When singer-songwriter MadLyn filmed her latest music video she chose Salvation Mountain as the setting — a location that’s near the top of my list when it comes to American places of quirky and unnatural beauty.
And she brought her dog, Lucy, along to serve as the video’s co-star.
Salvation Mountain, built of trash, straw, adobe and and thousands of gallons of vibrantly colored paint, was one man’s tribute to his faith in God, and even though I’m not religious, I was fortunate enough to drop by and meet him twice (the mountain’s creator, not The Creator) when he was alive.
Once, for a magazine story, and once during my Travels with Ace, I spent some time with Leonard Knight — an admittedly reclusive and obsessive sort who let nothing stop him in his quest to fashion a mountain where there was none. Knight died in 2014 at age 82.
Salvation Mountain pops up like a colorful hallucination in the otherwise bleak, almost lunar, desert terrain around Niland, California.
MadLyn went there in July with her director/father and a cinematographer to film a video for her song “Will You Take Me Home” and she did all the things that people do in music videos — prance, skip, sing, twirl, look pensive, wear multiple outfits and toss her curly locks about.
In one scene, MadLyn was to stand in front of the mountain and hold her little dog as a camera-equipped drone zoomed in on them and passed overhead.
Lucy didn’t like that. She jumped out of MadLyn’s arms and took off.
Lucy had gone all day with no leash (she was playing the role of a stray), but when the drone approached for a close-up she “starts freaking out and jumps out of my arms and runs out into the desert,” MadLyn recounted.
As the sun went down, MadLyn, her father and the cinematographer searched for hours, on foot and by car, enlisting the help of Slab City’s other denizens, but Lucy could not be found and was not responding to their calls.
Because the cinematographer needed to get back to his family, they drove back to Los Angeles, a three and a half hour trip.
The next day, a Saturday, MadLyn called animal shelters located near Niland, printed up flyers, checked with the company Lucy’s microchip is registered with and sent out pleas on Facebook.
Then she and her father headed back to Niland to search some more for Lucy.
Sadly, and a bit ironicallly, what had happened in real life was exactly the opposite of what director Fred Fuster had in mind for the video.
While the song’s lyrics seemingly pertain to man-woman love, Fuster (being a father) envisioned a different, more innocent, interpretation of his daughter’s song.
“As director I insisted on having that story line — where this woman who has a hard time finding love meets this dog at Salvation Mountain and I guess falls in love,” he said.
But instead of finding a dog, Madlyn, in real life, lost one.
She later took her mother’s name, Madlyn, to honor her.
She has been active in raising money to fight breast cancer. Last year, she released the song, “I Call Her Mom,” with 100 percent of all digital sales going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
No strangers to loss and dealing with dark times, Fuster and his daughter pulled into Salvation Mountain after nightfall to look for Lucy and seek out people who might have seen her.
They went a gathering spot in Slab City called The Range, where an open mic night was being held, and showed Lucy’s picture around.
One man told Fuster that it was unlikely a small dog like Lucy — given all the hawks and coyotes in the area — was still alive after 24 hours.
That’s when Fuster sat down and began to pray.
When he opened his eyes and looked down, there was Lucy.
After a tearful reunion, Fuster and MadLyn put Lucy in the car and gave her some water. The 18-pound dog drank 24 ounces, MadLyn says.
MadLyn, as you can see in the video at the end of this post, clearly considers what happened a miracle.
“Lucy was missing in the desert of Salvation Mountain for 24 hours completely by herself, and through the grace of God alone, she came back,” she wrote in an email to ohmidog!
She says the video is “dedicated to all shelter and foster animals looking for a loving home.”
I have a feeling Leonard Knight would like this story.
I know I do.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, california, dedication, dog, dogs, faith, filming, fred fuster, god, leonard knight, lost, lucy, madlyn, miracle, miracle dog, music, music video, niland, pets, rescue, salvation mountain, shelter, singer, songwriter, will you take me home
The well had been left open by crews fixing a water line in a yard in Calvert County, and Sam stepped into it.
The 11-year-old dog fell about 40 feet before hitting water.
The home’s owner dropped a ladder down the well, allowing Sam to wedge himself between the side of the well and the ladder.
The Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call Tuesday evening, setting set up a rope system to lower a rescuer, according to the Washington Post,
Sam, who firefighters estimated spent about 30 minutes in the well, was checked out by a veterinarian Wednesday.
“Very rarely do we get calls like this,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jason Sharpe.
He called Sam “very, very lucky … It could have been worse.”
(Photos: Prince Frederick County Volunteer Fire Department)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, blind, calvert county, cocker spaniel, deaf, dog, dogs, fall, fell, fire department, maryland, pets, rescue, sam, well
A woman and her dog were pulled from their car Saturday, seconds after it disappeared under rising floodwaters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The car was about two-thirds submerged when some men on a boat pulled up, with video camera rolling.
She can be heard asking for help as the convertible sinks beneath the water.
“Oh my God, I’m drowning,” she says.
The men tried first to break a window as the Miata sank, then managed to pierce the convertible top and rip it open enough to pull the woman out just after the car submerged, according to the video that aired on WAFB
Immediately upon surfacing, the woman told the man who pulled her out to get her dog.
“Get my dog. Get my dog. Get my (expletive) dog.”
When he hesitated, she dove under the water.
“I’ll go down,” the woman said before diving and bobbing quickly back up, empty handed.
“I can’t get your dog,” the man in the water says after reaching under the water and into the car several times.
As he dives under one more time, one of the men on the boat says, “Maybe she’s gone.”
“No, she better not be,” says the woman.
Just then, the man in the water pops back up, with the dog in his arms.
“I got your dog.”
All three swam to the safety of the boat.
KHOU reported that the boat was being used to give a reporter a tour of the areas affected by the flooding, and that it was shot by WAFB reporter Robbie Reynold.
The man who jumped into the water and pulled the woman and dog from the car was identified as David Phung.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 15th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baton rouge, boat, car, convertible, david phung, disaster, dog, dogs, drowning, flooding, floodwater, louisiana, pets, rescue, saved, storms, weather
Nearly 50 deaf dogs evacuated from a shelter threatened by a raging wildfire north of Los Angeles have gotten a warm welcome at a state prison.
The owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America decided to evacuate the animals from their Santa Clarita kennel Sunday night as the Sand fire started moving closer to the property.
“We knew if we had an issue in the middle of the night, we would be here alone with 45 dogs to load up,” Lisa Tipton posted on the rescue’s Facebook page.
Deaf Dog Rescue takes in deaf dogs from across the country, trains them and places them in new homes. It also provides assistance to new deaf dog owners who need training advice.
The rescue was debating where it might take the dogs when the state prison in Lancaster — where Lisa’s husband, Mark, operates a dog training program called Karma Rescue — offered all 50 of them shelter.
“We arrived to find the man-cages ready for the dogs,” Lisa Tipton said, with “food, water, beds, and igloos.”
The hospitality didn’t end there, NBC 4 in Los Angeles reported.
“The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully. They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs…
“I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee.”
Even the dogs that aren’t always comfortable around strangers were coping well, Lisa Tipton added.
“To see incarcerated men of all races working so beautifully together to help others is a really amazing experience,” she said. “If they had turned us away, with 97 degree [heat], we would’ve had dead dogs in the trailer.”
She said the dogs will probably remain in the prison through the end of the week as efforts to contain the fire continue.
(Photos: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, deaf, deaf dogs, deaf dogs rescue of america, dogs, evacuate, evacuation, evacuees, fire, inmates, lancaster, pets, prison, prisoners, prisons, rescue, sand fire, shelter, state prison, wildfire
The wife of a Philadelphia police officer is proving that police dogs don’t have to be expensive European imports.
Carol Skaziak, after seeing too many dogs languishing in shelters, started an organization called Throw Away Dogs.
Established two years ago and based outside Philadelphia, the program rescues neglected shelter dogs and works to rehabilitate and train them for police work like narcotics detection and patrolling.
Since beginning her work, nine out of 12 dogs she has rescued have been placed with police departments across the country.
“I pour my heart and soul into it and all I ask for these departments is to just give my dogs a chance,” she told NBC News.
Unlike most police dogs, who commonly are expensive purebreds purchased from Europe, these home-grown mutts are donated to departments in need.
Assisting her in the effort are K-9 handlers from area police departments.
The program puts the dogs through a three-month training period, and while not all will earn spots on police forces, Skaziak says all dogs that go through the program find a home — something they didn’t have before.
“I will follow through with every dog from start to finish. Not all dogs will make it through K-9 school and I am OK with that outcome. I will then find a perfect loving family for that dog that will love and treat them like part of their family. It’s just a different kind of badge they will be wearing,” she notes on the organization’s website.
While she doesn’t believe every dog can be trained to be a police dog, there are many in shelters who have the high play drive it takes for the job.
After a graduation ceremony this year, two “throwaway” dogs were placed with the Roanoke Police Department, and a third with the police department in Roanoke, Va.
Skaziak, who is married to a Philadelphia police traffic officer, came up with the idea for Throw Away Dogs in 2013, while doing public relations work for a shelter in Philadelphia.
“I was upset about it, because people were throwing these dogs away like trash,” Skaziak told the Roanoke Times.
(Photos: Officer Bill Tars and Throw Away Dog Kayos in Roanoke, by Heather Rosseau / The Roanoke Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, carol skaziak, dog, dogs, europe, imported, K-9, law enforcement, officers, pets, philadelphia, police, police dogs, rescue, roanoke, rocky mount, shelter, Throw Away Dogs, training, virginia
Whether Diggy is to be or not to be a pit bull will be decided by a judge.
The dog whose smiling face went viral — and led local officials to label him a pit bull and order him to leave town — is going to get his day in court.
Since we last reported on the case, Diggy has been proclaimed an American bulldog by a local veterinarian, but Waterford Township officials apparently didn’t buy the vet’s pronouncement.
Diggy is a pit bull, they say, based on how he looks — and those are banned in the Michigan township, under its dangerous dog ordinance.
Because Diggy’s owner, Dan Tillery, was cited by local authorities for having a pit bull, the final disposition of the case will be left up to the court.
It’s all a tremendous waste of time — first and foremost because pit bull bans are ill-conceived and just don’t work. On top of that, pit bull isn’t a breed at all. On top of that, a judge is likely to be even worse at determining breed than animal control officials, police, shelters, rescues and even veterinarians are, which is pretty bad to begin with.
And on top of all those things, does either side really want to know?
If they did, you’d think they’d have conducted a DNA test by now.
The media coverage led the Waterford Police Department to drop by a few days later, take a look at Diggy, proclaim him a pit bull, and tell his owner that he had three days to get the dog out of town.
The dog had been listed as an American bulldog when he was in Detroit’s city animal shelter. He was pulled from there by Detroit Dog Rescue, which, in at least one Facebook post, labeled him an American bulldog-pit bull mix. On the official adoption papers, though, Detroit Dog Rescue listed him as American bulldog.
After the police department’s ultimatum, Tillery had the dog assessed by a local veterinarian who judged him to be American bulldog — though he apparently did so without conducting a DNA test.
That wasn’t good enough for local authorities, who, though they relaxed that three days to get out of town part, are still insisting Diggy is a pit bull and must leave.
Tillery met Monday with Waterford Township officials, and posted on his Facebook page that the prosecutor was sticking to the decision to have Diggy removed from the community.
A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11, at 2 p.m. in Waterford’s 51st District Court.
“My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family,” Tillery said in the post. “Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.”
“We’re not going in and removing the dog, we’re not destroying the dog — it is a pending violation,” she told the Oakland Press.
Tillery and his dog have seen an outpouring of support from dog lovers and those opposed to Waterford’s breed-specific legislation. More than 50 supporters showed up at a Waterford Board of Trustees meeting to ask officials to remove the dangerous dog ordinance from its books.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking the town to lift the ban.
Strangely, amid all the debate and national news coverage, DNA testing hasn’t been mentioned. If Tillery has pursued it, he’s staying quiet about it.
While some of the companies offering DNA tests — via blood samples or cheek swabs — skip around the pit bull question, a few of the tests do identify the breeds commonly associated with pit bulls.
One even offers a “pit bull exemption certificate” in cases where a dog is determined to be made up of 87 percent or more of non-pit bull breeds.
That may or not impress Waterford officials, or the judge, as such tests aren’t conclusive.
It’s still a possibility — that one side, or the other, or the judge, could pursue having the test done.
It would at least add some factual material to all the guesswork going on, at least a little foundation for the strident and unending Internet debate that is mostly — much like pit bull bans themselves — sound and fury, signifying nothing.
(Photos of Diggy by Dan Tillery)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, american bulldog, animals, breed bans, breed identification, breed specific bans, breeds, dan tillery, dangerous dog, detroit, diggy, dna, dog, dogs, guesswork, identification, identifying, judge, michigan, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelter, testing, types, waterford
A Staffordshire bull terrier mix described as “Britain’s loneliest dog” has been rescued after spending nearly her whole life in shelters — and given a role in the next Transformers movie.
Freya, who has epilepsy, was found as a stray when she was about six months old and has spent nearly six years in Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in Liverpool, according to the Hollywood Reporter.Director Michael Bay, after reading about the dog’s plight in The Mirror, says he will give the dog a role in the next Transformers movie and try to find her a home.
“If not, she will come to my house,” said Bay, who also owns two bull mastiffs.
Bay, the director of “Bad Boys,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon,” is making the fifth installment of the action series, “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
“To have this publicity is not just great for the Freya but the other 40 dogs we have,” said Debbie Hughes of the rescue center. “We have had Freya since she was found as a stray six-month old puppy who nobody ever claimed. We just hope she gets a home. She is a very loving dog.”
(Photo of Freya from Fairfields Animal Rescue Centre)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animals, britain, director, dogs, epilepsy, freshfields, loneliest dog, michael bay, mix, movie, pets, pit bull, rescue, shelter, staffordshire bull terrier, stray, transformers, uk