The old dachshund abandoned with a note at a Los Angeles County shelter, then saved from euthanasia by a rescue group, then offered back to the “poor, sick and elderly” owners who wrote the note, won’t be reuniting with them after all.
Upon further reflection, Toby Wisneski, founder of Leave No Paws Behind, decided life with his original owners — two traveling ministers – might not be best for the 13-year-old dachshund, and apparently Otto’s owners have said they’re good with that decision.
The owners, initially anonymous, have now been identified as Chris Gonzales and his wife, Christine. That’s Rev. Chris in the video above, seemingly speaking in tongues at times, and not appearing too sick, poor or elderly. (Public access to the video was removed after this post appeared.)
The video, and some other interesting information, was unearthed by Mary Cummins, an animal advocate and wildlife rehabilitator who writes a blog in Los Angeles.
Cummins reported Sunday that Wisneski had decided that, in the dog’s best interest, “he will be remaining right here in our care and his humans agree.”
“We are both seniors, sick with no money. We cannot pay for vet bills, or to put him to sleep. He has never been away from us in all those years, he cannot function without us, please put him to sleep.”
Before euthanizing the dog, the shelter called a rescue group, Leave No Paws Behind, which agreed to take him in. They named him Harley, got him treatment for a skin condition and pronounced him healthy enough to be adopted.
Wisneski, the group’s founder, also held out hope, at the time, that she might find the anonymous owners and return the dog to them, along with an offer to pay for all his medical care and food.
When the couple learned of the offer, and about donations coming in to help them, they came forward and agreed to reclaim their dog, whose real name is Otto, when they returned to town at the end of the month.
In an interview with KTLA, Chris Gonzales — though he wasn’t identified by name – said he and his wife were out of town and planned to return to California and pick up the dog once they raised enough money to buy new tires for their car.
What seemed, up to then, a heartwarming story, was slowly getting squirrely — turning into the kind it’s hard to keep the faith in.
Cummins, who had publicized the dog’s story on her blog in an attempt to help reunite him with his owners, did some investigating, and came away less than impressed with the couple.
“They are not senior citizens. They are not disabled. They are merely obese. They are not poor. They are traveling ministers who give little talks then beg for money. They are not a legal church, corporation or non-profit. They make $60,000/year,” she wrote.
“He’s one of those faith healers that puts his hands on people and then everyone shakes like someone having a seizure,” she added. “He likes to spit out mumbo jumbo made up words while doing so. He invites people to meetings at Sizzler or the Old Country Buffet restaurants. People pay for their food, listen to him talk then he asks for money. He calls it a ‘love offering.’”
Cummins now feels, in case it’s not obvious, that returning Otto to his owners would be a mistake.
While that means a detour before Otto finds his happy ending, we think that’s the right choice, too — based on what we’ve heard about his owners and the fact that they abandoned him in the first place.
Despite all that faith they travel the country professing, the couple apparently didn’t have too much in their dog.
Wisneski has said all of Otto’s medical problems turned out to be minor and treatable, and that he’s in good health now.
Here’s hoping Otto finds the home he deserves.
And that the reverends find some tires.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, baldwin park animal shelter, california, chris gonzales, christine gonzales, church, dachshund, dog, dogs, dumped, faith, gonzales, harley, leave no paws behind, los angeles, ministers, note, old, otto, owners, pets, religion, rescues, reunion, shelter, shelters, sick, traveling, traveling ministers
Tom Cohen has taken some dogs with funny faces and made them funnier.
In “Dogs with Old Man Faces,” released earlier this month, Cohen has gathered photos of elderly dogs and combined them with tag lines reflecting not so much the wisdom that comes with being an old human, but the crankiness, irascibility, aches and fears – our increasing tendency, as we age, to seek out simple pleasures and our decreasing willingness to put up with annoyances.
“Muttley is worried about the future of Medicare,” reads one, next to a photo (at top of this post) of a wrinkled and anxious-looking pug.
“Duster enjoys a good knish,” reads another, accompanied by photo of a pooch whose white eyebrows hang over his eyes.
Each black and white image of an old dog is accompanied by a caption: ”Roscoe was one of the original Hells Angels,” reads the one accompanying the shaggy and graying dog shown above.
We learn that “Pedro likes Old Spice and Sinatra,” “Jack enjoys a hot cup of Sanka,” and “Chet is still upset they canceled Matlock.” Geppeto is horrified at how much things cost. Sumo wants those kids off his lawn. Sherman smoked too much pot in the 60′s. Riley can’t wait for tonight’s early bird special. And Pepper has been advised to cut down on salt.
“Dogs with Old Man Faces: Portraits of Crotchety Canines” (published by Running Press, $13.95) isn’t the consumate old dog book – Old Dogs by Gene Weingarten holds that honor, in our view — but it is a fun and lighthearted spin that incorporates photos of salty old dogs with stereotypical (but often true) phrases that you might hear uttered by a senior citizen of the human species.
Cohen, a former stand-up comedian, is a television writer and producer who has won three Emmy Awards and lives in Maryland with his own old dog. He has worked on shows for MTV, Nickelodeon, NBC, History Channel, ABC Family, and most recently, Discovery Channel, serving as executive producer, director, and head writer of the series ”Cash Cab.”
Based on a photo we found of him, he doesn’t quite have an old man face yet, but appears to be working on it.
(Photos: From “Dogs with Old Man Faces.” Top photo (Muttley) by Richard Dudley; photo of Roscoe by Tom Cohen)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aging, animals, behavior, book, books on dogs, canines, comedian, crotchety, dog books, dogs, dogs with old man faces, elderly, faces, humans, old, old dogs, old man faces, pets, photos, producer, tom cohen, writer
With exactly what, I don’t know. But in the past four days, he has taken to yelping when he gets up from a long nap or makes a sudden move.
At the dog park this week, he has plodded along lethargically, showing little interest in other dogs — even when he ran into this little white fellow who shares his name. How’s that for a pair of Aces?
I have poked and prodded every inch of his oversized body, but I’m unable to pinpoint what particular spot might be hurting him.
So today, we’re off to the vet.
My first thought was the hips. That’s based partly on the simple fact that he’s very big. Then, too, some of you might recall, when I took Ace to an animal communicator three months ago, she told me he was having some mild discomfort in that area. Add in the 10 months we’ve been traveling, and all the hopping up into and down from the back of my jeep he’s been doing, and the hips seem as good a guess as any.
I knew the day would come when the jumping in and out of the car would need to cease, and given his size, maybe that practice should never have started. Chances are — at age 6 — that day is here, earlier than I expected, and not without some accompanying guilt on my part.
Then again, it might not be his hips at all. Although he’s hesitating to jump into the car, he’s not yelping when he does so — only when makes a sudden movement, usually after laying still.
I’ve pushed on his paws, rubbed the lengths of his legs, looked into his ears and down his throat, poked his belly and prodded his hips. None of that seemed to bother him. He didn’t yelp. He didn’t do that thing he does where his eyes get big, which signifies, to me, anyway, rising alarm on his part. That would have told me I was getting close.
The only time he yelped was when I lowered his head, making me think maybe the pain is in his neck, or spine-related. A half hour massage followed, which, though it might not have helped at all, he seemed to appreciate.
Twice, I’ve come home to hear him howling — not howls of pain, I don’t think, but howls of loneliness. Twice I’ve left the video camera on, to try and capture their onset, but he didn’t howl those times. And the times he did, he immediately cheered up and ran around when I walked through the door.
I’m pretty sure Ace is less than in love with our new basement quarters, though he likes the upstairs and yard just fine. He has shown a distinct preference for being outside, content to lay at top of stairs, keeping an eye on the kitchen window of the mansion owner, who gives him a daily biscuit.
Something about the basement bothers him. And friends I’ve talked about it with have different theories. Maybe he was mistreated in a basement in his puppyhood. Maybe the old mansion we’re living under is haunted. Maybe, with a firehouse around the corner, the sirens are bothering him, though they never have before — and we lived in Baltimore, where sirens are background music. Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight, or he’s getting arthritic and the cold and dampness of the cellar aggravate it.
He’s moving slowly, lethargically (except when the treats come out), and rather than circling twice before laying down, he’s circling about eight times.
Yesterday, working with my theory that it might be his neck, I took a treat and moved it around in front of him — from side to side, then up and down. There were no yelps. Either it caused no pain, or the thought of getting food superceded it.
So, with fingers crossed, we’re headed to the nearest veterinarian, with hopes that whatever is bothering him is something minor, something that will pass or doesn’t cost too much to fix, something unrelated to all the traveling I’ve put him through — 21,000 miles of it over the past ten months, something that is neither chronic nor old-age related.
Because he’s too young to be old.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aches, aging, america, animals, back, basement, depression, diagnose, discomfort, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, emotional, health, howling, howls, mansion, neck, north carolina, old, pain, pets, physical, road trip, sick, spine, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, veterinarian, veterinary, vets, yelping, yelps
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
The burglars who hit Joey Graham’s home in Montgomery, Alabama can keep the digital camera.
But he wants his dog back.
Last week burglars ransacked his home, for the second time in six months, and took a digital camera and his 14-year-old schnauzer, Avery, who suffers from cataracts, TV station WSFA reported.
“This is the cruelest crime that I could ever imagine. They could’ve had anything in this house, but to take a person’s dog …He’s very old. He’s only of value to me,” said Graham, who has had the dog since college.
Graham is posting signs and advertisements to get Avery back home, and he’s offering a $500 reward for the dog’s safe return. “I’m willing to pay it. Not ask any questions. I just want the dog back.”
If Avery doesn’t return, he added, “There’s not going to be a Christmas here. Not this year.”
Two women who saw the TV news report called Graham Monday and said they had seen a dog matching Avery’s description in the neighborhood across the street from the Montgomery Regional Airport.
Graham was headed to the neighborhood when the women called him a second time to report that they had successfully enticed the dog to come to them and that they were holding him, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
Graham got his dog back, and insisted on giving the women the $500, which he referred to as a “Christmas present from Avery.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 14, alabama, avery, burglars, burglary, christmas, crime, digital camera, dog, joey graham, montgomery, old, return, reward, stolen
Otto — a nearly 21-year-old dachshund mix from across the pond — has been proclaimed the world’s oldest dog by the Guinness Book of World Records.
To be precise — for all those who will be coming out of the woodwork saying their dogs are older — Otto is 20 years and eight months, the UK’s Daily Mail reports.
Owners Lynn and Peter Jones, from Shrewsbury, entered him for the title with Guinness World Records after learning of the death last month of the previous title holder, a 21-year-old dachshund in New York named Chanel.
Otto’s claim to the record was approved this week. Mrs. Jones, 53, has owned Otto since he was six weeks old.
They attribute his longevity to “plenty of love, plenty of good food” and regular veterinary check-ups.
Otto has arthritis, and doesn’t appreciate walks like he used to. “He gets about ten yards down the road then looks back over his shoulder as if to say ‘I want to go home,’” Mrs. Jones said. “But he’s still playful. He can still jump all over people when they come round.”
The oldest dog on record was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, who lived to 29 years and five months before having to be put down in 1939.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: age, bluey, book, chanel, dachshund, dog, dogs, guinness, life span, longevity, lynn jones, mix, old, oldest, otto, peter jones, records, shrewsbury, world, world's oldest dog
Although it’s difficult to find any studies that back it up, dogs seem to be living longer — a result of improved veterinary technology, healthier diets and, we’d like to think, pet owners taking their reponsibility more seriously.
Veterinarians say it’s no longer unusual for some dogs and cats to reach 15 years or more, according to a recent MSNBC report, and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting that.
The MSNBC report, for instance, mentions Chanel, the wire-haired dachshund who when she died last month at the age of 21, was heralded as the world’s oldest dog, according to Guinness World Records. It also mentions Max, a terrier mix whose owner thinks he deserves some heralding as well. He is 26 and going strong.
While there don’t seem to be statistics to support it, it seems dogs, like people, are seeing their life expectancy stretch to new lengths.
“Just as the average life expectancy for people keeps reaching closer to the century mark, we’ll continue to see the same parallels in our pet population,” says Martha Smith, director of veterinary services at Boston’s Animal Rescue League.
Melanie Otte, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine at Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa, believes someday it will not be uncommon to see dogs routinely reaching 19 years of age, according to an article in South Florida’s News-Press.
That strong bond between an owner and their pet is one reason why dogs are living longer, some experts say.
My guess is, in some cases, it’s one reason people are living longer, too.
(Photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: age, animals, bond, diet, dog, dogs, health, humans, life expectancy, life span, medical, nutrition, old, pets, technology, veterinary care
So here’s a look at some of the ugly also-rans from the annual contest, part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California.
OPIE — One of five Chinese Cresteds in this year’s competition, Opie, 10, was found by a good samaritan and taken to an emergency veterinary clinic for help. He had a large ulcerated mass on his side that the rescue center that later took him in had removed. It was cancer. The skin on his body was covered with sores, abrasions and dried blood. Half of his lower jaw was missing. He has only one tooth. The rescue center named him Ooglee, but his new owner thinking “he should have a nice little boy’s name,” changed it to Opie. “We are so happy that we adopted this little dog. He is the kindest, sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever known,” wrote his owner, who prepares Opie’s meals in a food processor. “He entered this contest and is going to Petaluma to show everyone that old dogs and dogs with disabilites can be great pets!”
MOJO — The only Shar-Pei in this year’s ugly dog contest, Mojo has a face only a mother could love, says her mother, “and I absolutely adore her.”
“Despite her appearance, she is the sweetest, most lovable dog you could wish for. She always causes a stir wherever we go,” her owner added.
” We do everything together, she is the love of my life and makes me look good.”
RASCAL — Rascal, the 2002 World’s Ugliest Dog winner, is owned by actor, Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, Ca. Naturally hairless and weighing seven pounds, he sports what his owner describes as “Einstein hair, crooked face and a tongue that hangs out due to being born without many teeth.” Rascal has had roles in a few horror films, coming out soon, and has a cartoon strip and documentary soon to debut, both named “The Ugliest Dog.” Rascal uses his ugly for good, his owner said, and will soon be coming out with a “patented trademark hot dog leash,” proceeds from the sale of which will go towards animal charities.
ARF –Arf, 12, was rescued as a puppy from a pound where he was on death row. Through his life, he has faced many battles, his owner says — dermatological problems, a disfigured front paw and eventually the loss of his back leg.
“Although his hair is sparse, and he puzzles people he meets, this three-legged dog continues to walk in pride with a sparkle in his eyes and a wag in his tail.”
To see all of the entrants and learn more about the contest, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arf, california, chinese crested, contest, dog, dogs, fair, handicapped, loser, marin, mojo, ohmidog!, old, opie, pabst, petaluma, rascal, rescue, shar-pei, sharpei, shelter, sick, sonoma, title, ugliest, ugly, winner, world's ugliest dog
Chanel, a 21-year-old dachshund mix who has been certified by Guinness World Records as the oldest dog in the world, appeared on the Today Show yesterday, celebrating her birthday with her owner, Denice Shaughnessy.
Wearing a pink sweater and red goggles (because of cataracts), Chanel received her official Guinness certificate on the show.
Denice’s husband, Karl Shaughnessy, contacted Guinness after noticing it had no category for world’s oldest living dog. He sent in Chanel’s birth certificate showing her birth date: May 6, 1988. In dog years, her veterinarian says, Chanel is 120. She’ll be listed in the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records, scheduled for publication this October.
The oldest dog ever whose age could be verified was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog that died at the age of 29 years, 5 months in 1939.
Chanel wears a sweater or T-shirt when she goes out, because she tends to get chilled easily. She also has a benign tumor on one hind leg, and wears booties to protect the limb. She is prone to getting up in the middle of the night for a drink, and sometimes has trouble relocating her bed.
Denice Shaughnessy was a single mother in the U.S. Army 21 years ago when she went to a shelter in Virginia looking for a dog for her daughter. They paid a $25 adoption fee and took Chanel home.
A few months later, Shaughnessy’s house burned down. That was followed by more hard times in which mother, daughter and dog subsisted on macaroni and cheese. Denice later married Karl Shaughnessy and settled on Long Island, where she got a job as a school secretary.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 21, 29, age, bluey, book, cattle dog, certificate, chanel, dachsund, denice shaughnessy, dog years, earth, guinness world records, human years, nbc, old, oldest, oldest dog, planet, record, today show, world, years
When Jane Guardascione, a 94-year-old Queens grandmother, lost her pet collie and constant companion, Angel, her granddaughter got on the phone, placing several calls to Animal Control and Care to see if the dog turned up in the city’s shelter system.
Angel wasn’t there, the agency repeatedly told her Friday.
On Saturday, though, she was told the 13-year-old dog had been euthanized at Animal Control and Care’s Manhattan shelter — the same day she arrived.
Shelter officials said Angel had collapsed at the shelter, had no identification and fit no description of any dogs reported lost. Because of her age and deteriorating condition, a veterinarian at the facility decided to euthanize Angel in an effort to prevent any additional suffering, the New York Daily News reports.
In a statement, the agency expressed ”deepest sympathies” to the family. “It is our goal to avoid euthanasia unless we deem it absolutely necessary,” the statement read.
Family members say, while Angel suffered from arthritis, she was able to get around just fine — and was probably frozen with fear in the shelter. Jane’s daughter, Carole Miller, a collie breeder, gave her mother the dog when Angel was just over a year old. The dog was her constant companion, she said.
AC&C, which operates city shelters under a contract with the Health Department, is required to hold lost and stray animals for at least 72 hours before putting them up for adoption or euthanizing them. Exceptions are made if an animal is critically injured or gravely ill.
Outraged animal rescue groups said such mistakes are not unusual at AC&C and charged the nonprofit organization is plagued by mismanagement. In January, the Daily News reported that one rescue group sued the city because it was breaking its own law by not providing animal shelters in all five boroughs. The suit charged that facilities are overcrowded and disease-ridden and that animals are being euthanized in “unconscionable numbers” because there is no space.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ac&c, angel, animal control and car, animal shelter, arthritis, carole miller, collie, collie breeder, collies, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, euthanized, grandmother, health department, jane guardascione, lost, manhattan, mismanagement, mistake, new york, old, overcrowded, pets, queens, rescue, shelter