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Tag: mixed breed

Kabang gets hero’s welcome in Philippines

kabangand limKabang — after eight months of medical treatment in the U.S. paid for by $27,000 in donations from around the world — returned this morning to Zamboanga in the Philippines, where she was greeted by well-wishers, driven through town in a motorcade and honored by the mayor.

The mixed breed dog, who lost half her face when she jumped in front of motorcycle two years ago, saving her owner’s daughter and niece, met the media upon her arrival in Manilla yesterday and received a rousing welcome this morning upon her return to Zamboanga, a city in the southern Philippines.

“She is not just my friend, she is like a part of our family,” 13-year-old Dina Bunggal said. “I am very thankful to her, because without her, maybe I will not be alive today.”

Owners Rodolfo “Rudy” Bunggal, his wife Christina, their daughter Dina and her cousin, Princess Diansing, welcomed Kabang home — albeit it amid signs that the family is caught up in some domestic and financial strife.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that Bunggal admits to having a drinking problem, that his wife has left him due to alleged physical abuse, and that, as a $5-a-day construction worker, he’s worried about being able to care for the Kabang, or provide the  dog the ”rich lifestyle” he experienced while being treated in the U.S.

“I hope there are other people with kind heart who will donate dog food,” he  said.

kabanghomeThe newspaper says Bunggal has asked Anton Lim, the Philippine veterinarian who accompanied Kabang to the U.S., to temporarily care for the dog.

Bunggal has turned down offers from people wishing to adopt Kabang.

“… I said no. A lady from the United States even called me expressing her  interest to adopt Kabang. I told them Kabang will stay with us and I entrusted  everything to Dr. Lim for the dog’s care and medication. Lim has helped us a  lot,” he said.

Lim said he and others are trying to improve the Bunggal’s living conditions. “We are looking at ways on how best to help them so that they can take better care of Kabang or make it easier for them to take care of her,” he said.

A city government-sponsored parade was held this morning. Kabang and Rudy Bunggal rode in the back of a pickup truck festooned with yellow balloons to the Municipal Hall, where Mayor Celso Lobregat bestowed the title “Pride of Zamboanga” on the dog

Kabang’s condition — she lost the top of her snout in the motorcycle’s wheel – attracted worldwide support, and donations from 45 countries paid for her extended treatment at the University of California, Davis, veterinary hospital.

Vets treated her for heartworm and a tumor before performing two facial surgeries. While they did not reconstruct the dog’s jaw or snout, they covered up exposed areas on her face to prevent infection.

Kabang leapt into the path of a motorcycle heading toward the daughter and niece of her owner in late 2011. The motorcycle’s front wheel ripped off her nose and the top her jaw. The girls were not injured.

(Top photo, Lim and Kabang, Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeineszmtag; bottom photo, Kabang arriving in Manilla, Associated Press)

Getting up close with Elwood

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Ace, a friend and I were sitting outside at a bar downtown over the weekend when Elwood came by.

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I being of the belief that one should never pass up an opportunity to meet a dog, especially a puppy, and Ace being of the belief one should never pass up an opportunity to meet anyone or anything, we stopped the young couple and asked to meet their dog.

Elwood quickly got over any camera-shyness, or Ace-shyness, he might have had.

Elwood is 9 weeks old, and a mix of dachshund and pit bull.

Hero shelter dog finally finds a home

Nala, a pit bull-Labrador mix living at an animal shelter in Washington state, made headlines in December when she helped save another dog — a blind cocker spaniel she found freezing to death in a ditch while on a walk with a shelter staffer.

Despite the publicity and her newfound hero status, no one stepped forward to adopt Nala — who has what the Humane Society of Redmond describes as “some behavioral issues” – and, as of March, her stay at the shelter had stretched to a year.

This month, though, there was one more publicity push by the shelter, which established a Facebook page for Nala — and that helped lead to her adoption this week by Janet Roberts, 63, the Bend Bulletin reports.

A week ago, the Humane Society teamed up with a photographer, held a photo shoot with Nala and created a Facebook page for the dog. Reese Mercer, a board member, provided “first person” updates, from Nala’s perspective, about her hunt for a home.

As a result, Nala had fans from as far away as Finland, all of them rooting for her to find a home — but few of them volunteering to provide one.

Nala’s new caretaker, a court transcriber who lives on 80 acres in Powell Butte, first heard about Nala’s story in December. When she learned Nala was still without a home months later, Roberts offered to take her home for a trial visit. Roberts has four cats, two horses and an older dog. The dog spent the night Tuesday, and the next morning, Roberts decided it was for keeps.

“She was ever so sweet, and fit in really well,“ said Roberts. “She was so respectful of everyone here … She really wants to please people, which is really endearing,” said Roberts.

The official adoption took place Thursday.

“It’s going to be tough to say goodbye,” said Alan Borland, the shelter staff member who was walking Nala when she found the cocker spaniel.

Borland told the Bulletin the couple that the Roberts family has invited him to come visit Nala, but said he probably won’t.

“She needs to get on with her life, and forget about the year she spent at the shelter,” he said.

(Photo: From Nala’s Facebook page)

Swept away, rescued, and now reunited

That dog we showed you Saturday — the one who was rescued from atop the rubble of a home after being swept more than a mile out to sea by the tsunami in Japan?

Today she was reunited with her owner.

The reunion took place at an animal shelter in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, where the dog, named Ban, was returned to an overjoyed owner, three weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

Ban, a two-year-old mixed breed, was plucked off the wreckage of a house drifting in the sea Friday by a Japanese helicopter rescue crew. You can see that video here. Apparently, she spent more than three weeks adrift.

The dog’s owner, whose name was not made public, saw the rescue on television and rushed to claim her pet, according to both Voice of America and the Associated Press.

Thousands of people and countless pets are still missing three weeks after the disaster, which left more than 12,000 people dead.

Old dogs and undying love

Puck’s family thinks their aging dog has lost most of his senses. He’s deaf. He’s blind in the one eye he has left. And if you put a treat on the ground in front of him, he can’t seem to hone in on it by sniffing. It’s more of a random search. He may or may not taste his watered down food.

But at least one sense remains — not one of the big five, but an important one all the same — his sense of dignity.

At 17, Puck doesn’t run anymore. In recent years, his three block walks shrunk to two block walks, then one block walks, then no block walks. He can’t do the stairs anymore. He has epilepsy, an enlarged heart, a hacking cough. He goes through long periods where he seems to zone out – standing motionlessly like a mini-cow in pasture — possibly the result of mini-strokes. He wears a diaper around the clock.

These days, Puck doesn’t jump, doesn’t play – instead he spends his days asleep or in quiet reflection.

And that’s just fine with George Fish and Kathleen Sullivan.

Puck can cuddle as well as he ever did; relishes a scratch behind the ears as much as he ever did – maybe even more.

George was once my college roommate; and my overnight visit with them last week at their home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was the third time I’d seen Puck – the first being when he was a youngster, the second about two years ago. When I reconnect with George on the phone, I’m usually afraid to ask about Puck, fearing the worst. But George generally volunteers the information: “Puck’s still alive.” Or “Puck’s still around.”

George and Kathleen’s daughter, Elizabeth, was 7 when they got Puck, and she came up with the name — as in pucker up — based on how much he liked to kiss. She’s 24 now and living in California.

A neighbor across the street called one night 17 years ago and asked if they wanted a puppy – as he described it, a poodle.

The dog – part of a litter that resulted from an unauthorized get-together between a poodle and a terrier — didn’t look anything like a poodle, Kathleen notes. “But it was cute.”

She called her husband to let him know: “We sort of have a dog now.”

“George came home and I think in three seconds he was in love,” she said.

Nearly a generation later, Puck remains – less lively, less mobile and diaper clad. It attaches with Velcro and holds a sanitary napkin, a regular one during the day, a maxi pad at night. It’s removed for his trips outside, where he mostly stands motionlessly, his tail periodically going into bouts of wagging.

Every night, they tote him to his upstairs bed. Every morning, they carry him to his downstairs bed, which they call his “office.” Next to it is a family portrait, a toy fax machine,a stapler and a collection of Puck’s other favorite things.

George says he has learned a lot from Puck – both about patience and grace.

“Puck never complains; it makes me hope I can be that way when I’m old and decrepit,” he said.

Puck has had to put up with eye ulcers, which led to the removal of one of his eyes a year ago, and after that he lost sight in the remaining one. Vet bills amounted to about $4,000 for the eye problems alone. He also has been on medication for epileptic seizures since he was a pup. He’s probably had some small strokes, and his cough has led to more vet bills and interrupted sleep.

How much does all that matter in the big scheme of dog-family love? Not a bit.

Some friends tell George it’s time to put Puck down, but George can’t see doing that – “not as long as his tail keeps wagging.”

Roadside Encounters: Raj and Hug

Names: Raj and Hug

Age: Hug (the dog) is three.

Breed: Hug is a Rottweiller-German shepherd mix.

Encountered: In a trailer park in Norfolk, Virginia.

Backstory: I was taking Ace for his after dinner walk, when — as we passed through a parking lot, behind a mobile home park — a car slowly pulled up alongside us.

“He looks just like my dog,” the driver, speaking in a thick Indian accent, said. “He lives right over there,” he added, pointing at a mobile home that backed up to the parking lot.

He introduced himself as Raj, and we talked for five minutes as he petted Ace, who’d stuck his nose through the open car window.

After Raj pulled away, I circled the block, and walked back along busy Military Highway, headed  to my Motel 6. From out of nowhere, Raj pulled up alongside me again, this time with his daughter in the passenger seat. He stopped his car in the traffic so she could meet Ace, through the window, as well. Then he insisted I come see his dog.

“I’ll meet you there in two minutes,” he said as a long line of cars backed up behind him.

I went back to my room, grabbed my camera and returned to the mobile home park. As Ace and I walked up to his home, Hug came out, pulling the slightly built Raj behind him.

Ace and Hug hit it off fine. And they are remarkably similar in appearance — same eyes, same ears, same curly tail.

They both enjoyed some water and treats, supplied by Raj’s wife. She works at a nearby McDonalds. Raj, who moved to the U.S. 30 years ago from New Delhi, used to work at a McDonalds and drove a limousine until he got sick. He can’t work anymore, his wife explained.

Raj and his family adopted Hug from a local shelter about two years ago. Raj says he has always had dogs and can’t imagine life without one. He shook hands with Ace before we left and gave him a prolonged hug.

“I love dogs too much,” he said. “Yes, I love dogs too much.”

Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.

Meet the new mayor — a three-legged dog

A three-legged dog beat out a three-legged cat in the race for mayor of a town in which I once toiled — Divide, Colorado.

Twenty-five dogs and cats entered the race, with each vote they received bringing in a one dollar donation to the local animal shelter, KKTV in southern Colorado reports.

In the end, elections officials report, it came down to a race between Spright, a small female mixed breed, and Walter the cat.

Spright received 4,755 votes; Walter racked up 4,213. Combined with other votes cast, the election raised $14,084 for the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter.

Divide is an unincorporated town on the north slope of Pikes Peak. (I worked there for a few summers during high school at a property development.)

Spright’s two-year term will begin with an official inauguration ceremony at noon Sunday at the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter at 308 Weaverville Road in Divide. There will be a BBQ cookout for all candidates and the public.