Ed Gernon never suspected the German shepherd mix he adopted last year would be featured in one of those inter-species friendship videos.
Rex left the shelter with a reputation. He “fought other dogs and killed cats,” Gernon said. “He was dangerous. He was an animal that had learned to live on the streets and to survive on his own hunting ability, I guess.”
So Gernon was surprised when, a month after he took Rex home, the dog paused when he came across what Gernon thought was a dead hummingbird.
“He suddenly stopped and he would not move,” Gernon CBS Los Angeles. “I mean it’s tiny and it’s dead as far as I’m concerned. It’s covered in ants. It’s got no feathers.”
Given his dog’s seeming concern for the bird, Gernon checked it more closely, saw it was still alive, took it home, cleaned it up, and it has been living inside his home ever since.
And it even drinks out of Rex’s water bowl.
Gernon initially had to hand feed the bird a special formula every 15 minutes.
“You find yourself doing stuff you never thought in a million years you would do,” he said.
“It was this little creature. This fragile creature that the whole world wanted to kill and he was trying to protect her so I thought I’d go the distance,” Gernon said.
“I rescue this dog. He rescues the bird. The bird rescues all of us in a weird sense and it’s just a miracle,” Gernon said.
After living with the bird for a year, Gernon says it’s probably time for her to be free, and he’s started leaving the doors and windows of his home open, in case Hummer wants to go back out in the world.
So far, she hasn’t.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, birds, california, dog, dogs, friends, hummer, hummingbird, inter-species, los angeles, news, pets, report, rescue, rescued, rex, tinkerbelle, video
A formerly homeless man said goodbye earlier this month to a dog who gave his life some purpose.
Raymond Goynes was living in a refrigerator box on the streets of New York when he first met Sonja, a wheaten terrier, in 2005.
He’d spent decades on the streets by then, but he’d kicked his cocaine habit a few year’s earlier and was doing odd jobs to help buy food.
He’d regularly see Sonja being taken for a walk and asked her owner, more than once, if he could help with that.
“After I got Sonja, he saw various people walking her when I was at work,” Mary Kilty told the New York Times. “He said to me, ‘I can walk your dog.’ He said this to me several times and eventually I thought why not give it a try, because he clearly needed some income and support.”
Goynes began taking Sonja for two-hour walks to and around Central Park on Saturday mornings.
“It helped me get myself together,” Goynes said. “It keeps you from messing around, doing other things bad. ‘I got a dog-walking job, I’ve got to maintain.'”
“… She helped me, I helped her,” he added.
Goynes found a permanent home in 2007 — a small room in a building on East 28th Street run by the nonprofit supportive-housing provider now known as Breaking Ground.
He continued to walk Sonja on weekends, and would house-sit the dog, sometimes for weeks at a time, in Kilty’s penthouse.
“He was so reliable and so good, and she loved him so much,” Kilty said.
Last spring, Sonja, 11, began a slow decline due to cancer.
“If there was anything I could do to help her stay up … Sonja, get up, come on, get up.”
He held her paw, gazed into her eyes and then left so Kilty could spend some private moments with Sonja before a veterinarian arrived to give her a lethal injection.
Kilty said Goynes asked for Sonja’s tags, so he can wear them on a necklace.
She honored that request, but says she’s not ready to grant his second one.
“He keeps asking me when I’m going to get another dog, which I don’t think I’m going to do quite yet.”
(Photos: Nicole Bengiveno / The New York Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boost, central park, cocaine, dog, dog walker, dogs, friends, help, homeless, homelessness, housing, mary kilty, new york, pets, purpose, raymond goynes, sonja, streets, walker, wheaten, wheaten terrier
In case you’re needing to see some sort of silver lining behind those snow clouds that socked the eastern seaboard and paralyzed the northeast this weekend, we offer this.
Kago and Kumbali — a dog and cheetah who have become best friends at the Metro Richmond Zoo — got to play in the snow for the first time during winter storm Jonas.
The zoo was closed Saturday, but a zookeeper let the popular duo run and play in the 7-inch deep snow in a large fenced field.
Kumbali was two weeks old when caretakers at the zoo noticed he was losing weight. The runt of a litter born to zoo cheetahs Khari (the mom) and Hatari (the dad), Kumbali was bottle fed and grew healthier, but having been removed from his litter he needed some companionship.
So the zoo got him a dog.
Kago, a 10-week old Lab mix, had been pulled from a high kill shelter in Alabama by The Art of Paws, an animal rescue group in Florida.
Zoo officials report the two have become inseparable.
Kumbali and Kago can be seen at the zoo Monday to Thursday from 12 to 1 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 12 to 1 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. And you can find their full story here.
Here’s a look at their first meeting, and their younger (snowless) days:
(Photos and videos courtesy of the Metro Richmond Zoo)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: best friends, cheetah, cheetah and dog, companionship, dog, dog and cheetah, first, friends, jonas, kago, kago and kumbali, kumbali, kumbali and kago, metro richmond zoo, play, richmond, richmond zoo, snow, storm, videos, winter, zoo
A dog who grew up at an orphanage for rhinos, then left to pursue a career as a tracker, is back at the orphanage and has a new mission now — as an elephant’s best friend.
The German shepherd, named Duma, was still a pup when he arrived at the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in South Africa, where he was trained to help locate orphaned rhinos in the wild — before they became prey for poachers.
After three years, though, his tracking duties were required elsewhere, and rhino rehabilitation specialist Karen Trendler reluctantly said goodbye to Duma.
This past fall, Trendler gleefully announced on Facebook that Duma, after a year away, was back.
He arrived just in time to help deal with a young elephant named Ellie.
Ellie had been abandoned by his herd and arrived at the orphanage with several health issues. While those had improved, Ellie — the only elephant at the rhino orphanage — remained down in the dumps.
Until he met Duma.
On top of his other duties, Duma has brought Ellie out of her shell and the two have become inseparable, as shown in this report by EarthTouch News.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 15th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, duma, elephant, ellie, friends, friendships, german shepherd, interspecies, karen trendler, pets, poachers, poaching, rhino orphanage, sniffer, thula thula, tracker
An orphaned young emu has found a friend at a bird rehabilitation center in Australia.
Edward, the emu, was just a few days old when he was found by a truck driver in a ditch near the West Australian rural town of Nannup.
The truck driver bundled the bird in a flannel shirt and rushed him to the Jamarri bird sanctuary in the town of Jalbarragup.
“He was pretty much comatose when I got him,” Dee Paterson, who operates the sanctuary, told ABC.net. “But he slowly came back, and soon enough he was well enough to sleep outside in a nice warm box.”
This is where Paterson’s dog, Rocky, took a special interest in Edward.
The center primarily rehabilitates black cockatoos, so Rocky was no stranger to birds. For some reason, though, he decided to take Edward under his wing, and the frail bird began taking walks with the little dog.
Before long, Edward began cuddling up next to Rocky for naps.
“They are a great pair and Rocky seems to have taken on the role of dad,” Paterson said. “They do everything together and Edward never lets Rocky out of his sight.”
While Edward is free to leave the property, he so far seems to have no interest in doing so.
“They just seem happy to be in each other’s company,” Paterson said.
(Photos by Anthony Pancia, ABC.net)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: australia, best friends, bird sanctuary, birds, dee paterson, dog, dog and emu, edward, emu, emu and dog, friends, jamarri, rehabilitation, rocky
Tillie, the setter mix who stood guard for a week after the basset hound she was roaming with fell into a cistern, was honored by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee last week.
Tillie, her basset hound friend, Phoebe, and their owner B.J. Duft were present as Gov. Inslee read a proclamation naming Tillie “Washingtonian of the Day” Thursday.
Inslee urged “everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.”
Tillie was the first non-human to receive the honor.
“I saw this story and I just immediately said this is something Washington needs to celebrate,” Inslee said. “I grew up with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie and I never thought I’d meet a real dog that had that type of Hollywood character, but Tillie’s right here.”
Both dogs have been enjoying some newfound fame in Vashon, about 20 miles southwest of Seattle, since they wandered off from their home in early September.
A week later they were found — 4-year-old Phoebe stuck in the bottom of shallow cistern, 11-year-old Tillie watching over her.
They were discovered by a volunteer from Vashon Island Pet Protectors, who snapped the photo to the left.
Duft, who said the dogs escaped from his property through a hole in the fence, was ecstatic when he learned they’d been found.
“It really made me think a lot about their friendship and Tillie’s commitment to her companion, that’s for sure,” Duft told the Associated Press.
The governor has bestowed about 70 “Washingtonian of the Day” certificates since taking office.
Duft said both dogs are now sporting GPS collars.
(Top Photo: Duft, second from left, holds his dogs as they visit with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, far left; AP Photo by Ted S. Warren. Bottom photo courtesy of Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, award, basset hound, cistern, dogs, found, friends, friendship, governor, honor, jay inslee, lost, loyal, loyalty, missing, mix, pets, phoebe, proclamation, sette, tillie, vashon, vashon island, washington, washingtonian of the day
After her friend, Phoebe, fell into a cistern that was too deep — by Basset hound standards — to jump out of, an old Irish setter mix named Tillie stayed by her side for an entire week.
The two dogs had wandered from their home in Vashon, Washington, on Sept. 7 during a party.
Their owner, B.J. Duft, suspects Phoebe, picking up the scent of something, led the way.
“Tillie would never leave even if the gate was left open, but she’s best friends with Phoebe, and so when Phoebe follows her little Basset Hound nose, Tillie always goes with her to make sure she’s OK,” Duft said. “They’re best pals — inseparable.”
In the week that followed, Tillie proved that beyond any doubt — leaving Phoebe’s side only briefly, and apparently only to scout around to find some help.
The duo was eventually tracked down by Amy Carey, a volunteer with Vashon Island Pet Protectors, an animal rescue group that runs a no-kill shelter in the area.
Carey said the organization, after posting about the missing dogs on its Facebook page, got a call Monday from a resident who had seen a dog come to the edge of his property several times during the previous week.
Carey went to the area to investigate and found Tillie standing guard over Phoebe, KING5 reported.
“It was very clear what Tillie had done,” Carey said. “She had not left her friend’s side except for going up to the man’s house when he was there to try and get help for Phoebe.”
Duft and the dogs had a tearful reunion shortly thereafter.
“I was thrilled,” he told ABC News. “I was absolutely not surprised to learn that Tillie had stood by her side the whole time. She’s a very caring, loving and nurturing dog and the two of them are best friends.”
Duft said he has had Tillie, now 11, since she was a puppy. He adopted Phoebe, 4, about two years ago after the two became friends at doggie daycare.
The dogs were hungry and exhausted but otherwise in good health.
Duft said he fed them both a “hamburger dinner,” and let them fall back into their routines.
“Within an hour of getting home, Tillie already wanted to play with her favorite toy — the tennis ball — so we did just that,” Duft said. “The two also hung out on the couch and got some well-needed sleep.”
(Photos by Amy Carey, Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amy carey, animals, b.j. duft, basset hound, cistern, dog, dogs, found, friends, friendship, guard, hole, irish setter, lost, loyalty, mix, pets, phoebe, rescue, tillie, trapped, vashon, vashon island pet protectors, washington