Rex, 12, whose nickname was “Fluffy,” was was laid to rest at the East-West Police K-9 training grounds and cemetery in Sauget.
“He was a phenomenal dog. Amazing. He saved my life at least two times,” said Rex’s hander, patrolman Keith Lewis.
Lewis, shedding tears, spoke at the service, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
He recalled how Rex once took down a suspect attacking him with knives, and how, on another occasion, the dog found a man hiding in a pile of leaves with a rifle and night-vision goggles.
Rex served the department from 2001 to 2009, fighting crime and also winning numerous awards in Police Canine Association trials.
Rex retired in 2009 and stayed with Lewis and his family.
Rex had been suffering from herniated disks as well as a degenerative neurological disorder. He was put to sleep early Monday morning.
His final resting place in Sauget is with other police dogs, not far from the center where police K-9s are trained.
(Photo: St. Clair County Sheriffs deputy Calvin Savage salutes Rex during the funeral; by Steve Nagy / Belleville News-Democrat)
The first national monument paying tribute to military dogs will be unveiled in California in two months before going on tour on the way to its final destination – Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument will honor dogs that have served in combat since World War II.
While there are other sculpted memorials to military dogs, this one is the first to be proclaimed a national monument, according to the Associated Press.
It was a reader who suggested a monument, and Burnam saw that as an idea worth pushing.
“I wanted to give something back to these animals that have done so much and asked for so little, except for food and water and the love of their handlers,” said Burnam, who received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
In 2004, Burnam and two other veterans formed the John Burnam Monument Foundation Inc. In 2007, Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., introduced legislation authorizing establishment of the monument. Passed unanimously by Congress, it was signed the next year by President George W. Bush, then amended and signed by President Barack Obama.
Burnam designed the monument, which depicts a handler and four dogs — a Doberman, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois.
The silicon bronze handler stands more than 9 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds. Each dog is about 5 feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. The sculptor, Paula Slater, says she has spent thousands of hours on the project.
Primary funding for the project is being supplied by Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc. To raise funds for the monument and its maintenance, Natural Balance created a jerky treat sold by Petco. Maddie’s Fund, a pet rescue foundation, also signed on as a corporate sponsor.
A floral replica of the sculpture, in the form of a float, will be part of the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, and among those riding on it will be Burnam, dogs and handlers from every military service branch.
The monument will then go on temporary display next to the float at Victory Park. After that, it will hit the road, headed for Lackland Air Force Base, where most of the nation’s military dogs are trained.
(Photos: At top, a model of the U.S. Working Dogs Teams National Monument, courtesy of John Burnam Monument Foundation; above left, handler John Burnam and sculptor Paula Slater stand with the military dog handler that will be part of the monument, courtesy of Natural Balance)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, doberman, dogs, german shepherd, handlers, john burnam, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois. paula slater, lackland, lackland air force base, military, monument, national, national monument, natural balance, pets, sculpture, statue, teams, tribute, war
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
We usually don’t memorialize a dog twice — but Andre was extra special.
But the best person to write about him is the person who took him in, gave him a loving home for eight months and has been updating fans on his Facebook page ever since.
Above is the video she put together.
Here are her words:
“This is the story of a courageous miniature pincher who suffered both horrific abuse and unbounding love. Andre the Rescue Dog was found on January 3, 2012, by our hero, Cedric Conwright, who witnessed a black garbage bag being thrown out of a moving car into an empty lot as if discarded trash. When the bag moved, Cedric opened it to find little Andre, eyes gouged and hanging from their sockets, starved to 7 1/2 pounds, shot with BBs. Thanks to God’s divine intervention in guiding Cedric to that lot, on that day, at that moment Andre’s (or as Cedric named him “LG” for Little Guy) story did not end there but began to unfold on a journey that has touched human hearts all over the world. Rescuers later named this sweet dog Andre and I came to call him Andrea Bocelli after witnessing the first sound he made almost two months after he was rescued. His sweet little bark that lifted his front feet off the ground sounded like music to my maternal ears. And so he became Andrea Bocelli Powers!
“Andre came with a ready-made FaceBook page when I adopted him. It was originally created to help raise funds for his early medical needs and later for two surgeries, one of which was a double-adrenalectomy. It didn’t take long for me to understand that although Andre could no longer see the world, the world was seeing Andre for the first time,
“Mr. Bocelli’s birthday because his rescue day, January 3, and his greatest gift was a new life free from abuse. His last day, October 6, 2012, came far too soon when he died at home of diabetic complications. I shall always yearn to hold my Bocelli again; Bocelli, Bocelli, Bocelli.
“I am confident that If Andrea could, I know he would, say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone one who helped both him and me in any way. No matter how big or small the gesture, I have been forever touched by your generosity of prayer, words of support, money, newspaper and TV articles, hugs, tears, etc., etc.
“Deeply grieving the loss of my companion, I am.
October 11, 2012″
Posted by jwoestendiek October 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, andre, andre the rescue dog, andrea bocelli, animals, arizona, blind, death, dog, dogs, eyeless, eyes, found, gouged, inspiration, memorial, miniature pinscher, moving, mutilated, pets, phoenix, rescue, sandy powers, tolleson, trash bag, tribute, video
That was high praise for Mutts creator and artist Patrick McDonnell — Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, was his idol.
Now McDonnell is returning Schulz’s compliment with a week-long homage to the Peanuts legend.
All this week McDonnell is honoring his idol in his daily comic strip, which chronicles the adventures of Earl the dog and Mooch the cat. The series started off with this memorable Schulz quote: “A cartoonist is someone who has to draw the same thing day after day without repeating himself.”
The special Mutts series, distributed by King Features Syndicate, is running September 10-15 in over 700 newspapers worldwide as well as appearing online in more than 100 Comics Kingdom sites and on DailyINK.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, charles schulz, comic, comics, dogs, earl, mooch, mutts, patrick mcdonnell, peanuts, pets, snoopy, strips, tribute
For years, a husky mix named Annie quietly watched the world go by, lying beneath a tree in front of an apartment complex in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles.
A neighborhood fixture, she seemed perfectly content to observe and greet as dog walkers, strollers and anyone else went by — and the neighborhood found her a reassuring presence as well.
When Annie died over the weekend — of anaphylactic shock, caused by a bee sting — neighbors started coming together in a vigil not unlike the one she kept.
It started with a few notes tacked to the tree and grew into a full blown memorial, complete with candles, flowers and sympathy cards.
Since her death Saturday, some visitors to Annie’s shady spot at corner of 4th Street and Cochran Avenue have stood there and cried, said her owner, Jack Zurla, who rescued Annie 12 years ago after finding her foraging for food near the corner of Washington Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
“I’ll remember Annie as a dog that was more human than dog,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “She had the capacity to understand people. She was a dog of compassion for everybody. She gave people comfort.”
“Annie was a staple in a lot of lives around here,” he added. “Annie was always ready to give someone some love.”
Other residents echoed those thoughts.
“She never ran off, never barked at anyone,” said actor Brian Savage, who lives nearby. “She was just a pillar of the neighborhood.”
“Annie was really a touchstone for all of us,” said Michael Moravek, also an actor. “It was nice to have her here. We might not know each other but we all knew Annie.”
“She was our neighborhood guardian. Even now, Annie is bringing us together,” he noted as he placed a snapshot he had taken of her on the shrine Tuesday.
Also leaving a hand-printed note was six-year-old Roman DiGiulio. With his mother at his side, he placed the note, written on a large red heart, on the tree. It read: “Have a good life in heaven, sweet doggie.”
(Photo: Jack Zurla stands in front of an impromptu memorial to his dog Annie; by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anaphylactic shock, animals, annie, apartment, bee, behavior, cochran avenue, community, complex, death, dog, dogs, fourth street, grief, husky, husky mix, jack zurla, los angeles, loss, memorial, mid-wilshire, mourning, neighborhood, neighbors, pets, relationships, sting, tree, tribute, vigil
Nancy Schutt was painting pictures of dogs.
Rich Reising and his son were writing a country song about dogs.
Like chocolate and peanut butter, they came together, Reese’s Cup style, merging their projects into the video above.
Rich, who has three Jack Russells, wrote the song, “Life Was So Much Better With You There,” with his son Dan, much of it by exchanging emails. That’s Dan Reising performing it.
“When it was finished, I brought it to work to play for some ‘dog loving’ friends,” Rich said. “When I saw their reaction to it, I wanted other dog lovers to enjoy it.”
Rich was contemplating posting it on YouTube when he crossed paths with Nancy Schutt, who was contemplating posting a video of her artworks on YouTube.
“So we took the paintings she planned on using and arranged them in an order to go with the story of ’Better With You There,’” Rich said.
“From the feedback we have gotten … we think we got it right — so many nice letters on how it reminds people of their lost loved ones.”
Rich reports that any profits made from the song being downloaded — from Napster, iTunes, Rhapsody, etc. — will go to Hearts United for Animals in Nebraska.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, artist, better with you there, country, dan reising, death, dog, dog art, dog lovers, dogs, grief, life was so much better with you there, loss, loved ones, memorial, music, nancy schutt, paintings, partnership, pet, pets, rich reising, song, tribute, video, youtube
Hawkeye, the dog photographed lying next to the casket of his master, a slain Navy SEAL, may be taking part in a tribute to his owner at a University of Iowa football game this fall.
Iowa’s athletics department announced Tuesday that it will honor Jon Tumilson at a Hawkeye home game in November as part of a commemoration of Veteran’s Day.
The department said it will work with Tumilson’s family to determine what role his dog, Hawkeye, might play in the memorial.
Tumilson, from Rockford, Iowa, was one of 30 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6 when their helicopter was shot down.
Tumilson’s Labrador retriever laid by his casket for much of the Aug. 19 funeral ceremony, after which photos of his loyal display went viral.
Tumilson, who joined the Navy after graduating high school in 1995, was a big Hawkeye football and wrestling fan, according to the Washington Post.
A former Iowa player suggested the dog lead the team on the field.
Tumilson’s mother, Kathleen, said her son made it clear he wanted Hawkeye at his funeral. “He didn’t have family; that was his son,” she said.
When Hawkeye went to their home after the funeral, she said, he went directly to her son’s room.
Hawkeye is now staying with her son’s friends in Texas.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, black lab, casket, college, dog, football, funeral, hawkeye, hawkeyes, jon tumilson, labrador retriever, navy, photo, seal, tribute, university of iowa, war
I don’t find that too bizarre, given some of the far more outlandish lengths bereaved pet owners go to — all covered in my book, “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.”
I don’t find it particularly newsworthy, either.
But it is Jennifer Aniston, and it is her foot, and she did love her Norman, a Corgi-terrier mix.
As many a pundit has noted, including those at the Daily Mail, which devoted major space to the story yesterday, it was a truer and longer lasting relationship than she has seemed to enjoy with any of the men in her life.
Norman died last month at age 15.
Aniston confirmed that the tattoo was a tribute to her pooch while talking to James Lipton during a taping of “Inside the Actors Studio,” People reported.
In 2008, Aniston, while doing publicity for the movie version of “Marley & Me,” in which she starred, told a magazine she wished men were as faithful as Norman.
Aniston, who divorced Brad Pitt in 2005 and had recently split from singer John Mayer, told the magazine she longs to meet a man that is more like Norman.
“It wouldn’t be bad if, when a man comes home, he’d run to his woman with his tail wagging,” said Aniston. “This sort of excitement is something I’ve always missed in a man, to be honest.”
Norman was already slowing down by then, and was undergoing a full regiment of therapy, at a cost of $250 a week, including massage, Reiki and and acupuncture, according to media reports.
In DOG, INC., a chapter is devoted to the sometimes extreme lengths people go to in trying to hang on to the memory of their pets — from freeze-drying to modern-day mummification. Cloning, in a way, is only the newest, not to mention most expensive and controversial, one.
I’m glad Aniston — at least as far as I know — didn’t choose to pursue that route.
In comparison, a tattoo is almost tasteful.
(Top photo: Aniston in a 2005 Elle magazine spread)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aniston, celebrities, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dead, death, dog, dog inc., dogs, entertainment, foot, honor, jennifer, jennifer aniston, media, memorial, name, norman, past, pets, remembrance, tattoo, tattooed, tattoos, tribute