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Tag: labrador

Miss Babe Ruth retiring after nine years as “bat dog” for the Greensboro Grasshoppers


Miss Babe Ruth, the 9-year-old Lab who has retrieved more than 5,000 bats as the official bat dog of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, is retiring this week.

She’ll be around for the rest of the season, but will retrieve her last bat in Wednesday’s home game against the visiting Durham Bulls, according to the Charlotte Observer.

After her full retirement, she’ll be replaced by a new bat dog, Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, but team members will still have her teeth marks — left on many a bat — to remember her by.

Miss Babe has been the bat and ball dog of the Grasshoppers since 2006. She delivers a bucket of baseballs to the umpire in the first and fifth innings, retrieves Grasshopper bats in the third inning and runs the bases when the game is over.

Her Wednesday appearance will be her 649th consecutive home game in a career that saw her deliver about 4,000 balls, retrieve 5,000 bats, and gain national media exposure.

She has generated more than $200,000 in sponsorship fees since her first game on Aug. 2, 2006, has her own “Babe’s Buddies” fan club, and has a burger named after her at the concession stand.

“She loves it. She gets excited when the crowd gets excited,” said Grasshoppers President Donald Moore.

A retirement party was held for her at Saturday night’s game, where she received a key to the city from Mayor Nancy Vaughan and walked down a red carpet from the pitcher’s mound to home plate to deliver the game ball to the umpire.

Both Miss Lou Lou Gehrig and Master Yogi Berra, both related to Miss Babe, are also fixtures at the Grasshopper’s downtown stadium. Moore brings all three along on game days.

Grasshoppers manager Kevin Randel said the players enjoy their canine teammates: “The only knock on it is they get little teeth marks on the bats.”

Babe’s designated successor, Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, is owned by Moore’s son, Donald Moore Jr. Lou Lou is already adept at fetching bats and delivering balls. “She’s perfectly capable of taking over from Babe,” Moore said.

Miss Babe Ruth’s legacy will live on after she retires. Her ball bucket will go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

(Photo by Jack Horan / Charlotte Observer)

Dog in France gets the seal of approval, or at least the approval of a seal

We won’t be so anthropomorphic as to insist what you’re watching above is a “tender moment” between two species.

(But we will — privately — feel all warm inside and silently go “awwwwwwww.”)

This seal flopped his way up to a yellow Labrador on a beach in southwestern France and seemingly embraced him — as much as one with flippers can embrace.

The dog, meanwhile, took it all in stride.

The video was shot at Le Cap Ferret and uploaded earlier this month by YouTube user Elise Frebourg.

Idaho officer violated policy when he shot dog through van window, review says

arfee2Two investigations have concluded that an Idaho police officer used unnecessary force when he shot a dog who lunged at him as he snuck up to a van’s partially open window.

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said an internal review found that the shooting of Arfee by officer Dave Kelly — the bullet went through the window glass —was unjustified.

A separate Use of Deadly Force Review Board unanimously concluded that Kelley’s actions “were in violation of the department policies reviewed.”

Officer Kelly remains on duty, though, and city officials aren’t saying what disciplinary action, if any, he might face, according to the  Associated Press

“An argument can be made that Officer Kelley’s decision to shoot was reasonable when the dog lunged through the partially open window mere inches away from his face and throat,” White said. “However, given the totality of the circumstances, the use-of-force reviews found Officer Kelley’s use of force to be out of policy in this incident.”

The department initially reported that an officer shot and killed a “vicious pit bull” that lunged at him from inside a van on July 9 — but later corrected the breed. Arfee was a lab mix. Kelly was not identified by name by the department until last week.

The dog’s owner, Craig Jones, had left Arfee parked in the shade with the windows partly open while he went to a coffee shop.

City Attorney Mike Gridley declined to comment on whether any disciplinary action would be taken against Kelley, who has 17 years of law enforcement experience, the last seven with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

Officer Kelley, in an incident report filed immediately after the incident, said the van was being checked due previous reports in the area of a person in a similar van trying to entice children. He said he drew his weapon as he approached the driver’s side door of the van.

“I was at the driver’s side door/window, when suddenly I saw a black dog’s head and neck lunge through the open window,” Kelley wrote. “The dog was aggressively barking and growling, and its mouth was within inches of my face. I had the split second thought that this dog is going to bite me, and bite me immediately.”

The use-of-force investigation said that, even if Arfee’s head was outside the window, Kelley’s response — firing a bullet, that went through the window glass — was not reasonable.

“Officer Kelley, a seasoned officer of over 15 years of experience, was in an open parking lot with an open business, in the middle of the day, with citizens around and (another) officer … on the other side of the van. This was a case where Officer Kelley did not have anything behind him to prevent him from gaining distance,”  police Lt. Robert Turner wrote in the report.

Police Chief White said the shooting has shaken the community’s confidence in the police department, but added, “… The relationship between our community and our department will ultimately be strengthened as a direct result of how we respond to the situation and how we improve our agency to prevent similar situations from occurring.”

It’s safe to say Walter likes the sea

Not every yellow Lab loves the water.

But those that do tend to do so with that kind of all-out, make-the-most-of-the-moment glee that dogs so often display (and we humans could learn from).

This video — made with a Go Pro camera strapped to his back — shows Walter barreling own a path to the Ionian Sea in Sicily, from the moment he is unleashed until he takes his plunge, narrowly missing taking a few humans in with him.

I try to refrain from ascribing emotions to dogs — not because I don’t think they have any, but because we mere humans never really know what’s in their heads and hearts.

In this case, though, I think it’s safe to say Walter likes the sea.

It’s also safe to say people like watching Walter’s mad dash: It garnered nearly 3 million views in its first three days on YouTube.

Today is my birthday, and here’s my birthday resolution: Be more like Walter.

Duke’s last day


When a friend had to put her dog down a week ago, Houston photographer Robyn Arouty joined her to provide some moral support, and to document Duke’s bittersweet last day with her camera.

Arouty, who is also an animal rescuer and advocate, joined her friend Jordan Roberts on July 7 as she let Duke feast on hamburgers and visit a water park before he received a lethal injection — all while surrounded by friends.

Duke, a black Lab, was diagnosed a few years ago with osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor, and had his right front leg removed. The cancer came back, though, and was spreading.

“His tumor was growing rapidly and we were out of options,” Roberts said. “He would rally during the day, but his nights were increasingly uncomfortable as his tumor started to separate his ribs. We struggled with the decision to let Dukey go, but ultimately did everything in our power to protect him from further pain.”

duke2She made an appointment with a vet to have him euthanized on Monday, July 7. Then she called Arouty, who had taken photos for her before. She told her about her plans for Duke’s last day and asked her to photograph it.

Arouty’s photos show Duke and friends eating hamburgers in the morning, visiting a water park, and cuddling with friends.

Along with the photos, Arouty told the story of Duke (narrated from his point of view) on  her blog . (Note: At the time of this writing, it was having some technical difficulties.)

“Jordan let me know she had scheduled the appointment with the vet and the words just came,” Arouty told “See, I have lost three of my own dogs in the past year and a half.”

“With the help from our friends, Dukey had a beautiful day filled with love and happiness,” his owner said. “We should all be so lucky.”


(Photos: From Robyn Arouty’s Facebook page)

A case of mistaken identities in Idaho


Not every white van is driven by a child predator.

Not every large dog is a pit bull.

Why police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, wanted to check out a white van parked near a coffee shop Wednesday morning is understandable: It fit the description of one being used by a child predator, and the coffee shop owners had called to report someone inside it was watching young children from a nearby parking lot.

Why the officer shot the van’s only occupant — a dog  –  is a little less understandable.

And why investigators called the dog a “vicious pit bull” makes even less sense.

Arfee was a black lab, according to his owner, Craig Jones, who was eating breakfast at a nearby restaurant — not scoping out children — when the officer approached his van from behind with his gun drawn.

When the dog lunged toward him out of the partially open driver’s side window the officer fired one round, through the window, hitting Arfee in the chest. He later died.

Jones said Arfee, who was two years old, did not have a mean bone in his body. “This still isn’t even real to me,” Jones told KREM 2 News.

“If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering through the windows he doesn’t care if you’re a cop, an attorney, or President Bush,” said Jones. “He doesn’t know any difference.”

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Ron Clark said the department is reviewing the shooting, and said initial police reports describing the dog as a pit bull were erroneous.

“Animal control officers originally identified the dog as a pit bull,” he said. “The Police Department had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a lab mix.”

“We understand the grief the family is dealing with due to the loss of their pet. We also understand the distress this has caused for citizens,” Clark said. “The officer who shot the dog is also distraught over this incident.”

Arfee’s owner, who formerly lived in Coeur d’Alene, was visiting for the 4th of July weekend, according to the Spokesman-Review.

“Best 4th of July weekend in cda eva,” Jones, who now lives in Colorado, posted on his Facebook page earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, he posted this: “Cda cops just shot my dog while I ate lunch at Java?”

Yesterday, he thanked his Facebook friends for their support. “Today is definitely harder than yesterday. Just seeing his ball in my rig tears me apart,” he wrote. “This cop left a hole in both of (us) that can’t be fixed.”

(Photo: Craig Jones’ Facebook page)

Filming begins for “Marshall the Miracle Dog”

The story of Marshall — an abused, bullied and neglected yellow Labrador who was rescued from an animal hoarder — is on its way to becoming a movie.

Shooting began this week in Edwardsville, Illinois, according to NewsChannel 5 (KDSK in St. Louis), which has been following Marshall’s story for four years.

Marshall was one of about 60 animals rescued from an animal hoarder by the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis.

He arrived there with a hole in his cheek, a leg so mangled it had to be amputated and other serious injuries.

Vets say is heart stopped three times on the operating table.

Humane Society officials credited his survival to his strong will to live, and they dubbed him the miracle dog.

Cynthia Willenbrock adopted Marshall, and wrote a children’s book about how he triumphed over the tragedies that confronted him.

The movie is based on that book, “Marshall the Miracle Dog.”

“It’s about that whole message of kindness to animals, kindness to each other, kindness in general,” said Willenbrock.

The movie, being shot mostly in Illinois, stars Shannon Elizabeth.

“I read the script and I fell in love. I was crying all through the script,” said the actress.

It also stars Max, a 1-year-old Lab playing the role of Marshall.

In addition to the book and movie, a school curriculum has been designed based on Marshall’s story, aimed at empowering high school juniors and seniors to serve as mentors to middle school and elementary students, passing along Marshall’s “five cornerstones” — empathy, strength, courage, kindness, and forgiveness.