Around the end of May, sad images of a pit bull mix who was found with her muzzle tightly wrapped in electrical tape were going viral.
The 15-month-old dog had been found wandering the streets of Charleston, S.C., with her muzzle bound so tightly in tape that the blood flow had been cut off and her tongue was trapped between her teeth.
Her owner was charged with ill-treatment of animals, and Caitlyn, as her case received international news coverage — all featuring that horrible photo of her taped-up snout — underwent a series of surgeries.
Only a month later, Caitlyn is recovering, in a foster home — and showing a much happier face in a series of calendar photos.
Caitlyn was asked by the Charleston Firefighters to star in their 2016 calendar.
The calendar — featuring firefighters, often without their shirts, is put together by the Charleston Animal Society, which has been taking care of Caitlyn since she was found.
The money raised by the calendar will go to Toby’s Fund, which provides medical care for animals in need, according to a report on TheDodo.com.
Caitlyn now has her own Facebook page called Caitlyn’s Comeback.
(Photos: Charleston Animal Society)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 1st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, caitlyn, calendar, charleston, charleston animal society, cruelty, dogs, electrical tape, firefighters, jaw, mix, muzzle, pets, pit bull, snout, south carolina, taped, toby's fund
Leave it to a tissue-making company to come up with a tear-jerking dog ad.
And while I’m surprised it has taken them this long, I’m very glad they did.
This Kleenex social marketing video features Chance, a dog who was left partially paralyzed after he was hit by a car. He was scheduled to be euthanized when a San Antonio rescue organization pulled him from the shelter and found him a home.
That home was with Mike, who isn’t “wheelchair-bound” by any means, but also uses one to get around.
“My husband was like we have to get him because nobody is going to love him like we’re going to love him,” his wife Stacey recalls.
San Antonio Pets Alive reports on its blog that Chance was “more than ready to be in the spotlight.”
The video depicts how Chance and Mike don’t let too many things get in their way, and how they seem to bring out the best in each other.
“I knew his struggles as well as mine, and I knew we could overcome those obstacles together,” said Mike.
“The difference Chance makes in my life is the happiness and the courage to know that there isn’t anything that anybody can’t do.”
(This series looks at how dogs are used in advertising. You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertisements, advertising, animals, chance, commercials, disability, dogs, in, kleenex, marketing, pets, san antonio pets alive, social media, wheelchairs, woof in advertising, woof!
It was last year I decided that I’d had enough of the “Worlds Ugliest Dog Contest” — a cute little idea that has become too big, too cutthroat and, by putting so much emphasis on appearance, too much like all those beauty contests whose superficiality it was created to counter.
What finally sent me past the tipping point was that last year’s winner, Peanut, was said to look the way he looked at least in part because he had been abused — back before he was rescued by a loving family.
Giving prizes to dogs whose appearances have been mangled by humans — though that’s kind of what happens every year at Westminster — is a bad idea.
Giving prizes to dogs who are deformed, or just plain ugly, was a sweet concept at first. Then, despite its good intentions, it grew into a beast.
So with a nod to this year’s winner, Quasimodo — that’s him above in an Associated Press photo by Noah Berger — we reprint last year’s ohmidog! post on the topic, which asked the question, “Has the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest run its course?”
It seems like every year I’ve teetered a little closer to disliking the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.
A cute concept at first — and one that helped remind us what a superficial thing beauty can be — it seems to have grown into a pageant that, despite its focus on “ugliness,” inches ever closer to reflecting many of the same negative traits of purebred dog shows and beauty contests.
As the quirky little contest at the Sonoma County Fair in Petaluma has grown huge, and the title more sought after, there has been a concurrent increase in cut-throat competition, campaigning and hype.
But it’s the choice of this year’s winner that may have finally pushed me into being a fan no more. The title of World’s Ugliest Dog was won by a dog whose unusual appearance is the result of being abused.
And that troubles me.
This year’s winning dog, Peanut, a two-year-old mixed breed, is from Greenville, N.C. He was adopted from a shelter after being found abandoned and severely abused. It is suspected he was set on fire. While he’s healthy now, his eyelids, lips and patches of hair on his body were burned off, which accounts for much of his unusual appearance.
His owner, Holly Chandler, held fundraising campaigns to travel to California and enter Peanut in the contest — all, she said, to help raise awareness about animal abuse.
Given that’s a large part of this website’s mission, too, I have no problem with that cause.
I’m all for celebrating dogs who look different. I’m all for celebrating dogs who have overcome harsh odds. I’m all for abused dogs recovering and becoming rich and famous while their abusers rot in prison.
Where my discomfort comes in, I think, is placing abused animals in a “contest” context and, within that party atmosphere, picking a winner whose looks are the result of being horribly mistreated at the hands of man.
Abuse, it seems to me, should not be connected to pageantry and cash prizes, no matter how circuitous that link is.
Yesterday, I watched a local TV report about Peanut winning the contest. The anchor people, while noting Peanut had an inner beauty, laughed and joked about his appearance, as I’m sure the crowd did at the contest.
Peanut beat 24 other dogs to win the contest Friday, receiving more than double the votes the second-place dog received.
While his owner seemed sincere in her purpose, and probably did raise awareness about animal abuse, I can’t help but wonder whether we should all be chuckling — even while feeling sympathy and love for Peanut — at his appearance, at his prominent teeth, or his eyes that never close, given it was all the result of a cruel criminal act.
On the other hand, the world should know Peanut’s story — and the contest was a way to make that happen.
Maybe, though, there are better, more dignified ways, such as writing a book, or taking him to schools, or sharing his story with the news media — ways that might avoid the appearance of exploitation and have a little less of the circus atmosphere that seems, in my mind at least, to clash with serious nature of animal abuse.
I doubt there is any danger of people disfiguring their dogs in hopes of winning the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, but — given the world can be pretty ugly — stranger things have happened.
I think it would be wise, and in good taste, for contest officials to impose and enforce a ban on dogs whose “ugliness” or unusual looks are a result of actions taken by humans — whether those actions are heinous criminal acts or cosmetic steps, like dyeing, taken for amusement purposes.
While the contest’s web page states that “all the dogs must provide a veterinarian’s paperwork asserting that they are healthy and are ‘naturally ugly,’ Peanut’s victory casts some doubt on how strongly that’s being enforced.
All that said, I don’t find any fault with Chandler entering Peanut in the contest. She was on a mission. She made her point.
Maybe the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, after 25 years, has made its point too. A cute and well-intentioned gimmick with a sweet message, it might be growing into a bit of a monster. Maybe it should fade way before it becomes too Westminstery.
I have problems with contests that award people, or dogs, for good looks and conformity. Maybe I have issues with awarding them for “bad” looks and non-conformity, too.
Definitely I don’t like the idea of people laughing and finding amusement in a dog’s misery, which, in a very distant, removed and indirect way, is what’s going on.
That’s the best I can do at explaining the ill-at-ease feeling Peanut’s victory gives me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 29th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, appearance, beauty, california, contest, contests, deformities, dog, neglect, petaluma, pets, quasimodo, ugliest
A young actress helped save an old dog in New Mexico last week, and Grandpa, as he’s being called, is now resting comfortably at a dog hospice and animal sanctuary that provides elderly animals with acupuncture and other Western and alternative medication.
“His life force is not strong,” said the founder and director of Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary, in (you guessed it, didn’t you?) Santa Fe. “It’s hard to tell how long he’ll be with us.”
The dog — thought to be about 15 years old — had apparently been abandoned at Santa Fe’s Frank Ortiz Dog Park, where actress Rachel Brosnahan came across him last Friday while at the park with her boyfriend and two dogs.
Others at the park had already reported his condition to animal control, but Brosnahan sat with Grandpa until help arrived.
“We thought he was injured because he couldn’t stand up,” said Brosnahan, who stars in the television series Manhattan, which is filmed in the area.
“I think he was in shock,” added Brosnahan, who also appeared in the Netflix series House of Cards. ” He was panting a lot and we brought him some water, but he only drank a little.”
Grandpa seemed to appreciate the company, she said, especially that of her own dogs, including Nicky, a pit-bull mix.
Jennifer Steketee, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter’s director of veterinary services, said staff gave the dehydrated dog IV fluids, and that — other than arthritis and other symptoms associated with his advanced age — he showed no other signs of illness.
The dog was not microchipped and had no tags or other identification.
Because of his age, the shelter contacted Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary.
Pedersen, who met the dog on Tuesday, said Grandpa would be a perfect fit for her sanctuary, which provides eldercare and hospice for dogs, horses and poultry.
Brosnahan, who offered to foster the dog, said she was happy to hear Grandpa would be living the rest of his life there — and that she plans to visit him soon.
“I am so happy he’s going to be cared for at such a wonderful place,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, actress, animals, dog, dog park, dogs, elderly, frank ortiz dog park, grandpa, hospice, house of cards, kindred spirits animal sanctuary, manhattan, pets, rachel brosnahan, sanctuary, santa fe
In lovely Laguna Beach, California, the police department is seeking out dogs and their walkers to help take a bite out of crime. The department has launched its own local version of a national campaign known as Dog Walker Watch, variations of which are now operating in more than 1,300 cities. It enlists those who are out on the streets anyway, to serve as extra eyes and ears, reporting any suspicious activity or unusual behavior to authorities. The Orange County Register reports that 20 dog owners have been trained so far this summer, and the police department is looking for more. Natasha Hernandez, the department’s community service officer, has set up a stand at the Laguna Beach Dog Park to spread word about the program, handing out brochures and poop bags emblazoned with the police phone number. She has also posted fliers at pets shops and approached many professional dog walkers and sitters. One of those who signed up is Diane Berger, who walks her neighborhood daily with her golden retriever, Casey. “It’s an amazing idea,” she said. “We kind of have responsibility to help out. It’s our community. If we want to keep it safe, we can’t always expect others to take care of it.” As part of the training, the police department makes a point of telling dog owners to stay alert, and to call when they see anything suspicious. The program stresses that calls to police aren’t bothersome. The idea was hatched a year ago in Pennsylvania by Matt Peskin, the Register reported. “I realized there are 75 million dog walkers in the country,” Peskin said. “If you could train a percentage to become even more aware, you’d have the perfect eyes and ears in the community.” (Photo: Diane Berger walks with Casey, her 8-year-old golden retriever; by Mark Rightmire / Orange County Register)
In lovely Laguna Beach, California, the police department is seeking out dogs and their walkers to help take a bite out of crime.
The department has launched its own local version of a national campaign known as Dog Walker Watch, variations of which are now operating in more than 1,300 cities.
It enlists those who are out on the streets anyway, to serve as extra eyes and ears, reporting any suspicious activity or unusual behavior to authorities.
The Orange County Register reports that 20 dog owners have been trained so far this summer, and the police department is looking for more.
Natasha Hernandez, the department’s community service officer, has set up a stand at the Laguna Beach Dog Park to spread word about the program, handing out brochures and poop bags emblazoned with the police phone number. She has also posted fliers at pets shops and approached many professional dog walkers and sitters.
One of those who signed up is Diane Berger, who walks her neighborhood daily with her golden retriever, Casey.
“It’s an amazing idea,” she said. “We kind of have responsibility to help out. It’s our community. If we want to keep it safe, we can’t always expect others to take care of it.”
As part of the training, the police department makes a point of telling dog owners to stay alert, and to call when they see anything suspicious. The program stresses that calls to police aren’t bothersome.
The idea was hatched a year ago in Pennsylvania by Matt Peskin, the Register reported.
“I realized there are 75 million dog walkers in the country,” Peskin said. “If you could train a percentage to become even more aware, you’d have the perfect eyes and ears in the community.”
(Photo: Diane Berger walks with Casey, her 8-year-old golden retriever; by Mark Rightmire / Orange County Register)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, dog, dog owners, dog walker watch, dog walkers, dogs, laguna beach, law enforcement, neighborhood watch, orange county, pets, police
Another police dog has died after being left in a police vehicle — this time one in Alabama whose purpose wasn’t law enforcement, but “community engagement.”
Mason was left by his handler in a hot patrol car without its air conditioning turned on June 18, and died the next night.
His handler, Corporal Josh Coleman, said he forgot that he’d left Mason in the car after attending a hurricane preparation conference in Gulf Shores.
A city press release offered little explanation of how that happened.
“On Thursday, June 18th, while transitioning between duties, Mason’s handler Corporal Josh Coleman forgot that Mason was still in the back seat of his patrol car. On discovering Mason’s absence Cpl. Coleman located him in the vehicle.”
The press release gave no indication of how long Mason was left inside the car.
Al.com reports that the dog had entered the conference with Coleman, and had his picture taken at the event.
WISH-TV quoted a police sergeant as saying that Coleman left the dog in the car after the conference.
“He was going to take care of some paperwork in his office and he straight up forgot him,” says Woodruff. “Left him in the car.”
At some point, Coleman “discovered” him in the car. Mason was rushed to a local veterinarian, then transported to a vet in Penascola.
His condition seemed to be improving Friday morning, but died later in the evening.
The Gulf Shores Police Department acquired Mason on November 17, 2014, and had celebrated the dog’s third birthday on June 9.
While it was reported by some news outlets that Coleman would not face criminal charges, WISH reported the case will go to a grand jury. Coleman also faces “sanctions” from the police department and city.
According to the city press release, the department’s K-9′s usually travel in vehicles equipped with remote heat alarms, water bowls, and other protective measures.
“Because Mason’s duties did not include long periods in a vehicle, those protective measures were not available in his handler’s car,” it said.
The Gulf Shores Police Department might want to give that policy a second look — so its next “community relations” dog, if they get one, doesn’t turn into another public relations nightmare.
(Photo: Gulf Shores Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, car, community engagement, community relations, dead, dog, dogs, gulf shores, heat, heat deaths, K-9, killed, law enforcement, mason, patrol, pets, police, summer, vehicle
A man in a wheelchair who witnesses say was trying to save his dog was struck by a train and killed Friday.
Jim Boswell, an amputee who lived at a mobile home park in Wheatland, Calif., was said to be a quiet man in his 60’s, and a good friend to his dog, who was also killed.
Boswell had left his prosthetic leg at home and taken his wheelchair to a store down the road, his dog at his side.
“He had just come in,” said Rachel Sewell, an employee at Big Al’s Market. “We had literally just helped him less than five minutes before it happened.”
After he left the store, around 7:45 p.m., she and others in the neighborhood heard the squeal of train brakes.
While no one witnessed the accident, CBS 13 in Sacramento reported that they think the dog got away from Boswell who then tried to catch him before the train roared through.
Neighbors say Boswell and a female relative who acted as his caretaker had been living in the mobile home park a few months.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, amputee, animals, california, death, dog, dogs, jim boswell, killed, one legged, pet, pets, saving, tracks, train, wheatland, wheelchair