But when it comes to San Francisco’s plan to pair shelter dogs with formerly homeless people living in temporary city housing, we say go for it.
Despite concerns from PETA and others, the city is proceeding with plans for a program it has dubbed WOOF (Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos), in which residents of what the city calls “supportive housing” will be paid a $75 a week stipend to take in and care for a dog.
Starting on a trial basis in August, residents who have no history of violence, mental illness or addiction, will be allowed to temporarily take in a shelter dog and serve as foster parent.
On top of the stipend, they’ll receive training, and free dog food. In the pilot phase of the program five pairs of residents will care for one dog each.
Bevan Dufty, a former supervisor ’s who now serves as the mayor’s homelessness chief, came up with the proposal as a way of addressing two problems at once — overcrowding in animal shelters and panhandling in the streets.
The idea is, with the stipend, those residents who are chronic panhandlers will avoid that behavior.
That’s a big hope, and, as any seasoned panhandler can tell you, there’s no better way to reel in potential donors than by having a dog at your side.
Even if it doesn’t wipe out panhandling, though, even if it is fraught with risks and has a high potential for exploitation, even though it’s not keeping dogs in the safest possible environment, we think it’s an innovative idea worth taking a chance on.
Because when needy dogs and needy people are brought together, miracles can happen.
PETA has come out squarely against the idea, saying the city would be experimenting with the lives of puppies, and placing them in dangerous situations. The organization compared the program to playing “Russian roulette.”
In a letter to the mayor, PETA wrote that most panhandlers are substance abusers or have mental health issues: “Placing any animal with them is risky at best.”
And if people receive animals that have been difficult to adopt out, or judged unadoptable, that could spell more even trouble, PETA says.
“Putting these two troubled populations together is very likely to result in disaster,” Teresa Chagrin, PETA’s animal care and control specialist, is quoted by ABC News as saying.
PETA has offered San Francisco $10,000 — the initial cost of the pilot program — to hire the homeless to do something else, such as handing out leaflets urging people to spay and neuter their pets.
Dufty, who is director of San Francisco’s Housing Opportunities, Partnership, and Engagement (HOPE) initiative — the city goes to great lengths for catchy acronyms — said that the housing residents chosen for the program are trying to get their lives back on track, and that they are fully able to care for pets.
“These are individuals who have been through job readiness programs, who live in our buildings. They were individually interviewed, went through orientation, and have gotten a gold star of approval,” Dufty said.
San Francisco’s Animal Care & Control, a partner in the program — its initial funding is through a $10,000 grant from Vanessa Getty– said those residents taking part will be fully screened.
“You have this image of us pulling up in a van full of dogs handing them out to people,” director Rebecca Katz said. “We would not be putting animals at risk. Our job is to investigate animal abuse and neglect. We are going to have a lot more oversight during this fostering program than if they were to just adopt dogs on their own.”
PETA’s Chagrin counters: “You can’t put dogs with people who are battling their own demons.”
Having heard so many tales of people whose dogs helped them beat their demons, and vice versa, we think — whether it solves the panhandling problem or not — the program deserves a try, in a very well-monitored way. It creates a chance for some magic to happen, for some love to bloom, for some lives to change.
“In order to be effective in responding to homelessness, you can’t ignore the humanity of people,” Dufty said. “Ultimately this program is about giving dogs and people a second chance, and I don’t see how you can argue against that.”
(Photo: Michael Reed, with his dog Topaz, both of whom were homeless when we encountered them in Los Angeles in 2008; by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $75, animal care & control, animal control, animal shelters, animals, bevan dufty, care, dog, dogs, foster, homeless, homelessness, hope, monthly, overcrowding, panhandlers, panhandling, peta, pets, residents, russian roulette, san francisco, shelter, stipend, supportive housing, wonderful opportunities for occupants and fidos, woof!
Once she recovers from her injuries, she’ll be adopted by the owners of the Texas ranch where she was found.
Hope was the subject of a day-long search. She was found — with numerous cuts and her jaws bound shut with electrical tape — on a ranch owned by Kit and Charlie Moncrief.
“We’re lucky to have her,” Kit Moncrief told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s a natural fit. We’ve adopted quite a few dogs, and we were just horrified at the abuse this dog endured.” Hope will be living there with horses, and eight other adopted dogs.
“I can’t think of a better family for Hope to belong to,” said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler, whose office continues to investigate the dog’s apparent torture. A $35,000 reward, including $25,000 from the Texas Humane Alliance, is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Hope was found last Monday by Debbie Williams, who, after hearing reports about an injured dog wandering the area, joined in a search being conducted by animal control officials and other residents. Along with her husband, she corraled Hope in a brushy area on the Moncrief ranch in Weatherford.
The dog was dehydrated, suffering from blood loss and scared, Williams said. Hope required about 100 stitches to close four cuts, and she lost a small piece of her tongue, according to the veterinarian who treated her.
Kit Moncrief said she expects Hope will get along with the animals at the ranch. “Adopted animals are smart,” she said. “They know they’ve been given another chance and they tend to love each other.”
(Photo: Vet tech Rhonda Sears, shown with Hope, who’s wearing a necklace sent to her by supporters in Garland, Texas; courtesy Parker County Sheriff’s Department)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopted, animal cruelty, animals, charley moncrief, cruelty to animals, cuts, dehydration, dog, dogs, electrical tape, hope, investigation, kit moncrief, mix, muzzle, parker county, pets, pug, ranch, reward, sheriff, taped, texas, texas humane alliance, tortured, weatherford
Attention humans: Today’s lesson comes from Tanner and Blair — two hopeless cases that, together, found some hope.
Tanner is a two-year-old Golden Retriever who was born blind and with a seizure disorder. When Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue was unable to find him a home, he ended up at Woodland West Animal Hospital.
Blair is a one-year-old black Labrador mix brought to the same hospital after she was shot while living on the streets. While recovering physically, she was timid, nervous, and unlikely to find a forever home, either.
“One day they were exercising in a play yard together and they got together,” said the hospital’s director, Dr. Mike Jones. “Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around.”
Seeing the connection, hospital staff began to board Tanner and Blair together, with amazing results.
Tanner began seizing less; Blair came out of her shell.
“His seizure disorder was really, really bad and nothing — no medications — seemed to be helping,” Jones told ABC News. “Anytime he [Tanner] seizes he expresses his bowels.”
Tanner had been seizing almost nightly, Jones said, but after two or three weeks with Blair, “we realized Tanner wasn’t seizing anymore. He’s not completely seizure free but it’s not constant anymore.”
If Tanner has a leash on, Blair will pick it up and guide her friend around. Tanner, meanwhile, has had a calming influence on Blair, making the former street dog — now that she has a mission – less timid and anxious.
Now the hospital and Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue are trying to find the two dogs a home together.
“They absolutely have to be adopted together,” Jones said. “But it’s going to take a special home with someone who understands their special relationship plus understands seizure disorder and is ready to take on the responsibility.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, animals, black, blair, blind, cure, disorder, dogs, each other, golden, help, hope, ills, lab, oklahoma, pair, pets, rescue, retrievers, seizure, shelters, shooting, shot, sooner golden retriever rescue, tanner, teamwork, woodland west animal hospital
Hope, a mixed-breed dog that seemed to be on the road to recovery after being nearly decapitated in Georgia earlier this month when her owner left her tied to a tree, has died.
She was euthanized Tuesday after encountering breathing complications.
“The good thing is she got to know that people could be nice to her, because she got a lot of love when she was in the hospital,” Pat Corley, president of Forsyth’s Save-A-Pet organization, said Wednesday.
Hope had been at Caldwell Animal Hospital since July 7, when one of the rescue organization’s members spotted her at the pound in Monroe County, a huge gash running the length of her throat.
Although Save-A-Pet planned to cover all of Hope’s medical expenses, donations were coming in from as far away as Australia, and one Forsyth attorney wrote a check for about $1,500 to cover Hope’s expenses, the Macon Telegraph reported.
Shane Smith, the Save-A-Pet volunteer who took Hope to the hospital, was checking on her everyday, and he and his wife planned to adopt her once she recovered.
“She was sweet. She did fight. We just wanted her to have a chance,” Janet Smith said. “She just made such a great effect on so many people in such a short period of time.”
(Caution: Unsettling images appear with the continuation of this story.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, caldwell veterinary hospital, cruelty to animals, death, decapitated, dies, electric cord, electrical cord, euthanized, forsyth, georgia, hope, monroe county, monterion dionte davis, neck, pound, rescue, save-a-pet, severed, shane smith, shelter, tied, tree
Normally — being cynical and wary of being manipulated — we carefully scrutinize anything that falls into the category of “inspirational.”
Normally, we sidestep the sappy.
Normally, what inspiration we do draw is from dogs.
But every once in a while, humans come through.
This story is two years old, and I’m surprised it hasn’t become a TV movie yet. It’s about a high school football game between Grapevine Faith Christian School and Gainesville State School, which is located within a prison facility for juvenile offenders.
Gainesville State School hadn’t had a win yet that season, and — security being a concern – has never had a home game. As a result of playing only road games, its team — in addition to having only 14 members, shabby equipment, armed escorts with handcuffs at the ready and little hope of winning, on or off the field – had never had any fans to cheer them on.
In the season of 2009, Grapevine Faith coach Kris Hogan showed some — and in the other team.
He sent out an email asking students, faculty, parents and other supporters of Grapevine to root for the team that returns to a maximum-security prison after their games, the Gainesville Tornadoes.
“Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”
The Tornadoes, being cheered on by the opposing teams fans and cheerleaders, didn’t win (that would have been sappy), but — once they got over being stunned — they played their best game of the season.
Then they celebrated, showering their coach with squirt bottles, even though they lost.
ESPN columnist Rick Reilly wrote a fine piece about it as well back then, and it recounts how, as the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.
Gainesville coach Mark Williams, before his team departed, told Hogan, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: cheering, christian school, christianity, coach, faith, football, gainesville state school, gainesville tornadoes, grapevine faith, high school football, home team, hope, humans, inspiration, inspirational, juvenile, kris hogan, losing, offenders, prison, report, texas, tornadoes, video, visiting team, winning
Faith, the two-legged dog, continues to spread inspiration — most recently last weekend when she visited McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis in Washington state.
Faith met thousands of soldiers — some headed to war, some coming back.
“She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all,” Faith’s owner, Jude Stringfellow, told the Associated Press.
“There is a lot of crying, pointing and surprise. From those who have lost friends or limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on the head. There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion.”
Faith, a Lab-chow mix, was born to a junkyard dog around Christmas of 2002. Her mother rejected her and she was rescued by Jude Stringfellow’s son, Rueben, now in the Army. The mother and son taught the dog to walk on her rear legs — using peanut butter and a lot of practice.
Since then Faith has done the talk show circuit, and Stringfellow has become a motivational speaker. She has written two books about Faith and is working on a third, “Faith Walks.”
They get more than 200 letters and e-mails a day, run a website and make dozens of appearances every year, including stops at veterans’ hospitals across the country to cheer injured soldiers.
Rueben Stringfellow left Iraq in September and is stationed in Alaska. He is scheduled to get out of the Army and head home on Jan. 1.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air force, army, base, chow, coping, disabilities, dog, faith, fort lewis, hope, inspiration, jude stringfellow, lab, legs, limbs, lost, mcchord, motivation, on two legs, rear legs, rueben, soldiers, two legs, two-legged, video, walks, washington
Offspring of Snuppy — the world’s first cloned dog — are being offered to the public by Seoul National University, where Snuppy was created in 2005.
The Korea Times reports that applications are being accepted, and the nine puppies will be given to good homes at no charge.
The puppies aren’t clones themselves, but are the offspring of Snuppy and two female Afghans that were cloned at SNU to serve as his girlfriends, and for research purposes — namely to determine whether two cloned dogs can produce pups the natural way, or at least through artificial insemination.
Snuppy became a father in May last year after impregnating the two female clones, named Bona and Hope. It was the world’s first successful breeding involving only cloned canines. One of the 10 puppies died after birth, but the remaining nine — six males and three females — remain healthy.
Lee Byeong-chun, one of the leaders of the team that created Snuppy, said the school will take online applications until Oct. 31 and offer the puppies to pet owners for free after a screening process. Each dog will be spayed or neutered.
“We will look through the applications and give the dogs to owners who we believe are most capable of raising them,” Lee said.
Lee’s team used artificial insemination to impregnate the two cloned Afghan hound females with Snuppy’s sperm last year.
Lee collaborated with now-disgraced gene scientist Hwang Woo-suk in the creation of Snuppy in 2005. Hwang was fired from SNU in the following year after his work on cloned human stem cells was exposed as fraudulent.
Since then, both men have continued to clone dogs — Lee at SNU and Hwang at a private facility he opened outside Seoul in 2007.
Lee had also announced plans to mate the world’s first cloned wolf, born in 2006, with other cloned wolves. Those plans took a blow earlier this week when the world’s first cloned wolf, Snuwolf, was found dead in a Seoul zoo.
(Photo: By John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghan, applications, bona, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dead, dog, dogs, free, hope, offered, puppies, seoul national university, snuppy, snuwolf, south korea, wolf, wolves
Hope, as the dog to the left was later named,was tossed into a quarry in North Carolina and left to die.
She didn’t cooperate.
Though neglected and abused, and only about 8 month’s old, she put up a fight.
“Her spirit and determination allowed her to fight for an indeterminate amount of time, acquiring significant injuries to her feet and legs as she tried desperately to free herself,” said Amy Murphy, a volunteer at North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue,
“Somehow, she found a small ledge, where she huddled for another indeterminate amount until fire and rescue rock climbed and rafted her out. By this point, she was totally catatonic and responsive due to her fear.”
Hope was taken in as a foster by Murphy, who brought her home to join her pack of rescued animals. Those include a rescued fighting dog who was used as bait and subsequently lost a rear leg, another dog that was abandoned twice before the age of 3 months who is now a therapy dog, and three elderly cats who were abandoned at various stages in their life.
One of the cats keeps all arriving foster dogs company by spending the night sleeping in front of their crates, and the two cats perform grooming rituals on the foster animals, washing faces, ears and paws, Murphy reports.
“Within hours, this group had enticed Hope to let her guard down and engage in a bit of play with them. In a few days, she began to initiate interaction with me. In a week, she was allowing select strangers to approach her. In just a matter of a month or two, Hope transformed into a happy, playful, engaging dog who has adopted the philosophy of ‘I’ve never met a stranger.’ People are shocked to hear of her past when they meet her….they see her as a typical puppy.”
You can read Hope’s entire journal here.
Despite the fact that Hope loves people, has good manners and was featured in the local newspaper, there has been little interest from potential adopters, Murphy says. She blames the economy. “Not only are people not adopting, many are actually dropping their family pets off at the pound to cut costs.”
“This is not a good time to be a dog without a home. But Hope is a fighter, and a survivor, and we continue to fight for her,” she said.
(Photo by Doc Brunk, courtesy of North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abuse, adopt, amy murphy, cruelty, economy, foster, hope, journal, neglect, north carolina, north mecklenburg animal rescue, quarry, rescued, shelter
Joy. Sadness. Hope. Fear. Fairness. Compassion. Curiosity. Resentment. Jealousy. Anxiety. Embarassment. Remorse.
Despite those who will tell you dogs feel none of those — that they are solely motivated by hunger — evidence is mounting that dogs’ emotions run a gamut a lot like the gamut our’s run. (Damn gamut.)
Ten years ago, anyone arguing that dogs felt guilt or compassion would have been laughed out of the room — and accused of anthropomorphism once he was gone.
Today, as an article in the Denver Post points out, scientists are finally acknowledging what pet owners have suspected all along – that dogs have feelings too, a lot like our’s, probably as a result of all these years evolving under the same roof together.
“We’re not trying to elevate animals. We’re not trying to reduce humans. We’re not saying we’re better or worse or the same,” said animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of the University of Colorado. “We’re saying we’re not alone in having a nuanced moral system.”
Bekoff, co-author of the newly released “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals,” is convinced dogs animals possess empathy and compassion, the emotions upon which moral sense is built. “Dogs know they are dependent. They learn to read us,” Bekoff said. “Dogs develop this great sense of trust. We’re tightly linked, and there is something spiritual about that unity.”
These days, more scientists are following in Bekoff’s footsteps – Harvard University, for instance, recently opened a Canine Cognition Lab, where researchers seek insight into the psychology of both humans and dogs.
“The amount of skepticism has dramatically dropped,” Bekoff said.
You can find the full Denver Post article here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anthropomorphism, anxiety, behavior, canine cognition lab, compassion, dog, dogs, embarassment, emotions, empathy, evolution, evolving, fairness, fear, feel, feelings, harvard, hope, jealousy, joy, lives, marc bekoff, moral, pets, remorse, resentment, sadness, university of colorado