Programs in which kids read to dogs are nothing new, but the Humane Society of Missouri is putting a new twist on the idea — having children read to shelter dogs to boost the dog’s confidence, as opposed to their own.
In the Shelter Buddies Reading Program, young volunteers — from ages 5-16 — read to shy and withdrawn shelter dogs, helping them grow comfortable with visitors.
As a result, those shy dogs become less likely to cower in the back of their glass-enclosed kennels and more likely to get adopted.
“We saw more and more rescue animals that were shy, fearful, and stressed out in the shelter environment,” JoEllyn Klepacki, the society’s assistant director of education told Today.com. “Unfortunately, these dogs are less likely to get adopted, since they tend to hang back instead of engage when potential adoptees come through.”
In addition to helping them hone their reading skills, they learn about dogs, and their body language, and how to draw them out of their shells — all with the help of a good book and some treats.
The volunteers go through training sessions (with a parent) to learn how to interact with dogs, and the shelter has a library of about 100 donated books the children can read from, though many choose to bring their own.
Not a whole lot of staff supervision is required because the dogs remain in their enclosures — likely for liability and safety reasons — and one parent is required to accompany each child when they come to read.
Even though physical contact is limited, Klepacki believes the program is making a difference.
“These were dogs that before were hiding in the backs of the rooms with their tails tucked. You can see the connection — you can see them responding to those kids.”
Klepacki thinks other shelters could start a similar program at little expense.
“For next to no cost, the payoff is immeasurable.”
(Photos courtesy of the Humane Society of Missouri)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, books, children, confidence, dogs, humane society, humane society of missouri, kids, missouri, missouri humane society, pets, programs, reading, shelter, shelters, shy, shyness, withdrawn
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
The newest member of the KOLR 10 news team in Springfield, Mo., is making the weather report much more interesting.
Griffey belongs to KOLR meteorologist John Ziegler and, as you can see from last Thursday’s weather segment, the beagle’s not shy about getting some time on the air.
He seems to have trained Ziegler to master delivering the weather and playing fetch at the same time.
Griffey joined the news team last month, and is quickly becoming a local celebrity, with his own Griffey the Weather Dog Facebook page.
We think he makes the weather reports, which can get a little depressing and repetitious in the winter months, more entertaining for viewers; and we’re sure Griffey is making KOLR a warmer place to work.
Here’s a video of him on his second day on the job.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 9th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, forecas, griffey, griffey the weather dog, john ziegler, kolr, meteorologist, missouri, news, pets, springfield, television, weather, work
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
A rescued dog in eastern Missouri adopted an orphaned baby raccoon as her own after losing one of her puppies during labor.
The dog, named Sasha, had been surrendered to a shelter with what was suspected of being a tumor.
But after she was rescued by a group in St. Peters called SNUGGLE (Special Needs Under Gentle Guided Love Everyday) ultrasound tests showed the lump was two soon-to-be-born pups.
Only one of the puppies survived.
Around then, a baby raccoon who’d been found under a carport was brought to the same veterinarian.
“We started off bottle feeding it and just couldn’t keep up with its needs,” veterinarian Dr. Kelly Hogan said. So they offered Sasha the job. Both Sasha and her pup accepted the raccoon as one of their own.
“Even when he started making little raccoon kind of noises, she didn’t have a problem with it,” Hogan said. “And she loves him. She’s protective of him now.”
Eventually, the raccoon will be transferred to a wildlife rescue group and then released into the wild.
As SNUGGLE’s Sharon Maag sees it, Sasha — having been rescued herself — is returning the favor.
“We saved her life, and she saved the raccoon’s life … It’s the circle of life. I think that’s the way it goes.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, birth, dog, dogs, interspecies, kelly hogan, missouri, mother, motherless, nurses, nursing, ofallon, orphaned, pets, puppies, pups, raccoon, rescue, returning the favor, sasha, sharon maag, shelter, snuggle, veterinarian, veterinary
First, voters passed Proposition B — aimed at more closely regulating the sort of big dog breeding operations that had earned Missouri the nickname of the puppy mill state.
Then, the state legislature took steps to gut it, caving in to the concerns of breeders and agricultural interests.
Now, in a move that could put an end to the bitter war that has ensued over Proposition B, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he had brokered a compromise solution that will protect dogs as well and business people, according to the the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The agreement incorporates parts of the dog-breeding initiative passed by state voters last November and parts of a bill rewriting Proposition B, passed last week by the legislature, which apparently had no problem ignoring the will of voters.
The new agreement still requires larger cages with outdoor runs for breeding dogs, and annual exams, but it gives breeders additional time to meet new housing standards — and it no longer limits breeders to no more than 50 breeding dogs.
The agreement still needs approval by the Legislature before the mandatory May 13 adjournment of the legislative session.
“People with good minds and good will have come together to develop a Missouri solution to this Missouri issue, and together we have made significant progress,” Nixon said. “I look forward to continuing to work with these leaders as we move this proposal through the legislative process as swiftly and efficiently as possible.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agreement, animal welfare, animals, breeders, breeding, compromise, dogs, governor, industry, initiative, jay nixon, legislature, missouri, pets, proposition b, puppy mills, voters
Opening statements were made yesterday in the Missouri trial of Mary Wild, charged with animal abuse in connection with the deaths of seven show dogs who died when left overnight in a hot van last summer.
Wild, a 25-year-old dog handler from Arnold, Missouri, is charged with eight counts of misdemeanor animal abuse — one for each of the dogs she left in the van after returning from a dog show in Iowa last June.
Only one of the dogs, a Siberian husky, survived.
Defense attorney Brad Dede said he would show that “all reasonable and legal precautions” were taken to ensure the safety of the dogs and that his client is not guilty of a crime, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Authorities say the temperature inside the van could have reached 120 degrees.
Animal abuse is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri, and the maximum penalty is up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal, courts, cruelty, deaths, died, dogs, heat, legal, mary wild, missouri, news, ohmidog!, opening, overnight, pets, seven, show, show dogs, siberian husky, summer, trial, van