “where coon hunters from miles around gathered to plot their hunting strategies, tell tall tales, chew tobacco and compare coon hounds. Those comparisons usually began and ended with Troop … He was the best around.”

Troop, who was half redbone coonhound and half birdsong, was known throughout the region as the best, according to the website, and after his burial, other hunters started burying their favorite coon dogs at the same site.

The coonhound cemetery’s headstones are crafted of wood, rock and sometimes sheet metal, and they pay homage to dogs with names like Patches, Preacher, Smoky, Bean Blossom Bomma and Night Ranger. Often, etched along with the names, are brief tributes such as one that reads: “He wasn’t the best, but he was the best I ever had.”

In a 1985 interview, Underwood said he once received a letter from a woman in California, asking why other breeds couldn’t be buried there.  “You must not know much about coon hunters and their dogs,” he responded, “if you think we would contaminate this burial place with poodles and lap dogs.”

To qualify for burial in the cemetery, the dog’s owner must claim their pet is an authentic coon dog, a witness must testify to the same, and a member of the local coonhunters’ organization must be allowed to view the coonhound to confirm its breed.

“We have stipulations on this thing,” says the cemetery’s caretaker, William O. Bolton, secretary/treasurer of the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunters Association. “A dog can’t run no deer, possum — nothing like that. He’s got to be a straight coon dog, and he’s got to be full hound. Couldn’t be a mixed up breed dog, a house dog.”

Dragged dog: Ugly act in a place of beauty

monument_valley_556x200

 
A truly ugly act took place this morning in a truly beautiful place: A dog was dragged two miles to his death at the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction.

The dog — a German shepherd, or shepherd-blue heeler mix — was found with a silver and blue rope around its neck by the chief of maintenance at the monument about 4:30 a.m., according to a park press release.

“This was an incredible act of cruelty done to a defenseless animal,” Joan Anzelmo, superintendent of the monument told The Denver Post. “It is a sickening, sickening type of crime. We are leaving no stone unturned.”

In terms of despicability, we’d have to rank it up there with the dog thrown off a bridge in Lithuania — and it’s a reminder, too, that we in America, despite all the do-gooding when it comes to dogs, have a long way to go as well when it comes to protecting animals from the depraved individuals among us.

Anzelmo said tracks left in the snow clearly show the dog initially walked behind the car, then ran and then was dragged when it couldn’t keep up with the vehicle. Once dead, it was untied from the vehicle and dumped.

She said the dog was pulled up one of the steepest hills at the monument, through two inches of snow and multiple switchbacks, and either ran or was dragged as the car climbed 1,000 feet in elevation.

draggeddogThe animal was neutered and showed no signs of previous abuse, she said. A veterinary pathologist from Colorado State University will perform a necropsy on the dog.

Anzelmo said rewards will be offered to apprehend the persons responsible, and that some tips have already come in over a tip line established as part of the investigation:  970-712-2798. Callers may remain anonymous.

“The employees of Colorado National Monument are sickened by this heinous act and are determined to find the person who committed this cruel crime,” the park press release said.

(For subsequent posts and all of our coverage of Buddy, click here.)

(Photos: National Park Service)