Life is better with dogs. I should know, since I have a whole family of six of them living with me and my husband, kids, and cats! Here are a few tales of heroic dogs to brighten your weekend…

It was 4:30 am when a sleeping couple was awakened by their two dogs recently. The dogs were tugging on them and nudging them and insisting on being taken out, which was not something these dogs typically did in the wee hours. These dogs had something important to show their humans, and thank God that their humans eventually complied! Via SunnySkyz:

Meet Adam and Eva, two labradoodles who are being credited with saving the life of a lost elderly woman.

dogs save woman from freezing to death
Credit: J. Scott Park

The dogs woke their owners up at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. They continuously tugged on their owner’s sleeve, insisting to be let outside.

“(Adam) never tugged on my clothes before, so I was a cautious about letting them out because I didn’t know if there was anything out there,” Lonnie Chester said.

Before Lonnie could open the door all the way, Adam and Eva squeezed past and bolted to his truck outside. Next to it was an elderly woman in her late 80s on the ground, freezing with nothing on but a night gown.

dogs save woman from freezing to death
Credit: J. Scott Park

“She looked up at me and said, ‘I’m so cold,'” Lonnie said. “I have no idea how long she had been out there. She must have been terrified.”

The temperature around the time was about 9 degrees in Norvell Township, Michigan.

Shortly after rescue crews arrived, the woman’s family came to the house and asked if they had found their lost loved one. The family was looking for her but did not see her as she was lying in the snow in the near total darkness.

The rest of the story and see related video HERE

Talk about courage under fire! Meet Chips the Husky/Shepard Mix who has been posthumously awarded for his extraordinary bravery in World War II:

NY Post

He was a very good boy.

A hero US Army dog who ran nose-first into a machine gun fire in World War II and took out a shooter by the throat was recognized with Britain’s highest honor for animal bravery Monday.

Westchester County pooch Chips, a German shepherd-husky cross, was awarded the Dickin Medal for his courageous actions during the appropriately titled Operation Husky.

“It has taken over seven decades, but Chips can now finally take his place in the history books as one of the most heroic dogs to serve with the US Army,” said Jan McLoughlin, director general of the the UK’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, which created the award in 1943.

Chips was just a regular family pet living with the Wren family in Pleasantville when the Army asked civilians to donate their dogs to the war effort. Some 40,000 patriotic pooches were signed up, but only 10,000 made the cut — including Chips.

Upon landing at the beach in Sicily in 1943, Chips’ platoon immediately came under fire — and the courageous canine broke free of his leash and ran into an enemy machine-gun nest.

“There was an awful lot of noise and the firing stopped. Then I saw one soldier come out of the door with Chips at his throat. I called him off before he could kill the man,” his handler, Pvt. John Rowell, later recalled — adding that three other Italian soldiers then emerged with their hands over their heads.

He suffered some injuries in the melee, but sniffed out another 10 enemy combatants later that day — leading to their surrender, according to the Washington Post.

Chips survived his three and a half years in the war, and was able to return home to Pleasantville to live out his days as a war hero.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart for his efforts, but they were later rescinded because they’re not actually meant for dogs. MORE HERE

I had a hero dog, her name was Maggie and she was a Golden Retriever who had been abused before animal rescuers saved her and put her up for adoption and she was brought home by my dad. Maggie was here with me seventeen years ago today when my father died. They are both on my mind today. Maggie always had a sadness about her after we lost my dad, but she was the sweetest friend you could ever hope for. A few years after my dad died, while I was very pregnant with my first child, I had somehow ended up asleep on my back and I developed a bad nosebleed (I had a lot of nosebleeds during that pregnancy, but if I was awake it wasn’t a big deal). I only became aware of it because Maggie kept nudging me and licking me until I woke up, choking on blood. I believe Maggie knew something was wrong and I think she spared my baby and I from what could have become a dangerous situation! After my daughter was born, Maggie always stood guard over her bassinet in my room, and did the same when my son was born a few years later. She was a gentle companion for my young children and one of the best friends I ever had. She died some years ago of old age, but she lives forever in the hearts of everyone who knew her.

I have had a lot of special dogs over the years, including my dog Oreo, who once got between me and a neighbor’s vicious dog who had gotten out and came after me. That other dog was twice Oreo’s size but my dog got all up in that other dog’s face barking his “big dog” bark until the other dog finally forgot about wanting to get me, backed off, and went back home. Oreo also once stared down a humongous coywolf who was in a neighbor’s yard while I was out walking him. Again, Oreo put himself in front of me and between myself and something that maybe could have hurt me. Oreo is not exactly a smart dog; he often gets into all kinds of ridiculous mischief, but my memories of his bravery will almost always get him out of trouble for whatever he has just chewed up or peed on.

Thank God for dogs! If you have a special dog story you want to share, I would love to read it below in the comments section!

Oreo, my brave dog

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – We lost our eighteen year old Boston Terrier last week.  She was a rescue and was about three years old when we got her.  Checkers has been the sweetest, most loyal little dog I’ve ever had and she gave me hours of laughs with her comical antics.  She was very much an alpha dog and wouldn’t tolerate any other dogs in the house, but that changed one day five years ago when my son brought home an abandoned Lab-mix puppy that was about six weeks old and near death.  Checkers mothered him and nurtured him and they became fast friends.  She was incredibly smart and we even taught her the sign language motion for “cat” which would send her dashing to the huge living room window, barking at a non-existent cat she thought was walking by.

petey
Petey, a Pit puppy with a cleft palate.

In her last few years she lost most of her eyesight but she still did fine here at home because she knew where everything was.  We didn’t move furniture or do anything to upset her sense of security.  In the last few weeks however, she ate less and less and slept more.  We knew her time was close. By Friday last week she was in organ failure – her kidneys just couldn’t keep up anymore and we had to make that miserable decision to let her go.  It’s a harrowing experience and even though you think you are sort of braced for it and you know there is no possible other choice, it all starts moving too fast and before you know it you just have a hole in your heart and an empty leash.

I volunteer with a couple of animal rescue groups here in Shreveport and have made some very wonderful friends who understand the gaping loss of losing a companion of so many years.  Bo and Ronda Spataro work with local rescue TSR La Baby Mommas, a group which takes puppies who have lost their mothers for one reason or another. (I’ve blogged about them in this space here). Most of their puppies are bottle babies which have to grow and spend some time with a foster family before they can be adopted out.  This rescue takes puppies that many people would have given up on.  They have had great success with rescuing cleft palate puppies. Ronda is a vet tech and she takes these cleft palate puppies and basically keeps them alive through tube feeding until they are able to undergo what is often multiple surgeries to repair the mouth.

I saw this process first hand over the weekend; I’d seen her do this before and it’s amazing to watch.  Right now Ronda and her husband Bo are fostering a Pit puppy that the rescue got when he was about sixteen hours old. This puppy has one of the more profound cleft palates they have seen, but before she committed to take him in, she asked the veterinarian – “Does he have a chance?  Can you fix this?”  Ronda will do whatever it takes to save a dog, but she is made up of “mush and steel,” she told me. You have to keep your reason and objectivity in this business or it will kill you.

“I can keep him alive,” she said, “but I have to know there is a chance for him first.”   And then she pulled Petey out of his carrier, warmed up his puppy formula, and pulled it up into a large syringe.  She measured it carefully, and while Petey nestled in my arms she slipped a thin red tube deftly down his throat and pushed the formula through. Then she gently pulled the tube back out. The entire process took less than three minutes: the feeding itself was probably 30 seconds.  I’ve never seen anything like that.

When they first got Petey, Bo and Ronda did this process every three hours.  Now that Petey is two weeks old, he can go a little longer.

With his little belly full, Petey snuggled deeper into my arms and went to sleep.  “He knows you need some extra loving tonight,” Ronda said as the puppy tried to nurse my little finger.  Somehow this little puppy was trying to repair the hole in my heart.

And of course it hit me: life ends, but it also begins.  I had a Lion King moment and the cycle of life hit home.  Checkers lived a long, happy life with as much love and care as any dog could ever have.  I’ll never forget her; I know I did the right thing by her all the way until the end.  Now it’s Petey’s turn. I’m not adopting Petey: I’m far from ready for that right now, and I still have this adorable goofy Lab mix dog.  But I’m pulling for Petey to survive so that he can have a life with the right family for him.

This puppy is going to need several surgeries so that he will be able to eat on his own. Bo and Ronda did this with a white Lab puppy last year, named Summit, and today he is perfectly healthy and weighs 80 pounds. I think it’s safe to say that Petey has the right team pulling for him.

Life is a miracle, be it a person, a dog, or whatever creature you want to name.  Life is fragile, and it is precious.  I know that sounds trite and cliché, but I’ve seen it myself this past week and sometimes we just need to be reminded.

If you’d like to donate to Petey’s upcoming surgeries, go here, and click on the “Donate” button.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

 

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It has been a crazy week of weather all across the country; here in Louisiana we’re going from 80 degrees on Christmas day to 24 degrees this weekend.  Our neighbor, Texas, suffered numerous tornados a couple of night ago with eleven fatalities and numerous injuries.  The communities of Rowlett, Sunnyvale, and Garland were hit extremely hard with some neighborhoods completely leveled.

As the year draws to a close, I am reflecting on the year in all its extremes beyond just weather.  Sometimes it seems as if the world is upside-down and very little makes sense anymore.  Who really ever thought that Donald Trump would be a leading presidential candidate at this point?  Or that Bruce Jenner would be a woman?  That the Confederate flag would be banned and that in New Orleans the City Council would decide to remove Confederate monuments that have stood for decades? Or that law enforcement officers would be perceived as the enemy suffering multiple attacks through the year?

Sometimes things are not what they appear. As it turns out, Bruce Jenner is really still a man (well, technically, he is…) and it is actually a select group of puppet-masters behind the NOLA monument controversy rather than the city population as a whole.  And law enforcement officers aren’t all bad guys.

dog2
Photo courtesy of Lost & Found Pets From North Texas Tornadoes

As we close out this wild and crazy year, let’s focus on a good news story: after the tornadoes hit Texas the other night and rescue efforts began, a photograph of a German Shepard pinned by a fallen tree went viral on Facebook.  The dog was half in, half out of a swimming pool, was wet, stuck, and terrified.  Many that saw that photo have inquired about the dog – and criticized how could someone take a photo and leave the dog that way?  The officer that responded wrote today to clear the record:

Temperatures were dropping, the water was cold and the dog was scared and exhausted. I was called to assist. Every time we approached the dog, he growled and snapped. A call to the command post found that Animal Control was unavailable and no ETA was available as to when help would arrive.

So, 3 police officers, 1 citizen and a trapped, scared and hurting dog, half of his body submerged in cold water, are around a pool, surrounded by debris, in complete darkness. The dog didn’t want to be touched and if able, would have attacked out of self defense. We were assigned to protect human life and property.

A decision was made. This German Shepherd with a collar on was a family member. Someone loved this dog. This dog was part of a family. This dog was living and breathing and wouldn’t be much longer if left alone. So, we decided to help. Close to 30 minutes of calming the dog, pulling the tree off while the dog growled and snapped, cleaning debris from the pool and deck area resulted in this family member being freed and out of the pool.

The dog was eventually reunited with his family.

It’s a happy ending and a simple reminder that things are not always as we perceive them.  Most people are, as Anne Frank said, basically good; sometimes we have to look past the surface to see that.

I think that may be something important to remember as we move into a New Year.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

gay flagBy John Ruberry

Like it or not, same-sex marriage is the law of the land. As a conservative with libertarian leanings, I favored civil unions for gays for years, in essence, marriage in all but name. What is now called traditional marriage reaches back into pre-history–social norms should not be thrown overboard so quickly.

As for the other side of the gay marriage debate, the media focus has been on what Friday’s US Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of what some call marriage equality means for observant Christians who oppose it.

But what about Muslims? The Daily Beast managed to find a few Muslims who favor gay marriage, but it’s safe to say that followers of Islam overwhelmingly oppose it.

And I believe that Muslims considering emigrating to the United States–and for that matter, other Western nations–might want to consider staying home instead.

Other than our high standard of living, there is much in America for Muslims not to like. Arranged marriages are not only rare but are frowned upon. Dogs, beloved members of many American families, are viewed as only slightly better than pigs in Islamic society only because of their hunting and protection skills. As for those pigs, most Americans eat pork. Women in the United States wear whatever they want–or in some cases, how little they want. And the great majority of Americans drink alcohol–and advertisements for intoxicating beverages can be found almost everywhere. We can change our religion if we like–or, as has been happening more frequently, choose no faith at all. While somewhat controversial, religious satire is common in the USA. For the sake of brevity I’m stopping here.

Bridgeview, IL
Bridgeview, IL

And since Friday–two men, or two women, can marry each other in a government-sanctioned marriage from Portland, Maine to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Guam too.

Despite President Obama’s ridiculous claim that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding,” there is very little Islamic about America.

And the roughly three million Muslims in America won’t be able to change that.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Here in my little burg of Shreveport, a robust debate is underway about Michael Vick; I bring this up because I’m interested in how this debate plays in other parts of the country.

You see, Michael Vick, as you may recall, is now probably more famous for his dogfighting conviction as for any skills he may have on the football field.

In 2007, Michael Vick was convicted in Richmond, Virginia for his involvement in a dogfighting ring.  His 23 month sentence was more than that of his co-defendants because the judge found him to be less than truthful about his involvement in the ring. The judge said:

“You were instrumental in facilitating, putting together, organizing and funding this cruel and inhuman sporting activity.  While you have acknowledged guilt and apologized, I’m convinced it was not a momentary lapse of judgment on your part.  You were a full partner.”

In fact, Vick pleaded guilty to “bankrolling a dogfighting operation…and to helping kill six to eight dogs.”

And now, in Shreveport, one of our most venerable and respecting arts institutions, the Strand Theater, has rented their space to the Michael Vick Comedy Explosion Tour, and Shreveport has drawn lines in the sand.

There are those who are aghast and horrified that any venue would rent to Michael Vick at all, much less one of the most respected and beloved cultural icons of the city.  The animal rights community is planning a protest of the event and some have even gone so far as to vow to never support any further endeavors of The Strand at all.

“One must be a true Sociopath to be able to watch animals suffering in horrendous ways at your own hands and not feel guilty. Remember that every serial killer started by torturing, mutilating and killing animals. Vick is no different than Jeffery Dahmer, Albert “The Boston Strangler” DeSalvo, The Columbine Killers, and Denis Rader (The BTK Killer).  Vick may not be a “human” serial killer but he is a serial killer none-the-less. No amount of jail time can rehabilitate an already corrupt, empty soul. He has shown no remorse, when doing interviews and when the dogs are mentioned you can blatantly see his eyes turn cold and dark, and his “involvement” with the Humane Society was the best “PR” move ever by his publicists.

So with that being said, I will speak loudly and proudly against him, stand up for what’s right, never forget the innocent lives lost, and never again support a company that has endorsed him, given him money or given him publicity. I have not supported Nike or Subway in over 5 years because of their support of him; and, unfortunately, I will never again support The Strand…”

Others have taken the position to simply boycott the event but to give The Strand a pass on the Vick association and will still support other Strand events.

And still others have taken the position that Vick has “paid his dues” and deserves a second chance.

So does he?

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – When Pete invited me to join his writing team he said, “You can write about whatever you want to…” within reason, of course, and most of the time I write about politics because that’s just what I do.  But something else has been on my mind this week so I hope you’ll indulge me this brief deviation from politics.

April is Prevention Against Cruelty to Animals Month so I want to take a moment to acquaint you with a local case that has captured the hearts of my local community.  Meet Braveheart (there is a happy ending, so keep reading):

September 11, 2013 a dog was found in an abandoned storage locker in Shreveport, chained to a car and likely moments away from death.  The hottest day of the year in September in Shreveport was on September 3 with 103 degrees; typically we have many days over 100 degrees around that time of year.  Can you braveimagine what the temperature must have been in that storage locker?  There was no ventilation, no food, and no water for the dog;  he was just waiting to die.

The owner of the storage property went into the unit because the renter had lapsed on his payments.  When he went in he saw what he thought was a dead dog.  It was only when he went to remove the body that he realized this dog was alive.

The following narrative of what happened next is from A Voice for Braveheart:

“He was only hours if not minutes from death as he could only move his eyes. He was rushed to the vet and somehow survived. Someone that played a critical role in his recovery stated ‘human hands did this, human hands should fix it’. He was given life saving medical care immediately and a miracle happened, he began healing. He was named…….Braveheart.

After a 2 week stay at the ER clinic he came to stay with our family. He only weighed 8 pounds when he was found.”

A number of local organizations and people worked hard to save Braveheart’s life, among them Bo and Ronda Spataro who agreed to foster Brave during his recovery.  Ronda works as a vet tech at the clinic where Brave was ultimately treated and she fell in love with him, as did her husband.  Ronda was able to take Brave to work with her and he was given aggressive, around the clock care.  But the story did not end there.

Braveheart’s condition when he was found was thoroughly documented through medical records and photographs.  The photographs are very difficult to look at.  Even with all that evidence, however, the city decided they needed to take Braveheart from his foster family and place him in the animal shelter as evidence.  The Spataros were devastated.  Braveheart had already become a part of their family.  Local news station KTAL was there when Braveheart was seized and captured incredibly emotional video as the puppy is taken from the Spataros and placed in the back of an animal control truck.  Through her sobs, Ronda gave Braveheart a kiss and told him, “I promise I’ll get you back…I promise.”   It was a promise she was later able to keep.

ronda

It was all one step too much for the community who reacted in outrage and planned a protest at the shelter.  Bo Spataro writes:

“There was an unnecessary custody battle with animal control when they were asked to start an investigation into the abuse/neglect of Braveheart by public outcry. It was quickly won, again by public outcry. [Brave’s abuser was identified and] charged with felony cruelty to an animal. We formally adopted Braveheart from Caddo Parish Animal Shelter after his abuser surrendered ownership. He has been assigned legal counsel and we have been attending his court dates. He has plead not guilty and the ADA has informed both the judge and defense there will be NO plea deals. The judge has also agreed to a sentencing hearing if he pleads guilty. This type of abuse to any animal with no meaningful penalty needs to be stopped.”

The picture taken at that joyful reunion between Braveheart and his new family still brings a tear to my eye when I look at it.

brave1

Bo tells me that the original ADA has been transferred and there will be someone else prosecuting the case; we can only hope the new prosecutor is also tough against animal abuse.  We may find out this week.

For Braveheart, there is a happy ending; Bo again:

“Braveheart is now doing great and has made nearly a full recovery. He still has some emotional scars that may never go away, but overall, he knows he is safe now. He knows he is loved now. You can see his whole story at A Voice For Braveheart. He is still supported by TSR La Baby Mommas rescue in Shreveport, La and attends events to promote “Adopt, don’t shop”, spay/neuter programs, pet education and animal abuse awareness. Although Brave was originally intended to be a foster, we knew differently after he was suddenly taken from us during the custody battle. We knew immediately when we got him back, we would never let him leave our home. He is a part of our family and he has found his forever home.”

As I said, there is a happy ending.

Look at Brave now:

brave4

The next court date for Brave’s abuser comes up this week and the community will be supporting Braveheart and the Spataro family in a quiet, respectful presence in the courtroom.   A while back someone asked Bo if it wouldn’t be an important statement if he took Brave into the courtroom with him and Bo had a wonderful answer that could not have been more perfect.  He said he would never consider doing such a thing because he does not ever want Brave to have to look into the eyes or ever see his abuser again.  All he should know from now on is love and security.

Again, as April is Prevention Against Cruelty to Animals Month, I ask you to take a moment and read Brave’s story.  This isn’t just a local news story; there are stories like Brave’s all over the country.  Please donate to your local animal rescue organizations and always adopt, don’t shop, when you’re ready for a pet.  Work in your communities to strengthen laws against animal abuse.

To me, the story of Braveheart shows the best and the worst of human nature.  I can’t imagine leaving a puppy chained to a car in a hot storage building in over 100 degree heat with no water just to die.  That is an abominable act.  But I also think that there are more of us on the other side – on the side of love and compassion.  Thank goodness for people like the Spataros who will not only fight to save a dog from a situation like that and then go on to share their story and work as ambassadors for good.  Braveheart now attends many adoption events in the community and goes to local schools to help educate kids about caring for pets.

Thanks for indulging me on this non-political post, but I really wanted to share this story with you.  If we don’t give a voice to abused and mistreated animals, who will?

You can follow Braveheart’s continuing journey here.

 

(Note:  I redacted the name of Braveheart’s alleged abuser in the post above because although he is formally charged he is not yet convicted.)

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and has three rescue dogs.

Sheldon:  Is the Whip App contextually appropriate here?

Leonard:  Yes, but I think you waited too long for it to be funny

(Sheldon runs Whip app all laugh

Leonard:  I was wrong it’s still funny

Big Bang Theory 2012

For the last several days on Facebook on twitter and during at least one segment on Morning Joe there has been unrestrained laughter concerning the president and his youthful culinary choices all those years ago.

We’ve seen posts, tweets on Obama dog recipes , a vast array of Photoshops, the return of the puppy blender meme and cartoons like this one:

and a return of the puppy blender meme , we’ve had dogs against Obama and the amusing spectacle of “Dogs against Romney” blogger insisting that eating your dog is no big dealI’m the dish of the day, can I interest you in parts of my body?”

Odd that I don’t see any comments questioning his defense of the president, you would think he is not allowing contrary opinions or something?

We’ve also seen some serious questions too; Why didn’t media who rushed to pick up his book Dreams of my Father know this (I think they did but team Obama counted on their silence) , How does this damage the president long term “the one thing everybody will remember is Obama ate a dog”, What does it mean for leftist comedians , and of course the media double standard:

See, when Romney puts a dog on a car roof, it’s a job for Diane Sawyer. When Obama eats one*, it’s a goofy Jeanne Moos story. And isn’t it interesting that an incident from 1983 couldn’t be more current, but quoting one of Obama’s books is “dredging” it up? Guess it all depends on which party is embarrassed about it.

which is why the MSM wants to let sleeping dogs lie (their words not mine).

All of these questions are interesting, but they are missing the only real question that matters:

Are Obama eating dog jokes still funny?

After seeing this tweet from John McCain and the outraged twitter reaction of the left to it:

Yep still funny.

Heh HEH!

We interrupt this blog to announce the death of my Brother’s dog Rufus at the ripe old canine age of 14.

My brother lives just over the 5th street bridge in the 2nd floor of the house that my wife and I lived when we first got married (we were in a tiny 3rd floor attic apt that was smaller than my kitchen and den put together) it’s even a tougher neighborhood than mine but he would still take long walks with Rufus that would occasionally take him across the bridge and by the house.

There is something about dogs, they are a pal in good times and bad, When a dog dies it’s an odd feeling. Earl Hammer and Rod Sterling said it best…

Funny about that.