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Tag: hope

Creed and Casper: A boy and a service dog


How a hospital service dog brightened — and maybe even prolonged — the final days of sick little boy is the subject of this poignant report by WXIA in Atlanta.

Creed Campbell spent more than half of his life in the hospital, battling illness since the day he was born and missing out on many of the joys of childhood.

Then, while in the hospital, he met Casper, a service dog from Canine Assistants who visits young patients.

Casper was the new therapy dog at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Creed was one of the first children he’d be assigned to. The bond was instant, the family says.

“I don’t think he ever saw Casper as a dog,” Creed’s father, Jon Campbell, said.

CreedonCasperCreed was thought to be nearing death one day when Casper came for his visit and jumped in his bed.

Creed’s mother, Stephanie, put her son’s motionless hand on Casper’s paw, then saw her son’s hand begin to move.

“That dog just saved your son,” a nurse later told the family.

Because Casper visited him in the hospital, Creed felt he should go along when the dog went to the vet for  a check up. In fact, he insisted on doing so, his mother, Stephanie wrote in a blog post about Casper and Creed for the hospital’s website.

Creed’s health improved, but only for a while.

Not long after Creed died, a new litter of puppies was born at Canine Assistants. They named one for Creed.

Stephanie went to meet the dog named after her son.

“I picked that dog up and … It was something tangible that I could hold again that brought me to my baby,” she said. “Everything he’s lived through all of his heartache, all of his hardship, I get to hold it right here with this little warm fuzzy pup.”

(Photo: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)

Faith takes her message of hope to soldiers

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.

Snuppy’s puppies being offered as pets

DSC02429Offspring 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)

Hope, dumped in quarry, springs back

hope May2

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.

If you want to give Hope a home, contact North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue by email at nmeckanimalrescue@yahoo.com.

(Photo by Doc Brunk, courtesy of North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue)

Name that emotion … dogs have them, too

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.