Dogs. (Then again, they see the bright side in pretty much everything.)
With their owners spending more time at home, the pets of furloughed federal workers are likely getting more attention, more dog park time, more time to snuggle while watching daytime TV on the couch.
Let’s just hope no one gets too used to it.
The shutdown, while already hurting some pet-related business, is helping some others. The Huffington Post reports that business is booming, for example, at Muddy Mutt, a self-serve dog wash next to Shirlington Dog Park in Northern Virginia.
“I’m getting more business because people aren’t working,” said Andrew Low, owner of the Muddy Mutt, where dog owners commonly bring their dogs in after romping in the river. Low said the business is usually quiet during the week. But since the furlough? “Twenty-five on Monday, 14 on Tuesday, 23 yesterday… We don’t even ever come close to that.”
The furlough might be bad news, though, for professional dog walkers in the DC area.
Christina Bell, owner of Doggy Daze DC, said that business is down by about half since the shutdown went into effect. JJ Scheele says her business, Dog Walking DC, has also taken a hit.
“All the walkers are down anywhere from one to three dogs,” Scheele said.
At Just Walk DC, a dog-walking cooperative, Meg Levine said the decrease of customers, three days into the shutdown, has been slight. But between government-employed pet owners having more time, and less income, a protracted shutdown could hurt dogwalkers badly — not to mention the rest of the country.
“There certainly is a sense of frustration from a lot of my clients, who feel that this is just needless roadblocking,”Levine said. “For the most part, we are continuing to chug along and feeling very hopeful this will end soon. I like D.C. when it functions. Oh, this town.”
(Photo: Dog walker Meg Levine, courtesy of Just Walk DC)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, business, dc, dog walking, dogs, dogwalkers, dogwalking, economy, effects, employees, federal, federal government, furlough, furloughed, government, government shutdown, home, pets, politicians, ripple, shutdown, washington
Eight months after she was stabbed seven times with a steak knife, Chloe the Shih Tzu lives in a new and happy home with a veterinarian who works at the animal hospital where she was treated for her injuries.
“…She certainly hasn’t let it get her down,” said Abby Dunlap, of Vienna, Va., who took the patient home after it was decided her previous owner shouldn’t get her back.
The three-year-old dog, formerly known as Coco, was living with her owner in Southeast D.C. when the owner’s brother, claiming the dog was Satan, stabbed her seven times, according to the Washington Times
Miraculously, no vital organs were hit, and Chloe, after being stitched and bandaged, recovered.
Police took her to the animal hospital, where it was discovered that, miraculously, the knife had not hit any vital organs.
“She was very lucky,” said Scott Giacoppo, a spokesman for the Washington Humane Society. ”…I’ve seen animals stabbed, beaten, set on fire and discarded like trash. It’s horrible. But we get stories like Chloe’s and it brings a smile to our faces that we can make a difference.”
Dunlap said she and her husband had just lost their own dog when they volunteered to foster Chloe.
“It took a little bit of time for me to trust her and figure out if we wanted to keep her.”
But now Chloe has bonded — with Dunlap, her husband, their children and other dogs in the neighborhood, she says.
(Photo: Washington Times)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby dunlap, adopted, animal cruelty, animal hospital, animals, dog, dogs, foster, pets, recovery, shih-tzu, stabbed, steak knife, vet, veterinarian, veterinary, virginia, washington
What’s a working dog to do? You learn your trade, hone your skills, toil away, only to find out that the world around you has evolved to a point where those skills are no longer much appreciated.
It’s why you can’t find a blacksmith too easily nowadays. It’s what happened to the elevator operator, the milkman, and, at least from my biased and disgruntled point of view, the newspaper reporter.
Such too was the case with Phelan, a marijuana-detecting Labrador retriever in the employ of the police department in Lakewood, Colorado.
With the passage by Colorado voters of Initiative 502 — legalizing the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana — the skill Phelan was best known for is no longer much in demand there.
In fact, his biggest asset has become a liability, the News Tribune reports.
Phelan was handed his pink slip this week and sold to the state Department of Corrections, where, in his new job, his inability to distinguish between marijuana and other drugs won’t be a problem — all drugs being illegal behind bars.
The same story is playing out in Washington state, where voters also legalized marijuana use, and where police departments are figuring out whether to cease training new dogs in marijuana detection, put their existing dogs through ”pot desensitization” training or just retire them and send them out to pasture, according to the Associated Press.
Take it from me, pasture sucks. Dogs and people, I think, prefer having a mission.
But Phelan’s mission, at least in the two states where moderate amounts of marijuana are now permitted, no longer much needs to be accomplished. Worse yet, alerting to small amounts of marijuana could mess up prosecutions in cases involving other, still illegal, drugs.
Say Phelan alerted to drugs in the trunk of a car. Phelan’s inability to distinguish between heroin and marijuana — or at least specify to his handler to which he is alerting — means any subsequent search by officers could have been based on Phelan detecting an entirely legal drug, in an entirely legal amount.
That means the “probable cause” the search was based on might not have really existed, and that means any evidence of illegal drugs subsequently found in the search would likely be tossed out.
Thus Phelan, unless he were to be retrained to drop marijuana-detecting from his repertoire — not easily accomplished — has ended up going from cutting edge law enforcement tool to an old school has been.
Drug detecting dogs — traditionally trained to alert to the smell of marijuana, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and cocaine – can’t specify what they’re smelling, much less the quantity it might be in.
In Washington, the new law decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of the drug for individuals over 21, and barred the growth and distribution of marijuana outside the state-approved system.
Dog trainer Fred Helfers, of the Pacific Northwest Detection Dog Association, said abandoning pot training is a “knee-jerk” reaction: “What about trafficking? What about people who have more than an ounce?” Still, he’s helping departments who want to put their dogs through ”extinction training” to change what substances dogs alert to. That takes about 30 days, followed by a prolonged period of reinforcement.
The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission removed detecting marijuana from its canine team certification standards this year, and no longer requires dogs be trained to detect it, but some others say, given large amounts of pot are still illegal, it can still be a useful skill for a dog to have.
In Pierce County, prosecutor Mark Lindquist believes new dogs are the answer — dogs trained in sniffing out the other drugs, but not marijuana. He’s not convinced dogs can be re-trained. “We’ll need new dogs to alert on substances that are illegal,” he told the Associated Press.
Other police departments, like Tacoma’s, aren’t making any changes.
“The dog doesn’t make the arrest, the officer does,” said spokesperson Loretta Cool. “A canine alert is just one piece of evidence an officer considers when determining whether a crime has been committed.”
Phelan was one of two drug-sniffing dogs on the police force in Lakewood, Colorado. He’ll be replaced by Kira, a Belgian Malinois who was trained not to alert when she smells marijuana. Duke, a Labrador retriever mix with the old-school training, will remain on the force for now.
Phelan, though, will be moving on, and I sympathize with the crime-fighting Lab.
His new gig in the slammer is clearly a step down the career ladder — not unlike going from being a newspaper reporter detecting corruption and injustice to an unpaid blogger who mostly (but not entirely) regurgitates material already written.
And, for Phelan, there’s the added insult of being sold for the lowly sum of one dollar.
Surely — old school as his talents may be – he was worth more than that.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 12th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alert, cocaine, colorado, court, criminal justice, detect, detection, dog, dogs, drug-sniffing, drugs, heroin, job, K-9, k9, lakewood, law, law enforcement, marijuana, marijuana laws, mission, newspapers, police, police dogs, problems, prosecutors, purpose, reporters, searches, skills, sniffing, tacoma, useless, washington, working dogs
And that’s even more the case after surgery yesterday to remove 2-1/2 pounds of loose skin from the dog who once tipped the scales at 77 pounds.
Obie was recovering at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin, in Oregon, after surgery to remove the excess skin that remained after he lost 40 pounds in 8 months.
Obie’s caretaker, Nora Vanatta, says the surgery went well and that she hopes to bring him home today, according to KGW in Portland.
Obie weighed 77 pounds when he was given up by his former owners in Puyallup, Washington, last year and assigned to a foster home by a rescue organization.
Oregon Dachshund Rescue placed Obie — that’s him to the left in his beefier days — in Vanatta’s care. But after his girth garnered national attention the organization asked for the dog back, claiming Vanatta — by publicizing his crash diet and seeking contributions to his care — was exploiting him.
When Vanatta refused to turn him over, they filed a lawsuit, accusing her of using the “sensationalistic promotional value of his unusual obesity” and “earning money off of his public exhibition on national and regional television shows,” while not taking care of his condition.
A settlement in the case was reached in January, allowing Vanatta to keep the dog.
Before the Tuesday surgery, Obie was down to 37 pounds and four ounces.
“We haven’t weighed him since the surgery, but he lost 2 1/2 pounds of skin” Vanatta said. “So he should be around 35 pounds now. I figure his healthy weight is between 28 and 30 pounds.”
For now, he’s resting comfortably at the veterinary clinic (left), from which he’s expected to be released today — a few pounds lighter and his skin much tigher.
Vets will evaluate Obie to determine if more surgery is needed after he loses the last five pounds, a goal Vanatta hopes will be achieved late this summer.
Obie’s fight with obesity can be followed on the Facebook page Vanatta created on his behalf.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 35 pounds, 77 pounds, animals, biggest loser, custody, dachshund, dispute, dogs, doxie, emergency veterinary clinic, excess, facebook, fat, foster, health, loss, nora vanatta, obese, obesity, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, pets, removed, rescue, skin, surgery, tualatin, veterinary, washington, weight
That’s whats been going on in Clark County in Washington state, where two dogs have been killed in the town of La Center.
Fox 12 reports that, on the heels of a similar shooting last month, a second dog — a 2-year-old American Eskimo named Roger — was killed by shots from a passing car Sunday as he sat in his own front yard.
There were also reports Sunday of another dog in the area being shot at from a car.
James Wilson was working on his car, with Roger sitting just a few feet away, when he heard a gunshot, followed by the cries of his dog.
He got in his own car and chased the dark-colored SUV the shots had been fired from but couldn’t get close enough to get a license plate number, authorities said.
Back home, he learned his dog had died in his wife’s arms.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies say last month another pet owner found his dog on a gravel pile, dead from a gunshot wound. That dog, like Roger, was shot with a small caliber bullet, authorities said.
Deputies are investigating whether the shootings are linked.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american eskimo, animal cruelty, animals, cars, clark county, crime, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, drive by, drive by shootings, fired, killed, la center, pets, roger, shooting, shootings, shot, shots, two dogs, washington
Nala, a pit bull-Labrador mix living at an animal shelter in Washington state, made headlines in December when she helped save another dog — a blind cocker spaniel she found freezing to death in a ditch while on a walk with a shelter staffer.
Despite the publicity and her newfound hero status, no one stepped forward to adopt Nala — who has what the Humane Society of Redmond describes as “some behavioral issues” – and, as of March, her stay at the shelter had stretched to a year.
This month, though, there was one more publicity push by the shelter, which established a Facebook page for Nala — and that helped lead to her adoption this week by Janet Roberts, 63, the Bend Bulletin reports.
A week ago, the Humane Society teamed up with a photographer, held a photo shoot with Nala and created a Facebook page for the dog. Reese Mercer, a board member, provided “first person” updates, from Nala’s perspective, about her hunt for a home.
As a result, Nala had fans from as far away as Finland, all of them rooting for her to find a home — but few of them volunteering to provide one.
Nala’s new caretaker, a court transcriber who lives on 80 acres in Powell Butte, first heard about Nala’s story in December. When she learned Nala was still without a home months later, Roberts offered to take her home for a trial visit. Roberts has four cats, two horses and an older dog. The dog spent the night Tuesday, and the next morning, Roberts decided it was for keeps.
“She was ever so sweet, and fit in really well,“ said Roberts. “She was so respectful of everyone here … She really wants to please people, which is really endearing,” said Roberts.
The official adoption took place Thursday.
“It’s going to be tough to say goodbye,” said Alan Borland, the shelter staff member who was walking Nala when she found the cocker spaniel.
Borland told the Bulletin the couple that the Roberts family has invited him to come visit Nala, but said he probably won’t.
“She needs to get on with her life, and forget about the year she spent at the shelter,” he said.
(Photo: From Nala’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adopting, animal welfare, animals, blind, cocker spaniel, dogs, facebook, freezing, home, humane society, janet roberts, labrador, mixed breed, nala, pets, pit bull, publicity, redmond, rescue, saved, shelter, social media, washington
The man told authorities that he took the action because the dog had been chewing, according to the Bellingham Herald.
The sheriff’s office is sending its investigation of owner Scott Jager, 25, to the prosecutor’s office, recommending a second-degree animal cruelty charge.
Last month, the Whatcom Humane Society, along with sheriff’s deputies, responded to a complaint from a neighbor and found a 7-month-old male bloodhound named “Bear” sequestered in the laundry room of Jager’s home. The dog’s head was covered in duct tape, and he was leashed to a doorknob.
The duct tape started at the dog’s neck and covered his ears, eyes, face and muzzle, Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said. Only the dog’s nostrils were not covered.
Bear is now in the custody of the Whatcom Humane Society, where he was treated for abrasions to his head and infections to his ears and eyes. He is reported to be doing well, though he is sometimes wary of strangers.
(Photo: By Katie Greene / Bellingham Herald)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, bear, bellingham, bloodhound, charges, cruelty, dog, dogs, duct, duct tape, humane society, pets, scott jager, sheriff, tape, taped, taping, washington, whatcom county