Booger — the heart, soul and sturdy foundation of a streetside act that brought together dog, cat and rat for performances that amused millions (if you count online) — has died.
The 13-year-old dog — a Rottweiler-Labrador mix – died Monday night from kidney and liver failure at a veterinary clinic in her hometown of Telluride, said her owner, Greg Pike.
Pike brought together Booger, a cat named Kitty and a rat named Mousie, taught them to arrange themselves in a pyramid and showed that animals can buck their stereotypes and view each other as more than predator and prey.
The hopeful message behind the act — in which Mousie stood atop Kitty, who stood atop Booger, most often on the west end of Pearl Street in Boulder — was that maybe we humans could do a better job of getting along, too.
It all started off on a bet, though.
Pike began putting the act together soon after he was given Booger as a puppy, according to the Boulder Daily Camera:
One day in a Telluride park, Pike and some others were discussing the limits of what’s possible, and he bet that he could get a dog, cat and rat to get along.
After finding Kitty and her littermates in a box under a house, Pike said he introduced the cat to Booger. They hit it off immediately and were inseparable from that point. Over the years, several different rodents have been used in the act.
Pike didn’t limit his entertaining to Colorado. To counter the sadness he saw in people after 9/11, Pike took the animals across the U.S. He said he enjoyed seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they saw the animals walking around, stacked on one another.
“Everywhere I brought them, they made people smile, and it just made me feel really good inside,” Pike said.
The act appeared on the Animal Planet series “Must Love Cats” and a YouTube video of them has been viewed more than 9.75 million times.
Pike said Booger will be cremated, and in the spring he will climb to the top of Gold Hill in Telluride to spread her ashes.
“I think my eyes are drained. It really hurts,” Pike said Tuesday. “She didn’t die in pain at all. She passed away in comfort in Telluride, where she loved to be.”
Kitty seems to be missing Booger as much as he is, Pike noted.
“I’ve never seen her curl up to me this much.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: act, booger, boulder, cat, colorado, dead, died, dog, dog cat rat, getting along, greg pike, instincts, kitty, mousie, peace, performance, pyramid, rat, stereotypes, street, street performers, telluride, video, you tube, youtube
As Pit Bull Awareness Month draws to a close, celebrations of the dogs — and books and movies about them — are popping up all over.
Events designed to increase public understanding of, and support for, pit bulls are being held across the country.
And today, author Ken Foster’s book, “I’m a Good Dog“ – a tribute to the pit bull in words and photos — hits book stores.
“I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet,” tells the history of pit bulls, corrects many of the negative stereotypes they confront, and is filled with inspiring stories and photographs about them.
Foster, the author of ”The Dogs Who Found Me” and its sequel, “Dogs I Have Met,” is founder of the Sula Foundation in New Orleans, which promotes responsible pit bull ownership.
In “I’m a Good Dog,” he profiles pit bulls that serve as therapy dogs, athletic heroes, search-and-rescue dogs, and loving pets, and looks at a few of the famous people who have owned them, including Helen Keller and Dr. Seuss.
Foster is embarking on a national tour for the book, and will be in Oakland this weekend to take part in a fundraiser for BADRAP. October 27 is the fifth anniversary of the arrival at BADRAP of 13 dogs from NFL player Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels who would go on to begin new lives with local families.
Also appearing at the fundraiser will be Jim Gorant, author of “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption and a new book, “Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls — One Flying Disc at a Time.”
Of the former Vick dogs that ended up in California, seven hold Canine Good Citizen certificates and three are now serving as therapy dogs in hospitals and children’s literacy programs.
Foster’s tour will contine with stops at Book Soup in Los Angeles and Annabee’s in Pacifica. He plans stops in November in Portland, Seattle, Marin County, New Orleans, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Providence, Connecticut, Ann Arbor, The Twin Cities and Chicago.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, awareness, badrap, beyond the myth, books, books on dogs, breed discrimination, documentaries, dog books, dogs, events, i'm a good dog, jim gorant, ken foster, movies, myths, pets, pit bull, pit bull awareness month, pit bulls, pitbull, stereotypes, the lost dogs, tribute
Kos, rescued from an RSPCA shelter 18 months ago, is trained to detect drugs, currency and firearms.
On his first day on the job, with the Avon and Somerset Police, Kos found a lump of heroin in a car.
The 2-1/2-half-year-old dog was being cared for at the RSPCA’s West Hatch Animal Rescue Centre near Taunton before he was taken on by police, according to SWNS.com
“What is nice for ourselves and the RSPCA is Staffordshire Terriers get such a bad name but this dog is so lovely with people and other dogs,” said his handler, Lee Webb, with whom Kos lives. “There are other dogs out there that have potential we could use and it is a shame that people do not give them a chance sometimes.”
Webb says Kos seems as pleased with the arrangement as police are: “Kos was very excitable on his first day on the job – he absolutely loves it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, avon, breeds, britain, currency, department, dog, dogs, drugs, firearms, heroin, K-9, k9, kos, law enforcement, pets, pit bulls, police, rescue, rspca, shelter, somerset, staffordshire, staffordshire bull terrier, stereotypes, stigma, terrier, trained, uk
Courtesy of the blog ModifiedK9, and courtesy of Dan Waskiewicz, here’s a police officer meets pit bull story with the best kind of ending.
Modified K9 is a pit bull-loving group in Pennsylvania that works to improve the image and future of pit bulls through education, training, rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming.
Dan Waskiewicz is a Baltimore police officer, who wrote Modified K9 a letter about his experience a few months back responding to a vicious dog call in the city.
Here’s his note:
I’m a Police Officer in Baltimore City. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, and I am a fan of your organization and Pit Bulls. Today I received a call while on duty about a vicious dog chasing kids.
Going on my own approach, being a dog lover, I got out of my car and called the “vicious dog” over to me.
The dog came over with it’s tail between it’s legs and panting. I grabbed my water bottle and the dog sat down next to me and began licking my pants. I started giving the dog water. I brought the dog over and waited for the pound to show up.
My partner was not a fan of dogs and was startled by my approach. I suggested to him that this dog cannot be put down, and should be taken to a shelter. We took it upon ourselves to take the dog to the shelter, and transported it in the back seat in the back of our patrol car.
Then I decided that I wanted to keep the dog, and spoke to the shelter about the steps to take to adopt it. The dog was originally kept outside and was filthy, and now it just might have a new home…”
That new home was with Waskiewicz, where the pit bull, now named Bo, resides with his other dogs.
His act drew praise from Modified K9, and lots of commenters.
“Instead of assuming the dog to be vicious and shoot it dead, (as we see so many times before) he analyzes the situation, and sees a nervous dog that needs help,” the blog post reads. “Instead of letting animal control pick up the dog, and let it disappear, or be put down, he personally takes it to a shelter, IN HIS CRUISER!!! Finally, he offers the pup a new forever home!”
We couldn’t agree more: Dan is the man.
(Photos: Dan Waskiewicz, via ModifiedK9)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: account, adopted, animals, baltimore, blog, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dogs, image, law enforcement, modified k9, modifiedk9, note, officer, perceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, police, rescue, shelters, stereotypes, vicious, vicious dog
According to Klooff, what I need to do is get a golden retriever, or a Siberian husky, or a French bulldog — and then just wait for women to line up in hopes of dating me.
Based on findings in a survey conducted by Klooff, a new iPhone app for pet lovers, those are among the dog breeds that best attract women.
“Pets are great for lots of different things; for companionship, for fun romps at the park, and even for getting a date,” said Alejandro Russo, co-founder of Klooff. “That’s why we built Klooff, so people can express themselves through their pets. And possibly even find a little romance while at it.”
I find it revolting — maybe not Klooff itself, but this particular avenue the humans behind the app have chosen in a quest for publicity.
It’s dogsploitation at its worst. It reduces dog to an accessory — one that can help you “express yourself” and get you dates. It makes dogs the equivalent of those Axe products that purport to attract women, like flies to dog poop.
If the main reason you are getting a dog is to attract humans of the gender you are seeking — be it for a date or a long-term relationship — don’t get a dog.
If you are getting a dog for other reasons, but want to factor in which breed would serve you best as you go about your courting and woo-pitching, don’t get a dog.
If you think that a dog’s breed is all you need to know — that breed alone determines every facet of a dog’s personality and behavior, thereby making him 100 percent predictable — don’t get a dog, at least until you do a little more research.
Here’s a sample of their pun-laden press release:
Just what are the best breeds for singles?
It’s no secret that taking your dog for a walk during these upcoming dog days of summer is a great way to meet other singles, make a connection, and potentially land a hot date. But what dog breeds give men and women the best chance of getting a “leg up” on the competition in the “dog eat dog” world of dating and romance?
A new international poll on what goes on in one of the hottest singles scenes – at the dog park – suggests certain breeds are the “cat’s meow” in navigating the “ruff” world of dating, whereas others hinder their chances of success. The survey illuminates what types of dogs men and women should own to attract their next girlfriend, boyfriend, hookup, or soulmate…and which dogs to completely stay away from.
I will point out here that my dog Ace has gotten me dates — in fact, pretty much every date I’ve had in recent years. I would go so far to say that, while he smells much worse, he works much better than Axe deodorant, or body spray or hair styling products. But that’s an unexpected benefit, not the sole or even main reason he came into my home.
Although it was once the case, in today’s society most of us no longer choose dogs based on the work they can do for us – unless you are a shepherd, or a hunter, or a dog show ribbon seeker.
Today we choose them for companionship — for the love they bring into our homes, as opposed to the varmints they can chase away, or the potential suitors of our own species they might attract.
The Klooff app, though, is indicative of a mindset that still lingers – despite the evolution of dogs, despite the evolution of our thinking about them:
Looking at dogs solely in terms of what they can do for us.
The notion of getting a dog for the purpose of spicing up your romantic life is selfish — on par with ruining a pristine natural environment to feed your whims.
The notion that you should choose a dog based on how well its breed reportedly attracts humans of the gender you are seeking is equally unwise.
Klooff ranks breeds in terms of their ability to attract dates. The lists are based on a survey Klooff says is ”representative of 1,000 pet owners and non-owners.” It presents the results in countdown style:
The top dog breeds to attract men were:
2. Labrador Retrievers
1. Golden Retrievers
The top dog breeds to attract women were:
5. French Bulldogs
4. Siberian Huskies
3. Labrador Retrievers
2. Golden Retrievers
1. German Shepherds
Klooff is a newly launched mobile app that lets users create profiles for their pets, allowing them to upload pet photos and interact with other pet lovers, “and maybe make the dog park dating scene a little easier.”
According to Klooff, men who own retrievers are seen as “great dads,” men who own a Siberian Husky are seen as “manly,” and men who own bulldogs, boxers or Rottweilers are seen as “just a hook up.”
According to Klooff — and this is the one that bothers us most — the man who owns a pit bull or Rottweiler is seen as ”slimy” or “sketchy.”
Klooff calls their rankings “scientific.”
If you believe that, you probably own a Chihuahua.
(Photos by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alejandro russo, animals, app, appeal, beagles, breeds, chihuahuas, dating, dating scene, dog, dog park, dogs, dumb, exploitation, french bulldog, gender, german shepherds, golden retrievers, iphone, klooff, love, mates, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, poodles, romance, sex, siberian huskies, sketchy, slimy, stereotypes
Forbes, the magazine best known for listing the world’s richest people, now brings us a list of the riskiest dog breeds.
Or at least what insurance companies say are the riskiest dog breeds.
The magazine, to its credit, makes a point of saying the breeds aren’t the likeliest to bite, but, as the article points out, that often doesn’t matter to your insurance company.
The list starts out with Rottweilers, pit bulls, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds — the breeds that most seem to frighten insurers.
And when insurers get frightened, you, the insuree, usually pay the price.
Fearing lawsuits from people hurt or bitten by dogs, companies offering homeowners and renters insurance are pickier than ever about which types of dogs they’ll insure, said Jeff McCarthy, an agent with Harrington Insurance Agency in Woburn, Mass.
Insurance companies, the article points out, may deny you a policy, or drop you like a hot potato if your “risky” dog causes harm, or even if he doesn’t.
That leaves you having to find a carrier that will cover your dog, which could cost more. It could also mess up your bundling discount.
While some people try to skirt the issue by not telling their insurance company about a new dog, insurers say that is risky.
“If something does happen with your dog in your home and you didn’t disclose this information, the insurance company may deny your claim,” one said. “That could cost you thousands and it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Spoken like a true insurer.
Most commonly, insurance companies tend to resist covering these 11 types of dogs — or any mix of these breeds:
1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
2. Doberman Pinschers
4. German Shepherds
6. Great Danes
7. Presa Canarios
9. Alaskan Malamutes
10. Siberian Huskies
The article concludes:
“This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get a pit bull — those little guys can be pretty darn lovable! — or another kind of ‘risky’ dog, but you should call your insurance agent to find out whether they cover the breed, and if not, what it will cost to get a homeowners or renters with a company that does.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, akita, alaskan malamutes, animals, breeds, chow chow, dangers, doberman pinschers, dogs, forbes, german shepherds, great danes, homeowners, insurance, list, perceptions, pets, pit bulls, presa canarios, renters, riskies, risks, risky, rottweiler, siberian huskies, stereotypes, wolf hybrids
On Sunday May 20th, they’re planning their biggest yet.
Up to 100 participants are expected to showcase their dogs in the wake of the Maryland Court of Appeals Court ruling which labeled all pit bull and pit bull mix dogs to be “inherently dangerous.”
“B-More Dog’s goal for Pit Bulls on Parade is now — and has always been — to introduce people to real pet pit bulls and their people, thereby reducing the stereotype and myths that surround these dogs,” the organization said.
The parade will start at 11 a.m. at Rash Field and continue around the promenade to the Coast Guard Cutter Taney and back.
Participants in the walk will include family pets as well as pit bulls available for adoption at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS). Local rescue groups such as Jasmine’s House, Adopt a Homeless Animal and FurEver Love often participate in the walk as well.
“B-More Dog was extremely disappointed to learn of the new ‘pit bull’ law in Maryland as a result of the Solesky v. Tracey case. B-More Dog has been working around the clock with regional and national experts to determine the best course of action to have this law changed,” said Pauline Houliaras, President of B-More Dog.
B-More Dog provides humane education in Baltimore city by taking trained and well-mannered pit bulls to community centers, after school programs, schools and churches.
For more information about Pit Bulls on Parade or any of the programs offered by B-More Dog, contact Pauline Houliaras at 410-292-3869 or email@example.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeals court, b-more dog, baltimore, bmore dog, bmoredog, dangerous, dogs, education, events, inherently dangerous, inner harbor, maryland, parade, perceptions, pets, pit bull owners, pit bulls, pit bulls on parade, pitbull, pitbulls, rash field, ruling, stereotypes, training
“They have a reputation for vicious mauling,” he says in the first paragraph of his Monday column, written after serving as a judge in a costume contest that was part of last weekend’s Maryland SPCA March for the Animals.
That makes me wonder — not just about the SPCA’s choice in judges, but whether The Sun has changed its slogan. I’ve been away. Is it “Light for Some” now? “Light for Purebreds?” “Light for erroneous stereotypes?”
First off, if I may shed some light for all, it’s the news media (always so easy to blame) that accounts, in large part, for the pit bull’s undeserved bad reputation — along with fear mongering politicians.
Rodricks further trashes that reputation, calling pit bulls, among other things, “four-legged time bombs” — and at a time when much of the country, with exceptions like the Maryland Court of Appeals, is waking up to how wrong that stereotype is.
“Until they are banned outright, pit bulls should not be allowed in public, and their ownership should bear heavy, legal responsibility,” Rodricks wrote, adding that he was “pleased” with the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling declaring pit bulls and pit bull mixes “inherently dangerous.”
Rodricks talked about his admiration for the Maryland SPCA and its efforts to shelter and find home for dogs. And he praised the annual March for the Animals, saying the spectacle of people walking their pets around Druid Lake was “inspiring — city life at its top.”
If only there weren’t pit bulls in the crowd:
“The pit bulls make it weird … Of course, the pit bulls are all tethered or chained to their owners, and, given the nature of the event, you generally assume that the men and women who participate are responsible and educated pet owners; altruistic, too. Many adopted these animals to provide them a home and train them toward good behavior. They believe mistreatment of the pit bull by ignorant humans is the problem, not the breed itself.”
He then conveys the following misinformation:
“The evidence shows clearly that such attacks are disproportionate to the number of pit bulls in society, that they inflict far more damage than other dogs, and that their attacks are associated with a higher risk of death. Pit bull jaws are three times stronger than those of a German (shepherd).”
The appeals court ruling — delving as it does into pit bull attacks over history, or at least attacks police attributed to pit bulls — “makes clear, if it wasn’t already, that pit bulls are four-legged time bombs,” Rodricks says
As you might expect, Rodricks is now getting the vicious mauling he feared might occur if he got too close to a pit bull — from readers.
You can find their comments here.
(Photo: From TheBullyBreedBlog.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, ban, breed-specific, breeds, columnist, costume contest, dan rodricks, dangerous, discrimination, dogs, images, inherent, judge, March for the Animals, maryland, maryland court of appeals, maryland spca, news media, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, reputation, restrict, ruling, stereotypes
What happened when a locally-aired McDonalds ad noted that eating new Chicken McBites is safer “than petting a stray pit bull?”
McDonalds has since pulled the radio ad and issued an apology.
(For all our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apology, backlash, breeds, chicken, complaints, discimination, dogs, dogs in advertising, fast food, marketing, mcbites, mcdonald's, mcnuggets, misconceptions, nuggets, perceptions, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, protest, risk, safer, safety, stereotypes, video, woof in advertising
Bombarded by 18,000 emails and faced with a crowd of more than 100 dog lovers, the Cumberland County Animal Control Board last night dropped a proposal to ban adoptions of pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chows and other breeds.
About 10 breeds were included in the proposal — as were any mixes of them — all of which would have been euthanized within three days of arriving at the North Carolina county’s shelter.
Instead, the Fayeteville Observer reports, the animal control board directed Dr. John Lauby, the animal control director, to look into ways the county can better screen people who adopt animals to ensure they’ll be responsible owners.
The proposed breed ban was recommended about two months after Cumberland County hired a contractor to round up stray and feral dogs in and around Fayetteville — most of which ended up getting euthanized.
That step, and the breed ban, were prompted by complaints from the public about free-running dogs that posed nuisances and dangers.
In October, the Animal Control board recommended that the county deem “unadoptable” any and all bully breeds, as well as Rottweilers chow chows, Great Danes and German shepherds, according to some reports.
Those breeds, and mixes of them — labeled “attack dogs” by one county official – would have been euthanized within 72 hours, unless other shelters or rescues took them.
By Monday night, Lauby said he had received more than 18,000 emails about the proposal, many from activists who — based on online petitions and erroneous news reports — believed the county was to start euthanizing all such breeds Monday.
“We’re not trying to kill anything,” Lauby said. “We’re trying to adopt animals.”
Among those who addressed the board were pit bull owners, rescuers, trainers and groomers, many of whom voiced their opposition to breed specific policies and laws.
“Some of the best dogs I groom are dogs that are on the list,” said Karin Miller, a groomer in Hope Mills. “We can’t categorize the dogs any more than we can categorize people.”
Troy Duke, who runs a Cumberland County pit bull rescue, said the dogs are “suffering from the same stereotypes that racists label other people with.”
Lauby told the board that dog adoptions have increased from 700 per year to about 2,000, but the county still euthanizes some 11,000 dogs annually.
About 1,000 pit bulls arrive at the county shelter a year, most of which are euthanized.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption ban, animal control board, animals, attack dogs, ban, breed, breed-specific, chows, cumberland county, dangerous dogs, dogs, emails, euthanasia, euthanize, fayetteville, feral dogs, german shepherds, great danes, john lauby, meeting, north carolina, petitions, pets, pit bulls, policy, proposal, protests, rottweilers, stereotypes, stray dogs, uproar