A pit bull separated from his family when they evacuated during the summer floods in Texas miraculously surfaced in northern California in September.
And as of yesterday, Thor was back home — thanks to help from strangers who heard about his story.
Eddie Hurtado and his family evacuated their home in San Marcos during the floods in late May, planning to return for their three dogs.
Two were found shortly after they returned, but not Thor.
Somehow, he ended up more than 2,000 miles away.
A police officer picked Thor up in Crescent City after seeing him jump from the back of a pickup truck. The officer brought the dog to the local animal shelter, where he was checked for a microchip.
That confirmed the dog was Thor, but Hurtado didn’t have the money to bring him home.
“We’re having to replace all the furniture and all the appliances and right now we don’t have any extra cash to try to get him down here,” he said.
After Thor’s story was aired on KEYE in Austin, and shared on social media, people stepped forward to help cover the cost.
“We ran the story on Thor at 6 p.m. and by 10 p.m. we had a shipper offering to ship the dog at a third of what Eddie had been quoted and we had viewers lined up to cover the cost. So Thor is coming home,” said Fred Cantú, a KEYE reporter.
“Most police versus pitbull encounters don’t have a happy ending,” he added. “Nice to be able to share this one.”
More offers of help came from California after the The Daily Triplicate published a story about Thor — enough help to get Thor a ride back home.
Hurtado had said he was hoping that would happen before Christmas. “Ever since my grandson found out that he was out there, he says that’s what he wants for Christmas. He wants to get his baby back.”
Thor left Crescent City Saturday, aboard a truck driven by Bruce Heinichen, a driver for Orange County Transport who is hauling a boat from Portland to Laredo, the Triplicate reported.
By Monday afternoon, the truck carrying Thor had crossed into Texas, the Los Angeles Times reported. By Wednesday, Thor was back with the Hurtados.
Hurtado said the transportation cost is being covered by two Austin benefactors, who will split the $665 bill.
The Hurtados, while still recovering from the May floods, are now dealing with a new round of flooding near the Blanco River.
“We probably need to get into a new house pretty soon,” said Hurtado. “But this time we’re keeping the dogs with us if we ever have to leave the place.”
(Photo: Del Norte County Animal Control Director Justin Riggs takes Thor for a walk; by Bryant Anderson / Del Norte Triplicate)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 5th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, crescent city, del norte county, dogs, evacuation, flooding, floods, home, microchip, miles, pets, pit bull, pitbull, san marcos, texas, thor, trip, truck
Concerned and frightened residents of an Atlanta suburb have created a memorial to a pit bull found hanged from a bridge nearly two months ago.
They’ve covered the guardrail on the overpass with stuffed animals and reward signs in hopes the dog’s killer will be brought to justice.
Volunteers met at the bridge along Kelly Lake Road Saturday and attached hundreds of stuffed animals — mostly dogs — to the handrails.
Police in DeKalb County continue to investigate the case, and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to a suspect, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.
A woman walking her 2-year-old son to day care found the dog hanging by a chain from the bridge on May 20.
Many residents believe the killer lives in their neighborhood.
“You don’t have to be a dog lover or even have pets to understand what a vicious crime this was committed right here across the street from where people live, right next door,” explained Johanna Falber, who organized the event.
Falber said the group has been posting reward signs on the bridge, but someone keeps removing them.
“It’s about a vicious killer that’s out here somewhere, that keeps ripping down our signs so they’re not caught,” Falbert said. “We want attention. We want this to stop. We want that dog killer found.”
Police described the dog as a brown and white, female pit bull.
Anyone with information about the dog or the crime can call the police tip line at 404-294-2645.
A dog in Montana took a bullet intended for his owner — a bartender in Hamilton who had apparently offended a customer earlier in the night.
Joe Lewis, 29, who cuts wood and serves drinks at the Rainbow Bar for a living, returned home from work early Saturday and carried his pit bull, Jackson, outside. The dog had recently had a toe removed and was wearing a cast.
While he was holding the dog four shots rang out.
The first hit the dog in the head. The second hit Lewis in the ribs and exited his back. He was treated at a hospital and released. His pit bull died. Lewis’ brother, Mike, said the first bullet would likely have struck Lewis in the head had he not been carrying the dog.
According to The Missoulian, Lewis had an altercation with a customer earlier in the evening. The customer ordered a “red beer” and became angry because it contained Clamato juice (rather than the more traditional tomato juice), which he said was contrary to his religion, Judaism.
According to court records, the customer, who is also a neighbor of Lewis, told another neighbor that he was going to retaliate and kill Lewis.
Monte Hanson, 59, has been charged with attempted deliberate homicide and animal cruelty,
Lewis’ family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses and buy another dog. By yesterday it had raised $3,200.
“Jackson was a purebred red-nose pit,” Mike Lewis said. “Those dogs are not easy to come by.”
(Photos courtesy of Lewis family)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bartender, customer, dog, dogs, hamilton, joe lewis, killed, montana, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rainbow bar, red beer, shooting, shot
Before Lassie, before Rin Tin Tin, even before broadcast television itself, there was Petey — the canine character in the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies who sported a distinctive dark circle around his right (or was it left?) eye.
Just as plenty of myths have floated up and been deflated around the kid actors who played roles in the series — like Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat — the historical record is so fuzzy when it comes to Petey that trying to separate the facts from the fictions can leave one … well, stymied.
I knew the dog who played Petey was a pit bull (though some dispute that). I assumed the ring around his eye was entirely fake (though some dispute that, too). I’d heard he, in real life, was murdered and that he was buried in a Los Angeles pet cemetery (though not everybody agrees on the specifics of those events, either).
When it comes to the canine star of the Our Gang/ Little Rascals comedies, there’s not too much one can say definitively — partly because there was more than one Petey, partly because 80-plus years have passed, and partly because it all happened in Hollywood, a land where truth and myth often spill across their borders and into each other.
But I’m relatively sure this karma-filled episode — in which Petey is put into a gas chamber by a cranky dog warden who goes on to get what he deserved — was, ironically, Petey’s last. (Or at least the second Petey’s last.)
Entitled “The Pooch, it came out in 1932 — like all the “Our Gang” comedies, in movie theaters. Not until 1955 were they syndicated to appear on television as “The Little Rascals.”
The episode stars the second Petey, son of the first Petey, both of whom were owned by trainer Harry Lucenay.
Pal had appeared earlier in the role of Tige in the Buster Brown comedies.
It was for that role that, with dye, a partial dark circle around his eye was turned into a permanent full circle.
After signing a contract with Hal Roach Studios, Pal reportedly became the second highest paid actor of the “Our Gang” series.
Pal’s last appearance was in the 1930 episode, “A Tough Winter.”
Legend has it that Pal, in real life, died after eating meat tainted with poison, or glass. Some reports say the culprit was someone with a grudge against Lucenay.
Then again, legend also has it that Pal was buried with the actor who played Alfalfa, which — given the decades that passed between their deaths — is likely not true at all.
After the death of Pal, who appeared mostly in the “Our Gang” silent films, Lucenay turned to one of Pal’s descendants, a pup with slightly different coloring.
The second Petey, named Lucenay’s Pete, was just six months old when he took over the role. He lacked Petey One’s distinctive eye circle, so one was supplied by a make-up artist named Max Factor, according to Wikipedia.
Likely unaware that it would lead to confusion, the trainer had the second Petey’s circle applied around his left eye, while the first Petey’s encircled his right eye.
Eight decades later, the migrating eye circle remains one of the most hotly debated pieces of Little Rascals trivia.
As a rule, if you see a Petey with a circle around his right eye, it’s the first Petey; if you see a Petey with the circle around his left eye, it’s Petey two.
All that gets further complicated, though, by the fact that many of the images one can find of Petey are the result of reversed negatives, and even more complicated by the fact that, all along, multiple dogs, with slightly different markings, were used in the filming of the series.
Apparently, continuity was not too much of a concern among directors back then.
In any case, the second Petey served from 1930 to 1932, when Lucenay was fired.
There were multiple subsequent dogs — all from different bloodlines — who played the role of Petey between 1932 and 1939, when the final Our Gang episode was released in theaters.
The second Petey retired with Lucenay to Atlantic City and would die at age 18.
Like so much else about them, the second Petey’s final resting place, as with the first Petey’s, is disputed, according to Roadside America.
While Petey was a pit bull, an American bulldog was used in the 1994 “Little Rascals” movie.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 4th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alfalfa, animals, buckwheat, circle, dog, dog warden, dogs, dye, entertainment, eye, gas chamber, harry lucenay, little rascals, our gang, pal, pete, petey, pets, pit bull, pitbull, rumors, spanky, stymie, the pooch, trainer, trivia, urban legends
A dog belonging to a misunderstood breed has helped a boy with a misunderstood disorder show a previously unseen side of himself, and his mother couldn’t be happier.
Amanda Granados says her son Joey was diagnosed at age 7 with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that contributed to his getting suspended from school six times — all while in kindergarten.
Joey couldn’t sit still. He sometimes struck himself. And he hated being touched by others. His mother says he had never let her hug and kiss him.
While he was a whiz at math and had a near photographic memory, Joey always had difficulty making friends.
“He has a hard time reading social cues or facial expressions, and there’s awkwardness around making friends, said Granados, a 36-year-old single mother of three boys.
Then, a few months ago, the family adopted a pit bull named Roxy from a Los Angeles shelter — and Joey suddenly had the kind of friend you don’t have to make.
As Joey, now 14, explains it, “I didn’t have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I’ve been able to make friends ever since. At home, I’ve been able to hold my mom’s hand, kiss her, hug her and do a lot of things that I hadn’t been able to do growing up. She’s opened up my heart.”
“I get emotional thinking about it,” his mother said. “For all those years, he wouldn’t hold my hand, he wouldn’t hug me — it was all part of the autism — but this dog has taught him how to give and show affection. He holds my hand now. He hugs me. The first time I got a kiss on the cheek was when Roxy came home.”
A photo on the Internet led Joey to his new best friend. Joey had been asking his mom for a dog, and she saw that the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles was planning an event where a shelter dog could be adopted for $10.
“We were looking through pictures online, and Roxy’s picture made us fall in love with her,” Granados told Today.com.
“As soon as Roxy met Joey, she totally ignored me and his mother,” said adoptions specialist Denise Landaverde. (That’s her, Roxy and Joey in the photo to the left.) “Amanda was happily surprised to see Roxy go straight to Joey and watch them play together. It just sealed the deal for her.”
Granados said she initially had some qualms due to the bad things she has heard about pit bulls, but seeing her son and Roxy together made those concerns disappear.
“She is literally his best friend,” Granados said. “He can be in the foulest mood, and she comes along and it’s like a light. She doesn’t care about his differences — there’s no judgment with her — she just loves him.”
Joey agreed. “If I’ve been having a bad day, Roxy can hear a tone in my voice,” he said. “She runs up to me to give me a giant hug and lick me to death and do almost anything she can to make me happy.”
Studies have shown that dogs can give children with autism much-needed companionship and help them learn compassion, responsibility and even social skills, such as making eye contact.
What has happened between Joey and Roxy speaks louder than any of those studies, though — or at least it does to Amanda Granados.
Roxy, she agrees, seems to have opened her son’s heart, and she thinks part of it may be because of what they have in common.
“Kids with autism are looked at differently and misunderstood, and so are pit bulls,” Granados said. “I think that’s why they’ve bonded.”
(Top photo courtesy of Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center; photo of Joey and Roxy courtesy of Amanda Granados)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, amanda granados, animals, aspergers, autism, best friends, Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center, dog, dogs, joey granados, los angeles, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, roxy, shelter
She was a truck stop dog — or at least that’s where she seemed to spend most of her time.
Having no real home, and no official owner, she could most often be found at a truck stop in Moses Lake, Wash., taking advantage of the kindness of truckers and others who would pat her on the head and toss some food her way.
Sometime in February, she appeared to have met the fate of many a wandering stray. She was hit by a car on the highway and injured so severely that someone thought it best to put her out of her misery.
She was struck on the head with a hammer and left in a ditch.
A few days later the white pit bull mix — dirty, limping and emaciated — showed up at a farm outside of town, with her tail wagging.
A farmhand took her to Moses Lake Veterinary Hospital, and the owner-less dog’s plight ended up being posted on Facebook.
When Sara Mellado, a Mose Lake resident, read the post, she offered to provide the dog a temporary home. Mellado, whose German shepherd had died just two weeks earlier, named the dog Theia.
“Considering everything that she’s been through, she’s incredibly gentle and loving,” Mellado said. “She’s a true miracle dog, and she deserves a good life.”
Since then, Mellado has made several trips to Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman, where Theia has been treated for leg injuries, a dislocated jaw, and multiple fractures in her nasal bones that are believed to be a result of the hammer blows.
“When I brought her home, she hardly slept because breathing was such a chore,” said Mellado.
The veterinary hospital’s Good Samaritan Fund committee awarded $700 to help pay for Theia’s treatment, and a GoFundMe campaign started by Mellado has, as of today, raised $12,000 — $2,000 more than its goal.
The money will be used to pay for Theia’s nasal passage surgery which will inolve installing a stent to help reopen her nasal passages.
The surgery is scheduled for April 22, according to Washington State University News.
(Photo: Washington State University News)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 2nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, breathing, campaign, car, dog, dogs, expense, foster, fractures, fundraising, hammer, head, highway, hit, killing, mercy, misery, moses lake, nasal, passages, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, sara mellado, sinus, stray, surgery, survival, survivor, theia, truck stop, veterinary, veterinary hospital, washington, washington state university
When Danielle Zuckerman adopted a pit bull named Thor from a California shelter, she was seeking a companion for herself and her son.
She has gotten that, as well an early warning system.
Zuckerman, a former Navy nuclear scientist who has seizures as a result of a spinal cord injury, says it was just days after she brought Thor home that the otherwise quiet dog jumped in her lap and started barking.
“I didn’t know what was going on, I thought something was maybe wrong with him, and about 10 to 15 minutes later I had a seizure,” she said.
Seven more times over the next two months, Thor did the same thing, and each time Zuckerman was on the brink of a seizure.
Thor, as far as anybody knows, never had any training as a service dog, or seizure detection dog.
The early warnings from Thor allow Zuckerman to take a new medication that cuts the length of her seizure from five minutes to 90 seconds.
And his presence gives her a sense of security she didn’t have before.
“I feel so much more comfortable, going out in public and going to do things, because when you’re an epileptic, you don’t have control over your own body,” said Zuckerman, who lives in Nevada County.
Thor was adopted from Sammy’s Friends in Grass Valley. Cheryl Wicks, who runs the shelter, told CBS 13 in Sacramento, she was thrilled when she heard about Thor’s skills.
“My hair stood up, I got chills, I got teary eyed,” she said. “This woman adopts a dog to have a pet and then she gets all this. It can, like, change her life.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 1st, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assistance dogs, california, danielle zuckerman, detect, detection dogs, dog, dogs, epilepsy, nevada county, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescues, sammy's friends, seizure detection dogs, seizures, service dogs, shelters, therapy dogs, thor