The “K-9 Comfort Dogs” are part of a Lutheran Church Charities program in which the specially trained therapy dogs serve to calm and connect with injured survivors.
As was the case in Newtown, the comfort they provide tends to extend far beyond hospital room visits.
“We have people simply walking by on the sidewalk who see the dogs … and with the memory of Monday, they break into tears,” said Rev. Ingo Dutzmann, senior pastor of First Lutheran Church in downtown Boston, which is serving as home base for five of Lutheran Church Charities’ dogs.
“It’s the dog that allows them to express their emotions in that way,” he told NBC, “and if you’re hurting, you’ve got to let it go. With a dog, people are not afraid to do that.”
On Tuesday, three comfort dogs flew from Lutheran Church Charities’ headquarters near Chicago to Boston, where they joined two golden retrievers who had been working with grieving pupils and parents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
The five dogs and their handlers will spend the rest of this week visiting bombing survivors at Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and they’ll keep making hospital rounds next week if needed. The dogs will also be present at First Lutheran Church of Boston at noon today for a memorial service and on Sunday morning for worship services.
“It’s relaxing — takes my mind off of what happened,” said David Yepez, 15, who is recovering from surgery at Tufts Medical Center after being hit in the leg by shrapnel in Monday’s blast. “It’s good to have my mind away from the accident, the doctors. To have a moment of peace. [I haven’t] had many moments of peace.”
The dogs paid a visit Wednesday to Lee Ann Yanni (seen above), just before she underwent surgery on her shattered leg.
“My stress level has gone way down,” said Meghan Bennett, a 25-year-old nursing student who has been caring for bombing victims. “I just love dogs … and this is a distraction from the reality. Patients’ faces light up when a dog walks into the room.”
(Photos: Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bombing, bombs, boston, boston marathon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, calming, comfort dogs, community, david yepez, dogs, emotions, golden retrievers, goldens, grief, hospital, injuries, k-9 comfort dogs, lee ann yanni, lutheran church charities, marathon, Massachusetts General Hospital, newtown, pain, pets, sandy hook, school, staff, therapy dogs, tufts, Tufts Medical Center, victims, visits
As early as this summer, the Yamhill County District Attorney’s office may take possession of the state’s first “courthouse dog.”
District Attorney Brad Berry received word in December that the county is in line to receive the dog from Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization in Santa Rosa, California.
Courthouse dogs sit beside witnesses who might be reluctant or fearful, such as victims of child abuse, and help provide a calm and reassuring presence during stressful situations.
“It takes just a few minutes of observing one of these amazing dogs with a victim to understand what an extraordinary benefit it is,” Berry said. “Watching as the dog lays its head on a child’s lap — the child almost unconsciously stroking it — while talking about difficult topics, leaves no doubt as to the soothing effect this can have.”
Courthouse dogs are also on the job in several other states.
Berry said the county has been told it could receive a dog sometime between May and August.
“We have worked diligently to show CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) not only the need for such an amazing animal in Yamhill County, but that we are ready to receive one and immediately put it to use with victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable victims in our system.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 30th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, brad berry, calming, canine companions for independence, child abuse, court, courthouse dogs, district attorney, dogs, oregon, pets, support, testimony, therapy, victims, witnesses, yamhill county
Mexican authorities have identified a fifth possible victim in what they say is a string of fatal dog attacks at a hilltop park in Mexico City.
Gangs of dogs had been blamed for the deaths of four people at Cerro de Estrella national park in connection with attacks authorities say occured on Saturday, and on Dec. 29.
On Wednesday, the city’s attorney general’s office said it is also investigating a case involving a 15-year-old girl whose body was found at the park on Dec. 16, mutilated and bitten.
Police have rounded up 25 dogs at the park, including seven puppies, and promised sweeps at other large green spaces in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But animal welfare activists say authorities have been too quick to blame the street dogs, more than a million of which roam the city, rarely attacking humans.
Some families of victims have told Mexican news outlets they believe their loved ones might have been attacked by humans.
Atty. Gen. Rodolfo Rios said Tuesday that the four most recent victims were killed by bites. In both cases, the bites the victims sustained were determined to have occured both before and after their deaths. Investigators found dog hair on the victims’ clothing, he said.
Rios said additional tests are being conducted, and that there were no plans to exterminate the dogs that have been swept up and are now in the Iztapalapa pound.
“The dogs will not be sacrificed,” Rios said. “They will be treated well.”
On Dec. 29, the bodies of Shunashi Elizabeth Mendoza Caamal, 26, and an infant believed to be her child were found in the Cerro de Estrella area. On Jan. 5, the bodies of Alejandra Ruiz Garcia, 15, and Samuel Suriel Martinez, 16, were found in the park in a “semi-devoured” state, officials said.
But some animal activists say investigators have been too quick to blame dogs, and should be looking for human suspects.
Antemio Maya, president of an association that protects street dogs, said authorities ”are making a huge error. They’re generating a climate of hate against dogs.”
(Photo: Mexico City Attorney General’s office)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, Antemio Maya, attacks, bites, Cerro de Estrella, deaths, dogs, euthanasia, feral, fifth, five, Iztapalapa, mauling, mexico city, park, pets, shelter, strays, street dogs, victims, wild
In Colorado, victims and witnesses who might, for various reasons, have trouble sharing details of a crime with a police officer now have another option — Pella, a Labrador-golden retriever mix who is both kid-friendly and judgment-free.
Pella began her service with the Aurora Police Department this summer, and while she doesn’t track down criminals, the hope is she can help put them behind bars.
Her main role is to work with children and developmentally-disabled adults during the beginnings of investigations, providing some comfort and emotional support when they are interviewed by authorities.
“It’s hard for anyone regardless of their state in life, their age, their background, their ethnicity … to talk to police. It’s just an uncomfortable situation. Pella can just help that anxiety to lessen a bit,” Amber Urban, who’s behind the program, told 9 News in Denver.
Urban was working as a school-resource officer when she started pondering how dogs — outside of tracking suspects and detecting drugs — could help the legal system.
Through Paws Assisting the Legal System, she brought Pella to the Aurora Police Department to work with its Crimes Against Children Unit.
The program is similar to the Courthouse Dogs program that is already in place in other cities.
Pella works a lot at SungateKids, a center where forensic interviewers talk to kids and adults who have either witnessed a crime or been victims of one.
“They’re here to talk about things that are traumatic. They, depending on their age, may not have that recognition of it being traumatic, but they feel it,” Urban said.
Children often pet Pella and hold on to her leash while they’re talking.
“…It’s a little bit better of a connection for a lot of kids to be able to interact with the dog who has no judgment, no opinion. The kids see that and they’re like, ‘Wow, they just like me.’”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amber urban, aurora, aurora police department, children, colorado, comfort, courthouse dogs, courts, crimes, developmentally disabled, emotional, golden retriever, labrador retriever, law enforcement, pals, paws assisting the legal system, pella, sungate kids, support, victims, witnesses
High School teachers Steven and Debbie Leatherman headed to the basement with their cocker spaniel Sugar when the tornado sirens sounded in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22.
After turning on the television and seeing what was headed their way, they decided to seek the additional protection of their storm shelter.
Sugar, 10, must have sensed their anxiety. She bolted back upstairs to her own favorite hiding place, under a bed.
Less than a minute later, the twister tore their house apart.
When they emerged from the shelter, debris was all that remained of their home and Sugar was missing. Their son Daniel, a University of Missouri student, drove home from Columbia the next morning, helping his parents sift through the rubble and seek out their dog.
Meanwhile, Daniel’s aunt in Kansas turned to her computer, searching for a clue to Sugar’s whereabouts.
On Facebook she found a dog resembling Sugar that had been picked up in a storm ditch several blocks from the Leatherman’s house. The dog’s rear legs were paralyzed and she was unable to get out on her own.
At the Joplin Humane Society, a veterinarian advised the Leathermans to seek care for their pet in another city, due to the strain on resources in Joplin.
Daniel Leatherman called the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where vets agreed to take a look.
The next day, Fred Wininger, an assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery in the College of Veterinary Medicine, examined the dog and noted that while she had no use of her hind legs, she retained pain sensation in her paws. He determined she had sustained something called a traumatic T12-13 intervertebral disc rupture.
Wininger explained: “The intervertebral disc is like a jelly donut that is soft at its core and harder on the outside. Its function is to cushion the vertebral bones around the spinal cord. With severe enough injury, the “jelly” center, also known as the nucleus pulposus, can extrude out of the shell and compress the spinal cord.”
The rupture caused severe bruising to Sugar’s spinal cord and mild subluxation, or malalignment or the bones. Wininger performed a surgical procedure known as a hemilaminectomy, which created a window in the vertebral bone allowing him to decompress the disc and hemorrhage that was pushing on the cord.
Two days after surgery — and every day for seven days — therapists electrically stimulated Sugar’s hind limbs to help prevent muscle atrophy, and the dog began underwater treamill therapy as well.
On June 6, two weeks after the tornado, Sugar began to show movement in her hind legs for the first time.
The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital through its Silent Partners Fund and College of Veterinary Medicine absorbed the cost of Sugar’s treatment and therapy. Orscheln Farm and Home in Columbia also helped out by donating food and toys to help with Sugar’s care.
A little more than a week later, on June 14, Daniel Leatherman collected the family’s beloved pet to continue her recovery at home. “We are so warmed by everything that has been done,” he said. “It has given us back our family.”
(Source: University of Missouri News Bureau)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cocker spaniel, college of veterinary medicine, daniel leatherman, debbie leatherman, disc, dogs, electric, facebook, found, fred wininger, joplin, lost, misouri, paralyzed, pets, rear legs, reunited, rupture, spinal cord, steven leatherman, stimulation, subluxation, sugar, surgery, therapy, tornado, university of missouri, veterinary, veterinary medical teaching hospital, victims, video, walks
One hundred and twenty-seven human lives were lost, but a dog miraculously survived a massive bombing in Baghdad Tuesday – even though the building she was chained to collapsed.
The dog was first spotted chained to a roof railing after the Tuesday bombing, standing on a wall ledge over the collapsed home.
The owner of the dog, Farouq Omar Muhei, returned to his destroyed home and was reunited with the ginger-colored mutt today, the Associated Press reported.
“Lots of neighbors thought I was dead,” he said after his dog, Liza, was carried down to the street.
Officials initially said Muhei and his family were among the victims. But, to the surprise of neighbors, already marveling over the dog’s survival, he returned with his 14-year-old son, Omar, after being treated for cuts and other injuries. They were the only family members home at the time of the attack.
Only a few portions of the home remained standing — including one section of the roof where Liza was chained. The dog’s water bucket was by her side, but was empty when Muhei’s brother, Fuad, climbed over the rubble to unchain the dog. The dog, waiting calmly, yawned as Fuad approached.
Once carried down to the street and reunited with Muhei, 46, the dog — who he purchased as a puppy six years ago in Baghdad’s main pet market –shook with joy and lapped water from a puddle, according to the AP report.
“After we crawled out of the rubble of our home, I said to my son, ‘the dog is dead’,” said Muhei, who sells candy and small items in the local market. “But my son said, ‘No, I saw her.’ I came back today to rescue my dog.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baghdad, bombing, chained, collapsed, dog, family, farouq omar muhei, home, iraq, killed 127, ledge, leveled, liza, miracle, reclaimed, rescued, reunion, reunited, roof, rubble, saved, survived, survives, victims, wall, war
The New York Daily News reports that jailed dog-fighter Michael Vick is looking for a book deal.
According to the newspaper, the former Atlanta Falcons star has a literary agent, Scott Waxman, founder of the Waxman Literary Agency, who is shopping a proposal for a Vick memoir.
Waxman didn’t return the newspaper’s calls, but the article raises the possibility that Vick could use the book as an opportunity to “demonstrate sufficient remorse” for his actions, which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said would be required before allowing Vick to return to professional football would even be considered.
Too, if it were to sell well, a book could help Vick, who is now in bankruptcy proceedings, crawl out of the financial hole his conviction left him in .
The Daily News article says that, since his victims were dogs, it is ”unlikely” that Vick’s book would be subject to the “Son of Sam Law” — though I don’t see why not. The law, designed to keep criminals from profiting from their crimes through book deals, authorizes the state to seize profits and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims. Seizing any profits from a Vick book, and passing them along to animal welfare organizations, strikes me as a perfect exercise of the law.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: book, book deal, daily news, dogfighting, law, literary agency, michael vick, profits, publisher, publishing, son of sam, vick, victims, waxman
Having convicted dogfighter Ed Faron of cruelty to animals, Wilkes County, N.C. officials, as planned, proceeded to execute about 145 pit bulls — both those seized from Faron’s Wildside Kennel operation and the puppies born in the months before his case came to trial.
If that’s not hypocrisy, what is? In the case of Wilkes County v. Ed Faron, Faron will serve his time and get out of prison, even the paperwork will be maintained in dusty courthouse archives, but the dogs were instantly terminated. When do we execute the victims? When the victim is a pit bull.
Few people see that irony more clearly than Shelia Carlisle — a dog lover, blues singer, and Facebook friend of mine who was one of the few volunteers allowed to help care for the many dogs taken from Wildside Kennels.
“It’s so crazy and insane that there’s just a blanket rule to kill all these dogs. When we look back on this we’re going to say that our attitudes were prehistoric,” Carlisle said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, breed specific legislation, burke county, courts, dangerous dog, dogs, ed faron, euthanasia, executed, execution, law, legal, north carolina, pit bulls, victims, wildside kennels