Here’s a dog story that proves accidents can happen, and then happen again.
Usually it’s no big deal, but when it’s an airline making the mistakes, and they’re strictly the result of carelessness, we have to wonder a bit.
In this case, the first boo boo came when an Air Canada employee in San Francisco decided that, due to a flight delay, a dog being flown to a new adoptive home in Canada needed a potty break. When he let the Italian greyhound out of his crate, Larry escaped.
Jutta Kulic, while attending a dog show in Sacramento, had dropped Larry off at the San Francisco airport. She zip-tied the crate, and instructed the airline not to open it for any reason. Larry, who belonged to a friend of Kulic’s who died of cancer, was on his way to a new home — or so she thought.
That flight ended up being delayed, and later that night, Kulic received a call from Air Canada telling her Larry had run away.
After talking with Kulic about what had happened, CBS13 in Sacramento reached out to Air Canada (that’s what TV news people do these days, “reach out”) which generally means sending an email.
That’s when the airline made its second blunder.
The email an airline representative sent to the station, apparently accidentally, wasn’t meant for public consumption. Instead, it was an internal exchange about how to handle the media inquiry:
“I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog,” read the email from Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. “Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the US media spends its time.”
Later the airline sent another email to the station, this time with the requisite apologies and saying the incident was being investigated.
Kulic said she is afraid she’ll never see Larry, who is brown and white and two years old, again.
But the family in Canada says they’re still hoping he might be found and delivered to them.
Remember the old Chevrolet commercial — baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?
Well, decades later, the car company has, for the sake of selling motor vehicles, gotten around to acknowledging another piece of Americana — the dog; specifically, the dog in the pickup truck; more specifically, the dog in a Chevrolet pickup.
And that, they will find out as the new ad airs, if they haven’t yet, is some tricky ground.
It’s one of those topics that raises the hackles of animal welfare activists, some of whom who say under no conditions should a dog be riding in the bed of a pickup , some of whom say it’s acceptable if the dog is crated or restrained, all of whom say riding in the cab would be preferable.
And they are right. For safety’s sake, it probably would be.
Last week, in “Travels with Ace,” the continuing saga of the trip Ace and I are taking across America, we showed you Jake, a golden retriever in Oregon still sporting injuries he received when he tumbled out the back of a moving pickup. We did so without casting judgments or getting preachy, because our road trip is not about how dogs should live in America, only about how they do live in America.
In much of rural America, dogs are still dogs. They roam their property, and perhaps that of other’s, at their will. They chase and sometimes kill wildlife. Some even live, gasp, outside. And they ride in the back of pickups, which virtually all animal welfare organizations will tell you is a bad idea.
The Chevy ad, to its credit, doesn’t show any dogs in the beds of moving pickups, but, even so, I’m predicting it will lead to some lively debate if it airs widely.
On YouTube, it has already started — through Internet comments, gracious and civil as always.
“Cute video, but I wish Chevy wouldn’t advocate the dogs in the back unless in a crate. Since I have seen a dog fly out of the back of a truck on a busy highway, I am traumatized for life. It should be illegal and is some places for your dog to ride loose in the bed of your truck unless you are on your own dirt road on your property with no other cars around and are willing to pay the vet bill if your dog falls out…”
“If I thought for a second my dog would ever jump out, he wouldn’t ride back there. And he doesn’t on the interstate. But on going into town, on rural country roads, and on my ranch, he will always ride in the back and he wouldn’ t have it any other way. MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS FAG…”
“Greatest commercial! Too bad liberal know it all’s have created laws against dogs riding in truck beds! Apparently (like most libs) they know what’s best for us, and will make laws accordingly. My dog will ride in the back forever though, they can suck his hairy nuts…”
Besides reflecting how crass anonymous internet banter can get — how Internet commenting has replaced the punching bag as man’s default mode of venting hostilities — the discourse shows the cultural divide that exists in this country, one that’s not so much conservative versus liberal as it is rural America versus the rest.
It’s a generalization, but many denizens of rural America don’t want the rest of America making rules that govern their access to firearms, or how they raise their dogs — from whether they spay and neuter to letting them ride in the back of pickups.
There’s something to be said for letting a dog being a dog — as opposed to spending life on a leash or in a handbag — but is putting Rover in the back of a pickup letting a dog be a dog? In my view, it’s courting disaster.
Yet, while many experts also advise that dogs in cars be crated or restrained, Ace is traveling acoss the country unrestrained in the back of my Jeep.
Maybe that’s why I don’t come down harder on dogs in pickups; maybe it’s a degree of respect for rural ways; or maybe it’s because the surest way to make people become more entrenched in a bad habit is to tell them they can’t do it anymore.
A Labrador retriever who ate a beehive – bees included – has been named winner of this year’s “Hambone Award” an insurance company’s annual tribute to the pet with the most unusual insurance claim.
Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, chose 12 nominees for the honor – all selected from claims filed by clients. More than 3,000 people voted online to pick the winner.
Ellie lives in Santee, California, and the beehive was just the latest in a long line of items she has consumed in her young life – from wooden toy train tracks to laptop computer keys.
On top of the hive, and its thousands of inhabitants, Ellie also consumed pesticide – for the hive had recently been sprayed. On the plus side, that meant the bees she consumed were already dead. On the down side, the pesticide made her upset stomach even worse. She made a full recovery.
Ellie’s owners, Robert and Sandra Coe, will receive a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham as well as a gift basket full of doggie toys and treats, VPI announced this week.
The VPI Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham before someone opened the door and found the dog inside, with a mild case of hypothermia.
This year’s second place honors went to Aubie, a border collie from Birmingham, Alabama, who wanted to meet (or eat) the mailman so badly he leapt through a closed living room window. The leap shattered the glass and left Aubie with a cut front leg that required 40 stitches.
“Aubie’s never been enamored with the mailman,” said owner, Sharman Martin.
Third place went to a West Highland white terrier named Darci, who attacked her owner’s running chainsaw. The chainsaw cut two small holes into Darci’s muzzle and she underwent five hours of surgery.
Additional nominees for the 2010 VPI Hambone Award included a boxer that chased and caught a moving delivery van by biting into one of its tires, a standard poodle with a taste for dirty diapers, and a Jack Russell terrier that suffered injuries from wrestling with a lizard.
All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for their medical care.
A blood bank for dogs has been launched for the first time in India.
The blood bank has been set up so that middle class dog owners can get treatment for pets injured in road accidents, which are becoming more prevalent in the country due to increasing urbanization and traffic.
“This is the first blood bank of its kind in the country,” Vice Chancellor P. Thangaraju, of Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in the city of Madras, told the BBC.
“Dogs get frequently injured – not only while crossing roads but also in and around the many multi-story apartments that exist across the country,” he said.
Dr. Thangaraju said that the lack of availability of blood has become a major cause of death among dogs, especially when the animals require surgery.
He said that appeals for volunteers to come forward and donate blood from their dogs had been “encouraging”, although he expected it would take some time before a satisfactory reserve had been built up.
Although there are no plans at present to make the blood bank a profit-making enterprise, he said it could happen in the future — depending upon the availability of blood.
He said that the collection and storing of canine blood was the same as the process used to collect human blood and that stringent measures would be taken to ensure that donated blood is free from infection.
Figures produced by the university show that about 100,000 pets – the overwhelming majority of which are dogs – are treated by veterinary hospitals every year in India.
Experts say that the blood donations, while they will benefit dogs kept as pets in India, will be of little help to the estimated 8 million stray dogs in the country.
South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s habit of bringing her dogs to work was never a problem in the old courthouse, but since opening a spiffy new one, Dorchester County Council members are squawking about it.
Amid rumors that there have been doggie “accidents” inside the shiny new $13 million courthouse in St. George, the county council — though it lacks the authority to set rules for the courthouse — has instructed the county attorney to draft a letter to the clerk of court “requesting” that animals not be allowed on the premises, except for service animals.
“The taxpayers paying for the building don’t bring their dogs to work. Other county employees don’t bring their dogs to work. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m having to make this request,” Council Chairman Jamie Feltner said.
The request leaves County Clerk of Court Cheryl Graham, a pet lover and board member of the local SPCA in an awkward spot, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. “That’s mighty nice of the council to put that on me,” she told the newspaper.
“It’s a little bit of an embarrassment that it would be an issue,” Judge Goodstein said. Her dogs are well-trained and haven’t soiled the courthouse’s hallowed halls, she said. She thinks the “accident” rumor might have stemmed from one day when she got down on her hands and knees to clean a construction worker’s mud tracks from the floor.
The judge, who routinely brought her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Boykin spaniel and Airedale to work with her in the old courthouse — vacated earlier this year — says she’ll comply with whatever verdict the clerk of court reaches.
After Dennis Bullaro, 65, and his mother, Marie, 90, finished a roast dinner a few months ago, they tossed the round bone that remained to Toby, their one-year-old “cockalier” (cocker spaniel, Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix).
For two months, Toby treasured the bone, flinging it in the air and catching it, dropping it on the ground and rolling over it to scratch his back. But then one day the fun stopped.
Somehow, Toby managed to get the bone stuck around his front teeth and lower jaw, covering his snout and forcing a trip to an Omaha, Nebraska emergency veterinary clinic, the Omaha World-Heraldreported.
At the Omaha Animal Emergency Clinic, the veterinarian had to anesthetize Toby and use a hacksaw to cut and remove the bone.
Of more than 75,000 claims reviewed in May by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company, Toby’s was chosen as the most interesting, putting Toby in the running for the Hambone Award, to be bestowed in September after online voting.
The company says most of the 1 million claims it handles each year are for common pet conditions or routine care. But, a company spokesman said sometimes claim comes up that reminds everyone just how unexpected and sometimes, in retrospect, even funny, pet accidents can be.
The award name was inspired by the case of a dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting to be let out.
The winning pet and owner receives a trophy in the shape of a ham.
The insurance company suggests that pet owners refrain from giving their pets leftover bones.
Sky (click the link above for the video) is a 1-year-old border collie about four months into her job shooing birds away from Southwest Florida International Airport.
“She’s not aggressive at all, but to the birds, she looks like a predator — a wolf or a coyote,” said James Hess, airport operations agent and Sky’s handler. Big birds or flocks of birds, in addition to getting sucked into jet engines, can disable wing tips, dent the fuselage and break windshields.
Southwest Florida International is among about 20 airports nationwide using dogs for some form of wildlife control, according to Rebecca Ryan, owner of Flyaway Farm and Kennels in North Carolina, which has supplied dogs to both military and commercial airfields.
Southwest Florida International was among the first U.S. commercial airports to employ a bird dog, beginning in 1999, according to airport director Bob Ball. Sky is the third generation of her breed to patrol the airport southeast of Fort Myers.
According to USA Today, Charleston (S.C.) International and Canada’s Vancouver International also use dogs for wildlife control.