If you’re going to be a stray dog, you might want to be one in Oak Brook, Ill.
It’s one of Chicago’s wealthiest suburbs — the kind of place with well-manicured lawns to pee on, porches and gazebos offering some shade, and handouts from humans that might include pork tenderloin, or steak.
At least that was Rusty’s experience.
For four years, Rusty roamed the Forest Glen neighborhood of Oak Brook, keeping a certain distance from its residents, but happily accepting their offers of food.
“I would leave pieces of steak and pork tenderloin at the end of the driveway,” said one Forest Glen resident.
“We thought we were the only people taking care of him,” said another, who fed him steak and bacon.
Harry Peters, president of the Forest Glen Homeowners Association, said Rusty, a chow-sheltie mix, eventually developed some discriminating tastes: “I put a hot dog out there once — I’ll never forget it — and he lifted his leg and peed on it. My neighbor was giving him steak.”
Despite all the handouts, Rusty kept his distance. He’d play with neighborhood dogs, but avoided getting too close to humans. When residents walked their dogs, Rusty would follow behind — again at a distance.
While residents were enjoying his presence, and fattening him up, many of them worried about how he was able to survive the harsh winters, and able to avoid becoming a victim of street traffic.
For four years, any attempts to catch him were in vain, up until 2010 when he was captured in a back yard and turned over to the Hinsdale Humane Society.
There he was treated for a heartworm infestation, and thousands of dollars were donated to help pay for his care. Attempts were made to make him more sociable with humans, so that he could be adopted out to one of the many expressing interest in doing so.
But Rusty, who maintained a preference for living outside, never reached that point, shelter officials told the Chicago Tribune.
Instead he was sent to Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, where he’d have room to roam.
Before taking him to Utah, Jennifer Vlazny, operations manager for the humane society, brought Rusty back to the neighborhood he once roamed for one last visit. Residents petted him and photographed him, and some cried when he left.
After some time at Best Friends, Rusty was adopted by a Kanab resident, Kristine Kowal, a retired school nurse who once lived in the Chicago area.
Kowal made a Facebook page and posted regular updates on it about Rusty, by then renamed Rusty Redd.
Peters, the neighborhood association president, visited Rusty and Kowal in January, while on a business trip to Las Vegas. He mentioned to Kowal then that, if she was to ever come to Chicago for a visit, he’d arrange a gathering so residents could have a reunion with the dog.
That happened this past weekend.
Kowal drove Rusty 1,800 miles from Utah for the reunion.
“I just thought it was something that I needed to do — to take him back, and kind of make it a full circle,” Kowal said.
Residents gathered Sunday in a gazebo in the Forest Glen subdivision, where they were able to pet him, many for the first time.
Vlazny, the Tribune reported, was amazed at his transformation from feral dog to pet.
Rusty seemed to remember the old neighborhood, and residents — even some who had since moved out of state — came to the reunion to see an old friend.
“The closest Rusty would ever get to me was 40 feet,” said Frank Manas, feeding the dog a chunk of mozzarella cheese. His family had moved from Forest Glen to Wisconsin, but returned Sunday to see Rusty.
“We said, if Rusty can come all the way from Utah, we can come from Eau Claire,” said Julie Manas, his wife.
“Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh — I’m petting him!” said Julie Gleason, who used to feed Rusty when he visited the nearby office park where she works.
“It’s a real-life fairy tale.”
(Photo: Julie Gleason weeps as she pets Rusty; by Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, best friends animal society, bond, bonding, chicago, chow, dog, dogs, food, forest glen, handouts, hinsdale humane society, illinois, kindness, mix, mutt, mutts, neighborhood, oak brook, pets, reunion, rusty, rusty redd, sheltie, steak, stray dog, strays
Assemblyman Micah Kellner, an Upper East Side Democrat, and State Senator Joseph E. Robach, a Rochester Republican, are proposing the legislation.
If passed, New York would join about a dozen states that have named state dogs, including the Chesapeake Bay retriever in Maryland, the Great Dane in Pennsylvania, the and the Boston terrier in … take a wild guess.
No state has chosen the mixed breed — that most prolific of all dogs — to represent its state.
In New York, a spokesman for Kellner said the assemblyman would choose a rescue dog — as in rescued from a shelter — to symbolize the need for people to adopt pets from animal shelters and animal protection groups. Kellner has no dogs of his own, but he has provided foster care for several.
“He’s a huge advocate for animals in need,” the spokesman told the New York Times.
Also appearing at the announcement of the proposed bill will be Kim Wolf’s dog, Sarge Wolf-Stringer, a Philadelphia dog who was rescued in 2009 from an abusive owner by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and who now works with the elderly and hospital patients as a certified therapy dog.
(Photo: A Baltimore mutt named Martini)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assemblyman, bill, breeds, dogs, joseph robach, know your state dogs, legislation, louisiana, martini, micah kellner, mixed breeds, mutt, new york, north carolina, official, pets, proposal, pspca, purebreds, quiz, sarge wolf-stringer, senator, south carolina, sponsors, state dog, state dogs, texas
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.
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 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.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, aging, animals, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, elderly, fredericksburg, george fish, kathleen sullivan, mixed breed, mutt, old, old dogs, pets, poodle, puck, road trip, terrier, virginia
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 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.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, encounters, german shepherd, hug, love, mix, mixed breed, mutt, norfolk, ohmidog!, pets, raj, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, rottweiler, travel, traveling with dogs, virginia, virginia beach
Gucci, the dog who helped make animal abuse a felony in Alabama, died Wednesday.
Doug James — Gucci’s rescuer and owner — said he made the difficult decision to euthanize the dog, who recently turned 16.
“I had dreaded it, and put if off for two or three days,” James, who lives in Mobile told the Times Daily. “His kidneys were failing him.”
James caught some youths torturing the chow-husky mix one night in 1994. The youths hanged the dog by his neck and set him on fire.
The incident triggered a campaign for animal rights that resulted in the Pet Protection Act, better known as the “Gucci Law,” in Alabama.
The act , making animal cruelty a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, was signed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman on May 19, 2000 – the sixth anniversary of the attack – as Gucci looked on.
Gucci’s celebrity continued after that, with appearances at schools, on “The Maury Povich Show” and “Inside Edition.” He also played played “Sandy” in Mobile theatrical productions of “Little Orphan Annie.”
The dog was only 12 weeks old when he was beaten, hung in a tree by his neck, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Two of the three abusers received sentences of community service, while a third — the lone adult — was sentenced to six months in jail.
“If ever there was a dog that should hate people it should be Gucci, but he loved everyone,” said Brenda Cashdollar, vice president of Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Cashdollar told Al.com that Gucci was unable to walk by the time of his 15th birthday, but still wagged his tail in response to those who greeted him. A party planned to mark his 16th birthday Saturday at B&B Pet Stop in Mobile will now serve as a memorial event, organizers said.
Gucci will be cremated, James said, and his ashes will be placed in a memorial garden planned at the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, alabama, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animals, chow, cremated, dead, death, died, dogs, doug james, euthanized, felony, gucci, gucci law, hung, husky, memorial, mix, mobile, mobile animal shelter, mutt, news, ohmidog!, pet protection act, pets, set on fire, tortured
Winston, the dog that chewed the bumper off a police car in Chattanooga, got his day in court yesterday, and the judge ruled he could go home.
The boxer-pit bull mix had been confined for two weeks after attacking a parked and occupied police car.
He was reunited with his family, the Emerlings, at McKamey Animal Shelter yesterday.
The court stipulated that Winston will attend two different obedience courses, and won’t be allowed to run loose. While he now carries the classification of “potentially dangerous,” that could be dropped if there are no other problems for 6 months.
“I know this attack was not on a person,” city judge Shery Paty said, “but I don’t want … the remote possibility of that happening.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, ate, attacked, boxer, bumper, car, chattanooga, chewed, court, dog, dogs, freed, mix, mutt, news, ohmidog!, patrol car, pets, pit bull, police, police car, released, squad car, winston
Koozie, an 8-year-old mix-breed was rescued — and then re-rescued — from icy Lake Erie in New York. Monday.
After wandering away from her owner’s home outside Buffalo, she was spotted Monday night about 30 miles away, trapped on the ice off Westfield.
An Erie County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was summoned, but the rescue effort was put off until yesterday, when a crew member was lowered in a basket and plucked Koozie from the ice.
After being brought to shore, the dog immediately trotted back out onto the ice and had to be rescued a second time by the helicopter crew, according to the Associated Press.
She was checked out by a veterinarian and returned to her owner.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air one, buffalo, erie county, helicopter, ice, icy, koozie, lake, lake erie, mixed, mutt, new york, news, owner, rescue, rescued, returned, sheriff, sheriff's department, twice, video, westfield