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
Former state senator Tom Hayden urged California Gov. Jerry Brown not to repeal a state law that requires shelters to keep dogs and cats six days before euthanizing them.
Hayden posted a video online urging Gov. Brown – an avowed dog lover who features his Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Sutter, on the official governor’s website – to take a look at his own dog before repealing the legislation.
“Governor, I see you’re a dog owner. I can tell from the publicity that you love that dog, your wife loves that dog,” said Hayden, who wrote the 1998 bill while he was in the senate. ”So stop and think: Thousands of dogs and cats are put to death needlessly every year … I urge you to look at your dog before you allow this bill that protects animals to die.”
The law lengthened the time animal shelters must hold stray animals before euthanizing them, generally from three days to six days. Its edicts were suspended by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009.
The shelter law is one of about 30 local government mandates Gov. Brown is proposing to repeal next fiscal year to save money, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The state estimates it would save about $46 million from the shelter mandate alone.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal, animal welfare, animals, budget, california, cats, corgi, crisis, dogs, euthanasia, governor, holding period, jerry brown, law, mandate, measure, pembroke, pets, plea, repeal, repealing, shelters, six days, sutter, three days, tom hayden, video, welsh corgi
The dog, named Ole, was with Dave Gaillard, 44, of Bozeman, when he was buried by an avalanche while skiing with his wife, Kerry, on Saturday. Kerry, who hung onto a tree to avoid being swept away, survived.
Search and rescue personnel saw no sign of Ole at the site, and it was thought he had been buried in the slide, the Billings Gazette reported.
Apparently, though, he managed to dig his way out — no small feat for any dog, let alone a Corgi. After that, amid temperatures in the teens, the stubby-legged dog managed to find his way back to the motel, four miles away,
Officials said the dog arrived at the Alpine Motel in Cooke City and took a seat at the door of the room the Gaillard’s had occupied four days earlier.
The dog’s return provided a bright spot for the grieving family, according to Gallatin National Forest officials who investigated the incident.
Cooke City businessman Bill Whittle, who drove the dog back to his family on Wednesday, said Ole appeared to be in good condition.
When he first approached the dog, Whittle said, Ole was scared. But when he called his name, he came right over. Whittle was a member of the search and rescue crew that helped retrieve Gaillard’s body.
Gaillard’s death was the second avalanche related death in the area over the weekend.
“We needed this,” Whittle said of the dog’s survival. “It kind of cheered everyone up.”
(Photo: Gaillard’s daughter, with Ole and Whittle, Billings Gazette)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, avalanche, bozeman, corgi, dave gaillard, dead, deaths, dog, dogs, gallatin national forest, killed, montana, motel, ole, owner, pets, presumed, rescue, resurfaces, returns, reunion, search, welsh corgi
Age: 2 1/2 years
Breed: Corgi-Chow mix
Encountered: At Washington Park, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Backstory: Ace and I were visiting Winston-Salem’s dog park when Bailey came trotting in — a demure little thing with a pretty close to ground level view of the world.
Built like a fire hydrant with short stocky legs and a neck as big as her head, she was adopted by her owner from the Forsyth County Humane Society a couple of years ago.
Despite being short of stature, she had no trouble leaping a foot-high barrier, and, with two more leaps, jumping up on a picnic table, at which point she towered over Ace and all the other dogs, who she seemed content to lay there and watch.
Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of Travels With Ace. To see them all, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bailey, breeds, chow, corgi, dog, dog park, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, enounter, mix, mixed breeds, mutt, north carolina, pets, photography, roadside, roadside encounters, travels with ace, washington park, winston-salem
Breed: Corgi-golden retriever mix
Encountered: Two rooms down from mine at a Motel 6 in Tucson.
Backstory: Sugar and her human had one more day at a Motel 6 before catching flights home to Edmonton, Alberta. They’d come south to spend Thanksgiving with friends in Patagonia, Arizona. Sugar was flying home on Continental, but her owner on another airline, because Continental’s human fare was a bit steep.
Sugar welcomed us when we arrived, came into our room, and even tried out the bed.
If you’re wondering why the shadow in the photo seems to be larger than the dog pictured, it’s because it belongs to Ace, who, as you might guess, was pretty sweet on Sugar.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, breeds, corgi, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, golden retriever, motel 6, pets, roadside encounter, roadside encounters, sugar, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, tucson
The fatal shooting of a dog during a February SWAT team raid in Columbia, Missouri, has prompted the police department to change its policies, Chief Ken Burton said at a news conference Thursday.
You might guess he was talking about the department’s dog-shooting policy, which, judging from this video, seems to be shoot first, shoot some more, and ask questions later.
But no. After killing a family’s pit bull, wounding their Welsh corgi, and terrorizing the suspect’s wife and child — in a bust that netted a mere palmful of marijuana — the police department has revamped department policy so that there won’t be lags between the time they obtain a search warrant and the time they, stormtrooper style, bust into homes.
Burton said the department moved slowly in Whitworth’s case because the SWAT team is made up of part-time members who hold other jobs within the department.
The fact that officer killed one of the suspect’s dogs, intentionally, and wounded another, accidentally — while the incident is still being investigated internally — seems, to him, of little import.
Burton said the pit bull was acting aggressively, and he defended the actions of the officers involved, according to The Missourian.
The suspect, Jonathan Whitworth, pleaded guilty on April 20 to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia and was fined $300.
Subsequently, the police video was released and found its way onto YouTube, prompting a surge of protests from animal activists.
“We’re getting death threats from literally all over the world,” Burton said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, columbia, complaints, corgi, death threats, dog, drugs, family, home, investigation, law enforcement, marijuana, missouri, news, ohmidog!, pets, pit bull, police, raid, response, shoot, shot, swat, swat team, video
TMZ is reporting that Jennifer Aniston’s dog, Norman, escaped from her Malibu home over the weekend, and was found and returned by a photographer. What’s more, the photographer saved the dog from walking into traffic, TMZ said.
Aniston, now appearing in Marley & Me, is shown here with Norman, a corgi-terrier, in a 2005 Elle magazine spread.
A video posted on TMZ.com shows a paparazzo taking the dog back to Aniston’s home. No comment yet on the incident from Aniston.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: corgi, dog, escapes, jennifer aniston, jennifer aniston's dog, malibu, norman, paparazzi, paparazzo, photographer, puparazzi, returns, terrier, tmz
1. Akeeter. Because of his curly tail, my dog Ace is often suspected to have some of this Japanese breed in his mix. As in, “He got any Akeeter in ‘em?”
2. Burmese Mountain Dog. Alas, these behemoths are not from Burma, but a section of Switzerland that is also home to the Bernese Alps. Not the Alpos, the Alps.
3. Datsun. A few months back I saw a sign posted on a light pole by a family that was having to find a new home for their “Datsun,” which was good with children and up to date on its shots.
4. Great Dames. I’ve known a few, and none were dogs. I don’t think they were Danes, either.
5. Rock Wilder. I’ve had several people tell me that my dog appears to have some “Rock Wilder” in him. They’re correct about that part, at least — if not the porn star-sounding name of the breed.
6. Saint Barnyard. Protectors of all the cows, pigs, goats and chickens? Hay, that can’t be right.
7. Snoozers. You’ve got your standard Snoozers and your miniature Snoozers. Most of the miniature ones I’ve known, however, don’t snooze much, or allow anyone else to, either.
8. Sharpie. It’s Shar-Pei, not Sharpie. Make a note of it.
9. Rhyme-a-whiner/Wisenheimer. I had one of these sleek, silver-grey, highstrung dogs while growing up, and while she did sometimes whine, she was, bless her heart, anything but wise.
10. Welch Corky. No, it’s not what keeps the grape juice in the bottle. It’s the dog breed that got short-changed when they were handing out the legs — the Welsh Corgi.
Monday: The hardest-to-pronounce dog breed of all.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 4th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akita, bernese mountain dog, corgi, dachsund, datsun, dog breeds, great danes, mispronounced, mispronounciation, rock wilder, rottweiler, saint barnyard, saint bernard, schnauzer, shar-pei, sharpie, snoozer, weimaraner