Before having his sick and elderly whippet put down, a UK man scheduled one last walk on the beach with his dog, and invited the world to come along.
The world responded.
Hundreds showed up to accompany Mark Woods and his 18-ear-old dog, Walnut, on the walk Saturday. Later that morning, Walnut was euthanized.
“Sadly I am having to have Walnut euthanized on Saturday 12th November and so we will be having a last walk together on his beloved Porth Beach at 9.30am,” he wrote.
“I would love it if dog lovers/owners and friends would join us for a celebration of Walnut on his favourite Porth Beach,” Woods continued. “He has had an incredible life and having reached the grand age of 18 is ready for his final sleep.”
Supporters, many with dogs, showed up in droves. Words of encouragement came from around the world, some from people who took a long walk with their own dog in honor of Walnut.
“Thank you to the hundreds of people that attended the walk this morning and to all those that had their own walks with their beloved pets at 9.30am all around the world,” Woods later wrote on Facebook.
“I also want to thank the wonderful people of Newquay for their support which I will never forget as long as I live.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 14th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beach, death, dog, dogs, dying, elderly, facebook, invitation, loss, mark woods, newquay, pets, sick, tribute, uk, walk, walnut, walnut's last walk, whippet
He doesn’t have any paperwork to back it up, but a dairy farmer in Australia says his kelpie could, at almost 30, be the oldest dog in the world — ever.
Brian McLaren arrived at his dog’s age using this mathematic formula. His youngest son, Liam, was four years old when they bought Maggie as a young pup. Liam is 34 now.
Maggie — approaching nearly 300 in human years — may have lost a stop or two but she is still working as a guard dog on McLaren’s large dairy operation.
In fact, about 15 years ago, when McLaren moved to a house away from the farm, Maggie resisted the relocation.
“She stays there when I go home at night,” McLaren told the Weekly Times. “We moved to Koroit in 2000 and we took her with us, but she went off her head. She wanted to stay on the farm, so that’s where she stays.”
McLaren says he lost Maggie’s paperwork and can’t prove she has broken the record of what’s consider the longest living dog of all time — Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who died at age 29 in 1939.
Maggie sleeps in a bed in the farm office at night and comes out for the farm work when McLaren arrives early in the morning.
(Photo by Yuri Kouzmin / The Weekly Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: age, animals, australia, bluey, brian mclaren, dog, dogs, elderly, farmer, kelpie, living, longest, maggie, old, oldest, pets, records
A Columbia family worked together to rescue an 87-year old man and his dog after he got trapped in his car by rising floodwaters while passing through South Carolina.
Then the family fed him, gave him a shot of bourbon, called a doctor to look him over and invited him to stay the night.
Southern hospitality, it seems, is alive and well — even during a deluge.
George Osterhues, who lives in Canada, was on his way to Florida with his dog Tilli. He got off Interstate 77 because of the flooding, then got lost near a flood prone lake north of Columbia.
Inside, they could see a man and a dog.
Julie Hall, a Chester County prosecutor, called 911, but the family quickly decided rescuers probably had their hands full during the flooding.
Together, they decided to take action.
At first her husband, Tom Hall tried to reach the man in a canoe but the current was too rapid. Instead, he used ropes tied to trees to hold onto as he made his way to the car.
When he reached the car, the man told him he was “ready to die.”
“No way was that man going to die out there,” he told the Charlotte Observer.
Tom Hall gave the man a life jacket and pulled him and his Yorkshire terrier out the window, and the whole family, including sons Brice, Graham and Logan, helped to tug Osterhues and the dog to dry ground.
Then the family took him to their home for some warm tea, a shot of bourbon and a hot meal.
Julie Hall’s father, a doctor, came over to check on Osterhues, who stayed over Sunday night.
Osterhues, it turned out, is German-born, and a survivor of bombings and Nazi terror during World War II.
He and Tilla got a rental car for the rest of the trip to Florida.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, columbia, dog, dogs, elderly, family, flooding, floods, George Osterhues, hospitality, julie hall, man, pets, rescue, south carolina, southern, tilli, tom hall, trapped, yorkshire terrier
A young actress helped save an old dog in New Mexico last week, and Grandpa, as he’s being called, is now resting comfortably at a dog hospice and animal sanctuary that provides elderly animals with acupuncture and other Western and alternative medication.
“His life force is not strong,” said the founder and director of Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary, in (you guessed it, didn’t you?) Santa Fe. “It’s hard to tell how long he’ll be with us.”
The dog — thought to be about 15 years old — had apparently been abandoned at Santa Fe’s Frank Ortiz Dog Park, where actress Rachel Brosnahan came across him last Friday while at the park with her boyfriend and two dogs.
Others at the park had already reported his condition to animal control, but Brosnahan sat with Grandpa until help arrived.
“We thought he was injured because he couldn’t stand up,” said Brosnahan, who stars in the television series Manhattan, which is filmed in the area.
“I think he was in shock,” added Brosnahan, who also appeared in the Netflix series House of Cards. ” He was panting a lot and we brought him some water, but he only drank a little.”
Grandpa seemed to appreciate the company, she said, especially that of her own dogs, including Nicky, a pit-bull mix.
Jennifer Steketee, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter’s director of veterinary services, said staff gave the dehydrated dog IV fluids, and that — other than arthritis and other symptoms associated with his advanced age — he showed no other signs of illness.
The dog was not microchipped and had no tags or other identification.
Because of his age, the shelter contacted Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary.
Pedersen, who met the dog on Tuesday, said Grandpa would be a perfect fit for her sanctuary, which provides eldercare and hospice for dogs, horses and poultry.
Brosnahan, who offered to foster the dog, said she was happy to hear Grandpa would be living the rest of his life there — and that she plans to visit him soon.
“I am so happy he’s going to be cared for at such a wonderful place,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, actress, animals, dog, dog park, dogs, elderly, frank ortiz dog park, grandpa, hospice, house of cards, kindred spirits animal sanctuary, manhattan, pets, rachel brosnahan, sanctuary, santa fe
Dogs have a knack for helping us accomplish our goals. Somehow, they seem to know what those goals are without ever being told. Maybe, they know our goals better than we do.
With no apparent effort, they can help us accomplish our missions … whatever the mission … even missions that are completely opposite from one another.
Dogs, for instance, can help us stick to a routine, or get us out of a rut. (Ace has done both for me.)
They can enlarge our circles of friends, and — at those times solitude might be best — keep it from getting too lonely. (Ace has done both of those, too.)
And they can both keep us young and show us how to grow old.
That last trick, I think, is particularly impressive.
Dogs, when you think about it, show us how to live our lives (in the moment, with abandon), cope with our maladies (with brave perseverance) and die our deaths (with grace and dignity).
Between the examples they offer, the similarities between our species and the uncovered secrets dogs may still hold, it’s no surprise that science and medicine and more than a few other fields of study are increasingly turning to them for answers.
What dogs have to teach us about living a healthy life — some of it obvious (if we pay attention), some of it suspected and undergoing research — was the subject of an article last month in AARP Magazine.
As it noted, dogs, as they continue to evolve alongside us, are increasingly mirroring us, right down to getting the same diseases and disorders.
“… This evolution is ongoing, a process scientists call convergence: Human and canine genes, shaped by the environment we share, are evolving in lockstep. Today, along with home security and leftover disposal, dogs confer a host of wellness benefits, especially to kids and older people,” the article’s author, David Dudley, wrote. “People with dogs sleep better, weigh less and get more exercise than dog-free peers.”
“And there are the less tangible perks, the ones cataloged in Marley & Me–style books. This burgeoning “dogoir” literary genre revolves around the reductive but basically correct idea that a dog is foremost an instrument of personal growth: It exists to ease your existential anxieties, impart lessons about love and friendship, and teach you how to be a better person.”
But as noted by Dudley, who weaves the lessons his dog Foghat taught him into the article, that’s just the beginning of what dogs might have to share.
He cites a couple of research projects as examples of the possible answers dogs may hold when it comes to aging.
Neuroscientist Elizabeth Head is studying elderly beagles at the University of Kentucky in an attempt to determine why, by age 6 or 7, they start showing signs of the microscopic beta-amyloid plaques that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
About a third of the beagles will succumb to canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome, about the same percentage of Americans over 85 who will get Alzheimer’s.
“It could be that living in our environment — our food, our water, our homes — has made dogs more vulnerable,” she says.
Head thinks dogs might hold the key to defeating it. Past studies, she notes, have demonstrated that an antioxidant-rich diet and “behavioral enrichment” — a course of memory drills and new-skills training — can significantly delay or diminish plaque development and memory impairments.
At the University of Washington, Daniel Promislow, an aging researcher (in both meanings of the phrase), has assembled a team to join in a Canine Longevity Consortium. Through a a grant from the National Institute on Aging, they’re working on the first national longitudinal study on aging in dogs, which will include looking at how dogs stay so seemingly happy and carefree as they advance in years.
On the downside, as we all know, they can relatively suddenly become frail, forgetful and sick — as was the case with Dudley’s dog, Foghat.
“…He entered his dotage in roaring good health. Around his 18th birthday, I Googled “oldest dog in the world,” because I started to wonder if he was closing in on a record. He was what gerontologists would call a successful ager.
“And then, seemingly overnight, he wasn’t. If you have to go — and you do — a swift slide into decrepitude is the preferred way. The phrase is “compression of morbidity,” when the infirmities of age are delayed until the bitter end. Still, it’s no picnic. The joints went first. He started limping after a vigorous bouncing-a-soccer-ball-off-his-nose session. Then he needed help climbing into the car or crawling under the bed, his favorite sleeping spot.”
As Foghat declined, Dudley wrote, his “senescence appeared as both a comfort and a warning of what awaits: Some fears and eccentricities will lift with the years; others will only deepen. One by one, the things you love to do become too difficult and slip out of your life.”
With his death, Dudley says, “I was struck by the strange new stillness — the foreign silence of a household without a dog. It was as if a machine that had been humming in the background for a long time had suddenly been switched off.”
Amid that silence, Dudley, like many other grieving dog owners, started quantifying what he learned from Foghat.
” …And now that I’m no longer young, and he’s dead, I’ll do my best to follow the path Foghat blazed into my life’s last half…” he wrote.
“So eat the best food you can afford. Go for a walk, even if it’s raining. Take a lot of naps. Keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh, so that the people you lick will not flinch. And when someone you love walks in through the door, even if it happens five times a day, go totally insane with joy.”
(Photo: Foghat, the author’s dog, in 1995 at age 1, left, and in 2012 at age 18; courtesy of David Dudley / AARP Magazine)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aarp, acceptance, aging, alzheimers, animals, answers, cognition, david dudley, dignity, dogs, dogs as teachers, elderly, enjoy, examples, learning, learning from dogs, life, old, pets, research, secrets, solutions
Jessica S. Skacel, 30, of Derry, and Ashley M. Giovannagelo, 22, of Greensburg, were charged with criminal conspiracy and theft, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday.
According to court documents, Skacel was hired as a caretaker for the sisters, now ages 85 and 83, in their home in Derry Township in 2011. Giovannagelo later assisted her in those duties.
Police say they started stealing from the sisters — both from their bank accounts and money the sisters had squirreled away in hiding places around the house — in early 2012.
Police began an investigation after a man who has power of attorney for the sisters noticed their bank accounts, both of which exceeded $100,000, ” were basically empty,” according to court documents.
“The bank records showed that both victims were making regular, large cash withdrawals from their accounts in amounts such as $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and even $20,000 at a time,” an investigating officer stated.
Police say the money was used to cover travel expenses to dog shows. Skacel’s former husband, Kyle Squib, told police she purchased two trailers for more than $5,000 to transport dogs to shows.
Police say Skacel admitted to stealing an estimated $40,000-$50,000 from the sisters.
Skacel is a dog groomer and Giovannagelo shows dogs regularly, according to their Facebook pages.
Skacel and Giovannagelo were fired as caretakers for the sisters in September 2013, shortly after the investigation began, police said.
Both face preliminary hearings Sept. 3 before a district judge.
(Photo: Ashley Giovannagelo shows a St. Bernard at a dog show in a photo posted on her Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 31st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Ashley Giovannagelo, caretakers, charged, competition, contests, derry, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, elderly, groomer, Jessica Skacel, pennsylvania, police, purebreds, sisters, st. bernard, theft
Charles Sasser has Alzheimer’s, and over the past year he has all but stopped talking, according to his daughter.
The Albuquerque man will make some sounds when he’s with his two dogs, but he rarely utters more than a word or phrase.
So when he started talking — in full sentences — to his daughter’s dog, she made a video.
Abeyta, who writes often about her family’s struggles with Alzheimer’s on her blog, posted the video last week on YouTube — showing the moment Sasser, a Korean war veteran, began to speak to her dog, Roscoe.
Within a few days, it was nearing a million views, and generating comments — actual kind, caring, non-stupid and rational comments, many from strangers sharing their own stories.
Abeyta says her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a degenerative disease affecting memory, about four or five years ago. In the past year, he started to lose his ability to speak in sentences.
“I’m touched by the response to the video … They talked about how having a pet or connecting with music really gave them back a loved one with Alzheimer’s,” Abeyta told ABC News.
On her own blog, she wrote, “I had no idea the video would touch so many people or be shared so many times. The comments and emails – for the most part – have been a wonderfully moving procession of individuals sharing their own journey through Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is a cruel disease, and the kind words of others who have faced similar experiences has left me feeling not quite so alone in it all.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 30th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: albuquerque, alzheimers, animals, charles sasser, disability, disease, dog, dogs, elderly, forming, lisa abeyta, memory, pets, sentences, speaking, talking, therapy, video