Dog blogger and broadcaster Steve Friess says he’s not going to spend $5,000 to put his dog though chemotherapy that could extend his life a year or more — and he’s going to try not to feel bad about it.
Even when he says his final goodbye to Jack in what could be less than a month.
In late October, Friess noticed the dog he’d adopted nine years ago was getting lethargic, and that his weight had dropped from his usual 11 pounds to around eight.
A vet diagnosed that Jack had an aggressive form of lymphoma that was spreading quickly through his body.
Friess did some research, checking with friends, and vets, and friends who were vets: One of the latter urged him to “do the full chemo protocol ASAP!” It could send Jack into remission for nine months, or 12 months, or even longer.
Friess and his partner researched, debated and decided against chemotherapy — not because it would be all that rough on the dog physically (they handle it much better than we do). The main reason, he admits, is the money, which, he also admits, they just doesn’t have.
There will likely be those who second guess Freiss, or maybe try to lay a guilt trip on him: Take out a loan, hit up your friends, get a second (or third) job, launch an online fundraising campaign, let me be the first to donate.
We’ve become a nation of such overflowing compassion for dogs, with such promising new medical technologies, and such handy online fundraising tools at our beck and call, that it’s easy to lose sight that decisions about life and death — both ours and our dogs — are still our own, and that throwing in the towel, for financial reasons, or others, isn’t always a shameful choice.
We suspect Friess will receive some support for his decision, but will hear from many more questioning it. His decision to write about it, as he did in a post for Time.com, is brave, but also an open invitation to second-guessers. In any case, the decision on what’s best for Jack should be (and has been) made by the person who knows him best, and deserves to be respected
Friess, a freelance writer and co-host of The Petcast, said neither his advisers nor his vet seemed to be trying to make him feel guilty about his choice. But, as is the way with guilt trips, we often don’t need a tour guide. Feelings of shame can start as soon as we ask our vet the question Friess did:
“How much will it cost?”
For Friess, the estimate was a minimum of $5,000 — more than he and his partner had.
“(It) means we have about 30 days. The end will probably come in time for holidays … ”We’ve received a lot of advice, both solicited and unwelcome, through social media. Nobody comes right out to say it, but the disappointment some express at our decision shows that they question our love for Jack. In an era when people spend big on animal clothes, artisanal foods and medical intervention, and when medical science makes it possible to spend $5,000 so Jack dies slightly later than sooner, there is pressure to go as far as we can.”
There’s one more twist. Friess and his partner are trying to adopt a human baby, and they’re working on saving the $15,000 fee for that.
“If that $5,000 could cure the cancer and restore Jack’s full life expectancy, maybe we’d do it,” he wrote. “Maybe. It certainly would be a tougher choice. But to buy a year during which we’d be waiting for his lymph nodes to resume their swell? We could endure the end stages either now or later.”
(Photo of Jack by Steve Friess)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 17th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cancer, care, chemotherapy, choices, costs, death, decisions, dog, dogs, financial, guilt, health care, jack, life, lymphoma, medical, options, ownership, pet, pets, shame, steve friess, technology, treatment, veterinary
It’s always nice to read about a happy reunion between a family and their lost dog — except maybe when the dog being reunited is one you thought was your own.
The Miller family of Tyler, Texas, lost their dog Reese, a Maltese, seven years ago. They were visiting family outside of Dallas when the little white dog ran off.
Dinah Miller said she never stopped searching, and hoping Reese would return: ”Every time you hear a bark, you think, that sounds like Reese,” she said. “We drove. We searched. We looked over fences. We peeped everywhere we could without getting shot.”
Last weekend, the Millers learned Reese had been found on a road in Tacoma, Wash., more than 2,000 miles away. The family received a call after a check for a microchip revealed they were the dog’s registered owners.
Reese was flown to Houston, and Dinah Miller reunited with her Monday, KHOU reported.
How Reese had gotten to Tacoma, and where she’d spent the intervening seven years, were mysteries Miller thought would go unanswered — at least until another owner surfaced.
Kelli Davis of Spanaway, Wash., said her family adopted the dog at a shelter in Mesquite, Texas, near Dallas, six years ago, and named him Harley.
Davis and her family later moved from Texas to Washington.
She said Harley recently escaped after her 2-year-old daughter unlatched the front door.
“We were running down the street trying to find him and she was crying, ‘My Harley ran away,’” said Davis. “Every day we have gone out and printed fliers and walked around the neighborhood several times a day calling his name.”
“Harley is my daughter’s best friend. That’s her little buddy. They do everything together,” she said.
Davis said Harley was listed as an owner surrender by the Texas shelter he was adopted from. When she called that shelter to find out if they had ever checked the dog for a microchip she was told that information wasn’t available. The shelter said it purges its records after five years.
“I don’t know what to do. We just lost a part of our family,” said Davis.
Miller, meanwhile, says she sympathizes with the family in Washington, but she’s keeping Reese.
(Photos: At left, “Reese” reunites with Dinah Miller and her family; at right, “Harley” when she was a member of the Davis family)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animal shelter, animals, dog, dogs, family, harley, lost, maltese, mesquite, missing, ownership, pets, reese, rescue, returned, reunion, tacoma, texas, washington
Alanis Morissette says her housekeeper took her Chihuahua mix.
The housekeeper says the singer no longer wanted the dog and asked her and her fiancé — seen in this video explaining their side of the story — to take him.
Morissette and her husband, Mario Treadway, have filed a lawsuit, seeking $25,000 and the return of the dog.
Maria Garcia, the housekeeper, and her husband Patrick Murch, a dog walker, responded with this video, claiming Morissette told them the dog was “too annoying” to keep, and arguing the dog — given he was given to them and given they have cared for him for the past year — should be theirs to keep.
They say they asked Murch and Garcia to care for the dog while Morissette was on tour, for most of 2012.
Garcia house sat for the couple during the tour. When Morissette returned in early 2013, Garcia says she was asked to take the dog home with her because his behavior had become, in Morissette’s view, ”annoying and insufferable.”
Since March of 2013, Circus has lived exclusively with Murch and Garcia.
Garcia says Morissette was allergic to Circus, and that the dog was food aggressive and was relieving himself inside the singer’s house.
“Mario and Alanis were both frustrated with Circus’ behavior and said he was disruptive to their family, posed a risk to their other dogs and their child…”
In a blog called Help Circus Stay!, they add, “They gave him to us a year ago and he’s been with living with us since, happily, healthily and loved by his little family. Now they are trying to rip our family apart!”
Morissette and Treadway fired Garcia in January of this year, and filed the lawsuit seeking the return of Circus a couple of months later.
After the housekeeper and dog walker posted the video last month, Morissette and Treadway further complained that, by doing so, they have made the dog a target for dognappers, TMZ reports.
Treadway filed additional legal documents in which he said Circus “is not merely a piece of property. He is living and breathing.” Each day he is separated from the dog, he said, “[my] heart suffers more and more.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alanis, alanis morissette, animals, behavior, caretaker, chihuahua, circus, custody, dispute, dog, dogs, fight, given, housekeeper, issues, lawsuit, los angeles, maria garcia, mario treadway, mix, morissette, ownership, patrick murch, pets, singer, stolen
A pit bull mix, she served as an unofficial helper to her owner, a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. But when he moved to a new apartment, Layla, lacking documentation as a service dog, wasn’t allowed to live there.
Tim McGill began working to get Layla certified, and in the meantime asked some friends to look after his 3-year-old dog.
Now McGill has gotten the certification, but he can’t get his dog back.
McGill served in the Army in South Korea and Iraq and left the service with a brain injury, anxiety and flashbacks, KDKA in Pittsburgh reports.
A doctor recommended a dog, and — though Layla wasn’t a certified service dog — having her by his side helped, said McGill, a tattoo artist.
McGill says he moved to a Lawrenceville apartment to go to the Art Institute, but that, without any documentation that Layla was a service dog, she wasn’t permitted to live there.
So he asked a friend, Laura Stratemier, to watch over Layla until he could get her certified. In exchange, he offered to repay her with free tattoos for both her and her husband.
Stratemier admits she was only supposed to have Layla for two weeks, but said that as time went by — six months worth of it — she realized the dog was better off with her.
By the time the certification papers for the dog came through McGill, Stratemier was unwilling to give Layla back.
KDKA reports that local animal control officials are looking into the dispute.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apartment, certification, certified, custody, dispute, dog, dogs, Laura Stratemier, layla, mix, move, ownership, pets, pit bull, pittsburgh, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, service, tattoo artist, tattoos, therapy, tim mcgill
Traditionally frowned upon and grudgingly tolerated by Islamic leaders, having a dog would become a crime if the bill is passed by Parliament, punishable by fines and confiscation of dogs.
According to a Time magazine report, backers of the bill warn that dogs pose health hazards, and their increasing popularity as pets is “a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West.”
Those caught walking and keeping ”impure and dangerous animals” would have their dogs confiscated and face fines of $100 to $500.
What would become of confiscated dogs isn’t spelled out.
Dog ownership has become more popular in Iran with the rise of an urban middle class, and Time reports that “these days, lap dogs rival designer sunglasses as the upper-middle-class Iranian’s accessory of choice.”
A senior Iranian cleric last year decreed dogs are “unclean” and issued a fatwa ordering they not be kept as pets.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill, confiscate, confiscation, criminalize, dangerous, dirty, dog, dog ownership, dogs, fatwa, fines, illegal, impure, iran, islam, law, ownership, parliament, pet ownership, pets, tolerance, western culture
Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) is one of five shelters that will take part in a pilot program aimed at reducing euthanasia of pit bulls, encouraging responsible ownership and improving the perception of the breed.
A $240,000 grant from PetSmart Charities will fund the programs, coordinated by Best Friends Animal Society.
The grant was announced last week in Las Vegas at Best Friends’ annual No More Homeless Pets Conference.
The “Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project” will create partnerships between Best Friends and shelters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., Carlsbad, Calif. and Tampa, Fla.
All will be based on the partnership between Best Friends and Salt Lake County Animal Services that began in July 2009. It resulted in a 10 percent drop in euthanasia of pit bull-type dogs in its first year, and led to twice as many being adopted as the previous year.
The Salt Lake program, which will serve as a model for the new pilot projects, offers community education and free or low-cost training and spaying and neutering — all aimed at keeping pets in the family and reduce the numbers being abandoned.
The program uses volunteers, called the “Pit Crew,” to showcases dogs for adoption through outreach events, photos and descriptions online and also fosters dogs whose time is up in the shelter. There also is emphasis on creating frequent media opportunities to portray pit bull-type dogs in a positive light–to counter the image of the breed often presented in the news.
Funds provided by PetSmart Charities and additional funds from Best Friends will be used to pay for a shelter coordinator in each city, support marketing and public relations in those markets, and pay for a Best Friends program manager to oversee implementation and reporting in the five shelters.
“As with any dog that is spayed or neutered, properly trained, socialized and treated with love and kindness, pit bull-type dogs can be well adjusted, happily balanced, and affectionate members of the family,” says Jamie Healy, Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls manager. “It’s the person on the other end of the leash who decides how their dog interacts with others and who sometimes put these dogs at the wrong side of the law.”
Best Friends Animal Society works to help pit bulls through its national campaign, Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog, which helps dogs who are battling everything from a sensationalized reputation to legislation designed to bring about their extinction.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, best friends, carlsbad, conference, euthanasia, grant, las vegas, neuter, no more homeless pets, ownership, partnerships, perception, petsmart, pit bulls, pit crew, pitbull, program, rancho cucamonga, reputation, salt lake county, shelter partners for pit bulls project, spay, surrender, tampa, train, washington
Dogs are “unclean” and should not be kept as pets, a senior Iranian cleric has decreed.
Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi issued the fatwa, or religious ruling, to send a message that the trend toward “western-style” pet ownership must stop, Reuters reported.
Dogs are considered “unclean” under Islam and have traditionally not been kept as pets — although there are signs that is changing.
“Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West,” the cleric was quoted as saying in Javan daily. “There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children.”
Guard dogs and sheep dogs are considered acceptable under Islamic law but Iranians who carry dogs in their cars or take them to public parks can be stopped by police and fined.
The Koran does not explicitly prohibit contact with dogs, Shirazi said, but Islamic tradition showed it to be so. “We have lots of narrations in Islam that say dogs are unclean.”
Posted by John Woestendiek June 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cleric, decree, dogs, fatwa, grand ayatollah, iran, iranian, iranians, islam, islamic, naser makarem shirazi, news, ownership, pet, pets, religion, trend, unclean, west, western