Saturday, June 30, 2012
About a month ago, I was checking Facebook when I ran across a picture of a dog in need. As always, someone had simply shared a dog’s photo on my wall. Each day, I see hundreds if not thousands of images of desperate animals. Each of those photos is urgent. Each of those photos hurts my heart. Each of those photos affects my soul. Even still, as I scrolled past this particular photo, I stopped and my heart stopped, too.
The photo itself was disturbing, infuriating and heartbreaking. The photo was accompanied with a wall comment which said: “Ashley: I think I read that you know of an animal rescue group who is willing to help terminally-ill dogs before they go to Heaven. This is Max. His medical condition has taken a turn for the worse, and he doesn’t have much time left on Earth.”
Before I’d even clicked on the photo, to get more information on this dog, I responded to her comment and said, “I have good news. I am that rescue.” As I clicked on the picture, I realized that Max was posted by a dear friend of mine, Rebecca Helwig, of Dogs Deserve Better in Nashville. Then I read Rebecca’s account of his rescue. It said:
Meet Max. He has been chained for at least 1 year. When someone in his neighborhood reached out to us for help, a volunteer and I went to the home to check on Max. The neighbors were extremely worried about the dog… for good reason. From the photos, you can obviously see the insane abuse and neglect that this dog has been forced to endure.
When we arrived, the neighbor and my volunteer walked into the backyard, to check on Max. Meanwhile, I remained in my car taking photos of Max from the street, with a zoom-lens camera (Due to trespassing laws, when obtaining photographic evidence of animal cruelty, one must remain outside of property lines in order for photos to be admissible in court.) Shortly thereafter, a vehicle screeched into the driveway. The homeowners jumped out of the car, and ran toward the backyard, yelling: “What the f*** are you doing?” The volunteer said: “We’re just checking on your dog, man.”
That’s when the homeowner pulled out a gun, pointed it at them and yelled: ” Don’t move!”
Well, as soon as they saw the gun, the neighbor and the volunteer started running. Then the homeowner starting shooting. That’s when I heard the gun shots. I looked up, as the neighbor and volunteer were running toward me. Then, I saw the gunman running toward us as well, still shooting. When the others ran inside the neighbor’s house to safety, I started the car and got the heck out of there, too. Even still, I wasn’t giving up on Max. I couldn’t just leave him there on that chain with those awful, violent people, who were willing to let him starve to death. So, long story short, I made some calls, pulled some strings, and got Max to safety.
However, even after he’d been saved, we’d soon find out that Max was deathly ill, due to the years of neglect he’d suffered. According to the vet, Max was knocking on death’s door as he was less than 2 weeks away from literally starving to death. In addition, he was suffering from massive internal and external parasite infestation, and multiple other ailments. But, the most critical, life-threatening condition Max faced: severely-advanced heartworm disease.
As I finished one of the most heartbreaking posts I’ve ever read, I was in tears. Immediately, I sent Rebecca a text to let her know I would help. She put me in touch with a woman named Carola who had been temporarily fostering Max while a home was sought. Carola shared an incredibly touching story with me about how Max changed her perception of Pit Bulls and her life:
“Ashley, please understand,” Carola told me. “I come from Germany. Growing up, in my country, all Pit Bulls were banned. So, I was raised believing that all Pit Bulls were ‘bad.’ When I came to America and began to foster rescue dogs here I had one rule: ‘No Pit Bulls.’ Even still, Max had nowhere else to go. Because he’d been so badly abused, I decided to take him. But he was a Pit Bull, so, my defenses were way-up.”
“At first I was afraid of him,” she continued, “not because he ever threatened to hurt me but simply because of what I’d been told about his ‘breed.’ But then Max was so loving — and I wanted to love him, too, but honestly, I was afraid to love him.
One day, I heard Max choking on a toy. Out of instinct I reached my hand into his mouth, and pulled the toy out of his throat. And, Ashley, do you know what this Pit Bull did after I had my hand in his mouth, reaching down his throat? He licked my hand, as if to say: ‘Thank you for saving me.’ It changed my life. I was so ignorant. So misinformed. So judgmental toward these dogs. Yet Max, even after all he’s been through, is honestly the sweetest dog I’ve ever known.”
In that moment, I didn’t have words. I felt so comforted. So validated. So elated. Everything I’ve ever said about these dogs, everything I’ve ever asked someone to believe, everything I’ve ever preached about this breed was being communicated through the words of another human being who experienced it for herself. And because of that experience with Max, Carola became a believer. Then, Carola said: “I feel so good about this. I want you to take Max.” I responded: “I know how much you love him, so how about this? Max will live with me but we’ll share him.” In tears, Carola agreed.
Soon, Max’s transport was arranged. And yesterday, Max arrived. Now he’s here with me forever. At first, upon arrival, he was a little unsure, a little confused. But then at some point Max let go of his anxiety. In a moment I’ll never forget, Max walked over, kissed me on the cheek, snuggled close to my side and fell asleep. Just like that, Max and Ash were family. Just like that, Max was home.
article Written by Ashley Owen Hill of Mississippi, Author of the Lucky Dog Rescue Blog
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Culling does not effectively control the contagious cancer threatening the Tasmanian devil, researchers of a new study suggests. In fact, cases exists where culling wild animals has made the problem worse.
But despite the study, presently wild Tasmanain devils are being rounded up and those infected are being culled, those not infected are being put in isolation. Devils from a healthy stock will be used to re-populate the area.
Biologists find that 20% of the population is never captured and could be acting as a reservoir for the disease.
Researchers have trapped and euthanised sick animals two to five times a year from an isolated population in the south-east of Tasmania in the past. Each year, the project costs more than $200,000 (£122,000) on programs that do not work. Critics say this money could otherwise be spent on captive breeding programmes and vaccine research.
First seen in 1996, in some areas 90% of the population has been wiped out by highly unusual cancer, - Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) - which is spread by biting during aggressive mating encounters. The disease forms tumours around the mouth interfering with feeding, leading to death.
With 90% of the population gone and the Tasmanian devil so close to extinction, a cull would be a mistake since a cure and/ or a vaccine in a very real possibility.
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7700
Fax: (02) 6273 4100
This film is not really suitable for young children, but for everyone else who appreciates a superbly-created and acted fairy story made "real", this movie is definitely worth catching at the cinema. It had an almost "Lord of the Rings quality" and conveyed a surprising depth and insight into the strength, trials, and complexity of the feminine being. A multi-layered film that was ultimately, a very satisfying cinematic experience.
Friday, June 15, 2012
No animal or person should be judged on the way they look. Please help to change the Belfast Council's mind before they kill Lennox! (video)
Dandenong Council (Aust) wants to take beloved pet and family member off family! Please sign petition...
Last year the Dandenong City council fined local resident Vu Ho for having a sheep, Baa, on his suburban property. Council told Mr Ho he could not continue providing a home to Baa as she was considered livestock, and ordered her removed from her home.
Mr Ho regards Baa as “a member of my family” who has lived with him peacefully for eleven years, and said “I have to help her until the end of all of my capacity”. He has so far racked up over $150,000 in legal fees trying to fight the council’s bullying tactics.
If a local council ordered a ratepayer to remove a family dog or cat from their home we would be outraged, and we should be no less outraged in this instance. Baa is a beloved family member who by all accounts is also a loved member of the street – she used to spend her days peacefully eating grass and the treats provided to her by Mr Ho. Sheep and other so called ‘livestock’ have rich emotional lives and feel sadness, love, fear and other emotions just as do dogs and cats.
Psychic dogs, arty elephants, genius chimps and talkative dolphins steal the spotlight in Extraordinary Animals. This jaw-dropping series investigates animals with remarkable and unique abilities. From Hong, a female elephant in Northern Thailand with a special talent for painting; to Scamp, a dog with the uncanny ability to know when a patient is going to die, this fascinating program showcases animal talents that are out of this world! (Excerpt from animalplanet.ca) 14 episodes of this remarkable animal series."The Grim Reaper Dog"
Monday, June 11, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Others are dropped off at farms. Boris, Violet and Jelly Belly came into my life for just that reason. They started life as tiny, adorable, pot bellied pigs. When they grew out of their cuteness, their owner dumped them. They became part of our farm family. Jelly Belly loved to go walk about and would drag her low-slung pot under fences so she could go exploring. Violet had a snore that could keep a household awake. Boris was an equal-opportunity boar. Although snipped, he was promiscuous and had no preference for species or gender. If it stood still, he went into action. The three pig pals had a quarter section (164 acres) for roaming and sheep to snuggle with when the temperature dropped. They thrived and kept us laughing. On the whole, although I found pigs the most intelligent and fascinating of all our farm animals.
(If you think this pig is gorgeous, consider the other pigs that have not been lucky enough to end up in a loving home. Consider your diet and lifestyle, and what impact that has on piggie welfare.)Hamlet is now two years old. Another cute clip showing Hamlet enjoying "tummy rub time"! Story care of Cathy Wellner
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
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