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Archive for July 26th, 2010

Shelter looks at Shiba Inu, sees coyote

A local humane society in Kentucky mistook a Shiba Inu for a coyote, and released the dog into the wild.

The AKC-registered dog, a female named Copper, had been picked up by police and taken to the Frankfort Humane Society, which deemed her a coyote.

Lori Goodlett told The State-Journal that her pet of 11 years disappeared from her fenced back yard on July 3.

Only when she put up posters with her dog’s picture did a police officer recognize Copper as the dog he had taken to the shelter.

After the officer dropped the dog off, a shelter worker called police and said the animal had to be picked up because coyotes weren’t allowed there, according to an Associated Press report. (Apparently, the AP is no expert on the breed either, as it spelled it Sheba Inu.)

The Frankfort Humane Society turned the animal loose behind a home improvement store after consulting — apparently on the telephone — with a wildlife expert who said coyotes were nuisance animals and should be returned to the wild or killed.

A Humane Society official defended the actions. “If our manager assessed the animal to be a coyote, then it is against the law for it to be at the shelter. We rely on the people who work there,”  said Humane Society board chairman John Forbes.

Goodlett, however, said she can’t understand how her dog was misidentified. “People would say when Copper was young, she looked like a fox with her pointy ears and red coloring,” Goodlett said. “But no one has ever mistaken her for a coyote.”

Police and volunteers are helping Goodlett search for her pet and have set cages in hopes of capturing her, and PETA has kicked in a reward as well — up to $1,000. “Copper needs to be home with the people who know and love her,” says PETA Director Martin Mersereau. “We hope that someone will find Copper so that she can be reunited with her family.”

“I know in my head Copper is gone for good, but in my heart I would like to think some nice family found her and took her in,” Goodlett said.

Trying to beat the heat — and losing

Ever since we left the highly tolerable climate of Santa Fe, I’ve been hot. Ace has been hot. We exit the car and it’s like getting hit in the face with blow dryer, turned up to its most heated setting.

So even before we visited the ex-cat and pulled out of Waynoka, Oklahoma, I decided — more for my sake than Ace’s — that our next stop would have to be somewhere with a swimming pool.

I got on online and checked for Motel 6’s — our default option — and saw there were half a dozen in the Oklahoma City area, all of which, it seemed, had swimming pools.

When we got there, after a hot and dusty drive, I stopped at the first Motel 6 I came across.

I’m still unsure if it was one of the ones I investigated online. But without a second thought I checked in, put on my trunks and, anticipating a refreshing plunge, went out to hit the pool.

And this is what we found:

I was less than pleased. Ace, on the other hand, who’s not big on pools but has been missing soft green grass during our time in the West, was thrilled. If nothing else, it made for a nice miniature dog park.

I took a seat on the lounge chair and we spent a few minutes poolside, more for Ace’s sake than mine.

It wasn’t the first surprise we’d gotten at a Motel 6. Those we’ve visited included on with a broken pool, one with broken Wi-Fi, one with no batteries in the TV remote, one where I had to make the morning coffee and one, in Dallas, where the room smelled like pee (definitely not ours). A couple of them have been perfect, though. As I see it, at under $40 a night, one shouldn’t expect to many guarantees or amenities, which is good because, other than a tiny bar of soap, one doesn’t get them.

Far more important than amenities, or any temporary malfunction — with the exception of air conditioning — is the fact that Motel 6 always accepts dogs,  with few rules, no weight restrictions and no deposit.

Now that’s refreshing.

That’s how he rides

I don’t need to tell you it’s hot — pretty much everywhere — but I did want to show you how Ace, as a result of that, has changed his riding style.

On particularly hot days, which has been every day as we passed through Oklahoma and Texas, he has taken to moving up closer to the front of the car and resting his head and paws on the front seat console, so that he might absorb a little more coolness from the air conditioner vents.

This also puts his head just inches from the dual cup holders. That way, when I am mostly finished with my Big Gulp, extra large iced coffee or other mega-beverage, I can easily hand feed him ice cubes while I drive. He likes this very much.

The heat has been, far and away, the biggest challenge on our road trip — which enters its third month today.

Month two of our travels — aimed at finding interesting dog stories, seeing America, and exploring the relationship between America and dog (all on a shoestring budget) — saw us spend a little more money than month one.

Though trying to live on roughly the same amount we were paying for rent and utilities at our ex-home in Baltimore — about $1,100 — we  spent about $1,300 on food, gas and lodging, even with our ten days of free housing in Santa Fe, in exchange for petsitting duties.

That means we need to do a whole lot more freeloading as we head off on the next leg.

We will soon be making our getaway from Texas — where both of the ohmidogmobile’s door magnets were stolen, one in Dallas, on in Huntsville. We plan a quick revisit to Houston before heading on to Mississippi, then spending some time in North Carolina.

After that, we’ll head north, pop in on Baltimore, check the mail, pay some bills, and venture into New England before heading west again, on a more northerly route.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)