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Tag: reservation

Best Western could do better


You’d think a big hotel-motel chain would know and share the rules when it comes to service dogs — even one whose inns are “individually owned and operated.”

By federal law, service dogs are allowed. No ifs, ands or buts.

But a Best Western in Baton Rouge, citing its policy prohibiting dogs, recently denied reservations to a North Carolina family whose golden retriever serves as an epilepsy alert dog to their 13-year-old son, Beau.

Chip goes everywhere with Beau, who has a rare type of epilepsy called Landau-Kleffner Syndrome. “Chip alerts us to when Beau is having a seizure,” Beau’s mother, Karen Vaughn, told KPLC.

But after Vaughn made an online reservation at a Best Western in Baton Rouge, pointing out that service dog Chip would be among their party, the motel notified her that the reservation was being refused because the inn doesn’t allow dogs.

Vaughn, who is an attorney specializing in the rights of children with special needs, said that after she raised a stink the corporate office called back, a week later, saying they would honor the reservation. She said no thanks.

Normally, we would say sue the pants off the motel’s individual owner, and sue the pants off Best Western corporate honchos, too.

But Best Western has an unusual corporate structure — one they’ve argued doesn’t comprise a profit-making corporation, but is more of a cooperative. All hotels are individually owned and operated, and Best Western, from its headquarters in Phoenix, provides only reservations, marketing, brand identity and support services.

Individual owners of Best Western inns are allowed to make their own rules — but not rules that violate federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A Best Western spokesman told ohmidog! that the Baton Rouge motel has been temporarily banned from representing itself as a Best Western hotel.

“Best Western International has restricted the hotel on our reservations systems and we have required the hotel to stop representing itself as a Best Western branded hotel (cover or remove all Best Western signs and logos) until its representatives attend a hearing at our corporate headquarters at which their future association with Best Western will be decided,” he said.

“Best Western International requires each independently owned and operated hotel to comply with all federal, state and local laws and standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We provide extensive training to ensure our hotels understand and address the needs of guests with special needs. When this matter came to our attention, we immediately provided direction to the hotel and a reservation was offered to the family.

“We deeply regret the matter and we will continue to proactively communicate ADA requirements and training to Best Western branded hotels to ensure all guests are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

Best Western’s website boasts about their 1,600 pet-friendly locations.

Liberty brings home a leg (human)


It’s probably the last thing you want the dog to drag in.

Cheryl Flowers’ dog, Liberty, after a solo outing in the woods, returned to her home in Washington state with a human leg, dropping it next to the backyard trampoline.

“She drug a human leg into the yard. And I called police,” Flowers told CBS affiliate KIRO.

The dog’s discovery of the left leg and foot of a human led to a search Saturday on the Nisqually reservation by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

A search of the immediate area did not turn up additional remains before it turned dark Saturday. But on Sunday, with help from search dogs and volunteers, additional remains were found, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials said the age, race and gender aren’t known, and they have yet to confirm any foul play was involved.

The coroner’s office confirmed the remains to be human, and to include a rib cage, pelvis and skull.

12 Days of Christmas, desert style

On the first day of Christmas the desert gave to me: A woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the second day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Two turtle doves, or some kind of doves, anyway, or maybe pigeons, no, I think they’re doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the third day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Three cartons of Camels purchased from an Indian reservation, because they are much cheaper there, because there’s no tax, but I ended up gambling away what I had saved at the nearby casino anyway; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the fourth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Four really, really big tires, that go on a big open-air monster truck, with numerous passenger seats, offering tourists an “extreme” desert adventure, but probably not a real quiet one; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the desert gave to me: Five … howling …coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole..

On the sixth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Six Cave Creek t-shirts, for sale at the Indian Village shop next door, which may or may not be run by actual Indians, I don’t know because I haven’t been in there, because they have way too many bossy signs out front, but perhaps it’s necessary; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the seventh day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Seven bitchin’ Harleys, among hundreds more, which appear on the weekends, parked outside the Hideaway, a biker bar next door to my trailer park and which are probably why the Indian Village had to put up those signs in the first place; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the eighth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Eight handsome horses, which are much quieter than Harleys, though they don’t have as much horsepower, which seems odd; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the ninth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Nine cowboy hats, made in Guatemala, by Guatemalans, just a tiny bit of the inventory Michael Chazan sets out on display, in a dusty parking lot, as his dog Sarah watches, so of course I had to stop and buy one, which led me to meet one of the original members of the Hell’s Angels, who was inside the bar next door, with a film crew, because they’re making a movie about him; eight handsome horses, seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the tenth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Ten cactus branches, all belonging to the same candelabra type cactus, whose branches, for some reason, have little pots on top of them, like tiny helmets, no wait, they’re more like fezzes, which I’m pretty sure is the plural of fez … nine cowboy hats; eight handsome horses; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Eleven precariously balanced boulders, which seem like the could easily dislodge, and tumble down the mountain, and land on one of the fine mansions below, but I guess they don’t, either that or the mountainside mansion owners are so rich they can pay to get them secured; ten cactus branches; nine cowboy hats; eight handsome horses; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes; four really big tires; three cartons of Camels, two turtle doves and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the twelfth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Twelve saguaros at sunset, really my favorite of all the cacti, because they stand tall, and have arms and wave at you, or at least seem like they are, and they kind of remind me of Gumby, though I never really like Gumby, but I do like cacti, especially saguaro, which are sort of the redwoods of the desert; eleven precariously balanced boulders; ten cactus branches; nine cowboy hats; eight handsome horses; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes; four really big tires; three cartons of Camels, two turtle doves, or some kind of doves, anyway; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

Highway Haiku: Secure the Borders?

“Secure the Borders?”

You’re lucky, white man

That the Navajo Nation

Shares its vast beauty

(Highway Haiku is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing tale of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America. “Dog’s Country” can be found exclusively on ohmidog! To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Roadside Encounters: Summer

Name: Summer Yazzie

Tribe: Navajo

Age: Turning 11 this month

Encountered: At a roadside jewelry stand off Highway 89 on the Navajo reservation, just north of the turnoff to Tuba City, Arizona. She, her sister, Vitara, and her mother, Violet, a jewelry designer, live in Tuba City and sell Violet’s handmade jewelry in a lean-to on the side of the highway — and online as well.

Goals: Summer, whose mother describes her as a future diva, wants to be an American Idol contestant.

Judging from her singing — she performed a Taylor Swift song for me  – she’d be a strong contender.

Summer’s also a dog lover, and has one of her own, Cameron, named after the nearby town. She’s pictured here with my dog, Ace.

(Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing tale of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America. “Dog’s Country” can be found exclusively on ohmidog! To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Shelter won’t say where 80 dogs ended up

Animal welfare advocates who noticed the sudden disappearance of 80 dogs from a privately run, city-owned shelter in Ferris, Texas, are disturbed with the shelter management’s refusal to say where the dogs ended up.

Domestic Animal Rescue Emergency Shelter Services (DARESS), a nonprofit that had been contracted with to operate the city owned shelter, began taking in dogs in November.

The manager of the organization says workers took the dogs to an Indian reservation. But he won’t say where, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“Every one of those dogs are happy, healthy, well-fed, watered, taken care of, loved and not abandoned any longer,” shelter manager James “Soaring Eagle” Vonda said. “Every Native American wants to have a dog and a cat because it relates to their spirit guide.” 

Vonda declined to give the location of the reservation, saying that revealing it might also disclose the location of a shelter he runs for victims of domestic violence.

The city of Ferris has since terminated its contract with DARESS, under which the city didn’t pay DARESS anything but did agree to make $5,000 in improvements to the shelter. The nonprofit was to make its revenue by adopting out animals.

Under the contract, after 72 hours of being held at the shelter, all animals became the property of DARESS.

“We can do what we want to do with them … we’re certainly not going to kill them,” said Vonda, whose nonprofit is based in Leonard in Fannin County, north of Collin County. “We’re going to take them to someone who will care for them for the rest of their life.”

The animal shelter is now back in the city’s control.

It’s not the first controversy involving the animal shelter in Ferris. In December 2008, the former city manager allowed Ferris police officers to shoot feral dogs on sight. Last summer, the city ordered all the animals in the shelter to be euthanized if they weren’t adopted within 15 days.

Reservation dogs in N.M. get a helping hand

rezdogsDogs can have it rough on Indian reservations, but two women — former co-workers now living 90 miles apart – are doing their best to rescue those in need and find them new homes.

Mary Williams,  a clinical nurse at the Crownpoint Health Care Facility in Crownpoint, N.M., has been rescuing dogs from the Navajo reservation for more than three years.

And Luisa Alvarez, a former co-worker of Williams is now operating a similar dog Rescue in Fort Defiance, Ariz., where she started taking in strays not long after moving there.

Both find homes for those dogs they can, and take the others to no-kill shelters in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., and Boulder, Colo.

Between them, the two women have saved more than a thousand dogs and cats, according to an article on Reznet, a Native American news website.

Last year Navajo Nation Animal Control responded to 286 dog attacks and impounded more than 6,000 animals, including cats, said Olin Arviso, animal control manager at Fort Defiance, Ariz. The shelter euthanizes about 80 percent of the animals, according to the article, which noted dogs are far from pampered on the reservation.

“They’re not companions or friends, they’re expected to protect,” said an instructor from the Navajo Technical College. “The dog doesn’t really have any significance. In the Navajo way, a dog is not allowed in the hogan — inside the living quarters.”

On the reservation, dogs are often abandoned in the wilderness, drowned, or left on the highway. Many just roam, attached to no particular owner.

“I believe that every soul … deserves a chance at a good life,” Alvarez said. “There is no reason for the suffering that we see surrounding us.”

(Photo courtesy of RezNet, a project of the University of Montana School of Journalism; by Andi Murphy, a Navajo journalism student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, serving this summer as editor of the Crownpoint Baahane’, a community newsletter in Crownpoint, N.M.)

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