The “K-9 Comfort Dogs” are part of a Lutheran Church Charities program in which the specially trained therapy dogs serve to calm and connect with injured survivors.
As was the case in Newtown, the comfort they provide tends to extend far beyond hospital room visits.
“We have people simply walking by on the sidewalk who see the dogs … and with the memory of Monday, they break into tears,” said Rev. Ingo Dutzmann, senior pastor of First Lutheran Church in downtown Boston, which is serving as home base for five of Lutheran Church Charities’ dogs.
“It’s the dog that allows them to express their emotions in that way,” he told NBC, “and if you’re hurting, you’ve got to let it go. With a dog, people are not afraid to do that.”
On Tuesday, three comfort dogs flew from Lutheran Church Charities’ headquarters near Chicago to Boston, where they joined two golden retrievers who had been working with grieving pupils and parents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
The five dogs and their handlers will spend the rest of this week visiting bombing survivors at Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and they’ll keep making hospital rounds next week if needed. The dogs will also be present at First Lutheran Church of Boston at noon today for a memorial service and on Sunday morning for worship services.
“It’s relaxing — takes my mind off of what happened,” said David Yepez, 15, who is recovering from surgery at Tufts Medical Center after being hit in the leg by shrapnel in Monday’s blast. “It’s good to have my mind away from the accident, the doctors. To have a moment of peace. [I haven’t] had many moments of peace.”
The dogs paid a visit Wednesday to Lee Ann Yanni (seen above), just before she underwent surgery on her shattered leg.
“My stress level has gone way down,” said Meghan Bennett, a 25-year-old nursing student who has been caring for bombing victims. “I just love dogs … and this is a distraction from the reality. Patients’ faces light up when a dog walks into the room.”
(Photos: Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bombing, bombs, boston, boston marathon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, calming, comfort dogs, community, david yepez, dogs, emotions, golden retrievers, goldens, grief, hospital, injuries, k-9 comfort dogs, lee ann yanni, lutheran church charities, marathon, Massachusetts General Hospital, newtown, pain, pets, sandy hook, school, staff, therapy dogs, tufts, Tufts Medical Center, victims, visits
Authorities are looking for the dog’s owner, who apparently attempted to crop the dog’s ears at home.
John Hagerty, a spokesman for Woodbridge Township, said the dog is between 5 and 7 years old, with “what appears to be a ‘home done’ ear cropping — the ears are cut flush to the head.”
The dog, wearing a pronged choke collar and a leash, was found by a school employee Tuesday at School No. 9 in the Port Reading section of Woodbridge, NJ.com reported.
Hagerty said the dog has been examined and treated by a veterinarian and is being held at the shelter.
Matt Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey SPCA said officers were dispatched to Woodbridge to investigate.
Hagerty said anyone with information about the owner or the dog should call the shelter at 732- 855-0600 (extension 5007).
(Photo: Woodbridge Township)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, cane corso, clipped, cropped, do-it-yourself, dog, dogs, ears, home, new jersey, njspca, pets, school, self, spca, woodbridge
It has been a long wait, but Kabang, the Filipino dog who lost the top half of her snout when she saved two young girls from an oncoming motorcycle, has received the first in a series of dental and facial surgeries.
On Tuesday, surgeons removed her two upper premolar teeth and reconstructed her left eyelid, according to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine blog that is tracking her progress.
The mixed-breed dog, thought to be around 2 years old, was flown in October the California veterinary hospital, where vets discovered she also had vaginal cancer and heartworm.
That led to long delays before her planned facial surgeries – aimed not a rebuilding her snout, but at making it easier for her to breathe and avoid infections.
Kabang’s upper snout was torn off by the motorcycle’s spokes when she darted between it and the girls in December 2011.
Surgeons say, after a recovery period, a second and final facial surgery will take place later this month.
Kabang received six intravenous chemotherapy treatments for her venereal tumor and has completed her treatment for heartworm disease.
Once recovered from the surgeries, the dog will likely go back to Zamboanga City in southern region of the Philippines and be reunited with her owner, Rudy Bunggal, who took in Kabang as a stray puppy.
Witnesses say Rudy’s 9-year-old daughter, Dina, and her 3-year-old cousin, Princess Diansing, were crossing a busy street in the path of a motorcycle when the dog lunged at its tires.
After hearing of Kabang’s heroics and her plight, Karen Kenngott, a nurse in upstate New York, launched a fundraising drive to bring the dog to America to get the treatments she needs.
(Photo: Don Preisler / UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, davis, dog, dogs, girls, hero, kabang, lost, medicine, motorcycle, pets, philippines, rescue, rudy bunggal, save, saving, school, snout, snoutless, surgery, uc davis, university of california, veterinary, zamboanga city
Mu Shu was just four pounds and four weeks old when she fell off a livestock truck in Kansas and was picked up off the highway and taken home by the owner of Hunter, a yellow Lab.
That was in April, and Hunter would go on to become best friends with the piglet who, before bouncing off the truck, was likely destined for a growing farm and a future as ham.
Stacie Tonn picked the unconscious pig up off U.S. Highway 50, and with help from her veterinarian husband, Shane, their four daughters and Hunter, nursed Mu Shu back to health.
Hunter licked and nudged the injured piglet, and helped her get around when she regained consciousness. Left blinded — only temporarily — by the accident, the piglet would sniff Hunter out and follow him around, curling up with him for naps, according to Kansas.com.
But she still gets together with Hunter, who visits her once or twice a month.
“She still knows the sound of my truck. When I pull up to her pen, she will pop out with excitement. She knows she’s going to get snacks,” Stacie Tonn said.
Walton Rural Life Center serves 167 students, from kindergarten to fourth grade, and students are responsible for feeding Mu Shu and the other animals and maintaining their pens.
“Pigs are our biggest project,” said kindergarten teacher Rhonda Roux. “If she stays healthy, we are thinking of breeding her and having a litter of piglets.”
As for Hunter, he doesn’t seem intimidated in the least by Mu Shu’s girth, or how she so quickly passed him in size since the days he was licking her motionless body.
“She had a lot of bruising and was pretty unresponsive … Neither one of us thought she would live past 48 hours,” Shane Tonn told Kansas.com in an earlier story
You can see a video of Hunter playing with Mu Shu, when she was still a piglet, here.
(Top photo, taken in April, by Mike Hutmacher / Kansas.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, children, dogs, education, farming, friends, highway, hunter, livestock, mu shu, nursed, pets, pig, piglet, road, school, shane tonn, stacie tonn, students, truck, unlikely friends, walton rural life center, yellow lab
As irreplaceable as dogs are — and Charlie Powell considered his childhood dog, Poochie, just that — the best thing to do when you lose one is to fairly quickly get another.
Powell, senior public-information officer for Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, learned that lesson the hard way, letting 30 dogless years elapse after Poochie died.
In a haunting, inspiring and pretty darned wise essay in last week’s Seattle Times, Powell told the story of Poochie, the Boston terrier who was his first dog.
“My mother often said she thought I would pet his head bald with my right hand while sucking a bottle held in my left. She also said Poochie had no problem with that.”
After accompanying Powell through much of his childhood, the day came that Poochie, achy and elderly, had to be put down. Powell recalls the trip to the vet, and going with his father to bury Poochie near Lake Mead in Nevada.
Traumatic as that might have been for a 10-year-old, it got worse. When he and his father, on a fishing trip, later returned to the site where they’d laid Poochie to rest, they found the grave desecrated.
“There was trash around his grave where people had partied. There was a blackened fire ring where we buried him with the burned hinges and the hasp laying there. When I looked up, I saw his partially charred body hung by the neck from a limb with the wire we used to close the box…”
The impact of that, somewhat understandably, would last 30 years.
“For me, the memory of what happened was more like a featureless wall that one is unable to scale. I think I coped with this mainly by becoming ambivalent to dogs — all dogs.”
His family got other dogs, he writes, “but I was never close to any of them. I just never wanted to be that close to a dog again.” Even while working at Washington State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and for the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, he had no desire — at least not that he was aware of – to have a dog of his own.
Then one day his wife went to a dog show, and — though he’d never mentioned Poochie to her — fell in love with Boston terriers, to the point she ordered one from a breeder, and asked her husband to pick up the dog, a brindle-colored male named ”Buster.”
“My mind raced. I fretted all week. How could I get another dog? What if his fate turned out to be worse than Poochie’s? Did my wife expect me to “replace” Poochie? Of course that was unfair to her; she knew nothing of Poochie. So I decided I needed to keep the wall up for the time being.”
We all know how good dogs are at knocking such walls down, and that’s what Buster did.
“Buster blossomed into a well-mannered young man that wormed his velvety head into my heart.
“Part of what I had avoided since Poochie died was eye contact with other dogs. But just try and avoid eye contact with a Boston terrier in your house, those two orbs that stick out on the corners of a cube-shaped head. It’s impossible.”
Powell would go on to feature Buster regularly in vet school publications, and he once brought him along to a Washington State Veterinary Medical Association meeting, where “he sat in the conference room next to me wearing his WSU bow tie as if he were deliberating.”
As Powell notes Buster wasn’t Poochie — and it would be wrong to have expected him to be. When one dog dies, and you get another, the new one isn’t a replacement, and isn’t just a painkiller. He or she is unique — another chance to enjoy the magic of the species, another chance, for a dog lover, for love.
“Between Poochie and Buster was a long time to stay silent and deny myself the joy of another dog,” Powell wrote. “With Buster’s passing, I realized that I had shortchanged myself for a long time for no good reason. The very thing I thought I was protecting myself from — life with another dog — turned out to be the best thing for me.”
(Editor’s note: After the death of Buster, Powell adopted another Boston terrier, this one a blind and deaf 13-year-old rescue. Her name is CeCe.)
(Photos: Poochie and Powell in 1961, courtesy of Charlie Powell; Buster in a vet school post card, by Henry Moore Jr. / BCU/WSU)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boston terriers, buster, charlie powell, coping, death, dog, dogless, doglessness, dogs, grief, mourning, new dog, pets, poochie, replacement, school, veterinary, void, walls, washington state university
“Why did I do this? I’m an animal,” the fourth grade teacher reportedly told officers.
Derek Fierro, a teacher at Eugene Field Elementary School in Rogers Park, was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail Saturday. He faces a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals and was ordered by a judge to not possess or have contact with any animals.
About 3 a.m. on Friday, Fierro, 25, called police and told them he had beaten his dog to death at his home in Lake View, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
When police arrived, he handed officers his car keys and they found the dog Fierro adopted, named Doc, in his trunk, according to court documents.
Police said Fierro told them he beat the dog with his fists after he returned home and found that the dog had defecated on himself.
“I got home and he had eaten through every piece of paper,” Fierro told officers. “He (defecated on) himself, so I put him in a tub. I was gonna give him a bath, and he didn’t want to get in the bath and I got mad.”
(Photo: Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, angry, animal, animal cruelty, animals, beaten, called, chow, confession, cruelty to animals, defecated, derek fierro, dog, dogs, elementary, eugene field, fourth grade, i'm an animal, lab, mad, mix, pets, police, rescue, rogers park, school, school teacher, soiled, teacher
Andrew David Thompson, the former Michigan State University medical student who admitted killing about a dozen Italian greyhound puppies, was sentenced yesterday to probation.
Thompson, who admitted to beating, kicking and throwing the puppies against walls when he became angry with them — and buying new ones to replace those who died — will serve five years of probation.
At a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court, Judge Paula Manderfield rejected prosecutors’ request for a prison sentence of two to four years, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“I am disgusted and embarrassed and have so much remorse for what happened,” Thompson told Manderfield during the hearing, which his mother, father and other supporters attended. “I’m shocked I even let it get to this point.”
Thompson pleaded guilty in April to three counts of animal killing. Two of the charges were for killing two different dogs while he lived in East Lansing. The third charge was for killing nine dogs when he lived in Meridian Township.
Stacia Buchanan, Thompson’s attorney, argued that his offense was a ”property crime” and that he had no prior criminal record. She said he has mental health issues for which he hasn’t receive treatment.
Under the sentence, he will.
The judge ordered Thompson to undergo mental health treatment, perform 400 hours of community service and not own or care for any animals while on probation.
Technically, Manderfield sentenced him to a year in jail, but she gave him credit for the 107 days he has served and suspended the remainder of the jail term pending successful completion of probation .
Manderfield said she didn’t believe a prison sentence would serve anybody’s interests. Probation, she told Thompson, would allow her to “always hold the hammer of prison over your head… I’m not convinced society would be served spending thousands of dollars to incarcerate you for two to four years,” she said.
(Photo: Paul Henderson / Lansing State Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal cruelty, animals, cruelty to animals, dozen, five years, former, italian greyhounds, judge paula manderfield, killed, lansing, medical, mental health, michigan, michigan state university, pets, probation, problems, puppies, school, sentence, sentenced, student, torture, treatment
The heartwarming story of an injured stray dog taken in by students at a Catholic school on the Crow Reservation in Montana came to an abrupt end when someone drove onto school grounds and fired six shots at the dog.
Named Mission, the female Rottweiler mix — who’d been nursed back to health after limping onto the grounds of Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy in St. Xavier six years ago — was fatally wounded.
Students are still grieving her death, more than two months ago, according to the Billings Gazette.
“We’ve had dogs come and go, but never one that stuck around like she did,” said Garla Williamson, the principal at the private school for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. “She adopted us, and we adopted her.”
The shooting is being investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a small reward is being offered by the school for information leading to an arrest.
Samantha Stoddard said she was watching television and heard through an open window at her campus residence what she heard shots, then heard Mission yelp in pain. She ran outside and saw a white sedan parked at a cattle guard near the entrance to the school property.
Two more shots were fired as she ran to the dog.
She found Mission collapsed on the ground and helped carry the dog to the porch of her residence.
“She was trying to die, and it was really painful,” she said. With the dog sufferering and no veterinarian, a staff member got a gun and put her down.
Several days passed while staff struggled with how to tell students what had happened.
Stoddard said Mission is buried near her residence, and the children have been making regular visits to the grave.
“It’s turned into a little shrine,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy, adopted, animals, bureau of indian affairs, catholic, crow, crow reservation, dog, dogs, grief, injured, investigation, mission, mix, montana, mourning, pets, pretty eagle, private, rescued, reservation, rottweiler, school, shooting, shot, shrine, st. xavier, stray, students, taken in
Chief Gene Wrinn , acknowledged that his officers didn’t follow procedure during the March 21 incident and that they failed to call animal control officers, in accordance with policy.
His remarks came during a meeting Tuesday with residents, held at a local library, according to the Brattleboro Reformer
“We screwed up. We apologize for that, and we’re going to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “We’ve gotten some good feedback. We’re not sweeping anything under the carpet. We’re having conversations.”
Wrinn said two officers responded to the Green Street School playground for a dog complaint, and one of the officers used a shotgun to kill the animal, believed to be a pit bull or pit bull mix.
“It was truly unfortunate that the department had to take the dog’s life, but it had to happen,” Wrinn said.
While some have described the dog as “dying,” other residents say it may have just been ill. “It probably was hungry. It probably was dehydrated,” said one.
Wrinn declined to say if the two officers involved had been disciplined. “That’s a personnel matter, and it can’t be discussed,” he said.
Wrinn noted that department representatives have met with the Windham County Humane Society. “This may be a great opportunity for training for the officers,” he added.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal control, animals, brattleboro, citizens, complaints, dog, dogs, dying, gene wrinn, meeting, officers, pets, pit bull, playground, police, police chief, residents, school, shooting, shot, shotgun, sick, vermont
Given the endlessly rising popularity of dogs, and our increasing emotional attachment to them, medical researchers who use them for experiments can expect stronger and growing opposition to the practice from the public, a leading expert in canine-human interaction told a conference at Johns Hopkins University this week.
James Serpell, director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, was the keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The 30-year-old, non–profit center promotes humane science by supporting the creation, development and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education. It seeks ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, reduce the numbers of animals necessary, or refine methods to make them less painful or stressful to the animals involved
Serpell and other speakers both pointed out that after decades of declining, the use of dogs in medical research has increased in the last couple of years.
U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that the number of dogs used in medical research and testing dropped from 200,000 in 1973 to 66,000 in 2007, said Tanya Burkholder, chief of the Small Animal Section at the National Institutes of Health. Now, she said, the number has risen to about 75,000 a year.
Much of the increase is likely a result of advancements in, and the promise of, gene therapy.
Dogs have always been a valuable research model for scientists, going as far back as Aristotle’s day. Their size, physiology and cooperative behavior have made them convenient models for scientists, who, like Pavlov’s dog, grew conditioned to using them in experiments.
While public opposition to subjecting dogs to medical experiments resulted in the practice dwindling in recent decades, the use of dogs has crept up again in the last two years due to advances in molecular biology, genetics and the sequencing of the canine genome.
Because dogs get about 220 of the same inherited diseases and disorders that humans do — including Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia and retinal degeneration – medical researchers are able to study the underlying genetic defects and, through dogs, seek cures.
This means dogs are being bred to be born with the diseases in colonies at U.S. universities and research institutes and, in the case of South Korea, cloned to be born with the diseases.
No one at the conference went so far as to suggest a halt to using dogs in research, but Serpell warned that the practice does come with risks, and a price.
Dogs evoke protective and nurturing instincts in people, and those have grown stronger as the dog-human relationship has evolved — to the point that dogs are viewed more as family members than family pets. Public opposition to the laboratory use of dogs has continually grown in the last few decades.
Researchers need to be cognizant not just of society’s strong feelings about dogs, but also about dog’s strong feelings for humans, Serpell said. “Many dogs undergo severe distress when contact with a human is limited or thwarted. We don’t give that regard sufficient credence,” he said.
The stronger attachment to dogs is in part due to breeders focusing on creating animals for purposes of human companionship, unlike in the past when they were bred for the work they could do. Serpell noted that baby-like features, for one thing, appeal to humans.
Showing photos of dogs, Serpell pointed to one and said, “This animal looks like it was invented by Walt Disney.”
Our attraction to dogs stems too from the fact that they make eye contact with humans more than any other species, and studies have shown that petting, or even looking, at a dog increases our levels of oxytocin.
“These dogs are turning us on by looking at us,” he said.
Our evolving closeness to dogs has implications for the laboratory, he noted, and perhaps all of society.
Serpell pointed to commentator Tucker Carlson’s recent statement that dogs are the social equals of humans, and that therefore Micheal Vick should have been executed for killing them.
“Lots of people feel the same way,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beagle, caat, canines, center for alternatives to animal testing, cures, disease, dog, dog lovers, dogs, experiments, genes, genetics, humane, james serpell, johns hopkins university, laboratory, love, medcial, medical, opposition, oxytocin, pain, pavlov, products, research, rising, school, stature, status, stress, tests, therapy, treatment, university of pennsylvania, veterinary