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Tag: escape

Secret Life of the Human Pups

secret-life-human-pups

All we can learn from dogs, and how, in many ways, we should strive to be more like them, are recurring themes on this website.

But, for the record, this is not what we mean.

A new documentary by Channel 4 in the UK takes a look at the “secretive” world of men who like to dress up as, and play the role of, dogs.

Around 10,000 people follow the pet play craze in the UK, according to “Secret Life of the Human Pups” — in which several members of this “secret” society dress up and strut before the cameras.

Apparently, it’s another one of those secret societies that — judging from some of its related websites, and the public competition it holds every year — really craves attention.

The documentary — sensationalistic as it is, albeit in a properly restrained British kind of way — isn’t unearthing any new ground.

Furries — people who dress up and behave as animals — have been around for decades, and the only new twist we can see is a trend towards preferring latex over fur costumes.

Participants, as always, range from those who enjoy a playful escape from reality to those who truly wish to be another species, from those seeking to shock and grab attention to those who are probably in need of some mental health counseling.

Anonymous sex, as always, while not what it’s entirely about, remains a strong component — at least for some participants.

The director of the documentary, Guy Simmonds told Newsweek he began pursuing the project after he “stumbled across some pictures [of human dogs] on the Internet.”

“… The more we researched it, the more surprised I was to learn how large the community was in the U.K. They’ve got their own social networking sites, events and competitions.”

The documentary aired Wednesday night.

Simmonds says puppy players (generally men) come from all walks of life: “We’ve come across librarians, security guards, even CEOs of huge corporations who wanted to remain anonymous. There are gay, straight, transsexual, asexual pups.”

One 42-year-old man described the appeal of pretending to be a pup this way:

“Life is getting more hectic nowadays, so much pressure on work and life. Some people drink, there’s drugs… You’ve got to be civilized in our society. When you’re in puppy mode, all that goes away. We don’t care about money; we don’t care about what job you’ve got, or the bigger car.”

For other people, role-playing as a dog can be a way of dealing with social anxiety, deep-rooted childhood issues or chronic medical conditions.

London-based psychotherapist Wendy Bristow says it is not uncommon for those who have experienced childhood trauma to seek comfort in forms of escapism. She points to cases of paraphilic infantilism, in which adults seek comfort by putting on diapers and regressing back to being a baby.

By taking on the role of something in need of nurturing — be it puppy or baby — they may be attempting to make up for a lack of it in their pasts.

“The technical term is displacement,” she said. “They’re doing an activity that gets them comfort, but they’re not expected to relate back apart from being grateful.”

Whatever the case, it seems there is one thing that both dogs and men who dress up as dogs are probably seeking more than anything else — attention.

He’s Gumby, dammit

gumby1

What, if you’re a shelter, do you do with a dog who has been returned by seven different adopters, a dog who keeps running away from every home he’s placed in, a dog whose behavior — though never aggressive — makes him, to say the least, a handful?

If you’re the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina, you conclude — after 11 tries — that maybe the shelter is where he wants to be.

Gumby, a 7-year-old hound with well-documented skills as an escape artist, has become a permanent resident of the no-kill Charleston Animal Society.

They view it not so much as giving up as giving in — to what Gumby seems to want.

A look at his record seems to support that view.

His first visit to the shelter came after he was picked up as a stray in September 2014.

He was adopted and stayed at his new home three days, before ending up at the shelter again. His second adoption lasted only six days.

His third adopter seemed committed to keeping him, but Gumby kept running off and was brought back to the shelter as a stray — once by a citizen, once by animal control. His third adopter surrendered him back to the shelter, worried that the dog’s continued escapes might lead to injuries or worse.

gumby3In March of 2015, a fourth family — even after being warned of his escape skills — took him home.

That adoption lasted four months, but ended when Gumby was brought back in as a stray.

In August of last year, he was adopted a fifth time.

But less than two months later, he showed up at a another shelter, about 30 miles away.

His sixth adoption didn’t last long, either. He was returned due to his irrepressible personality, to put it nicely.

In December, he was adopted a seventh time. In January he was returned to the shelter, according to a report in Barkpost. The adopter told staff that, on top of being difficult to housebreak, Gumby had escaped 3 times in less than a month — once running through the owner’s screen door.

Adding it all up, Gumby had been returned to the shelter 11 times and lived in seven different homes — all in less than a year and a half.

It was starting to seem that Gumby didn’t want to be anywhere but the shelter.

Not that his behavior has always been exemplary there.

On March 5, Kay Hyman, the director of community and engagement for the Charleston Animal Society, posted a photo of Gumby on the shelter’s Facebook page

He’s pictured lying contentedly next to a former feather pillow — one that he must have felt needed further investigation.

gumby2

Staff at the shelter say hounds are known for having stubborn streaks, and often those raised as hunting dogs become bored when they have no hunting to do. It’s not unusual for those that haven’t made the grade as hunting dogs to be abandoned and show up as strays.

Given his record, the shelter finally decided in March to just keep Gumby. He seemed to adore the staff. He was good with other dogs. And it was the one place from which he hadn’t repeatedly tried to escape.

Staff members hope that Gumby, as a permanent resident, can continue to have a calming influence on new arrivals — especially fearful ones.

Donya Satriale, a behavior team leader at the shelter, may have put her finger on what was going on with Gumby.

Gumby, she suggested, might see the shelter as a place where “he knows he has work to do.”

(Photos: From the Charleston Animal Society Facebook page)

Fugitive pit bull found in Reno, owner cited

Max, the fugitive pit bull, is back in custody, and he’s scheduled to be euthanized next week.

The a 3-year-old, 70-pound red nose pit bull — sprung from an animal shelter in Alameda, California — was located at a Reno motel and placed in a local shelter.

An Alameda animal control officer will drive to Reno on Monday to retrieve Max, after which the dog will be destroyed, Alameda police Sgt. Jill Ottaviato said Friday.

Max’s co-owner Melissa Perry, 38, was found with the dog and was cited by Reno police for possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. An arrest warrant was also issued for Perry in Alameda County Friday on charges of burglary and receiving stolen property.

Police say Perry and her boyfriend, Richard Cochran, 57, conspired to free Max from the Alameda shelter the day before he was to be euthanized in connection with having bitten two people.

Cochran appeared in an Oakland courtroom Friday on charges of second-degree commercial burglary and receiving stolen property, both felonies, and he is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Perry, in a phone interview with the Chronicle Friday morning from Reno,  said someone had tipped animal control officials to Max’s whereabouts.

“I don’t care about going to jail,” Perry said. “It’s not about me, it’s about Max. He’s my protector. That’s my companion. That’s my best friend.”

Perry said neither she nor Cochran had anything to do with the break-in at the animal shelter Wednesday — the day after an Alameda County Superior Court commissioner ordered Max destroyed.

But after the hearing, police say, Cochran bought a set of bolt cutters, and the couple’s pickup truck was seen on surveillance video taken outside the animal shelter the morning of the break-in.

Cochran told police that two other people were involved in the plot to free Max, but investigators said they now doubt that story.

“There are people all over this country who form strong emotional attachments to their pets, particularly dogs, and I think many people feel as though that dog, that animal, is part of their family,” said Demetrius Costy, Cochran’s attorney.

“The idea that a pet is going to be executed could cause someone to be very distraught,” Costy said, “which could lead someone to act out of character.”

Owner charged in dog’s death row escape

A California pit bull was sprung from death row by the couple who owns him, police say, and he’s apparently being driven across the country in an attempt to elude euthanasia.

Police say an Alameda couple concocted a scheme to free their pit bull, Max, from the Alameda Animal Shelter, which, because he’d been deemed a dangerous dog, was planning to euthanize him Wednesday.

Authorities arrested one of the suspects, Richard Cochran, 57. Cochran admitted to formulating a plan to steal the three-year-old dog from the shelter with Melissa Perry, 38, his girlfriend of 17 years, and two other people whose identities haven’t been confirmed, police said.

He denied playing any other role in stealing the dog, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Perry, meanwhile, called the Chronicle on Thursday evening, saying Max was with her and that a friend was driving them across the country. “I’m almost to Kentucky,” she said.

Perry told the newspaper that, while neither she nor Cochran had anything to do with the break-in, she had told friends she wished someone would “break him out.”

“Max doesn’t deserve to be euthanized. Considering the circumstances, I think he deserves a chance.”

Police say the dog is dangerous. “If anyone comes into contact with the dog and this woman, I really want to stress that they should take caution,” said police Sgt. Jill Ottaviano. “This is a very dangerous animal. It is very protective of this woman.”

Max had bitten two people. While being examined at an animal hospital in Oakland, he bit a veterinary technician. The dog was ordered to be quarantined at his home in an Alameda motel after that, but during the quarantine he bit a friend of the couple.

The animal shelter was ready to euthanize Max on Tuesday, after a court order was issued. The court commissioner agreed that the dog would be kept alive one more day to allow Cochran and Perry to say goodbye.

When shelter staff arrived for work Wednesday morning they discovered someone had used bolt cutters to cut through a cyclone fence and break the lock on the kennel where Max had been staying.

(Photo: Alameda Police Department)

Dogs trapped in gold mine manage to escape

goldminedogsTwo dogs trapped inside a Colorado mine shaft since Monday managed to escape on their own.

Christy Huffman told KRDO that her border collie and Chihuahua escaped from her home Monday, along with a third dog who is still missing.

The two who ended up in the mine pit at the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine in Teller County got out and are now in the care of the local animal control office.

Rescue crews had been trying to reach the animals since Tuesday, and Animal control officers Wednesday tried coaxing the dogs out of the mine shaft with food, treats and water, but had no success.

CC&V Gold Mine spokesperson Jane Mannon says the dogs were able to make their way out of the mine on their own.

Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Mikel Baker said officials were worried about  sending a search-and-rescue team down the 500-foot Ironclad Mine because the ground is unstable.

The dogs’ owners have been cited for letting their dogs run loose.

Police dog mistakenly euthanized

felonyA black Lab named Felony who worked for the police department in Howard Lake, Minnesota, escaped from his kennel, ended up at the local humane society and, after getting labeled aggressive, was euthanized.

Felony, 10 years old and nearing the end of his police career as a drug sniffer, was discovered missing on October 30 when a police officer arrived to pick him up for work.

Police immediately called the Wright County Humane Society. The dog wasn’t there. But he did end up there a day later when a Howard Lake resident found him and called the local dog catcher, KARE11 in the Twin Cities reported.

“Our officer contacted the Animal Humane Society on Friday evening shortly after contacting the dog catcher, said Chief Tracy Vetruba. “Unfortunately, at that time the dog catcher still had the dog, who he did not believe was our dog, and it ‘was’ our dog.”

With no tags or microchip on the dog,  a spokesperson for the Animal Humane Society said workers had no idea Felony was a K-9 officer. Felony was placed on a 5-day mandatory hold, during which he demonstrated aggressive behavior. Tests determined that he was dangerous and unadoptable, and Felony was euthanized, the humane society says.

“Our officers were devastated to learn that he was put down,” said Cheif Vetruba. “He will absolutely be missed by our officers.”

Howard Lake’s police chief will look into the events that led to Felony’s death as part of a larger examination of the department’s K-9 program, and he hopes to get a new dog for the department.

Dog and owner reunite after 10 years

 
Gary Rowley hadn’t seen Brindle since 1999, when his dog nosed open a door and disappeared into the night.

This past Sunday — thanks to a microchip, Facebook and an animal lover who volunteered to drive the dog  1,300 miles back home from Oklahoma — they reunited at Rowley’s home in Fredricksburg, Virginia.

“He needed a way home,” said Laurie Swain, who flew from Virginia to Oklahoma, then drove the dog back. “If the dog can wander 1,300 plus miles in 10 years I can certainly spend a few days driving.”

Rowley had given up on finding the dog in the decade since he went missing, shortly before the Super Bowl in 1999.

Then, last month, he received a message on Facebook: “Did you ever have a dog named Brindle?”

The question came from an Oklahoma military family who had discovered Brindle hiding under a bush, NBC News in Washington reported. After a local veterinarian found a microchip in Brindle’s neck, the family tracked Rowley down.

“I don’t know what to say. I just can’t believe someone would do this,” Rowley said.

Rowley has no idea how Brindle managed to wander so far from home, but he says it won’t happen again.

“For him to get out now, he’s going to have to turn a knob and flip a dead bolt,” Rowley said. “I’m still thinking about some of those child safety locks.”