Ace and the cat next door have become steadfast friends, hanging out together most days in the backyard. But their relationship has clearly evolved, as I guess most do.
Ace still seems thrilled every time he sees Tom. They still play chase. They still engage in their form of wrestling — Ace poking Tom with his nose, Tom swatting Ace in the head with his paws.
But Ace no longer is totally obsessed with the cat, no longer smothering him with attention, no longer constantly in Tom’s face. Ace used to follow Tom wherever he went. But as Tom has become less elusive, Ace has become less fascinated. As the months have gone by, it’s Tom who’s now more likely to follow Ace, and instigate the play. Tom still seems to send a message that says “chase me,” but Ace doesn’t always play along, sometimes preferring to just watch, or scratch himself, or look for something he might deem edible.
On Sunday Ace was minding own business in the shared yard behind my apartment, chewing on a bully stick. Thomas slowly approached and circled him, nuzzled him a few times and swung his tail into his face.
Ace looked up, but kept chewing. Seeming to sense Ace’s disinterest, Tom went his own way, disappearing for a time.
Ace, focused on his treat, seemed to forget about him — until, 10 minutes later, he spotted him in the distance, under my parked car. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek November 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, cat, cats, cats and dogs, college village, dogs, friends, north carolina, out of reach, pets, relationships, stale, taken for granted, thomas, tom, travels with ace, winston-salem
For years, a husky mix named Annie quietly watched the world go by, lying beneath a tree in front of an apartment complex in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles.
A neighborhood fixture, she seemed perfectly content to observe and greet as dog walkers, strollers and anyone else went by — and the neighborhood found her a reassuring presence as well.
When Annie died over the weekend — of anaphylactic shock, caused by a bee sting — neighbors started coming together in a vigil not unlike the one she kept.
It started with a few notes tacked to the tree and grew into a full blown memorial, complete with candles, flowers and sympathy cards.
Since her death Saturday, some visitors to Annie’s shady spot at corner of 4th Street and Cochran Avenue have stood there and cried, said her owner, Jack Zurla, who rescued Annie 12 years ago after finding her foraging for food near the corner of Washington Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
“I’ll remember Annie as a dog that was more human than dog,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “She had the capacity to understand people. She was a dog of compassion for everybody. She gave people comfort.”
“Annie was a staple in a lot of lives around here,” he added. “Annie was always ready to give someone some love.”
Other residents echoed those thoughts.
“She never ran off, never barked at anyone,” said actor Brian Savage, who lives nearby. “She was just a pillar of the neighborhood.”
“Annie was really a touchstone for all of us,” said Michael Moravek, also an actor. “It was nice to have her here. We might not know each other but we all knew Annie.”
“She was our neighborhood guardian. Even now, Annie is bringing us together,” he noted as he placed a snapshot he had taken of her on the shrine Tuesday.
Also leaving a hand-printed note was six-year-old Roman DiGiulio. With his mother at his side, he placed the note, written on a large red heart, on the tree. It read: “Have a good life in heaven, sweet doggie.”
(Photo: Jack Zurla stands in front of an impromptu memorial to his dog Annie; by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anaphylactic shock, animals, annie, apartment, bee, behavior, cochran avenue, community, complex, death, dog, dogs, fourth street, grief, husky, husky mix, jack zurla, los angeles, loss, memorial, mid-wilshire, mourning, neighborhood, neighbors, pets, relationships, sting, tree, tribute, vigil
Breaking up is hard to do, harder when there’s a dog involved, and, apparently, even harder yet when that dog has a website.
Scott Smith and his girlfriend, Anna Camara, started the website Sammy and the City last year, posting photos of his abnormally cute Pomeranian posing in front of New York city landmarks.
When they broke up, Smith apparently kept the dog, but Camara — through what Smith alleges was some sleight of hand — kept the website.
For a while, they worked on it together, but then Camara, who handled most of the photography, registered herself as sole owner, and changed the passwords and ID’s so Smith could no longer log on.
At least, the New York Post reports, that’s what Smith claims in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
“This is one of the biggest atrocities that has ever happened to a family,” Smith, 43, told the Post. “This is my dog, this is my project, and not one bit of it is in my name.”
While arguing his ex basically stole his website, which he valued at $500,000, Smith is starting up a new Sammy site, called Everybody Loves Sammy, which is now under construction, and for which he is soliciting donations.
Sammy and the City was put together by Smith, his sister Jessica, and Camara, 44. It received about 40,000 visitors a month, and had 8,500 Facebook fans.
After the break-up, Smith alleges, Camara took the iPad he used to post images, deleted the photographs and returned it with passwords changed. Smith admits he was so mad about it he grabbed Camara’s iPhone to get the passwords back, leading to a scuffle and a petty larceny charge against him.
Camara denied the allegations in Smith’s lawsuit, and said the original website never made any money.
(Photo: Sammy at the Empire State Building; by Anna Camara, from Sammy and the City)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anna camara, blog, break up, custody, cute, dog, dogs, everybody loves sammy, internet, landmarks, lawsuit, new york, pets, pomeranian, relationships, sammy, sammy and the city, scott smith, splitting up, websites
The love affair continues between Ace and the cat next door.
It started at my neighbor’s front window, where her new cat, Tom, would lay in the sunshine when she wasn’t at home. Tom was tiny then, just a few weeks old. And there seemed to be nothing Ace — and Tom — liked better than looking at each other through that window.
After three months of meeting at the window, and later playing peekaboo at windows of the front door, they eventually met in person, spending about an hour running around my apartment and playing. A few times, they’ve frolicked outside. Ace chases him down.
Tom swats at Ace’s face, and then they start all over again. Sometimes Tom hides under the car, darts out for a quick attack, then retreats back under the car. Ace then tries to wiggle under, only to find he’s too big.
Usually, when I let Ace outside, the first thing he does is go next door — in hopes of spotting Tom.
Between actual, in person visits, that’s what they do – gaze at each other through the front window — Tom sometimes swatting at it with his paw as Ace jumps up, putting his paws on the ledge and emitting a whine or two.
Tom started out sitting in the sill of the window above my neighbor’s sink. Ace would sit at the bottom of the stairs to the back door and look up, or climb to the top and crane his neck for a closer view.
On Friday, Tom decided to try and get a little closer too. Walking to the end of the counter, he stretched and managed to stick his face through the mini blinds on the back door.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough so, tiptoeing across what had to be, at most, a quarter-inch wide piece of door molding, he managed to get positioned between the window and the blinds. The blinds, I guess, were what held him in place as he walked back and forth, to Ace’s pleasure.
They spent about an hour visiting that way, with Ace every once in a while jumping up and placing his paws on the screen door, which, as you can imagine, isn’t very good for screens.
Figuring I was responsible for at least half the damage, I grabbed some tools and went over Saturday morning while the neighbor was gone to fix the screen.
Fortunately it wasn’t torn, just pulled out from underneath the molding holding it in place. As I removed the molding, Tom showed up again, intent on watching the process.
That left the mini blinds even more haywire. Once the screen was repaired, Ace, after a warning that there could be no more jumping up on the screen, climbed up the stairs to visit Tom again.
He stayed for half an hour or so, until another neighbor pulled up into the driveway, at which time he tore himself away to visit her. Tom spent a couple more minutes wedged between the blinds and window, waiting for Ace to come back, looking a little forlorn.
As I mentioned the last time I wrote about this relationship, I think the door has a lot to do with how close they’ve grown. First, it allowed them to comfortably get used to each other without feeling threatened. Then, I think, it served to make them want to be together even more. The barrier between them only fueled their desire – kind of like a parent who forbids you from seeing that boy; or you being in New York while she’s in California.
Closed doors, like absences, can make hearts grow fonder.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bond, cats, dog and cat, dog-cat, dogs, doors, love, neighbors, north carolina, pets, play, relationships, tom, travels with ace, windows
Another dog guru debuts this week, joining the ranks of televised trainers who straighten out the bad behavior of dogs, usually by straightening out their human owners.
“Dogs in the City” follows New York City trainer Justin Silver, who in the premiere episode confronts a celebrity bulldog who doesn’t seem to like his owner’s new wife; a Bernese mountain dog with a weight problem; and an office mutt who doesn’t get along with strangers.
The hour-long summer reality series will air Wednesdays on CBS, at 8 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific time).
Silver, a dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of a pet care company, is also a comedian and founder of Funny for Fido, a nonprofit organization that raises money for homeless animals by producing a yearly stand-up comedy event.
According to the show’s press release, Silver “has a creative and instinctive ability to connect with his canine customers while solving dilemmas for their two-legged masters. In each episode, he meets with clients who present a range of relationship problems, lifestyle changes or domestic issues. Justin gets as imaginative as necessary to reach a satisfying resolution, often finding that the owners can be a special breed themselves.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggression, animals, beefy, behavior, behaviorist, bernese mountain dog, bulldog, cbs, dogs, dogs in the city, guru, issues, justin silver, mutt, new york, overweight, pets, reality, relationships, strangers, television, trainer, training, weight
A Manhattan man says he is going broke trying to regain custody of his puggle. He says he has spent $60,000 so far. Now he wants your help.
Craig Dershowitz says he considers Knuckles his son, and that’s why he’s hoping to raise another $20,000 over the Internet to continue his legal fight.
“I’ve pretty much gone through my life savings,” the 34-year-old gallery employee said. “It’s worth it.”
According to the New York Post, Dershowitz claims in papers filed earlier this year in Manhattan Supreme Court that his ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega “took unilateral control of Knuckles and kidnapped him” after they broke up.
Brega responds that Dershowitz gave her the dog as a gift, and that Knuckles is enjoying life in California.
“Knuckles lives a happy and healthy life in California with me, where he has ample room to play, and lives in close proximity to a beach for off-leash dog-park outings,” Brega said in court papers.
Dershowitz responds that Knuckles “hates water … He’ll be happy wherever he is — especially if he’s with his dad and the friends he grew up with.”
Dershowitz said he left Knuckles with Brega while looking for a new place after their breakup. She was supposed to return him when he found one, he says.
Brega, a wardrobe stylist, was initially ordered to return the dog, but she then retained her own lawyer to represent her in a case that involves courts in New York and California.
Dershowitz said he believes she’s trying to run up his legal bills. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to keep it going,” he said.
So he started a webpage to raise money for the fight, with his artist friends contributing “perks” for large contributors, like portraits of Knux, “Free Knux” t-shirts and, for $250, a chance to play fetch with Knuckles, once he’s back in New York.
The Post reports his campaign is off to a slow start — with only $85 being donated in the first week.
(Photo of Knuckles by Craig Dershowitz)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, battle, beagle, behavior, boyfriend, california, courts, craig dershowitz, custody, dogs, ex, fight, fund raising, fundraising, funds, girlfriend, internet, knuckles, lawyers, legal, mix, money, new york, pets, pug, puggle, relationships, sarah brega
Sydney, a beagle-terrier mix in Michigan, has taken on the job of nursing five kittens.
The dog’s owner, Heather Rector, of Portage, brought the kittens home last week after they were rescued from a construction site.
Sydney’s maternal instincts — she has had three litters of her own — kicked right in.
And, stranger yet, she started lactating, her owner says.
“Two days of them being here, she was fully lactating, and … she hasn’t stopped lactating yet,” Rector said.
Sydney is feeding and bathing the kittens and won’t let them wander far without bringing them back to her bed.
Rector, a new mother herself, says she’s proud of Sydney’s compassion. ”You don’t see a lot of people or animals do that anymore, and I think she did the exact thing I would have done.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beagle, behavior, construction, dog, dogs, feeding, found, heather rector, interspecies, kittens, lactating, litter, michigan, mix, mother, mothering, nursing, pets, portage, relationships, site, sydney, terrier, video, washing
So, for Valentine’s Day — even though we’re not personally celebrating it this year — we pass along some advice from Wendy Diamond, author of the 2006 book, ”How To Understand Men Through Their Dogs.”
Diamond believes the type of dog a man shares his life with provides some clues to his personality characteristics.
(And we interrupt here to point out that if a man doesn’t have a dog, just avoid him entirely. If he has cats, run even faster.)
But back to Ms. Diamond, who says much can be read into the breed a man chooses. The Akita owner, for instance, may lean toward being over protective of those he loves; the poodle man might be too sophisticated for his own good; and the Pomeranian owner isn’t likely to be highly affectionate.
On the other hand, she says, the German shepherd owner is likely to be mysterious and intriguing, if you’re into that sort of thing.
And it’s a safe bet, in her view, that the guardian of a bichon frise is “great with children.”
If you are looking for a husband, though, Diamond recommends you consider the man who has a Doberman pinscher, rottweiler, collie, beagle or Chinese crested.
The mutt owner makes a good mate, too, she notes — he’s typically a happy-go-lucky sort who’s good with children and “not concerned about pedigree.”
We’re not about to argue with any of her recommendations (we’re too happy-go-lucky); but we would add only this, for men or women who want to factor dogs into the courtship equation:
Far more important than the breed they’ve chosen — whether it is hairless and scrawny or big and mysterious – is how they treat their dog.
A book may help, but when it comes to understanding men, that speaks volumes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akita, beagle, book, books on dogs, breeds, characteristics, chinese crested, courtship, dating, dogs, gender, german shepherd, how to understand men, men, mixed breeds, mutt, personality, pets, pomeranian, relationships, rottweiler, sexes, understanding, valentine, valentines day, wendy diamond, women
If so, it represents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication, according to a recent study in the online journal PloS One.
The Siberian skull, along with equally ancient dog remains found in a cave in Belgium, indicate domestic dogs may have come from more than one ancestor, more than one area, and more than one era — contrary to popular scientific belief.
Researchers say the skull’s shortened snout — not as long and narrow as that of a wolf — is evidence the creature it came from was domesticated.
“Essentially, wolves have long thin snouts and their teeth are not crowded, and domestication results in this shortening of the snout and widening of the jaws and crowding of the teeth,” said Greg Hodgins, a researcher at the University of Arizona’s Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and co-author of the study. “What’s interesting is that it doesn’t appear to be an ancestor of modern dogs.”
Hodgins suspects even pre-ice age dogs were pets and helpers, as opposed to food sources.
“The dogs are not necessarily providing products or meat. They are probably providing protection, companionship and perhaps helping on the hunt. And it’s really interesting that this appears to have happened first out of all human relationships with animals.”
(Photos by Nikolai D. Ovodov)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: altai mountains, animals, belgium, cave, discovery, dogs, domestic, domestication, found, helpers, humans, hunters, ice age, origin, pets, relationships, science, siberia, skull, species, study, wolf
Sometimes breaking the rules leads to better rules.
The Rose Brooks Center for women took in a domestic violence victim and her dog, departing from their standard no-dogs policy after hearing the details of her case — her Great Dane had saved her when she was attacked by a hammer-wielding boyfriend.
According to KCTV 5, the dog covered her with his body, absorbing most of the blows until the boyfriend threw them both out of a second story window.
Despite their injuries, the woman was able to escape with her dog, who sustained several broken bones. She eventually got in touch with the center, located in the Kansas City area.
The center offered her a bed, but when they told her pets weren’t allowed, she balked. The shelter decided, for the first time in its history, to overlook their regulations and allow the dog to stay.
That decision would go on to lead to a change in policy at the shelter.
About 40 percent of battered women with pets stay in abusive relationships to protect or remain with their pets, said the center’s chief executive officer, Susan Miller.
“They provide so much comfort, and to have to leave that pet behind is so heartbreaking,” Miller said. “It has become abundantly clear that the incredible therapeutic benefits that pets can have on a family greatly outweigh the cost and inconvenience of housing them.”
The center is spending $140,000 to add seven kennels, a walking trail and a pet-friendly play area.
Miller, who made the decision to break the rules, credits the abused woman — who isn’t being identified — with bringing about the change.
“She was not going to leave her pet alone with him,” she said. “He saved her life.”
Shelter officials say they’ve seen a 300 percent increase in applications since becoming pet-friendly.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, abusive, animals, attack, battered, benefits, boyfriend, dog friendly, dogs, domestic violence, great dane, hammer, kansas city, kennels, no pets, pet friendly, pets, policy, relationships, rose brooks center, rules, saved, shelter, susan miller, therapeutic, therapy, trails, women