They say love is blind. I’m not sure, with humans, that’s always the case. But it does seem to be with dogs.
That could help explain the apparent affection these dachshund pups are showing to a creature that, at least in the eyes of this beholder, is not one of God’s, or evolution’s, most eye-pleasing creations.
Then again, in the eyes of Cheesecake, a capybara who lives at Rocky Ridge Refuge, maybe these dachshunds aren’t the cutest things on the planet, either.
That hasn’t stopped the giant rodent from serving as mom, babysitter and guardian for the pups, who were among a litter of eight, left in a Tupperware container outside a church erlier this month.
The photos were posted to Facebook by the Arkansas-based animal rescue group that took in all eight puppies, four of which were quickly adopted.
The remaining four stayed at the refuge under the care of founder Janice Wolf, who turned to Cheescake for some assistance.
“Saturday was warm and sunny here, so I put Cheesecake in charge of the Doxie pups for the day,” she wrote on the rescue’s Facebook page.
Ever since then the pups have been snuggling with the capybara, either unaware she is a rodent (the largest type of rodent in the world), or thinking that doesn’t much matter.
(Photos: Rocky Ridge Refuge)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arkansas, blind, capybara, cheesecake, dachshunds, dogs, interspecies, janice wolf, love, ocky ridge refuge, pets, puppies, pups, rescue, rodent, shelter, snuggling
Fox News is reporting that country singer Mindy McCready’s fatal shooting of her own dog before she commited suicide Sunday was “not an act of malice at all.”
Fox quotes an unidentified friend as saying, “Mindy really loved her dog … It would have been more of a case where she just didn’t want to leave the dog alone.”
Not to speak ill of the dead, or to suggest rational behavior should be expected from those in the clutches of mental illness, but there are better ways of securing a future for your dog when you’ve decided you no longer want one for yourself.
And to describe an act like that as anything close to kind-hearted is just plain wrong.
A better description — even if the misguided thinking behind it was a hope they would end up in the same place in the hereafter – would be selfish.
McCready, who had attempted suicide twice earlier, had reportedly been depressed since the father of her youngest child, record producer David Wilson, died earlier this year from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. That took place on the same front porch where McCready shot the dog and herself.
“Based on what we have found at the scene at this time, we do believe that she took the life of the dog that we are being told by family members belonged to Mr. Wilson before she took her own life,” said Sheriff Marty Moss of Cleburne County.
McCready’s two sons, aged ten months and six, were removed from her home by a judge on Feb. 6. After that, McCready was committed to a rehabilitation facility for mental health and alcohol abuse examinations, but released two days later.
“She didn’t really have a support network and coming home to an empty house seems to be what really did it,” the source told Fox News. “It is tragic. She was a sweet and kind girl at heart.”
Whatever other morals her tragic life holds, however kind her heart was, whatever her legacy might be, one thing stands out — given the course she chose for her beloved dog — about her messy end:
How much more tragic the story might have been had her children not been taken from her.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addiction, alcohol, animals, arkansas, children, cleburne county, country, david wilson, depression, dog, dogs, drugs, fox, fox news, friend, heart, irrational, killing, kind, malice, mental health, mindy mccready, news, not, pets, rational, report, shooting, shot, singer, source, suicide
Troubled country music star Mindy McCready, whose life read like a sad, sometimes X-rated country song, was found dead of an apparent suicide — commited, according to some reports, seconds after fatally shooting her own dog.
TMZ quoted sources close to the 37-year-old singer as saying neighbors heard two gunshots coming from her home in Arkansas, one of which was fired at her dog.
According to CNN, McCready, who rose to stardom in the 1990s, had suffered two drug overdoses, was arrested on drug charges and twice attempted suicide before 2005 ended.
After a drug overdose in 2010, she joined the cast of VH1′s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” a reality show about celebrities being treated for alcohol and drug addiction.
Also in 2010, Vivid Entertainment released a porn video called “Mindy McCready, Baseball Mistress” that featured McCready having sex with a boyfriend and talking about her exploits, as a teenager, with baseball player Roger Clemens.
This year, the father of the younger of her two children, record producer David Wilson, was found dead in his home on Jan. 13 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Over the weekend, the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office said McCready’s body was found on her front porch after neighbors reported hearing shots.
McCready’s children had been removed from her home by a judge on Feb. 6, after which she spent two days in a treatment facility for a mental-health and alcohol-abuse evaluation.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: addiction, animals, arkansas, celebrity, country, dog, dogs, drug, fame, mental health, mindy mccready, overdose, pets, porn, shot, singer, suicide, ten thousand angels, tmz, video
I’m as absorbed with taxidermy and its variations as the next guy (unless that next guy is Charles “Speedy” Atkins), especially when it comes to using it to preserve our pets.
I was fascinated enough to make it a chapter in my book, and curious enough to take a peek at “American Stuffers,” Animal Planet’s new series that each week follows people who are getting their pets, to use the common but erroneous nomenclature, “stuffed.”
But do I want to watch it every week? No.
“Stuffers,” I think, falls into the ever-expanding category of shows we watch to see humans behaving bizarrely — so strangely that we, by comparison, feel normal. You know the ones I’m talking about, those that focus on dysfunctional, obsessive, extreme behavior, like hoarding, kiddie beauty pageants, excessive tattooing, or just the travails of being a punk on the shore of New Jersey.
Flipping the remote these days, it sometimes seem as if Jerry Springer is choreographing what’s on every channel.
The Learning Channel, despite its name, has become one of the worst offenders — offering nearly a steady diet of human dysfunction. Animal Planet, despite its name, is getting more that way too.
I’ll admit that I’ve always been drawn to the bizarre behavers among us, but what makes them interesting to me is why they’ve become that way and the ramifications of it. Those aspects, and any context at all, are almost always missing from these shows, be they weekly series or pseudo-documentaries. Rather than advancing knowledge, they simply gawk. They just put the camera on the oddballs, and we learn nothing except what we already knew: People are weird.
Net gain: Zero.
“American Stuffers” centers on a taxidermy shop in Romance, Arkansas — one the show incorrectly describes as the only one of its type — where Daniel Ross freeze dries dead pets for bereaved owners.
Ross is founder and owner of Xtreme Taxidermy, which he operates with assistance from his wife LaDawn and his three sons. There seems a steady, sideshow-like stream of customers, and a steady stream of drama — real and manufactured — as he freeze dries pets and unveils them in their finished poses to their owners.
The show airs Thursdays at 10 p.m.
“While nothing can bring back these animals, Daniel and his artistic team attempt to come as close as science and art can allow,” Animal Planet says on the show’s website. “They recreate the illusion of life, and clients return home with their pets for eternity.”
That science these days allows much more than freeze-drying is shown in my book, “DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”
But the book also looks at how, through history, our inability to part with our pets has led us down some other strange roads, including stuffing them.
“Stuffing,” in the 1800s, was an apt name for the process. Almost every town had a tanner, who would cater to hunters seeking to memorialize their kills. They would remove the innards and sew up the carcasses, filling them with rags, straw, paper and cotton, then use sticks and brooms to beat the animal into something resembling its original shape.
By the early 20th century, taxidermy had become far more sophisticated. Mounts of the original animal were made of wood, wire and later plastic, and the animals pelt was stretched over it.
Freeze drying, an invention of the 1970s, began being used by some taxidermists by the late 1990s, including one in West Virginia, Perpetual Pet, who was featured in my book. The process involves removing the animal’s organs, posing it in the desired position, freezing it and then putting it in a vacuum chamber that removes all the moisture.
The point, as with Victorian-era pet portraiture (sometimes painted after an animal was deceased), as with modern day “digital photo urns,” and as with the most technologically advanced method of all, cloning, is the same — to keep at least a semblance of a departed animal around.
It was while researching “DOG, INC.” that I came across the story of Charles “Speedy” Atkins, who, though he died in 1928 in Paducah, Kentucky, remained above earth, intact and upright (when leaned against a wall) well into the 1990s.
Atkins was an active 50-year-old bachelor. His nickname was said by some to have stemmed from his work habits at a local tobacco factory, but others maintain it described his way with the ladies. He drowned one day while fishing on the Ohio River.
His body was taken to the black-owned funeral home in Paducah operated by A.Z. Hamock, who, inspired by methods the Egyptians used on mummies, had been experimenting with ways to preserve bodies for longer periods.
Speedy wasn’t stuffed, but he was pumped full of Hamock’s secret long-lasting embalming fluid. Hamock’s motivations were practical: Preserving a body with the fluid would allow him to wait for the families of his clients, usually poor, to raise enough money for the funeral.
No family ever came for Speedy, though. And time didn’t reclaim him either. Hamock died in 1949, taking his secret formula with him. But Speedy Atkins stayed above the ground, pickled and preserved, for the next 66 years, most of which he spent stashed in a closet, though funeral home operators would sometimes put him on display for tourists.
He was finally buried in 1994. It was time, Hamock’s widow, Velma, decided. “Sixty-six years is a long time to be with somebody,” she said in an interview with Jet magazine, which covered the funeral.
“It was all an experiment, but it was a success,” she said. “Speedy’s never been duplicated, he’s the only one that we know of. He’s not stinking, nothing. The amazing thing is he hasn’t lost all of his features. He doesn’t look like a corpse laying up in the casket for 66 years.
“I never saw a dead man bring so much happiness to people.”
(Freeze dried pet photos of Tiny and Cisco, courtesy of Perpetual Pet.)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: american stuffers, animal planet, animals, arkansas, behavior, bereavement, bizarre, bodies, cadavers, charles atkins, cloning, corpses, customes, daniel ross, death, dog death, dogs, dysfunction, grief, human, kentucky, loss, memorials, memory, paducah, perpetual pet, pet death, pet preservation, pets, preservation, preserving, semblance, speedy, stuffed, stuffers, stuffing, taxidermist, taxidermy, television, xtreme taxidermy
In an effort to keep putting greens pristine, and keep golfers from getting all poopy-shoed, some golf courses, like Rebsamen in Little Rock, have turned to dogs.
That’s where a 12-year-old border collie named Fern has patroled the grounds for 10 years – up until talk began about retiring her in the last month or so, and another golf course requested her services.
“She’s gotten a lot of attention the last couple of weeks because of what’s going on,” said assistant city manager Bryan Day. “I’ve gotten e-mails from people wanting us to loan her to North Little Rock,” Day told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Registration is required to read the story.)
About 200 geese are living at Burns Park in North Little Rock, feasting on the greens and using the grounds as their bathroom. It has gotten so bad that city officials decided to let hunters come in and take care of the problem.
Opposition from animal lovers has led North Little Rock to rethink the plan, and at least consider the far easier and less messy route of getting a dog like Fern.
Border collies are used across the country to keep geese away from airports, neighborhood ponds, golf courses and parks. Generally, all it takes is a prolonged stare from them to send geese on their way.
Little Rock bought Fern for $3,000 in 2001 from a North Carolina breeder. Costly as that sounds, it was far cheaper than the $20,000 in labor the city had spent on repairing goose-related damage.
Her presence alone keeps the geese away — and she’s earned some attention along the way. She was on the cover of Turfnet.com’s 2008 “Superintendent’s Best Friend” Calendar, which features working dogs on golf courses across the country.
Now, at 12, Fern spends her time mostly kicking back in the club house, or going for rides in golf carts. Because there are no more geese, she has it pretty easy. But because her presence ensures the geese won’t return, officials have decided not to retire her, and not to rent her out.
“She’s got 300 acres out here,” Jay Carnes, the golf course superintendent said. “She needs to stay here and be buried here.”
(Photo: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arkansas, border collie, burns park, calendar, control, damage, deterrent, dogs, fern, geese, golf, golf course dogs, golf courses, hunters, little rock, pets, poop, rebsamen, superintendents best friend
Andrew Navarette let his Shih Tzu, Mimi, out in the backyard of his Rogers home in 1994. She disappeared, and his efforts to find her, even though she had a microchip, were unsuccessful, according to the Associated Press
Mimi ended up in a new home — that of Kim Rafter, who also lives in Rogers, after someone offered her the tiny dog. Rafter, not knowing Mimi belonged to someone else, or knowing that Mimi’s name was Mimi, named the Shih Tzu Gizmo.
Years passed, and then Gizmo escaped from owner No. 2.
She turned up over the weekend at an animal shelter in Rogers where officials found the chip and called Navarette, who, though he had moved to California, had kept the same cell phone number.
Assistant shelter manager Matt Colston said Navarette was excited to hear that Mimi had been found and immediately offered to pay for her to be shipped to his home in California.
Rafter said it will be difficult to say goodbye to Gizmo.
(Photo: Bud Norman, Rogers Animal Shelter manager, holds Mimi; by David Frank Dempsey / NWA Online)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew navarette, animal shelter, animals, arkansas, dog, dogs, gizmo, kim rafter, lost, microchip, mimi, missing, pets, reunion, reuniting, rogers, runaway, seven years, shih-tzu, stray
The most ambitious crackdown on dogfighting in American history has now led to the seizure of more than 450 dogs, with raids and arrests in eight states.
Following an investigation initiated by the The Humane Society of Missouri, officers from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies made arrests and seized dogs in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in what was ”the largest simultaneous raid of multiple dogfighting operations in the history of the United States,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“This intervention is a momentous victory in our ongoing battle to end the cruel, criminal dogfighting industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.
Pacelle reported on his blog: “Four United States Attorneys and a bevy of federal law enforcement agencies, along with The HSUS, The Humane Society of Missouri, and the ASPCA, raided multiple dogfighting operations, and seized at least 450 dogs, in what was the largest single day of actions against dogfighting in American history.”
The Humane Society of Missouri is sheltering more than 300 dogs — mostly pit bulls — seized in the Missouri and Illinois raids. The dogs will be housed, cared for and evaluated at an emergency shelter in St. Louis.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arkansas, arrests, aspca, bad rap, crackdown, dog, dogfighting, ed sayres, fbi, fighting, forensic, history, hsus, humane society of missouri, humane society of the united states, illinois, investigation, investigator, iowa, largest, melinda merck, missouri, oklahoma, raid, texas, wayne pacelle
Nearly 400 neglected dogs were rescued Monday from an Arkansas puppy mill in a raid by local authorities and the Humane Society of the United States.
Dogs were found living in horrific conditions in dilapidated structures throughout the 82-acre property, authorities said, and at least 350 were removed. Also seized were 17 miniature ponies, six cats and several exotic birds and turtles from the property.
When rescuers arrived at the property, in Logan County, they found dogs, ranging from shih tzus and poodles to Akitas and Shelties — some only a day-old –suffering from serious medical ailments and housed in filthy conditions.
“Most people don’t realize that this is the cruel reality behind those cute puppies for sale in pet stores and online,” said Desiree Bender, Arkansas state director for The HSUS. “These dogs were kept in tiny cages and forced to breed continuously for the profit of the mill owners.”
“People were buying the puppies without knowing the cruelty they were supporting, Bender said. “It is vital that anyone buying a puppy go and see where they were born, meet the parent dogs and ensure they are being well cared for.”
All of the animals were swiftly removed and transported to a nearby emergency shelter and checked by a team of veterinarians, the HSUS reported.
Volunteers from United Animal Nations assisted with the temporary shelter, and supplies were provided by PetSmart Charities, which sent its Emergency Relief Waggin’ full of wire crates, dog food and bedding.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akitas, arkansas, birds, cats, desiree bender, dogs, filthy, hsus, humane society, law enforcement, logan county, medical ailments, miniature ponies, petsmart, poodles, puppies, puppy mill, raid, seize, seized, turtles, united animal nations
Our “schmuck of the week” award — and there are so many out there we’re thinking of making this a regular feature — goes to an Arkansas mayor who ordered a city employee to “dump two loads of dogs” in the St. Francis National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service has ordered Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley to pay $1,900 in fines and restitution.
A forest service spokeswoman says dumping the dogs, who were alive, violated a federal prohibition against abandoning “property” in national forests.
Under the agreement, Valley will pay $300 in fines and $1,600 to Northeast Arkansans for Animals to compensate the group for its work in locating and rescuing the dogs, Fox News reported. Valley did not immediately return the news organization’s call for comment.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 22nd, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abandoning, arkansas, dogs, fined, fines, helena, helena-west helena, james valley, mayor, national forest, schmuck, schmuck of the week, st. francis, strays, U.S. forest service