If you think dogs don’t really love, and don’t really mourn, watch this and think again.
Bella, the dog, is dealing with the loss of her good friend Beavis, a beaver.
According to Bella’s owner, who posted the video on YouTube, Bella and Beavis played ball together, shared living quarters, and ate together. “They lived and loved together for quite a while. Beavis died this morning, and Bella has been in mourning for hours.”
While two other dogs that show up in the video don’t seem particularly bereft, Bella appears — at least to our human eyes — to be taking the death of Beavis pretty hard, licking and nuzzling the motionless beaver and remaining at its side.
Looks an awful lot like grieving to me.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beaver, beavis, bella, bella and beavis, bella mourns beavis, death, dog, dog and beaver, dog mourns beaver, dogs, emotions, friends, friendship, grief, grieves, interspecies, love, mourning, pets, sad, video
The “K-9 Comfort Dogs” are part of a Lutheran Church Charities program in which the specially trained therapy dogs serve to calm and connect with injured survivors.
As was the case in Newtown, the comfort they provide tends to extend far beyond hospital room visits.
“We have people simply walking by on the sidewalk who see the dogs … and with the memory of Monday, they break into tears,” said Rev. Ingo Dutzmann, senior pastor of First Lutheran Church in downtown Boston, which is serving as home base for five of Lutheran Church Charities’ dogs.
“It’s the dog that allows them to express their emotions in that way,” he told NBC, “and if you’re hurting, you’ve got to let it go. With a dog, people are not afraid to do that.”
On Tuesday, three comfort dogs flew from Lutheran Church Charities’ headquarters near Chicago to Boston, where they joined two golden retrievers who had been working with grieving pupils and parents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
The five dogs and their handlers will spend the rest of this week visiting bombing survivors at Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and they’ll keep making hospital rounds next week if needed. The dogs will also be present at First Lutheran Church of Boston at noon today for a memorial service and on Sunday morning for worship services.
“It’s relaxing — takes my mind off of what happened,” said David Yepez, 15, who is recovering from surgery at Tufts Medical Center after being hit in the leg by shrapnel in Monday’s blast. “It’s good to have my mind away from the accident, the doctors. To have a moment of peace. [I haven’t] had many moments of peace.”
The dogs paid a visit Wednesday to Lee Ann Yanni (seen above), just before she underwent surgery on her shattered leg.
“My stress level has gone way down,” said Meghan Bennett, a 25-year-old nursing student who has been caring for bombing victims. “I just love dogs … and this is a distraction from the reality. Patients’ faces light up when a dog walks into the room.”
(Photos: Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bombing, bombs, boston, boston marathon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, calming, comfort dogs, community, david yepez, dogs, emotions, golden retrievers, goldens, grief, hospital, injuries, k-9 comfort dogs, lee ann yanni, lutheran church charities, marathon, Massachusetts General Hospital, newtown, pain, pets, sandy hook, school, staff, therapy dogs, tufts, Tufts Medical Center, victims, visits
The first time I met Steve Wilson, in 1978, he asked me where I wanted to be in five years, and I looked at him like he was crazy.
Five years? How could anyone possibly plan that far ahead? Five years was, like, forever, and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to be next week, or for that matter tomorrow.
I was applying for a job in Lexington, Kentucky, at a newspaper where he was managing editor. I was 24, and among the many things I didn’t know at the time was how quickly five years can zip by.
The same holds true of 11 years.
At age 11, Ranger, the golden retriever Wilson took home as an eight-week-old pup, passed away just before Christmas.
Wilson wrote about Ranger — “my best friend and maybe the happiest soul I’ve ever known” — in a recent article in the Kentucky Enquirer, where he’s the editor:
“Golden retrievers are famously sweet, friendly and mellow. Ranger was true to his breed and then some. He radiated joy. He was gentle, innocent and steady as a rock. He wanted nothing more than to be a faithful companion and to give and receive love. His devotion never wavered.
“A person can learn a lot from a dog, and he gave lessons in appreciating everyday moments. When we took walks and hikes, he seemed to enjoy every step and gave me looks that said, “Hey, is this a great day or what?” When I came home from work, he rushed to the door to greet me with a smiling face that made whatever I was dealing with that day a little easier to handle … He was unacquainted with discontent”
Wilson, who helped open a dog shelter in Flagstaff, Arizona, has had many dogs, dating back to the era we worked together at the Lexington Leader. We even had the same dog. His family called her Jessie; I called her Carrie (in honor of my crush on Sissy Spacek). We disagree on who had her first. I remember him giving her to me; he remembers me giving her to him. In any event, Jessie, a tad neurotic, ended up with another reporter, who had a farm in the country.
Wilson and I would go on to work for a handful of other newspapers, and he’d end up in Phoenix, where he left journalism and went to work for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. When he brought Ranger to visit the offices, Wilson recalled, the place seemed to brighten up.
In August of 2012, he returned to the newspaper profession, hauling Ranger and his coonhound mix, Clara, with him to a new job in Kentucky.
Ranger quickly made new friends, at Kenton County’s Paw Park and when Wilson brought him into the offices of the Kentucky Enquirer, where he quickly hit it off with the news staff.
In the past few weeks, Ranger lost weight and grew weak — to the point where he could barely stand. At the vet, it was agreed it was time to let him go. Wilson stroked Ranger’s coat as a lethal injection was administered.
The following week, Wilson returned to the office from lunch to find a card on his desk signed by his new colleagues, along with a copy of ‘The Power of Dog,’ a Rudyard Kipling poem:
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 2nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, death, dogs, editor, golden retriever, grief, kenton county, kentucky enquirer, loss, mourning, northern kentucky, paw park, pets, ranger, rudyard kipling, steve wilson, the power of dog
After a stray dog was struck by a car in Zhangzhou, China, her canine companion stayed by her side for six hours, nudging her with his nose, licking her, and, according to a local butcher, even shedding tears.
It can all be seen in a series of photographs being described by most major media as both “heartbreaking” and “heartwarming” — though we’d note it would have been much more heartwarming if somebody had gone to the aid of the two dogs in the street.
Xiao Wu, a local butcher, said he had recently started to feed the female stray. Her male friend, also a brown and white mutt, were often seen together.
“He stayed beside her the whole day, keeping licking her and pushing her, trying to wake her up, the butcher said. ”… Then he pushed her with his head, and licked her face … I even saw tears.”
The male dog showed up in the neighborhood about a week ago, he said. Since then, “They were together all the time, playing and in love.”
(Photos by HAP/Quirky China News/Rex)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, car, china, couple, dogs, friends, grief, loss, loyalty, mourning, pair, pets, strays, street, struck, team, vigil, Zhangzhou
A team of golden retrievers has arrived in Newtown, Conn., to comfort those impacted by the recent school massacre.
About ten therapy dogs, part of a Lutheran Church Charities program, made the 800-mile journey from Chicago over the weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Dogs are non-judgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” said Tim Hetzner, president of the Addison-based organization. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.”
Their first stop Sunday was Christ the King Lutheran Church, where funerals for two of the slain children were being held this week.
The dogs are made available to residents who want to pet them while they talk or pray.
“You could tell which ones …were really struggling with their grief because they were quiet,” Hetzner said. “They would pet the dog, and they would just be quiet.”
Dogs in the program most commonly visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. Each has his or her own Facebook page, Twitter account or email address, allowing those they meet to stay in touch. You can find the list of dogs who made the trip on the Lutheran Charities website.
The program also has a Facebook page.
The comfort-dog initiative started in 2008 at Northern Illinois University when a group associated with the charity brought their dogs to campus after a gunman shot five students before taking his own life.
Since then it has grown to 60 dogs in six different states.
The program’s dogs have responded to other disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.
Hetzner said the dogs would be available to Sandy Hook Elementary School students for after-school activities.
(Photos: Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, calming, children, comfort, comfort dogs, disasters, dogs, effects, elementary school, grief, guns, impact, loss, lutheran church charities, massacre, newtown, pet, pets, pray, sandy hook, schoolchildren, schools, talk, therapy, therapy dogs, tim hetzner
Tish Cyrus, in an entry on her blog, says Ziggy “grabbed” Lila in “just the wrong spot and Lila didn’t survive.”
“For some unknown reason, Ziggy grabbed Lila …Not really sure if she was playing or what … We dont think Ziggy is a mean dog.”
She said Ziggy was “taken to SPOT dog rescue and they found her a new home with no other pets or children just in case it wasn’t a fluke.”
Miley Cyrus tweeted about Lila’s death last week: “For everyone asking … I have never been so hurt in my life My heart has never been so broken … Lila my sweet baby girl has passed away.”
Lila, a Yorkie mix, turned 2 in November.
Cyrus has adopted at least five dogs in recent years, including Floyd, an Alaskan Klee Kai, also known as a miniature husky, a Rottweiler-beagle mix named Happy, and a black and white mixed breed named Mary Jane.
Each time, news coverage resulted, as it did when she dyed Lila pink for her second birthday.
Her mother Tish said Miley was not ready to talk about what happened:
“As for Miley, its been a really tough week. As you all know her beloved baby girl Lila passed away. Everyone has been so precious and so supportive of her and I love you all so much for that. Miley loved Lila more than anyone can imagine. I know some people were saying its JUST a dog, but to Miley she was so much more.”
(Photos: Top, Cyrus and Lila; below, Cyrus and Ziggy / Twitter)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animals, cyrus, died, dogs, english bulldog, floyd, grief, happy, killed, lila, loss, mary jane, miley, miley cyrus, miley cyrus dogs, mix, pets, rescue, shelter, surrendered, tish cyrus, yorkie, yorkshire terrier, ziggy
I’m not sure any dog owner can, with any degree of certainty, know what his dog is dreaming, or for that matter thinking, but the owner of this big fella imagines that he’s missing a friend.
The dog, named Judge, seems to still be looking for Eini, his much smaller buddy.
Dogs, whether or not they understand death, do seem to be affected by the absence of a friend, and they do seem to keep looking around in case they might reappear.
We could call it hope, or loyalty, or grief, but we’d only be attributing what are generally considered human emotions to them. We’d only be guessing.
It might be a pretty good guess, though.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cognition, dog, dogs, dream, dreams, eini, emotions, grief, judge, judges dream, loss, loyalty, pets, video
Vivian Peyton, a pit bull mix and former bait dog, was honored as a Purina Therapy Dog Ambassador.
Vivian was in the second graduating class of Philadelphia’s New Leash on Life USA, a program that, unlike some similar ones, actually sees dogs and inmates become cellmates.
It’s aimed at helping both dogs in need of homes and inmates in need of job skills. Poorly socialized or misbehaving dogs, through the training, get a better chance to be adopted; the inmates, in addition to getting a break from their otherwise mostly lonely and idle existence, learn to be dog trainers.
New Leash on Life USA is currently training their fifth class of dogs, with 28 dogs scheduled to graduate, according to a press release.
Vivian, was rescued by New Leash on Life USA and spent three months completing the prison training program.
When she arrived, she was wounded, severely underweight and apprehensive around people, but it only took a few days for her to come out of her shell. She went on to pass her canine good citizen test in prison.
Then she was adopted by Michele Pich, a Veterinary Grief Counselor at PennVet. Vivian, now a certified therapy dog, comforts grieving pet lovers and visits children at the Ronald McDonald House.
“We are incredibly proud of Vivian Peyton for showing the resiliency of animals and what can be accomplished with love and care,” said Marian V. Marchese, the founder of New Leash on Life USA. “She will always be New Leash on Life USA’s ambassador dog.”
(Top photo courtesy of New Leash on Life USA; bottom photo, of Vivian and Pich, by Connie Kang / Daily Pennsylvanian)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ambassador, animals, bait dog, counselor, dogs, grief, michelle pich, mix, national dog show, new leash on life, new leash on life usa, pets, philadelphia, pit bull, prison, prison dogs, prisons, program, purina therapy dog, rescues, shelters, socialization, therapy dog, therapy dogs, training, veterinary, vivian peyton
As irreplaceable as dogs are — and Charlie Powell considered his childhood dog, Poochie, just that — the best thing to do when you lose one is to fairly quickly get another.
Powell, senior public-information officer for Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, learned that lesson the hard way, letting 30 dogless years elapse after Poochie died.
In a haunting, inspiring and pretty darned wise essay in last week’s Seattle Times, Powell told the story of Poochie, the Boston terrier who was his first dog.
“My mother often said she thought I would pet his head bald with my right hand while sucking a bottle held in my left. She also said Poochie had no problem with that.”
After accompanying Powell through much of his childhood, the day came that Poochie, achy and elderly, had to be put down. Powell recalls the trip to the vet, and going with his father to bury Poochie near Lake Mead in Nevada.
Traumatic as that might have been for a 10-year-old, it got worse. When he and his father, on a fishing trip, later returned to the site where they’d laid Poochie to rest, they found the grave desecrated.
“There was trash around his grave where people had partied. There was a blackened fire ring where we buried him with the burned hinges and the hasp laying there. When I looked up, I saw his partially charred body hung by the neck from a limb with the wire we used to close the box…”
The impact of that, somewhat understandably, would last 30 years.
“For me, the memory of what happened was more like a featureless wall that one is unable to scale. I think I coped with this mainly by becoming ambivalent to dogs — all dogs.”
His family got other dogs, he writes, “but I was never close to any of them. I just never wanted to be that close to a dog again.” Even while working at Washington State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and for the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, he had no desire — at least not that he was aware of – to have a dog of his own.
Then one day his wife went to a dog show, and — though he’d never mentioned Poochie to her — fell in love with Boston terriers, to the point she ordered one from a breeder, and asked her husband to pick up the dog, a brindle-colored male named ”Buster.”
“My mind raced. I fretted all week. How could I get another dog? What if his fate turned out to be worse than Poochie’s? Did my wife expect me to “replace” Poochie? Of course that was unfair to her; she knew nothing of Poochie. So I decided I needed to keep the wall up for the time being.”
We all know how good dogs are at knocking such walls down, and that’s what Buster did.
“Buster blossomed into a well-mannered young man that wormed his velvety head into my heart.
“Part of what I had avoided since Poochie died was eye contact with other dogs. But just try and avoid eye contact with a Boston terrier in your house, those two orbs that stick out on the corners of a cube-shaped head. It’s impossible.”
Powell would go on to feature Buster regularly in vet school publications, and he once brought him along to a Washington State Veterinary Medical Association meeting, where “he sat in the conference room next to me wearing his WSU bow tie as if he were deliberating.”
As Powell notes Buster wasn’t Poochie — and it would be wrong to have expected him to be. When one dog dies, and you get another, the new one isn’t a replacement, and isn’t just a painkiller. He or she is unique — another chance to enjoy the magic of the species, another chance, for a dog lover, for love.
“Between Poochie and Buster was a long time to stay silent and deny myself the joy of another dog,” Powell wrote. “With Buster’s passing, I realized that I had shortchanged myself for a long time for no good reason. The very thing I thought I was protecting myself from — life with another dog — turned out to be the best thing for me.”
(Editor’s note: After the death of Buster, Powell adopted another Boston terrier, this one a blind and deaf 13-year-old rescue. Her name is CeCe.)
(Photos: Poochie and Powell in 1961, courtesy of Charlie Powell; Buster in a vet school post card, by Henry Moore Jr. / BCU/WSU)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boston terriers, buster, charlie powell, coping, death, dog, dogless, doglessness, dogs, grief, mourning, new dog, pets, poochie, replacement, school, veterinary, void, walls, washington state university
It’s a children’s story, centered around an aging boxer named Snort and the two children who love him.
But it’s a tale that applies to any grieving pet owner, serving to remind us, when that sad and difficult time comes, not to dwell on what you have lost but to celebrate the dog you got to have, and reflect on all he taught you.
In reasoned tones, and without relying once on that old fallback, ”The Rainbow Bridge,” it tells the story of a family that loses their dog, works through their grief and honors him in healthy and respectful ways.
The book centers on a boxer named Snort, and the two children, Savy and Sunne, who worry when he gets too sick to chase his ball.
Savy’s parents explain that Snort will need to leave their family because it’s the only way that Snort’s pain will go away.
Savy accepts that, but isn’t so sure how she will cope without her best friend.
In “Snort’s Special Gift,” Savy and her family explore different ways to grieve for and remember a beloved pet — from planting a tree in his memory to crafting tributes, like the one Savy composes in his honor.
In the end, Savy discovers that all the gifts Snort shared with her in life will, like his memory, always be there.
The author of the book, Suzann Yue, lives with her two adopted children and husband in Medina, Minnesota , where she coaches martial arts and is a photographer. She has won eight world karate championship titles, and started a karate school specializing in training children with attention deficit disorders.
The remarkable illustrations were done by Lin Wang, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Guangzhou Academy and a Masters degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.
(For all our news and reviews of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads“ page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaver pond books, book, books, books on dogs, childrens book, death, dogs, gift, gifts, good dog reads, grief, grieving, lin wang, loss, mourning, pets, review, savy, snort, snorts special gift, sunne, suzann yue