In the old days, when a newspaper columnist started writing about his dog, it meant — at least in the eyes of your more crusty and jaundiced types — he or she had run out of things to write about.
Of course, it (usually) wasn’t true then. And it’s even less true now.
Newspapers, as they did with the Internet, have belatedly realized that dog stories are important, that dog stories draw readers, and that dog stories are actually human stories, in disguise. They’ve finally begun to catch on to dog’s new place on the social ladder, and the wonders within them, and the serious issues surrounding them, and that they are far more than just cute.
None of which probably mattered to Steve Lopez when he decided last week to tell the story of his family’s new rescue … rescue-me-again … rescue-me-one-more time … dog.
Who is also pretty cute.
Lopez, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, decided with his wife that their daughter, at age 9, was ready for a dog. Their search took them to Tailwaggers, a pet store in Hollywood, where adoption fairs are hosted by Dogs Without Borders. Though dogless for many years, Lopez knew rescuing a mutt — as opposed to purchasing a purebred — was the preferred route these days.
Canine ownership has gotten a lot more complicated than it was when he was a kid, noted Lopez, who definitely has a crusty side.
“First of all, unless you want a rescue dog, you face the withering judgment of do-gooders who have devoted their lives to saving pups from the boneyard,” he wrote. “…I live in Silver Lake, not far from a sprawling dog park. And if an abandoned infant were spotted on the curb of that busy corner, across the street from a dog with a thorn in its paw, I guarantee you dozens of people with porkpie hats and tattooed peace signs would rush to the aid of the dog instead of the child.”
At the adoption fair, his family became enchanted with a 3-year-old Corgi mixed named Hannah, who was described as “a very timid, shy and fearful little girl ” in need of “a home where she can blossom!”
(As Lopez, author of “The Soloist” and other books, may have noticed, those involved in the world of rescuing and rehoming dogs tend to use a lot of exclamation points!)
They then began the adoption process, which, he noted, required many forms: “As I recall, applying for a mortgage wasn’t quite as involved. And many of the agencies insist on a home inspection, as well as a donation fee of up to $450.”
They took Hannah home for a trial period, as a foster. There, unlike at the fair, she refused to walk on a leash.
To get her to go to the bathroom, Lopez says he carried the dog, who they renamed Ginger, to the bottom of the driveway. Given she didn’t move when he put her down, and to build some trust, he said, Lopez unhooked the leash.
Ginger took off.
Lopez ran to his car and began the search.
“My daughter had waited five years for this pup, and I’d lost her in five minutes.”
His wife called the adoption agency to report the escape and got a scolding for letting the dog off her leash. “I must admit, they had told us rescue dogs can be runners, and that we shouldn’t let them off the leash,” Lopez wrote. “On the other hand, if you’re going to call yourself Dogs Without Borders … what message are you sending?”
They searched all day, put up fliers, and posted Ginger on Craigslist as a missing dog. The next day, they found her on a neighbor’s patio and took her home.
The next day, a Monday, Lopez returned from work to learn Ginger had jerked away while being walked and disappeared again, this time dragging her leash. Reasoning that maybe Ginger didn’t want to be there, he and his wife agreed that — once they found her again — they might want to return her.
“Maybe she’d been abused, but it seemed unlikely she’d ever be the warm and cuddly family pet we wanted our daughter to have.”
On Tuesday morning, Lopez was awaked by a scratching sound on the front door. When he opened it, Ginger walked in, her leash still attached. That sight, it seems, cut right through the columnist’s crusty parts.
“We’re keeping this dog,” he said.
I’d be willing to bet they do, and that someday — when there’s nothing else to write about, or even when there is — we’ll be reading about her again.
(Photo of Ginger by Steve Lopez / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, author, best friend, column, columnist, corgi, dog, dogs, dogs without borders, family, ginger, hannah, home, leash, los angeles, los angeles times, media, mix, news, newspapers, pets, rescue, runaway, soloist, steve lopez, tailwaggers
Once called H.D. — for Homeless Dog — and now known as Bear-Bear, a chow mix has been living for years with the homeless who come, go and camp along the railroad tracks on the southern edge of downtown Greensboro.
Greensboro News-Record columnist Jeri Rowe says it has been at least four years since he first noticed Bear-Bear — a reclusive sort, a bit skittish when it comes to outsiders — and some say she has been around for as many as eight.
“I’ve tried to get close,” Rowe wrote in a column about the dog yesterday. “Can’t. She runs away and disappears like the wind. But minutes later, she’ll reappear out of nowhere — staring, making sure I don’t get anywhere close … Bear-Bear is like an afternoon shadow. She bobs and weaves in between the spindly oaks beside the homeless camp and disappears only to come back minutes later, atop her knoll of dirt to lie in the sun.”
Bear-Bear serves as guardian and mascot of the homeless encampment and, in exchange, gets enough handouts to survive — like dog biscuits, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper and whatever else her human counterparts might be able to scrounge up, Rowe noted:
“She fascinates me. She’s beautiful with a thick coat of fur that shines black, brown, cinnamon and cream in the winter sun…But what gets me is … that the very people who desperately need help are the very people who help her.”
Rowe writes that he ran into the dog most recently while attending a seminar on homelessness at the Interactive Resource Center, which provides services to the needy, sometimes more than 250 of them a day.
Rowe talked with one of Bear-Bear’s caretakers — a 48-year-old man who has gout in both legs, walks with a cane,and has a bad heart. The first time they met, Rowe wrote, the man, named Keith, wore a t-shirt that said “Don’t Analyze Me. It’s a Deep Dark Hole, and You Don’t Want To Go There.”
Keith lives in a tent near the hole Bear-Bear sleeps in, and shares his food with her:
“I’m out here, and I get help, so why not help her?” Keith told him. “Ain’t an abundant supply of wild animals to eat, and we know she has to eat. We feed her. Everybody loves her…
“She is pretty smart. She has survived like we have, and you know, it goes to show you, it don’t make no difference how hard it gets. You can still survive through thick and thin.”
(Photo: H. Scott Hoffman / Greensboro News-Record)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bear, bear-bear, camp, chow, column, columnist, dog, dogs, greensboro, guardian, hd, homeless, homeless dog, jeri row, mascot, news-record, north carolina, pets
First came a Court of Appeals ruling, late last week, declaring all pit bulls (and pit bull mixes) “inherently dangerous” — stating, in effect, that breed, or type, or even looks alone, are all that is required to assume a dog is bad.
Then came a newspaper column by the normally level-headed Dan Rodricks, fresh from judging a dog costume contest for the Maryland SPCA, declaring pit bulls “four-legged time bombs” that should not be allowed in public.
It was not prompted by anything that happened at the SPCA’s March for the Animals — other than his seeing some pit bulls there. Instead, it seemed based on a prejudice he apparently holds and, with a court decision to back him up, felt inclined to reveal.
Taken together, the column and court decision (you can read it here) have riled friends of pit bulls, who are fighting back, on Facebook, through website comments and petitions and via letters to the editor at the Baltimore Sun, like this one — my personal favorite:
“… I live in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore. When my suburban friends come visit, they hold their kids close, and they look askance at some of my more ‘unusual’ neighbors. Some of them are only too happy to hop back in their cars and scurry back to the counties. To them it’s “obvious” that Baltimore is a dangerous place, with all the derelict buildings and the homeless people and the occasional addict passed out on the sidewalk …
“I’m also a pit bull owner — an accidental one, because I found mine starving and scared, running down Wicomico Street dragging a leash behind him. I caught him and brought him home because that’s what any decent dog lover would do. Then I found out how incredibly, incredibly difficult it is to rehome these dogs — because of the stigmas, and because there are just so many of them.
“I had only limited experience with the breed before mine chose me, but I have discovered that they are wonderful, wonderful dogs, incredibly smart and ridiculously affectionate. Some of them need more work than others, but anyone who says they’re “inherently” dangerous has obviously never met a good one. And there are lots of good ones.
“But if all you see when you look at them are the cropped ears and the muscular bodies and all the teeth — regardless of whether or not they’re showing off that famous pit bull smile — and because of the way they look decide they’re not worth getting to know, you’re just as ignorant as all the suburbanites who think Baltimore is nothing but vacant houses and drug dealers.”
Written by Erin Harty, the letter makes some excellent points about stereotyping and judging by looks — points that shouldn’t be lost on Rodricks, who has been able to look beneath the gruff exteriors and even bad behavior of convicts and ex-convicts and see some redeeming traits. It’s a shame he can’t bring himself to do the same when it comes to pit bulls, the vast majority of which have not engaged in any bad behavior. And won’t.
The Maryland SPCA’s executive director, Aileen Gabbey, voiced disappointment with Rodrick’s remarks and the court of appeals decision.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is no accurate way to measure and determine which breeds are more likely to bite. These legitimate agencies also state that any data collected relating to dog bites has high potential for error,” she wrote in a letter to the editor.
“Mr. Rodricks’ opinions certainly won’t damper the success of the MD SPCA’s 17th March for the Animals. Thousands of dog owners and dog breeds of all kinds safely came together to have fun while helping the homeless dogs in our community.”
Of greater concern to pit bull owners is the court of appeals ruling, and its possible ramifications.
The Humane Society of the United States said in a in a press release that it plans to work with Maryland dog advocates and members of the legislature to develop “rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state after the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision fundamentally changing longstanding liability rules relating to pit bull and mixed pit bull dogs.”
The court decision focuses on liability. Under previous case law, a victim intending to file a lawsuit after a dog attack had to prove that a dog’s owner, or landlord, knew it had a history of being dangerous. Now, under the new precedent it set, the filer of a lawsuit merely has to show that the owner knew their dog was all or part pit bull. That would be sufficient basis for a claim.
Betsy McFarland, HSUS vice president, said the court overstepped its authority.
“A seismic shift in Maryland law of this nature should be undertaken by the legislature, not judges. The legislature should conduct appropriate fact-finding and hearings, consider the available science, and make a measured, non-emotional decision on this important policy issue.
“We encourage advocates to call their state legislators to respectfully voice their concerns, and urge them to work with advocates on legislation in the next session that provides rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state.
“The Humane Society of the United States’ companion animals department is in communication with shelters and rescues, and will be looking for ways to support them as they consider the ramifications of this decision.”
(Photo: Jasmine, one of Michael Vick’s former fighting pit bulls, who ended up in Baltimore, and was featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story about Vick’s dogs overcoming their inhumane treatment at human hands)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anger, animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, banned, bashing, columnist, court, court of appeals, dan rodricks, dangerous, decision, dogs, four legged time bombs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inherently, maryland spca, media, news, newspaper, opinion, petitions, pets, pit bull, pit bull lovers, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, public, response, responses, ruling, vick dogs
“They have a reputation for vicious mauling,” he says in the first paragraph of his Monday column, written after serving as a judge in a costume contest that was part of last weekend’s Maryland SPCA March for the Animals.
That makes me wonder — not just about the SPCA’s choice in judges, but whether The Sun has changed its slogan. I’ve been away. Is it “Light for Some” now? “Light for Purebreds?” “Light for erroneous stereotypes?”
First off, if I may shed some light for all, it’s the news media (always so easy to blame) that accounts, in large part, for the pit bull’s undeserved bad reputation — along with fear mongering politicians.
Rodricks further trashes that reputation, calling pit bulls, among other things, “four-legged time bombs” — and at a time when much of the country, with exceptions like the Maryland Court of Appeals, is waking up to how wrong that stereotype is.
“Until they are banned outright, pit bulls should not be allowed in public, and their ownership should bear heavy, legal responsibility,” Rodricks wrote, adding that he was “pleased” with the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling declaring pit bulls and pit bull mixes “inherently dangerous.”
Rodricks talked about his admiration for the Maryland SPCA and its efforts to shelter and find home for dogs. And he praised the annual March for the Animals, saying the spectacle of people walking their pets around Druid Lake was “inspiring — city life at its top.”
If only there weren’t pit bulls in the crowd:
“The pit bulls make it weird … Of course, the pit bulls are all tethered or chained to their owners, and, given the nature of the event, you generally assume that the men and women who participate are responsible and educated pet owners; altruistic, too. Many adopted these animals to provide them a home and train them toward good behavior. They believe mistreatment of the pit bull by ignorant humans is the problem, not the breed itself.”
He then conveys the following misinformation:
“The evidence shows clearly that such attacks are disproportionate to the number of pit bulls in society, that they inflict far more damage than other dogs, and that their attacks are associated with a higher risk of death. Pit bull jaws are three times stronger than those of a German (shepherd).”
The appeals court ruling — delving as it does into pit bull attacks over history, or at least attacks police attributed to pit bulls — “makes clear, if it wasn’t already, that pit bulls are four-legged time bombs,” Rodricks says
As you might expect, Rodricks is now getting the vicious mauling he feared might occur if he got too close to a pit bull — from readers.
You can find their comments here.
(Photo: From TheBullyBreedBlog.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, ban, breed-specific, breeds, columnist, costume contest, dan rodricks, dangerous, discrimination, dogs, images, inherent, judge, March for the Animals, maryland, maryland court of appeals, maryland spca, news media, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, reputation, restrict, ruling, stereotypes
Until the last couple of weeks, Dan Rubin was among that minority of Americans who don’t let their pets into bed with them.
That’s right, I said minority, at least according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), which earlier this year released the results of a survey showing nearly half of dog owners and 62 percent of cat owners share their beds with their pets.
That’s a pretty stunning figure — one that shows not just our increasing closeness to our pets, but our willingness to proudly admit it, even to survey-taking strangers inquiring about our bedroom habits.
But back to Dan (which is how his dog Harley is sometimes sleeping nowadays).
Dan is a friend of mine, a former colleague and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist who never got into the practice of laying down with dogs, at least not in bed. He’s a dog lover, but he’s also a sleep lover, and the latter is more easily accomplished without a 113-pound dog squirming about, he notes.
A couple of weeks ago, Harley, his five-year-old bouvier des Flandres, had leg surgery, Dan explained in his Monday column. And his vet declared stairs off limits for eight weeks.
That meant lonely nights for Harley, who — though not allowed in bed — was accustomed to at least sleeping on the same floor as his family.
Dan’s wife, Mimi, wasn’t about to let that happen. She announced she would sleep downstairs with Harley. Dan, like a dog, followed.
They moved all the furniture out of the TV room and replaced it with a futon mattress, then made a sleeping area for Harley, adjacent to it, topped with his favorite blanket.
But the first night, Dan found Harley on his pillow. A few nights later, Harley settled down on Mimi’s pillow, and they decided there was room for all three, kind of, even with the huge plastic cone Harley has to wear around his neck:
” … He has to wear one of those plastic lamp shades – at the vet’s they called it an Elizabethan collar. It’s about the size of a satellite dish, and he knocks about in the dark with the grace of a rutting Triceratops.”
Harley had surgery for a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. It involved planing the tibia and making a mechanical adjustment so his bones hinge without requiring the support of the damaged ligament, Dan explained.
With Dan’s man cave temporarily converted into a man/wife/dog cave, Dan says he has had to make sacrifices:
“…We can’t watch baseball in bed because Harley likes to rush the screen every time he sees a pitcher go into his windup. Best I can tell, he thinks they’ve got his ball.”
We wish Harley a full and speedy recovery. And we sincerely hope Dan doesn’t give him fleas.
Photo: Courtesy of Dan Rubin
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american pet products association, animals, bed, bouvier des flandres, columnist, dan rubin, dogs, harley, health, pets, philadelphia inquirer, recovery, sharing, sleeping, sleeping with dogs, surgery, veterinary
But the odd part of this story came at the nine-day mark, when Lacy’s owner, Jamie Brill, who’d been searching for days with her boyfriend, spotted her dog in a field, through a pair of binoculars.
Lacy was standing next to two adult whitetail does and two fawns.
“Mark handed me the binoculars and said, ‘Do you believe this?’ I looked, and Lacy was licking the head of one of the fawns,” Brill told Lansing State Journal columnist John Schneider.
When Brill tried calling Lacy from afar, she didn’t budge, remaining instead with the deer.
Brill, stationed with the U.S. Navy in Grand Rapids, rolled her Mini Cooper on Interstate 96 on Aug. 11. Her two dogs – Lacy and Koko – were in the car. Brill was taken to the hospital. Koko was taken to a veterinarian, and Lacy ran off.
Two days after Lacy was spotted hobnobbing with the deer, Schneider, the newspaper columnist, got a call from a man who had spotted Lacy — whose disappearance by then had become a big story.
Schneider called Brill in Grand Rapids, and she called a Lansing veterinarian who had been involved in the search and agreed to check out the sighting.
Veterinarian Leslie Ortlieb drove to the vacant house and on its porch saw Lacy, who was described as being a skittish sort even before the accident.
But Ortlieb apparently said the right words: “Do you want to go see Koko?”
The Great Dane walked up to her and got into her car.
Lacy was emaciated and had a small cut on her leg, but otherwise appeared in good health.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, columnist, deer, dogs, found, great dane, jamie brill, john schneider, lacy, lansing state journal, lost, michigan, pets, returned, reunited, search
I had one the other day — the feeling that fate had led me to turn onto an isolated country road in Virginia; that it was meant for me to drive down that road; and that, by doing so, I would end up meeting one of my idols, Tom Wicker, the famous writer.
It all started with a wasp. Heading north to Richmond on State Highway 10, south of Hopewell, I looked into the rearview mirror to check on Ace and noticed there was what appeared to be a wasp on what appeared to be the inside of the back window.
I pulled off on the first side road I came to — Wards Creek Road — and popped my back window open so it could get out. I was getting back into the car when I noticed a sign saying that this particular portion of country road was adopted by Tom and Cookie Wicker.
If they were picking up trash along the road, surely they must live on it, I figured, and just maybe, maybe even probably, it was THE Tom Wicker.
I called my father, who was a friend of Wicker’s long ago. Tom Wicker, both my parents have told me, used to bounce me on his knee when I was a baby. I didn’t really want to be bounced again, but how cool would it be, after all these years, to drop in out of nowhere and say hello?
“Does Tom Wicker live in Virginia?” I asked. He didn’t know. “Is he married to a woman named Cookie?” He wasn’t sure of that, either. Cookie sounded like an author’s wife’s name to me, though. Virginia seemed a likely place for Tom Wicker, born in Hamlet, N.C., to live. Perhaps I was destined to meet Tom Wicker again.
I drove along the road, picked the most impressive looking driveway and turned down it. It led to multiple houses. At the first house, I had stopped when a pick-up truck pulled up. I asked the man inside where Tom Wicker lived. Tom Wicker, I was told, lives at the very end of the long gravel driveway.
The driveway grew ruttier and narrower as I proceeded, but I decided it was worth the possible payoff. This is the sort of place Tom Wicker would live, I reasoned, on a secluded country estate. Writers need their solitude.
At the end of the driveway, there was a modest home, and a mastiff, who started barking. I waited in the car, figuring that Tom Wicker, hearing the noise, would step outside.
And out he came — not Tom Wicker, the writer of numerous books about politics and presidents. Not the author of ”A Time to Die,” about the Attica riots, my personal favorite. Not the Tom Wicker who grilled politicians, hobnobbed with presidents, and whose writing served as inspiration to me. Not the Tom Wicker who bounced me on his knee.
Instead, it was Tom Wicker, the retired nuclear plant worker.
A little wary at first — and who could blame him? – this Tom Wicker listened with curiosity as I explained how I ended up parked in his side yard. He remembered reading Tom Wicker’s columns in the New York Times, but said he was no relation.
As we talked, his dog — Lula was her name — kept her eyes on me. I asked to meet her, knelt down and called her name. Nervously and slowly, she approached, sniffed my hand and let me pet her. Then she spotted Ace, who had climbed up into the driver’s seat and was leaning out the window. She walked over to my car and touched noses with him.
I didn’t go so far as to let Ace out, or even suggest it, as I felt I had intruded enough on Tom and Cookie Wicker — Cookie also having come out into the yard by then.
Lula, two years old, originally belonged to Tom and Cookie Wicker’s daughter but she found two mastiffs too much for her mobile home and gave Lula to her parents.
But, I’ve decided, one should not stop mid-whim and Google. One should not let Google spoil an adventure, even if that adventure is based on a misconception. We don’t want the world to become a place where Google – useful as it is — does all our seeking and searching for us, where we get so used to turning first to the computer that we fail to explore and savor the real world.
Had I done that, I wouldn’t have met Tom or Cookie or Lula.
Besides, Tom and Cookie Wicker gave me a parting gift — two tomatoes from their garden.
They were red, ripe, juicy — and real.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a time to die, ace, ace does america, author, books, columnist, cookie, dog's country, dogscountry, fate, google, hunches, lula, new york times, quest, road trip, roads, search, seeking, tom, tom wicker, virginia, wicker, writer
It seems I wasn’t the only one to disagree with “Dear Abby’s” recent opinion that throwing the bagged poopage of your dog into someone else’s garbage can was acceptable.
“I’m sorry to say my advice … landed me in the doghouse,” the columnist noted earlier this week.
Back in September, Abby advised “Pooped Out in North Carolina” — who was getting the business from his family after tossing his dog’s bagged feces in a neighbor’s garbage can — that “as long as the bag was securely sealed, I don’t think adding it to someone’s trash bin was a social no-no.”
ohmidog! quickly pounced on Abby for dispensing such bad advice. It’s bad manners and, worse yet, gives the anti-dog types something else to complain about.
As it turns out, we weren’t alone. Many others disagreed with Abby, and a sampling of those opinions were included in her column Monday.
“DEAR ABBY: … As a homeowner who is a frequent recipient of foreign feces, there is a practical issue that you may not have foreseen. Our garbage collectors will not dispose of small bags of dog poop; they will only take trash bags of the larger size one would expect to contain household waste,” wrote Frequent Feces Finder.
“DEAR ABBY: You should have told “Pooped” to check the local laws first. In my community, if you’re caught putting your trash in someone else’s container, you are made to clean it out, fined and sometimes given jail time,” wrote Tom in Reed City, Michigan.
“DEAR ABBY: We walk our dogs four times a day and place their carefully bagged “deposits” only in the trash at our house. We do this for two reasons: One, people can be territorial about their refuse containers and resent any ‘unauthorized’ garbage placed there. Two, many homeowners hate finding animal waste on their property or in their trash,” opined Picker-Upper in California.
(Photo from the flickr page of left-hand)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, advice, animals, bags, cans, columnist, dear abby, dog, dogs, feces, garbage, manners, pets, poop, pooped, property, refuse, responsibility, responsible, trash, waste
Columnist Ronnie Polaneczky paid a touching tribute to her dog, Blackie, in yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News.
Blackie, a female border collie-Labrador mix, died on Sunday evening after a sudden illness.
“I was so overcome with tears as she died, I was unable to properly tell her all the ways that her life had made mine better,” Polaneczky wrote. “So this is my thank-you letter to Blackie, the first dog I ever called my own.”
Nine years ago, Daily New columnist Stu Bykofsky offered her the dog, which he had taken in after finding it abandoned in South Philly. Here’s an excerpt from Polaneczky’s column:
“Thank you for tolerating the way we claimed that you had magic ‘healing powers.’ See, not long after you came into our lives, we discovered that our daughter’s bumps and scrapes didn’t hurt her so much once we had her press the injured area into your warm, shaggy coat. Soon, she was telling her young friends to use your powers when they were hurt, too.
“Over time, we realized that those powers were not a parent-created myth but a true ability. When my husband and I were distressed about something, you’d sense our upset and quietly lean against us in solemn comfort.
“Thank you for letting us dress you as a bee on Halloween.
“Thank you for never – ever – chewing our shoes into jerky.
“Thank you for having a gentle spirit that belied your fierce appearance. The first time my husband took you to the schoolyard to retrieve our daughter from kindergarten, a few of the parents pulled their children away in fear of your wolfish looks. Within moments, you were sprawled on your back, a portrait of maternal contentment as a dozen tiny hands rubbed up and down on your belly.
“Thank you for your tolerance of your four-legged housemates. You put up with one prickly cat until his death at 19. You endured the addition of two kittens, who tried to nurse at your row of tiny teats. And then you gamely allowed the latest member of the family, a tiny Yorkie with a brain the size of an M&M, to use your belly like a trampoline, grabbing at your ears and snout while you lolled placidly on the floor.
“Through all of it, you’d look at us with world-weary affection, as if to say, ‘These little ones, eh? Waddya gonna do?’
“We were there with you at the end, at Penn’s veterinary hospital, to sob goodbyes and stroke your soft, dark fur as you peacefully slipped away from us. The doctor had told us that the illness in your lungs was slowly suffocating you and had caused an en
Posted by jwoestendiek September 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blackie, column, columnist, death, dog, dogs, letter, news, newspaper, pets, philadelphia, philadelphia daily news, ronnie polaneczky, thank you
“Two dogs died in the name of sport this week, and this time it wasn’t Michael Vick’s fault.”
So begins an Associated Press commentary by national sports columnist Tim Dahlberg that recounts the final hours of Dizzy and Grasshopper, two members of musher Lou Packer’s team. The two were among three dogs that died in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
“Listen to race supporters and they’ll tell you that, unlike Vick’s dogs, the 5-year-old huskies died doing what they loved. Read the official Iditarod Web site and you’ll find out that sled dogs are pampered and loved by their masters…”
On the other hand, Dahlberg wrote, “They don’t have a problem with chaining up big packs of dogs and running them to within an inch of their life for sport. They accept the fact that the Iditarod is a part of the state’s heritage, and its biggest sporting event. A lot of us in the Lower 48, though, just don’t get it.”
He goes on to ask the question on the minds of many animal right activists: “How many dog deaths are reasonable? How many more must die before the fun is finally sucked out of the sport?”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, animals, arthritis, associated press, barbara hodges, column, columnist, commentary, damage, deaths, dogs, exxon mobil corp., health, humane, humane society, iditarod, lungs, race, sled dogs, sponsors, sports, stress, tradition, ulcers, wells fargo