A homeless Knoxville man plans to hitch his two huskies to a homemade dog sled made out of a lawn chair and a skateboard and travel 2,200 miles across the country to Venice Beach, California.
Georgie Cutright says the purpose of his journey is to see the country, spread some joy and, for once in his life, finish something.
“I’ve never actually finished anything in my life, you know?” Cutright, 41, told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “This is something that’s going to be really incredible to do, and it’s something that I’m really, really adamant about finishing.”
How adamant the dogs who will power his “urban dog sled” — Sarah and Lobos — are is another question.
He could face some questions as well from local authorities as he makes his journey, and possibly animal welfare advocates, given the dogs will be running the distance of two Iditarods, on pavement no less.
Cutright says he plans to outfit the dogs in booties and take multiple breaks, though, and that — given the trip is partly about sharing his love for his rescued dogs — they will be treated well.
Currently living out of his van, Cutright has been training his two dogs on the streets of Knoxville, and drawing crowds when he does so. He plans to sell the van to finance the trip, which he hopes to start soon.
“I was sitting on a skateboard and holding Sarah’s leash one day when she took off,” he told the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier.
He held on to the leash and rolled along behind them. After that, he says, he learned to balance on a chair atop the long skateboard as the dogs pulled him.
He uses his shoes as brakes and has taught the dogs commands: “Yah” to get them to speed up, “Whoa” to slow down,” and “hard right” or “hard left” for turning.
Cutright says he will take country roads that parallel Interstate 40, camping in a tent at night.
Originally from Mattoon, Illinois, Cutright said he became homeless two years ago after he lost his job as a carpenter. He said he’s been unable to secure another steady job because of a felony conviction for an armed robbery when he was 18.
A friend will be making the trip with him.
Cutright has already secured his first sponsor: HeadQuarters skateboard shop, which donated multiple sets of wheels and bearings for the journey.
He said he will stay in motels when he can, and in people’s homes when they offer to put him up.
Cutright said he got Sarah off Craigslist from a woman who was moving, and acquired Lobos from the police department in Venice Beach when the dog’s homeless owner was arrested.
“I just want people to know that if you put your mind to something, you can do it. Anybody can, even a homeless guy.”
(Photos: Kevin Kilhoffer / Journal Gazette & Times-Courier)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 20th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2, 200 miles, animals, cross country, dog, dog sled, dogs, george cutright, georgie cutright, homeless, homemade, huskies, knoxville, lawn chair, makeshift, pets, pulling, skateboard, sled, tennessee, trip, urban dog sled
When eight men gather in a cabin in the woods for a bachelor party, you can expect some memories are going to be made — the kind they will share, or hide, for the rest of their lives.
For groom-to-be Mitchel Craddock and his friends from Michigan, there was no choice but to share them, for they ended up bringing home the female who showed up at their cabin door — and her seven pups.
The mother dog showed up at their door one morning as they were making breakfast, drawn most likely by the scent of frying bacon.
She wouldn’t come through the open door, so they brought her a plate of breakfast leftovers, after which she became less timid and let them pet her.
“It took a few minutes for her to gain our trust but from then on she was our best friend,” Craddock said.
It was then they noticed that, judging from the size of her nipples, she appeared to recently have had some babies.
“We could hear them whimpering,” Alex Manchester. “Mama showed up and was actually helping us get the dogs out. One by one we grabbed them and handed them out.”
They brought the puppies — about five months old and in good health — back to the cabin, bathed them and started pondering what to do with them.
“Once we got the puppies out of the hole, we knew we couldn’t just leave them, so we started figuring out where they would go,” said Craddock.
He already owned a chocolate Lab, but when he called his wife-to-be she insisted they take a pup for their new household.
His grandparents volunteered to take Little Orphan Annie, the name they gave the mother dog, into their family — along with another one of the puppies, according to the Nashville Tennessean.
“You think of a bachelor party, and that’s the last thing you think of,” said Craddock. “Eight guys go down to go four wheeling and come back with eight dogs.”
Craddock, 23, and his bride, Kristen Olson, also 23, were married on Oct. 8, after a rehearsal dinner the night before that all the dogs attended.
“They were all playing together and glad to see each other,” Craddock said. “I’m sure they’ll be life-long buddies. Just like all of us.”
(At top, the party boys and their pups after they returned from the trip; lower, the den the pups were found in; and one of the pups getting comfortable at the cabin; by Bryan Bennett)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bachelor, bachelor party, cabin, dog, dogs, homes, little orphan annie, michigan, mitchel craddock, party, pets, puppies, pups, strays, tennessee
The Animal Rescue Corps, with help from local law enforcement, rescued more than 100 dogs in five different operations in Tennessee last week.
The rescues by the five-year-old non-profit group included 31 dogs being cared for by the homeless man pictured above, who was refusing to get needed medical treatment for himself until he knew all his dogs would be safe.
That was the fourth of five operations — all conducted over one week in rural areas of Tennessee.
The Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) assisted the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in rescuing 21 abandoned dogs on a dilapidated property in Whitleyville. It helped Hardeman County Animal Control remove 19 abandoned dogs from a run down home in a residential area of Bolivar. Next, they joined with officers from Hardin County Animal Control to remove 23 dogs and a cat from a home in Counce.
“Members of the community have been working with this man to improve his way of life and this rescue is part of it,” ARC President Scotlund Haisley told The Dodo. “He wasn’t going to abandon the dogs and accept the help for himself without first finding a group to take the dogs. We are very glad to be able to assist.”
Last Friday, a fifth rescue was scheduled after Macon County Animal Control learned about the work ARC was doing and contacted them about 21 dogs found abandoned in an old country store in Lafayette after a tenant was evicted.
“We take animal abuse and neglect very seriously but lack the resources to do rescues like this. We only have 11 runs in our shelter and we’re already full,” Macon County Animal Control Officer Corey Lawrence told Fox 17. “These animals desperately needed help so we didn’t hesitate to reach out to Animal Rescue Corps for assistance.”
Those dogs, like the others, were placed in shelters or with rescue organizations that will try to find forever homes for them.
Animal Rescue Corps was founded in Los Angeles by Scotlund Haisley. Its mission is to “end animal suffering through direct and compassionate action, and to inspire the highest ethical standards of humanity towards animals.”
With only three full-time staff members, the organization’s rescue operations are almost entirely run by volunteers.
(Photos: By Amiee Stubbs, Animal Rescue Corps)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal rescue corps, animals, dogs, natchez trace state park, neglect, pets, rescue, rescued, rescues, rural, tennessee
A man rushed into a burning home in Tennessee to save a dog, then disappeared as quickly and mysteriously as he arrived.
The only clue to his identity was a remark he uttered before going into the house — “I do this for a living,” he told a neighbor.
The man arrived before firefighters did at the home in White House, about 20 miles north of Nashville, and was gone before they got there.
“This guy in a gray Mustang pulls up, says ‘I do this for a living,’ and he runs in and he comes out about two minutes later with this beautiful dog in his arms, and it was incredible to see,” Jimmy Nichols, who shot the video on his cell phone, told WSMV in Nashville.
“He got in his car and he left; it was so weird, he just took off,” said Nichols. “Literally 30 seconds after that guy got out, that roof collapsed.”
“He’s got the love and respect of this whole community,” Nichols said.
Not until later was it learned that the man was a Nashville firefighter who lived nearby and noticed the smoke and flames.
Tim Tawater, a 20-year veteran of the Nashville Fire Department, said he was concerned someone might be in the house. He entered the home and found no people, but when he heard barking he looked again and found the dog.
Tawater threw a blanket over the head of Sampson, Brandon and April Gourley’s one-year-old Bouvier, and carried him outside.
“Around here dogs are family,” Tawater told News Channel 5 in Nashville.
Tawater said, even though he was out of his jurisdiction, he was just doing his job.
“To me the heroes are the volunteers who show up to put the fire out and don’t get paid to do it,” he said.
Tawater said the family, on vacation when the fire broke out, has thanked him for his actions.
The Gourley family’s three cats were also inside the home. Two were found alive, but one is still unaccounted for.
The rescued dog was being cared for by neighbors until the family returned from vacation.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bouvier, dog, dogs, fire, firefighter, house, identified, man, mystery, pets, rescue, rescued, sampson, saved, tennessee, Tim Tawater, white house
Animal shelter breaks ins — one in Tennessee and another in California — have left four dogs dead and more than a dozen missing.
Three dogs were found dead Sunday – two in a bloodied Jurupa Valley animal shelter, and one on the side of the road – after an apparent break-in at the facility, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
And an East Tennessee animal shelter became the scene of a dogfight last week when a burglar broke in and placed a pit bull and a boxer, both up for adoption, in the same cage.
Shelter staff believe the two normally docile dogs were provoked into fighting by whoever broke in.
The boxer’s injuries were so severe that, after staff discovered him the next morning, he had to be put down.
Sharon Cravens, shelter president at Best Friends Sanctuary in Jamestown, said she believes someone hopped a fence, then unlocked the cage of a pit bull named Sam and placed him in a pen four cages away with a boxer named Bucky.
Volunteers left the shelter around 7 p.m. Thursday. When they returned Friday morning they find both dogs in the same kennel, covered in blood.
“It’s just sad to see that someone would be that evil and put two dogs to watch it for a show, you know, to put them through that,” Cravens told WBIR.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Jamestown Police Department at 931-879-5871.
Over the weekend, in Riverside County, California, shelter staff arrived to work Sunday morning to find a bloody scene.
“We found blood spatter everywhere,” animal control spokemsan John Welsh said. “There were some blood markings that were about 3 feet off the ground. We don’t know exactly what caused that, but we don’t suspect that an animal jumped into the air and caused that blood spatter.”
Two dogs were found dead of undetermined causes. They were described as a 5-year-old Chihuahua who had been recently brought to the shelter and a 6-year-old Yorkshire terrier mix that was brought in the previous night.
A necropsy was expected to determine the cause of their deaths.
About a mile from the shelter, the body of a third dog was located. It was described as an adult German shepherd, and Welsh said dog tags showed it had been from the Jurupa Valley shelter.
At least a dozen other dogs remained missing as of Sunday afternoon.
Several cut locks were placed in a pile inside the shelter, and investigators believe it had been broken into between Saturday night and Sunday morning, KTLA reported.
Some 22 kennels were “essentially busted open, probably with bolt cutters,” Welsh said.
Shelter employees were working with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators and reviewing surveillance footage.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, best friends sanctuary, bolt cutters, boxer, burglar, cage, california, dog, dogfight, dogs, dogs killed, jamestown, jurupa valley, kennel, killed, locks, pets, pit bull, riverside county, riverside county animal control, security, shelter, staged, tennessee
A county animal shelter in Tennessee was shut down and an investigation is underway after a dog was found alive in a freezer used to store the carcasses of dogs the shelter puts down.
The Lauderdale County shelter is located in Ripley, about 53 miles northeast of Memphis.
A citizen found the dog, named Asher, inside the freezer and videotaped her discovery, according to Localmemphis.com
The shelter reopened today after being closed Tuesday pending an internal probe, and the sheriff’s department is also investigating.
The woman entered the freezer looking for another dog and saw Asher.
He was barely moving and his eyes were open. She videotaped the scene, then took the dog to a veterinarian, where he was administered IV fluids. His condition is improving.
Localmemphis.com said sources told them that lab tests on the dog showed no evidence of the drug the county uses to euthanize dogs in his blood, suggesting that he was put into the freezer alive and left to die.
One shelter employee has reportedly been suspended.
The county animal control office had previously been criticized for shooting dogs and illegally putting dogs in a gas chamber.
In the wake of the incident, Lauderdale County Mayor Maurice Gaines has proposed cameras be installed to monitor employees at the shelter. The proposal will be discussed at the April 13 meeting of the County Commission.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alive, animal control, animal shelter, animals, asher, carcass, dog, dogs, euthanization, found, freezer, lauderdale county, pets, ripley, storage, tennessee
For eight years, Fatcat led a life that was the opposite of her name — in many ways.
For starters, she wasn’t a cat.
And, as bulldogs go, she wasn’t too awfully fat.
And, from all appearances, she definitely did not enjoy the kind of lifestyle the term Fatcat name might connote — she wasn’t idly resting in the lap of luxury. Far from it.
Instead, in the eight years after she was stolen as a puppy from the backyard of a home in Memphis, it’s believed she was used to produce puppies, by a less than ethical breeder who dumped her once she got too old.
Until two weeks ago, when she was picked up as a stray and dropped off at a shelter in Arkansas.
There — at the West Memphis Animal Shelter — she was scanned for a microchip, and Harris was tracked down, even though she’d long since moved to the Phoenix area.
Along with the good news, Harris received some bad news. Fatcat was in sad shape due to the years she spent as a baby-making machine — and getting her to Phoenix was going to be a problem.
Fatcat was too big to ride in the cabin of a plane, and between her health problems and her breed — it’s risky to transport short-snouted dogs in a plane’s cargo hold — flying her home wasn’t going to work. Harris, a working single mother, wasn’t sure she could take time off to make the drive.
“I went from the highest high to the lowest low,” she said. Putting Fatcat down was discussed, but before consenting Harris asked the shelter for an extra 24 hours to make the decision.
When she called back the next day to authorize the shelter to euthanize Fatcat, the director of the shelter stopped her short, and offered a suggestion.
A friend of the shelter director who worked with a local rescue group was moving to Scottsdale, and offered to drive Fatcat there.
Harris and Fatcat were reunited last Thursday in a motel parking lot, and between media coverage of the reunion and a GoFundMe.com campaign, donations have poured in — about $6,500 so far — to help pay for Fatcat’s mounting medical bills.
“I am overwhelmed. It is just amazing. People don’t even know me and they are helping me out,” Harris, 34, of Glendale, said. “I’ve even gotten e-mails from the (United Kingdom). … I just don’t know what to say.”
On Monday, Fatcat was checked out by a local veterinarian who found she has heartworms, dental problems and masses around her vulva and anus that need to be removed, according to AzCentral.com
Harris launched the GoFundMe page with a $5,000 goal, and says she plans to donate any surplus to the shelter in Arkansas.
“How do you show gratitude to someone you’ve never met?” Harris wrote on her page. “Even if I don’t have Fatcat home for as long (in terms of her entire lifespan), I feel like the luckiest person in the world right now. I’m just glad she’s finally home.”
(Top photo: Patrick Breen / The Arizona Republic; bottom photo, Fatcat as a puppy, from LaShena Harris’ GoFundMe page)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, arkansas, breeder, bulldog, bulldogs, campaign, care, cashmere, dog, dogs, donations, english bulldog, expenses, fatcat, go fund me, gofundme, lashena harris, medical, memphis, owner, pets, rescue, returned, reunion, shelter, stolen, tennessee, unethical, veterinary