An 8-year-old Arkansas boy got to meet the dog who has inspired him from afar for the past year.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, Carter Blanchard, who has Vitiligo, an auto-immune disease that causes skin to lose its pigmentation, flew to Oregon over the weekend to meet Rowdy, a 14-year-old black lab with the same condition.
Rowdy is an ambassador for the American Vitiligo Research Association. He developed Vitiligo more than two years ago, giving the 14-year-old dog’s face the appearance of a panda in reverse.
With his owners, he works to further understanding of the condition, and help children — often embarrassed over and teased about the condition — to learn to be comfortable in the skin they’re in.
Carter, for example, began struggling with his self worth after his appearance changed when he was in kindergarten, his mother, Stephanie Adcock, said.
“He would go from room to room in my home looking at every mirror. I remember the day I picked him up from school when he said, ‘Mom, I hate my face,'” Adcock wrote in a letter to Ellen DeGeneres. “As his mother, it broke my heart that I could not change this situation for him.”
Earlier this year, Carter’s mother saw pictures online of Rowdy. She shared them with her son and contacted Rowdy’s owners, who included Carter in a video about Rowdy that went viral last fall.
When Carter saw the video, “He broke out in the biggest smile, according to his mother, and he said, “Me and Rowdy are famous.”
Carter started looking at his condition differently.
“For the first time in 2 years, Carter was proud of himself and his Vitiligo,” Adcock said in the letter. “He even said, ‘Mom, your skin is boring because you don’t have Vitiligo.’ Rowdy changed my son’s childhood. He changed our home and our lives.”
With Rowdy’s health declining rapidly, his owners decided they wanted Rowdy and Carter to meet, and one of his owners, Niki Umbenhower, started a GoFundMe campaign to allow Carter and his mother to make the trip from Searcy, Arkansas to Canby, Oregon.
Carter and his mom flew to Oregon Saturday and Carter and Rowdy met for the first time Sunday, KGW in Portland reported.
“The meeting was (and has been) one of the most gratifying, rewarding things I’ve personally ever experienced,” Umbenhower said.
Carter and his mother will return to Arkansas tomorrow.
Rowdy, meanwhile, wasn’t doing so well. On Sunday, he had a seizure.
His owner updated the situation Monday on Instagram:
“Rowdy saw a neurologist in the ER today. They are not sure if it was a seizure or a stroke or something else. They did a lot of tests and without a “much needed” (expensive) MRI and CT Scan, we may never know. He could have a tumor or a mass causing a lot of his issues.
“We left with them prescribing a new medication for seizures as well as some codeine for his pain. This could be age related, an isolated event, or he may have more episodes like today. . I want to thank EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for the prayers, well wishes, and support!”
(Photos: By Niki Umbenhower / Instagram)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 22nd, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: American Vitiligo Research Association, animals, arkansas, black lab, Carter Blanchard, dog, dogs, inspiration, inspired, instagram, lab, labrador retriever, Niki Umbenhower, oregon, pet, pets, pigmentation, rowdy, seizure, skin, social media, stroke, video, vitiligo, white-eyed Rowdy
A controversial neurosurgeon in Italy said this week that he and his fellow researchers may be able to conduct the first human head transplant next year.
We suggest they start with their own.
Dr. Sergio Canavero has been compared to Dr. Frankenstein, and called a nut, but that hasn’t stopped him and members of his consortium — from China, South Korea and the U.S. — from severing the spinal cord of the beagle above (just so they could try to reattach it) and doing the same with numerous mice.
If that’s not weird enough, Canavero and team say that before they attempt a head transplant on a live human, they will conduct some experiments on human corpses, and then reanimate them with electricity to test his technique.
We can only assume they will do so in the basement laboratory of a castle, during a thunderstorm.
Canavero is director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group. He released three papers this week, and the video above, showing how he and his collaborators had successfully reattached the spinal cords of the dog and several mice.
Canavero also claims that researchers led by Xiaoping Ren at Harbin Medical University have already performed a head transplant on a monkey – connecting up the blood supply between the head and the new body.
Canavero’s short term goal is to successfully transplant a human head. His long term goal, he admits, “is immortality.”
What’s an acceptable number of dogs to torture in a quest of that nature?
We’d say none.
Canavero says the experiments on animals prove the technique used — known as GEMINI spinal cord fusion — incorporates a chemical called polyethylene glycol, or PEG, to encourage neurons to grow toward each other and connect.
He suspects it will also work in humans to fuse two ends of a spinal cord together, or to connect a transplanted head to a donor body.
He made the claims in a series of papers published in the journal Surgical Neurology International.
The claims have been met with widespread skepticism, according to New Scientist.
Canavero first announced his plans to conduct a human head transplant in 2013 and established the ead Anastomosis Venture, or HEAVEN, project to develop the techniques needed to carry out such an operation.
His collaborator in South Korea is Dr. C-Yoon Kim, a neurosurgeon at Konkuk University in Seoul who partially severed and reattached the spinal cords of 16 mice. Five of the eight mice who received PEG regained some ability to move. The other three died — as did eight who were in a control group.
In another experiment the South Korean team nearly severed the spinal cord of a dog. While the dog was initially paralyzed, three days later the team reported it was able to move its limbs and wag its tail.
South Korea is also the birthplace of dog cloning and up until this summer — when an American company cloned a dog for a customer — it was the only country cloning dogs for profit.
It’s probably not too outlandish — given all the bizarre turns medical researchers are taking — to wonder if surplus canine clones in South Korea end up being used for other wacky experiments by mad (or at least overly zealous) scientists.
In fact, if you look at its history, creating dogs for medical research use was one markets mentioned by the developers and marketers of dog cloning.
Could it be that some of the ideas initially presented in science fiction might ought to remain in the realm of science fiction?
Canavero’s research papers don’t indicate how many more dogs might have their necks snapped or heads severed by his research team as they boldly and single-mindedly stride toward their goal.
But, again, we’d argue that — no matter what medical gains it could lead to for humans — it should be NONE.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, china, cloning, controversial, cord, dog, dogs, dr. sergio canavero, experiments, frankenstein, head transplant, heaven, human head transplant, italy, lab, laboratory, medical, neurosurgeon, pets, reattached, research, science, sergio canavero, severed, south korea, spinal, u.s.
Dogs used in scientific research would need to be considered for adoption before they can be routinely euthanized under legislation passed this week in New York.
The measure — focused on beagles because they are most commonly bred for research use — has been sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law, WGRZ reports.
The Research Animal Retirement Act — also referred to as the “Beagle Freedom Bill” — would require all educational institutions that use dogs or cats in research to establish adoption programs.
The law would mandate that a veterinarian determine whether a beagle or other animal that is no longer useful to researchers is medically suitable for adoption. If approved for adoption, the animal would then be shipped to a shelter or given to an interested owner.
Similar laws have been passed in Nevada, California, Minnesota, and Connecticut.
“This bill, once it is signed into law, will mean that research animals will have a chance at a second life,” said one sponsor of the legislation, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan.
“All animals, being freed of their testing responsibilities, should be afforded the opportunity of a loving, forever home to live the remainder of their days,” said another, Sen. Phil Boyle, R-Suffolk County.
The The Beagle Freedom Project — whose work is featured in the video above — has mounted campaigns in several more states to get the law passed.
The New York law requires publicly-funded higher education research facilities to take reasonable steps to provide for the adoption of dogs and cats when they are no longer being used for scientific research.
While federal laws regulate animal research, they do not protect dogs and cats from being euthanized when their services are no longer needed.
Some research facilities, however, have instituted their own adoption programs.
“These dogs and cats deserve to live normal lives as companion animals once their time in the laboratory ends,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States.
“People who have adopted former research dogs and cats can attest to the resilience and affection of these animals once they are given the chance to flourish in a home environment,” he said.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, animals, beagle freedom bill, beagle freedom project, beagles, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, freedom, homes, lab, laboratory, law, legislation, new york, pets, protection, research, research animal retirement act
Having a gallery opening and appearing on the “The Rachael Ray Show” show in the same week would be quite the accomplishment for any artist.
But this one has only been painting a year.
And he has no hands.
Dagger II burst onto the art scene in March, when Newsday published a story about the paint brush- wielding, three-year-old black Labrador.
Yesterday, in light of his growing fame, there was a follow-up story in Newsday recounting his recent achievements.
Dagger II and his human, artist Yvonne Dagger, met Rachael Ray last month and demonstrated the dog’s skills. Dagger II, wearing his trademark red beret, was said to have hit it off especially well with Ray’s co-host for the day, Regis Philbin. The episode airs Friday.
Friday also marks the gallery debut of Dagger II — also known as DogVinci. His works will be on display at Long Island Picture Frame and Art Gallery in Massapequa Park.
Dagger II and his owner have partnered with that business to sell both original works and limited edition prints of his creations.
Ten percent of proceeds will go to Forgotten Friends of Long Island, a Plainview-based animal rescue and rehabilitation group.
Yvonne Dagger adopted Dagger II after he flunked out of service dog training. It was discovered he had a fear of going up and down stairs.
After laying at her feet as she painted, he attempted his own foray into the art world.
Last Summer, Yvonne Dagger said, the dog who had always quietly watched as she painted began nudging her. She asked him if he wanted to paint and he began wagging his tail. She set up an easel for him, made a brush handle out of a paper towel tube and duct tape, and taught him some commands.
Yvonne helps him load the brush with non-toxic paints.
“Brush,” she tells Dagger to get him to take the makeshift brush in his mouth. “Paint,” she says to get him to apply brush to canvas.
His original paintings are selling for up to $325.
You can learn more about Dagger II, and view more of his works, at his website, DogVinci.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: art, artist, black lab, brush, dagger, dagger II, dog, dogvinci, gallery, lab, labrador retriever, long island, long island picture frame and art gallery, opening, paint, painting, rachael ray, video, yvonne dagger
We thought we’d heard of every way there is to immortalize a beloved canine companion — from taxidermy to cloning, from turning ashes into jewelry to inserting ashes into a stuffed animal — but this is a new one on us.
A British ex-soldier has paid tribute to the dog he served with in Afghanistan by getting a tattoo on his leg, made from ink mixed with the animal’s ashes.
Treo, a bomb-detecting black Lab, moved in with his handler after the two left the Army at about the same time.
Treo died in October at the age of 14, and now Dave Heyhoe, an ex-sergeant, wears a tattoo on his calf of Treo’s pawprint and 80 words relating to how the dog loyally served his handler.
“The tattoo completes me,” the former serviceman from Cheshire told the Daily Mail. “People might think it’s strange, but Treo was like a son to me, and his death has knocked me for six.
“Over the years we have seen gunfire, death and bomb scares together – I’ve been lost without him. Now it feels like Treo is by my side – where he’s supposed to be.”
During his service, the black Labrador is said to have prevented the deaths of dozens of British troops. He was awarded the Dickin Medal in 2010 for his service.
That tattoo is not Heyhoe’s only tribute to the dog.
He also wrote a book about him, “It’s All About Treo, Life, Love and War with the World’s Bravest Dog.”
(Photos: SWNS/Daily Mail)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, army, ashes, black, bomb-detecting, dead, death, dog, dogs, immortalizing, ink, lab, labrador, loss, memorials, military, pets, remembering, retriever, tattoo, treo dave heyhoe, tributes
The dog — named Adam, ironically enough — is allergic to humans.
Adam was pulled from a shelter by Lucky Dog Rescue in Indianapolis last July, but it took a while for vets to determine what was causing his fur to fall out.
“When we first saw him, he looked just absolutely miserable,” Lucky Dog president Robin Herman told ABC’s Good Morning America. “He felt like Vaseline. Reddish-pinkish fluid would just ooze out of his skin.”
The rescue center, which was working with Indianapolis’ Animal Medical Center, originally believed that Adam, who was one-a-half at the time, had flea dermatitis.
Months went by — he spent at least six of them wearing a cone — and his condition didn’t get better.
But in late October, Dr. Rachel Anderson, a veterinarian from the medical center, ordered some allergy tests, and was shocked by the results.
“It was a really interesting phone call,” Herman said. “She was like, ‘You’re not going to believe what he’s allergic to! It’s really remarkable, he’s allergic to humans the same way some people are allergic to dogs and cats.”
Specifically, the blood tests showed Adam is allergic to human dander, as well as cat dander, some plants, walnuts and some insects like houseflies and cockroaches.
After news first broke about Adam’s condition, people from as far away as Australia and the U.K. contacted the center either with adoption inquiries or donations, Herman said.
But Adam ended up finding a permanent home with the center employee who spent the last year caring for him, Beth Weber, who now makes sure he gets the proper medications and gives him baths every three days with a different kind of soap every other time.
He’s also seeing a specialist at the Animal Dermatology Clinic in Indianapolis.
“He’s come such a long way,” Herman said. “… All his fur is back except for a little spot on his butt and tail. Though he’s going to be on medications for the rest of his life … he’s now on the road to full recovery and health.”
(Photos: Lucky Dog Rescue’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam, allergic, allergies, animals, condition, dogs, humans, indianapolis, indianapolis animal medical center, lab, lucky dog, lucky dog rescue, mix, pets, rescue, skin
Eclipse knows where she wants to go. And she knows how to get there.
So maybe the fact that the black Lab-mastiff mix regularly boards a Seattle city bus — by herself — to get to the dog park shouldn’t be that surprising.
The 2-year-old dog often jumps on the bus alone — most of the drivers know her by now — roams the aisles, greets her fellow commuters, finds a seat, and watches for the bus stop near the dog park, where she gets off, about four stops later.
“All the bus drivers know her. She sits here just like a person does,” commuter Tiona Rainwater told KOMO as she rode the bus through downtown Monday. “She makes everybody happy. How could you not love this thing?”
Local radio host Miles Montgomery is among though who were dazzled when they figured out what the dog was doing.
“It doesn’t really appear to have an owner. The dog gets off at the dog park. I just look out the window and I’m like, ‘did that just happen?'” Montgomery asked. “She was most concerned about seeing out the window, and I couldn’t figure out what that was. It was really just about seeing where her stop was.”
As it happens, Eclipse does have an owner, Jeff Young, who lives with her in an apartment near the bus stop at 3 Ave. W. and W. Mercer Street in Belltown.
They started off going to the park on the bus together. Then one day, when Young was finishing up a cigarette, the bus pulled up and Eclipse ran and jumped aboard without him.
That has happened numerous times since — Eclipse being a somewhat impatient dog, and Young being a man who likes to finish the cigarettes he starts, apparently.
Apparently, too, the duo is not big on leashes.
“We get separated. She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park,” said Young. “It’s not hard to get on. She gets on in front of her house and she gets off at the dog park, three or four stops later.”
“She’s been here the last two years, so she’s been urbanized, totally. She’s a bus-riding, sidewalk-walking dog,” he added. “Probably once a week I get a phone call. ‘Hi. I have your dog Eclipse here on 3rd and Bell,'” he recounted. “I have to tell them, ‘no. She’s fine.’ She knows what she’s doing.”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bus, city, commuter, dog, dog park, dog rides bus, dogs, eclipse, lab, mastiff, mix, pets, ride, rider, seattle, smart, travel