When Red’s hind legs went bad, Mike Mallory started using his.
Mallory — who suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car crash in 2001 and lives mostly on disability benefits he receives in Billings, Montana — learned last year his 5-year-old red heeler needed the anterior cruciate ligament in his left hind leg replaced.
Mallory was unable to afford the $3,000 surgery, but told a local veterinary hospital “I’ll figure something out.”
Dr. Ken Brown at the Animal Clinic of Billings agreed to give Red the operation he needed, and worry about the bill later.
Now, between Mallory’s fund-raising on the streets, and some friends who have helped him get donations over the Internet, enough money has been raised to pay the bill for fixing Red’s left hind leg.
Yesterday, though, Red was back at the vet to get the same procedure — on his right hind leg.
The surgery was performed in January, and the vet warned Mallory at the time that Red’s other hind leg would, sooner or later, need the same procedure.
Red reported to the vet’s office yesterday for that, and once again the clinic said it would do the surgery and worry about the payments later.
For most of the year Mallory has been carting Red around Billings in the wagon. “Walking for Red” is the name of a campaign he created to cover the surgery costs and raise awareness of pet emergencies.
Meanwhile, a Connecticut woman who learned of Mallory’s efforts has been helping him raise money via Facebook and other websites. “That man would walk across the world for his dog, and I really believe that,” Patty Daponte said.
As Mallory, who admits to having been a bit of a rambler and a loner, explains it, his dog, and the community’s response to his dog’s dilemma, have renewed his sagging faith and showed him there’s good in the world.
He says he was planning to move back home to Virginia and become a hermit living in the mountains, until Red came into his life.
“I’m a better man because of him,” said Mallory. “He’s the most loyal friend I have. He’s made me more caring, more loving and more respectful.”
He was surprised, too, by the support he has received since his dog encountered hard times: “There’s a lot of love in this world,” he said. “I’ve seen that, and I want to see more of it and spread more of it.”
Once Red recovers from his second surgery, Mallory plans to embark on a “walkabout” in which he and Red travel on foot to a yet-to-be-determined city out of the state to continue spreading awareness and raise money for people in similar situations, according to the Gazette.
When a reporter interviewed him earlier this week, Mallory was pulling Red in the bright yellow wagon while picking up trash from the streets.
He sees it as a way to repay the kindness people have shown him over the last few months.
“It’s just one of my ways of paying it forward,” he said. ”I can’t pay it back financially, so I do it this way.”
(Photo: James Woodcock / Billings Gazette)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acl, animal clinic of billings, animals, anterior cruciate ligament, billings, brain injury, cost, disabled, dog, dogs, expense, fundraising, health, heeler, hind, internet, ken brown, leg, mike mallory, montana, patty daponte, pets, pulling, red, red heeler, surgery, veterinary, wagon
Some websites seem to be huffing, wringing their hands and otherwise whining about a new dog park slated to open in 2013 in TriBeCa as part of a series of renovations at Hudson River Park.
They all seem to have decided to call it “a luxury dog park” (though its amenities seem no more than most new dog parks), they’ve all slapped a $6.5 million price tag on it (though that’s the price of all the renovations in this phase of the project, not just the dog section), and they’re all referring to things like water and shade as if they were champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.
If we didn’t know better, we’d think that these websites didn’t know anything about dog parks, and are all just copying what the others are saying.
DNAinfo points out the park will feature separate play spaces for small and large dogs, and have “different sized doggie fountains,” neither of which strike me as luxuries. The park will also feature — and this is a new one on me – gray-blue pavement designed to compensate for dogs’ color blindness.
Business Insider says “other luxury features include a water fixture in the center, similar to fountains children frolic through in other parks, and umbrellas for dogs to find shade in during the summer time, since initially the planted trees will be too young to provide shade.” I’d venture to say that water features aren’t unheard of at dog parks, and that humans will be making use of that shade, too.
Gawker, meanwhile, under a headline that reads “Luxury Water Park for Dogs to Disgust Everyone in New York,” predicts that “Hudson River Park will soon have a million-dollar watered-down-dog-shit fountain, which drunk NYU students will dive into no fewer than three times a week.”
I’m not sure how much of it is anti-dog, or just TriBeCa envy, but the bloggers sure seem to have their knickers in a knot over this one.
Do rich people’s dogs deserve better? No. Should every New York neighborhood get a dog park as nice as this one? Yes. Does a more a basic and natural dog park appeal to be more than this sort of modern-day one with multiple faux features? Absolutely, but then again it’s New York, and there’s not much natural left.
But whatever the case, there’s no reason to let dogs get hurt by the fallout from our class warfare, which is what appears to be at the bottom of all this.
Some members of the Community Board 1′s Waterfront Committee said they thought too much was being spent on the dog park. (Not a single one of the aformentioned reports pinpointed what that figure is.)
The $6.5 million figure is for all the renovations planned on a new two-block section of the park. Those include two curving lawn areas, landscaped bike and walking paths and a flexible open space between Pier 25 and Pier 26 with room for gatherings of up to 2,000 people.
On Pier 26, there are also plans for a boathouse and a restaurant.
Renovations to the Pier 26 area, just one phase of a far broader Hudson River Park project, still need final approval from the Hudson River Trust, which will issue a final decision in January.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blogs, cost, dog park, dog run, dogs, expense, hudson river park, hudson river trust, luxury, media, new york, pets, tribeca, waterfront
A University of Maryland organization called Terps for Animal Welfare is urging Prince George’s County to call a halt to its pit bull ban.
The student organization hosted Best Friends Animal Society staff on campus at the end of March — and since then they’ve been mobilizing to bring an end to a ban that critics described as costly, ineffective and discriminatory.
“The law has a lot of negative effects and not a lot of people know about it,” said Aman Chopra, treasurer of Terps for Animal Welfare.
Members of the organization are speaking out, contacting their county board members and asking them to change the policy, according to an article appearing on Change.org, written by Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends.
“By clinging to its antiquated policy of canine profiling, Prince George’s has blatantly disregarded the recommendations of its own Vicious Animal Task Force, convened in January of 2003, which called the breed specific portion of the ordinance ‘costly and inefficient’ and recommended that the county repeal it.”
As for the costly part, VanKavage says, the county was paying about $68,000 to maintain a pit bull through the entire hearing process, according to old estimates by the county’s own task force.
Today, the county spends $1,137,720 annually to enforce the pit bull ban, according to estimates.
Canine aggression isn’t an issue of breed, she and other experts note; it’s a people issue.
If you’d like to sign the petition to end the breed ban in Prince George’s County, you can find it here.
(Photo from Best Friends)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aman chopra, animal welfare, animals, best friends, best friends animal society, breed bans, breeds, change, cost, discrimination, dogs, effectiveness, ledy vankavage, maryland, petition, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, prince georges county, student organization, terps for animal welfare, university of maryland
A majority of pet owners would pay $500 for life-saving veterinary care, but less than half would fork over $1,000, only a third would spend $2,000, and only about 20 percent would be willing to pay $5,000.
So says an Associated Press-Petside.com poll about the cost of health care for animals, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.
Only at the $500 level were dog owners (74 percent) more likely than cat owners (46 percent) to say they would likely seek treatment. In the higher price ranges, the two are about equally likely to seek vet care.
“Euthanasia is always sad but when finances have to be considered, when you feel there is a possibility you didn’t or couldn’t do the right thing, you feel guilty,” said veterinarian Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. “We are at a point where we are talking about basic life needs or survival needs.”
One in five pet owners said they fret a lot about being unable to afford seeing a vet. Dog owners are more likely to worry than cat owners, and low-income people are among the biggest worriers, which is probably because they have the biggest worries.
About one in four people, or 27 percent, said pet insurance is a good way to save money on vet bills, though only about 5 percent of pet owners actually have it.
The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afford, affording, animals, ap, associated press, care, cats, cost, dogs, euthanasia, expense, health, insurance, medical, news, pet owners, pets, petside.com, poll, spend, spending, surgery, vet, veterinarian, veterinary
The Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case that could create a new precedent for animal lovers who sue over the loss of their dogs.
The lawsuit was filed by a Maryland couple — Sarah and Denis Scheele of Annapolis, whose mixed-breed dog “Shadow” was fatally shot in 2003, according to an ABC News report.
Lewis Dustin, 76, of Northfield, Vt., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and was given a year probation. He also was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay $4,000 to the Scheeles for the costs of adoption, medical bills and cremation.
The Scheeles, however, say that doesn’t come close to covering the emotional cost inflicted by the incident and the loss of companionship.
“Shadow was our little boy, our son, our child,” Sarah Scheele wrote on her website JusticeforShadow.com. “We loved him as if he were our own flesh and blood.”
The couple filed a civil suit against Dustin in 2006, arguing that the dog was more than “mere property.”
The incident occurred during the Scheeles’ July 2003 visit to relatives in Northfield, Vt., a small town south of Montpelier. Shadow wandered into the neighboring yard of Dustin, who fired an air pellet rifle at the dog to scare him off his property.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, annapolis, cost, courts, denis scheele, dog, dogs, emotional, family, justice for shadow, justiceforshadow.com, killed, law, lewis dustin, loss, maryland, northfield, pets, property, rifle, sarah scheele, shadow, shot, supreme court, vermont
So the good news is, should the recession force you to turn to dog food, it will be both palatable and good for you. The bad news is you probably won’t be able to afford it, either.
Researchers provided 18 volunteers five food samples to try in a blind taste test – all blended to the same pate-like consistency and topped with parsley: duck liver mousse, pork liver pate, liverwurst, spam and Newman’s Own-brand organic Canned Turkey & Chicken Formula (for Puppies/Active Dogs).
Only three testers were able to identify the canine food. Eight participants believed the liverwurst was the dog food, and four picked Spam as the culprit. Two people identified the pork liver pate as dog food, and one identified the duck liver mousse as dog food.
Given what’s gone on with dog food in recent years, the test results aren’t really that surprising. In the last few years, organic dog food made with human-grade free range meat and fresh vegetables has jumped in popularity, and some dog food companies have humans taste test them. There are lots of dog foods on the market that are probably better for you than some of the stuff on the human food shelves. Paul Newman himself took a big bite of his dog food on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2006 to demonstrate its wholesome goodness.
The far weirder part of this story is what the wine industry is doing running dog food tests.
“We have this idea in our head that dog food won’t taste good and that we would be able to identify it, but it turns out that is not the case,” said Robin Goldstein, a co-author of the study.
Goldstein said the tasting demonstrated that “context plays a huge role in taste and value judgment,” even though researchers warned the participants that one of the five foods they were going to taste was dog food.
Which is a fancy way of saying, with proper packaging and marketing, and if you charge way too much for it, a product will sell no matter how crappy it really is.
The authors of the report conclude that: “Although human beings do not enjoy eating dog food, they are also not able to distinguish its flavor profile from other meat-based products that are intended for human consumption.” Even though most couldn’t identify it, 72 percent of those in the study rated the dog food the worst-tasting of the five.
The study didn’t look at what wine goes best with dog food, but I would recommend a nice merlot with canned, and perhaps a sauvignon blanc with kibble.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: association, canine, canned, context, cost, distinguish, dog food, duck liver mousse, eating, food, human food, humans, jay leno, liverwurst, marketing, newman's own, organic, packaging, pate, paul newman, pork liver, price, recession, spam, taste, taste test, tonight show, wine economists, wine inddustry
If you’re a Chihuahua these days, you take the good with the bad. They’re the topic of a soon-to-be-released major movie, devoted to their churlish, tenacious and persnickety ways. But they’ve also taken some raps in recent studies.
First came this one — designating Chihuahua’s second only to dachsunds on a list of the most aggressive dog breeds. The study rated the aggression level of 33 breeds and concluded smaller breeds might be more genetically predisposed towards aggressive behavior.
Now, a study by Esure, a British pet insurer, has ranked them second again — this time to Great Danes — in terms of destructiveness.
According to the survey, Chihuahuas destroy $1,376 dollars worth of stuff during their lifetimes, compared to $1,420 dollars for Great Danes.
Bulldogs, dachshunds and beagles also made the top 10, with pugs, saint bernards and pointers among the least ruinous, according to an article about the study.
The survey of more than 3,000 UK dog owners found the items most often damaged were soft furnishings and electrical goods – used as makeshift chew toys – and vases and lights, knocked over by wagging tails.
Most of the damage was done during puppyhood, according to the study, which concluded a dog’s size had little bearing on its wrecking ability.
So, take note — and take a pointer, Weimaraner, or Rottweiler – all you apartment owners, hotels managers and others who set an arbitrary weight limit on the dogs you allow. Size, at least in this particular area, doesn’t matter.
And take note, too, all those who might fall into the trap of rashly getting a Chihuahua when the movie propels the breed into even more of a fad. Make sure you’re willing to invest the time. And money. Chihuahua’s are also atop another list, as the most expensive breed of dog to maintain.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 14th, 2008 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggression, beverly hills chihuahua, big dogs, chihuahuas, cost, dachsunds, damage, destruction, esure, great danes, insurance, movie, research, study
A Wall Street Journal columnist posed that question recently after hearing from a “sizable” pack of angry readers who took him to task for lamenting how much of his paycheck was being gobbled up by medical care for his dogs.
Neal Templin, author of the Journal’s “Cheapskate” column, focused on his beagle in the original column, and recent vet visits that set him back more than $1,000 each — one of which was to treat his dog for injuries received after he escaped from home and was hit by a car.
“Your dog-owning incompetence is matched only by your lack of journalistic and personal integrity in not taking responsibility for … allowing the dog to escape in the first place,” one reader wrote Templin. “If your dog liked you he probably wouldn’t escape or howl.”
Templin noted that dogs are becoming family — not just backyard denizens.
“When I grew up in the 1960s, you took your dog to the vet for shots or perhaps to have a broken leg set. But if a dog got really sick, it died.
“It’s different today. Vets do aggressive cancer surgery and hip replacements. They pump dogs full of expensive drugs for various maladies. In short, dogs get many of the same procedures we humans get. But it’s not cheap, and if it’s anything like human medicine, it’s going to get more expensive as vets take increasingly sophisticated and heroic measures to keep dogs alive.”
So the answer to the question Templin poses in his aptly-named column depends not on the dog, but on the human that owns it — and on that human’s priorities.
“There are many who think burning 18 grand to keep a dog around for six or 12 extra months is madness,” a Massachusettshe man wrote. “Sometimes I think so, too. But my wife died from lymphoma two years ago, and I have no children. What am I going to do, buy a bigger television set?”