Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bronx Dog Fighting Victims Get Second Chance

Here's an article I found about another dog fighting ring that was disbanded this summer in New York.
It's amazing that now, after the Vick dogs rehabilitation, the dogs in these situations are now being looked at for rehabilitation and placement instead of immediate death.

We still have a long way to go to eradicate these rings completely, but this article does show that we are making some progress.

This is from ASPCA blog and bears reading.  Be sure to click over and read other entries on this blog.  Maybe you could send an email to show your support of the ASPCA's Legal Advocacy team and the Bronx District Attorney's Office.


n June, we told you about a dog fighting bust the ASPCA and New York Police Department conducted in the Bronx. Today, we’re happy to share some good news: 26 of the dogs have found placements with rescue groups, and another seven of them have placements in the works! We’re hoping continued rehabilitation and forever homes are just around the corner.
Partners that have embraced these canine survivors include St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey; Charles Henderson Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, New York; Columbia Greene Humane Society in Hudson, New York, and Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in Bedford. Some dogs have also been transferred to the ASPCA’s Adoption Center in Manhattan.
These dogs’ lives are already so different from the ones they led just a few short months ago. On June 21, we found them living in the windowless basement of a six-story apartment building with a makeshift fighting arena.Also discovered on scene were a loaded .25-caliber handgun, U.S. currency and other equipment associated with dog fighting—including dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.
For more than two months, ASPCA responders cared for and provided the dogs with extensive socialization, a healthy diet, medical care and exercise at a temporary shelter. Each dog was carefully evaluated by a team of animal behavior professionals prior to being transferred to the rescue groups.
While the majority of the dogs in this case may be rehabilitated, some were far too dangerous for placement. These dogs were victims of the brutalities of dog fighting—bred over generations to exhibit aggression, trained to fight with lethal intent, subjected to a life of inhumane treatment and, as a result, displayed highly aggressive behavior. After extensive evaluations, all decisions to euthanize were based on recommendations of multiple behavior professionals who weighed in objectively and independently, with the best interest of each individual animal in mind.
The dogs’ owner, Raul Sanchez of the Bronx, was arrested during the raid and arraigned on 63 counts of animal fighting, six counts of aggravated animal cruelty, six counts of animal cruelty, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, he faces up to four years in jail.
The ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy team is providing support to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in this case.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dog Heros of 9/11

Here's a tribute video to the dog heros of 9/11. Enjoy watching.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are your pets prepared for an emergency?

When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, I was aghast at the effect it had on all the pets in New Orleans.  I could not believe 1) that people could leave their family pets to fend for themselves or 2) that the search and rescue people would not make arrangements for family pets.  I sat and watched those poor animals trying to survive and the look of confusion on their faces was heartbreaking.

So, with the second hurricane now hitting Louisiana, I was very happy to see the improvement.  People were leaving with their pets.  Rescuers were getting pets as well as people.  Much better!

Just because you don't live in a hurricane zone doesn't mean that you can't have a disaster at your location.
Tornados, mud slides, torrential rain and flooding, earthquakes, fires--all these things can happen anywhere.  So it is important that you have a plan in place prior to any of these events to protect your family and your pets.

If you need to be evacuated from your home, do you know who will be able to care for your pets?  Do you know what shelters will allow you to bring your pets and what you need to be able to bring them?  Call ahead and talk to the shelters in your area.  Get informed and be prepared to care for your pets when they will really need you to do so.  If your area shelters don't take pets, make arrangements with family or friends in another area to harbor your pets until you can do so.  Don't leave it up to chance.

Do you have an emergency kit for your pets?  You should have one for every member of the family and that should include your pets.  Things like medications, food and water for 3 days, medical records and emergency contact numbers, maybe even a pet first aid kit (which you can find online at Amazon), maybe even a pet first aid book to help you do the right thing in an emergency.  Do each of your pets have a crate or carrier?  I'll bet that to take them to a shelter you will need to have them crated or in a closed carrier.

What will you do if you and your pets become separated?  Do you have a recent photo with you?  You may need one to identify your pet if found.  Be sure your pet has ID tags on with your name and telephone number; that way if someone finds your pet you will be reunited quickly.  Maybe now is the time to get that microchip to prepare for future emergencies.

Your pets will be extremely anxious and in need of comforting during any evacuation.  Be sure to bring along a favorite toy or favorite sleeping blanket to help your pet deal with the disruption to his everyday routine.  When you know that an emergency condition is imminent, bring your pets inside to prevent them from bolting in panic.  Don't forget that your pet expects you to look out his interests during an emergency!

I know that I have certainly been making my own arrangements and collecting the appropriate items to make sure that my two babies are cared for in an emergency.  How about you?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Life after Satchmo

When Satchmo died, I was devastated.  I cried for days and got very depressed.  He had been my constant companion for 13 years.  He was my baby and my love.  How could I ever get past losing him?

Well, I did.  It took quite a bit of time (almost a full year) before I could say his name without crying.  But I think having had such a relationship with my dog made me a better person and helped me move on.  I think he actually made it easier for me to get another dog.

I know that this new dog is not Satchmo and never witll be.  But she is her own self--rowdy, loud, attention-seeking, and even sweet.  She has her own place in my heart.

Before I lost Satchmo, I had adopted another small dog, Austin.  He is calm, quiet, sweet natured, and loves to cuddle.  So now I have two dogs who are polar opposites.

Where Austin is sweet, Leela is demanding of attention.
Where Austin is quiet, Leela is loud--barking at the wind at times.
Where Austin is calm, Leela is a ball of energy racing to and fro all day.
When Austin wants to cuddly, Leela is off terrorizing the cat.

It's amazing the differences in their behaviors, but each one is truly loved.  That is how it is supposed to be.

Let me tell you the story of how I got Leela.

I was browsing the pictures of dogs at the local animal shelter and saw what I thought was a rat terrier.  I got so excited because I wanted another rattie.  So, I grabbed my sister and we went to the shelter.

Leela was definitely NOT a rat terrier, although she has a rat terrier coat on.  She was so pathetic and so scared at the shelter that I could not in good conscience leave her there.  She cowed in the corner and shook.  I felt terrible for her.  So I went up and asked about getting her and was told there was already a hold on her.  I put my name on the list anyway, but felt better knowing that once she was spayed she would be going to a good home.

The next day, the shelter called me to say that the previous hold had been released and did I still want Leela?
Of course I did.  I grabbed my sister again and we drove lickety split to the shelter and picked up this poor scared little dog and brought her home.

From that moment, when she walked into the house, she has been the queen bee.  Her demeanor changed immediately and she now rules this roost.  Goes to show you that you can be fooled even by a little scrap of a dog.

The truth is, I love this little minx and would be lost without her.  Austin gets along with her great and the relationship she has with the cat is still up for grabs.

I recommend rescuing your pets from shelters.  These are the best pets every.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Parachuting War Dogs

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks

By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
This story that came out in the Times of London a couple of weeks ago is truly a war-dog wonder: parachuting dogs being sent on secret missions in Afghanistan. (The photograph is pretty unbelievable, too.)

These daredevil dogs (and their handlers) are part of Austrian special forces that are "[joining] Nato's Operation Cold Response, one of Europe's biggest military exercises, in Narvik, Norway. ... Commandos from 14 countries, including British special forces and Royal Marines, took part in the Nato exercise. The use of dogs in High Altitude High Opening missions was pioneered by America's Delta Force, which trained the animals to breathe through oxygen masks during the jump."

Dropping from 10,000 feet in the air these dogs "glide in" to land "unnoticed" and they "often carry cameras and are trained to attack anyone carrying a weapon."
I'd be curious to speak to a veterinarian about this but the dog handler interviewed for this piece claims that: 
Dogs don't perceive height difference. ... They're more likely to be bothered by the roar of the engines, but once we're on the way down, that doesn't matter and they just enjoy the view. ... "It's something [this dog] does a lot. He has a much cooler head than most recruits."

After a little digging, I found this is hardly the first time the military -- in the United States or elsewhere -- has attempted to get its war dogs airborne.

The November 1935 issue of Popular Science Magazine ran an article about the Soviet army was experimenting parachuting dogs out of planes with a new invention -- the "cylindrical coop," which was:
provided with a parachute that opens automatically when it is tossed from a plane. The shell of the coop, locked closed during the descent, springs open of its own accord when the device strikes the ground."
In 1980, The Ocala Star Banner, ran this story about how the army was training a "crack corps of 40 German shepherd dogs" who were accustomed to jumping off 8-foot towers so that they "would be able to withstand the rigors of parachute jumping."

But perhaps most famous of all is the legendary SAS Rob, a collie and parachuting war-dog hero of WWII. Rob was awarded the animal's Victoria's Cross in 1945 for saving British soldiers' lives by "licking their cheeks to wake them at signs of danger" and for making a remarkable 20 parachute jumps. But in 2006, this amazing parachute-jumping lore was revealed to have been a hoax. Apparently, when the dog's owners requested Rob be discharged and returned home, the dog's SAS handler, Tom Burt, was said to have been so "upset at the prospect of losing him" he concocted the story to keep Rob in the regiment. Can we blame him?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dog Saves Life of Owner and Needs Help Now

Margo Ann Sullivan
Rescued pet faces down freight train to save owner's life.
At a railroad crossing in Shirley, Mass., Lilly, the pit bull, hurdled into a race against time. The dog's owner, Christine Spain, had collapsed on the train tracks, and the westbound freight train was coming.
Lilly dragged her owner out of danger, but the train's front wheel caught and crushed her paw.
The train struck Lilly a few minutes after midnight on May 3, according to Rob Halpin, spokesman for Boston's Angell Animal Medical Center. The dog was "critically wounded," he said but managed to reach her owner's side. She stayed by the unconscious woman, until help arrived.
The train engineer had seen a "frantic" dog struggling to pull the woman to safety, but he couldn't stop the train in time, Halpin said.
"The engineer, who asked not to be identified, was convinced the train had struck both Christine and the dog, and realized only after stopping and rushing to their aid that Christine was unharmed," Halpin said. But Lilly had been badly hurt.
"The train's wheels sliced through her right foot, fractured her pelvis in multiple locations and caused other internal injuries," he said.
The engineer called for help. The Shirley, Mass. animal control officer took Lilly to a local emergency veterinary hospital and Spain's son, Boston police Officer David Lanteigne, was notified. He rushed the 8-year-old dog to Angell Animal Medical Center.
Doctors amputated Lilly's right leg on May 5. She had a second surgery to fix her pelvis and back left leg. She has a long and difficult recovery ahead, Dr. Meg Whalen, a veterinarian with the Angell Emergency and Critical Care Unit, said.
Halpin went on to explain Lilly "will be unable to bear weight or walk without assistance for the first few months after her surgery."
Halpin said Lilly is still in the hospital as of press time, but her caregivers hoped that she would be able to go home soon.
"We're hoping," Halpin said. "She's improving, and we're hoping to get her back to some semblance of her former self. But, of course, she'll have to learn to walk again."
Lanteigne said Lilly will go home with him. Spain will also move in while Lilly is recovering.
"Lilly means the world to my mother," Lanteigne said. He adopted Lilly from a shelter several years ago as a companion for Spain, who has suffered from alcoholism.
Spain "doted on the dog from the moment she came to live with her," he said. The bond with the dog first changed and then saved Spain's life.
Whalen thinks Lilly will also make it.
Lilly's bravery "has captured the hearts of our entire staff," she said.
How to Help: Because of the severity of Lilly's injuries and the extensive treatment she required, the MSPCA-Angell has provided financial aid through its Pet Care Assistance program to help cover the cost of Lilly's care. In addition to supporting other MSPCA programs, Pet Care Assistance provides financial aid to families whose animals need emergency, intermediate and critical care at Angell. Readers who would like to donate to Pet Care Assistance can visit
Pictured: Lilly, an 8-year-old pit bull, underwent emergency surgery after a freight train struck her. The dog pulled her owner, Christine Spain, to safety after Spain collapsed and fell unconscious on the track. (Photo Courtesy of MSPCA-Angell)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

UPDATE: War dog to reunite with former Marine

Here's an article about a war dog that may actually get to retire with its handler.  That will be something because the military is not known for caring about the welfare of these dogs once their usefulness is over.  Please read the following article and let me know what you think, won't you?


Aging U.S. military working dog Sgt. Rex has been cleared for adoption and will soon reunite with former U.S. Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey, his friend and former handler.
Leavey served two six-month tours of duty in Iraq alongside Rex, a German Shepherd. The pair located roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In 2006, the two were injured together by an IED; wounded, Leavey and Rex spent a year in recovery, only to be separated in 2007.
Since their separation, Leavey has been petitioning the U.S. military to allow Rex to retire under her care. When Rex’s health and age prevented him from serving at Camp Pendleton, Leavey contacted U.S. Sen. Schumer (D-NY), hoping that his support would help expedite the adoption process. Leavey and Schumer launched a campaign for Rex’s release that gained press attention across the country; a petition on the senator’s website amassed over 20,000 signatures.
When word of the approved adoption came through, Schumer’s office expressed their gratitude, thanking everyone across the country who offered their support. “One canine, one human, both heroes,” Schumer’s office said. “They should be united shortly and we’re glad it’s happening.”
Leavey is overjoyed, and looking forward to seeing her best friend. “Rex and I went through a great deal together and I am just so grateful that we will be reunited again,” she said.
“We anticipate that as early as next week, Megan and the military working dog that goes by the name of Rex will be reunited,” said Capt. Barry Edwards, a spokesperson for the Marine base at Camp Pendleton. “We wish Rex all the best in his coming years of relaxation with Megan.”
Though looks like Rex and Leavey will finally have the happy ending they both deserve, there is still much to be done to help other U.S. military working dogs.
“While the cause of reuniting Corporal Leavey and Sergeant Rex has inspired a country, there are hundreds of military working dogs, like Rex that also will one day need to come back to caring homes,” Schumer said in an email Tuesday afternoon.
Schumer went on to express his support for the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, which, if passed, will streamline the adoption process for retired military working dogs. To join the senator in supporting this legislation, contact your U.S. senators and representatives today.
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