All the terrible things humans do to dogs is another.
ohmidog! — as regular readers know — is not all fluffy, feel-good dog news all the time. We think it’s important not to turn a blind eye to animal abuse, in any of its forms, because only when the public fully knows what is going on can steps be taken to do something about it.
A case in point: Patrick, the starving New Jersey pit bull tossed down a trash chute at a high-rise apartment in Newark.
His reprehensible treatment, and subsequent resiliency, is not just tugging at the heartstrings of dog lovers everywhere, it’s uniting them to demand that those who abuse dogs be subject to punishments more in line with the ones received for violent crimes against humans.
If no one had seen those disturbing pictures of what Patrick looked like when he was taken in by Associated Humane Societies, there probably wouldn’t have been the outcry that has ensued. Publicity about his case has led not just to donations for his care, and that of dogs similarly abused, but to the sprouting of grassroots movements aimed at strenghtening animal abuse laws.
Patrick’s story, amid signs he’s continuing to recover, appears headed for a happy ending.
There was one in North Carolina this week that didn’t:
A female retriever mix, believed to be about 4 years old, was found wandering in the 6500 block of Lake Brandt Road in Greensboro on Tuesday after apparently being scalded with boiling water.
She was wearing a collar and a rabies tag, but the numbers could not be read, according to Marsha Williams, the animal shelter’s director. The nameless dog was responsive when she arrived at the animal shelter, but she was emaciated and suffering third-degree burns on her face, ears and legs. She died 30 minutes later.
The Greensboro-Guilford County Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible. The Crime Stoppers number is 336-373-1000.
Very little is known about the dog, or what happened to her — and given as she has no known name, given that she didn’t survive — she’s not likely to emerge as a poster child or Internet sensation.
We share her story — or at least the sparse details known — for the same reason we passed along Patrick’s story; and that of Phoenix, a pit bull burned in Baltimore; and Susie, a puppy tortured in Greensboro; and Louis Vuitton, burned and beaten in Alabama; and Buddy, dragged to death behind a truck in Colorado.
And that’s because the public needs to know — the non-sugar-coated truth, unfathomable as it is, painful as it may be to see and hear.
That’s the only way change happens. Our hope would be that change would involve more than just harsher sentences for animal abuse. More severe sentences will send a message, serve as a deterrent and satisfy our need for vengeance, but they don’t address the underlying causes that, without making compassion for animals part of every school’s curriculum, ensure such incidents will continue.
ohmidog! tries not to be one of those websites that shoves animal abuse down your throat daily (sometimes the days just don’t cooperate, though). Similarly, it tries not be one of those blissfully ignorant websites that look only at the happy dog news, pawsing only for bad puns.
If you want to be totally shielded from the sad and gory, the depraved and the troubling, don’t come here.
Because when humans sink this low, whether they be punks in an alley, breeders at a puppy mill, or scientists in a laboratory, we will make note of it and, if we can, more than likely include a photo, too — not for the purpose of sensationalizing, but to inform and spark action.
That said, to see the photo, continue. To avoid it, don’t click, don’t scroll, just go back to our main page.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused dogs, animal cruelty, animals, boiling, buddy, crime, cruelty, dead, details, dog, dog websites, dogs, gory, greensboro, killed, law, louis vuitton, media, news, north carolina, ohmidog!, patrick, pets, phoenix, photos, pictures, pit bull, scalded, sentences, susie, torture, water, website
The Baltimore bookstore will feature not only me, signing my new book, but a storewide used book sale. Ace will be there, and your dog is welcome, too. (The Book Escape, located at 805 Light St., is dog-friendly.)
And to top it all off, we’ll be donating 20 percent of the store’s Saturday sales of “DOG, INC.” to the Franky Fund, which helps provide care for sick and injured animals at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter.
The signing will be Saturday (Feb. 5) from 1 to 3 p.m.
The Book Escape has made “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” its featured selection for the month — giving it prominent display not just on its website, but in its storefront window.
Ace and I, temporarily living in a friend’s empty house as we continue, for now, our roaming ways, are located right around the corner. So we pass the window often, sometimes pausing as I point out to him my book … look … right there … in front of Tom Wolfe’s. It fails to impress him.
In addition to the signing, The Book Escape will be holding a big sale this weekend, according to owner Andrew Stonebarger.
All used books will be 50 percent off for “book pass” members, and 25 percent off for everyone else. Book passes cost $50, but those who buy them get $50 in store credit at regular prices, on top of reduced prices everytime they present the card.
Stonebarger says that means a person who bought two copies of “DOG, INC.” — one for themself and one for a present, he suggested (and who am I to argue with that idea?) — would “get a free book pass and get big discounts for the whole year.”
In light of this week’s disturbing revelation of another pet set on fire in Baltimore — a cat named Mittens who, thanks to the Franky Fund, is recovering — we (meaning The Book Escape and me) will be donating 20 percent of each sale of “DOG, INC.” on Saturday to the special BARCS fund.
It’s not the first time I’ve worked with BARCS (where Ace came from), or raised money for the fund, which I’m a fan of because it gives a chance to abused and neglected dogs and cats that, because of serious injuries, might otherwise not have one. In addition to passing along all profits last spring from my photo exhibit, “Hey,That’s My Dog,” I’ve done a couple of stints as Santa Claus, for “pet photos with Santa” fundraisers.
Saturday’s book signing seemed a good opportunity to raise a little more for the Franky Fund — without having to dress up in a funny suit, freeze, or swallow wisps of polyester beard hair.
Ace and I hope to see you there.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, ace, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, avery, baltimore, barcs, book, book signing, books, bookstore, cloned, clones, cloning, cruelty to animals, dog, dog cloning, dog inc., dogs, federal hill, franky fund, fundraiser, help, hey that's my dog, injured, john woestendiek, meet, mittens, neglect, non-fiction, ohmidog!, penguin, pet, pets, phoenix, pit bull, publishing, santa claus, sick, the book escape, the uncanny inside story of cloning man's best friend, treatment
Ace and I woke up yesterday morning in a Motel 6 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was the cheaper of the two in town, at $29, probably because it lacked a certain amenity — that being hot water. At least my room did.
We woke up today at the Hotel Monaco in Washington — after an evening that included a long hot bath, washing my hair with complimentary Aveda products, drying off with big fluffy towels, then cloaking myself in the complimentary leopard print robe.
Ace, because I wondered what he’d look like as a leopard, tried one too.
After seven months of living on a shoestring, and staying in dozens of Motel 6’s during our 22,000 mile journey, checking into the Hotel Monaco was culture shock. I like culture shock.
Upon arrival, Ace immediately ate an entire bowl of dog treats left by the front desk, then asked for more. One of the desk clerks proposed to him, and he received a gift bag to take the room. Hotel Monaco is very dog friendly, charges no fees, and has no size, weight or breed restrictions, which is as it should be.
The hotel’s awesomeness goes beyond that, though. It’s in what was once Washington D.C.’s General Post Office, built in 1839 by Robert Mills, the architect who designed the Washington Monument. We were able to enjoy our nicest lodgings yet courtesy of my publisher. At least it better be courtesy of my publisher. Otherwise, I am officially over my credit limit.
We’re here for an appearance on the Diane Rehm Show this morning to talk about my new book, “Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.” Ace will luxuriate in the hotel room while I do that, and tape another radio show in the afternoon.
Then we’ll head back home to Baltimore for a book signing party tonight, and another tomorrow.
The one tonight — and everyone is invited to both — will be from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Idle Hour, 201 E. Fort Avenue.
Tomorrow (Thursday) we’ll be signing books (and of course selling them, too, with help from The Book Escape) at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Avenue, also from 7 to 10 p.m.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, author, baltimore, book, book escape, captain larry's, cloning, diane rehm, dog friendly, dog inc., dog's country, doginc, dogs, dogscountry, hotel monaco, idle hour, john woestendiek, motel 6, ohmidog!, pets, road trip, signings, the book escape, travels with ace, washington
And one kitten.
Esperanza, as she’s been named (Spanish for “Hope”), was found on a central Alberta reserve by Criss Gerwing, who runs a small animal rescue group. The dog, a white shepherd mix, led Gerwing to her pups, and a kitten that, somehow, ended up nestled in with the rest of the litter.
“I cried because she was in such bad condition with her leg, but she was obviously nursing her puppies and this kitten,” Gerwing said.
The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Gerwing took all the animals to the Edmonton Humane Society, where veterinarians thought they’d have to amputate the mother dog’s bad leg. But a local veterinarian, Dr. Milton Ness, saying she was “a special soul” volunteered to perform surgery to save her leg.
“She is such a sweet, sweet dog,” Shawna Randolph at the humane society said. “She has such a wonderful personality.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alberta, canada, car, cat, criss gerwing, dog nursing cat, dr. milton ness, edmonton, edmonton humane society, esmerelda, injury, interspecies, kitten, leg, litter, mother, news, nursing, ohmidog!, puppies, pups, rescue, saved, shelter, struck, surgery
Newt Gingrich has been issued a lifetime VIP card by an upscale Dallas strip club, entitling him to free admission, preferred seating, free auto detailing, steak and lobster dinners and access to the the club’s “intimate members-only lounge.”
The owner of The Lodge, Dawn Rizos, thought it was the least she could do after Gingrich — who awarded, then snubbed her last year — got in touch with her again through American Solutions, his conservative “citizens action network,” sending her an unsolicited membership card and requesting a $2,000 donation.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
Last year, Rizos was informed that her gentlemen’s club — doing business as DCG, Inc. — had been selected to receive one of the American Solutions “Entrepeneur of the Year” awards for is efforts to stimulate the economy.
Gingrich invited Rizos to a private dinner in Washington to receive the award, provided she made the requested $5,000 donation, which she did.
The week before the event, though, American Solutions realized they had accidentally bestowed the award on a strip club, and rescinded the invitation. The organization refunded the $5,000 to Rizos, who donated it to an animal rescue organization — specifically to create a shelter for pit bulls, which was dubbed “Newt’s Nook.”
This week, apparently not having learned from the mistake, American Solutions, under the signature of Gingrich, sent Rizos an unsolicited membership card and again asked her for money.
The letter referred to Rizos as “a key member of our American Solutions family of supporters” and added, “Will you enclose a special year-end contribution of $1,000, or even as much as $2,000, to American Solutions, Ms. Rizos?”
The letter said the money would go toward American Solution’s mission — more important than ever since “the resounding rejection of Barack Obama’s leftist ideology and governing policies on Nov. 2.”
“Thanks to members like you, American Solutions played a critical role in helping create this year’s sea-change election,” the letter said. “But our most important role now lies ahead of us … helping our newly elected officials lead the country to a future of jobs and prosperity.”
The letter, which carried Gingrich’s return address, included a facsimile of the membership card he said was on its way. Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, is general chairman of American Solutions.
Rizos said she will hold off making a new donation to Gingrich until they can discuss last year’s disinvitation. Instead, she said, she is sending him, at no charge, a Lifetime VIP membership card to The Lodge – with all the perks and privileges – which the club says is worth $2,000.
“His letter included an American Solutions membership card with my name on it, so I’m very happy to reciprocate,” she said. “It’s just a temporary card right now, but I promise we will have the permanent one waiting for him at the door.”
(Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as suggesting Newt Gingrich has ever been to The Lodge. But Ace and I have.)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, american solutions, animals, card, conservative, contributions, dallas, dawn rizos, dogs, donations, elections, former, gentlemen's club, gingrich, government, ideology, leftist, lifetime vip, membership, news, newt, newt gingrich, newt's nook, obama, ohmidog!, pets, pit bulls, politicians, republican, rightist, speaker of the house, strip, strip club, strippers, texas, the lodge, travels with ace, vip
Pete, a dog whose likeness has appeared on ohmidog! since it inception — and a dog whose human played a big role in that inception — died over the weekend at the age of 10-plus.
Baltimore artist Gil Jawetz, who designed the ohmidog! website and helped get it off the ground, posted notice of Pete’s death this week on his website, buskerdog:
“On Sunday, November 28, 2010, after over 10 years of enriching our lives, of spoiling us with his endless love, and of making us laugh, smile, and cry, Pete passed away. He gave us more than he ever could have imagined. He was a muse and a best friend, a confidante and a rock in the storm. He will be profoundly missed for the rest of our lives.”
Pete entered the life of Gil Jawetz and Tracey Middlekauff when the couple found him in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, ten years ago.
“We don’t know how old he was when we found him,” Gil said. “We optimistically hoped he was one but he could have been anything.”
Tracey paid tribute to Pete on her food blog, Tasty Trix, yesterday.
“… Pete was my best friend. Any of you have ever loved a pet with your whole being know exactly what I mean. My relationship with him went deeper than silly words can express … He showed us what it means to be truly good and open and unselfconscious and funny and sweet and noble and artless. He gave us all of himself, fearlessly and completely. I am honored that I had the opportunity to know him for just over 10 years, a time that now seems maliciously brief.”
Pete had degenerative mylopathy and a nasal infection that turned out to be, likely, a tumor. After a seizure on Sunday, his vet suspected the tumor had spread to his brain.
“Rather than put him through more (and stronger) seizures, we took his calm exhaustion following the seizure as a sign that he was ready to go,” Gil wrote in an email. “He spent his last few hours on the floor of the examining room with his head in our laps, staring into our eyes.”
Pete’s image appeared in numerous galleries and art shows, and it has been on ohmidog! ever since Gil, a painter of dogs and other things, designed this website for me. (See the advertisements on the left side.)
“We are beside ourselves with grief, as you can imagine,” Gil wrote. “Our world as it has been for over a decade is utterly changed. The world is a less joyful place for not having Pete in it.”
(Photos: Courtesy of Gil Jawetz)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artist, baltimore, death, dog, dogs, gil jawetz, grief, in memory, loss, ohmidog!, pete, pets, tracey middlekauff, tribute
I’d pulled into a trailer court to turn around after my visit to the Howdy Manor when a voice called out: “Hey, bro!”
It being a neighborhood that’s even sketchier than it was 35 years ago, when I briefly lived in it, I was going to pull out when I heard it again. “Hey, bro!”
So I rolled to a stop there in the driveway next to the Bucking Bronc motel and trailer court, a couple of motels down from the Howdy Manor.
Four people — three men and a woman — were sitting in front of a trailer enjoying beverages that included beer and vodka. One of them approached my car, with something in his hand.
Thinking he might have mistaken me for a drug buyer, I was ready to beg off when he passed it through my open window.
I hesitated to open it, fearing some illicit narcotics might be hidden between its pages — that maybe children’s books were the drug dealer’s delivery method of choice in this particular neighborhood.
Seeing my skepticism, he grabbed it back and opened it himself, showing how, through the holes in the cardboard, you could touch the fake fur and fake skin and get an idea what each animal — tiger, lion, alligator, polar bear, chimpanzee — feels like.
“Tiger, tiger, running through the grass, your black-and-orange stripes go quickly past,” read the first page. “Tiger, tiger, I can hear you growl, as you get ready to go on the prowl.”
I wasn’t sure why I deserved the book, and told him he really should give to a child. He explained that he saw the ohmidog! magnet on my car door, and figured I liked animals. I should have it, he said.
I was waiting for him to quote a price, but he never did. Instead he asked about my dog. I got out and popped open the back door to let Ace out. He greeted the man with the book, then went over to see the rest of the gang.
He snuggled with Sherry, and knocked over her bottle of beer. She didn’t mind at all.
Then he met Johnny, who said he was a former Marine and Vietnam vet who now sells newspapers to get by.
There used to be two daily newspapers in town. He sells copies of the remaining one, the Arizona Daily Star, where 35 years ago, I used to work as a reporter. The newspaper costs 75 cents now, but Johnny sells them for less. My suspicion — and perhaps it’s just my cynicism again — is he pays for one paper, then pulls them all out of the vending machine and sells them on the street. Call him an entrepreneur.
Ten minutes later, he was still looking. When you carry your life in a knapsack, things can be hard to find.
I asked them if they lived in the trailer court, and they said they didn’t — that they just lived “around.”
After another five minutes, Johnny’s search paid off, and he pulled a slightly rusty harmonica out of his bag.
Johnny sat on a plastic chair, Sherry on a cinderblock. I took a seat on the guest rock — actually a rock atop a cinderblock, which functioned kind of like a rocking chair. Everyone’s jackets hung on a nearby tree.
Johnny brought the harmonica to his mouth and started playing a happy but unidentifiable song. Everyone tapped their feet and hummed along, and one member of the group started howling like a dog, leading Ace to look at him with tilted head.
I love the tilted head — a dog’s transparent, non-judgmental way of expressing puzzlement when he hears or sees something different. It seems to say — and here I am wrongly interpreting dog behavior by human standards — “I don’t get this … I will turn my head slightly to the side and focus even harder to understand.”
If only humans could do that. Instead, when we see something different, we far too often judge, frown and walk away. As adults, our childish curiosity gets crusted over with cynicism — to the point we can get fearful of something as innocuous as a “touch and feel” children’s book.
Johnny played for about five minutes, and the song never really came to a distinct ending; it just kind of tailed off, once Johnny switched from harmonica to the vodka bottle.
I thanked them for allowing us to hang out, wished them all the best and headed for my car — feeling I’d made some new fleeting friends, but still, being human, expecting to be asked for money. They had, after all provided me with a book and musical entertainment.
As I started the car, the man who’d given me the “touch and feel” book appeared at my window. But all he did was shake my hand one last time.
“Vaya con Dios,” he said.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, benson highway, book, books, children's books, cynicism, dogs, harmonica, homeless, howdy manor, johnny, marine, motel, ohmidog!, pets, road trip, skepticism, touch and feel, tourism, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, tucson, vaya con dios, veteran, vietnam, wild animals