A team of golden retrievers has arrived in Newtown, Conn., to comfort those impacted by the recent school massacre.
About ten therapy dogs, part of a Lutheran Church Charities program, made the 800-mile journey from Chicago over the weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison-based organization. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”
Their first stop Sunday was Christ the King Lutheran Church, where funerals for two of the slain children were being held this week.
The dogs are made available to residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray.
“You could tell which ones …were really struggling with their grief because they were quiet,” Hetzner said. “They would pet the dog, and they would just be quiet.”
Dogs in the program most commonly visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. Each has his or her own Facebook page, Twitter account or email address, allowing those they meet to stay in touch. You can find the list of dogs who made the trip on the Lutheran Charities website.
The program also has a Facebook page.
The comfort-dog initiative started in 2008 at Northern Illinois University when a group associated with the charity brought their dogs to campus after a gunman shot five students before taking his own life.
Since then it has grown to 60 dogs in six different states.
The program’s dogs have responded to other disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.
Hetzner said the dogs would be available to Sandy Hook Elementary School students for after-school activities.
(Photos: Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, calming, children, comfort, comfort dogs, disasters, dogs, effects, elementary school, grief, guns, impact, loss, lutheran church charities, massacre, newtown, pet, pets, pray, sandy hook, schoolchildren, schools, talk, therapy, therapy dogs, tim hetzner
More than 100 baby squirrels from North Carolina’s coastal regions will be growing up in North Carolina’s mountains after being rescued during Hurricane Irene.
I’ll have to admit that, in my worries about humans and dogs during natural disasters, I’ve never once found myself thinking, “What about the squirrels?”
But some people do, among them Herta Henderson, a certified wildlife rehabilitator for the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter, and Nina Fischesser, director of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute at Lees-McRae College.
Fischesser coordinated the pickup of the coastal Carolina squirrels, and Henderson did the driving, toting the babies across the state.
Henderson arrived in Winston-Salem last week at 3 a.m., with about 130 babies in her van — an occurence duly noted in the Winston-Salem Journal.
(And just in case you didn’t believe me when I told you yesterday, in our discussion on the six degrees of separation, how small-worldy Winston-Salem is, consider this. When Ace and I went out for a beer last night, after starting our post on the squirrel-savers, we ran into the reporter who wrote the Journal’s story, who we’d never met before.)
The squirrel babies were found in Hubert and Newport and are now staying with squirrel foster parents, recuperating before they are released in Avery, Transylvania, Henderson and Swain counties in western North Carolina.
Transylvania County includes the town of Brevard, whose unusual white squirrels we told you about not long ago.
Henderson said the baby squirrels started being spotted during the Irene clean-up, after their nests were blown down.
The rehabilitation and relocation of the gray squirrels will take several months, said Fischesser, who took nearly 50 baby squirrels back to the college, where they will be kept in a lab while they recuperate.
“We will look at their overall health and determine what their immediate medical needs are and put them on a diet of formula. Once they’re weaned, we can introduce them to solid foods and they will go outside,” Fischesser said.
She acknowledged that some people might question saving squirrels traumatized by natural disasters — but that’s only natural.
“Why save a squirrel?… It’s a common animal, it’s not endangered … The reason is that in part we are here to take care of other animals and that’s our motivation, but we’re also a public service. People find an animal and they don’t have a place to take it.”
One couple came from Asheville to pick up about 80 of the squirrels to distribute to other certified rehabilitators across the Piedmont and mountain regions of the state.
“It’s amazing what you do for your critters,” said Janice Burleson, who had converted her living room into an animal triage unit.
“They’re aspirated, water-logged and cold,” Burleson said of her new wards. “They’re going to need heat and antibiotics, and we’ll need to get them hydrated with some formula a little at a time. But, after that, it just takes a little TLC.”
(Video: Jacob Carah / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beach, blue ridge wildlife institute, disasters, Herta Henderson, hurricane, hurricane irene, lees-macrae college, mountains, natural, nature, nina fischesser, north carolina, outer banks wildlife shelter, relocation, rescuing, saving, squirrels, wildlife
Glenda Erwin, director of the Carthage Humane Society, told the Carthage Press that the spunky Shih Tzu was found in a field in the town of Diamond Saturday.
Diamond is about 15 miles from Joplin, which was devastated by the May 22 tornado.
It’s suspected Bentley landed there and had been under the debris ever since, judging from the nature of his injuries, which include a nasty scrape between his eyes that shelter officials speculate was caused by flying debris, splinters of wood and blades of grass and carpet fibers embedded under his skin.
Erwin said the dog was brought to the shelter by a woman in tears. She dropped the dog off and left before shelter staff could get her name. She told shelter workers she had heard whimpering from the pile of debris a week ago, but couldn’t locate a dog. She returned Saturday, heard the dog crying again, and found it under the wreckage.
Central Pet Care in Carthage provided medical care to Bentley, as he was named by shelter staff. The dog appears to be deaf and possibly blind, but vets weren’t sure if those conditions are a result of the tornado or were previously existing,
Erwin said the shelter will try to find Bentley’s owner. If not, he’ll be put up for adoption in a week or so.
(Photo by John Hacker / Carthage Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bentley, blind, carthage, carthage humane society, central pet care, deaf, debris, disasters, dog, dogs, found, joplin, missouri, pile, rescue, rescued, shelter, shih-tzu, survival, survivor, tornado
Johnna Hale, one of 59 victims profiled in the Kansas City Star Saturday, was prepared when the tornadoes struck on May 22. She’d phoned her daughter, stocked up on water and taken her border collie mix, Star, into the bathroom.
They were both in the tub when Star darted out of the bathroom, and out of the house.
Hale ran after her.
Apparently she caught Star and ran into a nearby building for shelter, where her daughter would hear from her, by cell phone, one last time.
She was found nine days later in the rubble of the building, with Star in her arms.
Daughter Miranda Hale told the newspaper that her mother was devoted to animals.
Things were looking up for Johnna Hale, her daughter said. She’d recently received a promotion at work. She’d redecorated her apartment, and seemed happy as her 50th birthday approached (June 15). She’d planned to treat herself to an expensive haircut, and she’d just bought Star a gate to keep her confined on the patio.
“My mom loved animals. She grew up on horses, we always had a cat or a dog around,” Hale told the newspaper. “We always joked about how our animals were better fed than we were. She had a border collie mix named Star, she was about 6-8 years old. I remember when she got her as a puppy and was really excited, she had adopted an older dog that just passed away, and was feeling sad from that.
“Star always slept with Mom, even if I went to visit, she had a full sized bed that the three of us, plus a cat, tried to fit on.
“When they had finally found my mom, they said that Star was in her arms.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, border collie, chasing, disasters, dog, dogs, fatalities, johnna hale, joplin, kansas city star, missouri, mix, pets, profiles, rescuing, saving, star, tornadoes, victim
First, he was swept away by the April 27 tornadoes when they passed through North Smithfield.
He survived, but with two broken legs, and managed to find his way back, using his two good legs to drag himself home, or to what was left of it. But by then, his family, who’d been searching for him and had all but given up, wasn’t there.
When they showed up the next week to sift through the debris, they found Mason waiting for them on the front porch. But the tornadoes had left their life in such disarray they didn’t feel they could care for him, and brought him to a shelter.
At the Birmingham-Jefferson County Animal Control Shelter, he was diagnosed with two fractures, according to WBRC.
Vets at the Vulcan Park Animal Clinic offered to lend a hand.
Last week vets performed surgery, using plates and pins to mend the legs and getting Mason started on what’s expected to be a long road to recovery.
The animal shelter was prepared to start seeking a new home for Mason, but now comes word — according to the clinic’s website — that his family, still in the process of rebuilding their lives, is ready to take him back.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, birmingham, broken, crawled, disasters, dog, dogs, dragged, home, legs, mason, north smithfield, pets, rescue, shelter, tornado dog, tornadoes, vulcan park animal clinic
A dog who survived the tsunami was found atop the rubble of a home that had floated more than a mile out to sea — and, we’re happy to be able to confirm this time, rescued by the Japanese coast guard.
According to a report and video in The Telegraph, the dog apparently spent three weeks at sea before being spotted on the floating roof of a house, about 1.1 miles from the coast of Kesennuma.
It took a rescue team more than an hour to grab the brown brown dog, who they wrapped in a blanket and carried on a stretcher aboard the rescue boat.
Once back on the main ship, the dog, who has no identifying tags on its collar, warmed up quickly — at least to his rescuers.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, canine, coast guard, disasters, dog, dogs, earthquake, floating, japan, japanese, natural, pets, rescue, saved, sea, survivor, tsunami, video
We didn’t cover too much ground yesterday — progressing only from Biloxi to New Orleans, but we did get in some beach time in a town called Waveland, Mississippi.
Good thing, too, because it was a sweltering day on the gulf. As Ace splashed about on an isolated sliver of beach in Hancock County — where dogs, on leashes, are allowed and unleashed ones don’t raise too many eyebrows — I wondered, between the oil approaching our shores and global warning, if the day might come when seafood can be hauled out of the gulf pre-fried and ready to eat. For our side order, we could toss in a basket of fries, which would emerge golden brown, salted and only slightly toxic.
But seeing the ominous sight of spill workers combing the beaches with large plastic bags, just a few hundred yards from where children played, I realized it’s clearly no laughing matter. It’s truly a hellish one.
The suffering already caused, to both wildlife and humans, and, as we’ll see tomorrow — even dogs — has likely just begun.
But for parts of Mississippi, and much of the rest of the gulf, particularly New Orleans and other areas still getting over Hurricane Katrina, the combination of natural and man-made disasters is almost too much to bear.
“What’s next?” the motel manager was saying to the front desk staff. “Maybe a sandstorm? Or a rockstorm. That’s what it’ll be, a rockstorm.”
(For all of our continuing series, “Dog’s Country,” click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does american, america, animals, beach, beaches, bp, disasters, dog friendly, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, gulf, gulf coast, hancock county, hurricane, katrina, mississippi, new orleans, news, ohmidog!, oil spill, pets, relief, road trip, shores, tourism, travel, waveland
CNN took a look at the unparalleled skills of search and rescue dogs — hundreds of which have been dispatched from around the world to help find victims of the earthquake in Haiti.