A Southern California shopping mall has apologized to the family of a young girl with autism after she and her service dog were turned away by a Santa who was either allergic to the dog, afraid of the dog, or just a most unjolly sort.
The Santa on duty during the incident at The Shops at Mission Viejo was fired, as was at least one elf, and the mall has invited both the girl and her dog back to visit with a more compassionate Santa.
The girl, Abcde (pronounced Ab-Suh-Dee) Santos, had waited in line for half an hour with her service dog Pup-Cake. But before Abcde could take a seat on Santa’s lap, she was turned away, apparently because the man playing Saint Nick was not a fan of Pup-Cake, a pit bull, ABC7 reported.
“The dog is not a breed when it is a service animal,” Miller told ABC. “A service animal is a highly trained companion to an individual and the breed is secondary. The Americans with Disabilities Act gives an individual with a disability the right to have their companion and service animal with them to do the job that they’re trained to do.”
Friend say Abcde, rather than wanting to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas, had hoped to ask him what he was wishing for this year.
Miller said even though Abcde was turned away by Santa and associates, the fact that she patiently waited 30 minutes to see him was something to celebrate.
“Any person who has a child on the spectrum would look at that and think ‘Wow,’” she said
Abcde’s mother wrote about the incident in a Facebook post. She said after Santa refused to meet with the girl and dog, the family offered to take Pup-Cake outside. They were told the visit would still not be allowed because Santa had dog allergies.
Miller said the shopping center responded quickly once they were told what happened.
“We do not condone the behavior displayed by Santa and have worked with our partners at Noerr, the company that hires our Santas, to replace this Santa with one that is more compassionate to our guests’ needs,” The Shops at Mission Viejo wrote on its Facebook page. “We look forward to welcoming back the Santos family and Pup-Cake for a special Santa experience.”
Noerr’s CEO also posted a statement to the mall’s Facebook page:
“For 26 years, The Noerr Programs has devoted itself to sharing the heart of Santa through the creation of magical Christmas experiences for all children and their families. The entire team at The Noerr Programs sincerely apologizes for any distress caused by this situation, and truly regrets the incident. We have reached out to the girl’s family, in an effort to extend a private Santa visit with complimentary photos of both the child and her service dog.”
Whether that happier ending will come to pass is questionable.
Abcde is still upset by what happened. ”Right now Abcde does not want anything to do with anything Christmas,” the family said in a statement.
“The family is working on reigniting that hope she had; if and when it happens she will visit Santa at The Shops. She will have her 30 seconds with Santa so she can ask him what he wants for Christmas. If she wants to. Not until then.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abcde santos, americans with disabilities, autism, autistic, california, children, christmas, girl, line, list, mall, mall santa, mission viejo, noerr, photos, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pup-cake, rejected, santa, santa claus, santa photos, service dog, southern, the shops, the shops at mission viejo, turned away, waited, wish
A stray and injured pit bull who was discovered, just before Christmas, sleeping soundly in a small Ohio town’s nativity scene is recovering from his injuries and living with a foster family.
The dog, now named Gabriel, was taken in after a citizen reported him sleeping in the straw, in the company of replicas of a goat, a cow, a camel, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.
The rescue group Cincinnati Pit Crew arranged for Gabriel to be placed in a foster home.
He’ll be put up for adoption once he recovers from his injuries.
“Knowing that he’s warm and he’s not curled up in a ball somewhere looking for food, I think is awesome,” said Tarah Ross, who along with Mike Berning, took the dog into their home in Anderson Township.
Gabriel got gifts and spent Christmas morning snuggled next to her on the couch, Ross told WKRC in Cincinnati.
“He really, I think, gives us the meaning of Christmas. I mean look at him. He’s got the unconditional love and that’s what it’s all about. So he’s really our gift instead of the other way around,” Ross said.
Cincinnati Pit Crew said Gabriel might end up staying with the couple, if he continues to get along with their other dogs.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 31st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, christmas, dogs, found, glendale, injured, jesus, joseph, manger, mary, nativity, nativity scene, ohio, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, resting, shelter, straw, stray
Not since a cooler full of Omaha steaks showed up on our doorstep last Christmas has Ace been so excited about a box.
He gets highly curious about any package that to the house — be it a suitcase or paper bag — but when I brought a BarkBox inside with the rest of the mail, just before Christmas, he went bonkers, and he seemed to know it was intended for him.
It was a gift from his dachshund friends, Frank and Bogey, and their owner Faren, and while I fully intended to enforce the do-not-open-until-Christmas rule … well, it didn’t work out that way.
Given how much most of us spoil our dogs, BarkBox was a pretty smart idea — intended to get us, and our dogs, hooked on receiving a monthly box of treats, toys and goodies.
Then you start receiving a monthly sampling of items you might or might not like.
Dogs being far less picky, BarkBox might be an even smarter idea.
It was started by three New Yorkers — Henrik Werdelin, Matt Meeker and Carly Strife, who were trying to come up with a way dog owners (or dog parents, to use the term they prefer) could delight their dogs on a regular basis.
“There’s a difference between a dog owner and a dog parent,” Werdelin told New York magazine. “Dog parents are people who really love their dogs. Unfortunately, there aren’t many places they can go to find new ways to delight their dog. BarkBox is full of those things.”
The items change monthly, and subscribers can choose one-month ($29), three-month ($24 per month), or six-month ($19 a month) plans. The company donates a portion of profits to animal shelters.
According to the BarkBox website, plans automatically renew, unless you cancel.
(I’ve never liked that kind of marketing — not since, as a teenager, I ended up in debt and with a bunch of albums I didn’t want thanks to a record-of-the-month club that refused to stop sending them until I informed them in writing that I had died.)
The genius of BarkBox is that — unlike humans who get an unrequested Perry Como album — dogs aren’t likely to turn their noses up at anything included in their packages.
Ace loved everything his contained — four types of treats and a floppy turkey toy made of cotton, jute and rope.
Once he got hold of a beef bladder chew from Barkworthies, there was no letting go — though I did put the rest of the treats aside for later.
It was a lovely and thoughtful gift, and hopefully a one-time one. I’d hate to think the gift giver might, through automatic renewal, be sending Ace a monthly box of treats for the rest of her life, or worse yet, that I might be held accountable for covering that expense.
If that happens, they can expect to be paid off with lightly-used Olivia Newton-John albums.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bark box, barkbox, box, christmas, dog, doggie, dogs, gifts, marketing, merchandise, merchandising, online, package, pet, pets, products, subscription, toys, treats
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a computer was working, not even a mouse
The connections were tight, all plugged in with care
But even after rebooting, my desktop was bare
There was no way to email, no access to data
No Facebook on which I could update my status
Without any Internet, there was no way to Tweet
And that Obamacare deadline would be tough to meet
There was no YouTube, no Google, no Huffington Post
No Instagram, or Tumblr. I missed Amazon most
For last-minute gifts, there was no online shopping
That meant going outside to do some store hopping
The traffic was awful, but lucky old me
I found what I needed at Target for cheap
It was with things looking up and with nothing to fear
That I handed my credit card to the smiling cashier
Back home I felt something quite close to bliss
My computers were working, my shopping finished
But my website I learned was nowhere to be found
The server had crashed, I realized with a frown
I had a poem in my head, some good cheer to spread
But ohmidog!, on the web, was for all intents dead
I started shouting un-Christmas like phrases:
Dagnabbit, gosh darnit, fiddlesticks, what the blazes?
Far be it from me to say there is no St. Nick
I don’t think his magic is all just a trick
What I believe in much less is the Internet
For something to count on, your dog’s your best bet
(ohmidog! wishes all its readers the happiest of holidays, and apologizes for recent server-related downtime.)
(Image: From the Etsy website of artist Todd Young)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 'twas the night before christmas, animals, christmas, computers, dogs, greetings, holidays, internet, obama care, ohmidog!, pets, poetry, seasons, servers, shopping, target, technology, web, websites
For his Christmas gift, the owners of a beagle named Maymo stacked 210 empty plastic water bottles in the shape of a Christmas tree.
Then they let Maymo have at it.
The result? Hours of entertainment for the dog. Hours of entertainment for them. And, in the year since the video was posted, nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beagle, bottles, christmas, christmas tree, dog, dog gifts, dogs, gifts, gifts for dogs, lemon beagle, maymo, pets, plastic, play, present, stacked, video, water, water bottles
We humans, with our vastly superior intellects, and being the far more evolved and civilized species, don’t need no stinkin’ animals to show us how to live life.
You’d think not — especially with Christmas approaching. Between all the peace, good will and fellowship the season supposedly brings, and all the attention, with his death, on Nelson Mandela’s legacy of kindness and forgiveness, we shouldn’t be needing, right now, any furry creatures reminding us bigger-brained, two-legged types how to get along with each other.
Yet, in the past month, they seem to keep doing so — almost as if they think the message has failed to get through.
First, it’s a goose and a dog partnering up in the UK. Then it’s an elk and a dog becoming backyard playmates in Washington state. Both pairs were shown at play, raising the question, at least in some heads, if animals of different sizes and species — like elephants and dogs, or cats and crows – can get along with each other, why can’t we?
Now comes this latest pair, a fox and a dog in Norway who met in the woods last summer and became fast friends.
Norwegian photographer Torgeir Berge was out for a walk with his four-year-old German shepherd, Tinni, when they encountered an abandoned baby fox. Since then the fox, which Berge named Sniffer, has regularly met up with them on their trips through the woods, and Berge has been taking pictures of the get-togethers.
Now he’s working on a book about the unlikely friendship with writer Berit Helberg, who told TODAY.com that the fox was probably an orphan whose mother had died, and was probably seeking food, help and company.
“Not many people are privileged to see and enjoy a friendship like this, but Torgeir Berge has both seen them in action and gotten the opportunity to catch this in images that don’t need words,” Helberg wrote in post. They hope the story will raise awareness for animal rights and the conditions that some animals are forced live in as a result of the fur trade, Helberg said.
Yes, animals of different species far more often kill and eat each other to survive. And these unlikely interspecies friendships, seemingly choreographed from the grave (or wherever he is) of Walt Disney, are the exception. It’s not like animals got together and said ”Let’s rethink this whole survival of the fittest thing, and live together in harmony, eating wild berries.”
It was from animals, after all, that we most likely learned that mindset — that the world belongs to the fittest, richest or whoever roars the loudest.
Heartwarming as these unlikely friendship stories are, they’re not messages being sent to humans by animals.
But, particularly at Christmas, they are messages worth receiving, and learning from.
(Photos by Torgeir Berge, via Today.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, book, cat and crow, christmas, dog, dog and elephant, dog and elk, dog and fox, dog and goose, elephant, elk, fox, fox and dog, friends, goose, humans, interspecies, kindness, love, man, mandela, norway, pets, photographer, photography, relationships, society, torgeir berge, unlikely friendships, wildlife
While, as you can see above, the First Lady quickly seized control of the situation, the Second Dog got in a little trouble yesterday at a White House Christmas party.
Sunny Obama, the second Portuguese water dog the Obamas adopted, was part of a minor incident in which, by most reports, the one-year-old dog’s over-friendliness caused a party guest, 2-year-old Ashtyn Gardner, to fall over.
Sunny, adopted in August, jumped up on the toddler during the 2013 White House Holiday Press Preview.
The moment – not the worst violation of etiquette to ever take place in the White House, but maybe the cutest — was captured by Associated Press photographer Charles Dharapak.
Michelle Obama hosts the party every year, unveiling the White House’s holiday decorations with families of military service members.
Ashtyn, both of whose parents are in the Navy, was attending the party with her father, John Gardner, who later said that Ashtyn was fine.
Sunny reportedly apologized right after the incident by licking Ashtyn’s face, and both Sunny and Bo, the Obama’s first Portuguese water dog, were allowed to remain in the room afterward.
The Washington Post said Sunny “bounded into a State Dining Room full of children dressed in sparkly shoes and lacy dresses and headed right for little Ashtyn Gardner, 2, from Mobile, Ala. All of a sudden the blond girl with ringlet curls … was down on the rug. …
“Are you okay?” said a concerned Obama, mom-in-chief, tugging back on Sunny’s leash. But there was no need for damage control. Before Ashtyn could answer, she was back on her feet and Sunny was licking her face. All seemed well again, and the kids from military families could get back to frosting cookies and making paper poinsettia flowers with the first lady, crafty projects that have become a part of the Obama holiday traditions.
The Associated Press also avoided saying Sunny made contact with the girl, reporting Ashtyn “lost her balance and dropped to the carpet when Michelle Obama led the leashed puppy (a separate handler held Bo) into the State Dining Room…”
The dogs, in addition to attending the fest, also are a large part of its theme. Two life-sized replicas of the Portuguese water dogs, made from black satin ribbon, are on display, and miniature versions of them, made of chocolate, are part of the annual gingerbread White House display.
(Photo: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ashtyn gardner, associated press, bo, bo obama, Charles Dharapak, christmas, decorations, dogs, etiquette, first dog, first lady, girl, jumped, michelle, michelle obama, navy, obama, party, pets, photo, photographer, portuguese water dogs, president, second dog, sunny, sunny obama, white house