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
One of Washington, D.C.’s most revered landmarks is moving to the suburbs of Virginia.
It’s not the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial; it’s Romo — a 150-pound bull mastiff and pit bull mix who has become famous for resting half-in, half-out the first floor living room window of his owner’s home in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Romo has been assuming his position, perched on the window sill, for years now — mellowly watching the world go by.
But now the droopy-faced tourist attraction is headed to a new life in the suburbs, WTOP reports.
His owners, Tiffany Bacon and Peter Scourby, are moving this fall out of their Calvert Street apartment to Arlington, where Romo, though losing his street-level window on the world, will have his own suburban (yawn) backyard.
Bacon is hoping the seven-year-old pooch smoothly makes the transition from urban dog to suburban dog.
“I’m a little sad because he doesn’t know anything else; all he knows is this house,” Bacon says. “He loves the city; he loves going to the park; his dog walker is his best friend in the entire world. He’s going to be devastated.”
Bacon said Romo started hanging out the window years ago. She opened it while cleaning the apartment one morning “and then all of a sudden, I looked over and he was hanging out the window,” she says.
After that, she noticed every time she walked into the house, Romo would be perched by the window, waiting for someone to open it. If Bacon just cracked it open slightly, Romo would nudge it up the rest of the way with his nose and then lay across the sill.
Since then, opening the window for Romo has become part of their daily routine — even if it does send their heating and air conditioning bills sky high.
“At 5:30, we’ll open it up, and he’ll be out there, ready, just waiting for the buses. When we’re home, it’s open,” says Scourby. “…He’s so sad when it’s closed.”
Romo rests his chest on the windowsill, and his front paws dangle outside over the edge. He rarely sees anything that gets him worked up. Instead he watches quietly, rarely barking — even when fans stop to say hello or take a photo.
He’s frequently Tweeted, and often Instagrammed, and, of course has his own Facebook page, but he takes it all in stride — even when pedestrians and drivers shout out to him.
“People yell from their cars when they’re stopped at this light here,” Scourby says. “It’s hysterical.”
The move to Arlington is scheduled for October. My guess is that — dogs being creatures of habit, dogs being highly social beasts — Romo will seek out a new front window to hang out of at the new home, no matter how fine a back yard he is offered.
There’s a world out there, and his job — or so it seems — is to watch it.
(Photo: Rachel Nania / WTOP)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adams morgan, animals, apartment, attraction, calvert street, dc, dog, dogs, famous, landmark, mastiff, mix, move, moving, neighborhood, peter scourby, pets, photographed, photos, pit bull, Romo, suburbs, tiffany bacon, tourist, view, washington, watching, window, window dog, world
For the second time in less than a year, someone is scattering what are suspected to be poisoned meatballs in a San Francisco neighborhood in an apparent attempt to murder dogs.
A San Francisco animal control officer Saturday found 34 meatballs scattered around the Twin Peaks neighborhood, where a similar incident occurred last year.
The meatballs were placed along curbs and in hedges and bushes, where they’re more likely to be sniffed out by dogs and less likely to be spotted by humans.
“These were incredibly well-hidden,” Lt. Denise BonGiovanni said.
An animal control officer was sent to search the area near Crestline Drive and Parkridge Drive Saturday after a resident called Friday to report finding fragments of suspicious meatballs.
The officer found 34 pieces of raw meat containing something solid. A 35th ball of meat was turned over to the officer by a resident who picked it up before her dog could eat it, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The meatballs have been turned over to the San Francisco Police Department for testing.
“They look very similar to the ones found last year,” BonGiovanni said.
Last July, a 7-year-old dachshund died and another dog was sickened after eating meatballs the police believe were filled with strychnine.
No arrest was made in the case.
Since last week’s incident, the city’s Animal Care and Control staff have posted more than 50 warning signs in the neighborhood. Residents of the neighborhood are being advised to keep their pets inside, or keep them on a short leash when walking.
“If your dog picks up anything and starts to eat it, I wouldn’t waste time, I would take it to a vet,” BonGiovanni said. “We haven’t confirmed it’s poison but it’s not worth taking chances.”
San Francisco police are asking anyone with information that could help the investigation to call their anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.
(Photo: Provided by San Francisco Police Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: analysis, animal control, animals, crestline, dogs, health, hidden, investigation, meatballs, neighborhood, officer, parkridge, pets, poison, safety, san francisco, scattered, strychnine, tests, twin peaks, warning
AKA: “The mayor of NoDa”
Encountered: At the Smelly Cat Coffee House in Charlotte
Backstory: Charles is a fixture in Charlotte’s NoDa district, where he has lived all his life, except for a month in Philadelphia. He didn’t like it and moved back home. Charles holds several jobs in the neighborhood, including one at the Neighborhood Theater, a music venue he says was once an X-rated movie house. Charles has watched as the one-time mill area made the transition to an eclectic arts district.
I was sitting outside the coffee shop, where two children had stopped to pet Ace, when Charles approached. He came up and shook my hand, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of dollar bills. He handed both of the children a dollar, and told them to put it in their piggy banks.
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 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does american, arts, charles, charles edwards, charlotte, district, dog's country, honorary, mayor, mayor of noda, neighborhood, noda, north davidson, ohmidog!, road trip, roadside encounters, travel, traveling, traveling with dogs
Investigators in Virginia are looking for the person who threw poison-spiked meatballs into the yards of at least three homes in Fairfax County, killing two dogs and making a third ill.
One of the fatalities in the Centreville neighborhood was a five-month-old pit bull puppy; the other, an adult West Highland terrier. The third was taken to a vet for treatment, NBC in Washington reported.
The meat was found around homes in the 15000 block of Olddale Road.
Fairfax County police haven’t figured out what was in the meat, but they are warning all residents, especially those with children and small pets, to inspect their yards for anything suspicious.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, centreville, dogs, health, killed, meat, meatballs, neighborhood, news, ohmidog!, pets, pit bull, poisoned, police, puppy, tainted, toxic, west highland terrier