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Tag: santa barbara

Remembering another dog, cat and rat

Last week’s ohmidog! post on the tightly bonded dog, cat and rat who managed to get adopted together from a Wisconsin shelter reminded me of another dog, cat and rat team.

These three — Booger the dog, Kitty the cat, and Mousey the rat — belonged to Greg Pike, who, eight years ago, was showing them off for crowds on State Street in Santa Barbara.

He’d come up with the act years earlier in Colorado when Booger, just a pup, was given to him. Not long after that he took in Kitty — part of a litter found under a house. (Mousey’s role was played by several different rats over the years, but not because anything bad happened.)

Together they traveled the country giving street performances, and spreading the message “if these three can get along so peacefully, why not humans?”

Booger, a Rottweiler-Lab mix, died in 2012 at age 13 from kidney and liver failure — but not before becoming, along with his co-stars, some of the most often viewed animals on YouTube.

Brave dog saves kid from rattlesnake; brave kid saves dog from rattlesnake

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A five-year-old boy in California and a two-year-old dog in Florida are being hailed as heroes after both were bitten last week by rattlesnakes — the boy while trying to save his dog, the dog while trying to save his human.

In Santa Barbara, Lennon Knox pushed his dog, Sunshine, out of the way of a rattlesnake in his back yard and was bitten on his right toe.

And in Tampa, a German shepherd named Haus was bitten three times by a rattler while in the back yard with his constant companion, seven-year-old Molly DeLuca.

keytLennon’s mother, Amy Knox, said her son and his dog were playing in the yard Thursday when the snake appeared.

“The snake went to go bite Lennon’s dog … and Lennon pushed Sunshine out of the way and got bit by the snake instead,” Knox told KEYT.

Amy Knox killed the snake and called 911 when she noticed her son was foaming from the mouth.

At Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital he received 35 vials of antivenom.

“He is doing quit well actually. He required multiple doses of the antivenom which we were able to get….unfortunately he is not out of the woods yet and he still needs chronic monitoring right now so we can make sure that his systems do not worsen as we start to peel away the antivenom medications,” said Angela Hsu, pediatrician at Cottage Hospital.

On Wednesday, in Tampa, Donya DeLuca rushed her German shepherd Haus to a veterinary clinic after the dog encountered a rattlesnake in the back yard.

Molly DeLuca was just a few feet away when Haus (pronounced “Hoss”) lunged at the snake and was bitten three times.

“There’s no doubt he was protecting our family,” Donya DeLuca said. “That’s very true to his temperament.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the family has already raised enough money to pay for his care through a GoFundMe page.

In addition to receiving antivenom, vets are montoring Haus for possible kidney damage.

DeLuca said the excess donations will go to an animal rescue charity.

(Photos: At top, Haus, recovering at a veterinary clinic, by Zack Wittman / Tampa Bay Times; bottom, Lennon Knox, recovering at a hospital, from KEYT)

Privileged Pooch: Going pupscale in SoCal

After perusing “The Privileged Pooch, Luxury Travel with Your Pet in Southern California,” I’ve decided if Ace and I ever run into author Maggie Espinosa and her dog, Marcel, on the road … they’re buying.

Unlike my Travels with Ace project, “The Privileged Pooch” – not to be confused with the fine pet boutique in Baltimore of the same name – is a guidebook that focuses on high end luxury travel with your pet.

“Now you can share Southern California’s celebrity lifestyle with your furry friend,” reads the summary on the back of the book. “The days of staying at substandard hotels and dining at drive-thru’s when traveling with the family pet are over.”

Not for me, they ain’t. But that’s not the point.

Espinosa’s point is that bringing a dog along on your trip no longer automatically relegates you to economy-level accommodations. And her book, provides plenty of examples, in highly readable form, of where you can stay, play and eat with your pet — in Palm Springs, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara and greater Los Angeles.

High-end establishments are starting to wise up to the fact that about 10 million pets each year vacation with their owners — and that many of those owners are from the demographic at which tourism-related businesses commonly take aim.

“The Privileged Pooch” lists 69 hotels (not a Motel 6 among them),  55 restaurants, 56 dog-friendly activities and 38 “trendy shops” where you and your dog are welcome.

Espinosa has done some culling, weeding out those establishments that have too many restrictions or silly and unrealistic weight limits. (For the dogs, I mean. Southern California doesn’t have weight limits for people. Yet.)

She uses a rating system of one wag to four wags for pet friendliness — one being “pooches permitted,” four being “pooches paradise.”

Maggie and Marcel

At the latter, you might find such features as special puppy menus, a “togetherness massage” for you and your dog (at Casa Laguna Inn & Spa) or “blueberry and plum pet facials” at a dog-friendly spa called The Healthy Spot.

Espinosa and her bichon frise, Marcel, tested all 69 hotels, and each section of the book, region by region, includes recommendations for everything from dog-friendly beaches to emergency veterinary care.

Our favorite example was the Doggie Bus in Tustin, which totes dogs and their humans to the beach at no charge. An Orange County man started providing the service not to get rich, but simply because he enjoyed doing it.

Now that’s dog-friendly.

Dog, cat and rat

Meet Gregory Pike — currently homeless in Santa Barbara, California — and his dog, cat and rat.

Most days, Pike can be found on State Street there, along with his dog Booger, his cat Kitty, riding atop the dog, and his rat Mousey, riding atop the cat.

The Mayor of Santa Barbara reportedly found it so heartwarming a scene that she had it videotaped and sent it out as a holiday card. We find it to be right up there with the elephant and dog story out of Tennessee.

We also find it more than a little ironic that, if you go to the comments section beneath the dog-cat-rat-getting-along video on YouTube, you can find dozens of petty, mean-spirited, bickering comments from humans who seemingly can’t.

The best factual account of Pike and his animals we could find was in The Bottom Line, a bi-weekly newspaper sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Pike, originally from Telluride, Colo., says he has been studying animal habitats and psychology for about 30 years, has worked with animal rescues and rehabilitation centers for mountain animals, and has a diverse background in animal training.

Pike says the act started ten years ago “when someone said it couldn’t be done.”

“I understand animals and why they do things. I understand some of the barks, and the meows, and what the different ways they do it mean. I’m not a Doctor Doolittle, but I know what they’re asking for.”

Pike told The Bottom Line that he has some insights into what makes people tick as well, and with his act hopes to be able to catch the attention of people to pass on his messages of peace and humanity to the human species. “Peace can happen anywhere — if they can do it why can’t people?” he said.

Pike reportedly hopes to someday open a free pet adoption and rescue center, which is why he keeps a can out for money.