I generally dislike celebrities, often for no other reason than they are a celebrity.
Carrie Fisher was an exception — and an exceptional one.
Maybe it was her well-known compassion for dogs. Maybe it was her outspokenness and wry wit, or her droopy-tongued therapy dog, Gary, or the fact that she was batshit crazy.
(Batshit crazy isn’t a term you usually find in a remembrance, but somehow I don’t think she would mind.)
Fisher, who starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Tuesday after a heart attack. She was 60.
Gary, the French bulldog, was at her side in the hospital during her last days.
His (fan-written) Twitter page contained the following post yesterday:
Gary, a therapy dog who helped Fisher cope with bipolar disorder, accompanied her just about everywhere in her later years. She brought the pet along on interviews, and he became something of a celebrity in his own right.
TMZ reports that Gary, now 4, will be cared for by Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd.
Gary also accompanied Fisher to what was her final appearance in behalf of a dog-related cause — a protest against China’s dog meat festival.
In June, Fisher and Gary joined a protest against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival outside the Chinese embassy in London, at which a petition signed by more than 11 million people was presented, demanding a ban on the annual event.
“There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end, but stopping the Yulin dog meat festival and ending all that suffering is easy,” Fisher said.
“All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops … These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary.”
In 2013, when Gary was one year old, Fisher told the Herald Tribune, “Gary is like my heart. Gary is very devoted to me, and that calms me down. He’s anxious when he’s away from me.”
Clearly, the reverse was also true.
Fisher, who was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and the actress Debbie Reynolds, was an actor, author and screenwriter, and was outspoken about animal welfare, mental health issues and pretty much anything else.
“I think in my mouth, so I don’t lie,” she said in one interview. Unlike most celebrities, she didn’t hide behind a glittery facade. She let the public see the real her — warts, troubles, wrinkles (when they arrived) and all
In her book, Wishful Drinking, she wrote that she wanted her obituary to report that “I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra” — a scenario inspired by director George Lucas telling her people didn’t wear underwear in space, for it would strangle them.
In interviews, she generally laid herself bare, held nothing back and spoke her mind in a manner both fearless and funny.
Here she is on a recent Good Morning America segment, with Gary of course:
Posted by John Woestendiek December 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, bipolar disorder, carrie fisher, celebrity, death, died, dog meat festival, dogs, french bulldog, gary, heart attack, mental health, pets, princess leia, remembering, star wars, therapy dog, yulin
A much beloved Internet celebrity has died.
He was part of a cooking team — the less shy half, the English-speaking half, the more comfortable in front of the camera half, the poodle half.
Francis the dog was the host and narrator of “Cooking with Dog,” which also featured the human he lived with, an unnamed Japanese housewife who had never been on camera before a producer friend proposed they put together a cooking show for the Internet.
She was hesitant, as she was a private sort, and felt alone and insecure in front of the camera.
With Francis at her side, though, she was up to the task and the duo went on, over the next 10 years, to rise to Internet stardom — Chef, as she is called, doing all the cooking and making an occasional comment in Japanese, Francis providing the narration, in English, with a French accent.
“Cooking with Dog” began in 2007 after the producer, who also likes to keep his name private, returned to Japan from Los Angeles, where he had spent several years working in the entertainment industry.
He said he wanted to keep working in film and television, and promote Japanese culture — in a way English-speaking audiences could follow.
“There are many cooking programs on TV and I just wanted to make our show look different and unique. And also I don’t know any celebrities or famous people and I didn’t have a large budget,” he told The Japan Times last year.
Having Francis narrate the show gave it a quirky edge, and opened it up to English-speaking audiences.
“Cooking With Dog” has over 1.2 million subscribers, making it one of the most popular food channels on YouTube. Nearly a third of the viewers come from the United States.
Over the years, its title has raised some eyebrows and led to a little confusion. Some who have stumbled across it thought it might be about cooking for your dog, or about recipes that used dog meat as an ingredient.
Dogs are, after all, raised for their meat and consumed by a small minority of the population in several Asian countries.
But anyone who watched a video quickly became aware nothing nefarious was afoot — it was a just a pure and simple cooking show in which a soft-spoken chef calmly puts together elaborate and often ornate Japanese dishes as her dog looks on.
It’s a refreshing change from American cooking shows, where there has been a distinct shift toward manic hosts, who are generally overseeing some sort of cut-throat competition.
Gizmodo reports it is uncertain if “Cooking with Dogs” will continue without Francis.
If not, we still have the more than 300 episodes that have been produced. You can watch them at the Cooking with Dog, YouTube channel.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accent, animalss, cook, cooking, cooking with dog, cuisine, death, died, dies, dog, dogs, francis, french, host, internet, japan, japanese, narrator, pets, poodle, recipes, television, youtube
Up to now, DNA testing on dogs has been used mostly to satisfy owner curiosity over what breeds are in their mutt, or by apartment managers who want to identify dogs whose owners didn’t pick up after them.
Now comes a chance to put it to more noble use. (Cue up the “Law & Order” theme.)
A district judge in Michigan ordered Jeb, the Belgian Malinois, to be euthanized after hearing the evidence against him on Sept. 19.
But Jeb’s owners, Pam and Kenneth Job, have filed a motion for DNA testing to be conducted on the dead dog, a Pomeranian named Vlad.
Vlad died Aug. 24, and his owner, St. Clair resident Christopher Sawa, says he saw Jeb standing over his dog’s body. Both dogs were inside his backyard.
St. Clair County Animal Control took possession of Jeb after that.
Vlad was found with severe bruising over both shoulders and a puncture wound on his right front leg. There was another deep wound found on his left side that penetrated his chest and broke two ribs, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Ed Marshall, the lawyer for the Jobs, is asking the judge to allow them time to have an independent lab test conducted on Vlad’s body — to see if traces of Jeb’s DNA can be found in his wounds.
A hearing on his motion is set for Monday.
The Jobs say Jeb is an unofficial service dog who helps Kenneth with a condition that causes his muscles to deteriorate.
They say Jeb is a gentle soul and that Vlad’s death could have been caused by a fox or coyote, both of which can be seen from time to time in the rural area in which they live.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 30th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animals, belgian malinois, bitten, crime, dead, died, dna, dna testing, dogs, euthanasia, guilt, innocence, jeb, michigan, pets, pomeranian, science, shaken, st. clair, test, testing, vlad
Until then, outraged owners and an outraged community will try to work through their anger — much of which is being expressed on the Facebook page of the Playful Paws Pet Centre in Saskatoon.
“You better lawyer up,” one irate owner warned. “The fact you knew that overheating occurs and have no temperature monitoring, what the **** is wrong with you. You better get a lawyer because I will make it my personal mission to shut your negligent business down. Absolutely unforgivable my dog dies under your watch. By Christ I will never forgive you.”
The kennel’s post about the deaths has drawn close to 600 comments — some from families of the victims, nearly all expressing outrage.
Despite having knowledge of a faulty heater, the kennel — which boasts of providing 24-hour supervision — left the dogs unattended in an upstairs kennel room overnight Friday.
Though a mild evening, the heater pumped hot air into the room all night and the dogs all died of suspected heat-related causes.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Playful Paws said “staff and management … are devastated to acknowledge the loss of life of 14 dogs on early Saturday morning. We are incredibly saddened by this travesty of life and cannot express enough our sympathy to the families of these dogs…
“A mechanical failure on one of our roof top heating units caused it to continuously push heat into one of our upstairs kennel rooms, to the point that the dogs being kept there passed away.
“We love our dogs and each of our team is trying to personally cope with this terrible loss. Having said that we understand that our pain is small compared to the loss that is being experienced by our dog’s owners. Our sincerest of sympathy goes out to all of these individuals and the family and friends who loved these dogs.”
A former employee of the kennel said management was well aware of ventilation problems and other health issues.
“A proper kennel exchanges its air four to six times an hour. They did not have any type of fresh air exchange for the entire building,” dog trainer Fred Glawischnighe told CBC.
Among the 14 dogs being cared for at the kennel was an autism service dog named Ardie who belonging to 6-year-old Easton Irwin, who waited three years to get him.
Kelsey Friesen said she was informed on Saturday that her four-year-old daughter’s dog, a catahoula mix named Kali, was one of the 14 dogs that perished.
“It’s her best friend and now we have to tell her that her dog is not coming home,” she told CBC News.
Acadia McKague’s Funeral Centre will be holding a public memorial for the families Saturday.
(Photos provided by families)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 14th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 14 dogs, animals, autism, boarding, canada, dead, deaths, died, facility, faulty, fourteen dogs, health, heat, heat related, heating, ignored, kennel, malfunction, pets, playful paws, playful paws pet centre, safety, saskatchewan, saskatoon, service dog, system, ventilation, warnings
He was a well-traveled dog who loved the road more than anything, except maybe you and me.
He was a survivor of Baltimore’s less tender side who was picked up as a stray, placed in a city shelter, found a home with some writer guy and went on to become a therapy dog and minor celebrity.
He was the subject of a five-part newspaper series examining his roots, a book (unpublished and unfinished), the inspiration for this website, and my reason for being.
And now the hardest words I’ve ever written: Ace is dead.
Last week, he was frolicking in the woods. This week, he slowed down to a state near lethargy and showed little interest in eating, and in the past two days he began swelling up — mostly in the belly region.
Having recovered from his recent bladder surgery, he was the same dog he always was — until Monday night when he came inside showing no interest in his nightly treat.
The vet’s diagnosis was congestive heart failure and possible tumors — hemangiosarcoma.
Blood was not getting to his liver, and fluids were pooling up inside.
Based on Ace’s age (nearly 12, a good 90 in human years for a dog of his size), based on the poor outlook in either case, or the even worse outlook in the case of both, and based on his apparent discomfort, the vet recommended putting him down.
When I asked for some time to think about it, the vet said that wasn’t a good idea. When I asked to take Ace home and bring him back today, he said that wasn’t a good idea, either.
So we took an hour before the deed was to be done. We started walking. It started raining. It was taking all of his effort to keep up with me, and I (being a fellow member of the congestive heart failure club) walk pretty darn slow.
We stopped at a Domino’s and sat on the pavement under an overhang. I bought him a small cheese pizza — his favorite food. He took two bites, but only because I insisted.
We stopped in the rain on the way back. I briefly debated whether I was doing the right thing. I held his head in my hands, rested my head on his and looked into his eyes. I could still see the love in them, but not the joy.
Back at the vet, on the floor with his head in my lap, the vet administered a sedative. Ace was soon snoring. Once the lethal injection was administered, his heartbeat slowed within minutes and then, around 6 p.m. Thursday, stopped.
I’ll get his ashes in a week or so, and I’ll spread them in Black Walnut Bottoms, the trail in Bethania he loved.
Having written a lot about dogs and death, I thought I’d be better prepared for this. But I’m a wreck.
In answer to one of the questions asked a lot over the years, no — a resounding NO! — he will not be cloned. Having written a book on dog cloning, people ask that of me. Clearly, they never read the book.
In 2011, Ace and I set off on a trip duplicating the route John Steinbeck took in “Travels with Charley.”
It ended up lasting a year, and covering 27,000 miles. I think I speak for both of us when I say it was the time of our lives.
“Travels with Ace” didn’t interest any publishers, but it will hang around on the Internet — at least until my time comes.
I still need to finish the last chapter, but I can promise you this:
In the book, Ace won’t die.
(Photos: Top, Ace at Salvation Mountain in California; Ace at the Bandera County Courier in Texas; Ace and John (photo by Brendan Finnerty); Ace with a bust of John Steinbeck in Monterey, California)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace is dead, animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, barcs, dead, death, died, dies, dog, dogs, goodbye, heart failure, hemangiosarcoma, inspiration, lethal injection, muse, obit, obituary, ohmidog!, pets, put down, stray, therapy dog, travels with ace, tumors, veterinary
Police were called to the pet supply store in San Mateo Sunday evening by the dog’s owner.
The owner, a 47-year-old San Mateo man, told officers he brought his 1-year-old male dachshund, Henry, to the store to be groomed, police said.
About three minutes later, an employee came out of the grooming office holding the dog, who was bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing, police said.
The employee, Juan Gustavo Zarate, 38, of San Francisco, then took the dog to an on-site veterinarian. Despite the vet’s attempts to treat the animal, the dog died within minutes.
A post mortem X-ray of the dog concluded Henry suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported.
Officers determined that Zarate likely contributed to the dog’s death and arrested him on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. He was booked into the county jail and released later Sunday evening, according to the District Attorney’s office.
“It’s definitely a sad and sensitive case for everyone involved and we take any animal neglect case seriously,” said San Mateo police Sgt. Rick Decker.
The Peninsula Humane Society will conduct a necropsy to confirm the nature of the injuries and the specific cause of death, police said.
In an email to ABC7 News, PetSmart wrote:
“We are heartbroken by the loss of Henry. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets, and we take full responsibility for the pets in our care.
“We are conducting an internal investigation and will take immediate action based on our findings. Additionally, we are working with the local authorities. The individual involved has been placed on suspension pending the outcome of this investigation.
“Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, broken, california, care, charged, dachshund, dead, died, dog, dogs, grooming, henry, lung, necropsy, pet, pets, petsmart, police, punctured, ribs, san mateo
The Jack Russell terrier was put down Aug. 7 in Los Angeles after battling prostate cancer.
Uggie, who also appeared in “Water for Elephants,” was best known for his role in “The Artist,” which won five Academy Awards in 2012.
According to his IMDb biography, Uggie was saved from being sent to the pound by animal trainer Omar Von Muller.
Uggie received a Palm Dog award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for “The Artist,” and his performance in that movie led to a campaign (unsuccessful) to establish an Oscar category for pets. Uggie was the first dog to leave his paw prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
The Jack Russell terrier was a California native, and in his youth he was apparently a handful. His owners were on the verge of surrendering him due to his troublesome behavior when Von Mueller — seeing some raw talent in the pooch — took him in.
“One of the most important thing is that he was not afraid of things,” Von Mueller said in a 2012 interview. “That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises and being on sets. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard.”
Uggie first appeared in TV commercials. His big break came when he was cast in “Water for Elephants” in 2011.
After “The Artist,” Uggie appeared on numerous talk shows, was hired as a Nintendo spokesdog and appeared in an adoption spot for PETA.
Uggie’s “autobiography” was published after he achieved movie fame, and the book was dedicated to Reese Witherspoon, his co-star in “Water for Elephants.”
“For Reese, my love, my light,” the book’s opening dedication reads.
His death was first reported by TMZ, which managed to relay the news without its trademark snarkiness — even though Uggie once nipped at host Harvey Levin during a visit to the the show’s studio.
“I have worked with many celebrities, but people were literally queueing around the block to see this tiny furry star,” said Wendy Holden, who ghost wrote the book. “There was something about him that changed people. Women especially adored him. People approached him far more readily than a human star.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy awards, animals, dead, death, died, dogs, entertainment, jack russell terrier, movies, Omar Von Muller, oscars, pets, the artist, uggie, water for elephants