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Tag: plant

Miracle or not, Gem emerges from the rough

gem

Given this dog’s situation — dumped inside a plastic bag at a recycling plant that processes 400 tons of debris a day, loaded by bulldozer onto a large conveyor belt, and on her way to a chute that would have dropped her 20 feet into a landfill — you  might think nothing short of a miracle would save her.

While there may have been some of that involved, the three-month-old, five-pound poodle puppy has some alert workers to thank as well.

Just yards from the chute, one recycling worker noticed the bag moving. He slammed on the conveyer belt’s emergency brake as another worker climbed onto the belt to remove the dog.

Since named Gem, the dog, rescued — and we do mean rescued — the Friday before Christmas, is recovering from her injuries.

“It’s difficult to imagine how the dog survived this ordeal,” said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, a recycling program in San Francisco that sorts through heavy debris from construction projects, such as concrete, metal and lumber. ”Nothing like this has happened before.”

Reed said the dog was likely thrown, inside the bag, into a bin for construction material, picked up by a garbage truck and hauled to the dump. Once in the dump, the dog likely had large amounts of debris dumped atop her, only to be later scooped up by a bulldozer and end up on the conveyor belt.

While riding along the conveyor belt, Gem went through a shaking process, aimed at removing excess dirt from the debris, and she was yards from passing into the chute when workers stationed along the conveyor belt noticed her.

“I was on the line working on the conveyor belt and there was a black trash bag coming down the line,” Gregory Foster told ABC News. “It had a hole in it and I could see it moving.”

After he activated the belt’s emergency brake, another co-worker climbed up on the belt and pulled the dog — wet, bloody and shaking – out of the bag.

gem1Another worker, Arturo Pena, found a box and blanket, wrapped the dog up and fed her some spare ribs, fried rice and pizza.

The San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control was called, and Gem is now in its care.

“We’re getting a lot of people calling, wanting to adopt her, foster, and offer donations for her care,” a spokesperson said. The agency received more than 100 telephone calls inquiring about the dog in three hours.

Many remain mystified how the dog survived what she did.

“It’s a miracle, it’s a Christmas miracle. That’s what it is,” Pena said.

But we’d give some of the credit to assembly line workers who managed, amid the monotony of their jobs, to stay alert.

And we’d give at least an equal amount to Gem, one plucky little dog.

(Top photo, CBS News; bottom photo, Arturo Pena)

Sit, kudzu dog, sit

I came across Sitting Kudzu Dog as I approached Oxford, Mississippi.

Tell me you see him, too.

Otherwise, I might start thinking I’m crazy — for all the things I see in kudzu … and clouds. Nature’s ink blot tests, that’s what they are.

I’ve been seeing things in kudzu for many years now– ever since I harvested kudzu with a woman in Georgia (for a newspaper story), who was putting the south’s evil and fast-spreading weed to good use, making baskets and other crafts out of it.

It was not long after that when I came up with Retirement Plan 11 — opening “The Kud-Zoo.”

I’d buy some large, kudzu-contaminated parcel of land in the south, just off an interstate highway, and get one of those trucks with the hydraulic man-lifting buckets, like the phone and cable companies use, and begin trimming all the unwieldy growth into the shapes of animals. Actually, I would see the animal within first, then, through trimming, free it, so to speak.

Also, along with my staff, we’d train young kudzu, using clothesline and wooden forms, to grow into the shape of animals. The Kud-Zoo would also serve as a commune for kudzu artists and craftsmen, and kudzu artisans who’d make kudzu wine, kudzu tea and kudzu cigarettes on the premises.

We would have an old school bus, painted as if it were covered with kudzu, which — when we weren’t busy running the roadside attraction (i.e. the non-summer months) — we’d drive to schools to give presentations about kudzu, and how the more things we can figure out to do with it, the better of we’d be.

I put the Kud-Zoo right up there with my all time great ideas, and share it now only because I don’t think I’m going to get around to it. If you want it, it’s your’s.

Angus T. Loner is a loner no more

angustlonerIt seemed like nearly everybody wanted to adopt Angus T. Loner, a gigantic mastiff who lived for years as a stray outside a Nebraska meatpacking plant.

So the local humane society decided that’s who should have him — everybody.

Angus was known by most in the town of Grand Island as the ”Swift dog” — due to his having lived outside the JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plant for more than four years. A trucker had dumped the neutered pup while making a delivery to the plant.

For years, plant workers fed the dog meat scraps, bones and their lunch leftovers and set out dinner for him nightly. A  neighbor provided  shelter by leaving a barn open. Local police and animal control workers kept close tabs on the dog, according to the Grand Island Independent.

Over the years, there were more than 500 attempts to catch him — none of which succeeded until December, when he was tranquilized and brought to the Central Nebraska Humane Society.

The humane society, as Angus became more social, began taking applications from those interested in adopting him. But between the many townsfolk who wanted to take him, all those who had helped care for the dog over the years and hoped to have continued access to him, and Angus’ sometimes unruly behavior, the humane society decided it would be best to keep him, allowing him to serve as its official greeter, mascot and spokesdog — to be, in a way, a community dog.

Angus has become attached to his new caretakers — so much so that “he’s gone from being scared of people to severe separation anxiety,” said Laurie Dethloff, the society’s executive director.

When society staff set him up in the spacious cat play area overnight, Angus chewed the carpet and platform from the cat nesting tree and ripped the sill off the room’s front window.

“We didn’t want to set him up for failure,” Dethloff said of placing him for adoption. Society officials decided keeping him would be a way to continue to share him with the public and honor what he represents. “For one, he has an awesome story to tell — about abandonment and a compassionate, caring community,” said Dethloff, who now takes Angus home with her at night.

Angus, the Independent reports, has come a long way from the dog that cowered in a corner and eluded those who tried to trap him. He still needs to gain a little weight, and the humane society is working on getting him up from six to 10 cups of dog food a day.

Angus is estimated to be about five years old.  While the first name the humane society chose for him comes from his size, and the meat he survived on over the years, his middle initial — T — doesn’t stand for anything.

Angus, on the other hand — the dog a whole town adopted — clearly does.

(Photo: Barrett Stinson, The Grand Island Independent)