You’d think, as regurgitory (is that even a word?) as the Internet is, photos and videos of Eugene Bostick’s doggie train in Fort Worth would have gone viral years ago — given it is about the cutest thing ever.
Now, thanks to Facebook, Buzzfeed and the like, what Bostick created 15 years ago to give a joy ride to his rescued dogs (nine at last count) is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Twice a week, Bostick, 80, cranks the train up and allows his dogs — Wally, Buddy, Daisy, Jack, Mickey, Ms. Nell, Chubby, Clyde and Bonnie — to take their place in their assigned seats for an hour-long ride around his 11-acre property.
If you think that sounds like a lot of work for an 80-year-old, don’t worry — Eugene gets help from his 87-year-old brother Walter “Corky” Bostick.
Eugene, a retired Union Pacific railroad employee, built the train cars with 55-gallon fiberglass barrels, and his John Deere tractor serves as the engine.
“Oh, they just love it,” Corky Bostick said. “Every time he takes the covers off, they start jumping and barking, ready for the ride.”
Eugene Bostick hooks a wooden ramp to the cars to help some of the older dogs in.
Only two of the dogs have ever tried to jump out — Bonnie and Clyde, brother and sister, who are now kept leashed into their cars.
While you can find videos of the train on YouTube from nearly as far back as three years ago, it was only last week that the train claimed its place in popular culture.
“We got a call from New York one morning telling us the video had gone viral,” said Patricia Bostick, Eugene’s wife. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing.”
Most of the calls are from the news media, which somehow didn’t learn about the train until social media helped them out.
“Oh, I’m in good health,” Eugene told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “So I guess I’ll be driving them around for as long as I can.”
The Bosticks have collected the dogs over the years as strays, some of them abandoned around their property near downtown Fort Worth.
Eugene and his brother also tend to more than 30 other animals — domestic and not so domestic — including goats, rabbits, geese, ducks, fish, cats, squirrels, raccoons and coyotes.
(Photo by Bob Booth from the Star-Telegram)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 28th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, barrels, bonnie, buddy, buzzfeed, chubby, clyde, daisy, dog, dog train, dogs, eugene bostick, facebook, fort worth. texas, jack, mikey, ms. Nell, pets, photos, rescued, ride, social media, strays, train, video, viral, wally
The popular Banana Derby race at the Lake County Fair in Illinois — in which monkeys ride on the backs of dogs — will go on this year, but at least one member of the county board hopes to have it banned in the future.
Board member Sandra Hart, among others, is concerned over the welfare of the monkeys involved in the race, the Daily Herald reports.
In a letter to Lake County Fair officials, Hart said the derby “does not speak to the values of our county.”
Hart is also supporting a petition to stop the event.
Chicago-area zoos and other animal advocacy groups also favor banning the event, which has been a popular attraction at the Lake County Fair for more than five years.
Harmless and funny as it all seems, it’s another example of exploiting animals — both the dogs and the monkeys — for cheap laughs, all under the assumption that, since the animals aren’t balking, they must be enjoying it.
We humans have no right to make that assumption — much less cash in on it.
County Fair President Jon Brodzik Jr. doesn’t see it that way.
“While we recognize and appreciate there is a wide range of opinions on the role of working animals in entertainment, the board of directors of the Lake County Fair Association sees no compelling reason to cancel the Banana Derby attraction at this time,” Brodzik wrote in response to Hart.
“The humane care and handling of performing and exhibition animals is a responsibility we take seriously, which is why animal performance vendors at the Lake County Fair are vetted very carefully.”
The show is put on by Gilligan T. Monkey LLC, which is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The promoter of the show, Philip Dolci, told CBS that he treats the animals with nothing but love and that the people of Lake County would be devastated if it wasn’t part of the fair.”
“… I mean, how would you abuse that animal, you know what I’m saying? We cook for them, we clean for them, my mom and wife make clothes for them. If I was doing something wrong, the people of Lake County wouldn’t have brought their kids back for six years to see us. They say, ‘We see the monkey every year.’ They know the monkey’s name. It’s insanity, really.”
Dolci says the performers are rescued animals who travel and perform about six months of the year, then live with his family as pets.
The Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association also opposed to the event.
The Lake County Fair will be held July 29 through Aug. 2.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american humane association, backs, banana derby, dog, dogs, exploitation, fair, gilligan t. monkey, humane society, illinois, lake county, lake county fair, monkeys, petition, races, ride, sandra hart
Eclipse knows where she wants to go. And she knows how to get there.
So maybe the fact that the black Lab-mastiff mix regularly boards a Seattle city bus — by herself — to get to the dog park shouldn’t be that surprising.
The 2-year-old dog often jumps on the bus alone — most of the drivers know her by now — roams the aisles, greets her fellow commuters, finds a seat, and watches for the bus stop near the dog park, where she gets off, about four stops later.
“All the bus drivers know her. She sits here just like a person does,” commuter Tiona Rainwater told KOMO as she rode the bus through downtown Monday. “She makes everybody happy. How could you not love this thing?”
Local radio host Miles Montgomery is among though who were dazzled when they figured out what the dog was doing.
“It doesn’t really appear to have an owner. The dog gets off at the dog park. I just look out the window and I’m like, ‘did that just happen?'” Montgomery asked. “She was most concerned about seeing out the window, and I couldn’t figure out what that was. It was really just about seeing where her stop was.”
As it happens, Eclipse does have an owner, Jeff Young, who lives with her in an apartment near the bus stop at 3 Ave. W. and W. Mercer Street in Belltown.
They started off going to the park on the bus together. Then one day, when Young was finishing up a cigarette, the bus pulled up and Eclipse ran and jumped aboard without him.
That has happened numerous times since — Eclipse being a somewhat impatient dog, and Young being a man who likes to finish the cigarettes he starts, apparently.
Apparently, too, the duo is not big on leashes.
“We get separated. She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park,” said Young. “It’s not hard to get on. She gets on in front of her house and she gets off at the dog park, three or four stops later.”
“She’s been here the last two years, so she’s been urbanized, totally. She’s a bus-riding, sidewalk-walking dog,” he added. “Probably once a week I get a phone call. ‘Hi. I have your dog Eclipse here on 3rd and Bell,'” he recounted. “I have to tell them, ‘no. She’s fine.’ She knows what she’s doing.”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bus, city, commuter, dog, dog park, dog rides bus, dogs, eclipse, lab, mastiff, mix, pets, ride, rider, seattle, smart, travel
Mason County EMS technicians loaded Nicholson aboard, shut the doors of the ambulance and pulled out for the hour-long ride from the ranch in Mason County to the hospital in Fredericksburg.
It was 20 minutes into the ride that ambulance workers noticed other drivers on the highway waving and pointing: There was a dog on the small step on the side of the ambulance.
Buddy, a 35-pound beagle mix, had jumped aboard the moving ambulance sometime after it had left the ranch, and had been riding along since.
Tanner Brown, one of the EMT’s aboard, said the ambulance pulled over. “We didn’t have anything else to do but to load the dog up and put him in the ambulance and take him to the ER with us,” he said.
The San Angelo Standard-Times reported the story last week, after learning of the October incident from EMTs.
Nicholson was released from the hospital later the same day, and while he was there he got a couple of chances to step outside and see his dog, who was apparently tended to by EMTs and hospital workers.
“It was kind of weird,”EMT Brown said. “I guess the dog wanted to be with his owner.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch … ranch hand Brian Wright looked around for Buddy after the ambulance left. Wright, who had called the ambulance when Nicholson began complaining of dizziness. Buddy had wandered off, which he does from time to time, so Wright wasn’t too worried.
Not until Wright got to the hospital did he learn the EMS crew had the dog — and about the dog’s 20-minute ride on the step of the ambulance.
“Two things go through your mind in a split second,” Wright said. “First, what could have happened to (Buddy), and second, you realize he is quite an animal.”
“I was impressed,” said Nicholson, the dog’s owner. He adopted Buddy about four months ago from an animal shelter in Mason.
“He didn’t have to go to the hospital with me, but he did.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ambulance, beagle, beagles, bond, buddy, dog, dogs, ems, emts, follows, fredericksburg, hitches, hospital, jumps, mason, master, owner, paramedics, pet, pets animals, ranch, rancher, ride, tanner brown, texas jr nicholson
The National Federation of the Blind in California has filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc., saying its drivers have refused to transport blind people who use guide dogs and, in one instance, forced a guide dog to ride in the trunk of a car.
One registered Uber driver in Sacramento put a passenger’s guide dog in the trunk while transporting her, and refused to pull over after the customer realized where the animal was, according to the lawsuit.
Other blind riders with service animals have been refused service and harassed, the National Federation of the Blind of California alleges in a civil rights complaint filed this week in San Francisco federal court.
Uber is a ride-hailing app that connects its registered drivers with riders. It is up and running in more than 70 U.S. cities.
While the company does set guidelines for the drivers — and pretty much any schmo can be one — it points out those drivers are independent contractors, and that the company cannot be expected to be able to fully control their behavior. (Or, it follows, be held legally liable for it.)
Uber, like Lyft Inc. and other car-booking companies, are seeking to crack open the $11 billion U.S. taxi and limousine market, according to Bloomberg News.
Through the app, they hook up people needing rides with registered drivers offering one, and take a cut of the fares collected — in effect collecting money while doing none of the actual physical work, and avoiding any actual responsibility.
The federation filed the lawsuit based on complaints from more than 30 blind customers nationwide who have been denied rides because they had guide dogs — a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and California civil rights laws.
The advocacy group says the company monitors and controls interactions between drivers and customers, and should adopt and enforce policies to prevent discrimination against blind people with service animals. It is seeking a court order declaring the company discriminates against blind customers with guide dogs, and measures that would ensure that drivers don’t refuse rides to the vision-impaired.
“The Uber app is built to expand access to transportation options for all, including users with visual impairments and other disabilities,” said Eva Behrend, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Uber. “It is Uber’s policy that any driver partner that refuses to transport a service animal will be deactivated from the Uber platform.”
What action, if any, was taken against the driver who allegedly put a guide dog in a car trunk wasn’t specified, but we think he deserves a lot more than being “deactivated.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 11th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: application, apps, blind, california, car, civil rights, disabilities, discrimination, guide dogs, mobile, national federation of the blind, ride, service dogs, taxi, technology, transport, uber, uber technologies, vision impaired
Guinness World Records has proclaimed Norman, a three-year-old French sheepdog, the fastest dog on a scooter.
Then again, there aren’t too many other dogs riding around on scooters.
Norman set the record in Marietta, Georgia, on July 12 and received his certificate from Guinness World Records while appearing on the Today Show over the weekend.
Norman’s owner, Karen Cobb, told Today Show anchors that the dog is a quick learner.
“He picked things up really quickly,” she said. Norman balances himself on the scooter with his two front paws on the handle and a back paw on the scooter, then uses his other hind paw to push himself forward.
He first showed an affinity for the scooter as a pup. “He loved it. He wouldn’t get off,” Cobb said.
His record-setting ride was part of a charity event that benefited Road Trip Home, an organization that saves animals from high-kill shelters. According to Guinness World Records, he traveled 100 feet in just over 20 seconds.
He has also appeared on Cartoon Network and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Norman has also mastered the skateboard and can ride a bike with training wheels.
(Photo: Erik S. Lesser / EPA)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bicycle, certificate, dog on scooter, dogs, french sheepdog, georgia, guinness world records, marietta, norman, pets, ride, rides, riding, road trip home, scooter, scooter riding dog, sheepdog, skateboard, today show, video
Case in point: today’s “Dear Abby” column, in which a reader relates how a 9-year-old visitor to his home climbed aboard his Labrador retriever, possibly causing her permanent injuries.
“Isaac,” the visiting child, who apparently had little experience with canines, was playing with Layla, the retriever, when the homeowner heard him say, “Look, I’m riding your dog!”
“I immediately intervened, but I was too late,” the letter writer said. “A day or so later, Layla was unable to descend our stairway and was clearly in pain. She has been on pain medication for three weeks and is growing progressively worse. The next step is to get X-rays and/or an MRI to see if she has a spinal injury, and then determine her treatment. It’s possible the damage is irreversible.”
The letter writer wasn’t seeking veterinary advice, but wondering how to tell Isaac and his parents about the harm he caused, and keep him from doing it again, without placing “undue guilt on a 9-year-old boy.”
Abby responded to “Heartbroken in New York” this way:
“Children are not mind-readers. If you don’t tell them when they make a mistake, they won’t realize they have made one. Contact Isaac’s parents and explain what happened. If your dog needs treatment, they should be responsible for whatever damage their son did.”
I — though nobody asked — would add only two things to that. First, that any guilt Isaac might feel on learning what he had done isn’t exactly “undue.” Second, that when your dog is meeting someone new — especially a child — you should be in the room, watching and, if necessary, teaching. It’s very easy for a dog owner to assume everyone knows how to behave around dogs, but it’s also very wrong.
Riding a dog, no matter how big he or she is, no matter what the Internet might tell you — and the photo above is just one example of some incredibly irresponsible online “expertise” — should simply never be done. Period.
(Photo: Taken from wikiHow.com’s article on “how to ride a dog”)
(Postscript: The day after this article appeared on ohmidog!, the wikiHow article on “how to ride a dog” was taken down.)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, advice, animal welfare, breeds, children, dear abby, dog, dogs, expertise, health, heartbroken, injuries, injury, internet, irresponsible, kids, kids and dogs, labrador retriever, layla, meeting, new, responsible, ride, riding, riding dogs, rode, safety, wikihow