Maybe it was some kind of turkey sixth sense that led Leon to leave wherever he was and hit the streets of Ventura County, California, when November rolled around.
Because we all know — and possibly turkeys do too — what day is coming up.
Leon was found wandering the streets earlier this month and taken to the local animal shelter. A Stockton-based rescue, Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, pulled him from there, wanting to make sure he didn’t end up on someone’s Thanksgiving dinner table.
Sanctuary manager Christine Morrissey said it quickly became apparent that Leon expected something more than a turkey’s life. He loves to be picked up and carried, petted and kissed, and have his belly rubbed.
“He just took to people immediately,” she told THV11.
Morrissey said she doesn’t know if Leon escaped from a farm where he was being raised for slaughter, or if he was someone’s pet.
But, she noted, “He certainly is the age of a turkey that would be slaughtered for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Turkeys have more complex emotions than most people think, she said, but Leon seems one of a kind.
“For an animal to immediately trust us and want companionship, that is, definitely I would say, an unusual trait,” she said.
Morrissey is working on teaching him some tricks, trying to figure out how to get a leash or harness on him, and even contemplating whether he has the potential to become a therapy turkey.
Likely, he will end up alongside some cranberries on Thanksgiving — but not as an entree. They seem to be his favorite treat.
(Photo from Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: affectionate, animals, belly rubs, california, dinner, dogs, harvest home animal sanctuary, leon, like a dog, pets, sanctuary, shelter, stockton, stray, thanksgiving, turkey, ventura county, wandering
Getting your Huntsvilles confused is one thing, but one website really screwed the pooch when they published a story about a good Samaritan who helped reunite a homeless man and his dog.
In September, in Huntsville, TEXAS, Wilma Price was driving through a Walmart parking lot when she saw a homeless man holding a sign that said, “Dog in pound. Need help.”
Price, who runs a rescue called Mr. K’s Pet Shelter, stopped to find out his story. She learned the homeless man, named Patrick, had been arrested and jailed for trespassing, and that, because of that, his dog ended up in the animal shelter.
She took Patrick to the shelter, and paid the $120 necessary for him to get his dog — named Franklin — back.
Dozens of other websites reprinted or rewrote it — most of them doing a decent job of passing along the facts.
Then there was the Alabama Observer.
It reported that the story took place in Huntsville, Alabama, that the dog’s name was Wilbur, that the homeless man’s name was Mark Spencer, and that the good Samaritan’s name was Elizabeth Masterson.
The story had no links to actual news sources, and little attribution.
It wasn’t the only website to get the facts askew, but it was the only one that appeared to be making up entirely new names for everyone involved. At least three other websites published versions of the story with those erroneous names.
One wonders what might be the motivation for substituting illegitimate names into a legitimate story.
Might the exact same story have happened with different people at a Walmart in Huntsville, Alabama? Clearly not. Might the website be trying to cover its rear, legally? Maybe. Might there be something more nefarious going on, such as diverting donations intended for Patrick (whose last name isn’t Spencer) to some guy named Mark Spencer? We hope not. Might a computer program be doing the website’s writing? Highly possible.
Apparently, a bogus Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for Patrick was launched by someone neither Wilma nor Patrick knew, and, using photos from Wilma’s Facebook page, it raised $3,000 before the page was removed from Go Fund Me.
That’s $3,000 Patrick and Franklin didn’t get. Wilma Price, meanwhile, started a campaign for him too, and it has raised more than $15,000 for Patrick on GoFundMe.
Price said Patrick has been helping her organization with rescue efforts since the two met, and her Facebook page documents their adventures together.
Snopes.com looked into the story and couldn’t figure out how or why the Alabama Observer version had new names inserted into it.
There is no contact information on the Alabama Observer’s web site, and no description of who operates it. Snopes reported it appears to accept stories submitted by users, as opposed to having its own reporters or freelancers.
We think there’s a good possibility it’s one of those websites that runs news stories through computer programs that rewrite them (with mixed results, or should I say “stirred outcomes?”).
How else could you explain the opening of this recent Alabama Observer story about clown sightings in Ohio?
“The developing rash of reported dangers including clown-faced villains has law authorization offices crosswise over Ohio and somewhere else attempting to recognize true blue dangers while cautioning deceptions are no giggling matter.”
(Photos courtesy of Wilma Price)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, alabama observer, animals, arrest, dog, dogs, errors, facts, franklin, fraud, go fund me, gofundme, good samaritan, homeless man, huntsville, impounded, mr. k's pet shelter, news, news media, patrick, pets, publishing, rescue, rescue groups, reunite, reunited, reunites, rewriting, shelter, texas, truth, website, wilma price
Moscow’s stray dogs, as we’ve previously reported, make good use of the city subway system — and authorities and residents generally tolerate it.
But this week when a stray, apparently seeking a warm place to deliver her litter, boarded a train to give birth during rush hour, they were even more cooperative.
Passengers got off the train and put up with hour-long delays so the train the dog was on could be sent to a depot for a more private birthing experience.
As you can see in the video above, a number of people volunteered to help.
At the depot, under the supervision of metro workers and a vet they called in to supervise, she gave birth to nine pups — and the metro administration has started a campaign to find homes for all of them, Sputnik News reported.
After the births, they were all taken to a shelter.
Dogs boarding trains and taking seats is a fairly common sight in Moscow, where strays are plentiful and steps to shelter and find them homes are not.
In fact, the stray dogs of Moscow are a true social phenomenon. Some of them commute from the suburbs by train because it is easier to get handouts from humans in the city.
Foraging dogs have long been part of Moscow’s landscape, but they stayed mostly in the city’s industrial zones and lived a semi-feral existence. They mainly relied on discarded food and kept their distance from humans. But with old factories being transformed into shopping centers and apartments, strays have learned humans have the food and the inner city is the place to beg.
It’s sort of a small scale reenactment, with a twist, of the whole domestication of the species — dogs turned feral returning once again for a human handout and, in the process, learning big city ways.
The strays have learned to cross the street with pedestrians. Some believe that, even though the color difference is not noticeable to dogs, they’ve learned to understand the walking man signal.
As a country, though it has made strides, Russia doesn’t exactly have a shining reputation when it comes to an animal welfare. Remember Sochi?
But, as a people — even though they are often depicted as cold and hard-hearted — they have some compassion for dogs.
Maybe that’s genetic, maybe it comes from knowing how cold cold can get, maybe, in the case of Moscow, it intensifies when you’re sharing an urban area — the streets, the sidewalks, the train, your lunch — with them.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, birth, delivers, dog, dogs, feral, metro, moscow, nine, pets, pregnant, puppies, pups, russia, shelter, strays, subway, subway dogs, train, train dogs
When singer-songwriter MadLyn filmed her latest music video she chose Salvation Mountain as the setting — a location that’s near the top of my list when it comes to American places of quirky and unnatural beauty.
And she brought her dog, Lucy, along to serve as the video’s co-star.
Salvation Mountain, built of trash, straw, adobe and and thousands of gallons of vibrantly colored paint, was one man’s tribute to his faith in God, and even though I’m not religious, I was fortunate enough to drop by and meet him twice (the mountain’s creator, not The Creator) when he was alive.
Once, for a magazine story, and once during my Travels with Ace, I spent some time with Leonard Knight — an admittedly reclusive and obsessive sort who let nothing stop him in his quest to fashion a mountain where there was none. Knight died in 2014 at age 82.
Salvation Mountain pops up like a colorful hallucination in the otherwise bleak, almost lunar, desert terrain around Niland, California.
MadLyn went there in July with her director/father and a cinematographer to film a video for her song “Will You Take Me Home” and she did all the things that people do in music videos — prance, skip, sing, twirl, look pensive, wear multiple outfits and toss her curly locks about.
In one scene, MadLyn was to stand in front of the mountain and hold her little dog as a camera-equipped drone zoomed in on them and passed overhead.
Lucy didn’t like that. She jumped out of MadLyn’s arms and took off.
Lucy had gone all day with no leash (she was playing the role of a stray), but when the drone approached for a close-up she “starts freaking out and jumps out of my arms and runs out into the desert,” MadLyn recounted.
As the sun went down, MadLyn, her father and the cinematographer searched for hours, on foot and by car, enlisting the help of Slab City’s other denizens, but Lucy could not be found and was not responding to their calls.
Because the cinematographer needed to get back to his family, they drove back to Los Angeles, a three and a half hour trip.
The next day, a Saturday, MadLyn called animal shelters located near Niland, printed up flyers, checked with the company Lucy’s microchip is registered with and sent out pleas on Facebook.
Then she and her father headed back to Niland to search some more for Lucy.
Sadly, and a bit ironicallly, what had happened in real life was exactly the opposite of what director Fred Fuster had in mind for the video.
While the song’s lyrics seemingly pertain to man-woman love, Fuster (being a father) envisioned a different, more innocent, interpretation of his daughter’s song.
“As director I insisted on having that story line — where this woman who has a hard time finding love meets this dog at Salvation Mountain and I guess falls in love,” he said.
But instead of finding a dog, Madlyn, in real life, lost one.
She later took her mother’s name, Madlyn, to honor her.
She has been active in raising money to fight breast cancer. Last year, she released the song, “I Call Her Mom,” with 100 percent of all digital sales going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
No strangers to loss and dealing with dark times, Fuster and his daughter pulled into Salvation Mountain after nightfall to look for Lucy and seek out people who might have seen her.
They went a gathering spot in Slab City called The Range, where an open mic night was being held, and showed Lucy’s picture around.
One man told Fuster that it was unlikely a small dog like Lucy — given all the hawks and coyotes in the area — was still alive after 24 hours.
That’s when Fuster sat down and began to pray.
When he opened his eyes and looked down, there was Lucy.
After a tearful reunion, Fuster and MadLyn put Lucy in the car and gave her some water. The 18-pound dog drank 24 ounces, MadLyn says.
MadLyn, as you can see in the video at the end of this post, clearly considers what happened a miracle.
“Lucy was missing in the desert of Salvation Mountain for 24 hours completely by herself, and through the grace of God alone, she came back,” she wrote in an email to ohmidog!
She says the video is “dedicated to all shelter and foster animals looking for a loving home.”
I have a feeling Leonard Knight would like this story.
I know I do.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, california, dedication, dog, dogs, faith, filming, fred fuster, god, leonard knight, lost, lucy, madlyn, miracle, miracle dog, music, music video, niland, pets, rescue, salvation mountain, shelter, singer, songwriter, will you take me home
A dream decades in the making — one that is said to date back to the early 1900’s and a dog who rode a streetcar to deliver lunch to his owner — became a shiny new reality yesterday.
The Forsyth Humane Society opened its new shelter on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem — one with double the old shelter’s capacity, lots of space for dogs to romp and more than 10 times as much parking.
Even so, the new parking lot was overflowing within an hour of the grand opening, and FHS reported on its Facebook page that 26 animals were adopted before the day ended — 21 dogs and six cats.
The landmark day began with a flag raising, and saw a non-stop stream of visitors — some there to adopt, some there to check out what, thanks to a $3.8 million fundraising drive, the humane society had turned a former seafood restaurant into.
For 75 years, the Forsyth Humane Society has acted as an advocate for unwanted and uncared for dogs and cats.
It owes its start to money left in a will by Lydia Schouler for the purposes of establishing a fund in the name of her husband, department store owner D.D. Schouler, that would help prevent cruelty to animals.
The Schoulers wanted to honor the memory of their dog, who would catch a streetcar every day to bring Mr. Schouler his lunch.
The facility is the third to house the Forsyth Humane Society, which first took up residence in an old house, then built and moved into a larger building on Miller Street in the 1980’s.
They soon found themselves cramped there, and about five years ago began looking at raising funds needed for a new shelter.
“This has been a dream of the Forsyth Humane Society for decades,” Sarah Williamson, the center’s executive director, told the Winston-Salem Journal.
The new shelter has space for up to 100 animals. There’s a new, more accessible intake center, storage space for food donations and a gift shop named “Re-Tail,” that features Forsyth Humane Society labeled clothing.
It is named in honor of longtime donors Chris and Mike Morykwas, who helped fund the construction of the new building. The old building, after the family helped fund its expansion, was named in honor of their two bassett hounds, Franklin and Peabody Morykwas.
It’s intriguing how so many of the good things done for dogs can be traced back to dogs — and the inspiration they provide.
It is to me at least. That’s one of the reasons I’m teaming up with the Forsyth Humane Society, in a volunteer capacity, to serve as their historian and archivist.
As it steps into the future, I’m going to dig up what I can about its past.
You’re invited to help. Please contact me if you have any documents, memorabilia, scrapbook entries, photos, memories or reminiscences about its history — especially its early years, and that lunch-toting dog.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 24th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal welfare, animals, archivist, bus, cats, d.d. schouler, dd schouler, dogs, dream, facility, forsyth humane society, future, historian, lunch, lydia schouler, morykwas, new, north carolina, opening, opens, past, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, streetcar, true, winston salem foundation, winston-salem
Nearly 50 deaf dogs evacuated from a shelter threatened by a raging wildfire north of Los Angeles have gotten a warm welcome at a state prison.
The owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America decided to evacuate the animals from their Santa Clarita kennel Sunday night as the Sand fire started moving closer to the property.
“We knew if we had an issue in the middle of the night, we would be here alone with 45 dogs to load up,” Lisa Tipton posted on the rescue’s Facebook page.
Deaf Dog Rescue takes in deaf dogs from across the country, trains them and places them in new homes. It also provides assistance to new deaf dog owners who need training advice.
The rescue was debating where it might take the dogs when the state prison in Lancaster — where Lisa’s husband, Mark, operates a dog training program called Karma Rescue — offered all 50 of them shelter.
“We arrived to find the man-cages ready for the dogs,” Lisa Tipton said, with “food, water, beds, and igloos.”
The hospitality didn’t end there, NBC 4 in Los Angeles reported.
“The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully. They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs…
“I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee.”
Even the dogs that aren’t always comfortable around strangers were coping well, Lisa Tipton added.
“To see incarcerated men of all races working so beautifully together to help others is a really amazing experience,” she said. “If they had turned us away, with 97 degree [heat], we would’ve had dead dogs in the trailer.”
She said the dogs will probably remain in the prison through the end of the week as efforts to contain the fire continue.
(Photos: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, deaf, deaf dogs, deaf dogs rescue of america, dogs, evacuate, evacuation, evacuees, fire, inmates, lancaster, pets, prison, prisoners, prisons, rescue, sand fire, shelter, state prison, wildfire
Bubba, a Jack Russell terrier-Chihuahua mix found high on methamphetamine in a seedy California hotel room four months ago, is headed to a new home.
No sooner was he pronounced healthy, drug free and available for adoption Wednesday than a couple walked into Orange County Animal Care and adopted the seven-month-old dog.
The couple, who had been following his story, asked not to be identified, though they did allow a photo to be taken of the new happy family.
Bubba had been at the shelter since March after being rescued by animal control officers from a drug-infested motel room in Tustin. He was only eight weeks old at the time.
Tests later show he had ingested methamphetamine and heroin.
His owner, Joshua West, 40, of Mission Viejo, was arrested on an outstanding warrant and suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, heroin and drug paraphernalia and booked into Orange County Jail.
Another southern California man was arrested last week after his Chihuahua, named Jack Sparrow, was found to have ingested methamphetamine.
After months of treatment, Bubba’s test results came back clear for the first time, prompting the shelter to put him up for adoption, according to Jennifer Hawkins, shelter director and chief veterinarian.
“They were a really nice couple and told us that Bubba would have a sister,” Katie Ingram, assistant director of OC Animal Care, told the Orange County Register. “Bubba bonded with them immediately.”
“It made it more meaningful that they were able to help him out because of his rough start in life,” Ingram added. “We were happy they are home quite a bit. It’s what he deserves.”
(Top photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register; bottom photo courtesy of Orange County Animal Care)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal welfare, animals, arrest, bubba, california, chihuahua, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, drug, drugs, heroin, hotel, ingested, ingestion, jack russell, methamphetamine, motel, orange county, orange county animal care, pets, room, seized, shelter, tustin