Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hitting the road

It's time for a change.

After a couple of years freelancing and over five years full time as a reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal, I am leaving the paper as of today.

I've accepted a position as local editor of the website, and I'll be moving to Rockland County.

It has been fun scouring the web for pet-related stories and video. I hope you learned a thing or two and, at times, had a good laugh or smiled when you hadn't been before.

Out of the 1,065 blog entries — including this one — there have been some real highlights.

Remember Sally, the dog tossed into a clothing donation bin? We broke that story. We followed it through Sally's adoption and the perp's sentencing. All the festivals like Beacon Barks and Paws in the Park? Great times all. Silly videos like Dogs Baking Bread or the Stealthy Kitty? Why not enjoy the special qualities that pets bring to our existence?

Kate, my loyal companion for over 15 years, has been my foil through this whole experience, and I hope she will continue in the role for a while longer. It is hard to believe she was diagnosed with kidney failure almost a year ago.

I tried not to anthropomorphize her, but it is difficult to not do so when she has such character. Those eyes; they seem to drill into your soul.

Kate has her good days and her bad days, just like me. I want more of the good days, but will be there during the bad, for sure.

Thank you all for the feedback, and thanks for visiting this blog.

I intend to continue blogging about pets at my new personal site "Making Us More Human," which you can access by clicking here. Give me a day or so to decompress, even though I've already posted an entry.

I send many good thoughts to all of you and the special creatures that keep us grounded and loved unconditionally.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dog bites ... shark?

Here's one for the books.

A posting on Hambone Nation Blog chronicles the tale of Lucy, the 1-year-old shepherd/husky mix who loves jumping into the water and catching lemon sharks.

Our story comes from Chuck Limroth of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Chuck was captaining a boat in the Bahamas when he and his wife Wendy came across Lucy, a 1-year old German shepherd and Siberian husky mix that was up for adoption. The couple was looking for a pet and decided to take Lucy back home to Florida.
What they weren’t told was the reason Lucy was up for adoption—it was for her own protection! While living on her former owner’s private island, Lucy had developed a knack for catching small lemon sharks in the mangroves. On two separate occasions she had to be flown off the island and treated for shark-bite related injuries. Her owner realized it was just a matter of time before Lucy was more seriously injured as a result of her “fishing” activities. The owner had Lucy taken to a nearby harbor and hoped for her own safety that she would be adopted by a tourist.

The Limroths were on vacation in the shallow mangroves of an island when Lucy jumped out of the boat they were in to chase after a lemon shark. A stingray was nearby and Lucy pounced on it.

The stingray plunged its barbed tail, full of venom, into Lucy's neck. I won't spoil the story; you should read the entire tale here.

There is something said for leashes and being very careful wherever you are if you choose to have your pooch off leash.

There are also some good tips on what to do in a medical emergency.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dancing doggie

Dog doing the Merengue!


Watch it here.

Sleeping hard before breakfast.

Cuteness alert

This video is too adorable.

It's corgis on a treadmill.

Super cute, arent' they?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some rewards come at too high a price

From Reuters is the story of a Labrador retriever that won an unusual award.

Read the story here.

Elie, the pooch, ate a beehive containing dead bees and pesticides was recognized as the most unusual pet health insurance claim in the United States.

The winner was selected from a dozen pets nationwide and was announced by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.

"Ellie may be a young dog, but she's already managed to eat everything from wooden toy train tracks to laptop computer keys," said the VPI. "So the beehive in the backyard was just another culinary adventure for this insatiable pooch."

She beat a border collie that ran through a window to get to a mailman and a terrier that bit a chainsaw.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dogs in the swim to save lives

From Italy, via the Associated Press and NPR, comes the story of canine lifeguards on hand (paw?) to help swimmers who get into trouble.

Read the entire story here.

These "lifedogs" wear a harness or tow a buoy that victims can grab, or a raft they can sit on to be towed back to shore, and unlike their human counterparts, they can easily jump from helicopters and speeding boats to reach swimmers in trouble.

With millions flocking to Italy's crowded beaches each summer, the Italian Coast Guard says it rescues about 3,000 people every year — and their canine helpers are credited with saving several lives.

Training takes three years to reach expert rescue status.

Roberto Gasbarri, who coordinates the Italian School of Canine Lifeguards program in the seaside town of Civitavecchia, said 300 dogs are fully qualified for duty.

"The dog becomes a sort of intelligent lifebuoy. It is a buoy that goes by itself to a person in need of help, and comes back to the shore also by himself, choosing the best landing point and swimming through the safest currents," he said.

Any breed can be trained as long as the pooch is at least 66 pounds.

What a great idea, don't you think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

What's that you say?

Who's a better listener? Your partner or your dog?

According to a survey by Purina, 31 percent of New Zealand female dog owners think their pets are better listeners than their partners.

Read the story
in USA Today.

Two-hundred-fifty dog owners and 250 cat owners were interviewed.

The survey also found that nearly 50 percent of female cat owners share their problems with their pets.

Well, all I can say is Kate doesn't listen to me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good kittie

Not exactly the Cat Whisperer, but pretty impressive.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, there's a cat that has a sixth sense about other cats that might be in trouble.

Dubbing him a "guardian angel," "wonder cat" and "miracle kitty," the staff and volunteers at the Nine Lives Foundation's Feline Well-Care Clinic say Christopher can tell when other cats need help. He will sit outside the cages of sick felines until someone lets him in, and last month, the clinic says, he saved the life of a kitten in need of a blood transfusion.

Read the entire article here.

"He'll often paw at a cage door to be let in so he can clean and comfort a cat in there," said Robert Lowery, a San Ramon resident and volunteer at Nine Lives.

He even became known as the "feral kitten tamer" last month, when he asked to be let into a cage with two feral kittens that were "untouchable, just hissing and growling," Thompson said.

Dog stabbing being investigated

From The Associated Press:

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. Park Police are investigating the stabbing of a dog at San Francisco's Fort Funston.

Authorities say a woman walking her dog reported her pet was stabbed by a man as he walked his dog on a trail in the park Thursday afternoon.

Park ranger George Durgerian says it's not clear what sparked the attack, but investigators are taking statements from witnesses who came forward after flyers were posted of the incident. A possible suspect has been identified, though no arrests have been made.

As for the wounded dog, it has been released from a veterinarian after undergoing surgery.

U.S. Park Police are investigating because Fort Funston is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is operated by the National Park Service.