Fox News is reporting that country singer Mindy McCready’s fatal shooting of her own dog before she commited suicide Sunday was “not an act of malice at all.”
Fox quotes an unidentified friend as saying, “Mindy really loved her dog … It would have been more of a case where she just didn’t want to leave the dog alone.”
Not to speak ill of the dead, or to suggest rational behavior should be expected from those in the clutches of mental illness, but there are better ways of securing a future for your dog when you’ve decided you no longer want one for yourself.
And to describe an act like that as anything close to kind-hearted is just plain wrong.
A better description — even if the misguided thinking behind it was a hope they would end up in the same place in the hereafter – would be selfish.
McCready, who had attempted suicide twice earlier, had reportedly been depressed since the father of her youngest child, record producer David Wilson, died earlier this year from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. That took place on the same front porch where McCready shot the dog and herself.
“Based on what we have found at the scene at this time, we do believe that she took the life of the dog that we are being told by family members belonged to Mr. Wilson before she took her own life,” said Sheriff Marty Moss of Cleburne County.
McCready’s two sons, aged ten months and six, were removed from her home by a judge on Feb. 6. After that, McCready was committed to a rehabilitation facility for mental health and alcohol abuse examinations, but released two days later.
“She didn’t really have a support network and coming home to an empty house seems to be what really did it,” the source told Fox News. “It is tragic. She was a sweet and kind girl at heart.”
Whatever other morals her tragic life holds, however kind her heart was, whatever her legacy might be, one thing stands out — given the course she chose for her beloved dog — about her messy end:
How much more tragic the story might have been had her children not been taken from her.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addiction, alcohol, animals, arkansas, children, cleburne county, country, david wilson, depression, dog, dogs, drugs, fox, fox news, friend, heart, irrational, killing, kind, malice, mental health, mindy mccready, news, not, pets, rational, report, shooting, shot, singer, source, suicide
With continuing criticism of his methods, a suicide attempt in his not-too-distant past, and his reign as TV’s “Dog Whisperer” having ended, you might think Cesar Millan’s eight years of snowballing fame was starting to head in the other direction.
Probably, you’d be wrong.
Just two months after the “The Dog Whisperer” concluded its run – and two years after the death of his favorite dog, divorcing his wife, and dealing with a deep depression — a new show, a new wife and a new book (his seventh) are all on the horizon.
On top of that, he’ll be the subject of a documentary. In ”Cesar Millan: The Real Story,” airing Nov. 25 on Nat Geo Wild, he talks publicly for the first time about the overdose that almost took his life, according to the Associated Press
“It’s rare when someone with his level of celebrity is willing to completely open up and share the struggle and hardship it took to find success and happiness,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild. “Cesar doesn’t hold anything back, and I’m certain our audience will feel even closer to him for it.”
Millan, 43, rose to fame in 2004, when his first TV series, “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” became National Geographic’s top-rated show.
His success story began in Mexico, where he worked on his grandfather’s farm in Sinaloa, and began working with dogs in hopes of becoming a trainer. At 21, unable to speak English, he crossed the border and lived on the streets for two months before getting a job as a groomer and walker when Jada Pinkett hired him. It was Pinkett, before she hooked up with Will Smith, who got him an English tutor when she learned he wanted to be on TV.
He’d go on to build an empire after that, starting a magazine, a philanthropic foundation, a rehabilitation complex, selling his own line of dog products and writing books. (His seventh, “A Short Guide to a Happy Dog,” is due out Jan. 1.)
In 2010 — amid all his fame and fortune — came some misery. He’d sunk into a depression after the death of his pit bull, Daddy, and a divorce from his wife and the mother of his two children. That May he attempted suicide by drug overdose.
“I felt defeated, a big sense of guilt and failure. … I was at the lowest level I had ever been emotionally and psychologically,” he wrote in on his website.
He turned to his dogs for comfort and support, and got more of that from a new human love in his life, Jahira Dar, who now lives with Millan and his youngest son in Los Angeles. He calls her “the one,” and says he plans to propose soon.
His new show, “Leader of the Pack,” will premiere on Nat Geo Wild Jan. 5.
While it will feature his “pack-leader” training philosophy, the new show, filmed in Spain, aims to increase rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of the species that has brought him fame, fortune and solace.
“A dog would never see me as a Mexican or immigrant or think things people say about me,” the AP article quotes him as saying. “Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cesar, cesar millan, daddy, death, depression, divorce, documentary, dog whisperer, dogs, leader of the pack, nat geo, nat geo wild, national geographic, new, overdose, pets, program, suicide, television, the real story, trainers, training, tv
Nio Tavlos believes his 12-pound miniature poodle, Diego, should be permitted to live with him at a 36-story, no-pets-allowed condo development in Lakeview.
The 67-year-old artist says Diego helps him battle bouts of depression. Without the dog, he said, “I spend a lot of time in bed, I’m lethargic, I’m not creative.”
Six years after the dispute began, Tavlos took his case to the Illinois Department of Human Rights. On Tuesday, the agency filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tavlos accusing the condo association of violating anti-discrimination laws.
Tavlos first asked for special permission to keep a dog in 2007 after learning other residents had pets as service and therapy animals, and that others secretly kept pets in the building.
Twice, the request was denied — even after letters from two of Tavlos’ doctors.
Tavlos, who lost another dog last year, is a painter who travels between his home in Santa Fe, N.M., and his wife’s Lakeview condo.
” …I’ve never lived without a dog my entire adult life. I wouldn’t want to live without dogs, to be honest with you … They are like my children,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Department of Human Rights said his depression qualifies as a physical disability under Illinois state law, and that it found “substantial evidence” that the condo association discriminated against him by denying a reasonable accommodation for the dogs.
The suit asks that the condo association create a policy to deal with other requests from disabled residents and that it train employees in fair housing practices. It also asks for an unspecified amount in damages and court costs.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artist, association, chicago, condominium, depression, diego, disability, discrimination, dog, dogs, housing, lawsuit, miniature, nio tavlos, no dogs, no pets, pets, poodle, rights, rules, service, therapy
With exactly what, I don’t know. But in the past four days, he has taken to yelping when he gets up from a long nap or makes a sudden move.
At the dog park this week, he has plodded along lethargically, showing little interest in other dogs — even when he ran into this little white fellow who shares his name. How’s that for a pair of Aces?
I have poked and prodded every inch of his oversized body, but I’m unable to pinpoint what particular spot might be hurting him.
So today, we’re off to the vet.
My first thought was the hips. That’s based partly on the simple fact that he’s very big. Then, too, some of you might recall, when I took Ace to an animal communicator three months ago, she told me he was having some mild discomfort in that area. Add in the 10 months we’ve been traveling, and all the hopping up into and down from the back of my jeep he’s been doing, and the hips seem as good a guess as any.
I knew the day would come when the jumping in and out of the car would need to cease, and given his size, maybe that practice should never have started. Chances are — at age 6 — that day is here, earlier than I expected, and not without some accompanying guilt on my part.
Then again, it might not be his hips at all. Although he’s hesitating to jump into the car, he’s not yelping when he does so — only when makes a sudden movement, usually after laying still.
I’ve pushed on his paws, rubbed the lengths of his legs, looked into his ears and down his throat, poked his belly and prodded his hips. None of that seemed to bother him. He didn’t yelp. He didn’t do that thing he does where his eyes get big, which signifies, to me, anyway, rising alarm on his part. That would have told me I was getting close.
The only time he yelped was when I lowered his head, making me think maybe the pain is in his neck, or spine-related. A half hour massage followed, which, though it might not have helped at all, he seemed to appreciate.
Twice, I’ve come home to hear him howling — not howls of pain, I don’t think, but howls of loneliness. Twice I’ve left the video camera on, to try and capture their onset, but he didn’t howl those times. And the times he did, he immediately cheered up and ran around when I walked through the door.
I’m pretty sure Ace is less than in love with our new basement quarters, though he likes the upstairs and yard just fine. He has shown a distinct preference for being outside, content to lay at top of stairs, keeping an eye on the kitchen window of the mansion owner, who gives him a daily biscuit.
Something about the basement bothers him. And friends I’ve talked about it with have different theories. Maybe he was mistreated in a basement in his puppyhood. Maybe the old mansion we’re living under is haunted. Maybe, with a firehouse around the corner, the sirens are bothering him, though they never have before — and we lived in Baltimore, where sirens are background music. Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight, or he’s getting arthritic and the cold and dampness of the cellar aggravate it.
He’s moving slowly, lethargically (except when the treats come out), and rather than circling twice before laying down, he’s circling about eight times.
Yesterday, working with my theory that it might be his neck, I took a treat and moved it around in front of him — from side to side, then up and down. There were no yelps. Either it caused no pain, or the thought of getting food superceded it.
So, with fingers crossed, we’re headed to the nearest veterinarian, with hopes that whatever is bothering him is something minor, something that will pass or doesn’t cost too much to fix, something unrelated to all the traveling I’ve put him through — 21,000 miles of it over the past ten months, something that is neither chronic nor old-age related.
Because he’s too young to be old.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aches, aging, america, animals, back, basement, depression, diagnose, discomfort, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, emotional, health, howling, howls, mansion, neck, north carolina, old, pain, pets, physical, road trip, sick, spine, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, veterinarian, veterinary, vets, yelping, yelps
Ever since her mate at the Seoul Zoo died last month, a female gorilla named Gorina has been showing signs of depression, zookeepers say.
Gorina and her 49-year-old mate Gorirong, who died last month of old age, had been cohabitating for 24 years.
And even though they didn’t always get along, the female Lowland Gorilla now sits still for days, gazing vacantly at the sky, according to the JoongAng Daily. Her fur has become brittle and she has exhibited violent behavior.
In an attempt to help Gorina, the only remaining Lowland Gorilla in the country, staff at the Seoul Zoo are trying everything from providing entertainment and reading material to making special meals.
Park Hyeon-tak, a zookeeper at Seoul Zoo who has been taking care of the gorilla couple for four years, said Gorina seems to be suffering from depression.
Gorirong and Gorina began living together 24 years ago when Gorirong was transferred from a zoo in Africa. Together, they were the zoo’s most popular attraction. Members of a critically endangered species, they failed to produce any offspring.
(Photo: from the flickr page of fPat)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, depression, emotion, endangered, feelings, gorilla, gorina, gorirong, grief, korea, loss, lowland, mate, mates, mourning, seoul, seoul zoo, south korea, species, zoos
Someday I am going to do a study that shows 62 percent of all studies do little more than confirm what people with a modicum of common sense already know.
Until then, I will dutifully report on them — dog-related ones, anyway.
A new Canadian study, for instance, concludes that dog owners who live alone and have limited human social support are actually just as lonely as their petless peers.
The Carleton University study’s authors, both of whom own dogs, say that pets aren’t people and can’t compensate for a lack of human relationships, the Vancouver Sun reported.
“Pet ownership isn’t the panacea we think it is,” said co-author Timothy Pychyl, an associate professor of psychology at the Ottawa-based university. “… The research indicates that pets don’t fill as much of a hole as we might believe they do. If you don’t have human social support already on your side, you’re still going to fall short.”
However, the study acknowledges, dog owners who do have a social life, with human friends, are indeed less lonely than non-dog owners.
Interestingly, that finding didn’t hold true for people with cats.
The part of the study that does seem worthy of study is that dealing with how, among people who live alone and have ”insufficient” social ties, high attachment to a dog or cat can serve to only increase the pet-owner’s likelihood of loneliness and depression.
People with limited community connections, the study shows, were more likely to humanize their dog — and to nurture their relationship with their dog at the expense of their personal lives. Typically, those people were more depressed, visited the doctor more often and took more medications.
“We all know that pets can be there for us. But if that’s all you have, you run into trouble,” Pychyl said. The study’s authors also acknowledged that, often, dogs can serve as a catalyst for more social interaction.
In other words, dogs aren’t the sole cure for loneliness, but they sure can help — which most of us pretty much already knew.
The Carleton study was published in the journal Anthrozoos.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anthrozoos, canadian, carleton university, cats, depression, dog, dogs, friends, humans, interaction, loneliness, lonely, news, ohmidog!, owners, ownership, people, pets, psychology, relationship, social, studies, study, support, timothy pychyl
Who needs children when a puppy can provide a similar emotional experience?
New Scientist magazine recently asked that question in an article about a Japanese study that showed relating to dogs causes a surge of the same hormones triggered by nurturing an infant, romantic love and close friendship.
Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle chemical” and the “love drug,” has been found to relieve stress, combat depression, breed trust in humans and generally make life more worth living. When two humans bond, their oxytocin levels increase.
Miho Nagasawa and Takefumi Kikusui, biologists at Azuba University in Japan, suspected social contact between two different species might boost oxytocin levels, as well.
“Miho and I are big dog lovers and feel something changed in our bodies when gazed [upon] by our dogs,” Kikusui says.
They recruited 55 dog owners and their pets for a videotaped laboratory play session. Owners provided a urine sample to measure oxytocin levels. They were then divided into two groups — one that played with their dog for half an hour, one that sat in the same room but were told to completely avoid their dogs’ gazes.
Then everybody’s urine was tested again. Participants that spent a long time making eye contact were determined to have experienced increases in their oxytocin levels of more than 20%. Those who avoided their pooches’ gaze saw their oxytocin levels drop slightly.
Among those playing with their dogs, the longer they made eye contact, the higher the increase was in their levels of the hormone.
A flood of the cuddle chemical could explain why playing with dogs can lift moods and even improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, Kikusui says. Possibly, the scientists say, oxytocin even played a part in the domestication of dogs from wolves, about 15,000 years ago.
“Maybe during the evolutionary process, humans and dogs came to share the same social cues”, such as eye contact and hand gestures, Kikusui says. “This is why dogs can adapt to human society.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: azuba university, bond, bonding, children, cuddle chemical, depression, dog, dogs, evolution, evolved, experiment, eye contact, hormone, hormones, humanization, japan, love drug, new scientist, owners, oxytocin, relationship, science, social contact, stress, study, trust
One cool thing about running your own website — in addition to the fame, fortune, respect, freebies, groupies and the tingly feeling my elbows get from typing so much — is that through the use of a program called Google Analytics, I get to see not just how many people are stopping by, but where you are from, how long you stay, and what’s on your minds.
I can ascertain with but a few clicks, for instance, that 1,498 of you visited Monday, perusing 1,978 pages; that more than 2,000 of you graced us with your presence yesterday. I also know what towns and states you came from, and what led you here. Don’t worry, though, I can’t see into your bedrooms.
Many of you are led here by search engines. Yesterday, for example, 14 ended up here after Googling “dog and elephant,” two after Googling “dog walking in Baltimore,” two by Googling “Biden dog.”
But there was one that landed here after typing in these words: “1 dog died get another 1?”
Abbreviated as the query was, it made me think. Here was a person, I assumed, undergoing some pain and confusion – someone who, on the one hand, was willing to research the dilemma life had thrown at them, and who wanted to do the right thing. On the other hand, I worried, here was a person who might accept the first answer that came up on Google.
We’re becoming a society that thinks our home computers hold all the answers. Maybe, by now, they do. But knowing as I do that what shows up first in search engine results isn’t always the best — that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top — I worry that some of us put a little too much faith in Google, Yahoo and the like.
Like I imagined this woman was doing, when it came to the decision on whether to get a new dog. Maybe she asked a friend or two for advice, maybe it was conflicting. So she turned to what we all turn to nowadays: Tell me, in my hour of need, almighty Internet Search Engine, what should I do? Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek January 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, another, computers, death, dependence, depression, died, dog, dog died, economy, google, internet, mourning, new dog, ohmidog!, pets, questions, recession, search engines, shelters, yahoo