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Tag: english bulldog

Fatcat finally catches some breaks

fatcat

For eight years, Fatcat led a life that was the opposite of her name — in many ways.

For starters, she wasn’t a cat.

And, as bulldogs go, she wasn’t too awfully fat.

And, from all appearances, she definitely did not enjoy the kind of  lifestyle the term Fatcat name might connote — she wasn’t idly resting in the lap of luxury. Far from it.

Instead, in the eight years after she was stolen as a puppy from the backyard of a home in Memphis, it’s believed she was used to produce puppies, by a less than ethical breeder who dumped her once she got too old.

fatcatasapupThe English bulldog was stolen in 2006 from the yard of LaShena Harris. She searched high and low for the dog, and though Fatcat had been microchipped, she was never found.

Until two weeks ago, when she was picked up as a stray and dropped off at a shelter in Arkansas.

There — at  the West Memphis Animal Shelter — she was scanned for a microchip, and Harris was tracked down, even though she’d long since moved to the Phoenix area.

Along with the good news, Harris received some bad news. Fatcat was in sad shape due to the years she spent as a baby-making machine —  and getting her to Phoenix was going to be a problem.

Fatcat was too big to ride in the cabin of a plane, and between her health problems and her breed — it’s risky to transport short-snouted dogs in a plane’s cargo hold — flying her home wasn’t going to work. Harris, a working single mother, wasn’t sure she could take time off to make the drive.

“I went from the highest high to the lowest low,” she said. Putting Fatcat down was discussed, but before consenting Harris asked the shelter for an extra 24 hours to make the decision.

When she called back the next day to authorize the shelter to euthanize Fatcat, the director of the shelter stopped her short, and offered a suggestion.

A friend of the shelter director who worked with a local rescue group was moving to Scottsdale, and offered to drive Fatcat there.

Harris and Fatcat were reunited last Thursday in a motel parking lot, and between media coverage of the reunion and a GoFundMe.com campaign, donations have poured in — about $6,500 so far — to help pay for Fatcat’s mounting medical bills.

“I am overwhelmed. It is just amazing. People don’t even know me and they are helping me out,” Harris, 34, of Glendale, said. “I’ve even gotten e-mails from the (United Kingdom). … I just don’t know what to say.”

On Monday, Fatcat was checked out by a local veterinarian who found she has heartworms, dental problems and masses around her vulva and anus that need to be removed, according to AzCentral.com

Harris launched the GoFundMe page with a $5,000 goal, and says she plans to donate any surplus to the shelter in Arkansas.

“How do you show gratitude to someone you’ve never met?” Harris wrote on her page. “Even if I don’t have Fatcat home for as long (in terms of her entire lifespan), I feel like the luckiest person in the world right now. I’m just glad she’s finally home.”

(Top photo: Patrick Breen / The Arizona Republic; bottom photo, Fatcat as a puppy, from LaShena Harris’ GoFundMe page)

Two owners die trying to save their dogs

In Houston and Philadelphia, sad stories emerged at the end of the last week of humans who, while trying to save the lives of their dogs, lost their own.

In Philadelphia, a woman was struck and killed Friday night as she ran onto a set of railroad tracks to save her dog from an oncoming commuter train, police said.

The woman, who police described as in her 40s and from out-of-state, was standing on the platform of the Bryn Mawr station about 6 p.m. when her dog got loose and bounded onto the rails, according to Lower Merion Township police.

The woman was waiting for a train when her dog got loose. She chased the black Chihuahua onto the tracks as an eastbound SEPTAtrain pulled into the station. She was killed instantly, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The dog was recovered without injuries and taken to an animal hospital.

In the Houston arrea, Harris County sheriff’s Deputy Eddie Wotipka drowned late Thursday as he attempted to rescue one of his dogs from a canal near his home in Baytown.

The 51-year-old officer had pulled up to his home in his patrol unit and was told by neighbors his dogs were running loose near an industrial canal.

Wotipka saw his English bulldog go into the canal and plunged in after her. He resurfaced once then went under again. Wotipka’s body was recovered the next morning about 150 feet from where he entered the canal, the Houston Chronicle reported. The dog also died.

Wotipka joined the department in 1993 and was known as a lover of dogs. While in his patrol cruiser a week ago, he slammed on his brakes to avoid a stray dog in the middle of the road, then ended up bringing the dog, who he named Skidmark, home.

The police officers’ union is planning a fundraiser for the Wotipka family on July 31.

Skateboarding dog rolls into New York


Tillman, the California bulldog who has been recognized as the world’s fastest skateboarding canine, is visiting New York for Saturday’s “Bark in the Park” — an event where Mets fans can attend a game with their dog.

“He loves New York,” Tillman’s owner, 40-year-old Ron Davis told the Daily News as the bulldog showed off his skills in Tompkins Square Park. “There is a lot of concrete for him to do his thing.”

The four-year-old, 60-pound English bulldog — deemed the fastest skateboarding dog by the Guinness Book of World Records — set the world record in 2009 by rolling 100 meters in 19.6 seconds.

He’s named after the late NFL star and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

The fast-rolling bulldog will be among the canines attending the Bark in the Park game at Citi Field, in which the Mets play the Atlanta Braves.

For the event — the successor to “Dog Day at Shea” — the Mets set a limit of 500 dogs, and doggie tickets usually sell out quickly. Human tickets are $40 and doggy tickets are $10.

Profits from the sale of dog tickets and a portion of the human ticket benefit the North Shore Animal League.

New Yorkers offer home to abused dog, Spike

spikeDozens of New Yorkers have offered a new home to Spike, an 11-month-old English bulldog whose beating with a shovel was captured on a camera phone.

Spike was recovering Friday at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital from a broken hip, leg, teeth and injuries to his ears. He was left virtually blind in his right eye.

His owner, Maria Aguilar, 36, of Queens, was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty, the New York Daily News reported.

As of Friday, nearly 100 people had offered to adopt Spike, who can be heard howling with pain on the video.

Spike was not well enough yet to be put up for adoption, said ASPCA Assistant Director Joseph Pentangelo. The dog showed signs of earlier injuries, including a hip fracture, broken leg, three broken teeth and injuries to his ears.

“If this witness had not reported this cruelty to the ASPCA, Spike may well have continued to suffer abuse at the hands of his owner,” said Pentangelo.

ASPCA investigators were called to Aguilar’s house on Feb. 24 after witnesses reported hearing a dog crying. One of the witnesses used a camera phone to tape the abuse.

Simpson, Wentz turn to “Dog Whisperer”

Before Ashlee Simpson had her baby, Bronx Mowgli, she and husband Pete Wentz turned to Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan — not for child-rearing (or naming) advice but for help with their two bulldogs.

The pop star and her rocker husband were concerned about how their sometimes obsessive, sometimes aggresive bulldog, Hemingway, might react to a baby in the house. When they got him a second bulldog, Rigby, as a companion — in hopes of calming him down — it only made Hemingway’s aggression escalate.

So, in the months before Bronx Mowgli was born, Simpson and Wentz brought their worries, and their bulldogs, to Millan — well, actually he went to them. The experience is recounted on tomorrow night’s episode of “The Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel.

Millan works with the couple to help Hemingway overcome his aggression toward other dogs, his habit of attacking his own shadow, or any other shadow, and his tendency to assault the couple’s silver exercise ball. By episode’s end, those matters seemed well on their way to being resolved.

We can only assume the dogs are getting along fine with Bronx Mowgli (born Nov. 20) and not teasing him too much about his name — the first half of which comes from the borough, the second half of which comes from the Rudyard Kipling character, who, by the way, was raised by a pack of wolves.