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Tag: adoption

Who killed Evie: Dog dies while being trained in Ohio prison program


A rescue group’s German shepherd has died while participating in a prison program intended to bring out the best in both the dogs in need of adoption and the inmates who are caring for and training them.

Members of the dog rescue group Joseph’s Legacy said one of its dogs, Evie, died from blunt force trauma, while housed at the Warren Correctional Institution, a state prison in Ohio.

The program — similar to many operating successfully and without incidents across the country — was operated for years in partnership with 4Paws for Ability, whose primary mission is to train and provide service dogs to the disabled.

But in a comment sent to ohmidog!, officials of that organization say the have not been involved in the program at Warren Correctional for several years.

“4 Paws For Ability is not associated with WCI at all …. We pulled out of WCI a year ago due to a change in the prison inmate population. They simply have not removed us from their website. We are not involved in this incident in any way,” the comment )below) reads.

Joseph’s Legacy had been sending dogs for about a year to the program, which is one of more than 30 operated in conjunction with different nonprofits in the Ohio state prison system.

The rescue told WLWT none of their dogs will return after this incident.

Authorities are questioning the two inmates Evie shared a cell with.

Similar programs are up and running in at least 159 prisons in 36 states — most house the dogs they are working with in kennels, some let the dogs share cells with inmates. Most, like the one at Warren Correctional, require that inmates not have a violent past.

In a Facebook post, Joseph’s Legacy wrote:

“We have lost one of our own animals who we feel needs justice and her story told…

“These programs are meant to be great for the dogs and the inmates. These programs are supposed to be closely monitored by the prison staff. We were invited to join this program at Warren Correctional institution. Like most, we were excited to have our troubled dogs get their training and excited to help the program. Many dogs came, got trained and headed out to their forever homes…

“These programs are more risky than we had originally thought. Please use our Evie as an example to think twice if you are in a rescue considering these types of programs. We know it’s not everywhere but please keep Evie in mind.”

While questions about the two inmates working with the dog, and the prison’s supervision of the program, are mounting, it’s probably worthwhile to take a look also at what outside monitoring of the program took place — namely by the rescue organization which so willingly donated dogs to be trained and whatever outside organization, if any, was running it.

On the Ohio prison system’s website, 4Paws is still listed as the official partner in the program at Warren State Correctional, but 4Paws that is old information that has not been updated.

What organization is behind the prison program is not clear.

The rescue organization, in calling for “Justice for Evie,” says in its Facebook post that “we had volunteers regularly on site and observing the dogs progress and how the handlers were working with them.”

“Regularly” is open to wide interpretation.

Evie the German shepherd came under the care of Joseph’s Legacy in 2015 after getting hit by a car and breaking a hip. About that same time, she had babies and nursed them through her recovery.

After that, she was adopted, but because she was prone to escaping, soon was returned to the rescue.

“…We had thought maybe trying to get some more training, it would be safer for when she was adopted again…”

They enrolled her in the program at Warren Correctional and last week got the call that the dog had been found dead in her cell.

According to the Facebook post, a necropsy showed Evie died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen, causing her liver to hemorrhage and damaging a kidney.

The organization also stated that its concerns about the program had recently risen — but not to the point that they had removed Evie from it.

“Last week, we got a dog and she was all of a sudden fearful, so we were investigating and just making sure everything was good, but you’re talking just a few days later, this happened,” Joseph’s Legacy President Meg Melampy said.

The State Highway Patrol is investigating the death, and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will hold its own investigation at the prison, as well as review animal programs at other prisons, JoeEllen Smith, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told The Associated Press.

Most likely, prison authorities will quickly solve the mystery of who killed Evie. It is likely one inmate, or the other. But that inmate, directly responsible as he may be, is not the only one who deserves some scrutiny.

The state prison system needs to also ask some questions about itself, and the supervision it provided, keeping in mind that it’s not the concept behind the program that is at fault, but shortcomings in administering it. Those outside organizations involved in the program might be well served to take a look at themselves as well.

That would be justice not just for Evie, but for all dogs.

(Photos: From the Joseph’s Legacy Facebook page)

Paw-ternity leave, despite all the media hype, isn’t exactly sweeping the nation

Paw-ternity leave — or employers giving employees paid time off to care for a new dog in the family — is being called a “growing trend” again.

Don’t let your expectations grow too high, though, because it’s not really.

It’s instead what happens when cute idea meets catchy name (fur-ternity leave, it’s also called), and the news media forgets (or just doesn’t care) that they did pretty much the same story a year or two ago.

This latest round of attention the idea is receiving stems from a single report about a single company in Minneapolis.

Nina Hale, a digital marketing company, is offering employees one week of flexible hours to care for new pets. The company started the policy — not exactly the same thing as paid leave — after receiving multiple requests from employees with new or sick pets.

Basically it allows the company’s 85 employees to, after approval, work from home for a week.

Of course there are probably many companies that, being decent, already offer such compromises to employees without touting it.

But when a “marketing firm” does it, rest assured it will magically become big news, whether it’s really big or not.

In this case, the Star Tribune story led to a New York Times story that led to a Daily Mail story that led to every other media outfit and blogger to jump on it, in the process calling it a “growing trend” and making much more of it than it is.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic idea, but it’s not spreading like wildfire.

If there is a true trend here it is that companies — generally smaller, tech-related ones — are offering more lucrative benefits in an attempt to attract the best employees.

In reality, paw-ternity leave has been a little quicker to catch on overseas than in the U.S.

Musti Group, a pet food company based in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, offers a three-day paw-ternity leave plan to its 1,500 employees.

In the U.S., New York data company mParticle has a paw-ternity program that gives employees two weeks of paid time off if they adopt a rescue dog or other pet.

But, as we wrote two years ago — the last time it surfaced as a “growing trend” — don’t hold your breath waiting for your employer to offer it.

You’d be much better off going to the boss and seeing what kind of deal you can make, and if the answer is none, take some vacation time. Your new dog deserves it.

Dogs of Chernobyl finally getting homes


Thirteen dogs living as strays on the Chernobyl nuclear testing site have found homes in the United States.

An unlikely partnership between the Ukrainian government and international dog advocates has led to the rescue of hundreds of dogs near the site of one of the worst man-made disasters in human history.

And some of the dogs, after being spayed neutered and having their radiation levels detected, have been shipped to the U.S. for adoption.

It was back in 1986 when the Unit 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded and spread radioactive materials into the environment.

The former Soviet Union established a 30-km exclusion zone around the facility and evacuated over 120,000 people from 189 cities and communities. The evacuees were not allowed to bring everything they wanted, meaning many pets were left behind.

Later that year, soldiers of the Soviet Army were dispatched to shoot and kill the animals left behind in Pripyat, but it was impossible to cull all of the animals in the various small villages throughout the exclusion zone. Former pets living in the exclusion zone migrated to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where their descendants remain to this day.

Clean-Futures-Fund-Chernobyl-4ccb38f8-989f-47b3-b773-38e73f105a19-PCTwo or three dog generations later, about 250 dogs remain — the only form of life at the nuclear power plant, not counting the over 3,500 people each day who work there cleaning up and monitoring conditions, according to Clean Futures Fund.

Meghan Mollohan, of Grovetown, Ga., said her husband was sent to Chernobyl for a welding job shortly after the the older of their two dogs passed away, leaving their German shepherd, Nikita, by herself.

There her husband encountered the strays.

“When he went over there, he said there were so many stray dogs everywhere,” Mollohan told WRDW. “He would feed them every day and love on them and he just knew that he wished he could take one of those dogs home.”

One particular shepherd mix, named Yuri, hit it off with him immediately.

Clean-Futures-Fund-Chernobyl-DSC_0845-PC“The trainer said he wouldn’t come to a lot of people,” Mollohan says. “Right when my husband got there, he ran right to him. And so, we just kind of knew that he was the one that we would be adopting.”

Yuri was one of 250 puppies — all dsecendants of the dogs left abadoned their after the nuclear disaster — the SPCA International and the Clean Futures Fund have cleared for testing and extraction from the site.

Each dog went through a 45-day quarantine period to make sure they were not contaminated while also being tracked by scientists with radiation-tracking ear tags.

The SPCAI and Clean Futures Fund say the dogs with the lowest possible radiation levels are rescued and sent out to adoption centers.

Mollohan says some of her family members were concerned about potential radiation issues, but she was assured that only dogs that were clear of radiation were being released to adoption centers across the world.

According to CFF, the nuclear power plant has hired a worker to catch and kill the dogs, because they don’t have the funds available for any other option, but the worker is refusing to do so at this point.

“We have developed a 3-year program with our partners to manage the stray dog population in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone,” the fund’s website says.

The fund accepts donations to cover the costs of veterinarians, vaccines and medical supplies necessary to spay and neuter over 500 animals.

(Photos: Clean Futures Fund)

Remembering my son, Joe

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On May 13, 1992, a flight arrived at LAX from Seoul and three Korean babies, orphans all, were carried off the plane by their escorts to be handed to their new adoptive parents.

My wife and I were there to meet one of them, our new son whom we’d decided, based on photos, would be named either Sam or Joe, depending on which seemed the better fit after seeing him in person.

He was the last one off the plane, a tiny thing with an unruly shock of jet black hair that was shooting in every direction after the 11-hour flight. For a moment, we debated whether he might be an “Elvis.” But we opted for Joe.

Joe WoestendiekFast forward 26 years — and God, did it ever go too fast — and Joe (full name Joseph Yoon Tae Woestendiek) was lying in a coma in a Memphis hospital, his hair shaved off, and parts of his skull removed to accommodate the swelling of his severely damaged brain. The outlook was bleak, at best.

He was on his way home from work when his car rear-ended a dump truck on the interstate near Holly Springs, Miss. The truck grinded to a halt. The truck driver pulled Joe out of his burning car. And he was airlifted by helicopter from Mississippi to Memphis — to, ironically, the Elvis Presley Trauma Center.

He died 13 days later. For nearly two weeks doctors kept him sedated and fought to relieve his cranial pressure even while warning that, if he came out of his coma at all, he would likely have little to no brain function due to the extent of the brain damage. They warned, too, that lung problems had developed, and that those and the strain on his heart, were more likely to take his life. His heart came to a stop on June 18.

joefishing

I write this another week later, partly to explain why our ohmidog! posts came to a halt, but more to keep his memory alive, and in hopes that writing about it will be cathartic and make some of the numbness and emptiness inside me go away.

joetromboneJoe grew up in Orange County, Calif.; Yardley, Pa., Anderson, S.C., and Florence, Ala. He lived in recent years with his mom and stepdad in New Albany, Miss. He attended the University of Mississippi, where he earned a B.S. in computer science from the School of Engineering.

He’d recently started a job he loved — in the information technology department of Automated Conveyor Systems, Inc., of West Memphis, Ark.

His visits to my home, in Winston-Salem, N.C., had dwindled, but up until he finished college he’d come here regularly on holidays and in the summer. He loved guitars, and video games and, of course, dogs. He’d always get teary on his last day visiting; I was never sure if it was because he was leaving me, or leaving my dog Ace. He’d yet to meet my new dog, Jinjja, also adopted from Korea.

SONY DSCWhile here, Joe would volunteer with the Forsyth Humane Society, an organization I’ve also done some work with as a volunteer. He’d walk dogs at the shelter, and help out at events, his favorite role being donning the mascot costume — a swelteringly hot furry dog outfit — and working the crowd.

He had three dogs of his own at home.

Because of his love of dogs, and the joy working with humane society brought him, I’ve decided a fitting tribute would be to make a donation to the humane society in his name — one significant enough to merit a plaque with his name on it.

His name on a brick paver is one option, but I, for what are probably selfish reasons, want more.

I want to try to make a donation large enough to make him a lifetime sponsor of one of the shelter’s kennels.

That way, everyone who walks in to look at the many dogs available for adoption will see his name, and maybe more importantly, I will. I like the idea of a kid once in need of adoption sponsoring a kennel that will house dog after dog after dog in need of adoption — forever.

That requires a $10,000 donation, not an amount I have handy, or can even dream of obtaining. But, unachievable as that might be — and needing something to do right now — that’s what I’m working on.

So here is my plan.

I’ve started a Facebook fundraiser aimed at donating $10,000 to the Forsyth Humane Society in his memory.

SONY DSCA memorial service for him will be held in Mississippi this week.

But I want to do something here in Winston-Salem — perhaps a mini-concert featuring some musician friends of his and mine. I’m working now on setting that up.

I want it to be a simple and joyful hour or so, nothing somber, nothing speech-filled — just a chance for local friends to come together and say goodbye, maybe at the Muddy Creek Cafe in Bethania. We always enjoyed going there.

When Joe arrived in the U.S., my then-wife Jenny and I were living in Orange County, California. The riots that Rodney King’s beating sparked in Los Angeles were only starting to settle down. I was covering those for the newspaper I worked for at the time, the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Every morning, I would cruise through the most devastated areas, returning to a hotel in the evening to write. It was a bleak couple of weeks, the kind that make you worry about humanity and its future. Nearly every day, my rental car was pelted by rocks and chunks of concrete. At nearly every stoplight, I’d receive hateful stares and threatening gestures.

I remember wondering as I drove those streets how, and why, complete strangers could hate me so much.

Amid all that, we got the call that our adoptee was on his way. We were supposed to pick him up in Korea, but somebody goofed. My boss was kind enough to give me some time off, away from the riots, to bond with my new son.

And in the ensuing weeks, and years, I remember wondering how a complete stranger could love me so much.

And me him.

SONY DSC

That’s what he taught me, and it’s not unlike the lesson anyone who adopts a dog learns. Show a creature love and respect and loyalty and you’ll get it back — unconditionally and exponentially. Oppress, abuse and disrespect it and you’ll get … what you deserve.

As abruptly and prematurely as Joe’s life ended, I will always be thankful for the joy he brought me and the lessons he taught me.

I’m thankful, too, for all the prayers and expressions of support I’ve received from friends (and even strangers). I am overwhelmed by the response to the Facebook fundraiser. I posted it three days ago, and it’s already more than halfway to its goal.

Thanks also to the caring staff at Regional One’s Elvis Presley Trauma Center, and to that truck driver, Michael Simpson of Memphis, whose actions gave Joe a fighting chance.

Those wishing to contribute to Joe’s plaque can do so through the Facebook fundraiser.

Contributions can also be made through ohmidog!, or directly to Forsyth Humane Society. Please specify they are for Joe Woestendiek’s memorial plaque.

“Good Home Only” written on head of abandoned dog found in Ohio

marvella1leashes1

One thing is clear about the dog found crated at a park in Ohio with the words “Free” and “Good Home Only” written on her in permanent marker.

She certainly wasn’t in a good home before.

The dog was found abandoned and in a crate in a park in Chillicothe, according to Brittany May, of the Ross County Humane Society.

The female Lab mix, estimated to be around six months old, had “Free” written on one of her sides, “Good Home Only written on her head” and something unintelligible on her other side

mARV2leashes1The humane society named the dog Marvella, according to ABC6.

May said in a Facebook post that most of the permanent marker had been gotten off the dog’s coat.

May posted the photos to her personal Facebook page, adding that whoever had done this to the dog had reached “a whole new level of LOW!”

Anyone interested in adopting Marvella, can find out more information about the Ross County Humane Society website.

She will be available for adoption Wednesday.

(Photos: Courtesy Ross County Humane Society)

Thief snatches trailer New Mexico rescue group used for adoption events

The theft of a trailer loaded with pet supplies Saturday means some dogs will wait a little longer for homes, and that an Albuquerque rescue group called the People’s Anti-Cruelty Association is going to have to rebuild.

The trailer was parked at a street corner where the nonprofit volunteer group holds adoption events every Saturday.

Sometime during the night, thieves hauled it away, along with the paperwork, leashes, pet food and other supplies inside, KOB in Albuquerque reported.

“When they stole our trailer it has greatly, greatly hindered our ability to (help animals) because if we can’t find it and its contents, we’re going to have to start all over,” said Arnielle Fernandez, a volunteer with PACA. “And that is very pricey.”

“Everything that was in the trailer was like crates that we set up for our dogs, our collars, our leashes, some dog food. Puppy pens, blankets, you know, towels – everything we need to function,” Fernandez said. “Ordinarily we, throughout the years, we have found permanent loving homes for thousands of dogs and cats.”

The group is now asking the public to keep an eye out for the trailer, which is white and has paw print decals, along with the PACA logo.

“Ask them to bring it back. That would be wonderful. It would be like Christmas in May,” Fernandez said.

While the group works to plan another event this weekend, Fernandez said it will be more difficult to pull off.

“Anybody that is in such a horrible state, on a personal level, that would do something like that to a non-profit rescue organization – they’re of very, very little character,” she said.

Blind dog and guide dog adopted together

A blind 12-year-old dachshund and his guide dog — a beefy looking pit bull named Blue Dozer — were adopted together from a shelter in Richmond.

The two were surrendered to the Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) shelter last Thursday after their owner became homeless.

ojanddozerThey were adopted – together – before the weekend was up, WWTB in Richmond reported.

RACC said it tried to help the owner of the dogs find other accommodations without putting them in the shelter, but there were no other options available.

The shelter promised the owner they would try to place the dachshund, named OJ, and Dozer, together in a good home.

The shelter said the animals were adopted by a family that will “keep them together forever.”

WWTB’s original report can be found here.

(Photo, from the Richmond Animal Care and Control Facebook page)