It was the monthly meeting of the Northern California chapter of Tripawds, an online community for canine amputees and their owners.
The members started getting together about three years ago, Ralph Kanz of Oakland, who cares for three, three-legged German Shepherds, told the Marin Independent Journal.
The dogs played, socialized and ate a cake made from peanut butter, bananas and bacon, brought along by one San Francisco member.
Referred to as tripods by many owners, some of the dogs had lost limbs due to accidents, others due to cancerous tumors.
Jim Nelson and Rene Agredano created Tripawds.com after their German Shepherd, Jerry, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2006 and had to have a front leg amputated.
“For a lot of people, it’s a shock to see a tripod,” Agredano said. “What we do is we try to change their reaction from pity to amazement and get them to see these dogs don’t care.”
“When you see these dogs getting along on three legs and not caring about anything except having a good time, it’s a great reminder that we should all live our lives like that,” Agredano added.
(Photo: Angie McGraw of Novato pets Lylee, a 12-year-old dog who lost a leg to bone cancer. McGraw’s dog. Sadie, stands behind her; by Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal.)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accidents, amputate, amputations, amputees, animals, california, cancer, canine, club, community, dog park, dogs, health, jim nelson, legs, marin, mill valley, online, pets, rene agredano, resilience, surgery, three legs, three-legged, tripawd, tripod, website
Just look at him now.
Dubbed Patrick — in honor of St. Patrick’s Day — he defied all the odds.
One year later, he’s looking healthy and happy — though a custody battle is still raging over him.
Meanwhile, his former owner, who turned down a plea deal, is scheduled to appear in court today for her trial on animal cruelty charges.
Patrick was originally taken in and cared for by the Associated Humane Societies, New Jersey’s largest animal shelter organization.
In the months that followed, by virtue of his inspiring story, he’d become a poster boy for the rescue organization, the veterinary hospital, and a few others that hoped to capitalize on his growing fame by using his case and image to fight for stronger animal abuse laws.
Associated Humane Societies is seeking permanent custody, despite earlier rulings that he should remain in the custody of Garden State Veterinary Specialists of Tinton Falls.
Both sides accuse the other of trying to profit from Patrick’s plight.
Patrick weighed 19 pounds when he arrived there, and now weighs 50. He has been staying with Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, the hospital’s administrator, who wants to keep him.
AHS says Patrick should be returned, and that once he is, they would begin the process of finding a home for him. They deny that they are trying to make a profit off of him, and say the veterinary hospital didn’t have the right to take possession of a dog brought in for treatment.
She is not accused of tossing the dog down the chute, only of neglecting and abandoning him.
(Photo credits: Top, The Patrick Miracle Facebook page; middle, Associated Humane Societies; bottom, Newark Star-Ledger)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, associated humane societies, battle, bin, chute, cruelty to animals, custody, dog, dogs, emaciated, fight, garbage, garden state veterinary specialists, high rise, inspiration, kisha curtis, miracle, new jersey, newark, patrick, pets, pit bull, profit, recovery, rescued, resilience, st patricks day, story, straving, thin, trash, trial
Found inside a trash bag that was hurled out of a car — with BB’s under his skin and his eyeballs apparently gouged out – a miniature pinscher even some veterinarians thought would be better off dead has surprised everyone.
And touched them, too, it seems — enough to spark $17,000 in donations.
A story about Andre — a tiny dog who now bears the name of a giant — appeared in the Arizona Republic Sunday, and started out this way:
To get through the beginning, you need to know how it ends.
The beginning was Jan. 3, when Cedric Conwright, while on his afternoon walk in Tolleson, saw a car pull to the side of the road, and something thrown from its window just before it drove away.
Inside, he found a small dog in bad shape. He picked him up and took him home, and was surprised to see it could stand and drink.
Two days later, Conwright took the dog to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in hopes of getting it medical help. They gave some thought to euthanizing the dog, estimated to be about four years old, but instead performed surgery, removing what was left of his eyes.
After two weeks, animal control started seeking a rescue group willling to take him in as a foster.
Among those responding was the Feathers Foundation, a Paradise Valley non-profit group associated with the Circle L Animal Sanctuary. The foundation raises money for the care of injured and neglected animals.
When Susy Hopkins, a Feathers Foundation member picked him up, he was thin as a rail and had green fluid leaking from his eyes sockets and down his face.
She stopped at McDowell Mountain Animal Hospital in Scottsdale, where a vet gave Andre — the name she’d given him — an examination. The vet recommended euthanasia.
Hopkins said no, and asked the vet’s office to do what they could. In addition to infected eyes, Andre was anemic and had diabetes, and under his skin were what appeared to be BB’s from a pellet gun.
Over the next few days, Andre started appearing more lively, and his rescuers went to work trying to raise money for the medical care he had gotten and would need.
Deborah Wilson, a Scottsdale gynecologist who runs the Circle L Sanctuary, set up a page for Andre on FirstGiving.com, a website where non-profits can seek donations for their causes.
While she’s posted several pleas over the years, she says she’s never seen the kind of outpouring of support there was for Andre — about $13,000.
Rescuers also set up a fundraiser at a downtown Scottsdale pizza restaurant; more than 250 people showed up and about $3,500 was raised. Feathers Foundation has announced that any excess funds will go to other animals in need.
There’s something about Andre that brings out the best in people, said Hopkins.
“People just wanted to see Andre, to hold him, to hug him,” she said. “And no matter how many people wanted to pet him, Andre never resisted. He was so calm, so gentle. It made me wonder even more why someone would treat him so badly.”
On Feb. 11, a home was found for Andre. Sandy Powers saw his story on TV. “It was love at first sight,” Powers said. “I had never adopted a rescue dog before, but I knew I wanted to care for this one.”
Andre has joined Powers’ other dog, K-Bela, a 90-pound Rottweiler mix she inherited from her brother-in-law.
Being without sight, he treads carefully, and follows voices, and once he finds a human, he’ll lean against them. “When I talk or sing a little, he stays right with me on my heels,” said Powers.
While he’s back on antibiotics for his eye infection, and getting continued treatment for diabetes, Powers hopes he will be well enough for a picnic arranged for his fans. (More information about that can be found on his Facebook page.)
As the Republic reported, the small dog’s impact has been huge.
Andre is still tiny, weighing about 9 pounds. An underdog, to be sure. But one person gave him a chance, and then another, and then another. Word got around, and soon hundreds of people were donating thousands of dollars. And instead of being a dog that cost $5,000 to save, he became a dog that raised $12,000 extra for injured and abused animals down the line.
“It’s amazing how a tiny little spirit can touch so many hearts,” Powers said.
(Photo: Pat Shannahan / the Arizona Republic)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, andre, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, bbs, car, cedric conwright, circle l animal santuary, compassion, cruelty, cruelty to animals, deborah wilson, diabetes, dogs, eyes, feathers foundation, first giving, firstgiving, found, fundraising, gouged, help, humans, maricopa county, min pin, miniature pinscher, outpouring, pets, phoenix, recovery, resilience, shot, starving, surgery, susy hopkins, thrown, tolleson, trash bag
Despite the many lasting impacts of 9-11, America bounced back from the attack, and the dogs involved in the massive search and rescue effort that followed may have proven the most resilient of all.
While many human rescuers are showing respiratory health problems a decade later, their canine colleagues have had minimal setbacks, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine 9/11 Medical Surveillance study.
The study, funded by a $500,000 donation from American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation, monitored the long-term health impacts on 95 search-and-rescue dogs deployed to the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Staten Island landfills.
Researchers also compared their health to a control group of non-deployed search-and-rescue dogs.
“The most striking thing is that many of the humans that responded have developed reactive airway diseases, such as asthma, sinusitis or other chronic infections in their nasal sinuses. The dogs on the other hand have fared extremely well,” said Dr. Cynthia Otto, a principal investigator for the study. ”They’re not developing any problems with their lungs or sinuses. That is a real surprise.”
Those surviving 9-11 dogs who received cuts and scrapes in searching through the debris have long since recovered from those injuries.
Kaiser, now a 12-year-old German shepherd (pictured above), was one of only four dogs in the study that required stitches while working at Ground Zero.
“On our second day there, Kaiser sliced a pad on the pile,” said Tony Zintsmaster, Kaiser’s trainer and a charter member of Indiana Task Force One. “Once he was stitched up and felt better, Kaiser went back to work. He was quite amazing. He was able to adapt to the situation and showed great agility. He seemed happiest when he was on the pile working.”
Zintsmaster, along with other handlers who participated in the study, submitted annual X-rays, blood samples and surveys on their dog’s health and behavior to researchers.
The study found that the average lifespan of deployed dogs was 12.5 years, while non-deployed search-and-rescue dogs lived an average 11.8 years. According to the study, today at least 13 deployed search-and-rescue dogs that were part of the study are still alive.
Because canine and human genomes are similar and most canine diseases also occur in humans, future research could center on learning why the search-and-rescue dogs were able to endure the challenging conditions with minimal respiratory complications.
Identifying respiratory genetic markers in canines could lead to the development of treatments for respiratory ailments in humans, Dr. Otto said.
“The findings may open our eyes to the difference between dogs and people that makes them so resilient. If we could tap into that, we might actually help move human health forward.”
(Photos: By Charlotte Dumas, who tells the story of the remaining 9-11 dogs for her new book ”Retrieved.” )
Posted by jwoestendiek September 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, 911, american kennel club, anniversary, attack, canine health foundation, canines, dogs, health, humans, kaiser, remaining, resilience, respiratory, school of veterinary medicine, search and rescue, study, surviving, tuff, university of pennsylvania, world trade center
Yesterday, in updating you on Ace’s miracle recovery, we acknowledged in a backhanded kind of way all the prayers and well wishes you sent his way.
Allow us to do it in a forehanded way, too: Thank you.
Ace remains, from all appearances, over whatever it was that seemed to make him lose control of half of his 130-pound body on Monday.
He’s raring to go, darting all over the place when I take him outside, grabbing my hand in his mouth to pull me along for what he’d like to be a long walk. He seems to have totally forgotten the condition he was in two days ago. I, on the other hand, have not, and so, like an over-protective parent, offer up the kind of buzzkill only humans can provide.
“Let’s wait one more day. Slow down. Be careful. Stop frolicking, dammit.”
It’s the main difference between dogs and people. He being a dog, doesn’t let his past, even recent-as-yesterday past, bring him down. He doesn’t let fears of the future dictate his behavior, or maybe he knows better than me that the possibility of being hobbled tomorrow is all the more reason to run your ass off today.
I don’t know if your responses made Ace better, but they absolutely served that purpose for me. (I have more friends than I thought — or at least he does — and lots of them are strangers.)
Through comments left on ohmidog! and Travels with Ace, through personal emails and phone calls, we heard from several dozen people, including a few of those we encountered during the past year as we criss-crossed America.
Our intent in Travels with Ace was not to bog you down with reports of our physical ailments, not to bemoan the obstacles we were confronted with, not to get all cantankerous about the small stuff life throws our way.
Just as we didn’t ignore the country’s warts, we shared our personal bad moments, too – not to evoke sympathy, not to tug at heartstrings, but to reflect reality. The same holds true of our financial condition. Being unemployed was one of things that sparked the trip; and traveling, with the dog, on a shoestring, was an exercise in frugality mandated by the times and my own personal economic situation.
I, like a lot of Americans, and like America, am having trouble paying my bills.
Embarassing as that may be, I’ve admitted it — far more often than my mother would like me to — and I acknowledged again during Ace’s trauma that, short of draining what little remains in the old 401 K and pulling off a heist of some sort, I’m likely not in a position to scrounge up what any surgery he needed would probably cost.
One of the people we heard from yesterday was a woman who offered to pay for any veterinary care Ace needed. We declined her kind offer, given Ace’s recovery. I wrote her back, thanking her, telling her Ace seemed to be doing fine now, and, for some reason, baring my soul. (Apparently, much like a stripper, I will bare my soul for tips, or even the offer of them.) I explained to her how, in selfish pursuit of doing what I want to do, I’ve decided to scrape by without a job, and in the process have become an insufficient provider.
Putting personal dreams above salary and health insurance may be noble, or it may just be stupid. In any event it’s a choice that, for me, leads to some feelings of guilt during times like this week — times that seem to say, “Get a job, doofus.”
I did suggest she buy my book, which would add several cents to my portfolio.
She wrote back: “That’s wonderful news about Ace, John! I bought your book long ago, it’s how I discovered your blog and “met” Ace. It’s a fascinating book, btw, you’re a compelling writer. I understand your reservations about the money – been there, done that, so to speak. Ace is your family though, and by virtue of your blog, he’s my friend, so I hope it will never be necessary but if it should become necessary, I hope you would let his friends help. And pursuing your dreams is a great way to spend a life. Give Ace a good belly rub for me!”
The belly rub has been given, her compliments have been read and re-read (they serve as a belly rub to me), and her email address has been put in a file marked guardian angels, in the second drawer of the file cabinet on the right. (I write that here in case I forget, should I ever need to find it.)
Wrote another total stranger, upon reading of Ace’s improvement, “ …Amen And Pass The Kibble that Ace is doing well this morning. Having read ohmidog! for the past few years, you and Ace are a couple o’ ramblers that I’ve come to care about in that funny internet way. You just about killed me when you described losing your composure when he leaned on you. I know, I know! I was with you, in that moment. I was with you yesterday in the midst of your nerve-wracking vet visit with an IV bag tied to your roof rack. That would be why you’re an award-winning journalist. Big hugs to both of you, and if you’re ever in the upstate NY area, give a holler on-blog beforehand. We would love to meet “our” sweet Ace. Oh, and you, too, of course. You know how it is.”
More belly rubs for me, but, more than that, it was another note that reinforced what we learned during our travels: However down America might be right now, its people, and its dogs, are a resilient bunch; and people still care about people, especially dog people.
Having invited any theories readers might have, I also heard from several people offering guesses on what it might have been that knocked Ace’s legs out from under him
“My vote still goes with ‘ate something that disagreed with him.’ I woke up absolutely dreading this day for a number of reasons. I checked here before I even looked at the news. Now I’m smiling. You guys stay cool, and we’ll keep rolling out those prayers and good thoughts.”
That one was from Anne, one of several from my friend, technical consultant on internetty issues and web space provider in Baltimore, who, though she lost her husband at the end of last month, though both she and her beagle are still working through the grieving process, took the time to pass on her best wishes.
Some thought it might be heat related, and another reader suspected tick paralysis.
“I’m so glad ACE seems to have had a spontaneous recovery! We had a situation eerily similar to what you described with a newfie mix of ours several years ago. Our vet diagnosed tick paralysis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick_paralysis), which he had seen kill several dogs over the years. I had never heard of it, despite living in a state where Lyme and such are common. I thought I’d mention it since our vet said there are a lot of vets who aren’t familiar with it due to its rarity. Warm hugs to Ace!”
And, after our initial report on Ace’s affliction, there were many like this — both from people I know and people I’ve never met:
“I’m crying, and my own dogs are wondering why. Much love and all of our support to both Ace and you. Nothing scarier, for me at least, than a sick pup. Please keep us updated. You two are FAMILY.”
The pesky part of me wanted to write back and ask if my room is ready and what we were having for dinner tonight. Here’s the thing — some of my friends, possibly even some of those stranger friends I’ve never even met, would say come on over. However cash poor America is, it’s rich that way.
We send thanks, too, to Dr. Raymond Morrison, Ace’s vet at Ard-Vista Animal Hospital, here in Winston-Salem, who went beyond the call of duty — and didn’t charge for it — when I ran back into his office after our visit to inform him Ace was copiously vomiting in the back of my car. He strung an IV bag to my roof rack and had a technician adminster about 20 minutes worth of a subcutaneous drip that seemed to immediately improve both Ace’s panting and his legs.
Once he was back home and out of the car, the ailment seemed to disappear as quickly, and mysteriously, as it had arrived.
That we’re living a somewhat insulated life here — partly by choice, in pursuit of another dream, which is to turn our travels into a book — made all the comments and notes, from old friends and new ones alike, worth even more.
What restored Ace’s legs back to full power may be a mystery, but it’s no mystery what reconfirmed my faith in humanity.
It was you.
(Graphic: Pawprint thank you card available at Etsy.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ailment, america, americans, animals, belly rubs, control, dogs, dreams, economy, faith, finances, friends, heat, humanity, legs, letters, mystery, notes, ohmidog!, pets, recovery, resilience, road trip, strangers, support, thank you, thanks, tick paralysis, travels with ace, veterinarian, veterinary
I never expected our “Travels with Ace” adventures would include Ace riding in the back seat of a car with a former Michael Vick dog.
Then again, I never expected we’d be hanging out in a strip club, either.
But our visit to The Lodge in Dallas led us to meet Mel, a still meek and fearful, sad-eyed, mostly black pit bull — small in stature, short on confidence, and sweet as pecan pie.
Mel was adopted from Best Friends by Sunny Hunter, manager of VIP services at the swanky Dallas gentlemen’s club, and her husband Richard Hunter, a talk show host whose outlook on life isn’t as bleak as his goth appearance may lead you to think — especially since Mel came into their lives.
For one thing, you see – in his fearful eyes, his tentative stride – the effects of the torture Vick inflicted; for another you see a true innocent; a mild-mannered dog whose lack of killer instinct led him to be designated a bait dog, a living chew toy.
But you also see a dog who, despite all that humans did to him in his first year of life, seems to hold no grudge against the species.
Mel was only about a year old when he was seized from the Vick estate in Virginia. He was one of 47 survivors, and one of the 22 who, deemed most hopeless, were sent to Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in southern Utah.
He spent nearly two years at Best Friends, where trainers worked to help him overcome his fearfulness and eventually pronounced him adoptable.
Richard and Sunny already had an application in by then — starting off a process that would take more than a year. Sunny had grown interested in adopting a Vick dog after seeing a documentary. Richard had one of Best Friends’ trainers on his talk show.
The couple waited for nine months, then underwent a criminal background check, and a home visit. Finally, they were invited up to Best Friends to spend a week living on the grounds and getting to know Mel. They brought their dog Pumpkin, a terrier mix, along as well.
Pumpkin immediately became friends with Mel, and became his guardian — a role he continues to fulfill.
Last fall, the adoption having been approved by the same judge who sent Vick to prison for two years, Mel was delivered to the Hunter’s home in Dallas by a Best Friends trainer and caregiver, who stayed in town for a week, visiting daily.
Richard describes the adoption process as “daunting,” but worth it. Mel slowly came out of his shell, and though he still quivers at first when strangers show up, or when he’s in new surroundings, he’s getting more used to meeting people. It used to take three visits before he was comfortable with a stranger, now it takes only 20 minutes or so.
Pumpkin, who is 13, has been a huge factor in his transition.
“At home, when a new person shows up, Mel sits in the corner with his back to the wall, like a statue. Pumpkin gets in front of him and screens him. Pumpkin has been instrumental in getting him to relax,” Richard said.
Mel has never barked, or made any sound, in the time they have had him. At night, if Mel needs a trip outside, Pumpkin takes note of him standing by the door and barks for him.
Mel seems most comfortable when he’s in a car, Sunny and Richard said — so we decided that’s how we all should meet. We greeted Mel and Pumpkin through a window, then loaded Ace into the backseat with them — a tight fit, but no one seemed bothered by it. Pumpkin shielded Mel the whole time, allowing him to be sniffed and petted, but never leaving his side.
Richard says Mel was used as a bait dog, due to his small size and mild temperament. He was likely muzzled when he was thrown into the ring with other dogs being trained to fight. He was not one of those that Bad Newz Kennels terminated — sometimes by drowning or hanging.
“Most people really didn’t take the time to look at the details of the case – the jumper cables, the hanging, the drowning, the distance throwing contests. That’s just bizarre. It’s diabolical,” Richard said. As for Vick’s return to the NFL, he said, “It was very disappointing to me that the American public stood for it. He’s psychopathic, like a serial killer.”
While Vick’s dogs were, in most cases, rehabilitated, Richard is among those who doubt the same was truly achieved by Vick, despite his appearances in an anti-dogfighting campaign.
Mel’s tail, which was broken in his youth, stayed between his legs for the first few months, Richard said. ”Now, he smiles and he walks with his head up. His tail was broken, so it doesn’t really wag.”
“His resilience is amazing to me,” Richard said. “He really has changed my life. It’s amazing to me that he’s willing to love us — that he’s still able to judge people individualy when for the first year of his life, if he saw a human being, it meant something terrible was going to happen to him.
“We just want to make him as happy as can be.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, adoption, animal welfare, animals, best friends, cruelty, dallas, dog fighting, dog's country, dogfighting, dogs, gentlemen's club, mel, michael vick, pets, pumpkin, rehabilitation, rescue, resilience, richard hunter, road trip, shelter, sunny hunter, the lodge, torture, travel, traveling with dogs, vick, vick dogs