Today is my father’s 89th birthday and, while he’s spending it in a skilled nursing facility in Arizona, I expect he’ll see a friendly face or two, at least one of them canine.
Therapy dog Henry Higgins, who belongs to one of the physical therapists at Mission Palms, has formed a pretty close friendship with my dad — to the extent that my dog Ace, were he aware of it, would probably be jealous.
The closest we could come to a real visit from Ace was putting his image on the front of the sweatshirt that my father will be getting — probably a few days late – for his birthday.
But until he has Ace on his chest to wear on his chest it appears — at least from these pictures Henry’s owner sent me — he’ll have Henry to bring a smile to his face.
And, even though I’m thousands of miles away, and it’s not my birthday, mine, too.
(Photos: By Cristina Higgins)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aging, animals, assisted living, bill woestendiek, birthday, dog, dogs, elderly, happy birthday, henry, henry higgins, mission palms, pets, skilled nursing, therapy dogs, woestendiek
Let’s take a survey.
Watching this video makes you:
A. Think Bunk’s owners must love him very much to go to the trouble of blowing up all those balloons?
B. Worry about the possibility that Bunk might choke on those balloons?
C. Puzzled why those loud pops don’t scare him, as they would my dog?
D. Wonder why his family has a bathtub in the bedroom, or is it a bed in the bathroom?
E. All of the above?
Clifford, who has always been so much more than big, so much more than red, is now more than half a century old.
Clifford turned 50 Monday.
And he had a big red birthday party — many of them, in fact.
While his birthday was celebrated in schools across the country, the biggest shindig was in New York, where students sang happy birthday outside the headquarters of his publishing company and Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared it Clifford the Big Red Dog Day.
Clifford’s creator, Norman Bridwell, took questions from first- and second-graders during a webcast shown there and beamed live into more than 5,000 classrooms around the country.
Bridwell, 84, told the Associated Press, his initial plans were for Clifford to be as big as a horse; eventually, though, Clifford became bigger than a house. He ended up red because that’s the color of the jar of paint Bridwell had nearby.
“I don’t really understand it,” he said of Clifford’s enduring nature. “Whether it’s his color, or if it’s the fact that he’s clumsy, like a lot of kids are clumsy.”
Bridwell’s daughter, upon whom the character Emily in the books is based, told reporters her artist father and his wife, Norma, were struggling to earn a living in New York when Norma suggested he try his hand at illustrating children’s books. Norma came up with the name Clifford, too, based on an imaginary friend she had as a girl.
Bridwell’s daughter, now a teacher, was a one-year-old at the time.
Bridwell shopped his drawings around, meeting initially with rejection. Eventually, he and Clifford were welcomed at Scholastic, and the company provided Bridwell with “10 Big Ideas” around which to fashion the stories, including sharing, respect, believing in oneself and helping others.
Today, Clifford is part of elementary school curriculum, and more than 126 million copies of the 90 books about the big and big-hearted dog are in print in 13 languages, in addition to a TV show, plush toys, a magazine and, yes — who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? – even a Clifford app.
(Photos: Courtesy of Scholastic)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 50, 50th, big, big red dog, birthday, books, books on dogs, bridwell, celebrate, children's books, clifford, curriculum, dog, dog books, elementary, good dog reads, lessons, norma, norman bridwell, red, schools, students, teachers
For almost two years now, the Belfast dog has been sitting in limbo, as courts in Ireland decide whether to euthanize him.
Seized by Belfast City Council dog wardens in May 2010, due to his likeness to the banned pit-bull breed, Lennox recently celebrated a second birthday on death row, and supporters marked the occasion by sending birthday cards to him — in care of the Lord Mayor of Belfast
His owner Caroline Barnes, who is appealing a court ruling to put him down, says Lennox is a American bull dog-Labrador mix who, in addition to never having bitten anyone, is a best friend of her disabled daughter.
Last October, in the latest development in the long-running case, a judge upheld a court decision that Lennox should be put to sleep.
The decision to terminate the family pet prompted an online Save Lennox campaign, which has generated almost 60,0000 Facebook supporters and almost 127,000 signatures of support. Barnes started the birthday card campaign as well.
Belfast City Council confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that it had received a number of cards for Lennox wishing him a happy birthday. (It was April 1.)
“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the wonderful, beautiful, supportive and very creative messages and artwork received over the past few days,” Barnes said on the “Save Lennox” Facebook page. “Really means a lot and it has touched our family very much. Thank you all.”
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 24.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belfast, birthday, birthday cards, breed bans, breed-specific, breeds, campaign, death row, dogs, euthanasia, facebook, ireland, lennox, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, put down, put to sleep, save, save lennox
One of Ace’s biggest fans — though she has never met him — sent us a gift this week, and it arrived just in time for my birthday.
It came in a huge box that, when we found it on our doorstep, got us both curious. I lugged it into the house, assuming it was for me, and Ace sniffed while I searched for scissors. I opened it up and pulled out what was inside, causing foam peanuts to spill everywhere.
Ace, determining the foam peanuts weren’t edible and finding them a little intimidating went into the next room — until I was done removing the contents and cleaning up the peanuts.
“Hey,” I hollered. “It’s for you.”
He came back in, sniffed some more, and took a look at the pictures on the sides. They were of him. It was a custom made feeding station, decorated with photos of some of our favorite moments on the road.
It was from Sue Kottwitz in Missouri, a loyal reader of Travels with Ace, who advertises her company, For Love of a Dog, on ohmidog! She and her husband, Gary, had built and decorated it — not just an incredibly thoughtful gift, but a much-needed one.
I’d bought Ace, after he started experiencing back problems, a plastic feeding station — but even though it was for big dogs, it wasn’t really elevated enough for a dog of his stature. And of course I wrote about it.
Sue took note, ordered me by email to take his measurements, and asked me for a list of my favorite moments during the 25,000 miles of traveling across America Ace and I recently completed. Then she notified me something was coming my way.
The feeder has huge photos of Ace on both sides, and the front is decorated with photos of some of those favorite moments — meeting Mel, a former Michael Vick dog, in Dallas; watching the sun rise on Cadillac Mountain in Maine; visiting Rolling Dog Ranch in New Hampshire and Dog Mountain in Vermont; volunteering at Best Friends in Utah; paying our respects at John Steinbeck’s grave. And of course, kudzu dogs.
Now, everytime Ace is fed, which is twice a day, I, who still sometimes hunger to be back on the road, get to relive the trip. Ace — more interested of course in what’s in the feeder than on it — gets to eat comfortably.
Thanks, Sue and Gary, for a gift that feeds us both.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, birthday, dog, dogs, feeding station, for love of a dog, gift, memories, pets, road trip, sue kottwitz, travels with ace
In honor of Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday (yesterday), we present a scene from the episode “Little Ricky Gets a Dog,” featuring the cairn terrier — named Fred after neighbor Fred Mertz — who would regularly appear in the show’s final seasons.
In this episode, Fred returns from obedience school graduation with his diploma, but Lucy seems to be the only one who learned the tricks, which, of course, meant she had some “splainin’ to do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100th, animals, birthday, cairn terrier, dog, dogs, episode, fred, i love lucy, little ricky gets a dog, lucille ball, lucy, obedience, obedience school, pets, ricky, television, video
So many people have expressed interest in adopting “Guess,” the 5-month-old poodle-schnauzer mix who was almost air-mailed, that the city of Minneapolis plans to hold a drawing to help determine where he will call home.
The drawing will be held around 2 p.m. Friday at the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control shelter, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Ten names will be initially drawn, and assigned a number. Those people will then fill out an application. After screening, the dog will be awarded to the first eligible person whose name was drawn.
The new owner will be required pay the standard adoption fee, and for a pet license, and sign an agreement to have Guess neutered on “Spay Day” (Feb. 22) before taking him home.
On Jan. 25, Stacey Champion put Guess in a box sealed with packing tape and dropped the package off at a post office near her home, telling postal officials it contained a toy robot. The box was addressed to her 11-year-old son in Georgia, for whom Guess was intended as a birthday gift.
Postal workers opened the box after noticing it was moving and hearing the dog panting.
Champion, 39, has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. She attended an administrative hearing in hopes of getting the dog back but was turned down. On Monday, when she failed to post a bond to pay for Guess’ shelter expenses, she lost any future chance to get the dog back, which would have been a possibility had she been found innocent.
That cleared the way for Guess to be officially put up for adoption.
“We’ve gotten calls from all over the globe,” Jeanette Wiedmeier of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control told Fox News. “311 has taken calls from Europe. They’ve taken emails from people who are outraged and excited about this story, and they want only the best for this dog. We’ve just been overwhelmed with the amount of attention this little six-pound guy has gotten so far.”
(Photo by Elizabeth Flores / Star-Tribune)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopter, adoption, airmail, airmailed, almost, almost mailed, animal cruelty, birthday, dog, drawing, gift, guess, interest, mailed, minneapolis, mix, outpouring, package, packed, poodle, post office, postal workers, puppy, rescue, schnauzer, sealed, shelter, stacey champion
At the top would be use of a state of the art motorhome — not one of those gas-greedy, road-hogging behemoths, but something a bit more compact and economical, where I won’t constantly be worrying about how quickly my wallet is draining or whether I’m in my own lane.
After that, I’d ask for a continuation of the cooler weather that has finally shown up, reasonable gas prices, an end to any and all weight limits and “fees” charged for bringing a dog along anywhere, health insurance (for me and my dog), world peace, and that Ace and I manage to continue to avoid life’s potholes. Cash, of course, is always nice, too.
Yes, as our financial situation grows bleaker, sending us back to the 401K to continue our journey– assuming there’s still something left of the 401K — I could work up quite a wish list.
But wish lists are a waste of time — they lead one to get so focused on what they’d like to get that they fail to appreciate what they have gotten. They tend to itemize the material things, while leaving out the more important ones. In my case, in the last three months, what I’ve gotten has been a lot. With the possible exception of when I got my first dog — that’s him and me in the picture — I’ve probably never been happier.
I think I was about 10 when it was taken — apparently in the days before focus had been invented. You’ll just have to trust me when I say we were a good looking team. I’m not sure what happened to the snappy red blazer, but Tippy — a gift for my 5th birthday – died, as all dogs do.
Since then, another 45 years passed — as have about a dozen more dogs. There were jobs, and wives, high points and low ones, honors and criticism, thrills and disappointments, challenges and victories, all of which led to where I am today. Specifically, that’s in the house of a friend in Baltimore, who has gone to the beach and offered me lodging in exchange for feeding her cat, named Kitty, who so far has just hidden underneath a chair making noises like a constipated aardvark.
Or at least what I’d imagine a constipated aardvark would sound like.
Where I am, in the broader sense, is: 57 years old, unemployed, without a home (mostly on purpose) and halfway through what I hope to be a six month journey, weaving back and forth across America. With, of course, my dog.
Right now, I am actually in several states: Maryland, Flux, Uncertainty, and, perhaps the most scenic of all, Disarray. I am attempting to make some sense of the jumble of paperwork, books, shoes, clothing and garbage that inside of my car; and fighting off the nagging insecurity of not having a real home, a real job, a real bank account. I am tired of Motel 6′s, fast food and tailgaters.
Yet, for some reason, as Ace and I simultaneously ponder the wisdom of, and rest up for, the next leg of the journey, I am more thankful than ever for all I have — my dog, family, friends and the last three months being at the top of that list.
Ace has truly dazzled me with his ability to adapt to new situations (though we’ll see how he does later this week when we attempt to spend a few nights aboard a not very large and difficult-to-climb aboard boat). He has adjusted with ease to everything so far — new accomodations, new dogs, long drives, curly fries, hot weather, canned food. Being with each other pretty much around the clock, we’ve become even closer, more co-dependent than before, which may or may not be an entirely good thing.
Family and friends have opened their homes to us as we’ve hopscotched the country — and so, on occasion, have complete strangers. We’ve met authors, and Michael Vick dogs, we’ve “couchsurfed,” visited ex-wives and ex-cats, spent time at shelters, rescues and sanctuaries that are doing wonderful things, and had some fantastic encounters with everything from space aliens to strippers.
I’ve learned that people are good, dogs are even better, and America — mired as it may temporarily be by the bad economy — remains, like the old song says, beautiful … and by that I mean both its landscape and the people who occupy it. I am lucky to have seen so much of it and met so many of them — the latter, more often than not, being made possibly by my amazing one-of-a-kind dog.
So, to heck with the wishes; it is a happy birthday; we are going to push on; and the cat under the chair, as I wished, has stopped making noises.
On the other hand, if someone insists on providing us with an RV, we will accept.
(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, baltimore, birthday, cat, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, family, freeloading, friends, kitty, money, motor home, motorhome, needs, ohmidog!, recreational vehicle, road trip, rv, travel, traveling with dogs, travels, travels with ace, wish list, wishes
Coming up on his first birthday, Scooby-Roo has come a long way since he was found five months ago — with no front legs, living with his sister in a wrecked car in a gang-ridden neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles.
His first break came when a good samaritan picked him and his sister up. His second came when they were taken in by Fuzzy Rescue. Since then, his story has led to offers of help from Demi Moore, Alyssa Milano, Michael Jackson’s children and many others.
Today, still under the care of Fuzzy Rescue, he has a therapist and a personal trainer and can look forward to a masseuse and acupuncturist, the Associated Press reports.
Not long after Roo arrived at Fuzzy Rescue in Santa Monica — caked in blood from scooting around on the asphalt — the non-profit organization’s director, Sheila Choi send out mass emails looking for donations and other support.
After that, celebrities began tweeting about Roo, from Demi Moore to Shannon Elizabeth. Alyssa Milano saw a YouTube video of the dog and called Choi, promising to help any way she could. Michael Jackson’s children, Prince and Paris, saw a TV report about Roo and began raising money to help out.
With the celebrity help, Choi collected $2,000 for a set of custom wheels for Roo, who is believed to have been born without legs.
On Valentine’s Day, appropriately enough, this sweetheart of a dog turns one.
Here’s an updated report on Scooby-Roo from Fuzzy Rescue:
Posted by jwoestendiek February 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, alyssa milano, animals, birthday, celebrities, challenged, demi moore, dog, dogs, emails, first, front legs, fuzzy rescue, gangs, handicapped, legs, los angeles, michael jackson, missing, paris, pets, prince, rescue, roo, santa monica, scooby-roo, shannon elizabeth, sheila choi, south central, therapist, trainer, tweets, twitter, two-legged, valentines day
I got around that by having a estimated birth month — April — and holding Ace’s gala birthday celebration on the day of that month that was most convenient to ME. He seemed cool with that.
The North Shore Animal League America now offers another option, aimed at all those dogs with mystery birth dates — “DOGust the 1st.”
The Animal League has officially proclaimed, or at least declared in a press release, that the first day of the eighth month (aka August 1) is DOGust the 1st, a universal birthday for shelter and rescued dogs everywhere.
To engage all dog lovers nationwide in the celebration, North Shore Animal League America is offering DOGust the 1st online greeting cards at www.AnimalLeague.org featuring an original song, “Happy Birthday, Doggie Dear,” created exclusively for DOGust the 1st by Academy and Tony Awards-nominated composer Henry Krieger and lyricist Willie Reale.
Krieger, who recently adopted his dog Freddie from the Animal League, has written the music for several Broadway shows, including Dreamgirls, and won a 2007 Grammy Award.
The Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization,will celebrate Dogust 1st with a family fun day at its headquarters in Port Washington, N.Y. with a Pet Health Fair, kids’ activities, adoptable animals and a special DOGust the 1st birthday cake.
To learn more about DOGust the 1st and the Animal League, visit www.AnimalLeague.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1st, animal welfare, august 1, birthday, birthday card, dog, doggie, dogs, dogust, dogust first, happy birthday, long island, new york, north shore animal league, online, proclamation, rescue, shelter, universal