Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
How nice is this?
Ace and I were taking the mile-long walk down to the end of Figure 8 Island and back on Sunday when we stopped to meet some other dogs — a golden retriever named Mac and a black Lab named Jet.
Their owners were on the beach, and though strangers — to me, at least – they offered Ace, who was looking a little bedraggled by then, some water. He graciously accepted and drank their entire supply.
After some chatting, Ace, I and friends moved on, walking to the inlet and turning around for the hike back. By then — it being especially hot, and our morning walk having started around noon — Ace was really dragging. In addition to being nearly as out of shape as his master, he had been taking in a little salt water each time he gingerly waded into the ocean.
We were passing by Mac and Jet’s house again when — though the people and dogs had all gone inside – we came across the note above, written in the sand, with an arrow that pointed to a full bowl of fresh water.
Ace made a beeline for it, lapped some up, then laid down, resting his chin on the edge and drinking almost the whole bowl before lazily getting up and lumbering a few hundred more yards.
All along the way, in addition to sniffing in the smells, he was keeping an eye open for shade. Anytime he saw a group under an umbrella, he felt the need to visit, and not being on a leash (shame on me) he did.
We hadn’t gotten far from the Ace watering station when another woman beckoned, and we, eyeing the shade of her umbrella, veered in her direction. She went to a cooler and pulled out a bottled water, pouring it into her cupped hand for Ace. He polished off the whole thing.
Issuing thanks again (though no one was offering me water, I might point out), we trudged homeward — by now having fallen far behind our friends, due to our slower pace and Ace’s philosophy when it comes to humans: There are no strangers — only friends he hasn’t yet met (who might also have good stuff like water and treats and shade).
Shade can be hard to find at the beach.
Kindness, though, is usually only as far as the next beach chair.
(Photos by Amelia Bellows)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, dog, dogs, drinking, figure 8 island, friends, heat, hot, jet, kindness, mac, north carolina, pets, reunion, salt water, shade, strangers, travels with ace, vacation, water
From hungry ticks to shish kabob sticks, from sweltering heat to booming fireworks, the trappings of the 4th of July hold more than a few perils for dogs.
So, before enjoying Independence Day, it’s a good idea to take a minute to remember that dogs — however independent they may be — are dependent on us, and can use a little help in avoiding the hazards that we, mostly, create.
Cookouts, hot weather and fireworks all pose a danger to dogs, says LizRozanski, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Here’s a list of tip offered by the school.
- Shish kabobs and other foods-on-a-stick pose a special danger to dogs, who can ingest them and wind up with fragments that can cause blockages or gastrointestinal perforations, says Dr. Rozanski, who is section head of emergency care at Tufts’ Foster Hospital for Small Animals
- Bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter inside a dog’s digestive tract. Keep pets clear of chicken wings and don’t give them bones from the meat you grill.
- Other foods can be toxic to dogs. The garlic in your favorite marinade, the grapes and raisins in your fruit salad, or the chocolate in your brownies can all cause harm. Keep them out of your dog’s reach.
- A little food at the cookout is fun for dogs, but “people” food adds up quickly, so have your guests, especially kids, check in with you before feeding Fido their scraps. Letting dogs overeat can cause vomiting or more serious problems.
- During the hot, humid months, heat stroke and exhaustion are a special concern for canines. Make sure they have plenty of water. Put some ice cubes in it for a special treat, and provide a shady spot to lie down. If your dog is panting excessively, shows signs of lethargy or has dry gums, call your veterinarian right away.
- Never leave pets in the car, particularly during warm weather.
- Dogs afraid of thunder are most certainly going to be fearful of fireworks. If you head out with your family to watch the fireworks, make sure your dog has a safe, quiet place to rest.
(Video: Comedian Louis CK posted this video on YouTube of his dog trying to drink from a park sprinkler)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bones, cars, chicken wings, cookouts, dangers, dog, dogs, exhaustion, fireworks, fourth of july, garlic, grapes, grills, hazards, heat, heat stroke, hydration, independence day, july 4, july 4th, july fourth, louis ck, noise, overeating, perils, pets, picnics, raisins, shade, shish kabob, sprinkler, toxic, video, water
For years, man’s best friend has been the running partner of choice for many endurance athletes. Their strength, loyalty and enthusiasm make them perfect to hit the roads or trails with.
While dogs are natural running partners, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking your pooch out for your run. Keep in mind every dog is different when it comes to endurance and speed and what works for one dog may not work for another.
To start with, make sure your dog is properly leash trained and the two of you have established commands when it comes to sit, stay, etc. Even though you are running as opposed to walking, your dog still needs to be attentive to you and obey your commands.
As far as gear is concerned, just a regular leash and collar can work for some dogs. If your dog has a tendency to pull, either a regular or sport harness can prevent your dog from choking. A running specific leash can also help by absorbing some of the shock from your dog pulling suddenly. These leashes are made like a bungee cord and are sold at some pet stores, camping supply stores and of course online.
Even though dogs are natural endurance athletes, not all dog breeds are made to run long distances. Breeds like the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Alaskan Malamute and Golden Retrievers are naturally good distance runners because of their body structures and stamina.
While some bigger dogs make good runners, not all big breeds are good for running. A Great Dane, for example, is in fact a very lazy breed and is discouraged against running.
On the other side, small breeds like the Whippet, Jack Russell Terrier and Boston Terrier are considered to be good running dogs because of their endurance and ability to run fast with shorter legs. Regardless of breed, a running dog has to be healthy and free of injuries. If you have any reservations about taking your dog on a run, consult your veterinarian.
Now that you have your mutt healthy and geared up to run, the most important thing to keep in mind is yours and the dog’s safety. If you do more road running, always run on the sidewalk and be aware of other pedestrians and dogs using the same path. If your dog gets very excited around other dogs, it’s a good idea to always make him sit/stay when you encounter another dog on a run. Not only does this discipline him, it reduces the chances of him suddenly lunging for another dog which can actually cause injury to the runner.
Probably the most important thing to remember when road running with a dog is to watch out for drivers at all times. Always use the crosswalk and wait for the pedestrian signal to cross a busy street. Although it seems like common sense to most of us, unfortunately most drivers do not look out for pedestrians on the road.
Off leash trail running with a dog is another great way to exercise your dog. However, before you unhook that leash, make sure your dog is a good listener and responds to your commands. While dogs love to run free, they are unaware of certain dangers on trails such as other animals or uneven surfaces. As an owner, it is your responsibility to look ahead and anticipate anything your dog could get in to trouble with. When out on the trails, always turn off your music and turn on your senses. The trails are full of wildlife that could potentially harm your dog, so it’s better to spot these dangers before he does.
Depending on the distance and weather, bringing water for your dog is sometimes necessary. There are many different kinds of portable water dishes on the market which can fit easily in a hydration pack. Also, if you are going for a longer distance, you might want to bring some kind of food for your pooch to snack on mid run. Dog treats or regular food work well for some but some runners just give their dog what they’re eating.
Although this seems like a lot of information about something so simple as running, it’s important to be prepared when logging miles with your four legged friend. If you want your dog to have a long, healthy running career you need to take a of different things into consideration.
Just like a new runner, dogs have to work up their endurance over time too. Be sure you don’t do too much too fast with your dog to help prevent injury. Also, make sure your dog has enough time to rest and recover just like you. By being careful and starting out slowly, you and your dog can enjoy a long, happy lifetime of distance running.
Emily Cebulski is a long time distance runner, employee of the San Diego Running Institute and mom to Rio, the official SDRI shop dog.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeds, distance, dog, dogs, emily cibulski, equipment, exercise, gear, golden retriever, great danes, guest post, huskies, jack russell terriers, jogging, partners, pets, rhodesian ridgeback, rio, running, running partners, safety, san diego running institute, supplies, trails, water, whippet
Two women who were moving their rescue operation from California to Virginia were arrested after police discovered more than 100 dogs in the back of their rented U-Haul truck.
Bonnie Sheehan, 55, and Pamela A. King-McCracken, 59, both of Long Beach, Calif., were each charged with 128 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a Class E felony, and were jailed on $100,000 bond each in Fayette County, Tennessee.
West Tennessee highway troopers found 127 dogs in all, including one who had died. Most were locked in the back of the truck — some in crates, some not.
A few dogs and one cat were in a minivan being towed behind the truck.
Sheehan is the founder of Hearts for Hounds, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit organization that has rescued and placed more than 17,000 dogs into permanent homes.
“We are a pack of humans trying to make a difference in the dog world!” says the website, which was offline yesterday. “Our goal is to find a loving home for every dog we rescue.”
A state trooper pulled the truck over Tuesday for tailgating, and inspected its cargo area after detecting a foul odor coming from it. Upon finding the animals he moved the truck to a Pilot Travel Center parking lot off Interstate 40′s exit 42 in Fayette County, where the dogs could be dealt with away from the Interstate.
Officers described seeing urine and feces all over the cargo compartment and no food or water for the animals, according to a district attorney’s office press release.
Sheehan and King-McCracken, who both showed California identification, told investigators they were en route from Long Beach, Calif., to Roanoke, Virginia.
“I have seen animals like this when we raided a puppy mill a few years ago,” Fayette County Animal Rescue agent Gina Thweatt told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “But as far as transporting them like this? No… not where they literally could not get any air or circulation.”
The dogs had been locked in the truck and van since Saturday without food or water, police said.
Animal shelter officials said the dogs and cat would be taken to shelters in the Memphis area.
(Top photo by Kyle Kurlick / Memphis Commercial Appeal)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, bonnie sheehan, california, cargo, charges, dead, death, dogs, fayette county, feces, food, hearts for hounds, lack, long beach, neglect, pamela king-mccracken, pets, rescue, rescue organization, roanoke, shelby county, shelter, tennessee, truck, u-haul, virginia, water
While there’s much to scoff at when it comes to the industry that has blossomed around bidding farewell to our dead pets — especially those that promise life after death — I’m not quite ready to scoff at this idea.
In fact, I may even like the concept of turning your deceased dog into a tree.
But just so you can be sure I’m not shilling for the company behind this product, I would point out that you could probably do the same thing with your dog’s ashes without a special, fertilizer filled, biodegradable, $90 “Geos” urn.
The Geos urn — one of four offered by a company called Limbo Zoo — is designed to hold a pet’s ashes and serve as the medium in which a seedling (you supply it) can grow into a tree.
“The nutrients that conform this handcrafted earth-made urn combine with those of the fertile ashes to form a beautiful tree,” says the website.
The company also offers the “Nu” urn, which is made of sea salt and designed for burials at sea, and the “Samsara” urn, made of fine sand and designed for burials in fresh water, like a lake or river.
The urns are advertised as an environmentally responsible alternative and billed as both “durable,” and “biodegradable.” They’re designed to stay intact for a while, and then disintegrate over time.
The company is headquartered in Spain, and the urns are made there, but they have a U.S. distributor in Texas.
The Geos urns are made from a hardened organic compost and mineral soil bound with natural plant extracts. None of the urns include any animal products.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ashes, biodegradable, burial, compost, cremains, cremated, cremation, death, dog, funeral, geos, grieving, growth, industry, lake, life after death, limbo zoo, new life, nu, nutrients, ocean, pet, pet death, product, river, samsara, sand, sea, sea salt, seedling, tree, urns, water
Way to go, city.
The Baltimore City Health Department, in addition to urging humans to take precautions, passed along the following tips from the office of Animal Control:
Provide shade. Ensure that your pet has protection from the heat and sun – a dog house does not provide relief from heat. Bring your pet inside during the hottest part for the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Provide fresh water. Animals do not sweat like humans. They need fresh, clean water to keep their temperatures low. Replenish their water dish with cool water often throughout the day if the animal must be kept outside.
Limit exercise, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Exercise your pet in the early morning or in the evening. When possible, walk your dog on the grass. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.
Never leave your pet in a parked car. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle with the windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes. Overheating can result in irreversible organ damage or even death.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion in pets: drooling, excessive panting and lethargic behavior. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets are exhibiting any of these symptoms.
“Our pets rely on us for their health and well-being. This includes protecting them from the heat, especially during Code Red Heat Alerts,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
The health department urges residents to call 311 to report cases of neglect, or to call 911 if they see animals or small children alone in a parked car.
I’m not sure who’s behind the advisory, but it’s great to see animal control doing something that’s proactive (and doesn’t involve writing tickets for well-monitored off-leash dogs.)
More information on the city’s heat alert plan can be found here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 311, 911, advisory, alert, animal control, asphalt, baltimore, cats, city, dogs, health department, heat, heat-related deaths, hydrate, oxiris barbot, parked car, pets, shade, summer, temperatures, tips, urgent, warning, water
Another good reason to bring your dog to the beach: They can chase the sharks away. At least these two in Australia did, with one going so far as to plunge under the water to give one of the lurking sharks a few nips.
The video, which has gone viral, was taken by this blogger.
One of the best parts of being on the road was being off the grid.
For a full year, as Ace and I traveled around America twice, we paid not a penny to electric companies, gas companies, water companies, cable companies.
Liberating? You betcha.
Now, as we settle in for a period of undetermined duration in Winston-Salem, N.C., we are back on the grid. As much as I hate the grid, I do love air conditioning, and Ace loves it even more. I was holding off on turning it on, but this week did the trick, with record high temperatures that left both Ace and me panting.
The summer of 2010 was, or at least seemed to me to be, the hottest ever — maybe because we spent so much of it outside. If we’re in for another one of those, I’m happy to be indoors, and on the grid.
The grid, I’m sure, is equally grateful to have me back. You may say the grid can’t be grateful, the grid has no emotions, but keep in mind, the person who operates the grid does have feelings — that being the man.
The man, through individual networks, operates the grid for the system — the system being even bigger and fuzzier than the grid.
You may not entirely understand — just like you don’t understand your monthly bill — but the truth is we’re not supposed to. It’s all part of the matrix of vague terms, undefineable dimensions, innumerable options and indecipherable formulas thrown at us to keep us confused, subservient, feeling inadequate and paying the monthly bill.
I decided to restrict my patronage of the grid as much as I could — to electricity, gas and water.
Rather than add home internet, I decided to just keep my mobile version. Rather than get a landline, I just use my cell phone. (So, actually, by using those on the road, I was still on the grid, but the grid didn’t know my address, and neither did the man, since I didn’t have one).
In my new place, I checked into getting cable television, but the prices for that start at $60 a month, and I balked as well at the slightly lower prices of ot
her options. I nixed the idea of having a large satellite dish attached to house, and receivers installed inside. That would have given us 800 or so channels, but, as we all know, those recievers are also programmed to read our brain waves, and report our thoughts back to the man. That’s just the sort of thing the grid does.
I briefly considered bundling, in which the man has been so kind to arrange for you to receive multiple services from the grid for one low price, provided you agree to pay for the duration of your life, don’t mind your brain waves being monitored, and sign your soul over to the grid upon your death.
Instead, for television, we’re using the digital antenna. They run about $40 at Radio Shack, are generally unsightly space-age looking contraptions, and allow you to sporadically pick up a channel or two, if the weather is good.
I’m getting four or five channels in the living room, though on most the signal gets lost every time a car passes down the street outside — the picture either disappears entirely or turns into something that looks like an Impressionist painting getting struck by lightning. I get two channels in the bedroom, depending on where Ace sleeps.
The digital antenna is actually even more infuriating than the grid, the man, and the system.
The signal will go out at key moments, prohibiting me from learning whodunit, and more, and it’s especially bad during storms:
“I know who did it. It was ….”
“President Obama has scheduled a statement to announce the killing of …”
“Three tornadoes have been spotted in the county in the area of …”
??? ??? ???
The thing about digital antennas is it’s not just how you position them — and one can spend hours at that pursuit – but how you position you.
In the bedroom, I can get myself into a position where the TV signal comes through, and I’m somewhat comfortable. But Ace inevitably throws a wrench into things, jumping into bed and interrupting the signal.
Sometimes it’s a matter of adjusting the antenna again; sometimes it’s a matter of adjusting Ace. Usually, just as I get everything settled into proper position, Ace decides to get up, spin around and lay in another direction.
That’s about when — with the TV playing ten seconds on, ten seconds off, amid sporadic bursts of Jay Leno, in a nether world with no punch lines — I fall asleep.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, bundling, cable, digital antenna, dish, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, electric, electricity, frustration, futility, gas, grid, home, internet, matrix, pets, positioning, radio shack, reception, road trip, satellite, settling, system, television, the grid, the man, travel, travels with ace, tv, utilities, utility, water, whodunit
All the terrible things humans do to dogs is another.
ohmidog! – as regular readers know — is not all fluffy, feel-good dog news all the time. We think it’s important not to turn a blind eye to animal abuse, in any of its forms, because only when the public fully knows what is going on can steps be taken to do something about it.
A case in point: Patrick, the starving New Jersey pit bull tossed down a trash chute at a high-rise apartment in Newark.
His reprehensible treatment, and subsequent resiliency, is not just tugging at the heartstrings of dog lovers everywhere, it’s uniting them to demand that those who abuse dogs be subject to punishments more in line with the ones received for violent crimes against humans.
If no one had seen those disturbing pictures of what Patrick looked like when he was taken in by Associated Humane Societies, there probably wouldn’t have been the outcry that has ensued. Publicity about his case has led not just to donations for his care, and that of dogs similarly abused, but to the sprouting of grassroots movements aimed at strenghtening animal abuse laws.
Patrick’s story, amid signs he’s continuing to recover, appears headed for a happy ending.
There was one in North Carolina this week that didn’t:
A female retriever mix, believed to be about 4 years old, was found wandering in the 6500 block of Lake Brandt Road in Greensboro on Tuesday after apparently being scalded with boiling water.
She was wearing a collar and a rabies tag, but the numbers could not be read, according to Marsha Williams, the animal shelter’s director. The nameless dog was responsive when she arrived at the animal shelter, but she was emaciated and suffering third-degree burns on her face, ears and legs. She died 30 minutes later.
The Greensboro-Guilford County Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible. The Crime Stoppers number is 336-373-1000.
Very little is known about the dog, or what happened to her — and given as she has no known name, given that she didn’t survive — she’s not likely to emerge as a poster child or Internet sensation.
We share her story — or at least the sparse details known – for the same reason we passed along Patrick’s story; and that of Phoenix, a pit bull burned in Baltimore; and Susie, a puppy tortured in Greensboro; and Louis Vuitton, burned and beaten in Alabama; and Buddy, dragged to death behind a truck in Colorado.
And that’s because the public needs to know — the non-sugar-coated truth, unfathomable as it is, painful as it may be to see and hear.
That’s the only way change happens. Our hope would be that change would involve more than just harsher sentences for animal abuse. More severe sentences will send a message, serve as a deterrent and satisfy our need for vengeance, but they don’t address the underlying causes that, without making compassion for animals part of every school’s curriculum, ensure such incidents will continue.
ohmidog! tries not to be one of those websites that shoves animal abuse down your throat daily (sometimes the days just don’t cooperate, though). Similarly, it tries not be one of those blissfully ignorant websites that look only at the happy dog news, pawsing only for bad puns.
If you want to be totally shielded from the sad and gory, the depraved and the troubling, don’t come here.
Because when humans sink this low, whether they be punks in an alley, breeders at a puppy mill, or scientists in a laboratory, we will make note of it and, if we can, more than likely include a photo, too — not for the purpose of sensationalizing, but to inform and spark action.
That said, to see the photo, continue. To avoid it, don’t click, don’t scroll, just go back to our main page.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused dogs, animal cruelty, animals, boiling, buddy, crime, cruelty, dead, details, dog, dog websites, dogs, gory, greensboro, killed, law, louis vuitton, media, news, north carolina, ohmidog!, patrick, pets, phoenix, photos, pictures, pit bull, scalded, sentences, susie, torture, water, website