Spunky always loved the snow.
But when the German shepherd-husky-chow mix and his owner moved from Wisconsin to Texas in 2008 that — with flakes being rare in Austin — became a thing of the past.
Ashley Niels, who works as a behavior and enrichment specialist at the Austin Animal Center, says she promised Spunky, who she’d adopted in Wisconsin, that he’d see snow again someday.
When she learned earlier this month that the 12-year-old dog was dying, and made the appointment for him to be put down, she regretted that promise would go unfulfilled.
They rented a snow machine and brought to her home.
Last week, Spunky got his snow.
Niels sat in her front yard with Spunky and experienced one last snow storm — albeit an artificial one. He didn’t frolic in it, like he used to, but Niels thinks he enjoyed it.
“To be honest, he was like ‘I’m not really sure what this is.’ It wasn’t cold snow. I think he could see how excited I was, so he thought it was pretty cool,” Niels told Inside Edition Tuesday night.
“I think he felt all the love we were trying to show him.”
Spunky’s appointment with the vet the next day was canceled, and Niels hasn’t rescheduled it yet.
“As long as he’s happy, I don’t really want to take that from him,” she said. “It makes me happy to be able to spend more time with him.”
She adopted him from a local shelter in Wisconsin when he was a puppy. They lived there for four years before moving to Austin.
As of late last week Spunky was still hanging in there, according to Ashley’s Facebook page, and she was doing her best to not think about his death and savor the time together they had left.
“I try not to think about it because he’s my boy,” she said. “I get to spend this extra-special time with him.”
(Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Niels and Austin Animal Center)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, artificial, ashley niels, austin, austin animal center, bond, bucket list, death, dog, dogs, dying, flakes, pets, promise, promises, snow, snow flakes, snow machine, snow making machine, snowfall, snowstorm, spunky, texas, video, wisconsin
About 70 shelter dogs were killed in a fire at the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.
About 200 animals were being housed at the shelter and, according to various reports, anywhere between 67 and 74 of them died in the Tuesday night fire, all of them dogs.
Beaumont Fire Department Captain Brad Penisson told KHOU the fire was apparently sparked by malfunctioning dryer.
The Humane Society of Southeast Texas reported what happened early yesterday on its Facebook page.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of the great loss we suffered tonight. Earlier this evening our facility caught on fire. Though the fire and police department did everything in their power to save all of our animals a total of 67 dogs died in the fire.
“There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling right now. Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, veterinarians, and service men and women who came and assisted us tonight. We will be walking through the shelter in the morning to assess the damage and to make decisions on the best way to move forward.”
While foster homes have been found for the cats and the 11 dogs that survived, the society is taking names of those interested, and it is accepting donations to help in recovery efforts.
Donations of money can be made through The Humane Society of Southeast Texas website.
These scenes of the fire’s aftermath are from a Beaumont Enterprise photo gallery.
(Photos: At top, one of the surviving dogs; at center, the dryer where the fire is believed to have started; at bottom, two shelter staff members console each other; by Ryan Pelham / The Beaumont Enterprise)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, beaumont, cats, cause, deaths, dogs, donations, dryer, fire, foster homes, humane society of southeast texas, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, texas, tragedy, tragic
They might not admit it, but sometimes even rescuers need to be rescued.
A truck from the rescue and transport organization Tall Tails jackknifed on Interstate 70 in Colorado Thursday, but no one — including the 100 dogs aboard — was injured.
The organization was transporting the dogs from high-kill shelters in Texas to animal rescue centers in the Seattle area, where they have a better chance of being adopted.
The truck jackknifed and ran off the highway on snowy Vail Pass, but what could have been a tragedy turned out to have a pretty happy ending.
Between Eagle County Animal Shelter and Services springing into action, and an outpouring of help from volunteers, all the dogs were kept warm and fed and exercised until a new truck arrived to transport 84 of the dogs to the final destination.
After the accident, the dogs were taken to the Eagle Fairgrounds’ Eagle River Center where 150 volunteers came out to care for the animals during their 36-hour stay.
Many more donated food, towels, and toys.
“The response was unbelievable when we put up a brief Facebook post asking for folks to come help,” Daniel Ettinger, manager of Eagle County Animal Shelter and Services told KOMO News. “We actually had a line out the door of people that wanted to come walk or clean. It was just unbelievable.”
At least 14 of dogs were adopted while at the fairgrounds.
The rest safely finished the journey to Seattle in a heated horse trailer.
(Photo: Eagle County Animal Shelter and Services)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 21st, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100 dogs, adopted, adoption, animal services, animals, colorado, dog, dogs, donations, eagle, eagle county, help, interstate 70, jackknifed, pets, rescue, rescued, rescuers, seattle, shelters, tall tales, texas, truck, volunteers, washington
Two days before Thanksgiving, a woman brought this dog to the Collin County Animal Shelter in McKinney, Texas, saying she’d found her on the street.
The woman later walked out, but not before the young pup wrapped her front paws tightly around her leg, as if to say, “No, please don’t leave me here.”
The gesture was captured in a photo.
It hasn’t gone as viral as those hugging death row dogs, but give it time. It’s one of those photos that says so much more than mere words ever could.
Given the kill shelter is full, the fearful dog’s outlook wasn’t too good when she arrived.
But the League of Animal Protectors (LAP), an animal rescue organization, has promised to pull the dog — said to be a Great Pyrenees/Australian shepherd mix — before her time at the shelter before her time runs out.
(She doesn’t have a name yet, but we’d suggest Corporal Clinger.)
LAP posted the photo on its Facebook page with a note saying the “sweet terrified” dog needed a “Thanksgiving miracle.”
The organization is trying to find her a foster home, and a forever home, as well — assuming she doesn’t get adopted while still at the county shelter.
For more information, contact LAP at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Collin County Animal Services at email@example.com. The shelter is closed today and over the weekend, but will reopen Monday.
(Photo: From LAP Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animal shelter, animals, cling, clinging, clingy, collin county, dog, dogs, fearful, foster, league of animal protectors, Mckinney, pets, photo, photograph, rescue, shelter, texas
A pit bull separated from his family when they evacuated during the summer floods in Texas miraculously surfaced in northern California in September.
And as of yesterday, Thor was back home — thanks to help from strangers who heard about his story.
Eddie Hurtado and his family evacuated their home in San Marcos during the floods in late May, planning to return for their three dogs.
Two were found shortly after they returned, but not Thor.
Somehow, he ended up more than 2,000 miles away.
A police officer picked Thor up in Crescent City after seeing him jump from the back of a pickup truck. The officer brought the dog to the local animal shelter, where he was checked for a microchip.
That confirmed the dog was Thor, but Hurtado didn’t have the money to bring him home.
“We’re having to replace all the furniture and all the appliances and right now we don’t have any extra cash to try to get him down here,” he said.
After Thor’s story was aired on KEYE in Austin, and shared on social media, people stepped forward to help cover the cost.
“We ran the story on Thor at 6 p.m. and by 10 p.m. we had a shipper offering to ship the dog at a third of what Eddie had been quoted and we had viewers lined up to cover the cost. So Thor is coming home,” said Fred Cantú, a KEYE reporter.
“Most police versus pitbull encounters don’t have a happy ending,” he added. “Nice to be able to share this one.”
More offers of help came from California after the The Daily Triplicate published a story about Thor — enough help to get Thor a ride back home.
Hurtado had said he was hoping that would happen before Christmas. “Ever since my grandson found out that he was out there, he says that’s what he wants for Christmas. He wants to get his baby back.”
Thor left Crescent City Saturday, aboard a truck driven by Bruce Heinichen, a driver for Orange County Transport who is hauling a boat from Portland to Laredo, the Triplicate reported.
By Monday afternoon, the truck carrying Thor had crossed into Texas, the Los Angeles Times reported. By Wednesday, Thor was back with the Hurtados.
Hurtado said the transportation cost is being covered by two Austin benefactors, who will split the $665 bill.
The Hurtados, while still recovering from the May floods, are now dealing with a new round of flooding near the Blanco River.
“We probably need to get into a new house pretty soon,” said Hurtado. “But this time we’re keeping the dogs with us if we ever have to leave the place.”
(Photo: Del Norte County Animal Control Director Justin Riggs takes Thor for a walk; by Bryant Anderson / Del Norte Triplicate)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 5th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, crescent city, del norte county, dogs, evacuation, flooding, floods, home, microchip, miles, pets, pit bull, pitbull, san marcos, texas, thor, trip, truck
A man who shot a pit bull he thought was behaving too roughly with his dog at a Texas dog park was briefly detained but released by Harris County sheriff’s deputies.
Deputies were called to the Bay Area Dog Park in Pasadena Sunday after the pit bull, named Dieisel, was shot — reportedly three times.
The man said he was defending himself and his dog, but witnesses interviewed by news organizations afterwards said the pit bull was only playing roughly with the man’s dog and at no point seemed aggressive.
The two-year-old pit bull was taken to a veterinary hospital, where, due to the severity of his injuries — a shattered front leg and two bullet wounds to the back — he was put down, Click2Houston reported.
The man told investigators the pit bull was trying to attack his dog, and he was afraid it would turn on him. Witnesses said he kicked the pit bull first, then drew his weapon, firing at least three times.
“His dog was not in danger… He was not in danger,” one witness said. “I don’t understand how they are not pressing charges. I witnessed everything. No one was in danger.”
“I just can’t believe somebody would do that when the dog wasn’t even being aggressive,” said another.
The man, who authorities declined to identify, told others at the dog park that he had a concealed carry permit for the weapon, witnesses said.
Deputies initially placed him handcuffs, witnesses said, but he was later freed.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office said reports saying it was declining to prosecute the man were incorrect, and that detectives have been asked to investigate the case.
(Photo: KPRC in Houston)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, animals, bay area dog park, behavior, diesel, dog, dog park, dogs, harris county, pasadena, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, shot, texas
You’d think in a world preparing for Ebola — especially in a country as sophisticated, dog-crazy and health-oriented as ours — someone would have given it at least a moment’s thought.
You’d think — between all the agencies and organizations, protocols and precautions; between the National Institutes for Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association — someone somewhere would have stood up and said, hey, what about our dogs?
Instead, with Ebola’s spread to countries outside Africa, public health officials find themselves scratching their heads and — even though there’s no proof yet that dogs can transmit the disease — considering options as drastic as incarceration and extermination for the pets of humans diagnosed with Ebola.
Caution, of course, is good, but planning would have been better.
Excalibur was the first one to come to light. The large mixed-breed dog belonged to a nurse in Madrid who contracted the disease from Spain’s first Ebola patient. Her dog, over the family’s objections, was killed and incinerated nearly immediately upon the order of government officials.
America, or at least Dallas, took a more compassionate approach when a local nurse was determined to have contracted Ebola from a patient being treated in a hospital there. Bentley, her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, was moved into a quarantined area at a decommissioned Naval base, where he’s being tended to by hazardous material crews in full protective garb.
The question arises, and should have arisen long ago: What are we going to do with the pets of Ebola victims?
Will we turn to extermination, as the number of cases, and our fears, increase?
Will we keep them isolated in crates, bubbles or decommissioned military bases?
For how long? At what costs? Under whose supervision? And is it even necessary?
No one knows the answers to any of those questions, and the fear and uncertainty that ignorance leads to is bound to take us to some bad places, if it hasn’t already.
In an ideal world, we’d have studies to turn to — proving, one way or the other, whether dogs can contract and transmit the virus. We’d be testing them, as we do humans, before quarantining them, or at least before releasing them from that quarantine. We’d know how long, if at all, they need to be sequestered and monitored.
Instead, we’re playing a messy game of catch-up, and the argument can be made that it’s because we were wearing blinders.
Even in this supposed era of increased awareness about the health issues that cross species lines, our planet seems to once again have gotten caught up in the view that only humans matter.
Perhaps too it could be argued that, among many in America, some strange disease in Africa didn’t strike us as a big concern, or as an opportunity to learn and prepare for what might be coming. (Maybe we humans don’t like to look at the big picture when the big picture is too big, and too scary.)
What is abundantly clear is that no one, up until now, gave much thought to how Ebola might affect our dogs — if not the disease itself, at least the fear of it.
No one knows whether dogs can get the full-fledged virus. One study during the 2001-02 Ebola outbreak in Gabon showed some exposed dogs carried signs of infection, and had an immune response — but that’s not the same as getting the disease.
“Studies have shown that dogs can have an immune response to Ebola, but there have been no reports of pet dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of passing the disease to other animals or people,” said Kristen Nordlund, a CDC health-communications specialist.
“In a situation where there is a dog or cat in the home of an Ebola patient, CDC recommends public-health officials evaluate the animal’s risk of exposure,” she added.
Given dogs are present in nearly half of American homes, given many of them share our beds and lick our faces, we’d like to see the CDC recommending something more than “risk evaluation.”
Between the lack of knowledge, and the lack of a clear-cut recommended response when it comes to the pets of Ebola victims, public fears will only snowball as questions go unanswered.
Why, given all our physiological similarities, can’t the dogs of Ebola patients be tested like humans are to confirm if they’ve been exposed? And if, as limited study suggests, dogs can have the virus without getting sick and dying, might there be something worth further studying in that?
“We know that you and your clients are looking for answers, and we’re working to get information for you,” the American Veterinary Medical Association says on its website.
“The AVMA is collaborating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USDA along with other agencies and experts and is tapping into the broad expertise of our member veterinarians to develop information for our members and the public. We will strive to ensure that veterinarians have a prominent voice as these issues are discussed and decided in the U.S.”
Up until now, the CDC has taken the line that the risk of Ebola to pets is low. Its website also says there is little risk of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.
“The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low,” says a question and answer fact sheet on the CDC website.. “Therefore, the risk to pets is also very low, as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person with Ebola. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola.”
And yet Excalibur is dead and Bentley is being treated as hazardous material, and with each new case there will be new fears and ripples.
In Madrid, a dog that often played with Excalibur was surrendered to a shelter by his owners because of fears he might have contracted the disease.
Tronco was dropped off by his owners at the Spanish animal charity Escuela Canina Esga in Madrid, according to the New York Post.
“They were parents with young children and they just were not prepared to take the risk and so [they] handed him over to us,” said manager Esga Juan Esteban. “We did everything we could to reassure them that it was probably OK, but of course we couldn’t guarantee that the animal didn’t have Ebola, and so they were adamant that they didn’t want him any longer.”
The shelter, in its effort (successful) to find Tronco a new home, used only photos of him as a pup — so that, once he was adopted, he wouldn’t be recognized in public as a dog who once played with a dog whose owner has Ebola.
(Top photo: The image of Soviet Space dog Belka is from the distant past, but might we see something like it in the near future?)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 20th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, answers, bentley, cross species, dallas, dallas animal services, disease, dogs, dogs and ebola, ebola, ebola dogs, euthanasia, exalibur, extermination, government, health, madrid, nina pham, officials, options, pets, planning, protocol, public health, quarantine, questions, spain, species, texas, transmit, tronco, virus, zoobiquity