A deaf boxer in Florida is helping abused children be heard, by helping them get through the trauma of testifying in court.
Karl, a 5-year-old therapy dog, was born deaf, but that might actually assist him in calmly and quietly performing his duties with the Orange County K-9th Circuit Program.
“He doesn’t hear all the noise,” said Karl’s owner and trainer Joanne Hart-Rittenhouse told News 13. “So he’s not going to react to yelling, banging, all the other things that can happen during a case.”
Karl’s presence helps children summon the courage to face the microphone and speak — usually as the accused watches.
“One of the questions a child had asked me, the person who had hurt her that was in the courtroom with her, If he comes over and tries to hurt me, will Karl protect me?’
“I doubt very much that he would do anything,” Hart-Rittenhouse said. “But if that’s what made the child feel better, then absolutely, he’s going to protect you.”
“Most of them won’t testify, won’t go through a deposition, if they don’t have a dog beside them,” she added.
Karl’s owner stays in the courtroom, hearing the testimony that Karl will never hear, and Karl stays available to the children even after the court case is over.
“We’ll be there as long as the child wants Karl to stay in their life,” Hart-Rittenhouse said. “He’s helped a lot of children.”
Karl is one of six therapy dogs providing support through the non-profit Companions for Courage that works in courtrooms and hospitals.
The Ninth Circuit is the first Florida circuit to utilize both pet therapy dog teams and professionally trained handlers.
(Photos: Amanda McKenzie, News 13)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 15th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, boxer, cases, children, companions for courage, courage, court, courts, deaf, dogs, florida, k-9th circuit program, karl, orange county, orlando, pets, prosecutors, support, testify, testifying, testimony, trauma, trials, victims
A blind, deaf, elderly poodle who went missing from her home in North Carolina a month ago was to be reunited with her family today after being found on the side of a road in Massachusetts.
Coco, a white miniature poodle, was flown to Johnston County’s airport Sunday morning by Pilots N Paws, a non-profit group of pilots and plane owners around the country who fly rescued, shelter and foster animals to new homes.
Today, her owner, Toby Brooks of Concord, N.C., was scheduled to drive to Clayton, in Johnston County, to pick her up.
According to Brooks, she let Coco out into the yard one day last month and, a minute later, she had disappeared. Coco wasn’t wearing a tag and was not microchipped.
They were still searching for her when Coco turned up 770 miles away.
On Aug. 9, in the small, central Massachusetts town of Belchertown, an animal control officer received a tip about a stray poodle on the road and picked her up, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.
Anna Kuralt-Fenton, an animal control officer in Belchertown, said she later posted a picture of the dog on the department’s Facebook page.
After that, the department received a call from someone in Belchertown who said their neighbor had picked a small dog up from the side of the road while traveling in North Carolina and brought it home.
She said the neighbor, who she wouldn’t identify, realized she couldn’t care for the dog and left her on the street.
Kuralt-Fenton got back on the Internet to try and find the dog’s owners, and began networking with animal control officers in North Carolina.
One of them, Angela Lee, an animal control officer in Clayton, began posting photos of Coco on lost and found dog sites, and that’s when she got an email from Coco’s owner.
Veterinary records confirmed the dog found in Massachusetts was Coco.
Kuralt-Fenton went on to help arrange Coco’s flight back to North Carolina, and Lee was there when the plane landed.
“I can’t believe I’m crying,” Lee said, “This isn’t even my dog.”
Lee kept the dog until today.
“I pick up a lot of dogs that are never re-claimed,” she said. “This is the best feeling ever to know she’s going to be home. That’s where she needs to be.”
(Photo: Clayton Animal Control Officer Angela Lee holds Coco shortly after the dog was flown back to North Carolina, by Lil Condo / News & Observer)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angela lee, animal control, animals, anna kuralt-fenton, belchertown, blind, coco, concord, deaf, dogs, found, johnston county, lost, massachusetts, miniature, north carolina, pets, pilots n paws, poodle, reunion, reunited
A deaf pit bull from North Carolina has a new home with a deaf woman in Niagara Falls.
Jessica Czamara read about Maggie on Facebook after the neglected dog was rescued from a backyard in North Carolina, where she’d been kept chained.
“She was very skinny and you could see her ribs and you could see where she sat all the time on the concrete, said Maria Sansone with Diamonds in the Ruff. “All the hair was worn off of the back of her legs.”
A friend of Czamara spotted the dog on the rescue organization’s Facebook page, and referred her to the post.
“I feel like I could relate to the dog because I’m deaf, and the dog is deaf,” Czamara told WGRZ in Buffalo. “There are some things that the dog does that we do in the deaf community.”
Czamara is teaching Maggie commands in sign language and says she’s responding well, and Maggie’s getting along fine with her other dog, Champ.
“It’s amazing,” said Kate Stephens with Educate-a-Bull, which assisted in getting Maggie relocated. “It’s absolutely amazing to see pictures of her intially and then bring her up on transport and take her out and meet her .. and to see her so well fitted to her new family, her home and her new brother.”
Stephens said the dog’s former owner had “all but forgotten her and left her out there and hadn’t bothered to name her because she was deaf.”
Now Maggie’s got a name, a home, and a human companion who probably understands her better than most.
“To get her attention, I have to pat her or wave to her,” Czamara said. “The same thing with deaf people you have to touch them on the shoulder or wave in their vision. And she’s funny and how she plays.”
“She’s just such a sweet dog. She gives lots of kisses,” Czamara said. “She’s a great addition to our family.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, chained, deaf, deaf woman, diamonds in the ruff, dog, dogs, educate-a-bull, jessica czamara, maggie, neglect, new home, new york, niagara falls, north carolina, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescue, rescued, transported
Among the dogs we met in Charlotte during our visit to The Dog Bar, were Skyler and Pierce, two white Great Danes who — one being half blind, one being deaf, neither having the distinct black markings harlequin Great Danes are supposed to have — were headed to the kind of future “defective” dogs often face.
Namely, no future at all.
They were part of a larger litter that turned out to be unprofitable. All the pups were affected by a strain of distemper — but because of their additional handicaps, Skyler and Pierce, the breeder decided, couldn’t even be given away, and therefore should be put down.
That’s when Laura Moss and Fred Metzler stepped in. Laura was working at an animal emergency clinic at the time. The litter of Great Danes ended up there. She already had three dogs at home, so she asked Fred, her friend of several years, to adopt the two future-less siblings.
Fred, a sales manager for a company that makes automatic doors, agreed. But, because he traveled a lot, he often called upon Laura to pet sit the duo — Skyler, the deaf one, and Pierce, the blind one — when he was out of town.
At Fred’s house, Laura noticed, the two pups — as they did at the hospital — continued to stay at each others’ sides. When they went to sleep, Skyler would lay her head on top of Pierce.
“That way, if he hears something, he’ll react. Then she’ll be the police dog and go check it out. They’ve been that way since they were babies,” Laura said. “There’s no way we could separate them.”
Skyler, named for her sky blue eyes, is 106 pounds; Pierce, named, for his handsomeness, after actor Pierce Brosnan, is 175 pounds. Despite their handicaps, they manage, with help from each other, to do all that dogs do.
Fred and Laura have come up with a system of sign language to communicate with Skyler, including more than 20 commands. The two dogs have become a striking and familiar sight in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. They even march in the local St. Patrick’s Day parade.
And they get along fine with Laura’s other dogs — a miniature pinscher named Jade, a Boston terrier named Halley and a dalmatian named Dax, who she also brought home from the animal hospital. His former owner dropped him off and, once learning he had heartworm, never picked him up.
Since she talked him into adopting the dogs, Laura and Fred have become a couple, and now share a residence with all five of their dogs.
Laura doesn’t give the Great Danes full credit for bringing two humans together — but maybe, on some level, the relationship between the two big white dogs represents a lesson to be learned: Having someone in your life you can turn to, and depend on, and whose strengths can compliment your weaknesses, has its advantages.
Or maybe that’s reading too much into it.
“The friendship is what brought us together,” Laura says, “but the Great Danes didn’t hurt.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, blind, breeders, charlotte, deaf, dependence, disabilities, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, fred metzler, great danes, handicaps, harlequin, laura moss, noda, pets, pierce, relationships, rescue, rescued, road trip, sign language, skyler, the dog bar, travel, traveling with dogs, white
Rolling Dog Ranch, a Montana sanctuary for blind, deaf and maimed animals, is moving to New Hampshire.
Steve Smith and Alayne Marker, who founded the animal sanctuary 10 years ago after leaving jobs with Boeing in Seattle, say the 160-acre Montana ranch in Ovando will be put up for sale and that they will start moving horses, dogs and cats to a 120-acre ranch on the outskirts of Lancaster, N.H., on May 24..
Many in Montana are sad to see them go, according to The Missoulian
“My heart is breaking. I’m sobbing,” Heather Montana of Helena, wrote in a comment on the Rolling Dog Ranch blog, where the news was broken. “Part of my love of being in Montana has been knowing you made this State a better place. You and Alayne are simply the best. Montana is losing the best. The people and volunteers are losing the best. It is crushing.”
(The slideshow above is from my visit there three years ago, which led to a five-part series on the ranch in the “Mutts” blog, now known as “Unleashed,” in the Baltimore Sun.)
Marker and Smith were among 10 recipients of the 2009 Humane Award presented by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — and that was just the latest in a stream of tributes they have received.
Last Christmas, the ranch received the $20,000 first prize in an online National Shelter Challenge.
Rising gas prices and the hour-plus drives to the closest cities of Missoula and Helena are among the reasons for the move. In Lancaster, they’ll be three miles from the city and minutes from their veterinary clinic.
Smith said on the ranch’s blog that he expects employees and volunteers will be easier to find. “It was always a major problem for us to hire employees here, because most people did not want to move to such a remote area,” Smith said. “And of the few who were willing to move out here, most quickly tired of living so far out.”
Property was cheaper in New Hampshire, too, he noted, and there’s no sales tax or personal income tax.
“I think the day Alayne and I finally decided to get serious about moving, back in December, it was 22 below zero here and 24 above back there (in New Hampshire). We had just finished scooping poop that morning, our hands were frozen, and we thought, we’ve had enough of this kind of cold!” Smith wrote.
(Photo: Blind Madison, rolling in the grass at Rolling Dog Ranch’s new property in New Hamsphire/courtesy of Rolling Dog Ranch)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, alayne marker, animals, blind, deaf, disabilities, disabled, dogs, handicapped, horses, lancaster, maimed, montana, move, moving, new hampshire, news, ohmidog!, ovando, pets, rescue, rolling dog ranch, sanctuary, shelter, sick, steve smith
The Great (Dane) Debate is over: The “World’s Tallest Dog” is Giant George of Tucson, Guinness World’s Records has proclaimed.
The 250-pound blue Great Dane wrested the title away from Titan, a white, partly blind Great Dane from San Diego who held it little more than three months.
Guinness World Records says George is the tallest dog ever on record, standing 43 inches tall at the shoulder, three-quarters of an inch taller than Titan.
Titan was named World’s Tallest Dog last November after the death of the previous title-holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane from Grass Valley, Calif., who died of bone cancer.
Giant George was in the running then, but disputed measurements and late paperwork left his owner, David Nasser, unable to qualify.
Guinness officials say there were conflicting reports about Giant George’s height, so they sent a judge to verify it.
Guinness made the announcement this morning, and George and Nasser appeared this afternoon on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Diana Taylor, Titan’s owner, told the San Diego Union-Tribune she didn’t intend to watch the show because she was busy Monday trying to find a swim vest that would fit Titan, her 190-pound deaf, epileptic and partly blind “special needs dog,” for his first water therapy session.
A blog post on Titan’s website site argues that Titan should still be tops. Taylor says she intends to lodge a dispute but won’t exert a lot of energy on a challenge if Titan’s reign is officially over.
Giant George, we should point out, has his own website as well, which, according to Taylor, was part of a massive public relations effort to steal the title away from her dog.
“Regardless of whether he’s the world’s tallest dog or not, he’s still this beautiful deaf and blind Great Dane, and no one can take that away from him,” Taylor said of Titan.
The blog post read, in part:
“Despite the fact that it detracted from our mission of helping rescue and special-needs dogs, I strived to take the high road. But now, after months of having our accomplishment overshadowed by this media blitz-kreig of poor sportsmanship (and on the eve of this dog actually being on Oprah) I’ve decided it’s time to let the public know the truth about ‘Giant’ George.
“…Confused at how to measure his dog, this owner took two official measurements… one at the shoulder and another halfway up the neck. Guinness requirements state an animal must be measured at the shoulder. See below — when measured correctly George is only 39 1/8″ compared to Titan’s certified height of 42.25”.
“George’s ‘record-breaking’ 43″ is based on a measurement halfway up the neck, a procedure that does not follow industry standards or meet Guinness requirements…”
Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas said last week that Nasser’s claim to the title was one of more than 100 the company received since late last year.“It’s a huge record for us,” she said. “The pet records resonate the most with our readers.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Guinness World Records)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, blind, blue, contested, david nasser, deaf, diana taylor, dispute, disputed, dogs, george, giant, giant george, gibson, great dane, great danes, guinness, oprah, pets, record, records, san diego, show, tallest, titan, title, tucson, white, winfrey, world, world's tallest dog
Luna, a deaf but resourceful bulldog mix who escaped from a veterinary hospital in New York and was missing for more than a week, has been returned to her owners.
A surveillance tape at Shaker Veterinary in Latham showed Luna pushed open her crate door on Jan 2. She went through several more doors and then managed to open the main door of the hospital by pulling down a handicapped handle and pushing it open.
After the dog, who had been at the hospital for a couple of days, was reported missing, her owners, Ralph Rataul and his wife, Shelley, put up an $800 reward, which included their money, a contribution from Shaker Veterinary Hospital and donations from friends.
A story on her escape appeared in the Albany Times Union, and concerned citizens in the area are believed to have left food out for the dog after hearing about her — Dee Dee’s Tavern, for one, which put out some prime rib. Over the weekend, 200 volunteers searched for Luna, and family members and friends spent hours driving around on lunch hours and after work looking for her, the newspaper said.
On Monday, a couple found Luna in their backyard in Loudonville — more than a week after her disappearance — a couple of miles from the veterinary hospital.
Recognizing her from a story in Sunday’s Times Union, the couple tried to lure Luna inside, but she resisted. They called the veterinary hospital and the hospital staff called Rataul, who came and picked her up.
“I’m overjoyed,” Rataul said Monday. “This is unreal. She’s home, she’s safe.”
The couple, who adopted the dog three years ago, had feared the worst, due to the dog’s handicap.
“She’s not an outdoors dog, not a hunting dog, but some instinctual stuff must have kicked in” said Ken Wolfe, assistant director of the hospital. “Whatever she was doing, she was doing it right.” Luna lost 12 pounds but was in good shape, the vet said.
The couple who found Luna in their backyard, meanwhile, turned down the reward money, asking that it go to charity. Rataul said half of the reward will be donated to the ASPCA and the other half to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
(Photo: Luna and owner Ralph Rataul. By Skip Dickstein/Albany Times Union)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: albany times union, bulldog, bulldog mix, deaf, dog, escaped, escapes, found, happy ending, hospital, latham, lost, loudonville, luna, new york, ralph rataul, reward, shaker veterinary hospital, veterinary