Residents of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania spend the most on their dogs at Christmas — and a good three times more than dog owners in Oklahoma and Kentucky, whose residents ranked as the most tight-fisted.
That’s according to a survey called the “Santa Dog Index” that appeared on TheNosePrint.com, an online pet source from Big Heart Pet Brands, the company that makes Milk-Bone and Pup-Peroni.
The survey polled 3,000 Americans about their dog-related holiday habits, including how much they spend on gifts for dogs, their reasoning for spending money on gifts for dogs and how they include their dogs in Christmas traditions.
Nearly three-fourths of dog owners said they bestow gifts to their pet to express love. Other popular reasons were “because it’s fun for me” (60 percent) and “so the dog will feel included.”
Just under 30 percent dress their dog in a holiday-themed outfit, and 43 percent include the dog in their Christmas card photos.
The national average for Christmas spending on the dog is $23.10.
Here are the state by state rankings.
1. New Jersey: $30.01
2. New York: $29.55
3. Pennsylvania: $28.75
4. Utah: $27.75
5. Georgia: $27.04
6. California: $26.07
7. Washington: $25.81
8. Florida: $25.13
9. Illinois: $24.98
10. Virginia: $24.58
11. Texas: $24.47
12. Colorado: $24.11
13. Arkansas: $24.00
14. Maryland: $23.79
15. Mississippi: $23.31
16. Alabama: $23.05
17. Massachusetts: $22.91
18. Iowa: $22.86
19. Idaho: $22.83
20. Wyoming: $22.71
21. Ohio: $22.63
22. Wisconsin: $22.47
23. Rhode Island: $22.38
24. Alaska: $21.89
25. Hawaii: $21.75
26. Montana: $21.60
27. South Carolina: $21.53
28. New Hampshire: $21.50
29. Michigan: $21.33
30. West Virginia: $21.00
31. New Mexico: $20.40
32. Indiana: $20.14
33. Louisiana: $19.47
34. Kansas: $18.38
35. Missouri: $18.33
36. Tennessee: $18.19
37. Oregon: $18.07
38. Vermont: $17.67
39. Minnesota: $17.08
40. Arizona: $16.20
41. South Dakota: $15.35
42. North Dakota: $15.25
43. Nevada: $15.00
44. Connecticut: $14.30
45. Delaware: $14.14
46. North Carolina: $13.58
47. Nebraska: $12.00
48. Maine: $11.00
49. Oklahoma: $9.44
50. Kentucky: $8.63
Posted by John Woestendiek December 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, christmas, dog, dogs, gift, gifts for dogs, holiday, kentucky, new jersey, new york, oklahoma, pennsylvania, pets, presents, spending, state, states, stockings, survey
Two Tibetan mastiffs owned by a South Dakota state senator were seized by animal control officials after they attacked a woman in the senator’s Sioux Falls neighborhood.
The mastiffs, a large, protective and powerful breed that has been called the world’s most expensive dog, belong to Sen. Blake Curd, who is also a prominent orthopedist who specializes in hand surgery and reconstruction.
The victim was walking near the 1300 block of South Elmwood Avenue Friday morning when she encountered the dogs, who were running loose in the ritzy Riverview Heights neighborhood.
She received bites to both legs and her right arm, and was treated at a local hospital.
Curd and his wife, Debbie, issued a statement to the Argus Leader after the incident.
“We are distraught over what has happened and thankful it wasn’t worse. We hope for all to recover quickly and applaud the quick actions of the Sioux Falls Police Department, EMS personnel and Milo the animal control officer who responded to render assistance in this unfortunate circumstance.”
One of the police officers responding to the call was bitten on the thigh, but shook himself free and fired two warning shots when one of the dogs approached him again. Neither dog was hit by the gunshots.
The woman managed to escape by running into a garage.
“It occurred to a few of us that had she not managed to get into my garage, she could very easily have been killed,” said Jon Arneson. “There is virtually no way she could have defended herself.”
“It was a pretty unnerving experience for anybody who loves dogs,” said Arneson, who is a lawyer for the Argus Leader. “I obviously have no idea what triggered the dogs’ reaction this morning, but I assume they hadn’t shown any vicious tendencies before this. I doubt Dr. Curd would have risked keeping them if they had.”
Both dogs are now in the custody of animal control. Both were up to date on vaccinations. The police chief will determine if they are vicious, a finding that could lead to restrictions on their owners, including having to display a dangerous dog sign on their property.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, given some Internet commenters are already raising questions about whether Curd is receiving special treatment — or at least less than heavy-handed treatment — from police.
“The cop must have been told who the dogs belong to,” reads one comment on DakotaFreePress.com. “Otherwise if this had happened in the ‘hood, I’m sure both dogs would’ve been shot dead on the spot.”
(Photo at top by Megan Raposa / Argus Leader)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attack, bites, bitten, blake curd, dangerous, doctor, dog, dogs, pets, politician, senator, south dakota, state, surgeon, tibetan mastiffs, vicious
A trooper agreed to tie the dogs to the bumper of a patrol car, but within 30 minutes, the trooper drove off to another call, dragging one of the dogs behind him.
Terry’s dog Lois had to be euthanized after suffering a broken pelvis and spine, according to the Albany Times Union.
The second dog survived.
“The trooper feels terrible,” said State Police Capt. William Keeler. “The owner is rightly upset.”
“I do plan on seeking justice for Lois,” said Terry, who was charged with driving with a suspended licensed. “She was the only innocent victim here.”
The incident happened Saturday as State Police conducted a roadblock to check on whether drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Terry, after he was stopped, was worried his dogs would overheat in his pickup truck, and asked a trooper if they could be let out. Because it was a shaded area, officials said, the trooper tied the dogs to his patrol car’s rear bumper, using the dog’s leashes.
When Terry learned he was being arrested for having a suspended license, he called his parents to pick up the dogs. Authorities said that the trooper, seeing Terry’s family had arrived, assumed they had taken the dogs when he returned to his vehicle and sped off to another call.
“He was under the belief that the dogs had been unsecured,” a state police spokesman said. “He proceeded approximately 10 feet. Unfortunately, the dogs were still secured.”
While the leash of the second dog, Liz, detached as the patrol car pulled away, the leash securing Lois to the patrol car did not. She was pulled under the Ford Crown Victoria cruiser and was run over by its rear wheels.
An internal investigation is being conducted, and the trooper will remain on duty pending its results.
When the accident occurred, Terry was handcuffed in a patrol car parked in front of the one to which his dogs were tied.
“I heard the screech of the car taking off,” he said. “I was in the cop car. There was nothing I could do. I was screaming ‘Get me out of here!’ A cop came over and let me out. I ran over and held Lois. I knew something was wrong. Lois was crying, and her legs weren’t moving,”
Another trooper picked her up and took her and Terry to the Latham Emergency Clinic, where veterinarians recommended euthanasia.
(Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, crushed, dogs, dragged, euthanized, james terry, law enforcement, leashed, liz, lois, overheated, patrol, pets, police, roadblock, siberian huskies, state, stop, tethered, tied, traffic, troopers
Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach, while serving in Afghanistan, made a promise to Casey, the explosive-detecting yellow Lab who worked alongside him.
“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.
Gundlach, after completing his military service and enrolling at the University of Wisconsin, managed to find out that Casey had finished her military service and been sent to work for the state of the Iowa, detecting explosives.
Knowing it was probably just the first round of a long bureaucratic battle, Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, explaining the connection he felt with the four-year-old dog who’d been both lifesaver and companion. Gundlach wears a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo.
But, as reported by the Associated Press, things happened quickly.
“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures,” Reynolds said. “ … It just tugged on your heart.”
Reynolds got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, and it agreed to donate $8,500 to buy another dog for the fire marshal’s office.
Then, he got in touch with Gundlach, telling him that he needed to come to the state Capitol in Des Moines on Friday to plead his case before a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”
Gundlach, 25, showed up with his parents.
Reynolds told Gundlach the meeting had been delayed, but invited he and his parents to attend an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were already there, and knew — unlike Gundlach — what was about to happen.
That’s when Casey appeared.
A ceremony was held in which Gov. Terry Branstad officially retired Casey from active duty, thanking her for “a job well done.”
Casey was given to Gundlach, who put his head in his hands and cried.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.” During the 150 missions they performed together, Gundlach said Casey never missed an explosive. He credits her for making it back home safely. “I wouldn’t be here … any kids I ever had wouldn’t exist if Casey hadn’t been here,” he said.
His father, Glen Gundlach, seemed just as surprised.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “The state of Iowa, I love ‘em.”
(Photos: Charlie Neibergall / AP)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, armed services day, bureaucracy, capitol, casey, des moines, detecting, dog, dogs, explosives, fire, government, iowa, marine, marshal, military, pets, ray reynolds, reunion, reunited, ross gundlach, state
Between the Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains — in what may sound, and look, like a space you’d land on in the old board game Candyland — there was a man, and a mountain, I needed to check in on.
About 12 years had passed since I first visited Salvation Mountain — Leonard Knight’s massive, hand-painted monument to God. I was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, fond of seeking out stories in the middle of nowhere. He was 67 by then, and had spent almost 15 years constructing his mountain out of hay, tires, adobe and more than 100,000 gallons of paint.
What struck me then was his incredible commitment to the task. What struck me this time is how, even after finding a modicum of fame, what with his own book and DVD and his appearance in the movie, “Into the Wild,” his determination and focus remain — not on himself, not on getting rich, but on the mountain, its maintenance and its continued survival.
Leonard, at 79, is still at it.
He can’t hear too well. His eyes are going bad. He walks with a pronounced limp, and he can no longer lift the hay bales he uses as bricks, or to mix up adobe, to fashion his ever-expanding monument.
While volunteers still drop by to make donations and help with the labor from time to time, on this particular day — Thanksgiving — he was alone.
“Have a seat,” he said, shifting over to the next chair. A blanket was stretched across posts to block out a relentless wind. For the desert, in November, temperatures were chilly. Leonard, wearing paint-spattered khakis, kept his hands stuffed in his jacket as Ace sniffed at the conglomeration of items in the back of his pick up truck.
Salvation Mountain looked much like it did 12 years ago — bright, bold and scripture-laden. But it’s far more famous now, with everyone from National Geographic to Ripley’s Believe it or Not finding it worthy of note. And after Leonard and the mountain were featured in ”Into the Wild,” the 2007 movie based on the travels and eventual death in the Alaskan wilderness of Chris McCandless, interest in his monument rose again.
Even so, he said, maintaining the mountain, much less working on more recent additions — including a “museum” area that wasn’t there the last time I dropped by — has become a strain. The volunteers seemed fewer this year. Leonard blamed the weather. “The summer was too hot, the winter’s too cold, or it’s just too windy, like it is today. You can’t paint on a day like today.”
Crazy as the weather has been, it’s still better than his native Vermont, he said.
Knight was one of four children, born in Burlington, Vermont. He never liked school, got teased a lot, and dropped out in the 10th grade. In 1951, he joined the Army, was trained as a mechanic and got sent to Korea.
Upon his return, he worked as a mechanic in Vermont, supplementing his income by picking apples, which helped him raise enough money to make trips to Caliornia to visit his sister. He treasured the trips, except for the fact that she would make him go to church.
During one visit, after an argument with his sister, he stomped out and sat in his truck. There in the driver’s seat — for reasons he can’t explain — he found himself saying, “Jesus, I’m a sinner, please come into my heart” over and over again. Jesus, he says, did.
For the first time in his life, Leonard had a sense of direction — and it would be, as it turned out, a very strange direction.
In 1971, still in Vermont, he noticed a hot air balloon one day, advertising a brand of beer.
What if, he thought, he could market God similarly? He began researching and seeking materials to build a hot air balloon, and praying to God to help provide them, but for nine years it remained a distant and unreachable dream.
On a cross-country trip in 1980, he had engine trouble in Nebraska, and had to spend several days there. The mechanic working on his truck offered to help with the balloon project. They got a bargain on some material, and, for three years, Leonard stayed in Nebraska and sewed.
The balloon never got off the ground, though. When he came to the desert in Niland, California to make a final attempt to launch it, he discovered the material was rotted.
It was then, in 1985, his 14-year quest to launch a God is Love balloon over — that he decided to build a small replica of the balloon, in the middle of the desert, out of adobe. He planned to stay for a week in Slab City — a makeshift community of desert-dwelling loners, snowbirds, RV’ers and on-the-verge of homelessness types.
But what started as an 8-foot sculpture would become Salvation Mountain, rising about three stories high, an accumulation of tires and other junk salvaged and donated, coated with adobe and brightly painted with flowing rivers, budding flowers, a yellow brick road and Bible scripture –all topped by a big white cross.
It’s a constantly evolving work, and, as you might expect, it has fallen victim to both structural collapses and government bureaucracy, at both the county and state levels.
Leonard had his own tests done that proved otherwise.
County supervisors backed off their threats to shut him down, but by then all the free publicity from the controversy had added to the mountain’s legendariness.
Today, the mountain is more likely to be referred to as a work of folk art than an environmental hazard, and even though the mountain is a squatter — an unauthorized work on public land — Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2002 afforded it some protection when she entered it into the Congressional Record as a national treasure.
Leonard lives on the grounds of his masterpiece. He beds down for the night in a small cabin mounted on his 1930s-era fire truck, which like every other vehicle in his compound, be it tractor or bus, is covered with painted-on Bible scripture.
He works on it everyday, weather permitting. A newer ”museum” wing, still under construction, features a tree whose base was created from tires and adobe, and whose branches he cut from dead and fallen trees nearby. He hauled them to the mountain, and bolted them on, painted them and added flowers, which he says are easily made by punching your fist in a mound of adobe not yet dried.
Leonard urged me to go take a look at the addition, and apologized for not making it a guided tour. His leg was bothering him. Ace wasn’t sure what to make of it. He explored its nooks and crannies, and, back at the main mountain, climbed up the yellowbrick road path to near the top.
When I returned and took a seat next to Leonard, he gave me a DVD of a documentary about the mountain, “A Lifetime of Childlike Faith,” and a Salvation Mountain magnet. I asked him what his plans were for Thanksgiving dinner and he said some friends were bringing him some turkey.
Leonard gave Ace a final pat on the head, and we said goodbye to the old man who lives in the desert, having learned, or relearned, at least two things.
One is that there’s a thin and sometimes not immediately discernable line between visionary and nut job, so be careful who you call a nut.
The other is that — however eccentric Leonard Knight may be, and no matter what your feelings are on God — faith can indeed move mountains.
Or even build them.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, adobe, america, balloon, bible, bureaucracy, california, chocolate mountains, commitment, desert, determination, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, faith, flowers, god, god is love, government, hay, hot air, imperial county, into the wild, leonard knight, mission, monument, niland, obsession, paint, rivers, road trip, salton sea, salvation mountain, scripture, slab city, state, tenacity, thanksgiving, tires, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, visionary, visit
Cooling my heels in Phoenix, I’ve been trying to catch up with the latest on SB 1070, the new legislation that will turn Arizona’s police officers into immigration officials, requiring them to check the citizenship of anyone they confront in the course of their duties.
The law makes violating federal immigration laws a state crime, if that makes any sense, and some fear it will lead to large scale profiling and deportations as Arizona takes into its own hands matters it feels the federal government isn’t addressing.
Of course, the law applies to humans, and not dogs, but what if? What if the motivation for it — to keep undocumented foreigners from the shores of a country pretty much built by undocumented foreigners — was applied to the dog kingdom?
What if all the Irish setters –or at least those who lacked the proper paperwork — were sent back to Ireland; or if all the German shepherds were deported to Germany; or if Labrador retrievers, Tibetan Mastiffs, French poodles and Afghan hounds were all sent back to their place of origin?
The dog kingdom would be a much more boring place.
If all of them were required to live where they originated, we wouldn’t have anywhere near the magnificent diversity of dog breeds — not to mention hybrids and mutts — that we enjoy today. It would be so long, Welsh Corgi; seeya, Belgian Malinois; goodbye, Bo, and all other Portuguese water dogs.
Go back to Rhodesia, you Ridgebacks.
Probably, in our haste, we’d even deport Great Danes to Denmark, even though the breed didn’t originate there. (Once local law enforcement and state bureaucracies get involved, mistakes are bound to happen.) And, Siberian huskies, you don’t even want to think about where you’d be banished to.
A valid argument can be made that Siberian huskies shouldn’t be living in Arizona’s heat in the first place – but banishing them, or pestering them for their paperwork so often they decide to leave, obviously isn’t the solution.
If that were the case, I never would have met Sasha and Kodi, brother and sister huskies belonging to Sandy Fairall, who we hung out with yesterday at “Bark Place,” the dog park at Quail Run Park in Mesa.
No pedigree is required to enter, and dogs of all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and colors were playing together nicely. No one was asking anyone else to leave, no one was questioning anyone else’s pedigree, and everyone, dog and human, seemed happy to share the shady spots.
Sandy admits Phoenix is not an ideal locale for the cold weather dogs – something she’s reminded of whenever she heads to the mountains in winter to let them experience their more natural surroundings and play in the snow.
I say – paperwork or not — let them stay.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1070, afghan, aliens, arizona, bark place, border, breeds, citizenship, deport, deportation, diversity, documentation, dogs, foreigners, french, german, heat, hounds, huskies, husky, illegal, immigrants, immigration, law, legislation, mastiffs, mesa, phoeniz, police, poodles, portuguese, profiling, quail run park, sb 1070, shepherds, siberian, state, tibetan, undocumented, water dog
Does what you name a dog shape that dog’s personality? Will “Killer” turn out to be one? Of course not. Dogs, or for that matter, people, don’t always live up to their names, which is fortunate for Young Boozer.
It was while driving through Alabama last week that I first became aware — through a campaign ad on the radio — of Young Boozer, a former banker who is running for state treasurer.
I started scouting for his campaign signs, but, amid the thousands of candidate signs stuck in the ground last week, I couldn’t find one bearing his name, which is just as well because I would have been tempted to take it.
I did find his campaign ad online though (above), which ends with the tagline: “Funny name, serious leadership.”
Young Boozer captured 64 percent of the vote in the primary, the Gadsden Times reports.
Young Boozer– he’s actually Young Boozer III, meaning there were two other Young Boozers before him — will face Democratic candidate Charley Grimsley in the general election.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, alabama, campaign, candidate, dog's country, dogscountry, election, funny name, george wallace jr., politics, road trip, state, travels, treasurer, u.s.. america, young boozer