For eight years, Fatcat led a life that was the opposite of her name — in many ways.
For starters, she wasn’t a cat.
And, as bulldogs go, she wasn’t too awfully fat.
And, from all appearances, she definitely did not enjoy the kind of lifestyle the term Fatcat name might connote — she wasn’t idly resting in the lap of luxury. Far from it.
Instead, in the eight years after she was stolen as a puppy from the backyard of a home in Memphis, it’s believed she was used to produce puppies, by a less than ethical breeder who dumped her once she got too old.
Until two weeks ago, when she was picked up as a stray and dropped off at a shelter in Arkansas.
There — at the West Memphis Animal Shelter — she was scanned for a microchip, and Harris was tracked down, even though she’d long since moved to the Phoenix area.
Along with the good news, Harris received some bad news. Fatcat was in sad shape due to the years she spent as a baby-making machine — and getting her to Phoenix was going to be a problem.
Fatcat was too big to ride in the cabin of a plane, and between her health problems and her breed — it’s risky to transport short-snouted dogs in a plane’s cargo hold — flying her home wasn’t going to work. Harris, a working single mother, wasn’t sure she could take time off to make the drive.
“I went from the highest high to the lowest low,” she said. Putting Fatcat down was discussed, but before consenting Harris asked the shelter for an extra 24 hours to make the decision.
When she called back the next day to authorize the shelter to euthanize Fatcat, the director of the shelter stopped her short, and offered a suggestion.
A friend of the shelter director who worked with a local rescue group was moving to Scottsdale, and offered to drive Fatcat there.
Harris and Fatcat were reunited last Thursday in a motel parking lot, and between media coverage of the reunion and a GoFundMe.com campaign, donations have poured in — about $6,500 so far — to help pay for Fatcat’s mounting medical bills.
“I am overwhelmed. It is just amazing. People don’t even know me and they are helping me out,” Harris, 34, of Glendale, said. “I’ve even gotten e-mails from the (United Kingdom). … I just don’t know what to say.”
On Monday, Fatcat was checked out by a local veterinarian who found she has heartworms, dental problems and masses around her vulva and anus that need to be removed, according to AzCentral.com
Harris launched the GoFundMe page with a $5,000 goal, and says she plans to donate any surplus to the shelter in Arkansas.
“How do you show gratitude to someone you’ve never met?” Harris wrote on her page. “Even if I don’t have Fatcat home for as long (in terms of her entire lifespan), I feel like the luckiest person in the world right now. I’m just glad she’s finally home.”
(Top photo: Patrick Breen / The Arizona Republic; bottom photo, Fatcat as a puppy, from LaShena Harris’ GoFundMe page)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, arkansas, breeder, bulldog, bulldogs, campaign, care, cashmere, dog, dogs, donations, english bulldog, expenses, fatcat, go fund me, gofundme, lashena harris, medical, memphis, owner, pets, rescue, returned, reunion, shelter, stolen, tennessee, unethical, veterinary
A family in western Pennsylvania says their schnauzer got so excited about seeing their daughter for the first time in two years that she passed out — the schnauzer, that is.
A video of the reunion was posted on YouTube four days ago.
Rebecca Svetina and her husband, Miha, have been living in Slovenia and returned home to have a wedding reception at the home of Rebecca’s parents in Murrysville.
Miha was recording the reunion to show his relatives overseas how excited Casey gets when Rebecca returns home, but this time, something happened that never happened before – Casey passed out.
“We never expected her to pass out, but luckily she’s fine,” Rebecca told WTAE in Pittsburgh.
“I think our hearts stopped a little bit as well until she came back and started running around, and we knew everything would be OK,” said Miha.
Both were surprised when the video of the 9-year-old schnauzer went viral — approaching 17 million views by this morning — and prompting calls from news organizations around the world.
The next day, we woke up to a crazy day. The views went sky high,” Miha Svetina said. “It’s so genuine. It’s so cute. There are so many things going on in the world. People are actually excited when they see something so nice and dogs are just awesome.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 28th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, casey, dog, dogs, emotions, faints, family, murrysville, passed out, passes out, pennsylvania, pets, rebecca svetina, reunion, reunions, schnauzer, slovenia, video, viral, viral video
It’s always nice to read about a happy reunion between a family and their lost dog — except maybe when the dog being reunited is one you thought was your own.
The Miller family of Tyler, Texas, lost their dog Reese, a Maltese, seven years ago. They were visiting family outside of Dallas when the little white dog ran off.
Dinah Miller said she never stopped searching, and hoping Reese would return: ”Every time you hear a bark, you think, that sounds like Reese,” she said. “We drove. We searched. We looked over fences. We peeped everywhere we could without getting shot.”
Last weekend, the Millers learned Reese had been found on a road in Tacoma, Wash., more than 2,000 miles away. The family received a call after a check for a microchip revealed they were the dog’s registered owners.
Reese was flown to Houston, and Dinah Miller reunited with her Monday, KHOU reported.
How Reese had gotten to Tacoma, and where she’d spent the intervening seven years, were mysteries Miller thought would go unanswered — at least until another owner surfaced.
Kelli Davis of Spanaway, Wash., said her family adopted the dog at a shelter in Mesquite, Texas, near Dallas, six years ago, and named him Harley.
Davis and her family later moved from Texas to Washington.
She said Harley recently escaped after her 2-year-old daughter unlatched the front door.
“We were running down the street trying to find him and she was crying, ‘My Harley ran away,’” said Davis. “Every day we have gone out and printed fliers and walked around the neighborhood several times a day calling his name.”
“Harley is my daughter’s best friend. That’s her little buddy. They do everything together,” she said.
Davis said Harley was listed as an owner surrender by the Texas shelter he was adopted from. When she called that shelter to find out if they had ever checked the dog for a microchip she was told that information wasn’t available. The shelter said it purges its records after five years.
“I don’t know what to do. We just lost a part of our family,” said Davis.
Miller, meanwhile, says she sympathizes with the family in Washington, but she’s keeping Reese.
(Photos: At left, “Reese” reunites with Dinah Miller and her family; at right, “Harley” when she was a member of the Davis family)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animal shelter, animals, dog, dogs, family, harley, lost, maltese, mesquite, missing, ownership, pets, reese, rescue, returned, reunion, tacoma, texas, washington
A disabled Army veteran whose service dog went missing after a car accident will soon be reunited with her.
“I am totally ecstatic … If I had two legs, I’d do a back flip!” 7-year Army veteran Luke Macner, of Tampa, said upon learning Nina, his German shepherd-Rottweiler mix had been found.
Macner broke his collar bone in the car accident, but in interviews afterwards he was more worried about what happened to Nina, his constant companion since he lost his leg.
“I’m lost without the dog. I really am,” he told WTSP at the time.
“Please, let somebody find you and please bring you back to me,” he pleaded.
After the accident, the dog was found wandering in South Tampa by Amy Abdnour.
While she was playing with the dog another woman, who had seen news reports about the missing dog, approached Abdnour.
“A lady said, ‘Do you know this dog has been on the news?’” Abdnour said.
After a call to the Humane Society, she got in touch with Macner.
Macner plans to reclaim the dog when he gets released from the hospital.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, animals, bond, car, companion, dog, dogs, found, lost, news, pets, reunion, reunited, service, tampa, vet, veteran
The old dachshund abandoned with a note at a Los Angeles County shelter, then saved from euthanasia by a rescue group, then offered back to the “poor, sick and elderly” owners who wrote the note, won’t be reuniting with them after all.
Upon further reflection, Toby Wisneski, founder of Leave No Paws Behind, decided life with his original owners — two traveling ministers – might not be best for the 13-year-old dachshund, and apparently Otto’s owners have said they’re good with that decision.
The owners, initially anonymous, have now been identified as Chris Gonzales and his wife, Christine. That’s Rev. Chris in the video above, seemingly speaking in tongues at times, and not appearing too sick, poor or elderly. (Public access to the video was removed after this post appeared.)
The video, and some other interesting information, was unearthed by Mary Cummins, an animal advocate and wildlife rehabilitator who writes a blog in Los Angeles.
Cummins reported Sunday that Wisneski had decided that, in the dog’s best interest, “he will be remaining right here in our care and his humans agree.”
“We are both seniors, sick with no money. We cannot pay for vet bills, or to put him to sleep. He has never been away from us in all those years, he cannot function without us, please put him to sleep.”
Before euthanizing the dog, the shelter called a rescue group, Leave No Paws Behind, which agreed to take him in. They named him Harley, got him treatment for a skin condition and pronounced him healthy enough to be adopted.
Wisneski, the group’s founder, also held out hope, at the time, that she might find the anonymous owners and return the dog to them, along with an offer to pay for all his medical care and food.
When the couple learned of the offer, and about donations coming in to help them, they came forward and agreed to reclaim their dog, whose real name is Otto, when they returned to town at the end of the month.
In an interview with KTLA, Chris Gonzales — though he wasn’t identified by name – said he and his wife were out of town and planned to return to California and pick up the dog once they raised enough money to buy new tires for their car.
What seemed, up to then, a heartwarming story, was slowly getting squirrely — turning into the kind it’s hard to keep the faith in.
Cummins, who had publicized the dog’s story on her blog in an attempt to help reunite him with his owners, did some investigating, and came away less than impressed with the couple.
“They are not senior citizens. They are not disabled. They are merely obese. They are not poor. They are traveling ministers who give little talks then beg for money. They are not a legal church, corporation or non-profit. They make $60,000/year,” she wrote.
“He’s one of those faith healers that puts his hands on people and then everyone shakes like someone having a seizure,” she added. “He likes to spit out mumbo jumbo made up words while doing so. He invites people to meetings at Sizzler or the Old Country Buffet restaurants. People pay for their food, listen to him talk then he asks for money. He calls it a ‘love offering.’”
Cummins now feels, in case it’s not obvious, that returning Otto to his owners would be a mistake.
While that means a detour before Otto finds his happy ending, we think that’s the right choice, too — based on what we’ve heard about his owners and the fact that they abandoned him in the first place.
Despite all that faith they travel the country professing, the couple apparently didn’t have too much in their dog.
Wisneski has said all of Otto’s medical problems turned out to be minor and treatable, and that he’s in good health now.
Here’s hoping Otto finds the home he deserves.
And that the reverends find some tires.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, baldwin park animal shelter, california, chris gonzales, christine gonzales, church, dachshund, dog, dogs, dumped, faith, gonzales, harley, leave no paws behind, los angeles, ministers, note, old, otto, owners, pets, religion, rescues, reunion, shelter, shelters, sick, traveling, traveling ministers
The elderly couple that abandoned their dog at a Los Angeles County shelter, asking that the sickly 13-year-old dachshund be put down because they couldn’t afford his medical care, has been identified.
But only loosely.
Apparently they are down-on-their-luck traveling ministers, currently out of town, and they say that they’d gladly reclaim their dog — once they get enough money to buy new tires for their car and get back home to California.
The dachshund was left tied to a basket at the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter on March 6, along with a note asking he be put to sleep because his anonymous elderly owners could no longer afford to care for him.
Before euthanizing the dog as requested, the shelter called Leave No Paws Behind, a rescue organization. It took the dog in, named him Harley, and got him the veterinary care he needed — primarily treatment for mange.
The organization’s founder and CEO, Toby Wisneski, sought to track down the owners to reunite them with the dog, and she offered to pay for Harley’s medical care and dog food for the rest of his life.
This week she made contact with the couple and learned Harley’s real name — Otto Wolfgang Maximus. A reunion is tentatively scheduled after the couple returns to California around March 28.
“We thought he was dead, but he lives,” the dog’s owner told a KTLA reporter. “He’s being well taken care of and, boy, we’re just so extremely grateful.”
“We just are living week to week,” one of the owners said in the phone interview. “We can’t even go to the hospital to get our treatment.”
The dog was left at the shelter with a hand-written note that said he had recently gotten sick, was vomiting and had bloody stools.
“We are both seniors, sick with no money,” the note said. “We cannot pay for vet bills, or to put him to sleep. He has never been away from us in all those years, he cannot function without us, please put him to sleep.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 14th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, baldwin park, california, care, costs, dachshund, dog, dogs, elderly, expense, harley, leave no paws behind, mange, ministers, note, otto, pets, poor, poverty, rescues, reunion, shelters, surrendered, traveling, veterinary
A 36-year-old mother turned herself in Friday, but told reporters she was trying to help the German shepherd she took from a cemetery, thinking he’d been abandoned.
“I saw the dog almost get hit on the side of the road and I stopped to see if he was okay. And I picked him up thinking he didn’t have an owner. And I was trying to help. I took him to a vet to have him checked for a microchip. I was trying to help him, that’s all,” Dana Hartness told WCNC as she arrived at the Lincoln County courthouse with her lawyer.
Boh — wearing a collar, but no ID — was seen getting into a car on Feb. 28 at Forest Lawn Cemetery, which his owners live next door to. He became a social media sensation in the weeks after his disappearance as cemetery visitors posted remembrances online of how he had comforted them there.
He was found Thursday night wandering around Birkdale Village in Huntersville, about 25 miles away. Two sisters took him home from the shopping center and posted his photo on a Facebook page for lost German shepherds.
His owners, who had created their own Facebook page, Bring Boh Home, were told about the photo, checked it out, and knew immediately it was their missing dog. They picked him up Thursday night.
According to the Charlotte Observer, investigators had determined that Hartness, after stopping with Boh at an animal hospital, took the dog home — contrary to her claim that he ran away when she stopped her car to let him go to the bathroom.
“We know she took the dog home,” Lt. Tim Johnson said. “She had the dog there where she lives, then he got (away) the next day.”
The Observer reported that Hartness has been convicted in the past of larceny and attempted larceny, according to court records.
(Photo: Lincoln County sheriff’s office)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, boh, cemetery, charlotte, comfort, dana hartness, dog, dogs, facebook, forest lawn, found, german shepherd, lincolnton, lost, north carolina, online, pets, returned, reunion, social media, stolen, surrender, visitors, warrant