They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. We think this one’s worth about eleventy million.
Five years after they arrived in California, seven of the dogs seized from quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation got together for a group photo with their new owners.
The reunion came during a celebration of that anniversary at Bad Rap, one of the two California organizations that took in Vick dogs, determined to rehabilitate the animals some were arguing were violent and aggressive and should be put down.
Here’s a video recapturing the taking of the photo:
Posted by jwoestendiek November 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, anniversary, bad rap, california, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, michael vick, pets, photo, photography, pit bulls, pitbulls, rehabilitate, rehabilitated, rehabilitation, reunion, seized, vick dogs
Most official accounts will tell you that search and rescue dogs at the World Trade Center found only cadavers after 9-11 — that no dog tracked down a survivor.
But the owner and handler of Trakr — a German shepherd retired from the Halifax, Nova Scotia, police department — says his dog did.
Specifically, says former Halifax police officer James Symington, it was Trakr who first alerted to the spot of rubble under which Genelle Guzman-McMillan would later be found.
Trakr died a hero — at least in the eyes of many — in 2009.
But part of him would live on.
An American company — the only one offering dog cloning to the general public — pronounced Trakr the most “cloneworthy” dog in America and had his cells shipped to Seoul, South Korea, where five clones of Trakr were produced, arriving in the U.S. about three months after Trakr’s death.
Symington is now training the clones — known collectively as Team Trakr — to be search and rescue dogs.
Trakr’s tale is among those told in my book, DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.
And, yes, it’s non-fiction.
I first ran into a clone of Trakr (that’s one of them to the left) when I visited the South Korean lab that, having contracted with the American company, was cloning Trakr, as well as five other dogs for customers who had taken part in an online dog cloning auction.
The lab was operated by Hwang Woo Suk, who — after heading the team that produced the world’s first canine clone, Snuppy — was fired from Seoul National University for falsifying results of his experiments on creating cloned human embryos.
While the American company, Bio-Arts, had told me Hwang’s lab would be off limits to me during my visit, I was, to my surprise, welcomed, given a tour, and allowed to observe a cloning.
While some I interviewed for the book cast doubt on Symington’s 9-11 claims — including a New York firefighter who said no dogs were involved in Guzman-McMillan’s rescue — Symington, the friend who accompanied him from Halifax to New York and two volunteer firefighters insist Trakr alerted to the spot Guzman-McMillan was later found buried under.
Symington, who was out on sick leave and went to New York without the authorization of his department, was fired shortly after he returned. Officials said his participation in the rescue effort ran counter to his claim of being unable to work.
Symington never checked in with those coordinating the canine search and rescue effort at the World Trade Center, but, like many others, went straight to work after arriving.
Trakr’s work at 9-11, his career as a police dog in Halifax and the strong emotional connection between handler and dog prompted Symington to bank the dog’s cells years before he entered the contest — back when Bio-Arts was known as Genetic Savings & Clone.
The company, originally based in Texas, where experiments aimed at cloning the first dog were going on at Texas A&M University, was connected to John Sperling, the founder of the University of Phoenix, and the man who was financing the research.
After A&M dropped the project, Seoul National University in South Korea cloned the world’s first dog. Genetic Savings & Clone resurfaced as Bio-Arts, and its CEO, Lou Hawthorne, worked out a deal with Hwang, who’d since opened his own institute, to clone dogs for the company, starting with Hawthorne’s mother’s dog, Missy.
Symington was to receive a single clone of the dog, but, as Hawthorne explained at the time, “We decided collectively that the world would be a better place with more Trakrs.”
Symington is training all five clones to do search and rescue and work, continuing the legacy of Trakr, who died at age 16.
The five Trakr clones were born over a four month span, the first on Dec. 8, 2009. Later, Symington received what was said to be a sixth clone of Trakr — this one, somehow, a female.
While some canine clones accidentally come out with a gender opposite their donor, or even of mixed gender, it’s not clear — to me at least — whether creating a female version of Trakr was intentional, an accident, simply the result of mating a Trakr clone with a female German shepherd, or the result of some even newer technology developed in South Korea.
After cloning Trakr, and all five winning bidder’s dogs, the American company withdrew from the dog cloning business in 2010, leaving just one South Korean company, RNL Bio, that still clones dogs as a business. Hwang, however, who created the Trakr clones, continues to clone dogs at his research institute.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, 911, anniversary, attack, auction, bio arts, bioengineering, book, cloned, clones, cloning, contest, dog cloning, dog inc., dogs of 9-11, genelle guzman-mcmillan, genetic savings & clone, genetics, golden clone giveaway, james symington, john woestendiek, online, RNL Bio, search and rescue, seoul, September 11, south korea, survivors, trakr, world trade center
Despite the many lasting impacts of 9-11, America bounced back from the attack, and the dogs involved in the massive search and rescue effort that followed may have proven the most resilient of all.
While many human rescuers are showing respiratory health problems a decade later, their canine colleagues have had minimal setbacks, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine 9/11 Medical Surveillance study.
The study, funded by a $500,000 donation from American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation, monitored the long-term health impacts on 95 search-and-rescue dogs deployed to the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Staten Island landfills.
Researchers also compared their health to a control group of non-deployed search-and-rescue dogs.
“The most striking thing is that many of the humans that responded have developed reactive airway diseases, such as asthma, sinusitis or other chronic infections in their nasal sinuses. The dogs on the other hand have fared extremely well,” said Dr. Cynthia Otto, a principal investigator for the study. ”They’re not developing any problems with their lungs or sinuses. That is a real surprise.”
Those surviving 9-11 dogs who received cuts and scrapes in searching through the debris have long since recovered from those injuries.
Kaiser, now a 12-year-old German shepherd (pictured above), was one of only four dogs in the study that required stitches while working at Ground Zero.
“On our second day there, Kaiser sliced a pad on the pile,” said Tony Zintsmaster, Kaiser’s trainer and a charter member of Indiana Task Force One. “Once he was stitched up and felt better, Kaiser went back to work. He was quite amazing. He was able to adapt to the situation and showed great agility. He seemed happiest when he was on the pile working.”
Zintsmaster, along with other handlers who participated in the study, submitted annual X-rays, blood samples and surveys on their dog’s health and behavior to researchers.
The study found that the average lifespan of deployed dogs was 12.5 years, while non-deployed search-and-rescue dogs lived an average 11.8 years. According to the study, today at least 13 deployed search-and-rescue dogs that were part of the study are still alive.
Because canine and human genomes are similar and most canine diseases also occur in humans, future research could center on learning why the search-and-rescue dogs were able to endure the challenging conditions with minimal respiratory complications.
Identifying respiratory genetic markers in canines could lead to the development of treatments for respiratory ailments in humans, Dr. Otto said.
“The findings may open our eyes to the difference between dogs and people that makes them so resilient. If we could tap into that, we might actually help move human health forward.”
(Photos: By Charlotte Dumas, who tells the story of the remaining 9-11 dogs for her new book ”Retrieved.” )
Posted by jwoestendiek September 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, 911, american kennel club, anniversary, attack, canine health foundation, canines, dogs, health, humans, kaiser, remaining, resilience, respiratory, school of veterinary medicine, search and rescue, study, surviving, tuff, university of pennsylvania, world trade center
About 200 graduates of The Seeing Eye, the world’s oldest guide dog school for the blind and visually impaired in the United States and Canada, came together last weekend to celebrate the group’s 80th anniversary.
Every year, nearly 300 students attend The Seeing Eye to learn how to bond with a guide dog. About 8,000 people have been served since the organization’s inception, said Teresa Davenport, director of communications. About 500 puppies are born each year at the school’s Breeding Station in Chester Township, N.J. according to the Newark Star-Ledger
It costs tens of thousands of dollars to match just one person with a dog, yet the school relies solely on donations, Davenport said.
During the three-day reunion, the graduates attended banquets, workshops and toured Morristown.
Morris Frank started The Seeing Eye in 1929, after he was inspired by a 1927 article by well-known dog breeder and philanthropist Dorothy Harrison Eustis about guide dogs assisting blind World War I veterans.
Frustrated by his own lack of mobility as a blind person, he was wrote to Eustis, an American training German shepherd dogs in Switzerland. When she received Morris Frank’s letter, she agreed to help him, according to The Seeing Eye’s website.
“He promised he would return to the United States and spread the word about guide dogs. In 1928, having completed instruction in Switzerland, he arrived in New York City, proving the ability of his dog Buddy before throngs of news reporters. His one-word telegram to Mrs. Eustis told the entire story … ‘Success.’ The Seeing Eye was born, with the dream of making the entire world accessible to people who are blind.”
“It was the beginning of the Great Depression, and here we are, 80 years later, and The Seeing Eye is still going strong,” said Pete Lang, former Seeing Eye instruction and training manager.
“It is the leading guide dog school in the world,” said Marion Gwizdala, president of the Tampa, Fla.-based National Association of Guide Dog Users. He said the school has for years set a standard for dog guide schools. There are about a dozen in the nation, and 72 worldwide accredited by the International Dog Guide Federation.
(Photo: Morris and Buddy)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 80 years, adopt, anniversary, blind, dogs, dorothy harrison eustis, guide dogs, history, morris frank, reunion, the seeing eye, train
The Maryland SPCA is celebrating its 140th anniversary with a special exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society depicting the history of what is one of the nation’s oldest animal welfare organizations.
The Maryland SPCA was founded in 1869 by a group of Baltimore citizens who were concerned about the welfare of the city’s work horses. Today, it’s one of the busiest adoption centers in the area, placing more than 3,000 dogs and cats a year into new homes and spaying and neutering thousands more.
Entitled “The Maryland SPCA: 140 Years of Caring,” the exhibit is on display from April 1 through June 28 at the Maryland Historical Society, at 201 W. Monument Street in Baltimore. The exhibit is sponsored by Bravo Health.
A special reception will be held at the historical society on Friday, May 8, 2009 from 6 to 9 p.m. The “Wine and Wag” reception, features a tour of the exhibit, a full bar with wines and hors d’oeuvres. Maryland SPCA adoptable dogs will also be on hand, but guest pets are not permitted. Tickets are $30 per person in advance and $35 at the door. (They can be purchased online through the Maryland SPCA website, www.mdspca.org, or by calling 410.235.8826, ext. 135. )
(Photo courtesy of Maryland Historical Society)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 140, adopt, animal welfare, animals, anniversary, baltimore, dogs, exhibit, history, maryland historical society, maryland spca, museum, pets, shelter, spca, wine and wag
Nick Cannon gave his wife Mariah Carey the gift of dog for their one year aniversary, Us Weekly reports.
Although the anniversary isn’t until May, Cannon already procured and gifted the pup — an eight-week-old female Jack Russell terrier named Cha-Cha. The couple was secretly married last spring in the Bahamas.
Cannon laughed off rumors that he and Carey are expecting a baby.
Labrador Retrievers are still No. 1 in America, for the 18th straight year, but bulldogs are moving up fast, according to registration statistics released today by the American Kennel Club.
More than twice as many Labs were registered in 2008 than any other breed.
Also growing quickly in numbers is the bulldog, which made it to the AKC’s Top Ten list last year for the first time in 70 years. The new figures show it has advanced two more spots, to eighth place.
Here is the full list:
The AKC is celebrating its 125th Anniversary during 2009. In 1884, the year it was founded, the AKC registered only nine breeds, versus the 161 it recognizes today.
They were the Pointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Setter, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel and Sussex Spaniel.
These original breeds are all current members of the Sporting Group — dogs bred to help man find and retrieve game.
“I think the comparison of our original nine to the current top 10 illustrates the different needs that dogs fill today,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “In the 1880′s most breeds served a specific purpose or function. Today dogs still serve man and in even more diverse roles — from guide dog to bomb detection K-9 — but most of all, dogs are now companions that ground us to nature in a busy and increasingly technological world.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 125, 2008, akc, akc top ten list, american kennel club, anniversary, announcement, beagle, boxer, breeds, bulldog, dachsund, german shepherd, golden retriever, labrador, labrador retriever, lisa peterson, list, poodle, shih-tzu, top, top ten breeds, yorkshire terrier