When you’re homeless, you can run into a lot of Catch 22’s — those can’t-win situations that, even when you’re taking steps to improve your life, tend to make things appear even more hopeless.
Having a dog is a perfect example.
To a homeless person, having a dog (or, in the case of our Monday post, a cat) can have numerous benefits: Protection, for one. It can instill a greater will to survive and succeed. It can provide some self-esteem, emotional security, and companionship for sure — the kind that comes without judgment.
While some segments of society may be repulsed by the sight of you, your dog will always be thrilled.
But having a dog when you’re homeless can also be a tremendous obstacle — keeping you from being admitted to homeless shelters, finding the money to feed it, and making already problematic chores, like going to the bathroom, even more problematic.
Still, it’s not unusual that, when given a choice between shelter and their dog, the dog often comes first — as has been the case so far with a recently homeless woman and her boxer mix, named Cow, featured in a two-part series in the Toledo Blade this week.
“She is my whole world, my rock. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” 51-year-old Diann Wears said of her dog.
Wears, who in earlier stages of her troubled life worked as a prostitute and was addicted to crack, said it is her first time living on the streets.
“It’s totally new to me and totally scary, I’m not gonna lie,” she said. “But Cow and I, we have each other, and she gives me a lot of love and support.”
She says she tried to find an apartment that her Social Security and Supplemental Security Income would cover, but “they either turned me down because of Cow, or because I don’t make enough money.”
She has no intention of parting with Cow, she said.
Toledo’s homeless shelters — like most across the country — do not allow pets, and she was rejected, she said, by a YWCA shelter that provides haven for women fleeing domestic violence and their pets.
“They don’t think I’m in danger from my ex,” Wears said.
So Wears and Cow remain without shelter — unless you count the overhang of the bus station’s roof.
Having a dog, Wears noted, makes simple tasks, like attending a free meal, more difficult. She either has to leave Cow outside, leashed to her shopping cart, or find a friend she trusts enough to watch him.
Sometimes, she says, it’s hard to simply find a place in the shade to rest — without being told to leave, either because of the dog or because she is loitering.
She often sits on the grass at St. Paul United Methodist Church, where the pastor allows her to stay as long as neither she nor Cow causes any trouble, the Blade reported. (You can find part two of the series here.)
“We don’t bother anybody, but people judge us anyway because we’re homeless,” Diann said. “Or they’re afraid of Cow, even when she’s just lying there.”
Wears said Cow provides her some protection during the night.
Unsure as she is of the future, she is committed to two things — keeping Cow by her side and not going back to her abusive boyfriend.
“It’s hard out here, but I’m away from that at least I’ll take my chances out here. I have my dog and we’ll survive one way or the other, some kind of way.”
(Photo: The Toledo Blade)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animals, benefits, boxer, catch 22, choice, cow, diann wears, dilemma, dogs, homeless, homeless shelters, mix, obstacles, ohio, paradox, pets, shelters, toledo, toledo blade
A Staffordshire bull terrier mix described as “Britain’s loneliest dog” has been rescued after spending nearly her whole life in shelters — and given a role in the next Transformers movie.
Freya, who has epilepsy, was found as a stray when she was about six months old and has spent nearly six years in Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in Liverpool, according to the Hollywood Reporter.Director Michael Bay, after reading about the dog’s plight in The Mirror, says he will give the dog a role in the next Transformers movie and try to find her a home.
“If not, she will come to my house,” said Bay, who also owns two bull mastiffs.
Bay, the director of “Bad Boys,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon,” is making the fifth installment of the action series, “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
“To have this publicity is not just great for the Freya but the other 40 dogs we have,” said Debbie Hughes of the rescue center. “We have had Freya since she was found as a stray six-month old puppy who nobody ever claimed. We just hope she gets a home. She is a very loving dog.”
(Photo of Freya from Fairfields Animal Rescue Centre)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animals, britain, director, dogs, epilepsy, freshfields, loneliest dog, michael bay, mix, movie, pets, pit bull, rescue, shelter, staffordshire bull terrier, stray, transformers, uk
In a settlement that’s being called one of the largest ever for a wrongful pet death, the owner of a dog shot and killed by police in Commerce City, Colorado, will receive $262,000,
Chloe, a 3-year-old chocolate Lab mix, was shot and killed by police in 2012 — after she’d been secured with a catch pole and shot with a stun gun.
A video camera captured Officer Robert Price firing five shots at the dog.
Chloe had been Gary Branson’s companion and therapy dog since 2008.
“I am happy that we have been vindicated,” Branson said. “She deserved justice for what happened to her. This has been a very difficult time for me and am glad that it is now settled.”
The payment was part of a settlement aimed at avoiding a federal civil court trial scheduled later this month, KDVR reported.
Branson had left the dog in the care of a relative during an out of town trip in November 2012. The relative left the dog in the garage while running errands and Chloe somehow activated the door’s sensor, making it open.
A neighbor saw the unleashed dog and called police to report an aggressive “pit bull”-type dog roaming the neighborhood.
When police arrived, Chloe was back in the garage. After getting the noose of a catch pole around her neck, and using a Taser on the dog, Officer Robert Price, deeming the dog’s behavior as threatening and aggressive, shot Chloe.
Commerce City police, after a review of the incident, said Price was acting “within policy” when he killed the dog.
He was nevertheless charged with aggravated animal cruelty, only to be later acquitted by an Adams County jury.
Attorney Jennifer Edwards with the Animal Law Center said that decision prompted the filing of a lawsuit.
“It wasn’t surprising. I think the prosecutor’s office was pretty conflicted in this,” Edwards says, “At that point my client did not feel much vindication so the only thing left is to pursue a civil remedy.”
Edwards said the settlement sets precedent for thousands of other cases.
“It speaks volumes as to the fact that this isn’t going to happen and you’re not going to not be held accountable,” she said.
For Branson, the settlement still isn’t enough to replace what he lost.
“No amount of money could replace Chloe,” he said.
Below is the video (be warned, it is disturbing) of Chloe’s death, taken by one of Branson’s neighbors.
(Photo from Justice for Chloe Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, chloe, chocolate lab, civil, colorado, commerce city, court, dog, dogs, five times, gary branson, justice for chloe, law enforcement, lawsuit, mix, pets, pit bull, police, police killing dogs, settled, settlement, shot
A Chihuaua mix named Daisy is running as she has never run before — thanks to some blade-like prosthetics.
Abandoned on the streets of Los Angeles when she was two months old, Daisy had congenital deformation of her elbows, right shoulder, and back hips, making it difficult for her to walk, and impossible for her to run.
She was set to be euthanized at a local shelter when A Home 4Ever Rescue pulled her out.
For years, she used a a set of wheels to move around, but that put too much pressure on her spine. She has been using the blades, designed by Animal Ortho Care in Chantilly, Virginia, since August.
(Photo: From Daisy’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: a home 4ever, animal ortho care, animals, blades, chihuahua, daisy, disabilities, dog, dogs, los angeles, mix, pets, prosthetics, run, running, veterinary
No dog has ever killed a police officer in the line of duty.
And yet police officers, in the line of duty, shoot about 10,000 dogs a year in America, according to Department of Justice estimates.
One of the latest fatalities in the epidemic was Duchess, shot down Tuesday by an officer who acted quickly, if not wisely.
Within the space of about two seconds, a Florida City police officer determined the dog running out a front door he had knocked on was a threat and shot him three times.
The 40-pound pit bull mix died almost instantly as a surveillance camera recorded the incident.
Gillian Palacios said her two-year-old dog ran out of the front door when she started to open it.
The officer had knocked on the door to let the family know their car door was open.
“Before I could even do anything, the officer had his gun out and shot her three times in the head,” she told WPLG.
“She was curious. She wasn’t barking (and) she wasn’t growling,” Palacios said. “There was no reason for him to think she was aggressive in any way.”
“There were a million things he could have done other that shoot her three times in the head,” she added.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Florida City police spokesman Ken Armenteros defended the officer’s actions.
“We don’t have the luxury of hindsight,” Armenteros said. “We have to use the information that is given to us in a split second. So, the officer has to make that decision with the information that he has available.”
What about the luxury of foresight, though, we’d ask?
What about a mandatory program that trains all of a police force’s officers in canine behavior, how to interpret it, how to deal with it and how to make their split second decisions a little more wisely, a little less rashly?
All state legislatures should require such training, all police forces should get it in place. Only then will the “shoot first” mentality, and the thinking that dog lives don’t matter, begin to subside.
(Tomorrow: A look at a new documentary that explores the epidemic, “Of Dogs and Men.”)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dog shootings, dogs, duchess, florida city, investigation, law enforcement, mix, officer, pets, pit bull, police, police shooting dogs, questionable, questions, shooting, shootings, shot, surveillance, video
Tillie, the setter mix who stood guard for a week after the basset hound she was roaming with fell into a cistern, was honored by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee last week.
Tillie, her basset hound friend, Phoebe, and their owner B.J. Duft were present as Gov. Inslee read a proclamation naming Tillie “Washingtonian of the Day” Thursday.
Inslee urged “everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.”
Tillie was the first non-human to receive the honor.
“I saw this story and I just immediately said this is something Washington needs to celebrate,” Inslee said. “I grew up with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie and I never thought I’d meet a real dog that had that type of Hollywood character, but Tillie’s right here.”
Both dogs have been enjoying some newfound fame in Vashon, about 20 miles southwest of Seattle, since they wandered off from their home in early September.
A week later they were found — 4-year-old Phoebe stuck in the bottom of shallow cistern, 11-year-old Tillie watching over her.
They were discovered by a volunteer from Vashon Island Pet Protectors, who snapped the photo to the left.
Duft, who said the dogs escaped from his property through a hole in the fence, was ecstatic when he learned they’d been found.
“It really made me think a lot about their friendship and Tillie’s commitment to her companion, that’s for sure,” Duft told the Associated Press.
The governor has bestowed about 70 “Washingtonian of the Day” certificates since taking office.
Duft said both dogs are now sporting GPS collars.
(Top Photo: Duft, second from left, holds his dogs as they visit with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, far left; AP Photo by Ted S. Warren. Bottom photo courtesy of Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, award, basset hound, cistern, dogs, found, friends, friendship, governor, honor, jay inslee, lost, loyal, loyalty, missing, mix, pets, phoebe, proclamation, sette, tillie, vashon, vashon island, washington, washingtonian of the day
After her friend, Phoebe, fell into a cistern that was too deep — by Basset hound standards — to jump out of, an old Irish setter mix named Tillie stayed by her side for an entire week.
The two dogs had wandered from their home in Vashon, Washington, on Sept. 7 during a party.
Their owner, B.J. Duft, suspects Phoebe, picking up the scent of something, led the way.
“Tillie would never leave even if the gate was left open, but she’s best friends with Phoebe, and so when Phoebe follows her little Basset Hound nose, Tillie always goes with her to make sure she’s OK,” Duft said. “They’re best pals — inseparable.”
In the week that followed, Tillie proved that beyond any doubt — leaving Phoebe’s side only briefly, and apparently only to scout around to find some help.
The duo was eventually tracked down by Amy Carey, a volunteer with Vashon Island Pet Protectors, an animal rescue group that runs a no-kill shelter in the area.
Carey said the organization, after posting about the missing dogs on its Facebook page, got a call Monday from a resident who had seen a dog come to the edge of his property several times during the previous week.
Carey went to the area to investigate and found Tillie standing guard over Phoebe, KING5 reported.
“It was very clear what Tillie had done,” Carey said. “She had not left her friend’s side except for going up to the man’s house when he was there to try and get help for Phoebe.”
Duft and the dogs had a tearful reunion shortly thereafter.
“I was thrilled,” he told ABC News. “I was absolutely not surprised to learn that Tillie had stood by her side the whole time. She’s a very caring, loving and nurturing dog and the two of them are best friends.”
Duft said he has had Tillie, now 11, since she was a puppy. He adopted Phoebe, 4, about two years ago after the two became friends at doggie daycare.
The dogs were hungry and exhausted but otherwise in good health.
Duft said he fed them both a “hamburger dinner,” and let them fall back into their routines.
“Within an hour of getting home, Tillie already wanted to play with her favorite toy — the tennis ball — so we did just that,” Duft said. “The two also hung out on the couch and got some well-needed sleep.”
(Photos by Amy Carey, Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amy carey, animals, b.j. duft, basset hound, cistern, dog, dogs, found, friends, friendship, guard, hole, irish setter, lost, loyalty, mix, pets, phoebe, rescue, tillie, trapped, vashon, vashon island pet protectors, washington