Alessandro Forlani’s guide dog, Asia, helps him see. But when Forlani got an unexpected chance to meet the new pope Monday — and found himself temporarily speechless – Asia helped out with that, too.
Forlani, a visually impaired radio reporter, wasn’t sure he would be allowed into the pontiff’s first meeting with the press because dogs are prohibited from the auditorium in which it was held.
“As I waited in line to enter the hall, the security guards told me that most likely I wouldn’t be allowed to get in with the dog,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “But after a few minutes, Vatican officials gave me the green light and I was accompanied by a Swiss guard to the audience hall.”
To Forlani’s surprise, he and Asia, a yellow Labrador, were shown to seats in one of the front rows.
He listened to Pope Francis talk, and then stood in the background as reporters who had been approved to meet the pope lined up to greet him.
Although Forlani was not on the approved list to meet the pope, he was approached by Vatican officials. “They said that Pope Francis had asked to meet me,” the reporter wrote. “He had seen Asia and wanted to see both (of) us.”
Once standing with the pope, Forlani — despite being a host for Italian public radio — was at a loss for words.
But Asia helped out again, serving as a conversation starter, according to Rome Reports.
Forlani, once the words came, asked for a blessing for his daughter and wife, which Pope Francis provided.
“And then he thought about my dog saying, ‘and one for the dog.’ He reached down and patted my dog,” Forlani said.
Pope Francis’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was the patron saint of animals.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alessandro forlani, animals, asia, blessed, catholic, dogs, guide dog, host, italy, meets, pets, pontiff, pope, pope francis, public radio, radio, religion, reporter, rome, visually impaired
Monika Wesolowski wanted to adopt the pit bull mix she became a foster mom to this summer, after he was found in northwest Georgia with his throat cut.
But, given his ability — once he recovered — to jump over her chain link fence, there was no way she could keep him unless a fence was to magically appear.
Now it looks like a fence is going to magically appear.
The dog was brought into Murray County Animal Control in July with a slash across his neck so deep his trachea was visible. A Facebook post about the dog, named Braveheart by animal control staffers, led the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia to pick him up, take him to a veterinary clinic for surgery and search for a foster home.
When Braveheart was to be put up for adoption last month, she told the Rome News-Tribune, “I just had a meltdown. I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’”
She wanted to keep the dog, but, with two dogs of her own and a backyard fence Braveheart could easily jump, she felt he’d be better off elsewhere.
When she described the dilemma on Braveheart’s Facebook page, suggestions poured in, and when she followed one of them, establishing an online fund drive, money poured in, too – enough to build a new fence.
Wesolowski has raised $1,500 to help build a privacy fence around the back yard of her home, and Walker Landscape and Fence, LLC, has offered to build it and charge her only for materials. A Lowe’s store in Rome agreed to give Wesolowski the materials for the fence at cost.
By the end of the first day, more than $400 had been donated to Braveheart’s fence fund on GoFundMe.com.
“I cried for three days straight, probably because it just blows my mind,” Wesolowski. “I know people give money all the time to charities but a dog just hits people right in the heart.”
Dogs Deserve Better,the Virginia rescue now heaquartered in Michael Vick’s former house, donated $200. About 60 other donors gave money to the fund. Wesolowski said she wants to have a plaque with a list of donors put on the fence.
Braveheart has a scar on his neck, but whoever is responsible for it hasn’t been arrested. The Animal Rescue League has offered a $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
“I just can’t see how anybody could hurt a creature like this,” Wesolowski said. “He’s such a nice dog.”
(Photos: Braveheart’s Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, animal control, animal rescue league, animals, braveheart, cut, dogs, donations, facebook, fence, foster, fund drive, funding, georgia, gofundme, lowes, mix, monika wesolowski, murray county, new fence, pets, pit bull, rome, slashed, slit, throat, walker landscape
With the death of his owner Maria Assunta, who took him in off the streets, Tommasino inherits, kind of, her $13.3 milliion fortune.
Assunta, the childless widow of a wealthy builder, initially tried to find an animal welfare association that would take care of the cat after her death, the Telegraph reports.
But none, in her view, provided adequate assurances for his future, according to her lawyer.
Instead, Assunta — 94 when she died last month — bequeathed her entire estate to Tomassino, and appointed a fellow cat lover as a trustee. The millionaire cat is now living at an undisclosed location outside Rome with that trustee, who is being identified only as “Stefania.”
Under Italian law, animals cannot inherit directly, but can be named beneficiaries once a trustee is found.
According to news reports, Assunta met Stefania in a park, and sometimes the two got their cats together for play dates. Stefania, a nurse, also went on to help take care of Assunta.
“She was very discreet and quite, I knew very little of her private life,” Stefania said.
“I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around. She wanted to be sure that (he) would be loved and cuddled.”
The Telegraph reports that only two other animals have inherited more money than Tommasino.
The world’s richest animal is believed to be Gunter, a German shepherd who was left $138 million by heiress Karlotta Liebenstien. Kalu, a chimpanzee, was the beneficiary of $61 million bequeathed by Patricia O’Neill, wife of former Australian swimming champion Frank O’Neill.
(Photo: That’s Tommasino at the bottom; Sky News)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bequeathed, cat, estate, inheritance, inherited, inherits, italy, maria assunta, millionaire, pets, richest, rome, stefania, stray, tommasino, trustee, wealth, will
Here’s the story of Slim, as documented by Jenn Aldridge, the human who, with help, gave the one-time fighting dog from Georgia a happy home in San Diego.
Like many a sheltered dog in need of help, Slim ended up on Facebook, along with a report that indicated his days were numbered.
Jenn, who had three other pit bulls — all rescues — saw the photo and couldn’t forget it.
“Because there are so many local dogs needing help, normally I would not rescue an out-of-state dog, but I couldn’t get his emaciated picture out of my head,” she told ohmidog!
“Knowing he had no chance because of breed specific legislation in that county of Georgia, I told my best friend we have to go get him and she said, ‘ok, let’s do it !’”
They flew to Georgia last May, but learned he was not healthy enough to fly. Instead, after getting two rescue groups involved — one in California and another in Georgia – they managed to get Slim placed in veterinary boarding care for treatment of his heartworm and another tick borne disease.
“It was all quite complicated,” she said. “We had to get a rescue here get approved by a rescue out there, to pull him on their behalf, if that makes sense. It was down to the last hour getting it all done. I heard about him on a Sunday and by Wednesday, he would have been in the landfill, dead.”
In June, they returned to Georgia and flew Slim home to San Diego.
There, Slim joined Jenn’s other dogs — Kyra, Teddy and Daffodil. Now about three years old, Slim is 46 pounds, up from the 32 pounds he weighed when she met him.
“I like to share his story because the average person still thinks that a game dog (fighting dog) is vicious to humans …quite the contrary,” said Jenn, who hosts a pit bull meet up group in San Diego that works to improve the image of the breed.
“Their loyalty was exploited and used against them,” she said. “Sadly, only about one of every 800 pit bulls will make it out alive of a shelter in the United States – yet selfish people continue to breed them.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: dog fighting, dogfighting, facebook, georgia, image, jenn aldridge, perception, pit bull, pit bull lovers, pitbull, reality, rescue, rescued, rome, san diego, slim, stereotypes