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Tag: amputation

“Last Minutes wih Oden”

The short documentary above — and, be warned, it will make you cry — chronicles the last minutes of a dog named Oden.

One of more than 6,500 submissions from thousands of artists and filmmakers, “Last Minutes with Oden” won top honors in a video contest sponsored by Vimeo, the online video sharing website.

The video focuses on Jason Wood and his dog Oden, who got cancer and had a leg amputated last year. But the cancer spread, leading Wood to make the anguishing decision to put down the dog who taught him how to love.

The video by Eliot Rausch documents the last day of Oden’s life. Vimeo’s panel of judges named it the best documentary, and the best video, and Vimeo presented the owners with a grant of $25,000. The awards were presented last month in New York City.

Jeremy Boxer, Co-Director of the Vimeo Festival + Awards called the video “one of those rare, intimate shorts that leads with its heart and soul.”

Back with the pack in Santa Fe

Meet my new posse.

For the next week, I’ll be serving as caretaker for:

Sophie, a gigantic, sweet and speckled nine-year-old great Pyrenees who recently had one of her front legs amputated due to bone cancer.

Charlie, an affable, seven-year-old golden retriever with a congenital respiratory disorder and a severe fear of thunderstorms.

Lakota, an 11-year-old bulldog with issues both behavioral and gastrointestinal. He’s prone to snapping (especially at Ace) and known far and wide for his frequent, most audible and highly pungent flatulence.

Then there’s Cleo: a five-year-old cat who has no issues, it seems. After hiding from Ace for two days – and what cat in her right mind wouldn’t? — she’s taken to approaching and nuzzling him, to Ace’s unending delight.

In exchange for looking after them, making sure they get their food, their meds and ample amounts of attention, I get to stay for a week in a lovely and peaceful home in Santa Fe, to my unending delight.

All four pets belong to a writer/editor and her veterinarian husband, who have gone to New York to attend a family reunion, leaving me with four animals (five counting Ace) and two pages of instructions.

What with all the medications, it’s a little complex, but I should have it all down about the time they come back. Sophie gets a pill to help deal with the effects of her chemotherapy treatment a couple of days ago. Charlie gets tranquilizers because afternoon thunderstorms tend to roll in almost daily. Lakota gets half a Rimadyl and some Beano with meals. He takes his meals in a separate room with the doors closed – in one of those bowls designed to slow down fast eaters — lest he get any ideas about snatching someone else’s.

It’s a five-water-bowl house, six counting Ace’s. Ace has adapted to the new pack. He seeks out Cleo, is amicable with Sophie and Charlie, but steers clear of Lakota, who has gone at him a few times.

The first time Ace laid him down with one paw. Two other times, Lakota jumped Ace, but, luckily, Lakota telegraphs his attacks, with an Elvis-like lip quiver first, and his bites are not too intense. I know this because the second time he went after Ace, I stuck my foot in between them. Generally, though, my “dog shouter*” (patent pending) techniques work to quell any misbehavior.

Sometimes, Lakota’s humongous tongue seems to get stuck outside his mouth, generally after he’s been napping (he snores, too), but when I touch it, it usually slides back in.

Sophie is easy to deal with, and has quickly adapted to being a three-legged dog. She was up and around the day after the surgery. But I have to be sure and immediately scoop her poop. Because of her chemotherapy treatment, her “output” will be toxic for the next couple of days, and both Charlie and Lakota tend to eat poop.

Charlie is the biggest attention seeker. He makes strange noises deep in his throat, like a two-pack-a-day smoker, because of respiratory problems and difficulty swallowing. “If it persists, and it seems like he’s choking, just hit his sides to help him clear up what’s in there,” my instructions say.

Lakota is described in the note this way:

“Can snap on occasion … If he starts to snarl at any of the others, yell ‘Hey!’ very loudly. If that doesn’t work distract him with food … In general, keep him apart from the others, especially when vying for your attention, in a close space or when food is nearby.”

It all requires some logistical forethought, some maneuvering, but after day one, it’s going smoothly. In the days ahead, I’ll keep you posted on how we all fare, and on our travels around dog-friendly Santa Fe.

Minus a leg, police dog back on duty

yaskoA California police dog who lost a leg to bone cancer is back on the job.

Although his duties have been cut back, and uncertainties remain about his future health, Yasko, a 7-year-old German shepherd who works for the Paso Robles Police Department, showed no signs of cancer after the surgery, without which he probably would have had less than a year to live.

“This is where he wants to be,” Officer Tod Rehner told The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. “He loves working.”

Paso Robles’ Friends of the K-9 Inc., aided by a $1,000 donation from Wal-Mart, raised money for the dog’s $1,500 surgery,according to Sgt. David Bouffard, another canine handler and Friends’ president.

Yasko will only be used in drug investigations now, though he is trained in protection, tracking, searching, apprehension and narcotics detection.

“He’ll still be very effective at that, so we’re lucky, but this is a big loss to our program,” Bouffard said. “Yasko was one of the better tracking dogs in the county.”

Another dog dragged — charges filed

A year-old pit bull is recovering after being dragged for nearly two miles behind a pick-up truck in Florida.

Holly, as the dog was named by the veterinarian treating her, had two toes surgically removed yesterday but “is doing really well,” Dr. Leonard Fox in Port St. Lucie said. “I really do believe that six weeks from now she’ll be running around like nothing happened,” he told TCPalm.com.

dogdraggedWhen she was brought in, the dog had severe road rash, particularly on her feet, which Fox said “look like ground beef.” She’d been dragged so long the big toes on her rear paws were worn down to the bone, necessitating the amputation.

Fox said the road rash will have to be treated like burns, with fresh bandages every few days. More surgery may be required Thursday or Friday to remove dead skin, and Holly may get a cast on her left hind foot as well.

The driver of the truck, Napoleon Zarah Davis, 31, of Port St. Lucie, was released from the St. Lucie County Jail Monday after paying $2,500 bond on a felony charge of animal cruelty.

The story is similar to one  recently reported in Tennessee.

Davis told police he was taking the dog to the Humane Society of St. Lucie County Monday when the dog jumped out of the truck bed. The dog was dragged 1.9 miles, before a man caught up to Davis and got him to stop the truck, according to police.

Davis  told police he didn’t know the dog, whose 15-foot leash was tied to a post in the truck bed, had jumped out.

(Photo: Port St. Lucie Police Department)

Old soldier’s dog keeps his memory alive

laiaBy day, Army Maj. Steven Hutchison — a Vietnam veteran who came out of retirement at age 59 to fight in Iraq — was rough and tough, crusty and disagreeable, a man with little respect for the rules.

He violated one of them nightly, sleeping with his arms wrapped around Laia, a stray yellow puppy he had taken in from the streets.

Hutchison died in May, killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his truck — the oldest soldier to die in the Iraq war. But Laia lives on.

Laia was transported back to the U.S. by Operation Baghdad Pups, preserving not only the pup, but — as described in the Detroit Free Press yesterday — the memory of Army Maj. Steven Hutchison, as well.

“Whenever Laia was around,” Hutchison’s “demeanor and personality changed 1,000%,” Sgt. Andrew Hunt wrote in an e-mail to Hutchison’s family. “He was never without a smile; he was so much happier in life.” When a senior officer ordered Hutchison to get rid of the dog or face disciplinary action, Hutchison sent her into hiding with a friend at a far outpost on the border of Iran. The puppy broke free and ran away, returning one day to Hutchison’s base with a broken leg.

The day Hutchison was killed, Laia was spotted chained up outside a tent by Jerry Deaven, an employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Detroit. He was visiting Iraq to research terrorist funding.

“What’s going to happen to her, now that the major is gone?” Deaven asked. A few members of Hutchison’s team said they wanted to take her, but they were getting redeployed. “If I didn’t take the dog, they would have had to put the dog down,” he said. Read more »

Lucky the turtle lost his legs, but glides on

When Lucky, the pet box turtle, lost his front legs to a raccoon, his owner had him equipped with furniture sliders that allow him to get around, almost as quickly as he used to.

Lucky and his mate, Lovey, lived in an open-topped pen with a pond in the yard of Sally Pyne, of Petaluma, Calif.

Pyne suspects a raccoon she’d spotted in the yard, eating some cat food she’d left for another pet, decided to have Lucky for lunch as well.

Pyne found Lucky injured July 31 (the raccoon spared Lovey) and took her to veterinary surgeon Robert Jereb. They think perhaps Lucky had a deformity that prevented him from pulling his front legs into his shell when the raccoon showed up.

Jereb performed surgery to remove what was left of the turtle’s legs, applied bandages and prescribed some medications to ease his pain. Pyne says she considered having the turtle euthanized. 

“I was ready to let little Lucky go home, but Lucky, he was not ready to give up,” she told Sonoma County’s Press-Democrat. “His eyes were open, and he was shoving himself around on his two back legs. He was not going to quit.” 

Jereb came up with the idea to use furniture casters, doubled up in order to match the length of his amputated legs and stuck to the bottom of his shell.  The solution seems to have worked, although the casters may need to be replaced periodically.

Sideshow owner headed to TV court

sideshow

headless

sheepClaiming he was gypped out of a five-legged dog, freak show owner John Strong is taking his case to court — TV court.

Strong’s breach of contract case against Calvin Owensby, who reneged on his offer to sell Strong the dog for use in his Coney Island sideshow, will be heard next Wednesday in the studio courtroom of the show “Judge Jeanine Pirro.”

The hearing will air on Sept. 21, the Gaston Gazette reported. Representatives of the program approached Strong about airing the case on TV.

Owensby, of Gastonia, agreed to sell Strong his five-legged Chihuahua puppy for $3,000 in late June.  The next day day Allyson Siegel, of Charlotte, offered Owensby $4,000 for the dog, hoping to spare it from life as a sideshow exhibit. Owensby, who’d acecpted a deposit from Strong, canceled the earlier deal, returned the deposit and sold the puppy to Siegel.

lillian2Siegel, who renamed the dog — from Precious to Lilly — had  the dog’s fifth leg amputated two weeks ago, immediately after hearing Strong planned to take legal action to prevent the amputation.

“I’m a very good talker. I can make my points come across,” Strong told the Gazette. “I’m just not going to stay quiet on this because I don’t want the general public to perceive me as a bad person, and this woman is perceived as a hero.”

The television show will pay Strong the $4,000 if Owensby loses the case, according to a spokesperson from the show.

Strong said he resents accusations that he would humiliate the dog and treat it poorly at his sideshow.

“No animal has the intelligence to know if they’re humiliated or not,” he said.

I’m not a big fan of justice being dispensed on TV shows, but here’s hoping Strong gets totally and publicly humiliated by Judge Jeanine — not that, judging from the case he’s presented so far, he’d necessarily realize it if he was.

Lilly is a five-legged dog no more

Coney Island sideshow owner John Strong has threatened to file a lawsuit to get the five-legged dog he was promised, but even if he does have a legal leg to stand on it could be a moot point – Lilly’s extra leg was removed today.

The dog’s new owner, Allyson Siegel — who purchased Lilly for $4,000 from Calvin Owensby, outbidding Strong to save the dog from life as a sideshow freak – says the 6-week-old terrier-Chihuahua mix had the surgery at a veterinarian’s office, according to PEOPLE magazine.

“Last night I called the surgeon and said, ‘Will you take a look at her to see if she’s healthy enough, see if you think that she could possibly have the surgery now?’ And he did, and she did,” Siegel said. The operation was successful and the dog is recovering.

Siegel, whose story was originally reported in the New York Daily News, says she will pay for the surgery bill — which could total up to $2,000 — with donations that she’s received from several people who have heard of the dog’s plight.

“In my mind it’s kind of over. Just let it be over,” she says, referring to Strong’s legal threats. “I’m very happy that Lilly is fine and that she’s going to be a normal dog. And get to have a normal life and not be in a cage. I don’t personally have anything against him, Mr. Strong, I don’t know him. This was really always about Lilly.”

Strong told the Charlotte Observer Wednesday that  he was the rightful owner of Lilly because the pup’s original owner, Owensby, of Gastonia, N.C., broke an implied contract to sell him the dog. Strong paid Owensby a $1,000 deposit.  But Owensby decided to sell the pup to a Charlotte woman after media reports of the freak-show deal sparked an outcry from animal advocates.

Upon hearing of his planned legal steps, Siegel expedited the dog’s surgery.

Prior to the surgery, the puppy couldn’t sit, walk or lay properly because of the extra leg (which had six toes and protruded from her stomach). “She’d struggle to run up a hill or walk up a hill because she had to tug that thing behind her,” says Siegel.

World’s tallest dog loses leg to cancer

Gibson, the Guinness World Record’s Tallest Dog, recently had his front right leg amputated due to complications from bone cancer.

Standing at 42.2 inches tall, the harlequin Great Dane has held the Tallest Dog title for four years.

Gibson, who has appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” also serves as spokesdog for K9 Grass, an artificial grass designed for dogs. A certified therapy dog, he has worked work with cancer patients, veterans and amputees.

The surgery was performed to prevent the cancer, found in the dog’s paw a few weeks ago, from spreading, according to a company press release.

The surgery gives Gibson a 95.5 percent greater chance of surviving. He’ll be having follow up chemotherapy treatments in the upcoming weeks.

Gibson will continue to hold his title as the World’s Tallest Dog and be the official spokesdog for K9Grass, ForeverLawn Inc.’s line of artificial turf designed for dogs.

(Photo: Courtesy of ForeverLawn Inc.

Homeless L.A. man back with his pit bull

I was driving down Century Boulevard when I spotted them — a homeless man, judging from the Vons grocery cart he was pushing down the sidewalk, and a three-legged pit bull in a service dog vest, hobbling alongside, her leash tied to the cart.

I made a u-turn, saw him walking down Hawthorne and, after one more u-turn, pulled my rental car alongside the man and dog as they turned down 101st Street.

His name is Mike Reed, and his dog’s name is Topaz, and as we sat on the sidewalk and talked — next to his bottle of King Cobra malt liquor in a black plastic bag — Topaz, weary from a just completed walk, snoozed on the concrete, wearing a service dog vest that said “Don’t Touch Me, I’m Working.”

Reed has had Topaz for five years. He takes care of her. She takes care of him, helping him cope with life on the streets — the kind of life that can turn violent at any second, and on Aug. 31 did just that.

On that day, he and Topaz found themselves standing innocently in the middle of a confrontation between another homeless man and officers from the Inglewood Police Department.

Reed had just met the man minutes earlier — after the man entered a store and an employee noticed what appeared to be a gun in his pants. Police were called, and tracked the man down. Not knowing whether Reed was an accomplice, officers put Reed in a squad car. Topaz remained on the sidewalk, leashed to Reed’s grocery cart.

As Reed decribes it, police told the suspect to put his hands in the air. The suspect raised and lowered his hands two times. The third time he lowered them, he reached for what police thought was a gun, and a barrage of shots followed.

The gun turned out to be a plastic toy.

Four or five shots struck Topaz, one shattering her hip bone.

Read more »