An out-of-work English teacher has opted to live in her car for the past four months rather than give up her two dogs.
Hillary Barrows, 57, returned to England after teaching in other European countries and found herself unable to find work and unable to pay her rent.
She was offered emergency housing — but only if she agreed to give up her dogs, Robbie and Cleo.
Ever since, the English teacher has been living in her 20-year-old Alfa Romeo hatchback, with her dogs, in a parking lot in Canterbury, Kent, according to the Daily Mail.
The dogs are large ones — an eight-year-old Egyptian Pharaoh hound named Robbie and a five-year-old Labrador named Cleo. Both were rescued in Spain.
Barrows is divorced and has no family in England. Her mother lives in Canada, and the rest of her family has emigrated to New Zealand.
She has gone public with her plight in hopes of getting a job offer, or other help. More than 600 people have contributed to her Go Fund Me campaign, which has raised more than £9,000.
With a lap top and a cell phone (which she recharges at a nearby McDonalds), she’s continuing to hunt for jobs.
“I’ve applied for every job going, but nobody wants to hire me because I live in a car. I applied to a pub to be their cleaner, and they told me they couldn’t hire someone with no address. I’m between a rock and a hard place, really.”
While she said she’s eating one meal, every other day, her dogs are not going without food. She has been visited twice by RSPCA staff checking to see that the dogs are cared for.
“I am in a no-win situation — I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, I just want someone to give me a hand-up,” Barrows said.
“I just want to get back to work, get a house and somewhere safe for my dogs.”
(Photo: Tony Kershaw, SWNS.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, dog, dogs, hillary barrows, homeless, homeless teacher, jobs, living, living with dogs, pets, shelter, teacher
It’s not every day that a group of shelter dogs has its own art exhibit.
This one opens Sunday in São Paulo and it’s aimed at raising awareness about the plight of Brazil’s stray dogs.
Shelter dogs from Procure1Amigo were used to create the 18 artworks by shaking off the paint (edible and non-toxic) that was poured on them.
The paintings go on sale when the exhibit opens Sunday at São Paulo’s Perestroika. Photos of the dogs shaking their way through the creative process, channeling their inner Jackson Pollock, will also be for sale.
And the artists will be available for adoption.
It’s part of campaign called “Canismo,” an artistic movement supporting the adoption of shelter animals.
“The shake of the paint reveals a remarkable exercise of freedom, where each drop of ink bears the stain of prejudice,” reads a statement on the Canismo website.
“The combination of different colors in the paintings shows the mixture of breeds, as random and as beautiful as each mongrel dog.”
The brightly colored paints were made using corn starch and food coloring.
(Photo: Courtesy of Canismo)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 8th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, animals, art, brazil, canismo, canvas, dog, dog art, dogs, exhibit, mutts, paint, pets, shaking, shelter, strays
A dog belonging to a misunderstood breed has helped a boy with a misunderstood disorder show a previously unseen side of himself, and his mother couldn’t be happier.
Amanda Granados says her son Joey was diagnosed at age 7 with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that contributed to his getting suspended from school six times — all while in kindergarten.
Joey couldn’t sit still. He sometimes struck himself. And he hated being touched by others. His mother says he had never let her hug and kiss him.
While he was a whiz at math and had a near photographic memory, Joey always had difficulty making friends.
“He has a hard time reading social cues or facial expressions, and there’s awkwardness around making friends, said Granados, a 36-year-old single mother of three boys.
Then, a few months ago, the family adopted a pit bull named Roxy from a Los Angeles shelter — and Joey suddenly had the kind of friend you don’t have to make.
As Joey, now 14, explains it, “I didn’t have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I’ve been able to make friends ever since. At home, I’ve been able to hold my mom’s hand, kiss her, hug her and do a lot of things that I hadn’t been able to do growing up. She’s opened up my heart.”
“I get emotional thinking about it,” his mother said. “For all those years, he wouldn’t hold my hand, he wouldn’t hug me — it was all part of the autism — but this dog has taught him how to give and show affection. He holds my hand now. He hugs me. The first time I got a kiss on the cheek was when Roxy came home.”
A photo on the Internet led Joey to his new best friend. Joey had been asking his mom for a dog, and she saw that the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles was planning an event where a shelter dog could be adopted for $10.
“We were looking through pictures online, and Roxy’s picture made us fall in love with her,” Granados told Today.com.
“As soon as Roxy met Joey, she totally ignored me and his mother,” said adoptions specialist Denise Landaverde. (That’s her, Roxy and Joey in the photo to the left.) “Amanda was happily surprised to see Roxy go straight to Joey and watch them play together. It just sealed the deal for her.”
Granados said she initially had some qualms due to the bad things she has heard about pit bulls, but seeing her son and Roxy together made those concerns disappear.
“She is literally his best friend,” Granados said. “He can be in the foulest mood, and she comes along and it’s like a light. She doesn’t care about his differences — there’s no judgment with her — she just loves him.”
Joey agreed. “If I’ve been having a bad day, Roxy can hear a tone in my voice,” he said. “She runs up to me to give me a giant hug and lick me to death and do almost anything she can to make me happy.”
Studies have shown that dogs can give children with autism much-needed companionship and help them learn compassion, responsibility and even social skills, such as making eye contact.
What has happened between Joey and Roxy speaks louder than any of those studies, though — or at least it does to Amanda Granados.
Roxy, she agrees, seems to have opened her son’s heart, and she thinks part of it may be because of what they have in common.
“Kids with autism are looked at differently and misunderstood, and so are pit bulls,” Granados said. “I think that’s why they’ve bonded.”
(Top photo courtesy of Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center; photo of Joey and Roxy courtesy of Amanda Granados)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, amanda granados, animals, aspergers, autism, best friends, Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center, dog, dogs, joey granados, los angeles, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, roxy, shelter
That Boston terrier who boarded a city bus and went on a 20-mile ride in Houston last month has landed in a forever home, according to news reports.
The dog, as you can see in the surveillance video above, hopped on the bus in northwest Houston with some other passengers, though he didn’t belong to any of them.
Twenty miles later, at Metro’s downtown transit center on Main Street, he exited the bus with other passengers — one of whom escorted him to the transit authority police station.
“He was a very friendly little guy. He was very sociable. But he was a gentleman,” Metro Police Officer Ida Schoener told KHOU.
Schoener, on her lunch break, took the dog to the Bayou City Veterinary Hospital, which agreed to care for the dog — by then nicknamed “Metro” — until an owner or foster family could be found.
“He’s pretty calm but also excited to go out on walks,” said Bayou City veterinarian Kristy Kyle. “He is not afraid of the world. We’ll put it that way.”
The transit authority released surveillance footage recorded on a camera on the bus of the dog being welcomed on board, as well as footage of the dog arriving at the transit center.
After no one called to claim the dog, a Boston terrier rescue group was called and a temporary home was found.
There, the dog’s long strange trip finally came to an end, the veterinary hospital reports, when the person serving as his foster parent decided to adopt him.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, animals, bayou city veterinary hospital, boarded, boston terrier, bus, dog, dogs, foster, houston, metro, news, passengers, pets, public transportation, rescue, shelter, stray, surveillance, transit, video
From time to time, about once every couple of years, I hear from a reader who thinks their dog looks just like mine.
That’s my dog Ace above — one of a kind, I like to think, but a mix of four breeds according to repeated DNA testing conducted after I adopted him from a Baltimore animal shelter nearly 10 years ago.
And, no, one of them isn’t German shepherd, though that is the most common guess.
The guessing is one of the joys of mutt ownership, along with the fact that — unlike with, say, Golden retrievers — running into an exact replica of your dog is something you tend to get excited about.
Tayar, who lives in Florida, had assumed his dog Bobby (left), adopted from an animal shelter in Miami, was a German shepherd mix. After reading about Ace’s heritage, now he’s not so sure.
“Bobby looks exactly like Ace,” Max wrote me earlier this month in an email, with three Bobby photos attached.
“We always wondered what mix of breeds he is,” Tayar said of Bobby. “He sometimes looks like a German shepherd, but when he’s standing next to a real one he looks nothing like him. Also Bobby’s tail is clipped so we don’t know what his tail would have looked like.”
Whether Bobby’s tail would have curled up into a question mark, like Ace’s does when he’s in a good mood (we thank the Akita for that), will never be known.
While Bobby doesn’t have Ace’s tail, he has something Ace doesn’t have — pointy ears, or at least sometimes pointy ears. Not until I got to the third photo were they shown in the full upright position, suggesting to me that Bobby, unlike Ace, may have some shepherd in him.
After reading about Ace’s origins on ohmidog!, Max is now convinced Bobby, like Ace, is a Rottweiler, Akita, chow and pit bull mix. (Despite the bad reputation those breeds have, I generally share that information with everyone — except maybe landlords and insurers — because he shows how undeserved those reputations are.)
“We’ve been thinking about Ace a lot,” wrote Max, who owns Assara, a laser hair removal business in Manhattan. “… Every time Bobby’s ears go down and he gets a certain look on his face we call him Ace to see if he reacts.”
I was checking out the blog Puppy Leaks (I think you’d like it) when I saw a photo of Laika. That’s her to the left.
I went to the Puppy Leaks Facebook page, and sent a message to the blog’s author, Jen Gabbard, asking her if she knew what breeds were in Laika, and if it would be OK if I included Laika in this post as well, promising to poke only the gentlest fun at her highly impressive ears.
Laika, according to DNA tests Gabbard had conducted, is a mix of German shepherd, Rottweiler and pit bull.
Of course, what breeds are in a dog doesn’t define a dog — nor does the size of its ears.
It’s all relative. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe even more so in the eye of the owner. Though some have pointed out they think Ace’s floppy ears are disproportionately small for his body, I’ve always seen them as just perfect.
I’m sure Max sees Bobby, and Jen sees Laika, the same way.
And the funny thing is, we’re all right.
(Photos: At top, Ace, by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!; second and third photos, Bobby, courtesy of Max Tayar; at bottom, Laika, courtesy of Jen Gabbard / Puppy Leaks)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, adopted, akita, animals. max tayar, appearance, bobby, breed testing, breeds, chow, dna, dogs, doppelgangers, florida, german shepherd, laika, lookalike, lookalikes, looks, miami, mixes, mutts, pets, pit bull, puppy leaks, rottweiler, shelter
A new documentary takes an inside look at the kind of “win-win-win” program I think should exist in every state, if not every prison.
“Dogs on the Inside” follows the relationships between abused stray dogs and inmates at a Massachusetts prison who are training and caring for them, getting them prepared to be put up for adoption.
Under a program called “Don’t Throw Us Away,” shelter and rescued dogs from the southeastern U.S. are sent to the North Central Correctional Institution at Gardner, where a group of inmate trainers work to regain their trust and, in the process, get some lessons in resilience and empathy.
The program benefits dogs and inmates. The third winner? Society — the one to which those inmates eventually are returning.
It’s similar to programs in other states we’ve written about before, including Philadelphia’s New Leash on Life, and, in North Carolina, a program with the same name, operated by the Forsyth County Humane Society.
Given we’re a country with more two million inmates incarcerated, given six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, and given most of both spend that time unloved and idle, getting them together — given the benefits that can follow — makes good sense
“Dogs on the Inside” follows the relationships between neglected and abused stray dogs and prison inmates in Gardner, Mass., as they “work together for a second chance at a better life: a forever home for the dogs and a positive life outside prison for the inmates.”
“Connected by their troubled pasts, the dogs learn to have faith in people again while the inmates are reminded of their own humanity and capacity for love and empathy,” the filmmakers say.
Directed by Brean Cunningham and Douglas Seirup, the film shows “the timeless connection between man and dog, showing the resiliency of a dogs’ trust and the generosity of the human spirit in the unlikeliest of places … In the seemingly dark recesses of a prison, a spark of light emerges that is a reminder of the wonderful and timeless connection that exists between dog and man.”
(Photos: Courtesy of “Dogs on the Inside”)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 17th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, animals, documentary, dogs, dogs on the inside, don't throw us way, film, gardner, inmates, massachusetts, neglected, north central correctional institution, pets, prison, prisons, programs, rescue, second chance, shelter, stray, training
Anthony and Françoise Claessens thought they were buying a dog.
They took the little bichon frise home, named it Tresor II (after their recently deceased bichon) and only later in the day got around to taking a closer look at the paperwork from the pet store.
The contract they’d signed called for 27 monthly payments of $95.99, totaling $2,687, for the dog, which had a store price of $495.
And at the end of the 27 months, the contract said, they still wouldn’t own the dog — because what they had signed wasn’t for a loan. It was a lease.
The dog, unless the Claessens forked over yet more money at the end of the lease period, would have to be returned to Oceanside Puppy — the store they bought, check that, leased it from.
“I have never heard of leasing a dog in my life,” Anthony Claessens, 80, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We were under the understanding we were purchasing a dog … I feel that we were swindled.”
We can’t argue with that choice of words.
The store, with two branches in the San Diego area, and the finance company, WAGS Financing of Reno, Nev., say they’ve been offering financing and leases on dogs for more than a year, and that nobody is being swindled.
“I think that’s very unfair that they are saying we are being fraudulent,” said David Salinas, who owns the shop on Oceanside Boulevard.
“It is only a surprise to the customer if they are not reading their contract,” Salinas added. “As a courtesy, we explain it the best we can.”
According to the couple, no store employee mentioned that they were signing up for a lease.
Under the lease contract, lessors have the option of returning the dog at the end of the term or paying an additional charge to purchase the pet.
“Over the last 10 years, lease-to-own and rent-to-own is becoming a much more common way for people and consumers to purchase goods,” said Dusty Wunderlich, CEO of Bristlecone Holdings, WAGS’ parent company.
The Claessens returned their leased dog around the middle of November and the company agreed to cancel the contract.
Since then they’ve found another bichon frise, this one from a shelter.
(A litter of bichon frises, from galleryhip.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 1st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, bichon frise, dog, dog sales, financing, lease, leasing, leasing a dog, oceanside puppies, pet stores, puppy sales, purchase, purebreds, reno, san diego, shelter, wags financing