Florida Dog eats turtle! Dog gets saved! Let's hope dog learns lesson....
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Ellie Brecher is a general assignment reporter for The Miami Herald. Email her at email@example.com.
Pet lady: That's my role in the Miami Herald newsroom. I've been here since 1989, during which time I've had 11 dogs, a ring-necked parakeet, a chicken, and a lizard named Lance. At the moment, I have four dogs, one step-dog, and two cockatiels. A native New Yorker, I came here from Louisville, Ky. I'm a graduate of the University of Arizona, and had a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 1988. I have written 309 stories containing the word "dog" in the past 20 years.
"We're soaking wet and freezing," said one of two rescued women as she walked from a tracked snow vehicle to an ambulance. Authorities have not released their names, and it was unclear where the ambulance was taking them.
Rescuers using an electronic locating device found the three climbers and their black Labrador, Velvet, in the White River Canyon on Monday morning, where they had holed up overnight at about 7,400 feet, officials said.
The crew then hiked down the 11,239-foot mountain, Oregon's highest, with the climbers. Lower down, they climbed aboard the vehicle.
"The dog probably saved their lives" by lying across them during the cold night, said Erik Brom, a member of the Portland Mountain Rescue team. He described the wind in the canyon as "hellacious."
Rescuers had talked to the climbers by cell phone and tracked their mountain locator unit before reaching them at 10:47 a.m. PST.
"The most important part of this rescue is that they did everything right," Lt. Nick Watt of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said in a news conference.
The climbers spent the night huddled in two sleeping bags and a tarp in the canyon. Rescue teams battled winds up to 70 mph and blowing snow trying to locate the three climbers. The teams made it close to the climbers overnight but decided to wait until daylight Monday because they could not see anything, said Russell Gubele, coordinating communications for the rescue operation.
The three climbers were members of an eight-person party that set out on Saturday, camped on the mountain that night, and had started back down on Sunday when they ran into bad weather, officials said. As they were descending, the three slipped off a ledge at about 8,300 feet. Someone in the party used a cell phone to place an emergency call to authorities.
"My understanding is that they are experienced rock climbers, but not necessarily experienced in mountain climbing," Gubele said.
The five other members of the their climbing party were rescued Sunday and taken down to Timberline Lodge, a ski resort at the 6,000-foot level of Mount Hood, and all are reported in good condition, the sheriff's office said in an e-mail. Watt said the trio's use of a locating device may have saved them from a worse fate.
"That's why it is a rescue, not a recovery," Watt said, alluding to three climbers who went missing on Mount Hood in December.
Then, search teams scoured Mount Hood for days in the hopes of finding a group of missing climbers alive. The bodies of Brian Hall, of Dallas, and Jerry "Nikko" Cooke, of New York, have not been found. Another climber in their group, Kelly James, of Dallas, died of hypothermia.
Click here for a story in yesterday's Miami Herald about the latest in home decor for your pet. Key quote:
''I'm surprised when you go into beautiful million-dollar homes and walk into the mudroom where the dog stuff sits -- and there are plastic bowls.There's a huge emphasis on the home and everything that goes in it today. Pet stuff needs to be beautiful too.''
Well, not living in a million-dollar home myself, it's never been a big concern (of mine or the dogs') that their stainless steel bowls are just plain old stainless steel bowls, but a lot of folks do like things to be Martha-worthy, so enjoy.
The main shelter in Las Vegas had to euthanize 1,000 animals because the place was riddled with disease. It speaks directly to the heartbreaking choices that shelter directors everywhere must make to keep their populations safe. Click here to read the New York Times story. And weep.
One of South Florida's most beloved rescuers died recently: Allen Babcock, who succumbed to cancer.
"Allen is responsible for saving the lives of several hundred dogs and cats and this is a great loss to the rescue community. We will continue to maintain the rescue group and carry on Al's legacy,'' says the group's website.
Donations in his memory should be sent to Allen Babcock Dog & Cat Rescue, 9715 W. Broward Blvd., #173, Plantation, FL 33324.
Allen always took the hardest of the hard cases: sick and injured animals that otherwise would have died. One look at the week's featured pet on the website and you'll know exactly what I mean.
I posted this the other day without the picture. These beautiful dogs are 4-year-old brothers whose owner has terminal cancer. He's determined to place them together. They're current on the shots, they're housebroken, well-behaved, neutered and kid-friendly. Anyone interested should call the Peggy Adams shelter at 561.686.3663.
It's going to get cold, and the critters at Miami-Dade Animal Services need fluffy towels and sweaters, so bring 'em down to the shelter if you can: 74th St./74th Ave., in Medley. They've already got plenty of blankets and would rather not get more ('cause they're too big for the washers).
There's another volunteer orientation coming up at the shelter:
Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 3 at 10 a.m.
Thursday, Mar. 8th at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 17th at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, Mar. 21st at 6:00 p.m.
To attend an upcoming volunteer orientation session, please R.S.V.P. by calling 305-805-1778 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the wonderful writer Jon Katz, in Slate:
Why People Love Dogs
It's more complicated than you think.
By Jon Katz
Updated Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, at 7:17 AM ET
My friend and fellow dog lover Edie, an occupational therapist in Massachusetts, has been looking for a mate for nearly 10 years. She finally thought she'd found one in Jeff, a nice guy, generous and funny, who teaches high school. They dated for several months, and just as there was talk about a future, it occurred to Edie that Jeff hadn't really bonded with her yellow Lab, Sophie. In fact, as she thought more about it, she wasn't sure Jeff was a dog guy at all.
She confronted him about this at dinner one night, and he confessed, in some anguish, that he didn't love Sophie, didn't love dogs in general, never had.
They broke up the next week. More accurately, she dumped him. "What can I say?" Edie told me, somewhat defensively. "Sophie has been there for me, day in and day out, for years. I can't say the same of men. She's my girl, my baby. Sooner or later, it would have ended."
Having just spent two months on a book tour talking to dog lovers across the country, I can testify that this story isn't unusual. The lesson Edie gleaned, she says, was that she should have asked about Sophie first, not last.
In America, we love our dogs. A lot. So much that we rarely wonder why anymore.
This, perhaps, is why God created academics.
John Archer, a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire, has been puzzling for some time over why people love their pets. In evolutionary terms, love for dogs and other pets "poses a problem," he writes. Being attached to animals is not, strictly speaking, necessary for human health and welfare. True, studies show that people with pets live a bit longer and have better blood pressure than benighted nonowners, but in the literal sense, we don't really need all those dogs and cats to survive.
Archer's alternative Darwinian theory: Pets manipulate the same instincts and responses that have evolved to facilitate human relationships, "primarily (but not exclusively) those between parent and child."
No wonder Edie ditched Jeff. She was about to marry the evil stepfather, somebody who wasn't crazy about her true child.
Or, to look at it from the opposite direction, Archer suggests, "consider the possibility that pets are, in evolutionary terms, manipulating human responses, that they are the equivalent of social parasites." Social parasites inject themselves into the social systems of other species and thrive there. Dogs are masters at that. They show a range of emotionsâ€”love, anxiety, curiosityâ€”and thus trick us into thinking they possess the full range of human feelings.
They dance with joy when we come home, put their heads on our knees and stare longingly into our eyes. Ah, we think, at last, the love and loyalty we so richly deserve and so rarely receive. Over thousands of years of living with humans, dogs have become wily and transfixing sidekicks with the particularly appealing characteristic of being unable to speak. We are therefore free to fill in the blanks with what we need to hear. (What the dog may really be telling us, much of the time, is, "Feed me.")
As Archer dryly puts it, "Continuing features of the interaction with the pet prove satisfying for the owner."
It's a good deal for the pets, too, since we respond by spending lavishly on organic treats and high-quality health care.
Psychologist Brian Hare of Harvard has also studied the human-animal bond and reports that dogs are astonishingly skilled at reading humans' patterns of social behavior, especially behaviors related to food and care. They figure out our moods and what makes us happy, what moves us. Then they act accordingly, and we tell ourselves that they're crazy about us.
"It appears that dogs have evolved specialized skills for reading human social and communicative behavior," Hare concludes, which is why dogs live so much better than moles.
These are interesting theories. Raccoons and squirrels don't show recognizable human emotions, nor do they trigger our nurturing ("She's my baby") impulses. So, they don't (usually) move into our houses, get their photos taken with Santa, or even get names. Thousands of rescue workers aren't standing by to move them lovingly from one home to another.
If the dog's love is just an evolutionary trick, does that diminish it? I don't think so. Dogs have figured out how to insinuate themselves into human society in ways that benefit us both. We get affection and attention. They get the same, plus food, shelter, and protection. To grasp this exchange doesn't trivialize our love, it explains it.
I'm enveloped by dog love, myself. Izzy, a border collie who spent the first four years of his life running along a small square of fencing on a nearby farm, is lying under my desk at the moment, his head resting on my boot.
Rose, my working dog, is curled into a tight ball in the crate to my left. Emma, the newcomer who spent six years inside the same fence as Izzy, prefers the newly re-upholstered antique chair. Plagued with health problems, she likes to be near the wood stove in the winter.
When I stir to make tea, answer the door, or stretch my legs, all three dogs move with me. I see them peering out from behind the kitchen table or pantry door, awaiting instructions, as border collies do. If I return to the computer, they resume their previous positions, with stealth and agility. If I analyzed it coldly, I would admit that they're probably alert to see if an outdoor romp is in the offing, or some sheepherding, or some beef jerky. But I'd rather think they can't bear to let me out of their sight.
Jon Katz is the author of A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
This year's big winner at the Westminster Kennel Club Show is a nearly 7-year-old English Springer Spaniel named James: Ch. Felicity's Diamond Jim. Click here to see his photo and read all about the best-of-breed winners (including Bill Cosby's celebudog, Harry the Dandie Dinmont Terrier).