(In memory of Gladys, who passed away Friday, we’re reprinting this story from two years ago about the fluffy white dog, the homeless man that took her in and the Maryland town that showed them both some love.)
For more than a decade, they were a familiar sight around downtown Salisbury, Maryland — the homeless man and his silky white dog.
You could often find them stationed outside Benedict the Florist, or located in what was an even shrewder spot to panhandle — behind the Dunkin Donuts, where cars lined up at the drive-through.
Elwood, the homeless man, and Gladys, his dog, weren’t shooed away too often in Salisbury. That, likely, was in part because of Elwood’s friendly demeanor, maybe in larger part because of his highly sociable dog, who he found as a pup in a box by a Dumpster, or in a bag in the middle of Highway 13, depending on who’s telling the story
In any event, the troubled man and the Wheaton mix became partners in homelessness, and for more than a decade survived off the kindness of friends and strangers in Salisbury.
No one saw Elwood, though some people were pretty sure they had spotted the dog at various locations around town.
Edna Walls had that feeling when she saw a silky white, mid-sized dog at a groomers recently, asked about it and learned it was — sure enough — Gladys.
Elwood Towers had died in May, 2013 of cancer, the groomer explained to her, and since then his dog has been living with the owner of the flower shop outside of which Elwood and Gladys once panhandled. She recounted the encounter in a reader-submitted column published on Delmarva Now.
The Lucky Dog Pet Salon never charged Elwood for grooming Gladys, Walls reported, just like some local veterinarians cut him a break when Gladys needed shots or medical treatment.
An obituary for Elwood on Legacy.com makes note of the kindness the two received. Submitted by his “adoptive family,” it thanks “the business and professional community and the thousands of people that took the time to help him, say a kind word, or give Gladys a pet. Those things are what made his life meaningful.”
The obituary continues, “He leaves behind his dearest and closest companion, Gladys. The ‘homeless man and his white dog’ were well recognized from their travels throughout the Salisbury area in the last 15 years. Elwood loved the outdoors and his ‘WORK;’ the proceeds of which were often shared with others in need.”
George Benedict, who took in Gladys after Elwood’s death, agrees that Elwood was known for being poor, but also for being a giving sort. Once, he got kicked out of an apartment for refusing to get rid of a stray bird he was nursing back to health.
“He was a generous man,” Benedict told ohmidog! “If he took in $100, he’d give half of it away or buy groceries for friends in need.”
Elwood, before he died, took steps to make sure Gladys would be cared for. He asked George Benedict to take ownership of Gladys.
In years of writing about homeless people, and homeless dogs, and homeless people with homeless dogs, it’s something I’ve noticed. A homeless person may not know where their next meal is coming from, but they know where their dog’s is. A homeless person may have no roof over his head, and no plan for tomorrow, but likely they’ve made contingency plans for what will happen to their dog when they’re gone.
Benedict, who had always been fond of Gladys — who’d never suggested the pair move on when they lingered outside his shop — agreed. He’s retired now, and the floral shop — a local institution for 130 years — closed in 2011. Benedict still works with homeless people, though, through an organization called Hope, Inc.
He knew Elwood for almost 15 years, and remembers when Elwood found Gladys — in a box by a Dumpster, he says — and decided to keep the pup. Some people told Elwood that was a mistake, Benedict recalls, pointing out to Elwood that he could barely take care of himself.
Elwood had spent much of his life in prison, including his teens. He looked down on drug use, and while he enjoyed a beer or two, he wasn’t a heavy drinker, Benedict said.
Still, after taking in Gladys, Elwood never had another drink, Benedict said. “She was pretty much his whole life.”
For a while, Benedict said, Elwood lived in an unheated garage, paying $300 a month for it. About the time city inspectors asked him to leave, Gladys had a litter of pups. Elwood gave them away, including one to Benedict.
Benedict said that dog died at age 6, from lymphoma.
“I never imagined I would actually wind up with Gladys,” Benedict said.
In his final years, Elwood was fighting cancer, too. His lower jaw had to rebuilt after one surgery. He called off the fight in 2012, deciding not to seek further treatment.
In Elwood’s final months, Benedict spent a lot of time with him. He died May 17, 2013, at age 75 at Coastal Hospice at the Lake.
Benedict took Gladys to the groomer just before Elwood’s funeral, and she attended the service, along with about 35 humans.
“They were sort of unique in Salisbury,” Benedict said. “I guess it was the combination of him and Gladys. People gave him a lot more tolerance than they might some other folks.”
Gladys is 14 now.
“She’s an amazing dog,” Benedict says. She just instinctively likes to be with people … My wife and I are convinced she has some sort of aura about her. She goes with me wherever I go, and all the stores let her in. Wherever I go, people get out of their car and say ‘what kind of dog is that?’ I tell them she’s a Wheaton mix.
“Some of them say ‘I used to give food to a man who had a dog like that.'”
Donations in memory of Elwood and Gladys can be made to the organization specified in his obituary: The Humane Society of Wicomico County, 5130 Citation Drive, Salisbury, MD 21804.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, benedict the florist, compassion, dead, death, dog, dogs, elwood, elwood towers, george benedict, gladys, gladys and elwood, homeless, homelessness, maryland, pets, salisbury
The well had been left open by crews fixing a water line in a yard in Calvert County, and Sam stepped into it.
The 11-year-old dog fell about 40 feet before hitting water.
The home’s owner dropped a ladder down the well, allowing Sam to wedge himself between the side of the well and the ladder.
The Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call Tuesday evening, setting set up a rope system to lower a rescuer, according to the Washington Post,
Sam, who firefighters estimated spent about 30 minutes in the well, was checked out by a veterinarian Wednesday.
“Very rarely do we get calls like this,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jason Sharpe.
He called Sam “very, very lucky … It could have been worse.”
(Photos: Prince Frederick County Volunteer Fire Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, blind, calvert county, cocker spaniel, deaf, dog, dogs, fall, fell, fire department, maryland, pets, rescue, sam, well
Here’s a Chihuahua that has every right to tremble.
He arrived at a Maryland recycling center last week in a truck whose contents — cardboard and paper — had been compacted en route.
Mark Wheeler, an operations manager at the Montgomery County Recycling Center, said the dog fell out as the truck was unloaded.
“The route drivers pack trucks to get every little last bit of paper in them,” Wheeler said. So those who found him were amazed to see he was alive.
“If he’d been commingled with bottles and cans, he wouldn’t have fared as well,” Wheeler told the Washington Post.
Wheeler said the box the dog was hidden in when he was disposed of might have protected him, or provided him with an air pocket. The box was among the first items loaded, so it wasn’t compressed as tightly.
The six-pound dog’s only injury appeared to be a cut on his nose.
Wheeler took the dog home to live with his family.
They named him Packer — in honor of the truck he arrived in.
Wheeler’s wife, Johnna, is a veterinary nutritionist. She suspects the dog was discarded by a breeding operation. Packer is about six, isn’t housebroken, and shies away from human touch.
But the Wheelers say, with help from their other two dogs, Packer seems to be becoming more comfortable.”
“Based on his behavior, I can tell he was in a cage with a concrete floor, and he was taken out to breed, and put back in,” Johnna Wheeler told WJLA.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, box, breeder, cardboard, chihuahua, compactor, discarded, dog, dogs, maryland, montgomery county, packer, paper, pets, recycled, recycling, truck
If you were wandering around Maryland 12 million years ago, you might have run into this fellow.
You wouldn’t have know what to call him, though, because only now does his species have a definite name — Cynarctus wangi.
Fossils found by an amateur collector along the beach under the Choptank Formation in Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs region have been identified as the news species of ancient dog by a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania.
The specimen, found in Maryland, would have roamed the coast of eastern North America approximately 12 million years ago, Science Daily reported.
Among species that still roam the earth, Cynarctus wangi probably most closely resembles the hyena.
“In this respect they are believed to have behaved in a similar way to hyenas today,” said Steven E. Jasinski, a student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. His new findings were published in the Journal of Paleontology.
Fossils from terrestrial species from the region and time period are rare, he said.
“Most fossils known from this time period represent marine animals, who become fossilized more easily than animals on land,” Jasinski said. “It is quite rare we find fossils from land animals in this region during this time, but each one provides important information for what life was like then.”
Jasinski and Steven C. Wallace, a professor at East Tennessee State University, began their study after the specimen was placed in the Smithsonian Institution.
Initially, they presumed it was a known species of borophagine dog, a species called marylandica that was questionably referred to as Cynarctus, a fossil of which had been found in older sediment in the same area.
But when they compared features of the teeth of the previously known and the new specimens, they found notable differences and concluded the specimen represented a distinct species new to science.
“It looks like it might be a distant relative descended from the previously known borophagine,” Jasinski said.
Borophagine dogs were widespread in North America from around 30 million to about 10 million years ago. The last members went extinct around 2 millions of years ago during the late Pliocene.
Cynarctus wangi represents one of the last surviving borophagines and was likely outcompeted by ancestors of some of the canines living today: wolves, coyotes and foxes.
The name of the new species honors Xiaoming Wang, curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and an expert on mammalian carnivores.
(Illustration from “Dogs, Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History,” courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ancient, animals, choptank, cynarctus wangi, dog, dogs, evolution, fossil, fossils, hyenas, identified, maryland, pets, species
There’s a new taxi service for dogs in the nation’s capital.
Launched earlier this month, Rapid Paws will transport your pooch (or cat) wherever he or she needs to go — be it vet, groomer, day care, airport, or even to another state.
The on-demand limousine service for animals has a fleet of two climate controlled, high-roofed vans, and they’re even equipped with cams should you want to check in and take a look as your dog gets from here to there.
Customers can schedule a a door-to-door pickup and local delivery to anywhere in Washington and its burbs, and they can do that by phone, via the Rapid Paws website, or through a smartphone app.
While the service may sound over the top, owner Paul Ozner says it’s filling a need.
“It’s an excessive service for some, in terms of basic necessities. But some of the people in this area, they’re time-constrained, and they do have pets. So what are you going to do? You have to treat them right,” he told the Washington Post.
So far, he said, most clients are middle aged professionals too busy to take off work to run their pet to the vet, or disabled, ill or elderly pet owners seeking a little help.
Rapid Paws has teamed up with one real estate company to transport the dogs or cats of people who are relocating.
Ozner said he and his partners came up with the idea based on their experience with a company that delivered meals to schools and the elderly.
Fares typically run from $25 to $60, depending on the length of the trip.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, app, cats, day care, dc, dogs, groomers, limousine, maryland, pet, pets, rapid paws, services, shipping, taxi, transport, transportation, vet, veterinarian, virginia, washington, website
The pit bull, named Precious, sat by her owner as firefighters worked to extinguish a fire at their home yesterday, and they say she acted aggressively when they tried to approach the woman.
Eventually, firefighters sprayed the dog with a fire extinguisher, giving them time to get the woman onto a stretcher.
But it’s not the dog’s behavior that’s leading to her banishment; it’s merely the fact that she’s a pit bull.
The fire broke out at the home in Landover Hills early Wednesday morning.
The woman and her father were taken to an area hospital, and both are expected to be OK, according to NBC4 in Washington.
But they won’t be getting Precious back.
“It’s sad. I love that dog,” said the owner’s son.
The county passed a law banning pit bulls nearly 20 years ago.
According to a task force report, the county spends $186 per day per dog to confiscate, maintain and “dispose” of pit bulls — and between $250,000 and $500,000 a year on pit bull related costs.
Precious and two other family dogs are being held in a Prince George’s County animal shelter.
Officials say Precious won’t be put down, and that the family will be given time to find family or friends who live outside Prince George’s County to take the dog, and one of their two other dogs, who is also a pit bull.
If that doesn’t happen, the county will place the dogs with a rescue group or shelter elsewhere.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, bans, breed, dog, dogs, fire, law, loyal, loyalty, maryland, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, prince georges county, specific
On Thursday, Stella & Chewy’s was notified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) that it issued a stop sale order on a single lot of Chewy’s Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties after monocytogenes were detected in the product.
Listeria can cause serious illness and even death in children, the frail and the elderly. Healthy people may suffer flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea.
The Milwaukee-based company said there have been no reported pet or human illnesses.
A complete list of recalled products can be found on the pet food company’s website.
As a precautionary measure, the company says, it is voluntarily recalling all products from Lot # 111-15 including:
Freeze-Dried Chewy’s Chicken Dinner for Dogs /15oz/UPC: 186011000045/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/23/2016
Freeze-Dried Chewy’s Chicken Dinner for Dogs /15oz/UPC: 186011000045/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/26/2016
Freeze-Dried Chicken Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000434/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/29/2016
Freeze-Dried Chicken Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000434/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016
Carnivore Crunch – Turkey Recipe/3.25oz/UPC: 186011001103/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016 and 5/4/2016
Frozen Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels for Dogs/4lb/UPC: 186011001394/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016
Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Morsels for Dogs/4lb/UPC: 186011001387/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016
Frozen Surf ‘N Turf Dinner Patties for Dogs/6lb/UPC: 186011000533/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016
Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties for Dogs/6lb/UPC: 186011000120/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016
Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties for Dogs/3lb/UPC: 186011000038/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016