When singer-songwriter MadLyn filmed her latest music video she chose Salvation Mountain as the setting — a location that’s near the top of my list when it comes to American places of quirky and unnatural beauty.
And she brought her dog, Lucy, along to serve as the video’s co-star.
Salvation Mountain, built of trash, straw, adobe and and thousands of gallons of vibrantly colored paint, was one man’s tribute to his faith in God, and even though I’m not religious, I was fortunate enough to drop by and meet him twice (the mountain’s creator, not The Creator) when he was alive.
Once, for a magazine story, and once during my Travels with Ace, I spent some time with Leonard Knight — an admittedly reclusive and obsessive sort who let nothing stop him in his quest to fashion a mountain where there was none. Knight died in 2014 at age 82.
Salvation Mountain pops up like a colorful hallucination in the otherwise bleak, almost lunar, desert terrain around Niland, California.
MadLyn went there in July with her director/father and a cinematographer to film a video for her song “Will You Take Me Home” and she did all the things that people do in music videos — prance, skip, sing, twirl, look pensive, wear multiple outfits and toss her curly locks about.
In one scene, MadLyn was to stand in front of the mountain and hold her little dog as a camera-equipped drone zoomed in on them and passed overhead.
Lucy didn’t like that. She jumped out of MadLyn’s arms and took off.
Lucy had gone all day with no leash (she was playing the role of a stray), but when the drone approached for a close-up she “starts freaking out and jumps out of my arms and runs out into the desert,” MadLyn recounted.
As the sun went down, MadLyn, her father and the cinematographer searched for hours, on foot and by car, enlisting the help of Slab City’s other denizens, but Lucy could not be found and was not responding to their calls.
Because the cinematographer needed to get back to his family, they drove back to Los Angeles, a three and a half hour trip.
The next day, a Saturday, MadLyn called animal shelters located near Niland, printed up flyers, checked with the company Lucy’s microchip is registered with and sent out pleas on Facebook.
Then she and her father headed back to Niland to search some more for Lucy.
Sadly, and a bit ironicallly, what had happened in real life was exactly the opposite of what director Fred Fuster had in mind for the video.
While the song’s lyrics seemingly pertain to man-woman love, Fuster (being a father) envisioned a different, more innocent, interpretation of his daughter’s song.
“As director I insisted on having that story line — where this woman who has a hard time finding love meets this dog at Salvation Mountain and I guess falls in love,” he said.
But instead of finding a dog, Madlyn, in real life, lost one.
She later took her mother’s name, Madlyn, to honor her.
She has been active in raising money to fight breast cancer. Last year, she released the song, “I Call Her Mom,” with 100 percent of all digital sales going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
No strangers to loss and dealing with dark times, Fuster and his daughter pulled into Salvation Mountain after nightfall to look for Lucy and seek out people who might have seen her.
They went a gathering spot in Slab City called The Range, where an open mic night was being held, and showed Lucy’s picture around.
One man told Fuster that it was unlikely a small dog like Lucy — given all the hawks and coyotes in the area — was still alive after 24 hours.
That’s when Fuster sat down and began to pray.
When he opened his eyes and looked down, there was Lucy.
After a tearful reunion, Fuster and MadLyn put Lucy in the car and gave her some water. The 18-pound dog drank 24 ounces, MadLyn says.
MadLyn, as you can see in the video at the end of this post, clearly considers what happened a miracle.
“Lucy was missing in the desert of Salvation Mountain for 24 hours completely by herself, and through the grace of God alone, she came back,” she wrote in an email to ohmidog!
She says the video is “dedicated to all shelter and foster animals looking for a loving home.”
I have a feeling Leonard Knight would like this story.
I know I do.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, california, dedication, dog, dogs, faith, filming, fred fuster, god, leonard knight, lost, lucy, madlyn, miracle, miracle dog, music, music video, niland, pets, rescue, salvation mountain, shelter, singer, songwriter, will you take me home
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, childrens book, dog, dogs, filming, hoarder, humane society, illinois, labrador, marshall, marshall the miracle dog, miracle, miracle dog, missouri, movie, pets, rescue, retriever, yellow lab
Given this dog’s situation — dumped inside a plastic bag at a recycling plant that processes 400 tons of debris a day, loaded by bulldozer onto a large conveyor belt, and on her way to a chute that would have dropped her 20 feet into a landfill — you might think nothing short of a miracle would save her.
While there may have been some of that involved, the three-month-old, five-pound poodle puppy has some alert workers to thank as well.
Just yards from the chute, one recycling worker noticed the bag moving. He slammed on the conveyer belt’s emergency brake as another worker climbed onto the belt to remove the dog.
Since named Gem, the dog, rescued — and we do mean rescued — the Friday before Christmas, is recovering from her injuries.
“It’s difficult to imagine how the dog survived this ordeal,” said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, a recycling program in San Francisco that sorts through heavy debris from construction projects, such as concrete, metal and lumber. “Nothing like this has happened before.”
Reed said the dog was likely thrown, inside the bag, into a bin for construction material, picked up by a garbage truck and hauled to the dump. Once in the dump, the dog likely had large amounts of debris dumped atop her, only to be later scooped up by a bulldozer and end up on the conveyor belt.
While riding along the conveyor belt, Gem went through a shaking process, aimed at removing excess dirt from the debris, and she was yards from passing into the chute when workers stationed along the conveyor belt noticed her.
“I was on the line working on the conveyor belt and there was a black trash bag coming down the line,” Gregory Foster told ABC News. “It had a hole in it and I could see it moving.”
After he activated the belt’s emergency brake, another co-worker climbed up on the belt and pulled the dog — wet, bloody and shaking — out of the bag.
The San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control was called, and Gem is now in its care.
“We’re getting a lot of people calling, wanting to adopt her, foster, and offer donations for her care,” a spokesperson said. The agency received more than 100 telephone calls inquiring about the dog in three hours.
Many remain mystified how the dog survived what she did.
“It’s a miracle, it’s a Christmas miracle. That’s what it is,” Pena said.
But we’d give some of the credit to assembly line workers who managed, amid the monotony of their jobs, to stay alert.
And we’d give at least an equal amount to Gem, one plucky little dog.
(Top photo, CBS News; bottom photo, Arturo Pena)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 27th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, alert, animals, animnal care and control, assembly line, bin, bulldozer, christmas miracle, conveyor belt, dog, dogs, dump, dumped, gem, landfill, miracle, pets, plant, poodle, puppy, recology, recycle, recycling, rescue, rescued, rescues, san francisco, saved, shelters, trash, workers
Willis belonged to Karen Martin, of Portsmouth, Va. Four days before Christmas last year, she went out to her back yard to find him gone. After a year of posting fliers and searching, she’d all but given up hope of finding him.
Little did she know, he was hundreds of miles from home, and had a date with death, metro columnist Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post reported last week.
Picked up by animal control officers in Charles County more than a month ago, Willis had been taken to the Tri County Animal Shelter in Hughesville, Md. Shelter workers scanned Willis for an identification chip, but, though he had one, it was not detected. Shelter workers put a photograph of the 7-year-old dog on the facility’s “at-risk” list, meaning euthanasia was ahead.
The at-risk list, including a photo of each dog, is e-mailed to animal rescue groups and other dog lovers around the country in hopes that someone might be willing to adopt the animals listed before they are euthanized.
Terry Walker, an office manager for a veterinary hospital in Calvert County, was one of those who received it and recognized the dog pictured as a Clumber spaniel.
After an Internet search, Walker found an organization called Clumber Spaniel Rescue of America, and forwarded the dog’s photograph to the three contacts whose names were listed.
One of them ended up in the spam folder of Sally Day, of Washington Crossing, Pa. — a friend of Willis’ owner, Karen Martin.
She said she was deleting her spam when something told her to open this one.
“A voice said, ‘Open it,’ and the hair stood up on the back of my neck,” Day recalled. “The e-mail was from a stranger, and there was a photograph attached. I instantly thought I recognized the dog. I said, ‘Oh, my God, that’s Karen’s boy.’ ”
Martin called her friend Day, then e-mailed her the photo, and Willis is back home now — a bit the worse for wear from his journey of more than 200 miles. He had an injured eye, a respiratory infection and a skin allergy that had resulted in scratching off patches of hair.
Martin, who now lives in Williamsburg, said she expected this Christmas to be a lot more joyful than last year’s.
(Photo: By Jay Paul / from the Washington Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: at risk, charles county, christmas, clumber, clumber spaniel rescue, dog, internet, karen martin, list, lost, maryland, microchips, miracle, missing, portsmouth, rescue, shelter, spaniel, tri county animal shelter, washington post, willis
Through the month of December, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) has been holding a bake sale on 34th Street, an area of Baltimore known for its over-the-top display of Christmas lights.
In addition to raising money for the shelter, BARCS is using the opportunity to educate the public about the shelter and about pit bulls — and how, despite the stereotypes, they aren’t innately evil. Generally, when a pit bull turns bad, it’s a human who has turned him that way.
As if to prove that point — that our problem is not bad dogs, it’s bad humans — a particularly heartless member of the latter species approached the BARCS booth last night, asked a BARCS volunteer if the money was being raised for charity, then ran off with the donation box.
A BARCS staff person chased the thief down the street, and he was eventually caught by another man and an off-duty firefighter. When police arrived, the box of donations was recovered and the suspect was arrested.
Meanwhile, back at the BARCS booth, 34th Street residents and citizens there to enjoy the lights came forward in droves, offering assistance and donations to replace those that had been stolen.
“Yes, we DO believe in Santa Claus!” BARCS said in a press release yesterday.
BARCS will be selling baked goods on 34th Street from 7 to 9 p.m. every night through December 31.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 34th street, animals, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, charity, christmas, christmas lights, crime, dogs, donations, evil, good, maryland, miracle, news, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, rescues, santa claus, shelters, steals, stolen, theft, thief
Baltic, the Polish dog rescued from an ice floe in the Baltic Sea, is back at sea — this time wearing a life jacket and riding aboard the ship that saved him.
The Associated Press reports that Baltic embarked Wednesday on a three-day mission alongside his new owner Adam Buczynski, the seaman who pulled him to safety from an ice sheet in the Baltic Sea last month.
Buczynski said the dog seemed stressed by the commotion of preparing for the trip.
Ewa Bardziej-Krzyzankowska, spokeswoman for the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia, co-owner of the ship, said the crew had anti-nausea pills for Baltic in case he gets seasick on the journey, whose purpose is to collect samples of fish and sea plants for an aquarium in Gdynia.
Bardziej-Krzyzankowska said Baltic quickly learned that he was to only use one spot on an outdoor deck to go the bathroom, one which the crew hoses down regularly. Baltic resisted a bath after his rescue, she reported, leading Buczynski to take the dog into his arms and take a shower with him.
Buczynski and other crew members spotted the dog Jan. 25 floating 15 miles from land. Baltic was first seen two days earlier on the Vistula River, 60 miles inland, drifting on ice past the city of Grudziadz, where firefighters tried but failed to save him.
(Photo: Krzysztof Mystkowski/Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam buczynski, amazing, animals, back to sea, baltic, baltic sea, crew, dog, fear, floating, floe, gdynia, ice, ice sheet, miracle, mission, pets, polish, rescued, sea, sea fisheries institute, seaman, trip, vistula river
One hundred and twenty-seven human lives were lost, but a dog miraculously survived a massive bombing in Baghdad Tuesday — even though the building she was chained to collapsed.
The dog was first spotted chained to a roof railing after the Tuesday bombing, standing on a wall ledge over the collapsed home.
The owner of the dog, Farouq Omar Muhei, returned to his destroyed home and was reunited with the ginger-colored mutt today, the Associated Press reported.
“Lots of neighbors thought I was dead,” he said after his dog, Liza, was carried down to the street.
Officials initially said Muhei and his family were among the victims. But, to the surprise of neighbors, already marveling over the dog’s survival, he returned with his 14-year-old son, Omar, after being treated for cuts and other injuries. They were the only family members home at the time of the attack.
Only a few portions of the home remained standing — including one section of the roof where Liza was chained. The dog’s water bucket was by her side, but was empty when Muhei’s brother, Fuad, climbed over the rubble to unchain the dog. The dog, waiting calmly, yawned as Fuad approached.
Once carried down to the street and reunited with Muhei, 46, the dog — who he purchased as a puppy six years ago in Baghdad’s main pet market –shook with joy and lapped water from a puddle, according to the AP report.
“After we crawled out of the rubble of our home, I said to my son, ‘the dog is dead’,” said Muhei, who sells candy and small items in the local market. “But my son said, ‘No, I saw her.’ I came back today to rescue my dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baghdad, bombing, chained, collapsed, dog, family, farouq omar muhei, home, iraq, killed 127, ledge, leveled, liza, miracle, reclaimed, rescued, reunion, reunited, roof, rubble, saved, survived, survives, victims, wall, war