In Elkmont, Alabama, on a Saturday earlier this month, April Hamlin let her big ol’ hound out the door to pee.
Prone to wandering a bit, the dog, named Ludivine, ended up about a quarter mile away, at the starting area of a half marathon.
She mingled with the runners and, when the race started, she ran the entire 13.1-mile course.
Ludivine came in seventh, with an unofficial time of 1:32:56
Then she started receiving texts and photos of Ludivine at the finish line.
“All I did was open the door, and she ran the race on her own accord,” Hamlin, 43, told Runner’s World.
“My first reaction was that I was embarrassed and worried that she had possibly gotten in the way of the other runners.”
Her second reaction was that marathons aren’t normally Ludivine’s style.
“She’s laid back and friendly, so I can’t believe she ran the whole half marathon because she’s actually really lazy,” Hamlin said.
Ludivine — the name is a shortened translation of “divine light” in French — often strolls around Elkmont on her own. The town has about 400 residents, most of which know Ludivine.
“She came bouncing up, and I petted her on the head,” said Tim Horvath, one of Ludivine’s fellow runners in the inaugural Trackless Train Trek Half Marathon. “… Elkmont is a small town where everyone knows everybody, so it didn’t strike me as unusual.”
Ludivine managed to place seventh despite detouring to romp through streams, sniff the grass in a few yards, check out some mules and cows in a field and investigate a dead rabbit, runners said.
Once she crossed the finish line, she slowed to a walk. Volunteers put a medal around her neck and started taking photos.
The race was held to raise funds for the cross country team at Elkmont High School.
“It’s the first half marathon in Elkmont, and the people who started it are parents of the kids who run cross country … Our school system doesn’t have a ton of money for cross country, Hamlin said.
“Because of this dog, they are getting so much publicity, and I think that’s the best part.”
(Photos: Ludivine approaching the finish line, and showing off her medal, from the Elkmont Half Marathon Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, bloodhound, completes, dog, dogs, elkmont, finish line, half marathon, hound, ludivine, marathon, pee, pets, race
Slow and steady may win the race (sometimes), but it usually doesn’t win an agility competition.
Zeus, a mastiff, probably didn’t take home any ribbons after competing in this agility contest at a dog show in Denver last year.
But the crowd loved him, and he did finish the course.
I applaud his focus and perseverance, and how he felt no need to “crush, “smoke,” or “annihilate” the competition, and — reading way too much into it — I think there might even be a lesson for modern day America in his performance.
Forget about the flash, forget about the fame. Forget about finishing in first place. Forget, foremost, about the ego.
Just be nice and finish what you start, dog.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agility, animals, big dogs, competition, contest, course, dog, dog show, dogs, finish, mastiff, persevere, pets, race, slow, steady, video, winning, winning isn't everything
Vanderbilt University may well have some racial inequities worth addressing. And some racist acts may take place on campus from time to time. But Marley’s poop was not one of them.
A sack of dog poop left on the front steps of Vanderbilt University’s Black Cultural Center — discovered the day after a student demonstration to show support for protesters at the University of Missouri — was quickly decried by a student organization as a “vile” and “racist” act.
In reality, the bag was left there by a blind student who cleaned up the mess left by her guide dog, Marley, but could not find a trash receptacle to place it in.
On Monday, about 200 Vanderbilt students staged a walkout over campus race relations — one described as a show of support for the Missouri students, but also held to draw attention to Vanderbilt’s own problems when it comes to racial imbalances.
On Tuesday, the bag of feces was found in front of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.
Backers of a university campaign called Hidden Dores, the mission of which is to “draw attention to the racial and ethnic minority experience on a predominantly white campus,” quickly placed a post on Facebook decrying the deed.
“The Hidden Dores team is appalled to announce that our demonstration yesterday was met this morning with a vile act. This morning someone left a bag of feces on the porch of Vanderbilt University’s Black Cultural Center. The center has served as the nexus of many aspects of black life on Vanderbilt’s campus since its inception 31 years ago. The violation of a place that in many ways is the sole home for black students is deplorable.
“As many of us sit in grief, recognize that these types of actions are what we speak of when we note the reality of exclusion and isolation of students of color and specifically black students on our campus. This act has hurt many and will not be received lightly. We will not allow for the desecration of the place we call home. As we announced yesterday and reaffirm today, we will not be silent.”
Campus police launched an investigation immediately. After surveillance camera footage was reviewed, officers contacted the student who appeared to have left the bag of feces there.
“The investigation found the bag was inadvertently left by an individual with a service dog who was authorized to be in the building who could not find a trash can near the entrance and did not wish to take the bag inside. VUPD has concluded, based on their investigation, that there was no criminal or malicious intent in this action, and the investigation is considered closed,” Vanderbilt News reported yesterday.
The blind student posted her own account of what happened on Facebook:
“I would like to inform everyone on this campus that no racial threat occurred. I am a blind student on this campus with a guide dog. I was meeting with a group last night to go over our debate for one of my sociology classes. My dog did her business outside on the grass and I picked it up and put it in a bag like always … I did not want to bring the feces inside and make the building smell, so I left it outside by the door … Everyone is going to point me out now as the blind girl who left her dog feces by the black cultural center. I am sorry that I do not know where all the trash cans are on main campus…”
Leaders of the Hidden Dores campaign put a new post on its Facebook page, apologizing to the blind student, and for reacting a little too swiftly.
“Given the recent elevation in polarization on this campus in the aftermath of our silent protest this Monday, evidenced by tough personal exchanges and anonymous targeted posts, it was too easy for us to believe that a member of our community would stoop low enough to maliciously leave fecal matter at the Black Cultural Center,” the Facebook post said.
“Nonetheless, we apologize to the Vanderbilt community for jumping to conclusions and for any personal trauma caused by the quick escalation of this situation.”
(Photo: Hidden Dores Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bag, blind, demonstration, dog, dog poop, dogs, facebook, feces, guide dog, guide dogs, hidden dores, incident, investigation, pets, police, poop, race, racial inequity, racism, students, university of missouri, vanderbilt university
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who some critics say comes across as “harsh,” showed her softer side this week by singing about her Yorkshire terrier, Snickers, during an appearance on “The Tonight Show.”
Fiorina, who many believe made the strongest showing in last week’s GOP debate, told Jimmy Fallon she often writes songs about her dogs, and volunteered to sing one of them.
The performance cracked Fallon up, but then what doesn’t?
Fiorina has two Yorkshire terriers, Snickers and Max. She performed one of what she said were four verses of a song she wrote about Snick, the lazier of the two, sung to the tune of “Rock Around the Clock.”
My name’s Snick and I’m lazy
Please don’t take a walk with me
I’d rather stay right here at home instead
I want to lie back down in my nice warm bed
My name’s Snick and you’re gonna have to carry me
It should be noted that Fiorina, in addition to humanizing herself, and showing she has a decent singing voice, also looked pretty good — contrary to what fellow candidate Donald Trump criticized as her un-electable face.
“Look at that face!” Trump was quoted as saying about Fiorina in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
Trump later said he was talking not about Fiorina’s appearance, but her “persona.”
When asked about Trump’s comments in last week’s debate, Fiorina offered a strong rebuke: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
Kind of makes you wonder why, between the two, or for that matter among the entire pack of Republican candidates, Fiorina is the one that gets characterized as harsh.
Wouldn’t have anything to do with her gender, would it?
Posted by John Woestendiek September 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, campaign, candidates, carly fiorina, dogs, fiorina, harsh, jimmy fallon, max, nbc, pets, president, presidential, race, republicans, sings, snick, snickers, song, tonight show, yorkshire terriers
She has been called “America’s deadliest DA,” “the queen of death” and “one tough cookie.”
But Lynne Abraham, the former Philadelphia district attorney who sent hundreds of humans to death row, has a soft spot for animals.
And one supporter thinks that’s worth highlighting as Abraham runs for mayor of the City of Brotherly Love — so much so that he produced a campaign ad for her, at his own expense.
It all goes back to 2007, when the ad’s producer, Bill Whiting had to deal with a horrific situation: Some neighborhood kids took his dog, Edna. They held her for ransom, tortured her as Whiting listened over the phone, and killed her.
Abraham went after the suspects with her trademark bulldog-like tenacity, and earned Whiting’s undying respect.
“I could never have realized justice without the help of Lynne Abraham who was Philadelphia’s District Attorney at the time,” Whiting said in the video.
A 15-year-old was arrested, tried and punished in the case.
Whiting produced the video himself with the help of some friends who donated their time, according to a Newsworks report.
“The ad cost $14 in dog treats,” Whiting said. “That’s all there was.”
The video highlights her stance on animal cruelty, but also describes Abraham, a Democrat, as “a sharp, fair-minded elder stateswoman” who has the skills and experience to become Philadelphia’s first female mayor.
Whiting said he made the ad out of gratitude, and says he hopes it will “humanize” a woman the New York Times called “America’s deadliest D.A.” because of how often she sought the death penalty. That same 1995 article made note of Abraham’s practice of carrying cans of Little Friskies in the trunk of her official car, doling out portions to street cats in need of nourishment.
She’s hardly the only “hard on crime” public official that goes gooey when it comes to animals. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been called the country’s “toughest sheriff” has a well-known soft spot when it comes to dogs — and it has served to help humanize him a bit.
As for Abraham — it was none other than Frank Rizzo (no softy himself) who first called her “one tough cookie” — she’s seen as a “very no-nonsense, straightforward district attorney,” Whiting said. “But I also wanted people to know that she has an extremely kind heart.”
The case of Edna, was “one of many that is emblematic of Lynne’s strong commitment against cruelty to animals,” Abraham’s campaign spokeswoman, Cathie Abookire, wrote in an email promoting the video.
Abookire said Abraham, as district attorney, appointed Philadelphia’s first prosecutor devoted to animal cruelty cases.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 29th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, animal welfare, bill whiting, campaign, da, deadliest, district attorney, lynne abraham, mayor, mayoral, philadelphia, politics, race, supporter, tough cookie
That Ecuadorian street dog who befriended a Swedish adventure racing team after they tossed him a meatball is an official resident of Sweden now.
Arthur, as the team named him, followed the extreme racers for the last 50 or so miles of the 430-mile race — slogging through mud, traipsing through jungle growth, climbing up mountainsides and at one point, after race officials advised the team to leave the dog behind, plunging into a river and swimming alongside their kayaks.
The team had stopped to eat before the final two stages of the race when member Mikael Lindnord noticed the scruffy yellow stray and tossed him a meatball from the can he was eating from.
It was a simple, nonchalant gesture — one Lindnord said he didn’t think too much of at the time.
Clearly, though, Arthur did.
When the four-member team finished lunch and resumed the race — beginning a 24-mile hike through the rainforest — Arthur, named after the legendary King Arthur, got up and followed.
Adventure Racing is a form of extreme sport that combines continuous hiking, trekking, mountain biking and kayaking.
At a checkpoint before the final segment of the race — a 36-mile stretch of river — race organizers warned the team that taking Arthur along was inadvisable and posed a risk to both the dog’s safety and their’s.
Team members agreed to push on without him, but after their kayaks pulled away Arthur jumped into the river, caught up with them and swam alongside.
When Lindnord saw the dog was struggling to keep up, he pulled Arthur aboard.
Spectators standing on shore applauded.
By the end of the race, Lindnord said he had decided to try and adopt the dog and take him back to Sweden.
He admitted in a Daily Mail article that Arthur — due to living a harsh life on the streets — was in pretty bad shape even before accompanying the team on the last two legs of the race.
Once the race was over, Arthur was taken to a vet in Ecuador, and Lindnor applied to Sweden’s board of agriculture, or Jordbruksverket for permission to bring Arthur home. Arthur had already become a media star by then.
“I almost cried in front of the computer, when receiving the decision from in Sweden,” Lindnord wrote on the Facebook page of Team Peak Performance.
They flew home together this week.
“I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship,” he said. “Instead, I got a new friend.”
(Photos: Krister Göransson)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adventure, animals, arthur, bicycles, bonds, can, dog, dogs, ecuador, extreme, follows, hiking, jungle, kayaks, loyalty, meatball, mikael lindnord, pack, pets, race, racers, rainforest, river, stray, strays, sweden, team, team peak performance, trekking
She didn’t win the race, but a disabled dachshund named “Anderson Pooper” was the clear crowd favorite at the annual Wiener Dog Races at Emerald Downs in Washington state.
Partly paralyzed, Anderson Pooper bested several other dachshunds in her heat, some of whom veered off the trail or never budged from the starting gate. Twenty-four dogs participated in the races.
A video of the July 18 race, sponsored by Seattle radio station Star 101.5, was posted to YouTube by Anderson Pooper’s owners, and led to an article about her (she’s a female) in the New York Daily News this week.
David Sizer and his wife Brenda, who runs Animals with Disabilities, adopted the dog four years ago. Her rear legs were paralyzed as a result of a spinal injury
Her paralysis requires the 7-year-old dachshund to wear diapers. Between the frequent changing those required, and Brenda’s maiden name (Anderson), the family decided to name the dog Anderson Pooper.
“She loves running. Any chance she gets she’s all in for it,” David Sizer said. “We’ll take her to the coast and she’ll run on the beach and we have a hard time keeping up with her.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: anderson pooper, animals, cart, dachshunds, disabilities, dogs, emerald downs, pets, race, races, washington, weiner dog, wheelchair, wheels, wiener dog