On the last day of 2010, For the Love of the Dog Blog wishes everyone out there the very best.   It’s been a joyous year and a tough year for many of you out there.  Dogs included. 

There are thousands of dogs out there that have made a difference in the life of a human.  Thousands that protect and serve.  Thousands that have suffered abuse, torture, and neglect.  Thousands that have said goodbye.  

To close out this year, I’ve picked a few Notable Dogs of 2010.  Just a few.  It was hard to pick from the thousands.

 Heroes

Buddy

The German Shepherd dog that led authorities to a fire at his owners’ property in April 2010.  Buddy’s owner, Ben Heinrichs, was working on a vehicle in his workshop outside the family home in Caswell Lakes, Alaska when a spark from a heater ignited gasoline. Ben Heinrichs suffered flash burns to his face and second-degree burns to his left hand, and the fire became fully-involved in the workshop. Heinrichs set his dog loose with the intention to have the dog get help. 

A state trooper dispatched to the scene had difficulty finding the address because the squad car’s GPS device wasn’t working. The trooper then sighted Buddy on the road one mile away from the Heinrichs home and decided to follow the running dog on a hunch Buddy was on a “mission”.  The chase was captured on the trooper’s dashcam.  

View the dashcam video.

Buddy was officially honored by the community police department in recognition of his bravery and intelligence. Buddy received a silver-plated dog bowl inscribed with a trooper badge, a giant rawhide bone, and a letter describing Buddy’s heroic actions.

Selena

During this past summer, Rebecca Northern took a dive into her pool to cool off after a hard day of chores.  She miscalculated the pool depth, struck her head on the concrete bottom and broke her neck .   Partially paralyzed and in pain, Rebecca probably saw her life flash before her eyes.  But the real “flash” was the quick action of her little Jack Russell terrier, Selena.

From the edge of the pool, Selena wedged herself under Rebecca’s armpit and kept her moving to the steps in the shallow end.  The little dog barked, and growled and refused to give up until Rebecca was safe. 

Rebecca had fractured her seventh vertebra.  She was flown by helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she had surgery to replace the shattered bone.

No doubt Selena has been enjoying these past months with extra treats, intense spoiling, and most likely – squeaky toys!

Angel

If 11-year-old Austin Forman has an “angel”, it comes in the form of a Golden Retreiver.  In early January 2010, Austin was collecting firewood outside his family’s home in the Fraser Valley, B.C.  When Austin reached the back door of his home, his pet dog, Angel, started to bark furiously.  As Austin turned to check it out he was met with a nightmare.  He saw Angel intercept a charging cougar.

The animals fought viciously under a porch until the RCMP arrived.  They arrived just when it looked like Angel was losing the fight – the cougar was gnawing at Angel’s bleeding neck.  The cougar was shot dead and Angel was badly injured.  In fact, everyone thought her dead.  Angel required surgery and stitches to repair puncture wounds and a skull fracture. Angel recovered from her wounds and has been receiving big, fat, juicy steaks, and Austin was told never to dawdle around his chores again.  Am quite sure Austin didn’t argue.

K-9 Nike

Winner of the 2010 AKC Humane Fund Award, Nike, an  11-year old German Shepherd Dog, spent almost a lifetime serving the citizens of New Castle County, Delaware, along with his partner, Senior Corporal Mark Tobin.  And it was quite the decade of service.  Nike and his handler was responsible for the seizure of 1.6 million dollars worth of drugs and 161 apprehensions ranging from murder to burglary. Including the discovery of a knife that had been used to commit a homicide and led to the authorities charging the suspect with murder.

With expert tracking ability, he found a 12-year old who had overdosed just in time to save her life – in a driving rainstorm, a six-year old autistic boy who had disappeared in 97 degree heat, and an Alzheimer’s patient who had wandered away from home wearing only a nightgown on a frigid, windy night.  The team also spotted a two-year old child walking alone on a busy street. Nike was able to track back to the child’s father, who was later arrested.

Nike is now retired living with Officer Tobin.  But he still rushes to the door when Tobin leaves for work expecting to be included in a busy day as a police officer.  I guess there is no taking the “police officer” out of this dog.

Survivors

Sarge

He was shot six times at close range by his shithead owner and a friend.  Five bullets entered his head and neck and a sixth bullet struck his chest. And he almost didn’t survive his stint at the Lucas County Dog Pound in Ohio.  Displaying unpredictable aggression, Sarge nearly walked the Green Mile.  

There was a huge outcry from the public when this got out.  It was no surprise Sarge was aggressive based on how he was treated by his former owner.  The public pressure pushed to have Sarge evaluated by experts to determine the degree of his aggression and whether or not he could be rehabilitated. 

When he was transferred to Toledo Area Humane Society, a talented trainer was able to establish a relationship with Sarge and somewhat diminish Sarge’s fear-based aggression.  This bought Sarge some time and it was decided he would best live his life at a Sanctuary.  Fortunately, Best Friends had room.  Sarge is now living at Best Friends Sanctuary and has been renamed “Paladin”.   His caregivers at Best Friends will give him all the love and support for as long as he needs it. Paladin has already found a few things he likes. He loves his big red ball and he really enjoys food puzzles. And he is starting to enjoy human interaction.

Tyson

Tyson was taken from his home by another shithead and his girlfriend and shot.  Wounded, Tyson stumbled home and collapsed in his owner’s front yard.  The entire thing was captured on surveillance video which lead to the arrest of “dumb and dumber”.

Tyson took a .45-caliber bullet to his left eye and one to his chest where it lodged in his front leg.  The bullet was removed from his leg but the bullet that damaged his eye remains in his head close to the brain.  The eye damage was too severe so the left eye was removed. He also has been suffering chronic nasal problems due to the bullet in his head which cracked his nasal.  Tyson will have permanent damage in his nasal passages and will have drainage.

It hasn’t stopped this loveable dog from life.  He continues to play and love all around him.  His story will also lend support in the efforts to raise the criminal penalty for animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony in Ohio.

 

Chamberlin 

Chamberlin was a dog near death.  His owners abandoned their home and left Chamberlin tied to a tree.  No one knew he was there, until someone discovered him when the overgrown lawn was being mowed.   He was nothing but skin and bones, the nails on his paws were so long that they curled and had grown back into his pads.  There was no water, no food, no shelter for two months.  But he was still alive.  Barely.  Less than barely.  In fact, the reason he survived and was discovered is probably due to Divine Intervention.  No other explanation is possible.

Chamberlin is still in the care of the Guilford County Animal Shelter, Greensboro, NC.  He is gaining weight and developing muscle mass in his rear legs.  But his front legs are still weak and distorted from the months of neglect.  Chamberlin undergoes daily physical therapy, including muscle stimulation and stretching exercises. X-rays have been taken to determine what type of surgery he will need to repair his legs.  He is a charming, happy, loving dog now, and has an incredible will to survive. 

His owners were found, arrested and charged with 2 counts of felony animal cruelty. 

Courage

Rescued from a garage where he was locked in a crate and starved, this 3-year-old German shepherd weighed half his normal body weight, 37 pounds, and had eaten dirt and rocks to survive. He was taken to an emergency clinic in Garden Grove, CA where the attending veterinarian said his bowels were impacted with dirt, which had debilitated him to near death.

Believe it or not, the owner of this dog was a veterinary assistant.

He was treated with blood transfusions, IV fluids, and a high-calorie diet.  Courage is now at a healthy 85 pounds and is probably the most beautiful German Shepherd dog on the face of the earth.

The German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County, who saved Courage, have put together a 2011 fundraising calendar, Courage, A Happy Ending.  He even has a Facebook.

His crappy veterinary assistant former owner is soon going to trial.

Departed

Target

A dog that fought off a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, saving the lives of several US soldiers, was euthanized by mistake by animal shelter staff in Arizona just this past November.

Target, was a stray in Afghanistan who befriended soldiers and was hailed as a hero after she chased away a suicide bomber who tried to blow up a military base last February. The suicide bomber had sneaked onto the base and was headed toward a barracks that housed nearly 50 soldiers when Target and two other dogs attacked him.  The bomber eventually detonated himself, killing one of the dogs and severely injuring Target and the other dog.  Both dogs were eventually adopted by the soldiers and brought back to the US with the assistance of Puppy Rescue Mission.

Living with Sgt. Terry Young, Target escaped from their yard during a weekend in November and was brought to the Pinal County Animal Shelter.  She had no license, collar tag, or microchip but her picture was posted on the shelter’s website.  However, a shelter worker euthanized Target by mistake early the following Monday, hours before the Young family arrived at the shelter to claim her.  After an investigation into the mistake, it was found the shelter worker ignored proper euthanization procedures and was promptly fired 

The No Kill Advocacy Center is using Target’s death to further the campaign to end the euthanizing of millions of cats and dogs at shelters every year.

Puppy Rescue Mission, the organization that raised the several thousand dollars to bring Target to the United States, has expanded its mission to encourage pet owners to get their animals microchipped so they can be easily traced.

Daddy

Cesar Milan’s pit bull and constant companion died peacefully in February at the age of 16.

Daddy was once owned by rapper Redmond.  He gave Daddy to Cesar Milan when Daddy was 4 months old because he thought he could not care for the dog properly.  Daddy had a remarkable tolerance for all dogs of all sizes and temperaments.  Daddy never reacted to aggressive dogs and that non-reactive temperament was contagious.  Nervous, aggressive dogs always calmed down in Daddy’s presence.  Daddy became the perfect assistant in rehabilitating dogs with aggression issues.

Not only did Daddy have influence on dogs, he could also influence humans.  He could read emotions like a book and always offered love to someone having the blues.  No matter how bad a day you were having, if Daddy showed up, he left a happy human because he made you play with him and give him belly rubs.  Daddy could really make you forget what was eating at you. 

Ceasar Milan’s website message on the day Daddy died:

“He lived each day of those sixteen years happy and fulfilled as Cesar’s right-hand-‘man,’ helping to shape the behavior of entire generations of dogs by showing them the way to balance,” reads the post. “He stood as champion for calm-submissive pit bulls everywhere, and was instrumental in helping to repair their image as violent, savage, uncontrollable beasts. He successfully battled cancer and weathered chemotherapy, and even got the opportunity to present at the 56th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards!”

Miss Ellie

Miss Ellie, a blind, Chinese Crested Hairless dog with the lolling tongue died in June at the age of 17.  Her “striking” appearance helped her win Animal Planet’s “World’s Ugliest Dog” contest in 2009. Miss Ellie only had a couple of back teeth, cataracts in both her eyes, and practically no hair. She was kept in a kennel for most of her life and when her original owner saw no purpose for her, she was given up. When she was rescued, she knew no commands and was not housebroken.

She began a new life appearing in shows at the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and was featured on the Animal Planet cable show Dogs 101. She also appeared on billboards and in commercials. She became the “spokesdog”  for homeless, unwanted dogs spreading the message that “there are plenty of wonderful rescue dogs out there just waiting for a chance.”

She also helped raised more than $100,000 for animal charities, including the Humane Society.

Chance

He was found strung up with a steel cable hanging from a tree, poisoned by antifreeze, and being beaten by his owner. A nearby neighbor heard Chance’s cries and called 911. His owner was arrested, tried, and sentenced for felony animal cruelty.

He spent time recovering with Wishbone Pet Rescue before being adopted by a loving family. During the 20 months with his new family, he was a delight and the happiest dog alive. He loved playing with a ball, splashing in the pool, sleeping with two pillows next to his family, and other doggie delights such as…squeaky toys!  He lived the perfect dog’s life.

But the abuse Chance was subject to in the hands of his former owner left him with kidney disease that would follow him through the rest of his days.  He left this earth in August when he went into renal failure. Chance is chronicled here at Wishbone News. The last entry ends with Chance’s death.

They are heroes, survivors, and good friends. They will stick by your side today, tomorrow and every day after that. They will also remain by your side after they are gone. If any dog decides to speak tonight, they will have one thing to say.

No heart in all this earth will love you more than mine.

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