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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'M SUCH A TECHNO-ILLITERATE!

I can't believe I did this. If you've visited here in the past few days and noticed that nothing has been updated, here's why: We switched to a new format - TypePad - instead of the current, which is Blogger. The wonderful Suzanne, Herald blog godmother, walked me through posting to the new format, which I've been merrily doing since last Thursday.

But one small detail: I forgot to tell her I was ready to be switched over, though a click on the old-blog link still gets you here. ARRGGHH! She'll switch me over in a few hours and will set up a link back to the "old" blog so you can read past postings.

Y'know, I really shouldn't be allowed around power tools, kitchen appliances or computers. I'm just too dangerous. SORRY!

Here's the link to the new blog. You can also go to MiamiHerald.com and click on the "blogs" box. See ya there!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tragic Loss of a Loyal Friend

This is so sad: Jesse, a 13-year-old Labrador retriever/German shepherd mix, who'd been the service dog and best friend of a Wisconsin amputee, died in the house fire from which she saved her mistress. But Jesse went back to the house to try to save one of Jamie Hanson's cats. They both died of smoke inhalation. Needless to say, Hanson is griefstricken.

Click here to read the story from the Sheboygan Press.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fort Lauderdale Woman Crusades to Save an Abused Dog Thousands of Miles Away

This story makes me absolutely want to retch. The Tacoma News Tribune reported the arrest of a true degenerate under Washington's new cruelty law criminalizing beastiality (it took them THIS long?)

Pierce County prosecutors say that the wife of Micahel Patrick McPhail, 26, snapped pictures on her camera phone of her charming husband having sexual intercourse with Sara, their pit bull ON THE FRONT PORCH! He could get a year in jail if convicted, but guess who's going to get the death penalty? You got it: Sara.

There's a national uprising against this, and one of the key players is Laura Enneian of Fort Lauderdale, a 28-year-old Nova Southeastern University program manager. She's the mom of four dogs: two Pekes, a poodle/shih tzu mix, and a male dog of indeterminate lineage.

Since reading the story Saturday on Yahoo News, she has been furiously e-mailing anyone who'll listen about the doomed Sara, who's been deemed "aggressive'' by animal control officials (uh, can you BLAME her?)

Laura was so shocked by this that she overnight became an animal activist. I just talked to her and she said the following:

"I had to do something about it. I contacted everyone - the Pierce Co. Humane Society, animal control, Pasado's Safe Haven," a Tacoma rescue group. "I did an interview with the Seattle Times. I've been getting calls from every state. My
e-mails have been forwarded and forwarded, and it's amazing what animal people can do."

Sara will be kept as evidence at least through the trial, which is scheduled for Dec. 11. Until then, she'll be in solitary confinement. Scooter, another dog at the house, also went to the county shelter and will be placed for adoption.

The Sara case has changed Laura's life.

"I really hate to say this," she told me, "but I've been very ignorant about what's going on with animals...What hit me so hard was that this dog was punished already and would be punished a second time for something she didn't do wrong. It's hard to hear and think about, but I told myself to get past it and do something. I totally believe that's what I'm here for, for Sara and the rest of them."

Laura urges everyone to visit the Pasado's Safe Haven site to see how you can get involved (the Dog Whisperer already is).

"They are trying to do everything they can, offering to take both dogs," Laura said. "Putting her in an isolated cage is not what she needs right now. She needs love and help. They're offering to pay a bond that would protect the public so they can take her and the male dog out. This is the group that's responsible for passing the law that makes this illegal."

She also said that the judge on the case "is an animal-rescue person," which is a hopeful sign.

Major kudos to Laura for spreading the word about this nasty situation.

Click here to read the original story in the Tacoma paper. There's also a follow-up.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lab Takes an Arrow in the Chest

Vets are fighting to save the life of a Michigan Labrador named Buck, barely out of puppyhood, who had an arrow shot through his chest. Another of the distraught family's dogs is missing. What a nightmare, especially given the circumstances under which Buck came into their lives.

Click here to read the story.

And Someplace to Wear Them...

Trick or Treat at the Humane Society of Greater Miami-Adopt a Pet, a Halloween party for our furry friends.

When: October 29th, Sunday, 1pm-4pm
Where: Soffer and Fine Adoption Center, 16101 W Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach.
Phone: 305-749-1820
Website: humanesocietymiami.org

Critter Costumes

Just in case you're stumped for a Halloween dog costume, JAKKS Doggie Disguises sent these, with the assurance that "any pup is sure to win a costume contest dressed up in JAKKS licensed and non-licensed Halloween gear." Available at all Target stores.







Monday, October 23, 2006

Greetings from (chilly/windy) NYC

Y'know, when you live in SoFla and it's 90 degrees in mid-October, you tend to forget that it isn't 90 degrees everywhere else. I'd settle for 70. Brrrr. It's breezy here. I've even seen some teeny-tiny dogs in fashionable fall knitwear.

From the NY Times a couple days ago: this story by my one-time Miami Herald colleague Cara Buckley, about training dogs to sniff out the weapons of terrorism. Click here.

And here's a really wild one about a dog trainer whose pet parrot squawked and pretty much gave away the plot of an attempted murder. Turns out the intended victim has the loyalty of Lassie, however, so there's a surprised result. Click here to read the story.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Dogs of Ground Zero

I saw them that day: hard-working heros who stopped at nothing to help with the search-and-rescue effort, and all too soon, the recovery of the dead.

The dogs who worked the huge, smouldering debris pile suffered burns, cut paws, exhaustion and dehyration, but according to a new study, not the respiratory ills that afflicted many human search-and-rescuers. A lot of dog handlers dispute the findings.

Click here to read the story.

Animal-Care Job Openings

Miami-Dade Animal Services has several openings for kennel staff. This is direct care: feeding the cats and dogs and cleaning the cages. It's not glamorous work, but it provides crucial contact between humans and animals.

The paycheck is $11.17 per hour (plus benefits, even for part-timers). The payoff is knowing you provided badly-needed attention - a pat, a scratch, a kiss - to a lonely and confused critter desperate for a home.

For more information go to miamidade.gov/jobs and scroll down to Animal Services. The position title is Animal Care Specialist and requires six months' experience. Input "part time," which is 35 hours, but there also are fulltime positions available.

Looking for Unconditional Love? Try the Litter Box

If you're an American female of a certain age - that would be "middle" - you might recall an early '80s joke book called Cucumbers are Better Than Men Beacuse....This was considered fairly risque at the time, and was a hot item at bachelorette parties and the like. Not much imagination is required to list the reasons why a cucumber might be preferable to an actual male human being.

So now comes the feline-lovers' version: 101 Reasons to Dump Your Man and Get a Cat: So you man's just NOT that into you? Your cat is! (William Morrow, $14.95). The subtitle, of course, goofs on the relationship best-seller, He's Just Not That Into You.

The author is Molly Katz ("yeah, really!" as the title page says), who was inspired by Buddy, "a beautiful tuxedo with a delicious soft coat and an irresistible baritone purr."

Among her reasons:

"Cats hunt alone, not out with the guys."
"When a cat thinks he's doing something charming, he is."
"There's only so much pillow a cat can hog."
And my personal favorite: "Your cat won't admit he;s wrong either, but at least he doesn't keep you up all night trying to prove he's right."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

PETA Goes Head to Head With Primarily Primates

There's a nasty situation in Texas concerning what is supposed to be an animal sanctuary but, according to PETA and a court-appointed caregiver, sounds more like a torture chamber for 800 critters, including retired research chimps.

PETA sued after observing horrendous conditions - filth, isolation, lack of shelter - at Primarily Primates in San Antonio. On its website, PETA calls the facility's director a drunk, and claims he's been misusing donated funds in addition to neglecting the animals.

He, of course, denies everything.

Click here
to read an AP story about it, then click here to go to the PETA site.

Sad Story About the Lost Love of a Homeless Man's Life

Her name was Precious, perfect for a dog who was a man named Joe's greatest treasure. Homeless in our nation's capital - a street preacher who has travelled the country pushing prayer as a cure for violence - Joe hung out with Precious in and around Dupont Circle.

On Sept. 11, Precious was shot and killed by a park police officer, devastating Joe and enraging many animal lovers.

Click here to read the story in the Washington Post.