No other place — and I’m just speaking for myself now — is, at once, so stimulating and soothing. Give us the sound of pounding surf, the sight of gliding pelicans and the smell of salt water and, of course, access to some air conditioning, and we are happy souls. All my senses, and perhaps even my brain, seem to to work better at the beach.
And this wasn’t just any beach. This was — in what was perhaps my biggest freeloading coup to date – a gated beach community, part-time home to North Carolina’s rich and famous, good old boys like Andy Griffith and not-so-good, not- so-old ones like John Edwards.
Figure 8 Island near Wilmington is a private paradise – not accessible to the beach-going hordes, private enough that celebrities (usually) find solace there, and dotted with mansions that seem to think they’re big enough to defy hurricanes.
Exclusive is what it is — the sort of place I’d be prone to make fun of, unless of course, I was invited in.
Once Ace and I were, we didn’t want to leave.
I’d made a point to time our continuing travels so that we’d be able to take advantage of an invitation to visit my former University of North Carolina classmates Steve and Louise Coggins, year-round residents of the island who were holding a mini-reunion for some college friends, most of whom I hadn’t laid eyes on in — as someone felt it necessary to point out — 35 years.
Steve, a lawyer, and Louise, a psychotherapist, are hard core dog lovers, and hard core people lovers as well. Earl, their Cavalier King Charles spaniel, is the latest in a long line of rescues. If rescuing dogs weren’t enough, Steve has also hauled some humans out of the ocean, and I’m guessing Louise, in her job, has pulled a few humans back from the riptides of life they were caught in as well.
They, and the other old friends I reconnected with, seem to remain just about as wacky as they were in college — Louise, who once tracked down Paul Newman on the island and talked him into posing for a picture, in particular. They seem to remain — despite all you hear about the vanishing idealism of my greying generation — just as idealistic and committed as they were then, too. Maybe even more so. If there’s a liberal cause, or a Democratic candidate, you can probably find its, his or her bumper sticker on the back of Louise’s car. (“Who would Jesus execute?” was my favorite.) And, beyond lip service, both she and her husband seem still up for a fight when it comes to what they think is right.
That, to me, was even more refreshing than getting slapped and tickled by a cold ocean wave, though I must report that the ocean is not cold at all. It’s the warmest I’ve ever felt it. (This continues to be the summer I came to believe in global warming.)
Ace and Earl hit it off immediately — Earl being a low key little dog who likes to sit in a lap, or other comfortable spot, and observe the humans, often with a quizzical stare that makes you think he’s still trying to figure out the species.
Ace — though he’s not big on swimming in the ocean, prefering to wade, was in his element, too.
He seems most content when among multiple friends, kind of like Steve and Louise. Their beach house — rebuilt after Hurricane Fran claimed their first — seems to have a steady stream of visitors coming and going. If it were a bed and breakfast, it would be doing a thriving business. I think there are long stretches between the times only they and Earl are there.
I hung around for two days, evening out my one-sided driving tan and pondering how I might extend my stay. I offered to become Steve and Louise’s live- in gardener — especially appropriate because, at their wedding, I, having gone attired in blue jeans, was mistaken for a gardener. I considered altering the dates of my visitor’s permit, or stowing away on the island, sleeping on the decks of unoccupied mansions during the night, frolicking in the surf by day.
But finally, and with great effort, I tore myself away.
Ace was even harder to tear away. For the first time on this trip, he didn’t come when I called him to jump in the car. Instead he walked up to the front door of the beach house and sat down — not the momentary, ready-when-you-are-sit, but that determined, try-and-budge-me sit dogs do.
But after taking in two days of good friends, good food, good sun, good surf, and a breezy oceanfront porch swing nap that — until Ace came over and started licking my hand — was perhaps the most restful nap ever in my entire history of napping, we forced ourselves back in the hot old car and headed north, headed in search of another piece of my past.
That story is coming soon. Suffice to say that — unlike my college friends, and their principles — it didn’t hold up so well.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, beach, cavalier, college, community, democrats, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, exclusive, figure 8 island, freeloading, friends, gated, king charles, liberal, north carolina, ocean, pelicans, pets, private, reunion, road trip, shore, spaniels, traveling with dogs, wilmington
Classes are underway at Dog College.
What is Dog College? It’s a series of free online courses — not for real college credits — being offered by Dog Fancy magazine in conjunction with DogChannel.com. It’s sponsored by Iams Healthy Naturals brand dog food.
This semester has already started, and includes nine courses that pet owners take over three months — including classes on physiology, natural nutrition, communication, genetics, environmental science, health science and art history.
Each course includes advice and information from dog experts, and includes reading material, video or slide shows. To graduate, students must complete all of the quizzes with a passing score of 60 percent or higher. To receive top honors, students must take all of the quizzes and score 90 percent or higher on each one.
A valedictorian, chosen from those who score 100 percent on all quizzes, will win a year’s worth of Iams Healthy Naturals dog food provided by PETCO. To learn more and sign up, visit at DogChannel.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, classes, college, courses, degree, dog, dog college, dog fancy, dogchannel.com, dogs, education, free, iams, news, ohmidog!, online, pets, school
If you watched last night’s Final Four in Indianapolis, you may have caught a glimpse of Butler Blue II, the mascot of the Butler University Bulldogs, a school that apparently — as the home team — got some special treatment from the NCAA.
The NCAA made an exception to its rules prohibiting live animals on the basketall court, allowing Blue II to make an appearance before the game, which saw Butler beat Michigan State for a spot in the final game against Duke.
Bulldogs, quickly growing in popularity — they’re now No. 7 on the AKC’s most popular breeds list — also serve as the mascots for Yale, Georgetown and the University of Georgia, not to mention the U.S. Marine Corps.
Butler University adopted the Bulldogs name in the 1920s, but never had a bulldog on campus other than as an occasional fraternity pet.
Then, in 1998, Kelli Walker, a Butler graduate, went to work for the school’s alumni office as the associate director of alumni and parent programs. Walker began researching the possibility of getting an actual bulldog donated to the school to serve as mascot.
Instead, she found an alumnus who donated money, allowing Walker to purchase the original Butler Blue from a local breeder, according to the Morris Daily Herald.
The original Blue retired in 2004 and now lives with Walker in Morris, Ill. Blue’s breeder offered to donate the school’s second mascot, Blue II.
Butler Blue II celebrated his sixth birthday on March 27 — the same day his teamed earned their final four berth. Blue both Tweets and blogs, and his favorite treats are milk and ice cream, but, as the video above shows, clearly not watermelon.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, basketball, blue, blue II, bulldog, bulldogs, butler, butler blue, butler blue II, butler university, championship, college, dogs, final four, indianapolis, mascot, mascots, ncaa, news, ohmidog!, pets, sports, tournament, video
Starting in fall 2010, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University will no longer use dogs and other healthy, live animals to teach surgical skills.
The college in East Lansing will no longer require “terminal surgery labs” in which animals are killed after being used to practice surgical techniques.
Instead of the controversial labs, the college will use more humane teaching methods, including sophisticated models and animal cadavers — a change that has been initiated at more than half of the 28 other veterinary medical schools in the U.S.
“We are ecstatic that MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine has made this compassionate change to their curriculum and we hope to work with them in the future to make additional advances such as an ethically sourced cadaver program,” said Mitch Goldsmith, President of MSU Students Promoting Animal Rights (SPAR).
Laura Ducceschi, Director of Animalearn, a national program that provides resources for humane science education, commended MSU for “taking this positive step towards joining the many other prestigious veterinary institutions that have ended terminal surgery labs and replaced them with humane alternatives and shelter medicine programs that benefit students and animals.”
Animalearn, the educational division of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), works with educators, students and others to achieve quality humane science education without harmful use of animals.
Both SPAR and Animalearn advocated to end animal use at MSU following revelations of the extent of the university’s use of dogs in Animalearn’s 2009 report, Dying to Learn: Exposing the Supply and Use of Dogs and Cats in Higher Education.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aavs, alternatives, american anti-vivisection society, animalearn, animals, cadavers, cats, college, curriculum, dogs, dying to learn, education, healthy, higher education, humane, live, medicine, michigan state university, models, msu, news, practice, science, surgery, surgical, techniques, terminal surgery labs, veterinary
At Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, faculty and staff bring their dogs to school every Tuesday during September, gather on a grassy field and allow students to have their homesickness washed away by spending an hour with the hounds.
The events are aimed at helping students overcome their homesickness, which often includes a longing for the family dog, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The “Dog Days” have been held on campus for five years.
They were started by former counseling director Kathy Bradley, now executive director of health and counseling at Gettysburg College. Bradley has started a similar program there. A few times a semester, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, which heard about Susquehanna’s program, brings trained therapy dogs – some owned by staff members – to campus to visit with students.
“The fact is that students miss their pets, sometimes more than they miss their families,” said Anna Beth Payne, associate dean of student life and director of Susquehanna’s counseling center.
Professors especially like the opportunity for the informal gatherings, saying they break the ice and can help make the campus, and the professors, seem less intimidating to students.
Nine dogs showed up on a recent Tuesday, a typical turnout, and dozens of students stopped to play with them, one of whom said she missed her dog, Babe, back home in Maine — at leas as much as she missed her mother.
“It’s a close tie between the dog and my mom,” she said.
(Philadelphia Inquirer photo by Robert Landry)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bucknell, campus, college, colleges, dog, dogs, educations, gettysburg college, homesick, homesickness, life, parents, pennsylvania, pets, professors, students, susquehanna university, universities
It’s that time of year again — when students around the country head off to college, bidding farewell to mom, dad and, perhaps toughest of all, their dogs.
Solution? Go to a pet-friendly college.
Petside.com is back with another top 10 list, this time of the most pet-friendly college campuses.
Topping the list is Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida, with its four pet-friendly, air-conditioned dorm “clusters.” Students are allowed to have cats and dogs (under 40 pounds) as well as snakes and fish.
The list is based on the quantity and quality of pet-friendly housing as well as the types of pets allowed, Petside says.
(What Petside and the list don’t make a point of stressing is that most so-called pet friendly campuses regularly discriminate against big dogs, blacklisting — sorority-style – any beast whose weight exceeds its arbitrary limit, usually 40 pounds. )
The rest of the top five break down this way:
2. Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri offers one dorm as the designated pet dorm, allowing dogs, cats, hamsters and guinea pigs.
3. Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania allows students to bring their family pets along to school and live in the “Pet House” dorm. Cats and dogs less than 40 pounds, small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, turtles and fish are allowed.
4. Principa College in Elsah, Illinois has seven dorms and university apartments that allow pets. Students may bring dogs, cats, rabbits, caged animals, and aquatic pets.
5. California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California allows cats in all dorms, as well as small caged and aquatic animals. Dogs are not permitted. Animal lovers can also join the Caltech Animal Team (CAT), a club devoted to caring for homeless and abandoned animals, especially cats, who live on the Caltech campus and nearby grounds.
“At Petside, we know how much the companionship of a pet can benefit a college student, particularly in the form of stress-relief and as a remedy for homesickness,” said Joshua Fried, Director, Petside.com. “We are pleased to know that so many of America’s colleges are welcoming responsible students and their pets.”
Also making the top ten, in this order, were: University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign, University of Idaho, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, State University of New York at Canton and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california institute of technology, campuses, cats, college, colleges, dog friendly, dogs, eckerd college, lehigh, list, mit, pet friendly, pets, petside.com, principa college, stephens college, suny, top ten, universities, university of idaho, university of illinois, washington & Jefferson college
Meet my new hero — Raleigh, the dog. I’m thinking of taping his picture to my refrigerator.
Raleigh, through diet and exercise — and we all know that, unfortunately, is what it takes — dropped 100 pounds in just over three years.
Raleigh weighed 60 pounds when owners Jane and Jay Whitehead of Oconee County adopted the then one-year-old mixed breed at a Gwinnett County animal shelter about six years ago.
But, as the Athens Banner-Herald points out in a lovely story about Raleigh’s weight battle, he just kept growing – sideways.
By February 2006, Raleigh was a Goodyear blimp on legs, ballooning to 187 pounds.
The Whiteheads tried cutting back on Raleigh’s food, and took him to their vet, who found no disorder. Other than his weight, he was perfectly healthy.
He couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time before he flopped over on his side, and it would take three people to get him up again, his owners said.
“It just kind of equates to people you see on TV that are so obese they can’t get out of bed. That’s what he was,” said Jane Whitehead, the chief financial officer for a Gwinnett County company. “You just don’t know what to do. He had no quality of life, but nothing seemed to help.”
In late 2005, the Whiteheads’ vet referred them to Sherry Sanderson, a professor in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of physiology and pharmacology who was beginning a study on a new weight-loss drug for dogs.”
Raleigh turned out to be ineligible for the study, but Sanderson remained interested in his case, and suggested the Whiteheads began feeding Raleigh a specially formulated dog food that is low in calories but has the nutrients dog need. It was was provided free by the Nestle Purina PetCare Co., which also helped pay for the rest of Raleigh’s therapy.
That was the other problem. Raleigh was too far gone for normal dog exercise, but Sanderson asked one of her students to set up three-times-a week sessions on an underwater treadmill in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Hospital. The treadmill, most often used to rehabilitate dogs after surgery, allows dogs to move their legs without putting much weight on their joints.
The treadmill and new diet worked for Raleigh, who began shedding pounds. In a few weeks, he was able to walk short distances on his own.
By January 2007, Raleigh had slimmed down to 116 pounds, and by last April, he was down to 89. His owners are aiming for a goal weight of 70 to 80 pounds.
“After seeing what he did, I don’t think there’s any case that’s truly hopeless,” Sanderson said. “I hope he can be a motivator for others.”
Posted by John Woestendiek June 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: canine, college, diet, dog, dog food, exercise, fat, food, georgia, gwinnett county, jane whitehead, joints, loss, medicine, obese, obesity, oconee county, overweight, pounds, raleigh, treadmill, underwater, university of georgia, veterinarian, veterinary, video, weight loss
The Pet Therapy study break on the Madison campus was held again yesterday, with staff from University Health Services bringing their dogs to the Library Mall so students can pet and play with them.
In addition to the dogs soothing frazzled nerves, counselors from the school offer advice on how to deal with finals week — including telling them that all-night cram sessions are not the way to go. A good night’s sleep will probably be more valuable.
Students at the campus in Madison can also get free one-on-one counseling, and for $40, massage therapy.
(Photo: A scene from last year’s break, The Capital Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: annual, break, campus, college, counseling, dog, dogs, final exams, library mall, madison, massage, pet therapy, petting, playing, stress, study, tests, therapy, university health services, university of wisonsin, week
The UW Board of Regents decided in a meeting last month that non-service animals will no longer be permitted inside buildings, according to The Daily, the student newspaper.
The changes also prohibit leaving animals unattended or tethered to campus property and allows them to be seized and impounded.
UW Police Department Assistant Chief Ray Wittmier said the new policy followed a dog bite incident in Parrington Hall.
Wittmier said the department would respond to complaints and ask pet owners to take their animals out of a building. Owners would be cited or banned from campus if they refuse.
“[Violators] will always get a warning first,” Wittmier said. “If somebody doesn’t have ties to campus, they could be banned. Someone on campus will be handled as an employment-type issue. Employment could be terminated. Other actions could affect students and their student status.”
No word on whether the changes apply to Dubs, the dog that serves as school mascot. Judging from his blog, he seems to be allowed indoors, or at least inside the football stadium and basketball arena.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, bans, board, buildings, campus, college, dogs, dubs, indoors, mascot, policy, regents, seattle, tethered, university of washington, washington