Spunky always loved the snow.
But when the German shepherd-husky-chow mix and his owner moved from Wisconsin to Texas in 2008 that — with flakes being rare in Austin — became a thing of the past.
Ashley Niels, who works as a behavior and enrichment specialist at the Austin Animal Center, says she promised Spunky, who she’d adopted in Wisconsin, that he’d see snow again someday.
When she learned earlier this month that the 12-year-old dog was dying, and made the appointment for him to be put down, she regretted that promise would go unfulfilled.
They rented a snow machine and brought to her home.
Last week, Spunky got his snow.
Niels sat in her front yard with Spunky and experienced one last snow storm — albeit an artificial one. He didn’t frolic in it, like he used to, but Niels thinks he enjoyed it.
“To be honest, he was like ‘I’m not really sure what this is.’ It wasn’t cold snow. I think he could see how excited I was, so he thought it was pretty cool,” Niels told Inside Edition Tuesday night.
“I think he felt all the love we were trying to show him.”
Spunky’s appointment with the vet the next day was canceled, and Niels hasn’t rescheduled it yet.
“As long as he’s happy, I don’t really want to take that from him,” she said. “It makes me happy to be able to spend more time with him.”
She adopted him from a local shelter in Wisconsin when he was a puppy. They lived there for four years before moving to Austin.
As of late last week Spunky was still hanging in there, according to Ashley’s Facebook page, and she was doing her best to not think about his death and savor the time together they had left.
“I try not to think about it because he’s my boy,” she said. “I get to spend this extra-special time with him.”
(Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Niels and Austin Animal Center)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, artificial, ashley niels, austin, austin animal center, bond, bucket list, death, dog, dogs, dying, flakes, pets, promise, promises, snow, snow flakes, snow machine, snow making machine, snowfall, snowstorm, spunky, texas, video, wisconsin
(If you’d like musical accompaniment with this article, click on the video at the bottom of the post, then scroll back up to read.)
The mission of St. Patrick’s Parish in Hortonville, Wisconsin, is to “be one with Christ in making the reign of God a reality … celebrate His love in Word and Sacraments … and be responsible stewards of time, talent, and treasure.”
Yet the Catholic parish has no problem sponsoring a fundraising event in which frightened pigs are punched, kicked, body-slammed and crammed into steel vats.
Apparently, they don’t see pigs falling under their “stewardship.” Or they think that “dominion” we supposedly have over all God’s other creatures includes the right to thrash farm animals in the name of sport. Or maybe the 44-year-old tradition is just too big a moneymaker to cancel.
Canceling the event — scheduled for this weekend — is what a Wisconsin-based animal advocacy group is calling for.
The Global Conservation Group says the event violates state laws prohibiting cockfighting, dogfighting, and other fighting between animals or between animals and humans. They say even being a spectator at such an event is a felony under state law.
The parish says the annual “Round Up” event consists of two to six people getting into a muddy ring and wrestling a hog — one they say is “sized accordingly” — into a vat.
“We take very strong precautions to make sure our pigs and our participants are taking care of each other,” organizer Glenn Van Handel, the chair of Saint Patrick’s Parish, told NBC 26.
The Global Conservation Group says the pigs face a high potential for being injured in the event, in which it says pigs are punched in the face, kicked, body-slammed, jumped on, yelled at and thrown into a bucket.
The group says it has filed reports with local, state and federal agencies alerting them to what they say is an illegal event.
A petition urging the church to cancel the event can be found at change.org
Posted by John Woestendiek August 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: all gods creatures, animal welfare, barrels, buckets, catholic, choir, church, dominion, god, gods creatures, hortonville, kicked, mud, parish, pig wrestling, pigs, punched, religion, slammed, st. patricks, stewardship, vats, wisconsin
Eight of the 27 pit bulls seized from a Wisconsin breeding kennel suspected of having connections to dogfighting belonged to a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s not Michael Vick.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown is the owner of Eilis, and her seven puppies, all of whom were removed May 21 from a pit bull breeding kennel near Eau Claire, according to the Leader-Telegram.
Brown had sent Eilis to Northland Pits in February to be bred. After the pups were born, the kennel offered to whelp and wean the pups, and Brown sent them all to Wisconsin for that purpose, according to an affadivit in the case.
While they were there, the kennel was searched, and 27 dogs were seized by the Eau Claire County Humane Association. The owner of the kennel, Joseph A. Sudbrink, has been charged with mistreating animals and running a breeding kennel without a license.
The officer who removed the animals, BeKah Weitz, said the dogs at the kennel had contracted ringworm and possibly had other skin issues and were being kept in substandard conditions. She told the court she saw scarring on the dogs and believed the kennel operators were fighting the dogs. Prosecutors say they are continuing to investigate.
Both Brown and the kennel owner petitioned to get their dogs back, and on Friday a county judge ordered Eilis and her pups returned to Brown.
The 19 other dogs will remain in custody for at least five more days, under the judge’s ruling.
The kennel’s website says it is a breeder of “quality old family red nose pit bulls” and that no dogs are “bred, sold or used for any illegal activities.”
Brown, the running back, has no known connection to dogfighting. The Philadelphia Inquirer says he has friends who are pit bull breeders, and friends whose dogs engage in “extreme” agility training. He posted the video above, showing him and another pit bull, on his Facebook page, but said “I go to the park with them to be supportive … It’s not really my thing.”
Sheila Kessler, an attorney who represented Brown and also serves on the Humane Society of Portage County board, picked up his dog and puppies from the shelter to return them to Brown.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bred, breeder, bryce brown, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, eau claire, eau claire county humane association, eilis, football, investigation, kennel, nfl, northland pits, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, puppies, running back, substandard conditions, unlicensed, weaned, whelped, wisconsin
It’s probably safe to assume she meant well, but a 70-year-old disabled woman has been cited by police for letting her dog walk run down the street while she followed it in her car.
The woman’s car was stopped by police in Madison, Wisconsin, and she was ticketed for permitting her dog to run at large, according to Madison.com.
Police had been tipped off about the woman’s habit by neighbors, who had complained about the dog running free.
“At the time of the complaints, the officer tried, without success, to contact the pet owner,” said a police spokesman. “Now, after seeing the little white dog strolling down East Mifflin with a car following close behind, it rang a bell and he had the chance to talk to her.”
The woman explained to the officer that she walked her dog that way because she is disabled.
“The officer was sympathetic but explained she had to find another way to exercise her canine,” the police spokesman said. “He suggested putting up a fence and then issued a citation for permitting a dog to run at large.” The ticket is for $114.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, citation, disability, disabled, dog, dog walking, dogs, leash, madison, pets, street, ticket, unleashed, walking, wisconsin
My original plan for the drive from Madison, Wisconsin to the quiet little town of Sauk Centre, Minnesota — where Sinclair Lewis grew up and which he mercilessly skewered in his book “Main Street” — was to listen to an audio version of the book on the six hour drive.
Sauk Centre was one of the stops John Steinbeck — a fan and acquaintance of Lewis’ — made with his poodle in “Travels with Charley,” though they didn’t seem to spend much time there.
When I told my sister and her husband of my plan, they both got online to find me an audio version of the 1920 book, and managed to turn one up at the library branch in Stoughton, about 30 miles from their home in DeForest.
I drove there to pick it up, planning to mail it back when I was finished. What the Stoughton branch of the library had, though, were cassettes, and I needed a CD. As we all know, this is the American way — to get us all hooked on one form of technology, and then, when we’re not looking it, switch it, leaving us lost, even if we have GPS, which I don’t.
A friendly library staff member checked her computer and rerouted me to the main branch in Madison, printing out directions to help me find my way.
Downtown Madison was easy to find, but somehow I managed to get lost. The state Capitol serves as a nice huge landmark, but because it looks the same from all sides, and because I’d accidentally strayed from the directions, I circled around for about 30 minutes — crossing Madison’s Main Street about six times — before I accidentally pulled up next to the library.
I parked and ran in, only to find what they had wasn’t the book on CD, but a group discussion of the book on CD. Back at the car, where Ace waited patiently, I had a $20 parking ticket.
So when I set off in the pouring down rain from Madison the next day, Sunday, it was, thanks to my sister, with three sandwiches, three apples, two bananas and a Thermos full of coffee — but no “Main Street.”
That segued into “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me,” which featured Dick Van Dyke as a guest. He revealed something I didn’t know. The theme to the old Dick Van Dyke Show, which went on the air the same year “Travels with Charley” was published, actually had lyrics, though they weren’t written until after the show went off the air.
The lyrics were written by Morey Amsterdam, who always reminded me of my grandfather, who was always quick with a pun and a musical ditty.
I’m not sure how we got from Sinclair Lewis to my grandfather, with stops at John Steinbeck, Garrison Keillor, and Morey Amsterdam. Blame it on the stream of consciousness that tends to babble so briskly — if not always clearly — when I drive.
While they were all fine storytellers, we shall close as we pull into Sauk Centre and get situated in our room at the Gopher Prairie Motel with the sweet and simple words of Mr. Amsterdam, and one more sappy 60’s song — the lyrics to the Dick Van Dyke Show theme:
Why not hold your head up high and,
Stop cryin’, start tryin’,
And don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed
When you find the joy of livin’
Is lovin’ and givin’
You’ll be there when the winning dice are tossed
A smile is just a frown that’s turned upside down,
So smile, and that frown will defrost.
And don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed!
Posted by John Woestendiek October 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1960s, ace, america, animals, authors, dick van dyke, dick van dyke show, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, garrison keillor, john steinbeck, lyrics, main street, minnesota, morey amsterdam, pets, road trip, sinclair lewis, sixties, storytellers, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, wisconsin
My sister (not a big dog person) and her husband (a big dog person) don’t have a dog, but they do have Oscar.
Walk by Oscar, as they’ve named him, and (thanks to motion-detecting technology) he opens wide, accepting whatever you toss in his mouth. A second or two later he closes his lid and sits quietly until feeding time comes again.
Ace, though he bonded quickly with my sister Kathryn and her husband John, was a little wary of Oscar, who he made the mistake of thinking was an inanimate object.
As Ace’s nose, drawn by Oscar’s multitude of odors, would inch closer to Oscar’s electric eye, Oscar’s lid would open wide and Ace would jump back. He’d watch warily until Oscar closed his mouth. Then Ace would slowly approach and sniff again, and Oscar again would snap at him again.
Eventually, they became friends.
Oscar is one of several devices at my sister’s home aimed at making day to day chores easier for her and her husband, both of whom have multiple sclerosis.
The last thing people with MS want in their home is a new obstacle, so it’s understandable that they’d have some conditions when it came to me and my 130-pound dog taking up temporary residence. On top of that, my sister is allergic to some dogs.
So the decision was made that Ace would stay on the porch. I decided I would sleep out there with him, and set up my camping cot.
As it turned out, while we slept on the porch, both Ace and I have spent most of our time inside, where, in addition to treats from my sister, Ace enjoyed much snuggle time with John, cozying up alongside him while we watched a 1960s science fiction movie on TV.
What happened during my days at my sister’s house was that everybody adapted — me, them and, probably better any of us humans, Ace, who, with only minor coaxing, showed a calm and quiet presence when in the house, staying put and, for the most part, out of the way.
It was yet another case of doggie intuition — that ability he has to sense that he’s in a setting with different rules, and then follow them.
Something Oscar — dependable as he is — will never be able to do.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, deforest, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, inanimate, kathryn, kitchen, madison, motion sensor, multiple sclerosis, object, oscar, pets, trash, trash can, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, wisconsin, woestendiek
While traveling with Charley in 1960, John Steinbeck worked in a few visits with family — his son in college, a rendezvous with his wife in Chicago — but he made a point of not including details of those encounters in the book he eventually produced.
They would create, he wrote, a “disunity.”
Instead, the famous writer, traveling the country and using his dog to get people to open up to him, bare their souls and spill their guts, chose to keep his own private life unbared, unspilled and, well, private.
While we’re following Steinbeck’s route, we’re not following that philosophy. That is why you’ve read about our visits with my mother, my father, my brother, an ex-wife and to the former home of my grandparents.
All of this, along with Interstate 94 and my perpetual quest for free lodging, brings us to my sister’s home in Wisconsin.
She’s a writer of hymns and a singer of songs who grew up on 60’s music. Long before karaoke machines, she was a hard core singalonger. Or, when no radio was around, a singaloner. She, unlike me — who will sing only when alone (except for Ace) — rarely hesitates to sing, no matter how many people might be around.
She also used her singing to torture me — not that her voice is bad, it’s actually quite good. But — at a time when you don’t even like girls yet — you don’t want one singing sappy girl songs in your face, and she’s always leaned toward the sappy girl songs.
When John Steinbeck left Long Island and hit the road 50 years ago with his poodle to take the pulse of America, he found one of the places to take that pulse was the radio. Radio stations at the time were still playing “Teen Angel,” a morbid little number that told the story of a teenage girl being killed by a train while trying to retrieve the high school ring her boyfriend gave her.
Steinbeck didn’t quite get the name right in “Travels With Charley,” but he did note how the song — No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks earlier that year — seemed to be playing everywhere he went — that America, at least in terms of its music, was becoming pretty homogenized:
“If ‘Teen-Age Angel’ is top of the list in Maine, it is top of the list in Montana. In the course of the day you may hear ‘Teen-Age Angel’ thirty or forty times.”
The song, recorded by a one hit wonder named Mark Dinning, was a continuation of a gloomy theme — the third No. 1 song in a row at the start of 1960 that featured a love-related death.
The 60’s may have kicked off on a hopeful note, but there was plenty of angst even then, at least in our music. Before Teen Angel, there was “El Paso,” by Marty Robbins — the story of a cowboy who gunned down the man he caught wooing his woman (Felina, who worked in Rosa’s Cantina). He hightailed it out of of town, but was drawn back by his love for Felina. Upon his return, he was gunned down, but at least got a kiss from Felina before he died.
After that came “Running Bear,” by Johnny Preston. Running Bear, you might recall, loved Little White Bird – and vice versa — and they both jumped into a raging river to reach each other’s arms, only to get sucked under and drown once they did.
Popular music got a little cheerier and even cheesier after that — with lots of songs about the foolishness of love, including several plaintive chart-toppers by Brenda Lee.
A couple of months before Steinbeck departed on his journey, “I’m Sorry” rose to the top of the charts — a song I remember well because my sister used to sing it constantly, and, once she realized it annoyed me, right in my seven-year-old face.
The worst torture, though, would come two years later, with the release of the song “Johnny Angel,” by Shelley Fabares. My sister would delight in singing me — being a John, though not a Johnny –the sappy tune. She was 14 by then, I was nine. The more I appeared to be bothered by it, the more she did it, which taught me a lifelong lesson.
Today, in the home she shares with her husband in DeForest, outside Madison, she has her own karaoke machine, which she fires up frequently. Unlike the young me, the machine serves as both her accomplice and audience, and doesn’t run to another room.
Her husband, also named John — and a true appreciator of her singing — has a connection to another singer, I just learned today. When he was in the 7th grade in Dumfries, Virginia, he was assigned to be the escort of one of four finalists vying to be selected queen of the winter dance.
Parents and teachers served as judges for the contest, and they picked the girl he’d been chosen to escort — the daughter of a marine. She was cute, he recalled, the fastest runner on the playground and prone to wearing “puffy-shouldered dresses.”
The year was 1959, and the girl was Emmylou Harris.
Now that I’m grown up, I don’t think I’d mind Emmylou Harris (a true dog lover, by the way) singing “Johnny Angel” to me — even in my face. My sister singing it to me, however, is still bothersome. How do I know? Because even now, as I look up the song on YouTube, she is doing it again. She’s singing along. And she’s 61. And I’m 57. And I want to run into the other room.
Johnny Angel, how I love him.
He’s got something that I can’t resist,
but he doesn’t even know that I exist.
I’m pretending it’s not bothering me at all.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: '60's, 1960s, ace, animals, brenda lee, deforest, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, el paso, emmylou harris, essay, family, freeloading, gril, hymns, i'm sorry, john steinbeck, johnny angel, johnny preston, karaoke, love, marty robbins, music, personal, pets, running bear, sappy, shelly fabares, siblings, sister, sixties, songs, teasing, teen angel, travels with ace, travels with charley, wisconsin, writers, writing