It may be a dog in Japan who is most famous for demonstrating the true meaning of loyalty, but the vigil of a Montana dog, named Shep, is at least equally heart-wrenching.
The story of Shep’s vigil begins, almost eerily, the year after the death of Hachiko, the Akita who, after his master died, famously waited for him every day at a train station for nearly 10 years.
Hachiko would accompany his master, a university professor, to the train station every morning, and be waiting for him when he returned. When his master didn’t get off the train one day, having died while at work, Hachiko continued going to the train station every day for nine years and nine months, until he died in 1935.
In 1936, a sheep herder in Montana took ill and was taken to St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton. His dog followed him into town, and waited outside the hospital.
A nun who ran the kitchen at the hospital brought the dog food as he stood vigil for the next several days, until the sheep herder, whose name has been lost to history, died.
His body was put into a coffin and taken to the train station in Fort Benton to be shipped to his family back east.
As it was loaded onto the train, Shep was there watching. Reportedly, he whimpered as the door slammed shut and the train pulled away,
The dog chased the train for a while, then turned back.
For the next five and a half years, Shep, believed to be a collie mix, never left the train station. He lived underneath the train platform, and would greet each train that stopped — about four a day — in hopes of seeing his master.
According to FortBenton.com, Shep “eyed each passenger hopefully, and was often chased off as a mongrel but never completely discouraged. Neither the heat of summer days nor the bitter Montana winter days prevented Shep from meeting the next train.
“As Shep’s fame spread, people came from everywhere to see him, to photograph him, and to try and make friends and possibly adopt him. All of the attention was somewhat unwelcome; after checking the train he often retired quickly to get away from those who came to see him. Most people missed the point that Shep was a one-man dog.”
Railroad employees fed Shep, and the story of his vigil was carried in the old “Believe it Or Not” newspaper feature, and picked up by other news media of the day.
As time went on, though, Shep was slowing down, probably arthritic, and he had grown hard of hearing.
One day in 1942, unable to hear an arriving train and too slow and frail to get off the icy tracks, Shep was struck and killed.
His death made headlines and thousands of people sent in condolences.
Hundreds attended his funeral, at which a boy scout troop carried Shep in his coffin up to a bluff and buried him.
An obelisk and sign mark the spot of his burial, and 50 years after his death the town of Fort Benton commissioned a statue memorializing Shep, which now sits alongside the Missouri River.
NBC’s Dateline carried a short report about Shep last week:
Posted by John Woestendiek January 12th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dateline, dog, dogs, fort benton, hachiko, loyalty, master, memorial, missouri, montana, pets, sheep herder, shep, statue, train, train station, vigil, waiting
Mason County EMS technicians loaded Nicholson aboard, shut the doors of the ambulance and pulled out for the hour-long ride from the ranch in Mason County to the hospital in Fredericksburg.
It was 20 minutes into the ride that ambulance workers noticed other drivers on the highway waving and pointing: There was a dog on the small step on the side of the ambulance.
Buddy, a 35-pound beagle mix, had jumped aboard the moving ambulance sometime after it had left the ranch, and had been riding along since.
Tanner Brown, one of the EMT’s aboard, said the ambulance pulled over. “We didn’t have anything else to do but to load the dog up and put him in the ambulance and take him to the ER with us,” he said.
The San Angelo Standard-Times reported the story last week, after learning of the October incident from EMTs.
Nicholson was released from the hospital later the same day, and while he was there he got a couple of chances to step outside and see his dog, who was apparently tended to by EMTs and hospital workers.
“It was kind of weird,”EMT Brown said. “I guess the dog wanted to be with his owner.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch … ranch hand Brian Wright looked around for Buddy after the ambulance left. Wright, who had called the ambulance when Nicholson began complaining of dizziness. Buddy had wandered off, which he does from time to time, so Wright wasn’t too worried.
Not until Wright got to the hospital did he learn the EMS crew had the dog — and about the dog’s 20-minute ride on the step of the ambulance.
“Two things go through your mind in a split second,” Wright said. “First, what could have happened to (Buddy), and second, you realize he is quite an animal.”
“I was impressed,” said Nicholson, the dog’s owner. He adopted Buddy about four months ago from an animal shelter in Mason.
“He didn’t have to go to the hospital with me, but he did.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ambulance, beagle, beagles, bond, buddy, dog, dogs, ems, emts, follows, fredericksburg, hitches, hospital, jumps, mason, master, owner, paramedics, pet, pets animals, ranch, rancher, ride, tanner brown, texas jr nicholson
Kiko the terrier not only detected his master’s diabetes, he went so far as to perform surgery — chewing off his owner’s toe, and possibly saving his life.
The Jack Russell terrier apparently sensed an infection festering in his master’s right big toe — and, unlike his master, took steps to resolve the situation.
A trip to the hospital afterwards confirmed that Jerry Douthett’s toe required amputation, and Douthett credits the dog with helping him realize he has been suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
Douthett had a dangerously high blood-sugar level of 560 when admitted to the hospital, according to the Grand Rapids Press — many times the recommended 80 to 120.
Kiko apparently even waited until his owner, a 48-year-old musician, was well anesthesized before beginning the operation.
“Jerry had had all these Margaritas, so I just let him sleep,” his wife, Rosee, a registered nurse, told the newspaper. “But then I heard these screams coming from the bedroom, and he was yelling, ‘My toe’s gone, my toe’s gone!'”
Douthett said his toe began swelling several months ago, but he didn’t tell anyone: “I was hiding it from people, Rosee included … It smelled, and I look back now and realize every time we’d visit someone with a dog, their dog would be sniffing all over my foot.”
At the hospital, doctors determined his toe was infected to the bone, and amputated what was left of the digit.
Researchers have found that dogs may be able to tell when their diabetic owners are in danger of having a severe diabetic episode. In a 2008 survey at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, researchers found that 65 percent of diabetics reported that their pets had reacted by whining, barking or licking when they were having a blood sugar emergency.
At the Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs Research Center in Aylesbury, England, dogs are trained and paired with diabetics so that they might be alerted when their blood sugar drops dangerously low.
(Photo: Katy Batdorff / The Grand Rapids Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amputates, animals, big toe, bio-detection, blood sugar, cancer, chews, detection, diabetes, diabetic, disease, dog, dogs, health, infected, jack russell, jack russell terrier, kiko, master, medicine, news, ohmidog!, owner, pets, removes, research, study, terrier, toe
When Parley Nichols, 81, went missing from his home in Hartville, Ohio, his family wasn’t surprised to learn that the dog who never left his side was missing, too.
Six-year-old Lady, a golden retriever he bought as a puppy, was his constant companion.
Nichols, who suffered from dementia, had been missing for more than a week when a neighbor called his family to report that a dog had been heard barking in a field outside of town. After searching the area twice, the family found Nichols dead, and Lady at his side.
“Lady was standing by his side protecting him,” Parley’s son Terry Nichols told PEOPLEpets.com. “We are sure that she never left my dad for seven days, staying alive by drinking water from the creek.”
Terry Nichols said the family had to pull Lady away from her master and place her in the back of their pickup truck. “I don’t know how dogs perceive things but she knew she had to stay with dad no matter what,” he said. “And she did.”
A preliminary autopsy conducted by the Stark County coroner found that Parley Nichols died of heart failure, and could have been dead for the full week.
Lady has moved in with other members of Nichols’ family.
“Lady seems fine now… she is a friendly, happy dog,” Nichols said. “I don’t know if she misses my dad, but she is responding well to the rest of us. She did the right thing for dad, and we will always be comforted by that.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, body, companion, dead, deceased, dementia, dog, dogs, golden retriever, hartville, lady, loyalty, master, missing, ohio, parley nichols, pets, side, stays, vigil
If conclusion-jumping was a Winter Olympics event, both the police and the press would be deserving medals for their handling this week of an incident in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, that saw a dead woman’s Rottweiler locked up as her suspected killer.
The facts of the case are these: Carolyn Baker, 63, was found dead at her back steps, wearing only a thin polyester nightgown and boots, with bite marks on her arms and shoulder.
Here are just a few of the headlines (online versions) that followed over the next two days:
Of course, headlines are never the whole story; and sometimes the whole story isn’t the whole story, as was the case with these.
Instead, as it turns out, the police and, in turn, news media, may have jumped the gun — perhaps a little too eager to place blame on a dog because of his breed, which is, of course, nothing new.
While pit bulls have taken their place as Public Enemy No. 1, Rottweilers have long been victim to the same kind of negative stereotyping. Zeus, maybe, is just the latest.
Subsequent reports, like this one in the Cleveland Plain Dealer eventually gave the family’s suspicions given some ink — namely that 9-year-old Zeus, rather than being the stone cold killer police and the news media were portraying him as, may have merely been trying to rescue his owner after she collapsed in the yard.
The Cuyahoga County coroner’s office has yet to rule on the cause of Baker’s death, but her family believes she had another stroke or heart attack when she went into her yard to bring her dog inside late Saturday, and that Zeus tried to pull her to safety after she collapsed.
It wasn’t until 3 a.m. Sunday that a next-door neighbor called the family to tell them Zeus was in the Baker’s front yard barking. The dog had gone through a hole in the back fence. After letting the dog in, Baker’s husband found his wife at the bottom of the back steps.
Cleveland Heights police said Baker had severe arm and shoulder injuries and bite marks. While police intitially suspected Baker was “mauled” by her own dog, Baker’s family insists the bite marks aren’t from an attack, but from Zeus’ attempts to rescue his master.
“[Zeus] only locked onto her shoulder trying to bring her in,” said Baker’s son, Rinaldo. “My mom weighed about 200 pounds. The dog just grabbed her and tried to help her out. She had no clothes on or he could have grabbed that. There were no marks on her face, nowhere else.”
“That was her dog,” Rinaldo Baker said. “If we were to go upstairs that dog would run past us and go upstairs to be with us. But if my mom were to go upstairs, knowing how she can barely walk, Zeus would sit and wait for her to go up first and then he would go up. That’s a good dog.”
Zeus is being held at Pepperidge Kennels in Bedford pending the results of the autopsy. The Baker family wants him back.
“If Zeus wasn’t out there we wouldn’t have known till later on that something was wrong because he was the one who alerted somebody,” Carter said. “If he had ways of getting somebody to notice earlier, things may have been different than what they are now, but he did the best he could as a dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bite, carolyn baker, cleveland heights, conclusion, coroner, county, cuyahoga, dead, died, dog, dogs, journalism, jumping to conclusions, law enforcement, libel, marks, master, maul, mauled, mauling, media, news, owner, pets, police, press, rescue, rottweiler, slander, stereotypes, zeus
Yesterday, we told you about Natt Nevins, and how her beloved dachsund, Nikkie, died the day after Nevins passed.
Now comes news out of Orlando of Becky Carter and her Doberman pinscher, Tasha, who enjoyed life together, fought cancer together and comforted each other through chemotherapy. Over the weekend, they also died within a day of each other — in this case, Tasha first, on Saturday, and Carter on Sunday.
We’ve all heard, and maybe even put a little credence in, those tales of married couples who have grown so close to each other that, when one dies, the other quickly follows. Might we be getting so close to dogs that the same holds true, or at least has anecdotal support?
“This dog and Becky were so close. It’s kind of like they were tired of fighting,” Becky’s husband, Kenny Carter told the Orlando Sentinel.
At the time of her death, Becky hadn’t been told of Tasha’s demise, which came as the Doberman was chasing squirrels. Tasha was 7. Funeral services were held yesterday for Carter, who was buried with Tasha’s ashes.
Carter, who was 62, found Tasha through an ad in the paper when the dog was a puppy.
In 2005, Carter was diagnosed with lung cancer and began chemotherapy treatments, Tasha would lay by her owner’s bed or at her feet. Two years later, as Carter’s cancer went into remission, Tasha was diagnosed with lymphoma and given three to five months to live. The couple started the dog on chemotherapy to buy a little more time. A month ago, veterinarians, detecting an abnormal heart rhythm, decided against another round of chemotherapy for the dog.
Her husband said he thinks Tasha died first so she would be there to welcome his wife into heaven.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ashes, becky carter, buried, cancer, closeness, death, died, dies, doberman pinscher, dog, dogs, guardian, master, natt nevins, nikkie, ohmidog!, orlando, owner, pets, relationship, tasha