The first snow of the season is always a magical time when children catch snowflakes on their tongues and retired folks reconsider moving to Florida. Kids aren’t the only ones who appreciate that first snow, however. Multitudes of animals were born in the warm season, kicking their heels up in the sunshine, and never knowing that there’s a new and wilder fun yet to come. People who have raised puppies are quite familiar with this phenomenon, when pups, like kids, go crazy over every new thing. Which is pretty entertaining, considering that just about everything is new to them.
Donovan is an 11-month-old Great Dane puppy who is in training as a service dog. Service dogs lead disciplined lives of helping others which serves as an example to all of us. But it’s fun to see them get to kick back and take a break from their job once in a while, too. Donovan lives with Amanda Gonchar in New Jersey and is learning his job to provide dependable support for some person who is waiting for the dog that will offer them new opportunities. In the meantime, Donovan has somehow made it almost a year without seeing snow. Perhaps he’s spent part of his life elsewhere, or perhaps the weather was particularly mild for his first few months. Whatever the reason, he’s perfectly primed as a pet who has never seen snow. Amanda notices that it’s snowing, and she knows Donovan always needs exposure to new experiences as a service dog. Besides, it’ll be fun! I wonder if Amanda imagined Donovan had this much excitement pent up in him, just waiting for those first magical flakes to fall.
Amanda’s video shows how Donovan reacted to the experience. Did he cringe back inside the house, crawl under a blanket, and swear off the world (like I might)? No! He ran and leaped and slid around in the snow in an ecstasy of winter excitement. His long legs bounding about in the yard, Donovan simply wants to burn off this first-snow magic like it was an energy drink. Think about that the next time you have to scrape the ice off your windshield!
Donovan is a Great Dane pup, which means he makes a very big puppy. He’s also a Harlequin, an unusual coloration where the spots of a Dalmatian grow to fit a Great Dane’s body. He certainly fits in with the colors of the wintry season! Great Danes take at least two years to grow into their full adult form. Chihuahuas don’t have to deal with this, of course.
Donovan’s enthusiasm will serve him well for learning the many tasks that a service dog needs to know. Not only does he have to learn great discipline and unusual tasks, but his training will be specialized further to meet the situation of his new owner when the time comes. Let’s hope that wherever his new owner awaits him, they’ll have snow to enjoy together!
Amanda says that Donovan is a “goofball”. This is pretty typical of Great Dane puppies. We’re glad to have had the chance to see Donovan being a goofball with so much energy and-er-finesse. Check out the video whenever you need to feel energized.
Way to go, Donovan!
Handicapped Puppy Befriends Flightless Pigeon
In Rochester, NY, Sue Rogers runs a non-profit called the Mia Foundation. The rescue organization rescues and rehabilitates animals who have birth defects or deformities and tries to find them a loving home. About a year ago, a pigeon was found unable to move in the parking lot of a car dealership. The pigeon was huddled and cowering on the ground. When a local wildlife rescue was called, they said the bird had neurological damage that caused him not to be able to fly. They thought that euthanization would be the best option for him.
Sue was having none of that. She stepped in and took the bird, who she named Herman, under her wing, so to speak. She made space for him in her shelter and kept him close where she could keep an eye on him. He liked to sit on a furry dog pillow and watch her work.
A couple months ago, a tiny Chihuahua was brought to the Mia Foundation. He was an infant, maybe a few months old, when his South Carolina breeders sent him to Sue. He’s a teacup sized Chihuahua they named Little Lundy and he was born with spinal cord damage. Sue also determined that he was suffering from swimmers syndrome. Swimmers syndrome is a developmental deformity that causes the front and hind legs to be splayed out. This makes it almost impossible for Little Lundy to walk.
Although swimmers syndrome is thought to be untreatable, according to a few studies and an article in a veterinary journal, it can be treatable. With some physical therapy and at-home treatment, Little Lundy could live a long and happy life, which is exactly what Sue plans for him.
When Little Lundy arrived at the Mia Foundation he decided to get acquainted with his new surroundings and the other animals at the shelter. One particular encounter, created a friendship that has gone viral. Herman and Little Lundy, a puppy and a pigeon, are the unlikeliest of friends, but they have a lot in common. They both have trouble walking, or flying in Hermans case, and they were living in the same place. You could say, they were in the right place at the right time to become instant friends.
In the six weeks they have been together, Herman and Little Lundy have become inseparable. They do everything together, which is a lot of sleeping and snuggling. Mostly, with Herman sitting on top of Little Lundy, which doesn’t bother him in the slightest. This friendship was so out of the ordinary that Sue had to document it. The viral sensation of the puppy and pigeon has brought attention to the Mia Foundation that was much needed. The rescue organization runs solely on donations to help cover the costs of taking care of the animals and for needed surgeries. So far, about $6000 was donated because of this unlikely friendship and over 100 adoption inquiries. Hopefully when they are adopted, they are able to stay together.
Yorkie Goes Missing for 14 Years and is Found 250 Miles Away
Have you ever had a dog or cat for a pet? Or any pet, for that matter? You love them and they love you back, unconditionally. How would you feel if your beloved pet disappeared one day? You’d probably feel heartbroken and begin to search for them everywhere. Maybe you’ll put up flyers, post on social media or in the local newspaper, or call the local animal shelter to see if anyone had found them. What would you do if they had been gone for years? Would you give up hope?
This is what happened to the Webster family. About 14 years ago in Houston, Texas, Aaron Webster surprised his wife with a puppy for her birthdy. They named the 5 lb. Yorkshire Terrier, Rami, and they instantly fell in love with his personality. He was a rambunctious little Yorkie, and one day while going out for his routine bathroom break, he somehow got out of the fenced in yard. Their first thought, and worst fear, was that a hawk grabbed him. They were devastated, but still had hope that he somehow got out and was just wandering the neighborhood.
The Webster’s posted flyers and asked anyone they met if they saw little Rami. No one had. After a year of looking, they began to lose hope. They didn’t completely stop looking, but they began to think he was gone to them forever.
Fast forward to January of 2020, when a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, noticed a stray dog on the side of the road. He looked like he had been through a lot. His hair was matted, some of it was even missing. He also had no teeth, some open wounds on his face, and he was blind. The resident called animal control who picked him up and brought him to McKenzie Smith at Saving Hope Animal Rescue. This is when the story finds its happy ending. At Saving Hope Animal Rescue, they take dogs who have been neglected and try to find them loving homes. What they soon realized with their newest rescue, was that he had come from a loving home. While scanning his microchip, they were able to locate his owners, the Websters in Houston, almost 250 miles away.
When the three were reunited, it was one of the happiest moments of their lives. A dog they had thought gone to them forever, found them again. Rami, now 14 years old, is getting used to his new home. Aaron says that he is healthy and happy and getting used to his surroundings and new family, three human siblings and two furry ones. Rami was on his own for many years, and no one will know the adventures he had, but he is now going to live the rest of his days without worry and with his family who has loved him his whole life.
Man’s Best Friend, Except When It’s Time for the Weather
Working from home these days comes with a number of new challenges and risks that most never expected to deal with in their careers. But when the computer camera or conference video is placed in one’s private accommodations, all sorts of issues can pop up that folks normally don’t deal with in the office setting. Everything from what kind of photos, art or prints one has in the background to their furniture in a personal room to everything else the home is shared with becomes potentially exposed. And in the case of a particular weatherman trying to provide his meteorologist work online, man’s best friend can be a notable interruption.
Paul Dellegato regularly works as meteorologist for Fox 13 based in Florida. However, like many others, Paul had to figure out in short notice how to relocate his work and his broadcast to his home to maintain social distance and health safety. While the access to his work networks and computer setups wasn’t too hard, the readjustment to a home office and presentation place for his work took a bit of additional thinking. He had to pick a place in the house that would be free of distractions, walk-in surprises, problematic backgrounds, and not be invasive to his own home as well. What Paul didn’t count on was that his own extended family might end up being the real disruption to Paul’s broadcast.
In the clip provided, Paul is working as usual on his life TV broadcast and covering the weather for the day and the next few days’ expectation. As he’s going through the details and the changes in high and low pressures as well as the temperature predictions, someone doesn’t want to let the weatherman continue. Paul’s golden retriever, Brody, has decided to be a gate crasher and literally jump up in Paul’s face and personal space. No matter how much Paul tries, his dog just keeps being persistent for his master’s attention. Chances are the dog is probably hungry for dinner and is making a point about it. Doing so, however, Paul’s dog is not only making a presence on the screen, the canine is goofing up the weather graphics on the nearby computer, making a ton of noise, and showing how useless it is for Paul to try to and stop the chaos. The audience loves it and Brody, and Paul’s dog became the new digital mascot for Fox 13.
The weatherman’s crisis resonates with all of us. We’re all going through a big disruption, trying to reconstruct our professional work lives from home all over the country. So, to find a bit of humor in Paul’s online dilemma with Brody provides a cathartic effect, helping us all find some humor and a bit of lightness in watching. Once you watch the show clip, you’ll understand why Paul’s situation went viral so fast.
Things didn’t turn out bad for Paul. He earned big commendations for how patient he was able to stay under duress from Brody and the dog’s insistent interruptions of his weather show. And it was clear Paul loves his furry buddy. So, the feeling now is the heck with the weather maps. How Brody behaves on camera will indicate if tomorrow will be a good weather day or otherwise.
Xbox Tears Marriage Apart After Family Dog Runs Away
When welcoming a new member into your family, whether a dog or a child, both parents should discuss and agree upon how to teach their children. Families who aren’t on the same page are sure to endure much stress and many challenges. As a warning to others, a Facebook user recently shared the experience that tore her family apart.
While pregnant with their second child, their son begged for a puppy. With the advent of a child approaching, she was concerned about adding more to the household, but her husband reasoned that it would teach their son responsibility. After many fights, she relented and they adopted a puppy, Scrupples.
As a busy nurse and caring partner, she trusted her husband to take care of their son and dog while she was gone. However, she was accosted with the obvious difference in parenting styles one day.
Their son approached her husband after accidentally leaving the back door open, allowing Scrupples to run out of the house. Without taking his eyes off the Xbox he was playing, he told their son to look for Scrupples himself.
After five days of no luck finding Scrupples, the mother found her son weeping on the couch. He told her what happened to Scrupples and how his dad wouldn’t help find the dog.
Recalling the many fights over not wanting to get a puppy, she stormed into the basement. He brushed off the situation, not concerned for either his son or the dog as he continued to play his Xbox. In a fit of rage from his abrasive and heartless response, she pulled the Xbox out of the wall and threw it into the TV screen.
Walking out of the basement, she took their son outside to look for Scrupples. They posted signs up around town and knocked on doors to see if any of their neighbors had seen their dog.
After a few days of searching, they came back home empty handed. The woman’s husband wasn’t home, his car gone in the driveway and his suitcase missing from their closet. There was no note and no indication as to where he had gone.
Then, the phone rang. A woman talked to the mother and told her she had found Scrupples a few days ago, digging up the dirt in her garden, and had been taking care of the dog since. She thanked the woman repeatedly and rushed over to get the dog a few neighborhoods away.
A few weeks later the woman shared an update on Facebook.
The father had not returned and she had not heard from him since he left. She had been struggling through her days, calling on family and friends to help take care of her family while she worked. However, with one hand holding her son and the other petting Scrupples, she knew she had all she needed right there and that she would make it through.
Parenting is hard enough. When two people aren’t in agreement as how to share care and take care of a child or pet, life can get a whole lot tougher, but things always have a way of working themselves out.
Jordan’s Black Cat Story
Black cats are evil! Do not let one cross your path!
Fortunately, 22-year-old Jordan ignores this silly and superstitious advice. Jordan, whose last name we’re withholding, has autism. As a result, she’s not very verbal…most of the time. But that’s where her black cats come into the story.
Jordan’s experience with black cats started with Gracie, a feline friend Jordan had when she was younger. While at Mychal’s Learning Place, a non-profit organization that supports those with learning disabilities, Jordan would draw pictures of black cats and call them Gracie.
That inspired the organization’s Culver City, California chapter to put Jordan in touch with the local Adopt and Shop.
Adopt and Shop is a pet rescue and adoption center, as well as a retail store for pet food and supplies. Jordan became a volunteer at Adopt and Shop, spending much of her time with cats－especially the black ones.
The Ideal Pet
Cats can be the ideal pet for many individuals with autism. Dogs tend to be loud and excitable, barking suddenly and moving noisily. That much volume can be a sensory overload to many on the spectrum. Cats, on the other hand, move quietly and are usually calmer than dogs. And a meow isn’t nearly as disruptive as loud barking or yapping.
Cats and other pets can play a major role in calming and comforting those with autism, helping them open up more emotionally and socially.
That’s been Jordan’s experience. Those working with her at Mychal’s Learning Place say that the young woman rarely talked except to possibly repeat the last thing she heard someone else say. But while working with the cats at Adopt and Shop, they say that she’s much more verbal. The animals seem to bring out Jordan’s communications skills.
Jordan loves all of the cats at Adopt and Shop. She cuddles with them, stroking their fur and talking with them for hours just as she would communicate with another person. But she can’t hide her special affection for black cats.
The Black Cat Curse
When people like Jordan go out of their way to show kindness to black cats, it helps offset the superstitions that negatively impact these animals even to this day. The fear and dislike of black cats might go back to the Middle Ages in Europe. Legends arose that these cats were actually witches in disguise. This belief even associated witches with black cats as recently as the Salem Witch Trials in America in the late 17th century.
The color is also associated with death. Think of the Grim Reaper. In that regard, black cats were considered to be as unsettling as crows and ravens of the same shade. In time, many saw the animals as being bad luck charms. (Interestingly, Japanese lore said that ownership of a black cat could bring a young woman a mate, and British sailors of old considered black cats to bring good luck.)
While most people today don’t take the black cat curse seriously, they tend to show up, unwanted, more frequently at some animal shelters. Some rescues are hesitant to release the animals for adoption around Halloween because of stories, whether true or not, of people who want to sacrifice black cats on this “demonic” holiday.
The Culver City Adopt and Shop also sees its share of black cats rescued as strays or put up for adoption. That’s why they so appreciate the volunteer involvement of someone who goes out of their way to offer love and comfort to this misunderstood segment of the feline population.
So kudos to Jordan for her compassion and love for all cats－but the blacker the better.
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