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Tag: retriever

Last month’s feel-good story takes bad turn

Luke the K9 solo (Courtesy of Joel Fields)

A suburban police officer who made national headlines for rescuing a doomed shelter dog and training him for police work has been fired from his job — and his whole story is now being questioned.

On top of that, the Bel-Ridge Police Department, outside St. Louis, is asking that officer Joel Fields return the dog that taxpayers, at least in part, paid to have trained, at least in part, as a police K9.

The total truth about the story is still unraveling, but the untruths unearthed so far indicate the heartwarming account Fields gave the news media wasn’t entirely accurate — including the claim that the dog, named Luke, came from a shelter and was scheduled to be euthanized.

As a result, and as has happened before, all across the Internet, thousands of hearts were falsely warmed.

As usual, we can blame lazy news media, and even lazier bloggers, for the misinformation — as well as the officer whose account of saving the dog from death’s doorstep was initially accepted on its face as truthful.

fieldsFields was praised by PEOPLE and pictured as a savior by numerous dog websites after the story broke in April.

(Fortunately, ohmidog! wasn’t one of them. We’d like to say it’s because it didn’t pass our special sniff test, or get approved by our crack team of fact checkers, but it was probably more dumb luck.)

Still, there were clues — like how hard Fields seemed to be seeking publicity, the professionally made photos he supplied of him and Luke, and the boasting about all the drug busts Luke nearly immediately made as a rookie on the job.

“He made seven drug busts in less than a month and a half of working the road with me,” Fields told Fox2 News.

How true that is — as well as the rest of the story Fields gave about the retriever — are now under suspicion.

News4 in St. Louis is now reporting that Brad Croft, the owner of Universal K9, the company that helped train Luke, is saying the account Fields gave the news media was mostly lies.

“I was a little upset, because Joel was told from the day I handed him the leash of the dog that this was not a shelter dog,” said Croft.

Croft told News4 he suspects Fields was lying about the dog’s background in an effort to gain fame and “get people to back him and give him money.”

Officials are also now investigating whether Luke was fully trained and certified as a police dog.

City prosecutor Sam Alton says Fields initially told them the dog was certified as a K9, but he says they have learned that is not true. That fact could complicate any criminal court cases Luke played a role in.

Alton says Fields is now refusing to give up the dog, whose training was funded at least in part by taxpayers.

“We would like to see the taxpayers not lose money, we would like the dog to live a happy and productive life and we would like to see the dog in service as it was meant to be,” Alton said.

“Everything legally from our point of view shows that the dog belongs to the city of Bel-Ridge,” he added. “It’s unfortunate for the city, it’s unfortunate for the residents, it’s unfortunate for the dog and it’s unfortunate for him (Fields).”

Fields told News4 over the phone this week that he quit and wasn’t fired, and wouldn’t comment anymore until talking to his attorney.

KMOV.com

Go ahead, make Eastwood’s day

eastwood

A statewide Empty the Shelters event Saturday was a huge success, with more than 2,500 dogs and cats being adopted from 65 shelters and rescues across Michigan.

Nearly 20 shelters managed to find homes for all their residents, including the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society — almost.

There, the only one not celebrating was Eastwood.

The red Labrador retriever, who has some vision problems and congenital leg deformities, found himself the only dog left in the shelter.

eastwood2“Poor Eastwood is so lonely now that all of his pals have been adopted,” the humane society said in a Facebook post.

“Eastwood is the only dog left at the shelter after Empty the Shelters on Saturday, but we know the perfect home is out there somewhere. This amazing boy has a few health issues that need to be addressed (which is why we think he was abandoned initially, poor guy!), but this boy is so sweet, we know it will be well worth it.”

The shelter estimated the future surgeries Eastwood may need could be more than $4,000.

“Although we understand this is a lot to take on for most families, we are committed to finding the perfect fit for Eastwood.”

Saturday’s Empty the Shelters event was sponsored by the Bissell Pet Foundation in hopes of reducing the number of animals euthanized each year. During the event, the foundation covers the adoption fees, which run about $150 per dog on average.

The late-breaking good news? After Eastwood’s lonesome mug appeared in a Facebook post, more than 80 people applied to adopt him.

Humane society staff picked the one that appeared to be the best fit, and Eastwood will soon be moving to his new home.

It was a few days later than every other dog in the shelter got adopted, but, happily, somebody made Eastwood’s day.

(Photos courtesy of Little Traverse Bay Humane Society)

UNC baseball team starts season with a service dog in the dugout

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.

remingtonRucinski says student athletes who underwent surgeries in the fall seem to be bouncing back more quickly since Remington joined the team. “I’d like to think he had something to do with it,” she says.

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.

“They were the best person for the job”

A home improvement store says a disabled vet and his service dog were “the best person for the job.”

So now you can find them, in matching employee vests, helping customers at the Lowe’s in Abilene.

Clay Luthy says he has had Charlotte since she was a puppy.

texas-lowes-dog“She was never supposed to be a service dog. I found out a couple years ago she was alerting me and I didn’t even know it,” said Luthy, who always has Charlotte at his side at work.

“I was trying to figure out where I could go that would be a good fit and it wouldn’t mind having Charlotte, and my wife said I was at Lowe’s so much anyway, I might as well get a job there,” he told KIDY.

“We knew he was gonna make a great employee – we just got the benefit of getting Charlotte right along with him,” said Jay Fellers, Lowe’s human resources manager.

The duo has been getting some news coverage since Judy Dechert Rose, a customer at Lowe’s, posted the image online last week:

“This is a retired vet who struggled to get a job because he needs his service dog! Lowes hired them BOTH!!” she wrote.

Luthy, who served in the Air Force, said he was surprised when it went viral.

“By the time I looked at it, there was 1,000 comments on it. Oh my gosh, it was ridiculous,” he said.

It wasn’t the first Lowe’s to hire an employee AND his service dog.

Back in June, a Lowe’s in Saskatchewan was in the news for hiring Owen Lima and his dog Blue.

(Photo: Facebook)

Chilling out with some golden retrievers

Finding the heat a little oppressive?

This video is guaranteed to cool you down, refresh your soul if you’re a dog lover, and fill you with joy if you’ve got a soft spot for golden retrievers.

Kim Sirett, a dog walker in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, took a dozen of her clients dogs and her own golden to the Nainamo River for a swim day earlier this month.

“I grew up with Golden Retrievers and they are all about swimming. If I have five of them on a hike, they congregate at the water and just stare at me to throw a stick,” said Sirett, who operates Pooch Pack Adventures.

“I just thought it would be such an easy, fun day if I had only Golden Retrievers on my hike — all my troubles would go away.”

It’s the fifth year she has organized an annual swim for the dogs, and the largest one so far, according to the Vancouver Sun

She loaded the retrievers, and one yellow Lab, into her van, drove to the river and released them.

Sirett, who specializes in 2-hour off-leash adventure hikes, worked as an executive in the pet industry for 10 years before ditching that job and becoming a dog walker.

She posted a video of the special adventure on YouTube this week.

If you’re impressed with how she leash-lessly controlled a dozen dogs, check out what she did last year:

To raise awareness for victims of domestic violence, she organized “40 Dogs on a Log for a Cause.”

More than $3,000 was raised for Haven Pets and Families. The program helps pay for the care of pets whose owners are afraid to leave abusive situations and seek shelter because they would have to leave their pets behind.

Dog’s ashes mixed with ink for tattoo

treotattooWe thought we’d heard of every way there is to immortalize a beloved canine companion — from taxidermy to cloning, from turning ashes into jewelry to inserting ashes into a stuffed animal —  but this is a new one on us.

A British ex-soldier has paid tribute to the dog he served with in Afghanistan by getting a tattoo on his leg, made from ink mixed with the animal’s ashes.

Treo, a bomb-detecting black Lab, moved in with his handler after the two left the Army at about the same time.

Treo died in October at the age of 14, and now Dave Heyhoe, an ex-sergeant, wears a tattoo on his calf of Treo’s pawprint and 80 words relating to how the  dog loyally served his handler.

“The tattoo completes me,” the former serviceman from Cheshire told the Daily Mail. “People might think it’s strange, but Treo was like a son to me, and his death has knocked me for six.

“Over the years we have seen gunfire, death and bomb scares together – I’ve been lost without him. Now it feels like Treo is by my side – where he’s supposed to be.”

heyhoetreo

During his service, the black Labrador is said to have prevented the deaths of dozens of British troops. He was awarded the Dickin Medal in 2010 for his service.

That tattoo is not Heyhoe’s only tribute to the dog.

He also wrote a book about him, “It’s All About Treo, Life, Love and War with the World’s Bravest Dog.”

(Photos: SWNS/Daily Mail)

May your Thanksgiving be golden

turkey

By way of wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, we present this photo — and offer our thanks to the photographer, and his dog, Bailey, who posed not once but six times.

Bailey played all six roles for the re-creation of this family scene.

The photos were taken by her owner, John Nebbia, of Omaha, Nebraska. Photoshop probably deserves some credit too.

The image appears to show a holiday gathering of six different dogs, but they are all Bailey, who was decked out in six different wardrobes.

“We just moved her from chair to chair and gave her a break in between shots,” Nebbia told the Huffington Post. “When she was in the position, we were snapping a few pictures every second.”

It took about 40 minutes to shoot and about an hour to edit, he said.

Nebbia posted the photo on Bailey’s Facebook page.

Bailey is also the star of a 2016 calendar featuring some of Bailey’s best poses. It can be ordered at GoldenBailey.com.

Nebbia also put together a video showing what was involved in making the Thanksgiving photo: