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Tag: heroes

Jinjja escapes, and superheroes emerge

jin4

For the third time since I adopted my Korean “meat dog,” he decided to run off and explore more of the world than his leash normally permits.

On Sunday afternoon, Jinjja and I went on what has become our abbreviated walk, due to health issues (mine, not his).

We went down to the the grassy area at the end of my street, where he does his business and we sit for a while on a bench before heading back.

He sat on the ground on the side of the bench and I was absent-mindedly scratching his head with one hand, holding his leash with the other.

jin3Somehow, the clasp on the leash mysteriously opened up and I looked up to see him standing, unhooked, a few feet in front of me. I called him, trying to sound casual and playful and upbeat and using the high-pitched voice his obedience class teacher recommends.

He took a few more steps away. I stood up and called him again. He playfully scooted a few more feet away. I lied about having a treat. (He hasn’t mastered the “come” command without bribes.) He didn’t fall for it. I took a few steps in the opposite direction. He didn’t follow.

Then I stepped in his direction and he was off to the races, and I followed trying to keep up. (I’m not setting any speed records these days.) He stopped to poop, then lengthened his lead on me by trotting at a faster clip, down one street, then another.

Jinjja was heading in the direction he’d gone the two earlier times he has scooted — down to a creek that leads into some woods, that lead to busier roads and other neighborhoods.

The first time was entirely my fault. I was stupid. We’d been up to the tennis courts many of us use as a dog park, and he had exhausted himself running with some other dogs from my block. On the way home, he was walking in lockstep with them, right in stride with the pack. I unleashed him to see if he’d keep doing that in the short distance back to my door.

He didn’t, and I should have known better, given his past and given what I’ve read about his breed (Jindo) — namely, that some of them never are able to be off leash because of their hunting, exploring, wandering tendencies.

That time, my neighbor Trish took off after him with a couple of her dogs. I lagged behind.

Fortunately that first time, Jinjja stopped in the shallow creek, and once I caught up with Trish, who had caught up with him, he obeyed my stay command until I was able to go down the bank, attach his leash, and haul him out.

I vowed then it would be years before I tried letting him off the leash again — if ever.

A few weeks later, back at the tennis court, he managed to slip through the gate as other dogs were coming in and out. Again he took off. Again Trish pitched in for the chase, as did two other neighbors, Nick and Margaret.

They managed to corner him down near where he was the first time and get a leash around him — which is no easy task.

jin1Jinjja is still shy and skittish around strangers, still might run the other way when called. On Sunday, as I was pursuing him, and his trail, on foot and in car, knowing he was that way — not likely to approach anyone for longer than the times it takes to snag any treat they might be offering — I was feeling less hopeful with every passing minute.

When he disappeared behind a row of homes that backs up to the creek and woods, I stopped to make my first plea for help.

I’d met Victor a couple of months ago, while I was walking Jinjja and he was walking his new dog, Gracie, a Belgian Malinois. We ended up enrolled in the same dog obedience class. Victor — in his lower 60s, like me — has a bad back, and had to get up from his heating pad to answer the door.

But he sprang into action, pressed Gracie into service and we followed Jinjja down the poison ivy-filled path that runs into the woods behind his house. Jinjja had crossed the creek and was zig-zagging toward a briar-filled meadow at the end of the path. Unfortunately, Victor was wearing shorts, and we both ended up bloody by the time we spotted Jinjja in the clearing ahead.

Jinjja spotted Gracie and came running in our direction. He greeted Gracie and I was within three feet of him. That was as close as I got, and he took off again. Jinjja disappeared into the horizon and the briars became a little too much for both of us.

We headed back to the neighborhood, and I went home to get my car and head over to the adjoining neighborhood whose direction Jinjja seemed headed for. I grabbed a pack of bologna, an extra leash and my cell phone. I stopped to inform Trish what had happened and took off. I told Victor, who had changed into some long pants, my plan. I gave him a piece of bologna, which he stuffed in his pocket. With Gracie at his side, he walked back down the path to the meadow where we had last seen Jinjja.

Victor went back to the clearing, saw no sight of Jinjja, and headed back home, but not before rubbing bologna on his shoes. He dropped little pieces of it along the trail back to his house.

I pulled out for my car search, and Victor walked all the way back to the meadow, and into the next neighborhood. Trish, meanwhile, had hopped into her car and was heading there, too. All three of us were stopping to ask anyone we saw to see if they had sighted him and hand out phone numbers.

Victor found one home where Jinjja had stopped for a while. And Trish ran into a couple who said Jinjja stopped to play with their dog, and the dogs next door, but scooted off when they tried to beckon him.

About 30 minutes later, riding around back in my own neighborhood, a friend said she had seen him, just minutes earlier, walking through her front yard and stopping to poop.

(Pretty much everyone who had sighted him, in either neighborhood, mentioned he had stopped to poop in their yard.)

For the next hour I drove through one neighborhood then the other, then a couple of other nearby ones, periodically checking back home to see if he had returned.

I told my across-the-street neighbor Rita what had happened. I informed neighbor Nick (who helped snag Jinjja during Escape No. 2) what had happened and he took off on foot — roaming our neighborhood and then hopping a fence into the adjacent one that, while right next door, is more than a mile away by road.

I kept driving around, spotting Rita on patrol in her car, Trish on patrol in hers’, and picking up a sweat-soaked Victor and a panting Gracie from the other neighborhood and taking them home.

Stopping at my house again, I ran into a sweat-soaked Nick, who had hopped back over the fence and was going to get in his car and go check out a nearby apartment complex that sits across the creek.

We were both headed out again when, down the main road into our townhome development, came a woman with Jinjja, on a four-foot purple lead.

I didn’t recognize her, though she lives just around the corner, but she was the same woman whose dog had escaped (and was recovered) a couple of weeks ago. One of my recruits, or maybe it was me, had stopped her earlier and asked if she’d seen a medium sized yellow-white dog with a curly tail. She hadn’t.

But apparently this complete stranger got in her car and drove to the area where her dog had been found. She spotted Jinjja, got out of her car and called him. He went the other way. She followed on foot. Another person saw her trying to catch Jinjja and lent a hand. Between the two of them, they managed to get Jinjja to accept a treat and get that purple lead around his collar.

Victory? Not quite yet. She tried to get Jinjja into her car, but he snapped at her when touched, as he’s prone to do when a hand reaches out to him, especially when he’s not on a leash and is unfamiliar with the owner of that hand. Thinking the better of it, she decided to walk him the mile-plus back to our neighborhood.

So, if you’re counting, that’s seven superheroes — Victor, Gracie, Trish, Nick, Rita, the anonymous supplier of the purple lead, and the neighbor who, while I hugged and thanked her profusely, I still don’t know her name.

Back home, Jinjja drank a gallon of water and, as I write this, has been sleeping now for about 12 straight hours.

Which is good, because we have lots of work ahead.

While he excelled at his first obedience class, yet-to-be-resolved health issues have prevented my return. Let’s just say I’m in that whole-lot-of-testing phase that precedes doctors taking their best guess at what the problem is, or (hopefully better yet) was.

If Sunday was anything, it was a lesson in hope, and a reminder that —
in good times and bad — friends and family and superhero neighbors are good to have.

***

murphy(Jinjja — then Jindol — was one of four dogs that ended up at Watauga Humane Society in October after being saved from a Korean meat farm by Humane Society International. We’re pleased to report that all four have now been adopted — most recently Murphy who went to a new home last week. Murphy took a little longer to become social than the others, but after lots of work and time, he started gaining trust in humans, and bonded with one visiting couple who wanted him but were unable to take him. Later, that couple came back, and they’re now his parents.)

(Top photos of Jinjja by John Woestendiek, bottom photo of Murphy courtesy of Watauga Humane Society)

Brave dog saves kid from rattlesnake; brave kid saves dog from rattlesnake

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A five-year-old boy in California and a two-year-old dog in Florida are being hailed as heroes after both were bitten last week by rattlesnakes — the boy while trying to save his dog, the dog while trying to save his human.

In Santa Barbara, Lennon Knox pushed his dog, Sunshine, out of the way of a rattlesnake in his back yard and was bitten on his right toe.

And in Tampa, a German shepherd named Haus was bitten three times by a rattler while in the back yard with his constant companion, seven-year-old Molly DeLuca.

keytLennon’s mother, Amy Knox, said her son and his dog were playing in the yard Thursday when the snake appeared.

“The snake went to go bite Lennon’s dog … and Lennon pushed Sunshine out of the way and got bit by the snake instead,” Knox told KEYT.

Amy Knox killed the snake and called 911 when she noticed her son was foaming from the mouth.

At Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital he received 35 vials of antivenom.

“He is doing quit well actually. He required multiple doses of the antivenom which we were able to get….unfortunately he is not out of the woods yet and he still needs chronic monitoring right now so we can make sure that his systems do not worsen as we start to peel away the antivenom medications,” said Angela Hsu, pediatrician at Cottage Hospital.

On Wednesday, in Tampa, Donya DeLuca rushed her German shepherd Haus to a veterinary clinic after the dog encountered a rattlesnake in the back yard.

Molly DeLuca was just a few feet away when Haus (pronounced “Hoss”) lunged at the snake and was bitten three times.

“There’s no doubt he was protecting our family,” Donya DeLuca said. “That’s very true to his temperament.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the family has already raised enough money to pay for his care through a GoFundMe page.

In addition to receiving antivenom, vets are montoring Haus for possible kidney damage.

DeLuca said the excess donations will go to an animal rescue charity.

(Photos: At top, Haus, recovering at a veterinary clinic, by Zack Wittman / Tampa Bay Times; bottom, Lennon Knox, recovering at a hospital, from KEYT)

Guest column: Biscoe remembered

By Ainslie Perlmutt

Biscoe was no hero. He was just a dog, a gentle, ragged Brittany Spaniel who stumbled into my life ten years ago. My parents found him on the interstate outside the small town of Biscoe, North Carolina. He walked with a slant and his clipped tail wagged furiously whenever he saw a friendly face.

From the start, his life wasn’t perfect. Stricken with heartworm, his first days in our home didn’t go beyond the walls of our kitchen. Biscoe didn’t mind. As the years passed, his eyes marbleized to a cloudy blue and his life turned to darkness. His hearing disappeared and after an emergency tracheotomy his bark turned to a muffled woof. But Biscoe happily trudged on. Over time, he taught me that obstacles were to be overcome, that when asthma slowed me on the soccer field, I kept playing. Or when a judge gave my Odyssey of the Mind team an unfair point reduction, we kept competing.

Biscoe was a hunting dog without hunting instincts, yelping when he stepped on sharp twigs. But he loved to swim. His ears perked up as his paws first dipped into the water’s edge. Every chance he got, he’d follow my mother’s kayak, his nose navigating just above the water. A few years ago, all of that changed. Biscoe’s larynx had paralyzed, forcing him to gasp for air. After the surgery, Biscoe breathed through a hole in his neck, the size of a quarter. Swimming was no longer an option. He was already fifteen and his days were spent mostly sleeping. Now he was deaf and blind, his once magnificent bark muted. Biscoe didn’t mind. He still had his nose; smell was his GPS. And when my father carried him into the back yard, he’d rally like a puppy and proudly prance off wherever his nose took him.

I have grown up around dogs, most of them rescued like Biscoe. They have come and gone, always leaving a paw print on my life. But Biscoe was different. His needs were simple, happy with the occasional belly rub and his nightly meal. When the other dogs were in our faces, Biscoe was off in the corner sleeping, waiting patiently for his chance. He played a paternal figure. He was never annoyed when our rambunctious Golden Retriever, Caki, nipped at his ears wanting to play, or when Clancy, our wiry-haired, hole-digging terrier, growled, protecting his precious bone. From Biscoe I learned to appreciate the underdog: Everyone has a purpose and a contribution to make to society. Biscoe never got the attention he deserved, but he knew he was loved.

Last summer, I was at Virginia Commonwealth University in an intensive art program, when my father called. The sadness in his voice told me all I needed to know: Biscoe had passed away. Tears flowed, as I took a journey through memories of my beloved dog. Then I smiled, knowing that wherever death took Biscoe, he went with that noble, broken-tooth smile I always loved.

He will always have a spot on our family bench. No, he wasn’t the typical hero, but he was my hero. Biscoe has inspired me to confront problems in life with strong determination, purpose, and a smile.

(Ainslie Perlmutt, of Charlotte, N.C., is an incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina. She wrote this essay as part of her college application. The painting of Biscoe is also by her.)

Firefighters defend saving dog from river

Los Angeles authorities have responded to critics of the massive effort to save a German shepherd trapped in the Los Angeles River.

“All life is important,” fire department captain Steve Ruda said Monday.

About 50 firefighters, a helicopter and swift water rescue teams responded to assist the German shepherd stuck in the rising Los Angeles River, whose steep concrete banks kept the dog from getting out.

The dog, nicknamed Vernon after the city where he was rescued, remained in quarantine at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority shelter in Downey, south of Los Angeles.

While the rescuers who saved the dog on Friday have been widely hailed as heroes, they have also been vilified by a few in blogs, on social networks and story comment sections, the Associated Press reported.

“You’re not going to please everybody. There’s always 10 percent, they either don’t like animals or think we are wasting taxpayer money,”  said Ruda.

Joe St. Georges, 50, the 25-year firefighting veteran who hoisted Vernon to safety, lost a fingernail and fractured a thumb when the dog bit him during the rescue, video of which was televised nationally and shown on many Internet sites.

The dog, about 4 years old and 65 pounds, was eating everything given to him and sleeping well, said Capt. Aaron Reyes, director of operations for the  shelter. If no owner shows up, Reyes said, “we do have a mile-long list of people who want him.”

If Vernon hadn’t been rescued, Reyes said, he would have likely died. “Do you just wait at the mouth of the river and wait for the carcass? Any way you slice it, that is unacceptable. They would not have been able to live that down,” Reyes said. “They made a decision and we support that decision.”

Great Dane and pitbull honored as heroes

The Humane Society of the United States has announced the winners of its second annual Dogs of Valor Awards.

A Great Dane named Baby was chosen by judges as the Valor Dog of the Year.

Baby belonged to 82-year-old Elwood Cardon, who during an exhausting stretch of cancer treatment, slipped out of his daughter’s house with his dog.

On the way to his mountain home near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, Elwood became disoriented and took a wrong turn. As he turned the car around, his tires slipped off the road, and the car plummeted down a hill, becoming wedged upside down between two trees.

Pinned inside, Elwood honked the horn and screamed for help, but no one responded. Baby, a 5-year old Great Dane,snuggled with Elwood, keeping him warm and alert. Ten hours later, Baby crawled out of the car and got the attention of one of a nearby resident, who followed the dog back to the wreckage and called for help. Firefighters pulled Elwood to safety. He was treated for a cracked spine and recovered. Elwood Cardon passed away on January 28, 2009.

A pitbull named D-Boy, whose story we featured in December, won the People’s Hero award.

D-Boy was shot three times when he charged at a home intruder who busted through the front door of a home in Oklahoma City. When Roberta Trawick and her family were ordered to get down on the floor, D-Boy charged the gun-wielding intruder. Shot in the head, he continued to go after the intruder, who shot him two more times before fleeing from the home. D-boy survived the injuries.

Vote now for the “People’s Hero” dog

The Humane Society of the United States has announced the 15 finalists in the Second Annual Dogs of Valor Awards, sponsored by PetPlan Pet Insurance. The awards honor dogs that have exhibited extraordinary courage.

The People’s Hero winner, chosen by online voting (it ends at 5 p.m. today), and the Valor Dog of the Year, chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, will be announced May 17.

Here are the contenders:

Aubrey (Millbury, Mass.) – Led owner from a running trail to a man who was lying unconscious on an overgrown path.

Baby C. (Albuquerque, N.M.) – Found help when owner’s SUV plummeted 20 feet off the side of a mountain and wedged upside down between two trees.

Baby W. (Charleston, W.Va.) – Awakened owner as a fire spread from the garage, eventually causing their car to explode and destroying their home.

Boo (renamed “Hero”) (Jim Thorpe, Pa.) – Barked to get attention and led police to his owner who had been knocked unconscious after falling between two isolated buildings.

Buster (Clarkridge, Ark.) – Alerted owner and led him to his wife who had collapsed and was unable to move after a severe stroke.

Butch (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) – Ran down to the basement, a place he greatly feared, and woke his owner’s son as a fire quickly spread.

Charley (Loganville, Ga.) – Begged to go outside and then led owner several houses down where a man had fallen off a ladder.

D-boy (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – Shot three times as he charged towards an armed man who had broken into his home.

Hank (Dublin, Ga.) – Roused his owner and helped him to his feet after a tractor ran over him, causing massive internal injuries.

Jake (Omaha, Neb.) – Pulled a boy to safety when he was swept away and pulled underwater by currents in the Platte River.

Julian (Reading, Pa.) – Barked until he got his owner’s attention, leading the man to find his wife in a diabetic coma.

Laney (Portage, Ind.) – Bit the foot of a boy to wake him and his two friends as fire spread throughout the house.

Piper (Garland, Texas) – Pawed at and roused her owner as she struggled to breathe during an asthma attack.

Tripod (Batesville, Ark.) – Awakened her owners as a fire spread through the home, igniting their bedding.

Tyson (Stuart, Fla.) – Barked and pawed at pool’s surface, alerting owners that their infant nephew was floating in the water.

Their complete stories can be viewed here.

Canadian writer says, “No Marley for me”

A Canadian writer plans to avoid seeing the movie Marley & Me, just as he avoided reading the book. His reasons?

“Spot. Josette. Lulu. Nipper. Paddy. Orly. Brownie. Bijou. Byng. Avery. Tiger. Barkley. Wiggins. Sidney. Those are some of the real-life dogs who’ve departed on my watch.”

Craig MacInnes, in an opinion piece for the Ottawa Citizen, says he, for one, has seen enough dogs die during his life. Why go to the movies to see it again?

“Figuratively speaking, dogs rarely make it to the end-credits of our human lifetimes, preceding us to the hereafter in what is surely Nature’s cruelest, most screwed-up plan. Innocent, loyal and trusting, they are rewarded for their blind devotion with a lousy 10 to 15 years, while we get to dither and careen through seven or eight full decades, a journey collectively freighted by the nagging ache of all our losses.”

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