Ed Gernon never suspected the German shepherd mix he adopted last year would be featured in one of those inter-species friendship videos.
Rex left the shelter with a reputation. He “fought other dogs and killed cats,” Gernon said. “He was dangerous. He was an animal that had learned to live on the streets and to survive on his own hunting ability, I guess.”
So Gernon was surprised when, a month after he took Rex home, the dog paused when he came across what Gernon thought was a dead hummingbird.
“He suddenly stopped and he would not move,” Gernon CBS Los Angeles. “I mean it’s tiny and it’s dead as far as I’m concerned. It’s covered in ants. It’s got no feathers.”
Given his dog’s seeming concern for the bird, Gernon checked it more closely, saw it was still alive, took it home, cleaned it up, and it has been living inside his home ever since.
And it even drinks out of Rex’s water bowl.
Gernon initially had to hand feed the bird a special formula every 15 minutes.
“You find yourself doing stuff you never thought in a million years you would do,” he said.
“It was this little creature. This fragile creature that the whole world wanted to kill and he was trying to protect her so I thought I’d go the distance,” Gernon said.
“I rescue this dog. He rescues the bird. The bird rescues all of us in a weird sense and it’s just a miracle,” Gernon said.
After living with the bird for a year, Gernon says it’s probably time for her to be free, and he’s started leaving the doors and windows of his home open, in case Hummer wants to go back out in the world.
So far, she hasn’t.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, birds, california, dog, dogs, friends, hummer, hummingbird, inter-species, los angeles, news, pets, report, rescue, rescued, rex, tinkerbelle, video
In less than two days, the ASPCA found new homes for more than 500 dogs and cats seized from an unlicensed North Carolina shelter less than two months ago.
Potential adopters arrived early and in large numbers Friday morning, with a line stretching around the warehouse in Sanford that served as a temporary shelter for the dogs.
Just hours into Saturday, the planned third day of the event was canceled because all the animals had been adopted.
The dogs and cats were among more than 600 seized in January by Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA from The Haven – Friends for Life, an unlicensed no-kill shelter located in Raeford, N.C.
Since then, the animals have been held at the temporary facility for evaluation and veterinary care.
Adoption fees were waived during the event, and each animal was micro-chipped and spayed or neutered.
By Friday evening, more than half of the animals were adopted, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Just a few hours into Saturday, all the dogs had been adopted, and the event closed early when the final cat was adopted Saturday afternoon.
Lynn and Carl Draus arrived Friday morning with a photo they had taken of a dog off their TV screen during a news report about the event.
Wandering through the rows of cages, they managed to find her.
“I feel in love with her just from the picture,” Lynn Draus told WRAL. “I didn’t know she was a puppy, but I just had a feeling that was the one I was going to get. So, we came here, and we were asking everybody where she’s at, and we found her.”
“The ASPCA is pleased to report that after an overwhelming successful two-day adoption event in Sanford, all 524 available cats and dogs were adopted into safe and loving homes,” the organization reported in a news release.
“The remaining cats and dogs who were not made available for adoption, as well as the 68 farm animals, will be placed with the ASPCA’s network of animal welfare agencies across the country to be made available for adoption.” the release said.
ASPCA officials have called the seizures from The Haven the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
Authorities charged husband and wife Stephen and Linden Spear with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance, stemming from an animal medication not authorized on the property.
The Haven failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
(Photo by Shannon Millard / Fayetteville Observer)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 21st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animals, aspca, cats, dog, dogs, event, friends for life, news, north carolina, pets, raeford, sanford, seized, shelter, the haven, unlicensed
Only in these mega-awesome modern times could a product that really doesn’t work well at all become a big hit.
And only in the Internet age could how badly it works be a selling point.
Fetch! is an app that lets you upload a photo of your dog and learn what breed it is, or, judging from my try, what breed it’s not.
It was released yesterday just in time for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, according to promotional material. (Last I checked, competitors at Westminster were pretty sure what breeds their dogs were.)
The app analyzes a photo and makes a guess as to breed — using its artificial intelligence and tons of data stored in clouds.
It’s just one of the latest products to hit the market offering to guess everything from your age to your state of mind to the significance of your mustache — all via the power of object recognition, a key facet of artificial intelligence.
It comes as a Web app or download for devices running Apple’s iOS, and you can also get an idea of what it’s all about at the website what-dog.net.
I generally avoid apps (I’m app-rehensive?) so I went to the website to give it a test. I fed it three different photos of Ace, and it identified him as a Rhodesian Ridgeback each time. (He’s not.)
Next I uploaded a photo of myself and was told I was a “Chihuahua … quick witted, loving, wary of strangers and other dogs.”
(Strangers and dogs are actually the two things I’m NOT wary of.)
Microsoft is using the device’s lack of reliability as a selling point, as if to say, “Well no, it’s not really accurate at all, but isn’t it fun?”
Seems to be a lot of that going around these days.
As in the series of ads from Time Warner that make light of the sheer hell the company — once, they’d have us believe — put customers through.
As in the direction the news media has been going in ever since it realized there was an Internet.
As in all those overused hooks designed to get us to click a link on the Internet – such as awesome, epic, jaw-dropping, life-changing, pee-your-pants-funny, you’re not going to believe what happened next.
With Fetch, in my case, not too much happened next.
But its developers say they expect it to wow the masses.
“There was an interest in creating a framework that would allow you to take a domain – in our case, dogs – and recognize numerous classes, such as breeds. We were interested in enabling an app to allow you to make object recognition extraordinary, fun and surprising,” said Mitch Goldberg, one of the Fetch developers
“If you want to take photos of dogs, it will tell you what dog breed it is, if it’s one of our supported breeds. If I choose to take a photograph of a flower, it’ll say, ‘No dogs found! Hmmm… This looks more like…flower?’ But if you take a picture of a person, it’ll kick into its hidden fun mode. And in a playful way, it’ll communicate to you not only what type of dog it thinks you are, but also why.”
Follow all that? When the app works, it’s an amazing example of artificial intelligence. When it doesn’t, don’t worry, it’s in playful, fun mode.
I sometimes wonder if artificial intelligence is gaining on us, or if we’re just getting more stupid.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 12th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ai, animals, app, apps, artificial intelligence, breed, breeds, dog, dog breeds, dogs, fetch, garage, identifier, identify, identifying, internet, media, microsoft, news, object, pets, photographs, photos, recognition
The video above is pretty cute, but on top of making us chuckle it’s a pretty good example of what’s wrong with the news media these days.
Well, make that at least three things that are wrong with the news media these days.
First, the news organizations that have featured it on their websites in the last week almost all make you watch 30 seconds to a minute of advertising before seeing the 38-second video.
Second, the video was posted on the Internet more than two years ago, which hardly rates as news — even under today’s definition.
Third, and most annoying, almost every single news site that has picked up the old video (from Jukinmedia.com) characterizes the dog’s actions as “revenge.”
That’s anthropomorphic, and just plain wrong.
Clearly, the little girl is poking the resting dog with her feet. Quite possibly, the dog got annoyed and adjusted his position.
But we highly doubt the dog is exacting “revenge” on the girl. True, we can’t read the mind of a dog, either — much less that of a dog in a video — but the far more likely explanation is that the dog is trying to create a cooler and more comfortable spot to rest in.
Jukinmedia.com, when it published the video, described it as showing a dog getting “revenge” on the girl “by throwing sand in her face” and “making her crawl away in fear.”
Apparently, they didn’t watch enough of it to see the little girl laughing about it all.
But what’s far lazier is how, two years later, mostly-reputable news websites such as The Telegraph, ABC News, AOL and the Orlando Sentinel have all featured the video this month under a “dog gets revenge” headline. Of all the news organizations we found carrying the video, only KOMO in Seattle didn’t characterize the dog’s actions as revenge.
Are we nitpicking, or do readers/viewers deserve something better than old, innacurate, repackaged “news” when the only thing new about it is the length of the ad we have to watch before seeing it?
Are we going to accept that, or should we kick a little sand in their faces?
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, digging, dog, dogs, face, girl, internet, journalism, karma, kicking, kicks, news, news media, old news, pets, regurgitated, repackaged, revenge, sand, video, websites
When Mary Murphy died in San Francisco 35 years ago, a provision of her will named her dog, Sido — but not as what you might call a beneficiary.
Murphy asked in her will that Sido, an 11-year-old part collie, part sheepdog, be killed.
Murphy didn’t want her dog languishing in a shelter, or ending up as part of a laboratory research project, and she feared that even if she did get adopted, her new family might not be as loving and caring as she had been.
In short, she thought Sido would be better off dead.
It all made for a fascinating little story (with big implications) back in 1980, with the case ending up in court and making it onto the June 17 broadcast of the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”
It was animal advocate Richard Avanzino who, after the terms of Murphy’s will became known, took up Sido’s cause, and took in Sido, serving as the dog’s foster parent until things got straightened out in court. At the time, he was head of the San Francisco SPCA.
“There’s no justification for her life to be taken,” Avanzino said at the time. “She’s committed no crime. The only crime that she committed was that she loved totally her master and for that she’s been condemned to die.”
Today, Avanzino considers Sido the original poster child for the no-kill movement.
“Sido was just the quintessential champion for animal rescue,” he said. “I’m eternally grateful for the time that I had with her but more importantly for the great role she played in telling America that we can be a no-kill nation.”
“I took Sido into my home realizing that the lawsuit would probably take months to resolve the outcome and Sido joined my family as a foster pet,” Avanzino told CBS News this week from San Francisco.
Avanzino fought in court for Sido’s life, arguing that the dog wasn’t “property.”
At the same time, he and others lobbied state politicians to work on a measure that would save Sido’s life.
A bill was drafted, passed and sent to then-Governor Jerry Brown to consider.
The judge’s ruling came the same day the governor signed the bill.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jay Pfotenhauer — whose name, CBS pointed out, translates to Paw-Slapper from German — decided that the killing of pets as personal property no longer had validity and that pets have rights.
Sido was spared, and spent the next five years as a member of Avanzino’s family.
On Sido’s 16th birthday, just hours before the cake was to be cut, Sido had a stroke and was rushed to UC Davis Veterinary School. She died three days later.
Avanzino says he believes Sido’s case served to inspire animal lovers, and help stem the number of euthanizations across the country.
In 1980, 16 million dogs and cats were killed in shelters; today that number is closer to 2.7 million.
(Photos: Courtesy of Richard Avanzino)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1980, animals, case, cbs, court, dog, dogs, dogs as property, euthanize, flashback, history, law, legal, maddie's fund, mary murphy, news, pets, property, put down, report, richard avanzino, ruling, san francisco, san francisco spca, will
That Boston terrier who boarded a city bus and went on a 20-mile ride in Houston last month has landed in a forever home, according to news reports.
The dog, as you can see in the surveillance video above, hopped on the bus in northwest Houston with some other passengers, though he didn’t belong to any of them.
Twenty miles later, at Metro’s downtown transit center on Main Street, he exited the bus with other passengers — one of whom escorted him to the transit authority police station.
“He was a very friendly little guy. He was very sociable. But he was a gentleman,” Metro Police Officer Ida Schoener told KHOU.
Schoener, on her lunch break, took the dog to the Bayou City Veterinary Hospital, which agreed to care for the dog — by then nicknamed “Metro” — until an owner or foster family could be found.
“He’s pretty calm but also excited to go out on walks,” said Bayou City veterinarian Kristy Kyle. “He is not afraid of the world. We’ll put it that way.”
The transit authority released surveillance footage recorded on a camera on the bus of the dog being welcomed on board, as well as footage of the dog arriving at the transit center.
After no one called to claim the dog, a Boston terrier rescue group was called and a temporary home was found.
There, the dog’s long strange trip finally came to an end, the veterinary hospital reports, when the person serving as his foster parent decided to adopt him.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, animals, bayou city veterinary hospital, boarded, boston terrier, bus, dog, dogs, foster, houston, metro, news, passengers, pets, public transportation, rescue, shelter, stray, surveillance, transit, video
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