Nature tends to run its own course, just as technology that attempts to control nature tends to run its.
The results, when unforeseen possibilities are thrown into the mix, aren’t always pretty.
The depiction above is by one Jesse Newton, showing what happened on a recent night when nature ran its course, via his dog Evie, and then his trusty Roomba, programmed to clean up all the hair Evie sheds, ran its.
That zig-zagging, curly-cued brown trail recreates the stained path the Roomba left in the Newton’s living room in Arkansas after rolling through a pile of Evie’s poop.
But on this night, somebody forgot to do that.
As everyone slept — Jesse, wife Kelly and son Evan — the robot vacuum did what it is programmed to do every night between midnight and 1:30 a.m.: Roll all across every inch of the living room floor sucking up any debris in its path.
The results were disastrous, Jesse noted in a now-viral Facebook post that warns other Roomba/dog owners of a possibility they might not have envisioned:
“… Poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting. It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house.”
What had happened during the night came to his attention when his young son traipsed through the living room and crawled into bed with him the next morning.
He gave his son a bath and put him back to bed, then he spent the next three hours cleaning, including shampooing the carpet.
Kelly Newton says she awoke to the smell of “every cleaning product we own” and knew “something epic had taken place.”
Later, Jesse disassembled the Roomba, cleaning its parts and reassembling it, only to find it didn’t work anymore.
Jesse said he called the store where he had purchased the $400 robot, Hammacher Schlemmer, and it promised to replace it.
I’ve railed before about rushing into new technologies that promise to give us control over nature, wrote a whole book on it, in fact. Those pushing such innovations and rushing them onto the market — most often for the profit they might lead to — often don’t take the time to envision all the little things, and big things, that could go wrong.
That haste can lead to far worse things than a stinky mess and a three-hour clean-up.
We can laugh at this one, as Jesse Newton has admirably managed to do.
But, beneath all the mess, there’s a moral to the story — one that, as we turn to robots for more than vacuuming our floors, we might want to slow down and figure out.
(Photos: Jesse Newton / Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amok, animals, arkansas, control, controlling nature, convenience, devices, dog, dog poop, dogs, environment, evie, facebook, future, humans, jesse newton, nature, pets, poop, robot, robotics, roomba, technology, vacuum, warning
To those of you who visit ohmidog! daily – as you are supposed to – we apologize for our recent interruption in services.
We were moving our corporate headquarters, and not a single person on our staff – from the president (me) to our director of tech support (me) to our janitor (me) – was able to get our Internet hooked up.
So in addition to not bringing you a dispatch on the 4th of July (which is a holiday after all), we failed to publish on the 5th, 6th, and 7th.
When it comes to moving, the best laid plans can get, well, mislaid.
The way it was supposed to work, after closing on the new condo a week ago Wednesday, was for some needed new flooring to be installed Thursday, and for the movers to move me in on Friday.
The carpet layers didn’t show up though, and after calling Empire (that number, in case the jingle has managed to escape your head, is 800-538-2300) I learned they weren’t going to arrive until about the same time the movers were supposed to on Friday.
I was able to reschedule the move for Sunday, which meant I had to reschedule my visit from the cable/Internet technician for Wednesday.
On top of all that, there were 48 visits to Home Depot — OK, maybe it was only three — to buy things that were the wrong size, and then return them, and then buy new things, and then return them.
The new place shortens my commute from about 12 paces to about four, and brings an end to a search that lasted so long my dog died in the process.
Ironic, because it was in large part for Ace, and his ever-stiffening hind legs, that I began seeking an affordable condo or townhome, where he and I could spend our old fartage – a place all on one floor, with no steps for him (or me) to climb to get in and out, with a little green space (mowed by others) to romp, in the event we felt up to romping. Above all, a dog friendly place.
When Ace died, I thought about calling off the search, but I’d realized by then that by owning, as opposed to renting, I could save money in the long run – assuming there is going to be long run.
I assumed Ace was going to have one, but he – an ultra large dog — died before age 12, of heart failure. His ashes sit about three feet from me, in my new little office – but some of them will be doing some traveling soon, because Ace loved to travel, and he had some favorite places.
Some of them will go back to Bethania, where we lived for three years, to be spread along the trail at Black Walnut Bottoms. Some may be going to the beach later this month. Some I think I’ll keep.
Absolutely, there will be a new dog. Soon. Give me time. Meanwhile, there are tons of dogs in my new neighborhood I can get my fix from, including five in the unit next door.
When selecting my carpet, I made a point of choosing a color that looked like it would hide most any color of dog hair. I opted for “oyster.”
So far, I’ve encountered only one downside to the new place. There’s a tree that overhangs my little back patio, and it drops thousands — and this time I’m not exaggerating — of little purple berries every day.
To the left, that’s about half a day’s worth. The berries fall on my head. The berries fall in my coffee. If you can identify them, let me know. I may have swallowed one or two, so I’m hoping they are not poisonous.
They get tracked into the house, and purple may be the one color that my oyster carpets can’t disguise.
My patio is also surrounded by bamboo, and I know I will have to regularly wield my machete to keep it from encroaching too far, but it does add some major serenity to my surroundings, especially when the wind rustles through it.
Those are trivial details, though, and I’m sure, between our janitor (me) and our assistant director of trivial details (me), we’ll figure something out.
So that’s the reason behind the absence, and I apologize for not providing a better explanation in advance — both here on ohmidog! and on my Facebook page, where I announced last week I was moving, but didn’t say where.
That kind of Internet teasing — popular as it is among websites — tends to drive people crazy, but I didn’t intend it that way. I try not to resort to cheap gimmicks like that.
Our return to daily-ness will resume next week, after I accomplish a little more decorating, and make a few more visits — assuming our director of procurement (me) approves — to Home Depot.
There is one other small life-changing development that began to take shape this week.
But I’ve got berries to sweep, so, not to be a tease or anything, I’ll have to wait and tell you about that next week.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, ashes, berries, bethania, dog, dogs, facebook, falling, internet, move, moving, moving day, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, purple, townhome, website, winston-salem
Given America’s continuing decline, and all the threats posed by outsiders who want to creep into our country — and likely into our homes — you just can’t be too careful nowadays.
To make America great again, it’s a good idea to have — at least until that wall gets built and we all live in gated communities — a home security system.
If not for one of those, this young offender — and we can only guess from his name that he is French — might never have been identified.
His name is Josh Breaux.
And he was stealing hugs.
Josh, who looks to be no older than 10, was regularly violating the sanctity of a woman’s home in Pierre Part, Louisiana — brazenly entering her garage, hugging her dog Dutchess and making a speedy getaway.
In this surveillance video, he accomplishes his entire mission in about 15 seconds.
Proving that love can be spread as quickly as hate.
Homeowner Hollie Mallet — far more touched by the display than she was alarmed — shared the video on her Facebook page in hopes of learning the boy’s identity.
She wanted to let him know he was welcome to hang around a little longer.
“Every now and then when he rides his bike he will quickly come and love on my dog or play fetch real quick, but always leaves quick like he doesn’t know if he should be here!” Mallet wrote. “I’d like to tell him he’s welcome to stay and play, she loves the attention!”
Through the post, Mallet learned of Josh’s identity, and she has been conversing with his mother, Ginger Breaux.
“He’s taken a few pics with Dutchess, played fetch, laid in the yard with her in the shade, runs around the yard with her or just a quick stop to pet her and say hi,” Breaux told The Dodo.
“Josh talks about your dog all the time!” Breaux wrote in a comment to Mallet. “Every time we pass he looks to see if she was sitting where he could see her. Just didn’t know he was doing things like this.”
“Hope this sweet little boy Josh continues to come play and love up on Dutchess!” Mallet responded. “A dog is a friend for life!”
Josh, of course, already knows that.
His dog Bella, who the family had since Josh was 2, passed away last year.
“Things have been busy and Josh is active with after school activities so we have not jumped back into taking on the responsibility of starting all over again with a new pup quite yet,” his mother wrote.
“It will happen though.”
I’m sure it will. In a country where love trumps hate, it just has to.
(Photo: Courtesy of Ginger Breaux)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, breaux, dog, dogs, dutchess, facebook, garage, hate, hollie mallet, hug, hugs, identity, josh, louisiana, love, pets, pierre part, security, stealing, stolen, surveillance, trespassing, video
I promised myself long ago that, when Ace’s time came, I wouldn’t make too big a deal of the big dog’s death on these pages.
Unlike many dog websites, this one has always tried to avoid blatantly tugging on heartstrings — and to eschew all those mushy sounding and unnecessary words like “beloved” and “adorable” and “fur baby.”
We’ve always made it a point not to pander to your love for dogs with adjectives — just to cultivate it with truths.
For that reason, and others, we’re not going to be writing about Ace’s death a whole lot more.
Already, there have been more words written about him — between ohmidog! and Travels with Ace — than probably any other dog around. To keep going on and on about him (which in life I always viewed as “sharing”) would become something more like exploiting.
In other words, having made such a big deal out of his life, my plan was to refrain making a big deal out of his death.
But look what you went and did.
You’ve clogged my emailbox, you’ve kept my phone ringing, you’ve commented on my Facebook page and put up your own posts, often with your photos of Ace.
Since Ace’s death, I’ve heard from friends in Baltimore, Philadelphia and North Carolina, friends in — to name a few — Seattle, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey.
And those were just the ones who actually met him.
Hundreds more, from across the country and even overseas, who came to know Ace through our websites, left comments here and on Facebook — many of which made me cry all over again.
I guess that’s a good thing.
Thank you is what I’m trying to say, in a non-sniffly way, to those who touched Ace and were touched by him.
“Folks who don’t believe that dogs have souls have never met Ace,” a North Carolina friend wrote on her Facebook page. “I saw the effect he had on people everywhere he went. People were very drawn to Ace, it was amazing to watch. He was pure LOVE.”
“Ace was loved by so many all over the country … our hearts break for you,” wrote another, who put Ace and me up for days in Seattle during our year long “Travels with Ace” journey — and helped him overcome some stomach distress. (He arrived there with a bad case of diarrhea, probably the result of too much fast food.)A Baltimore buddy wrote, “Today is one of those days where something comes across your newsfeed that you dread seeing. Many moons ago Bim and I met a big guy of a dog named Ace at Canton Dog Park. Unlike some other big dogs, where Bim felt intimidated, he and Ace were very content to just “be” together … Ace was one of, if not THE, most amazing, chill, coolest, sweetest dogs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.” This from a woman who Ace once pulled out of her chair and dragged across a few feet of pavement after I asked her to hold Ace’s leash for a minute.
“You will be so very missed by so many! Thank you for teaching us how to love every minute of life! The original bar dog, park dog. I am so sorry HB (Honeybun) tried to eat you the first time she met you.”
Another friend, who spend some dog park and bar time with Ace here in Winston-Salem, wrote: “Lauren and I first met Ace five and a half years ago on an assignment for the Winston-Salem Journal, and when we arrived at our interview, we saw him, a giant black-and-tan dog, gliding through the trees. We joked that he probably weighed more than 5’2” me. (He did.)
“…I watched Ace break up dog-park scuffles with the kindness and wisdom of a compassionate cop, moving his massive body between the offending parties. I saw him snack on peanut shells at one of my favorite Winston dive bars. Once, Lauren and I shared some beers with him in a booth (still one of my all-time favorite photos). He was the most gentle dog I’ve ever met … I’ll be hugging Stringer extra-tight tonight, and I hope y’all do the same with your pets. Rest easy, Aceface. The world will miss you.”
A former neighbor here in Winston-Salem whose two dachshunds were close friends and dog-walking buddies, sent this email:
“I don’t know what to say. I was thinking of what to say and then of all the things I would not like to hear… I guess I just wanted you to know that while I cannot understand what you are feeling right now … I am constantly thinking of all the many, many great times I had with you and Ace. I don’t think I knew how many until I really thought about it.”
Then she brought up Ace’s most shameful day — when he (always exceedingly gentle with every creature from baby kittens to baby ducks) took off, along with the dachshunds, after a baby bunny in College Village.
“The memory that stands out to me is the one involving the very unfortunate bunny in CV. Watching Ace actually grieve over the fact that he accidentally stepped on one, while the doxies went nuts for blood. I am grateful for having Ace in my life …”
Some of those who got in touch had only known Ace for minutes.
This from a woman we bumped into five and a half years ago at a rest area in Montana, and spent maybe five minutes with:
“John, my heart breaks for you. I remember meeting you and Ace at that rest stop in Montana during your Travels with Ace road trip. He was sweet and gentle and willingly accepted my St. Bernard Charlie’s clumsy attempts for attention. As I lost Charlie just over a year ago, rest assured Charlie is now helping Ace settle in wherever special dogs go after their time with us.”
Dozens more who passed along their condolences were people who never met him at all — knowing him only through the Internet.
“My deepest condolences to John Woestendiek, whose eloquent journey with his beloved Ace has come to an end. Thank you for opening our eyes to BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care, the shelter Ace was adopted from) and for showing us what love looks like,” wrote Baltimore attorney and animal welfare activist Caroline Griffin.
It is greatly comforting to know he lives on.
Sure, I’m still doing all those things that people who have lost dogs do — steering clear of the dog food aisle at the grocery store, getting used to returning to an empty house, marveling at how less often I have to empty the vacuum bag, thinking about the next dog, in a while, and worrying how unfair it might be to put a dog in a position to be his follow-up act.
Like most readers of this website, I can’t imagine a dog-less life.
Like a lot of you, I probably have a more admiring view of dogs than I do of humans.
But your response to Ace’s passing — the eloquent words you shared with me at a time when it’s so hard to come up with the right thing to say — has moved me more than I can describe (without getting sappy).
Let’s just say humans can be pretty decent, too.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 23rd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace's death, animals, best friend, comments, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, facebook, friends, grieving, loss, mourning, ohmidog!, pets, photos, thanks, travels with ace, tributes
Johnny Depp’s wife totally out-acted her more famous husband, or at least came across as more sincere, in this video apologizing to the Australian government for sneaking their two Yorkshire terriers into the country without declaring them.
In what more than a few think looks like a hostage video, the couple talks about the importance of Australia’s strict biosecurity laws — aimed at preserving the islands diverse plant and animal life.
“When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly,” Depp somberly — almost sleepily — intones.
“I am truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared,” says his wife, Amber Heard.
Clearly, this recorded apology was part of a deal reached between the couple’s lawyers and the Australian government. Heard was initially charged with smuggling, conviction of which can carry a 10-year prison sentence, but she pleaded guilty yesterday only to knowingly producing a false or misleading document.
In exchange for that, and the apology, she got little more than a slap on the wrist. She received a one-month “good-behavior bond,” which means she would be fined ($1,000 Australian dollars) only if she broke that bond.
The apology was posted to Facebook by Australia Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, who, after the charges were first filed, suggested that the dogs, if they weren’t “buggered off back to the United States,” might otherwise face being euthanized.
After that, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Depp called Joyce a “weird, sweaty-pated gut man who decided two five- or six-inch teacup terriers would harm the country in some way.”
Quite a contrast with the apology video, yes?
Depp and Heard failed to filed the proper paperwork when they arrived by private jet last year in Australia, where Depp was filming “Pirates of the Caribbean 5.” Normally, arriving dogs face a quarantine period.
After photos of Depp’s dogs going to a groomer in Australia went public, the government began an investigation into how they entered the country.
Joyce told ABC News that he hopes the recorded apology serves as a warning to future travelers to Australia.
“The more widely viewed it is the more we have people who might be unaware of our biosecurity requirements and, as they come into this nation, they say this is one thing that the Australians are red hot about, biosecurity.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: amber heard, apologize, apology, australia, Barnaby Joyce, biosecurity, boo, case, court, deal, depp, dogs, facebook, heard, johnny depp, laws, minister of agriculture, outcome, paperwork, pistol, quarantine, regulations, sentence, smuggled, yorkshire terriers
A dog who ran off after a car accident in Alabama that killed her owner was found after a three-day search and driven more than 700 miles home to be reunited with the accident victim’s family in Arkansas.
Sgt. Jonathon Whaley and another officer were at the scene of the single-car accident that killed the driver and injured the passenger when they learned that the victim’s dog — a pit bull named Kai — had also been in the car, but ran off after the crash.
Police in Dothan, Alabama, said Mckenzie Amanda Grace Catron, a University of Arkansas student, was driving the car when it ran off the road and into a telephone pole last Saturday. Catron, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, also 19, was rushed to an area hospital.
The two were on a spring break trip.
Once hearing from witnesses that there had been a dog in the car, too, Sgt. Whaley said, “We felt we needed to find the dog. We were going to do whatever we needed to do to reunite this dog with this family.”
Dozens of community members felt the same way, Fox 5 in Atlanta reported.
For days, police, firefighters and volunteers searched the area around the crash for Kai. They posted flyers, and started a Help Find Kai Facebook page, through which they stayed in touch with Catron’s family in Arkansas.
One of the volunteers was Benjamin Irwin, a Dothan attorney and animal lover. He and his wife offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who found the missing dog.
“We just really wanted this family to have this piece of their family back, something to help remember their daughter,” he told Al.com.
Irwin and another volunteer spotted her from afar.
Joined by others, they pursued her for more than a mile before capturing her in a shed.
“Over the city blocks and miles of both running and driving we found mutual friends who eventually jumped in and helped as well,” Irwin said. “Once our number was up to eight people we were able to get Kia to relax enough … to grab her collar.”
After Kai was taken to an area vet, Sgt. Whaley and his wife Ashley, offered to take her back to Catron’s family in Bentonville, Arkansas — a 12-hour drive.
Kai was reunited with Catron’s family Tuesday, and Kenzie Catron’s funeral was held Thursday.
No one collected the reward money, and Irwin said it would be donated to the animal shelter in Arkansas where Kai was originally adopted.
(Photos: From the Help Find Kai Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, alabama, car, community, dog, dothan, facebook, found, help find kai, jonathon whaley, kai, killed, lost, mckenzie catron, pit bull, pitbull, returned, reunion, reward, search, spring break, student, university of arkansas
Testing how calm he could remain amid the crowds and distractions was exactly the reason Ace, a guide dog in training, was taken to Disneyland.
But throwing Pluto into the mix seems almost unfair.
Ace, who began his formal training with Guide Dogs of America at the end of January, was with his caretaker, Sandy Steinblums, when they bumped into Pluto.
While he might not have followed his training to the letter, Ace did calm down after some initial excitement and, once directed to stay a few times, he did a pretty good job, given Pluto was egging him on.
Steinblums said that, though it’s not in the video, Ace remained in the stay position for several minutes.
A video of the meeting was posted on Disney Dorks, a Disney fan page on Facebook, and it has been shared more than 15 million times in three days.
Ace will undergo six to nine months of training before he graduates and is matched with a human.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, animals, blind, character, disney, disneyland, dog, dogs, facebook, guide dog, guide dogs of america, pets, pluto, service dogs, training, video, viral