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The Honey Moon’s over; the honeymoon ain’t


That up above is Friday, June 13th’s “Honey Moon,” under which Ace and I slept during a quick beach trip over the weekend.

Given the next Friday the 13th Honey Moon won’t come along until 2098 — and given Ace is 9 and I’m 60 — we decided, after some math, it was best to take full advantage of it.

So, even though there was plenty of room inside the home of our hosts on North Carolina’s Figure 8 Island, we slept outside on lounge chairs, so we could fully bask (though I remained clothed) in whatever it is that is so special about it.

The honey-colored full moon always occurs in June around the summer solstice, when the moon, in its orbit around the earth, comes closest to our humble planet.  That point is called “perigee,” not to be confused with pedigree, which is a silly certificate, or peregrine, which is a falcon.

On Friday, the perigee coincided with the moon’s full phase, and coincided with a Friday the 13th as well.

All of which sounded too magical to not sleep under. The last time all those coincided was June 13, 1919, according to Universe Today, and it won’t happen again until June 13, 2098.

The honey moon is likely what gave us the phrase “honeymoon,” according to atronomer Bob Berman.

“That phrase dates back nearly half a millennium, to 1552 … The idea back then was that a marriage is like the phases of the moon, with the full moon being analogous to a wedding … meaning, it’s the happiest and ‘brightest’ time in a relationship.”

We’re not sure what sunrises are analogous to, when it comes to relationships, but maybe they’re reminders to wake up and see the brightness in your partner every day — the Saturday the 14th’s, the Wednesday the 23rd’s, and all the other non-special ones.

In any event, there was a nice one the next morning — sunrise, that is.

One of the advantages of sleeping outside is that you get to wake up to something like this:


Our beach trip is an annual affair, a gathering of college buddies, sponsored by the humans of a dog named Earl.


Earl and Ace are both starting to get up in years

DSC02727 DSC02868 That’s them to the left in their University of North Carolina garb. That’s them, not so far left, receiving the daily doggy blessing from host Steve, during which they sit enraptured, either by his words or the Milk Bone they know is coming.  

As older dogs, Ace and Earl react a little more slowly (except when treats are involved); grunt, sigh and harrumph a bit more; sleep a lot more; and, unlike the sun and moon, they don’t always rise and set so effortlessly.

All of which I could also say about myself. I did manage on Saturday, even after my restful sleep under the Honey Moon, to work in two — or was it three? — naps.

I’ve noticed I seem to spend with each passing summer a little less time in the surf, a little more time in the hammock, only occasionally getting those dog-like, running-in-circles, bursts of energy.

But I guess all those quiet moments allow me to figure some things out — such as, when it comes to dogs, and truly good friends, the honeymoon is never over.

Twins, named in dog burning, face gun trial

phoenix4Jury selection begins today in the firearms possession trial of twin brothers accused of setting fire to a pit bull in May.

Travers and Tremayne Johnson, both 18, and their father, Charles Johnson, were charged in June with possession of firearms and marijuana.

Police say they found drugs and weapons in a raid conducted at the Johnsons’ South Pulaski Street home in connection with the investigation into the burning of a pit bull rescuers dubbed “Phoenix.”

Prosecutors opted to try the brothers and their 76-year-old father on the firearms case before the twins trial on animal cruelty charges.

The brothers were indicted by a Baltimore grand jury in November on aggravated animal abuse charges. They pleaded not guilty in December.

Phoenix had been doused with gasoline and set on fire when a police officer spotted the dog and put the fire out with her jacket. Phoenix had burns over more than 95 percent of her. She lived several days, but had to be euthanized due to complications resulting from her injuries.

Philly man charged with setting dog on fire

phillydogA Philadelphia man has been accused of pouring rubbing alcohol over a puppy and setting it on fire.

The 5-month-old pit bull mix was burned “very badly,” said Pennsylvania SPCA officials who took part in the arrest. The puppy, which rescuers named Rudy, was being treated last night at the SPCA facility on East Erie Avenue.

The dog’s neck and ears were charred, its whiskers were burned off, and one of its corneas was seared. The animal also had been burned repeatedly with a cigarette. “It’s going to be disfigured, and maybe also blind in one eye,” said George Bengal, the SPCA’s director of law enforcement.

John William Fleet III, 33, was taken into custody Friday at his home in Northeast Philadelphia and charged with animal cruelty, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

On Thursday night, police say, Fleet had his two children — a 6-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl — hold the dog while he covered it with alcohol. Bengal said authorities believe the suspect became enraged after the dog nipped at the children.

The incident came to light when a counselor at Harding Middle School heard what happened and notified the SPCA.

Police, after not being allowed into the house, broke through a window to gain entrance and found the dog in the basement. Fleet told investigators the dog was burned accidentally.

 The children last night were staying with their mother at another location.

Phoenix update: A long road ahead


Phoenix, the Baltimore pit bull that was doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned over 90 percent of her body, is stable but still considered in critical condition at a veterinary hospital in Pennsylvania.

The dog is in the custody of Main Line Animal Rescue in suburban Philadelphia, and is being cared for at a 24-hour veterinary hospital

The primary concern of veterinarians is Phoenix’s ability to fight off secondary infection from the extensive burns. She is on IV antibiotics, pain medicine, and supplemental nutrients, said Jennifer Mead-Brause, executive director of Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

Several veterinarians are examining her skin to see if she will need skin grafts, or if it has the potential to heal on its own in some areas.

She is receiving constant bandage changes throughout the day in order to help her body through recovery.

Mead-Brause said Phoenix faces a long battle — “several months, years even …to repair what has happened.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the young female pit bull was found in Southwest Baltimore doused with gasoline and left to burn to death. A Baltimore City police officer put the fire out with her sweater.

Phoenix was brought to the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, where Mead-Brause said the dog arrived wagging her tail. She was transferred to Swan Harbor Animal Hospital for immediate care.

BARCS was able to begin her treatment through the Franky Fund, which has has helped hundreds of homeless abused and sick animals receive the care they need.

Additional updates on Phoenix and details on the various ways to donate to her care are listed here.

(Photo: Courtesy of BARCS)

Treat your dog, and help another

ohmidog-os-label1From now until supplies run out, all proceeds from the sale of “ohmidog-O’s” will go to BARCS Franky Fund to help offset the medical costs for Phoenix, a pit bull recovering from being doused with gasoline and set on fire in Baltimore this week.

We’re turning our entire inventory — which isn’t a whole lot — over to Lucky Lucy’s Canine Cafe, which has agreed to pass 100 percent of all ohmidog-O sales on to the Franky Fund at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter.

What are ohmidog-O’s? They’re the healthy, all natural, handmade dog treat that keeps on giving. We cooked them up and sold them to raise money for the Maryland SPCA at last month’s March for the Animals. Since then, they’ve gone to raise money for a couple of other dog-related causes.

Now what’s left of the limited edition treats will be sold at Lucky Lucy’s to raise money for the BARCS Franky Fund, which provides emergency medical care to seriously ill and injured animals.

Stop by Lucky Lucy’s, 1126 S. Charles St., and pick up a bag.

Pit bull found set on fire fights for life


Thanks to a quick-thinking Baltimore City police officer, and hours of medical attention from shelter workers and vets, a pit bull found set on fire Wednesday is alive today.

Whether she will be tomorrow is another question.

The young female pit bull was found in Southwest Baltimore doused with gasoline and left to burn to death.  Baltimore City police officer Syreeta Teel went to the dog’s aid and put the fire out with her sweater.

“She was fully in flames,” Teel told WJZ. “There were people around, but nobody was doing anything, so I got out of the car, took off my sweater and started hitting her to put the fire out.

“”It was just sad, because I’ve never heard a dog make this sound.  This scream that he made, I’ve never heard before.”

The dog was taken to  the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), where Jennifer Mead- Brause, executive director, said that, despite the intense pain the dog was in, she arrived wagging her tail.

Using emergency money  from BARCS Franky Fund, staff took the dog — nicknamed Phoenix — to  Swan Harbor Animal Hospital for initial lifesaving care.

“There’s not one part spared,” said Swan Harbor’s veterinarian, Marcella Bonner. “I’ve seen it on the back, on the tail on the ears.  I’ve never seen it on the whole body.”

The dog also had puncture wounds, a sign she was used in dogfights, Mead-Brause said.

“She is certainly not out of the woods,” BARCS reported. ” She has suffered horrific burns over 95% of her body.  The fire stripped the fur and flesh from her small figure.”  Even the pads of her feet were burned off.

“No animal deserves this type of treatment,” said Mead-Brause. “This is one of the most severe cases of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.”

There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting fire to the dog, and all tips are confidential.  To provide information, call 410-396-4698 and ask for the Animal Enforcement Officer Supervisor at the Bureau of Animal Control. 

BARCS is accepting donations both for the reward fund and for the Franky Fund, which helps provide immediate medical attention to seriously ill or injured animals like Phoenix.

(Photo: Courtesy of BARCS)

Two pit bulls set on fire in Dallas

Two pit bulls were set on fire and burned so badly that they had to be euthanized, police in Dallas say.

Authorities say the male and female pit bull terriers, both in flames, were seen running from an intersection, prompting several calls to police Saturday night.

Several neighbors rushed to help the dogs while others tried to chase down the 15- and 17-year-old believed to have set the dogs on fire before turning them loose in the street.  By the time police arrived, the teenagers were gone — though they were later identified, the Dallas NBC affilliate reported.

“The two dogs were in agonizing pain,” said Jonnie England, director of animal advocacy for the Metroplex Animal Coalition.  Of the female dog, which was either pregnant or nursing, England said, “Her face was practically burned off.”

“Ironically, April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month,” said England.  “People have to understand that if you abuse an animal, you will go to jail.  Thankfully, more people are stepping up and speaking out for the animal victims of crime — like the neighbors in this case who called the police and tried to help the dogs.”

Dallas Animal Services is launching an investigation into the abuse. They have already impounded six other dogs found at the home of the teens.