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
Dog poop is being spray painted bright orange on some forest trails in Oregon to increase public awareness of the problem — as if stepping in it doesn’t make you aware enough.
The campaign from the Oregon State University College of Forestry and local veterinarians is aimed at showing the amount of dog waste owners are leaving behind, and the potential ecological problems that could result.
Both of those are real enough concerns. But — not to question the noble efforts of organizers and volunteers — does spray painting something orange really solve anything?
If so, there are a few things (coming up in a minute) that I want to spray paint orange.
“We’ve been getting dozens of complaints from people noticing the increasing amount of poop on the trails and it’s been getting worse the last couple of years,” explained Ryan Brown, recreation and engagement program manager for OSU Research Forests. “We’re all dog lovers and dog owners and walkers of these trails and we know the opportunity to have dogs out here is super important to the community of Corvallis. And 99 percent of them are really careful and clean up after their dogs. But we want people to be aware that this is causing a lot of problems.”
“There are stream ecology studies happening in the waterways along Oak Creek and anything that gets into the water can drastically change the ecology,” Brown added. “That isn’t natural and it can really throw off the health of the streams and cause certain organisms to grow that aren’t natural to the area.”
So on Saturdays for the past month or so, volunteers had been spray painting any piles of dog poop they spot on trails with heavy duty orange paint, which really isn’t natural either.
Later — in theory, after the orange piles have made their point — volunteers return to pick up the day-glo messes.
On Saturday, about 20 volunteers picked up around 1,000 piles of poop at Oak Creek, Peavy Arboretum, Lewisburg Saddle and Calloway Creek trail, the Seattle Times reported.
I thank them for their service, but I would also note that pollution and annoyances comes in all shapes, sizes and consistencies, from all sorts of human sources, and they regularly taint our air, water and peaceful existence.
Should those get painted orange as well?
What about those signs of political candidates who leave them up for weeks, or months, after the election?
What about the ringing cellphones of people in a theater?
What about those robots who work for companies that call YOU up and ask YOU to hold for an actual representative?
What about utility and credit card companies who, while urging you to go paperless and thereby save trees, send you through the mail pounds of paperwork, credit applications, loan offers, advertising and pamphlets touting themselves?
And, while we’re at it, what about the car windshields of non-handicapped people who park in handicapped spaces, and presidential candidates who spread hate? What about handguns, or maybe just their barrels, and all the lies and bullshit spewed in the course of an average day.
Paint them all orange, I say. You know what that will bring us?
A still troubled, very orange world.
(Photo: Top photo Albany Democrat-Herald)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 14th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, campaign, corvallis, dog, dogs, feces, forest, forestry, hiking, orange, oregon, oregon state university, pets, pollution, poop, public awareness, spray paint, spray-painted, trails, volunteers, waste
Due to an apparent miscommunication between volunteers, Rollin, described as a one-year-old Aussie mixed-breed, died Friday of heat related causes.
Rollin was one of two humane society dogs that began barking at the adoption event and were taken from the store to the transport van.
A volunteer put the dogs in cages and left the van running with the air conditioning on, calling a transport volunteer to pick them up.
The transport volunteer arrived at the PetSmart and drove the vehicle back to the humane society, apparently under the belief she was transporting only one dog.
That dog had gotten out its kennel inside the van during the ride and rode in the front of the vehicle.
Once at the shelter, another volunteer removed that dog and the driver returned the vehicle to PetSmart, not realizing Rollin was still inside.
Rollin was found dead around 5 p.m. when volunteers began returning other dogs at the event to the van.
Society officials, much to their credit, made the incident public Monday.
Bruce Fishalow, executive director of the society, told the Ocala Star-Banner it was the first incident of its type in the organization’s history.
“As an organization that works so hard to preserve life, this is devastating to us,” he told the newspaper.
Fishalow said the society is adopting new transportation guidelines, called Rollin’s Rules, to prevent a similar tragedy.
The changes include creating a transport log sheet so that volunteer drivers know how many dogs are inside when they transport.
The transport vans have eight kennels, and the new rules will require volunteers to check each one whenever dogs are dropped off at a location.
Rollin was buried on the humane society’s property.
“We take our responsibility to our cats and dogs very seriously,” said Fishalow, who was attending an animal abuse meeting when the incident took place, “and are so very sad that this happened.”
(Photo: Humane Society of Marion County)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animals, dead, dies, dog, dogs, florida, heat, humane society of marion county, left, miscommunication, pets, shelter, shelters, transport, van, vehicle, volunteers
Before you wipe off that next dog kiss — not that too many ohmidog! readers are the sort that do that — you might want to think about this:
Some of those doggy bacteria that dog-disliking alarmists and hand-wringing medical types are always warning us about might actually be good for you.
As with Greek yogurt and kimchee, some of the microbes lurking in a dog’s gut could have a probiotic effect on the owners’ body, aiding in both digestion and overall health.
Researchers at the University of Arizona are now seeking volunteers to take part in a study to prove just that — and here’s the coolest part: Volunteers, if they want, can keep the shelter dog assigned to them when the study is done.
The “Dogs as Probiotics” study will focus specifically on the effect dogs have on the health of older people — in terms of physical well-being, mental well-being and cognitive functioning.
“We already know that dogs make us happier and in some ways healthier. The main point of this study is to try and understand whether or not there is an actual biological component behind this,” Kim Kelly, a UA doctoral student in medical anthropology, and one of the study’s primary investigators,
told the Arizona Daily Star.
“This has the potential to change the field in terms of how we understand, think about and use microbes to improve our health,” she said.
The study team is recruiting adults over the age of 50 and asking them to live with a dog from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona for three months.
Both the human and canine subjects will undergo tests of an non-invasive sort during the study to determine whether or not the positive microbes in the humans increase, and whether it correlates with improved immune measures in older adults.
Probiotics are often referred as “good” or “helpful” bacteria. They can help keep the intestines healthy, assist in digesting food, and are believed to help the immune system.
Kelly, along with researchers at the University of San Diego and the University of Colorado, will explore whether living with a dog encourages the growth of positive micro organisms in the human gut.
“We essentially want to find out, is a dog acting like yogurt in having a probiotic effect,” she said.
In addition, researchers will monitor participants for any changes in the mental health and emotional well-being.
Once the scientists are done, human participants will have the option of keeping the dog they kept in their home during the study.
We’re guessing that — whether their digestion has improved or not — most of them will.
Who wouldn’t want someone who has been kissing them for three months to hang around?
(Video: Attendees at the SPCA of Maryland’s March for the Animals, 2009, receiving some free probiotics from my dog Ace; photo: Kim Kelly and her cocker spaniel Katie, courtesy of Kim Kelly)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, animals, bacteria, benefits, cognition, digestion, digestive, dog, dogs, dogs as probiotics, germs, good bacteria, health, health benefits, humane society of southern arizona, kim kelly, kisses, kissing, licking, licks, mental health, microbes, pets, probiotics, study, university of arizona, volunteers
Some long called for changes may be coming at Baltimore County’s animal shelter.
After more than a year of pressure by animal advocates for improvements, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced yesterday that the shelter in Baldwin, Md., will be shifting from the “narrow view” of it being a place for dangerous animals and focusing more on caring for animals and getting them adopted.
That’s exactly the sort of change we called for in yesterday’s ohmidog! post — the one suggesting local governments ditch their use of the term “animal control” and become animal protection departments.
Baltimore County hasn’t announced any formal plans to do that (maybe it’s not too late to work that in), but the county executive did outline future steps to add more employees, expand low-cost spaying and neutering services, cooperate with a program aimed at neutering feral cats and increase the shelter’s focus on getting animals adopted.
Kamenetz said he’ll hire a volunteer coordinator and a foster care coordinator at the shelter – two areas animal advocates have been critical of. He also announced that a new Facebook page will be set up devoted to promoting adoptable animals, and that the shelter will be receiving guidance from the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, commonly known as BARCS.
The changes will be included in his next budget for Animal Services — a division of the county health department — and would go into effect at the start of the next budget year on July 1, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“We think we’re moving in the proper direction in a deliberative manner,” Kamenetz said.
Animal advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland complained to the county last fall that shelter volunteers were banned from taking pictures, in violation of their First Amendment rights. The county has been working with the ACLU on training shelter employees on the rights of volunteers.
Earlier this month, the County Council passed a bill creating an animal services advisory commission to review the shelter’s operations. The 11-member commission has yet to be appointed.
In a statement released by the county executive’s office, Council Chairwoman Cathy Bevins praised the proposals as “bold steps to upgrade animal services in Baltimore County.”
The county already is building a new shelter on its current site, scheduled to open in August.
Our hope would be — in accordance with the proposal we put forth yesterday, and in accordance with the new focus Kamenetz spoke of — that the sign in front of it reads Animal Protection, or Animal Services … anything but Animal Control.
(Photos: Protest sign from WJZ; Kamenetz from Baltimore Sun)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptions, advocates, animal control, animal control division, animal services, animal shelter, animal welfare, animals, baltimore county, budget, changes, county executive, dogs, feral cats, focus, funding, improvements, kevin kamenetz, pets, promised, reform, shelters, tnr, volunteers
Ace made a big impression on pre-k and kindergarten students at Baltimore’s Lakewood Elementary School yesterday, dazzling them with tricks, soaking up their pats and hugs and swearing in two classrooms whose students took the “Oath of Kindness,” a pledge to be kind to animals.
How this latest stop in our continuing travels came to pass was actually pretty simple, and amazingly bureaucracy-free.
A teacher friend asked if we’d visit. We said yes. She got the necessary clearances and, before you know it, a 130-pound Rottweiler-Akita-chow-pit bull mix was being snuggled, stroked and hugged by a bunch of children half his size.
Karma Dogs, the therapy dog organization of which Ace is a member, came up with two more volunteers who visited the school along with Ace and me — Janet Shepherd and her dog Tami, and Kathryn Corrigan and her dog Puddy.
Together, we covered six classrooms in just over an hour, administering the oath, passing along some basic dog safety tips and stressing the importance of treating animals kindly.
Karma Dogs developed the “Oath of Kindness” after the death of Phoenix, a pit bull puppy who was set on fire by Baltimore teenagers in the summer of 2009 — not the first, or last, case of its type in the city.
The oath reads: “I … pledge always to be kind to animals. I promise never to hurt an animal, be it dog or cat, furry or fat. I promise to tell my friends to be kind to animals and if I see an animal that is being hurt I will tell an adult right away. Scaly or slimy, feathered or blue, to this promise I will be true.”
After reciting the pledge, the children receive a certificate,which is “pawtographed” by the dog, in this case, Ace. The hope is that children who have openly declared they will not be violent towards animals will remember that, tell their friends and inform adults when they see an animal being taunted or abused.
Of the students Ace and I appeared before, about a dozen raised their hands when I asked who was afraid of dogs. But only one declined a chance to pet Ace. Several more had some trepidations, but those seemed to melt away as they watched the other children interact with him.
They were eager to ask questions, and talk about their own pets. One girl spent three minutes talking about her Chihuahua, which she said had the same name she did. Not until the end of her dissertation did she reveal that her dog was a stuffed toy.
I cautioned them against approaching stray dogs, told them to always to ask the owner before approaching a dog, showed them how to let dogs sniff their hands as an introduction and encouraged them to treat dogs as they’d like to be treated — calmly, kindly and lovingly.
Ace made an impression on the children in several ways, I think –through his size alone, his gentleness and his back story: a stray adopted from the shelter, like most of the other Karma Dogs, who went on to try and help humans.
The teacher behind the event (who also took these photos) was Marite Edwards, a longtime friend of Ace’s. When she took the idea to her principal, she learned that the school and district were looking at ways to add dog safety and kindness to animals to the curriculum.
That another case of animal abuse surfaced in Baltimore over the weekend — that of a cat set on fire by two teenagers — confirmed just how much those lessons are needed.
You can find more information about Karma Dogs at its website.
(Photos by Marite Edwards)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, approach, baltimore, certificate, children, city, compassion, curriculum, dog, dogs, hand, karma dogs, kids, kind to animals, kindergarten, lakewood elementary, marite edwards, mittens, oath of kindness, pets, phoenix, pre-k, safety, schools, sniff, teacher, therapy dog, violence, volunteers
It’s probably the closest thing there is to heaven on earth for dogs (and a lot of other animals, too), a place where — despite abusive pasts, ill health or handicaps — dogs, cats, birds, horses, pigs and more can be rehabilitated enough to find new homes, or, if not, spend the rest of their days in the tranquil, sun-dappled canyons of southern Utah.
A lot of humans are coming to see Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as pretty close to paradise, too – they’re showing up in droves, not just for tours or visits, but to roll up their sleeves and do some work.
There’s something about Best Friends that seems to bring people who have visited once back again — myself included – and, refreshingly, they often return asking not what the animals can do for them, but what they can do for the animals.
My first visit to Best Friends was two years ago, and both the sanctuary and the terrain of southern Utah stuck with me — the way that few things, Mexican food included, do. Photos taken during that visit — while I was still a reporter for the Baltimore Sun –, helped inspire the look and color scheme of ohmidog!, the website I started after leaving the newspaper.
And the mission and staff of Best Friends inspired me as well, as they have millions of others — first with their response during Hurricane Katrina, more recently through the National Geographic Channel’s series, “Dogtown.”
Given that debt, it was only right that I — as about 100 people do every day — showed up at the sanctuary to work as a volunteer.
I was one of about 10 new volunteers going through orientation Tuesday, after making arrangements to do so — a simple matter — on the volunteer section of the Best Friends website.
Such was the case with Kenzie Wolff, an 11-year-old California girl who, when offered a trip to the location of her choice by her parents as a birthday present, chose to do volunteer work at Best Friends.
She and her parents were staying at one of the guest cottages available at Best Friends (there’s an RV park, too), and she and her mom showed up bright and early to go through the quick orientation.
Kenzie said she got the urge to visit and volunteer after watching “Dogtown.”
“We were watching Dogtown and it seemed really cool, and I went on their website a lot, and all the dogs and animals were really cool. I just really like animals.”
Kenzie, who has a 12-year-old Belgian Malinois named Sophie back home in Laguna Beach — and a cat named Gypsy — was scheduled for a full day of dog duty Tuesday, planned to work with cats today, and to work with dogs and bunnies on Thursday.
She was hoping to invite two animals back to the cottage for sleepovers. Permitting volunteers to take dogs and cats overnight, on trips through the canyon, or even into town, is another unusual aspect of Best Friends volunteer program — a massive operation that seems to run amazingly smoothly and without heavy layers of bureaucracy or bossiness.
For us new volunteers, we were equipped with nametags and orange whistles to blow in case of emergency — such as a dog we’re walking getting loose — and treated to a 10-minute safety video.
The video informed us of the color-coded collar system — green ones for safe and approachable dogs, purple ones for those requiring some caution and red ones for those dogs that staff only can handle.
We were provided with some common sense basics — don’t shout or run around the dogs, don’t throw toys without permission, or engage in tug of war games. Let the dogs approach you, sniff you and get to know you.
A brief talk followed in which we warned to watch out for, and back away from, rattlesnakes, and that, it being lizard season, to make sure to hold tight to leashes, because some dogs are prone to chasing them.
After the briefing, Kenzie and her mom, Peggy, headed for puppy class, where trainer Don Bain uses the volunteers to help socialize newly arrived puppies — generally at 12 weeks of age.
The session takes place in a room set up like a house — complete with refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and a doorbell. The setting helps increase the chances that the puppies, once adopted, will feel more at home, and decrease the chances of them being returned.
Bain says as many as one in five pups were being returned at one point, but in the past two years, only two have been. “We’re sending out very well-adjusted, socialized puppies now.”
“We try to throw as many people in their puppy faces as we possibly can,” Bain said. In the class, volunteers worked with seven puppies, picking them up, poking and prodding them and getting them used to having humans play with their paws, mouths and ears.
The pups are taught their names, and to sit and lay down. Treats and consistency are the key. “If a puppy wins once, he wins forever,” Bain says.
Kenzie worked with a chocolate ball of fluff named Nike, who came from a rescue in Page, Arizona, and probably from an Indian reservation before that. A birth defect left him without the tip of one of his front paws. It had pads, but no toes or claws. None of which seemed to slow him down a bit.
Kenzie spent the rest of the morning walking dogs, including one with a neurological problem that caused him to go in circles.
After a vegetarian buffet in a dining hall that overlooks the canyons — sweet and sour sesame tofu was the entree — Kenzie spent some time with the old dogs.
When the battery on the family’s rental car died, Best Friends maintenance staff responded within minutes, charging it up and allowing Kenzie and her mom to get to their next assignment.
It’s astounding how so many volunteers can be so calmly and smoothly dispatched to their duties — even amid the pounding of a jackhammer in the front office (more expansion was underway). And it’s all done with kindness and flexibility. Volunteers can come and go from the sanctuary as they please and pursue their individual interests as long as they sign in and out and follow a few simple rules.
As with Kenzie, and as with me (more on my experiences tomorrow), volunteers get far more than they give. I hate to use the phrase “win-win,” but that’s exactly what the situation is. Dogs can grow more social, humans can grow more compassionate. Sure, poop gets scooped and dog bowls get washed, but in Best Friends’ volunteer program, far more than daily chores are getting accomplished.
(Tomorrow: More from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.)
(To read all of “Dog’s Country, from the beginning, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 30th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animal sanctuary, animal welfare, animals, best friends, dog's country, dogs, dogtown, kanab, kenzie wolff, ohmidog!, pets, rehabilitation, rescue, sanctuary, shelter, tourism, tours, travel, traveling with dogs, utah, visits, volunteer, volunteering, volunteers