Cujo the Chihuahua
Cujo the Chihuahua made the front-page news of my local newspaper when a Chicago police detective helped reunite him with his family after being dognapped two months ago. The happy ending made me smile, as well as the name of their other dog and Cujo's best friend, Michelle the Pit Bull.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Happy Pup-Friendly Earth Day
Stain-repellant chemicals from the lining of a dog food bag, phtalates in toys, arsenic-treated deckwood, mercury in cat food--the environment our companion animals inhale, lick and slurp is often loaded with toxins and pollutants. One dog is mad as hell and not going to take it any more. (Although, he's too sweet to put it that way.) On this Earth Day, read Eddie's story and learn more about taking action for animals (and people) to better the environment in your home and beyond.
A few more dog-inspired tattoos have made their way into my inbox from readers who enjoyed our story "Indelible Dogs" (BARk, March/April 2008) for very personal reasons. The Rhodesian Ridgeback (upper left) belongs to Deborah Rocco. “My husband and I are owned by five of these wonderful creatures,” Rocco writes. Competitors in the show ring and on the lure course, “I just can’t imagine my life without them.”
Molly Lauroesch’s red merle Australian shepherds, Sydney and Charlie, are memorialized in her tattoo.
Lya Ashley of Woodville, Texas, ran a rescue for years in Florida. To commemorate her work, she had pawprints tattooed on her wrist with the Japanese characters for dog on her outer wrist (upper right) and for friend on her inner wrist. About the turquoise tattoos (lower left), she writes, "I had a dream of a dog walking through a puddle, the paw prints lifted the water and made water paw prints."
Jamie Muston-Townsend recently got a tattoo of her Irish Setter, Finney. The six paw prints on the bandana represent all the cats (past and present) she and her husband have had.
Have you seen the Robotic BigDog video? I found it strangely hypnotic and more than a little unnerving in its critterness not to mention its potential lethal applications.
Liver treats to The Daily Dish, where I first bumped into this seriously wrong science project.
Cop Shot, Killed Dog Recovering From Back Surgery
A few months ago, I blogged about a suburban Chicago cop who shot and killed a pit bull named Sugar when he entered her home without the owner or roommate present. He claimed he did it in self-defense, because she "lunged" at him. According to all who knew her, Sugar was a sweetheart and friendly with everyone. My guess is that she zoomed over to greet him, much like my own pit bull mix would do, and because of her breed, the cop assumed she was on the attack. So had that trigger-happy cop broken into my home, all five of my dogs would likely be dead, too. The thought is absolutely unbearable, as was the photo in the paper showing the grief-stricken look on Sugar's owner's face when he learned the news.
Tragically, it has happened again, this time in Lakeview, my former neighborhood in New Orleans. On Monday, April 14, police officers responded to a burglar alarm at Dr. Patrick Coleman's house when one of them shot and killed Jax, a 4-year-old Doberman who was recuperating from back surgery. Jax was shot eight times at close range. Jax's sister, a Doberman named Scarlet, was cowering in a corner of the yard when Coleman arrived at the scene. According to Coleman, Jax was in no condition to pose a threat to anyone and his dogs had never been perceived as a threat in the past when officers responded to alarms at the house. The cop's excuse? The dogs had "lunged" at him. The controversy has attracted attention nationwide ... and for good reason.
If you google the words "cop," "shot" and "dog," you'll find similar stories around the country in which a dog was killed by a police officer. Clearly, police departments need to train their officers to respond to dogs in ways that are more humane, such as pepper spray. Jeff Dorson, of the Humane Society of Louisiana, says there are free training programs available upon request. Even though the New Orleans Police Department says the officer did nothing wrong, it would be an excellent good-will gesture toward the public to train officers how to handle companion animals with compassion, not bullets.
Julia Kamysz Lane
I recently received an update on Sabrina, a sickly stray found wandering the streets of my former home of New Orleans. Sabrina had been suffering from an advanced stage of mange, which left open wounds on her furless skin. What's worse, some idiot had misguidedly poured diesel fuel all over her body to "cure" the mange.
Thankfully, she was rescued by Kim Johnson, a volunteer with Animal Rescue New Orleans, and Feral Cat Consortium, which sponsored Sabrina's vet care until funds could be raised. Kim's networking efforts brought in donations big and small to cover Sabrina's entire $1,300 medical bill. If you look at the before and after photos posted here, it's hard to believe it's the same dog.
In her email update on Sabrina, Kim wrote:
We don't need any more donations for Sabrina, but if you're feeling a bit generous, our animal rescue work continues. I am still working on trapping one dog with an embedded collar and open neck wound, and another dog with what appears to be an older broken leg... Those will both need medical care when I get them. ... [for] a tax deductible option, I work closely with Feral Cat Consortium. They help dogs too. They fronted Sabrina's vet bills until donations came in and they are a 501(c)3 corp. Their mailing address is Feral Cat Consortium, 4 Summer Haven Ct., Madisonville, LA 70447.
Please support any of the local animal rescue groups, and there are many good ones to choose from. ... We can't do it without everyone's help, and we appreciate support of any kind. But most importantly, the animals we help are living proof that the support network works. So thank you, to everyone who does their part, no matter how big or how small, for the animals.
I think Kim's last sentence -- and the "after" photo of Sabrina -- says it all. When people pull together, animals get a second chance.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Friday Tattoo Update
A few more BARk readers have shared their parallel passions for dogs and tattoos--just in time to inspire a little weekend canine-inking. This classic paw with flourish is the actual print from a Beagle named Rocky (far left). "The artist made it look like he just stepped on my back," says Rocky's guardian and tattoo canvas Whitney Mayeda of Fresno.
Long Beach resident Laura Menck got a tattoo of her American Bulldog, Dolly, just last month. Her “brilliant” artist was Jef Kopp of Th'ink Tank Tattoo in Denver. Menck writes, “He captured Dolly’s happy face and, in some way, she will be with me forever!”
It's been a real pleasure seeing how tattoo-loving dog folks express their love. Thanks to everyone for gussying up the BARk blog with your self-expression.
New pet-cancer guide
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University recently launched an online video guide to cancer in pets. If you're facing this diagnosis in your dog (or cat) for the first time, or have a friend in that unenviable position, I'd recommend this clear, sensitive introduction to diagnosis, detection, treatment and research.
Woman Bites Stray To Protect Her Dog
Amy Rice of Minneapolis, MN, bit a stray dog to stop its attack on her senior Labrador Retriever, Ella (pictured here). Rice says it was an instinctive last resort. I understand the urge to protect our dogs at any cost, but I don't think I would ever consider biting a dog as a defensive maneuver. What are your thoughts?
Julia Kamysz Lane
A Few More Indelible Dogs
Our story about dog tattoos (in the April 2008 issue) continues to spark arf appreciation. Andrea Newborg of Diamondhead, Mississippi, said she was thrilled to see she was not alone in her adoration of tattoos and dogs. Hardly! Otto, her Dachshund’s name, is tattooed on her arm as are paw prints. A calligraphy-style wiener dog is inked on her lower back, and (in the posted photo) on her chest along with yin-yang Dachshunds. She writes that she plans on getting several more tattoos "when cash flow permits, LOL!”
Caroline Ward of St. James, N.Y., memorialized her dog Geri, after she passed suddenly at only four years old from complications of Addison’s Disease. “Getting the tattoo of her on my calf has helped me with closure,” Ward wrote in an email.
When Chris Splendoria’s bulldog Schwarz died of heat stroke in 2003, he got this memorial portrait on his arm. Schwarz was a gift to Splendoria’s girlfriend only two years earlier.
Michele Crouse, a dog trainer and bully lover in Texas, pays tribute to "all 'Pit Bulls' killed by ignorance and fear" with this winged dog. Learn more about Crouse's efforts on behalf of Bull breeds and the disheartening story of a dog named Clutch at her MySpace page/blog.