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Tag: leg

Liberty brings home a leg (human)


It’s probably the last thing you want the dog to drag in.

Cheryl Flowers’ dog, Liberty, after a solo outing in the woods, returned to her home in Washington state with a human leg, dropping it next to the backyard trampoline.

“She drug a human leg into the yard. And I called police,” Flowers told CBS affiliate KIRO.

The dog’s discovery of the left leg and foot of a human led to a search Saturday on the Nisqually reservation by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

A search of the immediate area did not turn up additional remains before it turned dark Saturday. But on Sunday, with help from search dogs and volunteers, additional remains were found, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials said the age, race and gender aren’t known, and they have yet to confirm any foul play was involved.

The coroner’s office confirmed the remains to be human, and to include a rib cage, pelvis and skull.

Westminster Dog Show: An opposing view

Best in Show

Best in Show Pictures

If the following take on Westminster reads like its coming from some PETA hothead that’s because it is.

Then agains, hotheads are sometimes worth listening to.

Lindsay Pollard-Post is a staff writer for The PETA Foundation, and her remarks appeared in the form of a guest column in the Sacramento Bee.

Pollard-Post recounts watching Westminster in her youth, usually with a bad case of strep throat, and with her dog Katie at her side…

“But had I known then that Westminster – and the dog-breeding industry that it props up – share the blame for the mutilation and deaths of millions of dogs each year, I would have changed the channel faster than you can say ‘Sesame Street.’

“Back then, I had no idea that the snub-nosed bulldogs and pugs prancing around the ring may have been gasping for breath the whole time because these breeds’ unnaturally shortened airways make exercise and sometimes even normal breathing difficult. I didn’t know that the “wiener dogs” that made me laugh as their little legs tried to keep up may have eventually suffered from disc disease or other back problems because dachshunds are bred for extremely long spinal columns. I didn’t learn until much later that because of inbreeding and breeding for distorted physical features, approximately one in four purebred dogs suffers from serious congenital disorders such as crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems and epilepsy.

“I remember feeling shocked when I learned that Doberman pinschers’ ears naturally flop over, and that their ears only stand up because they are cut and bound with tape when the dogs are puppies. And I felt sick to my stomach when I discovered that cocker spaniels have beautiful, long, flowing tails, but American Kennel Club breed standards call for their tails to be amputated down to nubs. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that these procedures ‘are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient’ and they ’cause pain and distress.’

“… Like many people, I hadn’t made the connection that every time someone buys a purebred dog from a breeder or a pet store, a dog in a shelter – a loving animal whose life depends on being adopted – loses his or her chance at a home …

“Dog shows also encourage viewers to go out and buy purebred dogs like the ones they see on TV from breeders or pet stores. This impulse buying robs shelter dogs of homes, and even more dogs end up homeless when overwhelmed people discover that the adorable puppy they bought ruins carpets, needs expensive vaccinations and food and requires their constant attention.

“My own parents succumbed to the lure of purebreds: They purchased Katie from a breeder. Katie was an exceptional dog and my best friend, but it saddens me to think that other loving dogs waiting behind bars in shelters missed out on a good home because we thought we needed a certain breed of puppy.

“Thankfully, some things have changed. After Katie passed away, my parents adopted a lovable mutt from the local shelter. I haven’t had strep throat since I was a teenager. And if the dreaded illness strikes again, you’ll find me cuddling on the couch with my rescued dog, Pete, watching movies – not Westminster.”

Injured stray nurses her own — and more

A stray dog in Canada didn’t let getting hit by a car keep her from nursing her litter of five pups.

And one kitten.

Esperanza, as she’s been named (Spanish for “Hope”), was found on a central Alberta reserve by Criss Gerwing, who runs a small animal rescue group. The dog, a white shepherd mix, led Gerwing to her pups, and a kitten that, somehow, ended up nestled in with the rest of the litter.

“I cried because she was in such bad condition with her leg, but she was obviously nursing her puppies and this kitten,” Gerwing said.

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Gerwing took all the animals to the Edmonton Humane Society, where veterinarians thought they’d have to amputate the mother dog’s bad leg. But a local veterinarian, Dr. Milton Ness, saying she was “a special soul”  volunteered to perform surgery to save her leg.

“She is such a sweet, sweet dog,” Shawna Randolph at the humane society said. “She has such a wonderful personality.”

Kitty, the dog that keeps on pulling

David Love was bedridden — going through a particularly ugly spell in his bout with liver cancer — when he agreed to babysit a friend’s dog, a pit bull mix named Kitty.

The first thing Kitty did was jump up on his bed and lick his face.

That was a year ago, and Kitty, Love says, has been helping him ever since – lifting his spirits, detecting his seizures and pulling his wheelchair, all without any formal training.

I spotted Love and Kitty on my way through Brookings, Oregon — the last coastal town one who is southbound goes through before hitting California.

We passed him as she pulled his wheelchair across the Chetco River bridge, saw them again cruising down the sidewalk after we stopped for gas, and finally cornered him when Kitty came to a halt in front of a shopping center on the south side of town.

Love had gone there to pick up some medicine and check in on his buddy, a homeless man named Buddy.

He was happy to talk, especially about his dog.

“She’s my motor,” he said.

Though Kitty was initially just visiting, once her owner saw how taken the two were with each other, she suggested he keep her.

Love’s troubles — and he admits he has seen a few — began when he broke his leg while playing college football.

Complications set in — exacerbated, he says, by too many doctors and too much alcohol, and eventually Love lost the leg.

Things went downhill from there, but eventually Love took what he knew about being down, being drunk and being addicted and put it to good use, setting up missions to help those so inflicted.

He ran an outreach in Oklahoma, then moved back to Oregon and set up another. Not long after that, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, which kept him bedridden for long spells. The outreach lost its building, but he now runs it out of the motel room he lives in.

Among those he tries to check on daily is Buddy, a homeless man, also in a wheelchair, who sits at a corner with a sign that says, “Simple Work. Anything Helps. Hungary Broke.”

Buddy’s corner is about two and a half miles from where Love lives, but Kitty regularly pulls him the entire way.

“If I don’t hear from Buddy, I get panicky,” Love said, adding that he needed to visit a nearby drug store for medicine anyway.

Love also suffers from seizures, and he says Kitty seems to have developed the ability to warn him if one is coming.

“She seems to know I’m going to have a seizure before I do,” he said. She will put her head on his legs and look at him, and sometimes “she blocks me from going anywhere and won’t let me leave the house.” Love says he has woken up from seizures only to see the dog standing over him.

Kitty isn’t the first dog — or the first pit bull — I’ve heard of who, with no formal training, assumed the role of therapy and assistance dog. (You can read about another in “Dog, Inc.” my soon-to-be-released book advertised at the top of this page.)

Sometimes, dogs– even those not trained for such tasks – just seem to know what to do, how to help.

For Kitty, one of those tasks is pulling, and she goes at with gusto and determination, straining up hills, slowing down at street corners, coming to a dead halt when she sees someone she’s not sure she trusts.

Kitty is 2-1/2 years old, and has had two litters of pups since moving in with Love. In her spare time, such as when Love stops to talk to someone, she likes to roll on her back in the dirt.

During the times he has been bedridden, Love says, Kitty has been at his side, disproving all he’d ever heard about pit bulls.

“I’ve always been told they were bad dogs,” he said. “But it’s all in how you teach them. She’s a very gentle dog and she’s great with kids. She don’t puddle on the floor or anything.”

I walked with them to the drug store. Love handed me the leash and we agreed to meet back up down at the corner where Buddy was sitting.

But when I tried to get her to come with me, Kitty wouldn’t budge, taking a seat and staring at the store. Only after much encouragement did she agree to come, and even then, every five steps or so, she’d stop, sit and stare at the store.

Once we worked our way back to the corner, she took a seat, her eyes never leaving the storefront.

I’d say Love found quite a dog in Kitty, a pit bull that assumed the roles she saw her owner needed — serving not as a fighter, but as nurse, cheerleader, motor and friend.

Father shot while walking dogs with daughter

A father walking his dogs was shot to death in front of his 13-year-old daughter Tuesday night, after exchanging words with a man who got mad when one of the two dogs sniffed his legs, police said.

The father, Thomas Cunningham, 38, of Hayward, California, worked as a head janitor for the Dublin Unified School District. He and his daughter had gone to a store to get ice cream and were returning home with their two dogs, the San Jose Mercury-News reported.

Police said Cunningham’s German shepherd approached a man and sniffed his leg. An argument ensued and the man pulled out a handgun, shooting Cunningham as his daughter watched.

The two were returning from a two-block trip with the dogs — the year-old German shepherd and an unspecified smaller breed.

Police are seeking the suspect, and any additional witnesses.

Lilly is a five-legged dog no more

Coney Island sideshow owner John Strong has threatened to file a lawsuit to get the five-legged dog he was promised, but even if he does have a legal leg to stand on it could be a moot point – Lilly’s extra leg was removed today.

The dog’s new owner, Allyson Siegel — who purchased Lilly for $4,000 from Calvin Owensby, outbidding Strong to save the dog from life as a sideshow freak – says the 6-week-old terrier-Chihuahua mix had the surgery at a veterinarian’s office, according to PEOPLE magazine.

“Last night I called the surgeon and said, ‘Will you take a look at her to see if she’s healthy enough, see if you think that she could possibly have the surgery now?’ And he did, and she did,” Siegel said. The operation was successful and the dog is recovering.

Siegel, whose story was originally reported in the New York Daily News, says she will pay for the surgery bill — which could total up to $2,000 — with donations that she’s received from several people who have heard of the dog’s plight.

“In my mind it’s kind of over. Just let it be over,” she says, referring to Strong’s legal threats. “I’m very happy that Lilly is fine and that she’s going to be a normal dog. And get to have a normal life and not be in a cage. I don’t personally have anything against him, Mr. Strong, I don’t know him. This was really always about Lilly.”

Strong told the Charlotte Observer Wednesday that  he was the rightful owner of Lilly because the pup’s original owner, Owensby, of Gastonia, N.C., broke an implied contract to sell him the dog. Strong paid Owensby a $1,000 deposit.  But Owensby decided to sell the pup to a Charlotte woman after media reports of the freak-show deal sparked an outcry from animal advocates.

Upon hearing of his planned legal steps, Siegel expedited the dog’s surgery.

Prior to the surgery, the puppy couldn’t sit, walk or lay properly because of the extra leg (which had six toes and protruded from her stomach). “She’d struggle to run up a hill or walk up a hill because she had to tug that thing behind her,” says Siegel.

Five-legged dog saved from life in a sideshow

allysonWe’ve brought you a lot of three-legged dog stories, but it’s not too often we run across a five-legged dog story — especially one as heartwarming as this one.

Allyson Siegel of Charlotte, N.C. is paying $4,000 to buy a five-legged Chihuahua-terrier mix, named “Precious,” saving her from life as a sideshow freak.

She’ll be paying at least $2,000 more for medical expenses to remove the fifth leg.

And, in another decision we fully support, she’s changing the dog’s name  to Lilly.

Siegel, 45, bought the puppy from Gastonia resident Calvin Owensby last week because she couldn’t bear to see her sold to the owner of a Coney Island sideshow that features deformed animals, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The dog was born about six weeks ago and is healthy except for the extra appendage, which hangs down between her two back legs and has no feeling.

When John Strong, the owner of a Coney Island sideshow, heard about Precious/Lilly from a friend, he contacted Owensby and agreed to the $3,000 asking price.

“There are millions of dogs with four legs, and there are only three with five legs I’m aware of,” said Strong.

The money couldn’t have come at a better time for Owensby, a 57-year-old electrician who was laid off in December. “I’ve been looking for work, can’t find work nowhere,” he said. “It hurts when you go from $500 a week to nothing.”

Strong, who has 27 live animals and 250 stuffed, preserved or mummified ones, is a newcomer to Coney Island who opened his operation just down the street from a well-established rival sideshow.

But when a local paper published Owensby’s plans to buy Precious/Lilly – and his phone number – he started getting calls from irate animal lovers, protesting the sale and “cussing me out.”

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