The University of North Carolina baseball team has welcomed a new teammate this year — a 2-year-old golden retriever named Remington.
Remington isn’t there to be a mascot, though he has learned some mascot-like tricks, like holding his cap for the national anthem, taking balls to the ump, and high-fiving his teammates.
But his larger role is as Carolina’s first athletics training room assistance dog (and the first in the ACC).
UNC reports that the dog’s official title is “psychiatric medical alert facility rehabilitation service dog,” which sounds like a lot of responsibility.
But, cutting through the mumbo-jumbo, what Remington does is help players recover from injuries.
He works with Terri Jo Rucinski, coordinator of the physical therapy clinic and staff athletic trainer for the team.
Rucinski, who has worked with the team for 12 years, met Remington through paws4people, a Wilmington, N.C., nonprofit agency that places customized assistance dogs with clients at no cost.
He began his training when he was just 3-days-old. By 16 weeks, he was learning obedience and disabilities skills training. He also learned basic command sets, and knows more than 100 commands, including written commands from cue cards.
He joined the team last August after passing a series of certification tests.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 3rd, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assistance dogs, baseball, baseball team, chapel hill, clinic, coordinator, dog, dogs, golden retriever, injuries, mascot, paws4people, pets, physical therapy, players, rehabilitation, remington, retriever, service dog, service dogs, sports, students, tarheels, team, terri jo rucinski, trainer, unc, university of north carolina
(Second of two parts)
Their eyes said yes, their feet said no.
All four of the dogs at the Watauga Humane Society — each being held in individual quarantined kennels after their trip from Korea — initially reacted the same when I stepped inside.
They’d take one step forward, their bright eyes shining with what seemed to be excitement, anticipation or maybe curiosity; then they’d take three steps back.
It was understandable. They’d come from a farm in South Korea — one of more than 1,000 such farms there where dogs are raised as livestock and sold as meat, where they’re often mistreated and neglected and have little human contact.
In the weeks since they were rescued from a farm in Jongju, quarantined and, along with 27 others, shipped to the U.S., the four dogs have grown a little more sociable by the day.
Yet clearly, they were still torn between the fear they had learned from experience and that innate something — call it resilience, goodness of spirit, or that seemingly limitless and often unexplainable love for our species — that all dogs are born with.
With dogs, that innate something, given a chance, almost always wins out.
That has been the case with rescued fighting dogs, puppy mill dogs, and those raised as meat. They’re willing, despite whatever mistreatment they endured at our hands, to give our species a second chance.
We sometimes return the favor.
Since the beginning of 2015, Humane Society International has worked with Korean animal activists to remove 525 dogs from Korean dog farms and ship them to the U.S. and Canada to find new homes as pets.
The organization works to persuade dog farmers to forfeit their canine livestock and move on to new careers, often providing financial incentives for them to do so.
The latest shipment was a smaller one — 31 dogs from Jonju, and they’ve been distributed among five different North Carolina humane societies and shelters that serve as emergency placement partners for HSI and HSUS.
All four of the dogs who came to Watauga Humane Society were Jindos, a breed known for their loyalty that originated on the island of Jindo, off the southern coast of South Korea.
The breed has been designated by the Korean government as a national treasure.
Yet they — especially the white and yellow ones — are commonly seen in cages at outdoor meat markets, waiting to be sold, slaughtered and butchered.
At the farms, the dogs spend most of their lives in cages, treated like livestock, at best — and sometimes worse than that.
How does a dog raised in those conditions go on to be a family pet?
In small and hesitant steps, not overnight, and not without some work and patience.
But the proven fact is, they do.
That has been the case with the the four previous batches of farm dogs who have been rescued from Korea and gone on to find adoptive homes in the U.S. and Canada.
“I can give you hundreds of stories of wonderful adoptions that have taken place with them,” said Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI.
The four Korean dogs that came to the Watauga Humane Society had been there three days when I visited. In the quarantine area, I walked into each of their kennels and took a seat on the floor.
One sat in the outside section of his kennel and — no matter how much I gently coaxed — would take more than a step or two inside.
Another trembled in the corner, venturing a little closer after 10 minutes passed, but only close enough for a quick sniff.
One came within a few feet of me and retreated, before lingering long enough to allow herself to be petted.
The fourth would come close, then fall back, finally coming close enough to sniff my hand, and allow it to pet him. He decided he liked it.
“Every day gets a little better,” said the HSI’s O’Meara. “You’ll hear from the shelters, ‘He gets closer, he sniffed me today.’ It’s a big deal for a dog that wouldn’t come within five feet, and now its coming up and licking your hands.
“Some take months but they do get there and when they do, they’re wonderful companion dogs,” she added.
The four are expected to get out of quarantine next week. Then they’ll be taken to Asheville to be spayed and neutered. Depending on how the dogs react to that, the Watauga Humane Society could start taking applications from people interested in adopting them the last week in October.
Details will be announced on their Facebook page.
At the Cashiers Highlands Humane Society, applications are already being taken for the 11 Korean dogs they took in, though the dogs won’t be able to be taken home until after Nov. 7 when they are spayed or neutered.
Other dogs that were rescued from the farm in Jonju — an illegal one because the farmer didn’t own the land he was using — are at Paws of Bryson City, Moore Humane Society in Carthage, and Outer Banks SPCA in Manteo
Laurie Vierheller, executive director of the Watauga Humane Society, said helping the dogs find a home is rewarding in itself, but the benefits to a shelter go beyond that.
Taking in the dogs strikes a chord with the dog-loving community members whose contributions keep local humane societies afloat. It brings traffic to a shelter, and often those who come to see the dogs rescued in a high-profile case end up going home with one, or adopting another resident of the shelter.
The HSI’s O’Meara says some shelters and humane societies avoid getting involved as emergency placement partners because they want to focus on finding homes for local dogs in need.
But those who do take part, she said, have noted “a spike in adoptions, for all dogs, when they receive these dogs…One shelter, within two weeks of the dogs arriving, every dog in facility was adopted out.”
“It highlights the work they do in their communities. These homeless animals come with an incredible story. That brings in traffic, and brings in people who would provide wonderful homes.”
(Part one of this series can be found here)
(Photos: Jindol, at top, and the other Korean farm dogs soon to be available for adoption at the Watauga Humane Society; by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, boone, dog, dog farms, dog meat trade, dogs, emergency placement partners, farm, farm dogs, free korea dogs, hsi, hsus, humane societies, humane society international, jindo, jindos, korea, korean, north carolina, pets, rehabilitation, rescue, rescued, resilience, shelters, socialization, watauga county, watauga humane society
Before the well-known Baltimore institute hired him as an employee, Marshall Garber had been a patient at, supporter of and spokesman for Kennedy Krieger’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury.
Now he has left them after being told he can’t bring his dog to work.
Garber, who has been dependent on a wheelchair since being paralyzed by a spinal cord injury six years ago, said he needed the dog to help him get around.
“If you’ve never sat in a wheelchair and pushed a wheelchair around you are going to realize how difficult that is,” Garber told WBAL.
“If I didn’t go anywhere else. Just my office, I’m rolling 200 yards from car to elevator to ground to desk to the fourth floor and do that five times a week twice a day that’s going to accumulate quite a bit,” Garber said.
In a statement, the institute, affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital, said the dog was not necessary for Garber to perform his job duties.
Garber was paralyzed from the waist down after surgery to remove a fibrous mass that developed on his spinal cord. He was a teenager when his family started making regular trips from Ohio to Baltimore so he could receive restorative therapies.
As a patient, Garber appeared in several videos produced by the institute, such as the one above.
He wrote an account about how the insitute had changed his life for a hospital publication called, “Potential.”
And he was also featured in a report on WBAL last year, during which he mentioned his plans to participate in an upcoming marathon, and his hopes of taking part in the Paralympics.
His athletic conditioning may have played a role in the institute’s judgment that he didn’t need a dog to pull him around the workplace.
So too might have a lack of clarity on whether his dog, Scooby, was a certified service dog.
Garber said he got Scooby last year and trained him to pull his wheelchair.
Scooby proved so helpful that Garber started bringing him to work.
“They basically said that Scooby is a pet and he is not essential to my job, and I am not going to be able to use him,” Garber said.
Several months after Garber started using his dog at work, he was told the dog would no longer be allowed. Since then, he has quit the job and left the state.
Kennedy Krieger said in a statement, “We determined that his pet, which may or may not have been a service animal, was not a necessary accommodation for him to complete his job-related responsibilities. However, we did over the course of his employment make reasonable accommodations, at his request, to help him perform his work duties more comfortably.”
(Photo: Garber during an adaptive sports ski trip in Colorado, Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baltimore, disability, dog, dogs, employee, institute, kennedy krieger, marshall garber, ohio, paraplegic, pets, pulls, rehabilitation, restorative, scooby, service dogs, spinal cord injury, supporter, therapy, wheelchair
Six dogs who, with a little help, overcame their horrendous pasts will be featured this weekend in a special Animal Planet program that documents their journeys from frightened canines to forever companions.
The network partnered with the ASPCA to produce “Second Chance Dogs,” a behind-the-scenes look at the ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey.
The center works to rehabilitate dogs that have been removed from hoarding situations, puppy mills and other atrocious conditions.
“The animals have lived their lives in constant fear and neglect, resulting in extreme distrust of humans and at times complete catatonia,” according to an Animal Planet release. “These conditions make them unsuitable for adoption, and in some cases at risk to be euthanized.”
The program airs at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 16.
Launched in 2013, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center calls itself the first and only facility dedicated to rehabilitating dogs suffering from severe fear and undersocialization resulting from puppy mills, hoarding cases, and other situations that put them in peril.
“While we can’t yet answer all of the questions associated with rehabilitating at-risk animals, we continue to witness amazing transformations, dogs that conquer their anxiety and fear despite years of behavioral damage,” said Matthew Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “These transformations change the trajectory of their lives.”
The ASPCA, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, plans to open a second rehab center next year in North Carolina, The new $9 million, 35,000-square-foot facility will be located at what used to be a cement plant in Weaverville, North Carolina, just north of Asheville.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 15th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, animal cruelty, animal planet, animals, aspca, behavioral rehabilitation center, dog, dogs, hoarders, mistreated, neglected, new jersey, north carolina, pets, puppy mills, rehabilitation, second chance, second chance dogs, socializing, st. huberts, television, weaverville
An orphaned young emu has found a friend at a bird rehabilitation center in Australia.
Edward, the emu, was just a few days old when he was found by a truck driver in a ditch near the West Australian rural town of Nannup.
The truck driver bundled the bird in a flannel shirt and rushed him to the Jamarri bird sanctuary in the town of Jalbarragup.
“He was pretty much comatose when I got him,” Dee Paterson, who operates the sanctuary, told ABC.net. “But he slowly came back, and soon enough he was well enough to sleep outside in a nice warm box.”
This is where Paterson’s dog, Rocky, took a special interest in Edward.
The center primarily rehabilitates black cockatoos, so Rocky was no stranger to birds. For some reason, though, he decided to take Edward under his wing, and the frail bird began taking walks with the little dog.
Before long, Edward began cuddling up next to Rocky for naps.
“They are a great pair and Rocky seems to have taken on the role of dad,” Paterson said. “They do everything together and Edward never lets Rocky out of his sight.”
While Edward is free to leave the property, he so far seems to have no interest in doing so.
“They just seem happy to be in each other’s company,” Paterson said.
(Photos by Anthony Pancia, ABC.net)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: australia, best friends, bird sanctuary, birds, dee paterson, dog, dog and emu, edward, emu, emu and dog, friends, jamarri, rehabilitation, rocky
A dog in Colorado is learning to get around on four prosthetic paws.
Brutus, a two-year-old Rottweiler, lost all four paws after suffering frostbite, and the amputations are said to have been performed by the breeder who owned him.
Last September, after being taken in by a foster mother, he was outfitted with two rear paws, followed a couple of months later by two prosthetic front paws.
While his gait may still look a little awkward, the prosthetics — made by OrthoPets of Denver — have enabled him to get around outside.
“It’s not always pretty. We want to be able to give him a higher function, where he can run and play with other dogs, go on hikes,” foster mom Laura Aquilina, of Loveland, told KDVR.
Brutus is reported to be only the second dog ever known to have four prosthetic limbs.
“Brutus is an amazing case of a beautiful dog who was dealt a short hand, said Martin Kauffman, founder of OrthoPets. “He can get out and do normal doggy things. And it just makes you feel so good.”
The company makes prosthetics for about 250 animals worldwide a year.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: amputation, amputee, animals, brutus, colorado, disabilities, dog, dogs, frostbite, no paws, orthopets, paws, pets, quadruple, recovery, rehabilitation, rottweiler
BADRAP, the San Francisco organization best known for defending pit bulls from being maligned, abused and discriminated against, lost a good friend last week — Sally, the friendly pit who served as both mascot and inspiration.
What follows, reprinted with permission, is a beautifully written eulogy, penned by Donna Reynolds, Sally’s mom and BAD RAP’s director:
“Some news to share, with a heavy heart. Our muse, our founding dog and our best gal – the irrepressible Sally – passed away last Friday, leaving a legacy as wide as her smile.
“Who was she? She came to us in 1998, back when pit bulls wore a scarlet letter and suffered the consequences of breed stereotypes and misinformation. She seemed to know that we needed a little levity in a world that had started to lose its heart for dogs. She was supposed to be a visitor, but unpacked her bags and before we knew it, staked her claim as a monolithic influence in our personal lives and catalyst for our organization.
“She was our four legged Google before Google existed; our touchstone for dogs from her tribe. We weren’t exactly sure what a pit bull was – we still aren’t – but Sally was happy to take on the role of ambassador of a forgotten country that was begging to be explored. We built BADRAP’s message and key programs around the lessons she graciously offered. Along the way, her beauty inspired her favorite human (Tim Racer) to take up chisels and memorialize her and then other beloved dogs in wood carousel sculptures.
“With a larger than life personality, she had no concept of personal boundaries and was unapologetically obsessed with people – ‘over socialized,’ we joked. She screamed like a lovesick banshee when she heard the voices of people she knew. When she reached them, she scrambled to taste them, slurping straight up surprised nostrils with ecstatic, impatient licks.
“We didn’t train Sally; we worked out agreements with Sally. “Sit calmly until the child is ready to touch you and then you can have a tiny kiss.” She’d tremble, working against every fiber in her being to keep her butt on the ground so she could earn her prize moment.
“She was bold, bawdy and uninhibited and she reveled in being alive, beating back cancer for ten of her 17 years. She body surfed in the Pacific and knew how to catch the best waves and ride them to shore like a pro. She never once took the winding path down to the beach; instead, she plowed down the side of the steepest dune so she could get to the water first. When she tired, she’d find a quiet perch and stare out at the horizon as if reading a sonnet in the waves. When she slept, she curled her heavy head in the crook of an elbow and rumbled softly, occasionally peeking with a twinkling brown eye to solicit a soft kiss.
“In 2007, she nearly derailed our much anticipated assignment to assess the survivors of Bad Newz Kennels by falling very ill and sporting a suspicious mass deep in her bowels, just as we were making our flights to Virginia. Then, after noting our double distress, she granted us permission to travel by dutifully pooping out a plastic toy car in its entirety – Crisis averted. (Thank you, Sally.)
“She schooled the Vick dogs as soon as they arrived in CA. To her, they were just dogs – and she reminded us of that right away. She took great pleasure in humping good manners into Jonny Rotten aka Jonny Justice and in pissing far above Hector’s pee spots, aiming for a target as high as her business end could reach. ‘You’re welcome here, new dog. But just don’t forget who the Queen is.’ They politely deferred, so she gave them straight A’s.
“To Sally, life was one long party with momentary pauses along the way. She marched in the SF Pride Parade nearly 13 years in a row, convinced that the fanfare of waving, screaming spectators had assembled just for her. She zig zagged and pulled as hard as she could towards the throbbing music and sun oiled bodies and she always managed to end up in the lap of one or more of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – naturally.
“Despite her hurricane nature, she was also tender and affectionate and sensitive. Too strong of a reprimand horrified her, and she felt responsible for restoring peace when her humans argued or swore. She schooled hundreds of foster dogs and counted many as her best friends, but she took no guff from ill-mannered dogs. After finding two boy pups fighting over food in HER kitchen, she body slammed both dogs across the room in different directions. Conversation done and over.
“All and none of these traits marked her as a pit bull. She was Sally before she was a dog, and she was a dog before she was a pit bull; a force of nature who blew into our world and rattled us awake, then wagged her way back home 17 deliciously happy years later.
“‘Rest in Peace’ is not a fitting epitaph for this game changer. Rather: ‘Long may you rail and adventure around the cosmos. Thank you dearly for stopping by and including us in your exciting travels.'”
“Sally Racer 1998-2015. Long live the Queen.”
(Photo of Sally courtesy of BADRAP)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 28th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advocacy, animals, bad rap, badrap, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, donna reynolds, eulogy, image, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rehabilitation, remembrance, reputation, sally, san francisco, vick dogs