Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
How nice is this?
Ace and I were taking the mile-long walk down to the end of Figure 8 Island and back on Sunday when we stopped to meet some other dogs — a golden retriever named Mac and a black Lab named Jet.
Their owners were on the beach, and though strangers — to me, at least – they offered Ace, who was looking a little bedraggled by then, some water. He graciously accepted and drank their entire supply.
After some chatting, Ace, I and friends moved on, walking to the inlet and turning around for the hike back. By then — it being especially hot, and our morning walk having started around noon — Ace was really dragging. In addition to being nearly as out of shape as his master, he had been taking in a little salt water each time he gingerly waded into the ocean.
We were passing by Mac and Jet’s house again when — though the people and dogs had all gone inside – we came across the note above, written in the sand, with an arrow that pointed to a full bowl of fresh water.
Ace made a beeline for it, lapped some up, then laid down, resting his chin on the edge and drinking almost the whole bowl before lazily getting up and lumbering a few hundred more yards.
All along the way, in addition to sniffing in the smells, he was keeping an eye open for shade. Anytime he saw a group under an umbrella, he felt the need to visit, and not being on a leash (shame on me) he did.
We hadn’t gotten far from the Ace watering station when another woman beckoned, and we, eyeing the shade of her umbrella, veered in her direction. She went to a cooler and pulled out a bottled water, pouring it into her cupped hand for Ace. He polished off the whole thing.
Issuing thanks again (though no one was offering me water, I might point out), we trudged homeward — by now having fallen far behind our friends, due to our slower pace and Ace’s philosophy when it comes to humans: There are no strangers — only friends he hasn’t yet met (who might also have good stuff like water and treats and shade).
Shade can be hard to find at the beach.
Kindness, though, is usually only as far as the next beach chair.
(Photos by Amelia Bellows)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, dog, dogs, drinking, figure 8 island, friends, heat, hot, jet, kindness, mac, north carolina, pets, reunion, salt water, shade, strangers, travels with ace, vacation, water
It would be have been a doggone big story, if it were true.
Based on a report from the Star-Advertiser in Honolulu, many media outlets were asking the question yesterday: Was Bo flown back to Washington from Hawaii for the sole purpose of taking part in a photo op with the president during his shopping trip to PetSmart?
On Wednesday, Bo accompanied the president on a shopping trip in Alexandria — and was duly photographed by the press corps.
Clearly, some theorized, the dog must have been flown back home for the photo op.
Or, for those who like conspiracy theories, might there actually be two Bo’s — maybe an original Bo and a cloned Bo — one who serves as the family dog, one who handles the public appearances?
Britain’s Daily Mail, as it’s prone to do, seemed to be breathing most heavily about the possibility of wrongdoing:
” … Michelle Obama’s press office had earlier said Bo would be leaving with the First Lady and her girls for their Hawaii holiday last Saturday… And an island eyewitness said he saw the Portuguese Water Dog taken for a walk earlier this week, ahead of President Obama’s delayed arrival.
“A mistake could have been made by all three news outlets who reported the dog went to Hawaii … But a mystery is presented if at least one of the Chicago Sun-Times, Hawaii TV station KHON 2 and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser were correct.”
The Los Angeles Times asked Michelle Obama’s office and quickly got this answer: “Bo has been in D.C. this whole time.”
The Star-Advertiser in Honolulu yesterday ran a correction on its report that Bo arrived with Michele Obama and the children in Hawaii.
Obama’s not the first president to be wrongly suspected of having the government chauffeur his dog across great distances at great expense.
Republicans accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of leaving his Scottish terrier Fala behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands, then ordering a U.S. Navy destroyer to go retrieve him.
In a 1944 speech, FDR responded to the charges.
“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks — but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!”
You’d think Republicans, and even Sarah Palin, would have learned by now — as Richard Nixon did — that, while bad-mouthing a president is accepted procedure in politics, bad mouthing his dog will only get you bitten.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bo, checkers, christmas, clone, conspiracy, correction, destroyer, dogs, fala, family, fdr, flown, franklin roosevelt, hawaii, jet, media, mistakes, newspapers, nixon, obama, pets, petsmart, photo op, photographs, portuguese water dog, president, presidents, shopping, trip, washington, wrongdoing
A purebred flat-coated retriever won best in show, but it was a one-eyed mutt named Dudley, and his dazzling performance in an agility contest, that won over the crowd at Crufts — the pretentious, I mean presitigious, UK dog show that concluded this past weekend.
Dudley, a six-year-old Lhasa apso-pug mix who lost his eye as a pup, and later was given up by his owners, won an official Crufts rosette for his performance in the agility ring, beating out other rescued dogs in the competition, according to the Southern Daily Echo.
While we’ve been known to poke fun at purebred dog shows, it’s good to see them — on both sides of the pond — opening things up to mixed breeds, like Dudley. And, if the crowd reaction to him is any sign, it’s something they should do a lot more of.
“He was definitely the crowd’s favorite and got a huge cheer as he ran round,” Dudley’s owner, Lara Alford, from Southampton, said. “Over the last few days he has had so many admirers – he’s probably been one of the most photographed dogs at Crufts this year.”
Dudley had his right eye removed as a puppy because of an infection. At 14 months, his owners surrendered him at an animal adoption shelter.
Alford, shortly after adopting him, noticed his speed and maneuverability and began training him in agility. As they run the courses, she always stays on his left side, so he can see her.
At Crufts, the training paid off. “It was one of the fastest rounds Dudley’s ever done,” she said.
More than 21,000 dogs vied for honors at Crufts, which opened Thursday. In the best-in-show competition, Jet, a flat-coated retriever, beat out a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, a German shepherd, a boxer, a wire fox terrier, a standard poodle and a bichon frise.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agility, animals, best in show, breeds, crufts, dog shows, dogs, dudley, flat coated retriever, jet, lara alford, lhasa apso, mix, mixed breeds, mutts, one eye, one-eyed, pets, pug, purebreds
John Travolta’s two family dogs were killed after being struck by an airport service vehicle at Maine’s Bangor International Airport.
Both dogs were being walked on leashes while Travolta’s jet was parked on an airport tarmac for refueling.
In a statement released to the Bangor Daily News, city officials said, “An airport service pickup truck was approaching the airplane to service the airplane and did not see the dogs. Unfortunately, the dogs were struck and killed. The airport is investigating the accident. Out of respect for the family’s privacy the city will make no further comment.”
The death of the two dogs comes a little more than a year after Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, lost their son, Jett, who died after suffering from a seizure while vacationing with them in the Bahamas.
Travolta is a licensed pilot and owns a home in Islesboro, a small coastal town in Maine. It was unclear who was on the plane or if Travolta was in the cockpit, CBS News reported.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, airport, animals, bangor, bangor international airport, dog, dogs, islesboro, jet, john travolta, kelly preston, killed, leashes, maine, news, ohmidog!, pets, struck, tarmac, truck, two, vehicle, walked
A police dog handler in the UK has been found guilty of animal cruelty for leaving two German shepherds to die in the back of his car on one of the hottest days of last year.
Mark Johnson, of the Nottinghamshire police, was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine. The judge called it “an extremely difficult case” which reflected poorly on the force’s attitude to officers with mental health problems.
Prosecutors said the animals – Jay-Jay and Jet – died in “excruciating pain” after Johnson forgot he had not taken them out of his vehicle on June 30. The dogs died – possibly within 20 minutes of being left in the car– from heatstroke, The Guardian reported
Johnson, 39, said he was severely depressed and was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder when he left the dogs in the car. He said his illness had caused him to forget that the animals were still in the car as he sat down to do paperwork at Nottinghamshire police’s headquarters.
District judge Tim Devas described the dogs’ deaths as “sad and regrettable”, but criticized the police department for failing to help an officer struggling with depression.
“I feel a police officer has been let down … (T)his is a dreadful error of judgment brought about by an illness way before it happened and PC Johnson should have been given more help … I cannot believe that in the 21st century, depression and men crying is so abhorrent to an institution that nothing can be done about it,” he said.
An assistant chief constable of the Nottinghamshire police said dog handlers must now take their animals directly to kennels on arrival at work and that a system was being piloted alerting handlers to temperature changes inside vehicles.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, car, changes, deaths, depressed, dog, fine, fined, german shepherds, guilty, handler, heat, heat stroke, jay jay, jet, mark johnson, mental health, news, nottinghamshire, police, policies, policy, trial, vehicle
You might want to have your pencils and celebrity scorecards handy for this one:
“West Wing” actress NiCole Robinson is defending the reputation of her dog Floyd, a German shepherd who was accused of attacking a woman on a private jet, back when he belonged to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
Lopez and Anthony purchased Floyd for $39,000 in 2005 from a South Carolina breeder and trainer of security dogs.
In 2006, a flight attendant named Lisa Wilson claimed Floyd attacked her on a private jet, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn.
Not too long after that, Lopez and Anthony returned to the dog to the breeder. Whether they got a refund, I do not know.
In 2007, Robinson and her husband, political consultant Craig Snyder, bought Floyd from the same K-9 security outfit in South Carolina, after a robbery scare in their Manhattan apartment. They paid $35,000 for him.
Upon reading that, in connection with the Lopez lawsuit, an animal behavior expert had branded Floyd a menace, Robinson apparently felt the need to speak out.
“He’s the biggest, sweetest baby,” Robinson, who played Margaret Hooper on The West Wing, told the New York Daily News. “I will go to court to defend Floyd’s honor.”
While Floyd growls when strangers approach family members, Robinson’s husband said the dog — whose full name is Floyd vom Meierhof — allows the couple’s 4-year-old daughter to ride on his back. “He’s under very strict rules of engagement,” Snyder said.
“You can get security dogs for half or one-third the price, but to me those dogs would pose a risk to my family,” he said. “Cheaper dogs are not trained to distinguish between a real threat and a kid who pulls their tail. The dog is 100% peace of mind.”
Robinson and Snyder were informed of Floyd’s past – including the alleged incident on the plane – when they made the purchase.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attack, behavior, craig snyder, dog, flight attendant, floyd, german shepherd, guard, jennifer lopez, jet, K-9, lawsuit, marc anthony, nicole robinson, private, protection, return, security, trained, west wing