Police Officer stays at shelter overnight with stray he rescued

Rescuing a stray puppy may not be a police officer‘s job, but some kind-hearted officers don’t do it for the job. Some genuinely want to help the little ones who can’t help themselves.

Officer

I Heart Dogs reports that Officer Kareem Garibaldi of the Lakeland Police Department in Florida is one of those wonderful people.

Officer Garibaldi worked an early morning shift one Saturday in May, 2016. As he drove his patrol car, he nearly ran into a small Pit/Boxer mix puppy. The 8 to 10 week old pup had no identification tags or collar and was just running around loose.

With no number to contact or address to return to, Officer Garibaldi took the search for the puppy’s family into his own hands. He travelled the neighbourhood and posted pictures on social media sites the next day, hoping someone would recognize her. No luck.

Unable to locate any family members, he brought the pup to the LPD for food and warmth until the end of his shift. No way would he leave her to fend for herself.

At the end of his third consecutive day working 12 hour shifts, Officer Garibaldi knew he had more still to do for this pup. On his own time off the clock, he brought the dog to the SPCA Florida Medical Center for care and inspection.

Officer Garibaldi sat in the waiting room from 8:45 am to 12:00 p.m. while the vet checked the puppy out. The shelter’s safety net manager, Connie Johnson, happened upon the two that morning and took a now viral photograph. “I could not resist taking this picture when I walked into the clinic at SPCA Florida this morning.

Officer Kareen totally went out of his way after working all night to make sure this puppy was safe and sound. Thank you so much for all you do!! You are such an inspiration.”

The poor man clearly needed sleep after a long weekend, but he had different priorities. The Lakeland Police Department shared the touching story on Facebook where it received tons of rightful attention.

“It’s the kind-hearted officers like this that makes the Lakeland Police Department truly unique. Having worked a long weekend, Officer Garibaldi still found the energy at the end of his shift to help man’s best friend.”

Johnson essentially echoed the department’s statement. She pointed out how kindhearted the officer’s commitment to this dog was.

“It clearly was a selfless thing to do. He wasn’t thinking about getting home to sleep. He was thinking about what he could do to help this puppy survive. He actually woke up at one point just to see if she was OK, then he went back to sleep.”

Thankfully, Officer Garibaldi’s efforts proved extremely valuable. The puppy ended up getting adopted later that day by a dispatcher.

She now goes by Hope, an appropriate name.

The Lakeland Police Department noted that things like this happen all the time and just aren’t frequently documented.

“That is what happens with the officers in our department. So many of them do such wonderful things to help the community – but they are humble. They don’t do it for personal recognition so it usually goes unnoticed.”

Here’s to those unsung heroes like Officer Garibaldi who go out of their way for furry friends. Hope would surely thank him again if she could!

(Story source: I Heart Dogs) 

‘Heroic’ World War Two dog Peggy honoured 73 years after death

A “heroic” dog who comforted captured Scottish soldiers during World War Two has been posthumously recognised.

Peggy

BBC News reports that Bull Terrier Peggy became the mascot of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders after soldiers discovered her as an abandoned puppy in Malaya.

The soldiers were taken prisoner but kept Peggy, and fed her from rations. Upon release, she lived at the battalion’s barracks in Aberdeen until dying in 1947. Peggy is now getting a posthumous PDSA commendation.

The veterinary charity said it was a “remarkable story”, and warranted the special ceremony at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.

Peggy was described as a “loyal companion” to the soldiers as they fought Japanese forces.

When they were sent to Thailand to carry out hard physical labour the dog was said to have played an integral role in boosting morale for the three-and-a-half years in captivity. The soldiers refused to travel back to Scotland unless Peggy was allowed to join them on the journey home.

She was nominated for the PDSA award by Stewart Mitchell, a volunteer historian at the museum.

‘Exceptional animal’

He said: “Peggy was a loyal and courageous ally to her Gordon Highlander comrades. “When she saw a Gordon Highlander being attacked, she would fearlessly try to intervene, often at the cost of a blow with a split bamboo cane or worse, a stab from a guard’s bayonet. “She bore the scars of these encounters for her entire life.”

He added: “Throughout the whole duration of their imprisonment, with the men in a seemingly hopeless situation, just struggling to survive another day with no end in sight, Peggy’s presence boosted their morale. I hope this award will bring attention to the important role she has played during a dark period in the Regiment’s history.”

PDSA vet Fiona Gregge said: “Peggy’s remarkable story has touched all of us here at PDSA.

“The PDSA Commendation recognises the outstanding devotion that animals display and celebrates the amazing ways they enrich our lives. It is clear that members of the Battalion drew a great amount of strength from Peggy’s unwavering loyalty and friendship during what was a deeply traumatic time in their lives.

“The fact the Gordon Highlanders the refused to board their ship home unless Peggy could sail with them speaks volumes about the bond that was formed. Peggy was a truly exceptional animal and she is a worthy recipient of this award.”

Billy the Bull Terrier accepted the award on behalf of Peggy.

(Story source: BBC News) 

Now we are being asked to call our pets ‘companions’ – but should we?

Animal owners were told not to call their dogs and cats pets but refer to them as “companions” as pets is a derogatory term.

Companion

The Express reports that the head of an animal rights organisation told owners to avoid using the word pet as it is now deemed as demeaning. Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), claimed the term pet suggested animals were just merely a “commodity”. PETA has long called for owners to be renamed human carers or guardians.

Women were banned from owning property and patronisingly called “sweetie” or “honey” to make them seem “less of a person”.

The 70-year-old activist from Surrey added: “Animals are not pets – they are not your cheap burglar alarm, or something which allows you to go out for a walk. “They are not ours as decorations or toys, they are living beings. “A dog is a feeling, whole individual, with emotions and interests, not something you ‘have’.”

According to PDSA there are estimated to be around 9.9 million dogs owned in the UK and around 10.9 million cats.

Ms Newkirk claimed the language around animals is very important and urged people to describe the animals they look after as “companions”.

She added: “How we say things governs how we think about them, so a tweak in our language when we talk about the animals in our homes is needed. “A pet is a commodity but animals should not be things on shelves or in boxes, where people say, ‘I like the look of that one, it matches my curtains or my sense of myself’. “Hopefully the time is passing for that kind of attitude.”

Her comments echoed a 2011 academic journal which insisted animals should be known as “free-living”. The Journal of Animal Ethics also called for a new ‘animal language’ regarding pets.

It stated: “Despite its prevalence, ‘pets’ is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers. “Again the word ‘owners’, whilst technically correct in law, harks back to a previous age when animals were regarded as just that: property, machines or things to use without moral constraint.”

It added: “We invite authors to use the words ‘free-living’, ‘free-ranging’ or ‘free-roaming’ rather than ‘wild animals’. “For most, ‘wildness’ is synonymous with uncivilised, unrestrained, barbarous existence. “There is an obvious pre-judgement here that should be avoided.”

Ms Newkirk was active in a number of animal protests, once setting fire to a car at a motor show and stripping naked numerous times to publicise PETA’s high-profile ‘I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur’ campaign.

She also wrote a book called ‘Animalkind’ which is about animals’ abilities and the need to be compassionate towards them. Ms Newkirk is also calling for phrases such as “flog a dead horse” to stop being used because they refer to animal cruelty.

Some animal enthusiasts have even urged people not to keep pets at all. University of Kent’s Corey Wrenn said: “Through this forced dependency and domestication, the lives of companion animals are almost completely controlled by humans. “They can be terminated at any time for the most trivial of reasons, including behavioural ‘problems’.”

(Story source: The Express) 

New movie theatre lets you gulp endless wine while you watch movies with your dog

Movie theatres have had to become quite inventive to draw an audience.

Dog Cinema

With streaming networks such as Netflix and Hulu, more and more people decide to watch movies from their homes rather than go out for their entertainment.

Some movie theatres have begun serving alcohol and a full dinner menu. They also feature comfortable recliners or couches in lieu of the traditional folding chairs found in the theatres of old.

One theatre, in particular, has become quite inventive in their strategies to draw an audience. K9 Cinemas in Plano, Texas encourages its patrons to bring their fluffy friends to their movie showings. On top of that, they serve bottomless wine or four servings of whiskey during your movie of choice.

This movie theatre is perfect for you if your dog misses you during your nights out. It even has cosy couches so that you can spend the movie cuddling your companion.

“We have a big heart for our furry family members in our lives, and believe they should get a night out with you!” reads the company’s website.

K9 Cinemas opened just last December but it’s already become a popular destination for the dog owners of Plano.

The theatre cycles through different dog-themed movies. They will show a different movie every time you visit. The most important part of the visit to K9 Cinemas is being able to enjoy a movie with your dog.

There are some special accommodations required in order to bring your dog to your night at the movies.

Don’t worry, K9 Cinemas has you covered. They provide snacks for both humans and dogs. They also provide a courtyard where dogs can meet each other and play together. It’s like a really fancy dog park with everything you can imagine to keep both yourself and your pup entertained.

A movie night isn’t the only thing you can experience with your dog. The theatre also has themed activity nights. These activities include Karaoke and Trivia. They also have a special night blocked off for date night where couples can bring their dogs with them to a movie.

This theatre is the first dog movie theatre in the world.

The business has been featured in Southern Living, People and Time Magazine in articles that describe the business in a positive way.

Thankfully, the theatre takes precautionary measures so that it’s not a doggie free-for-all day every day. Patrons must provide K9 Cinemas with documented proof that their dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations and other vet treatment. In addition to this, all the dogs must be on a leash unless they are in designated play areas. This business’ location was supposed to be temporary.

However, the business was so popular that they moved to a more permanent location in Plano. Now, dogs of any size can enjoy a night at the movies with their families.

(Story source: Ron Project) 

Corgi mix puppy experiences her first trip to supermarket & the world falls in love

As a puppy, you’re likely taking in new experiences each day.

Zira

While some tasks are more exciting than others, a trip to your fur mum’s favourite store can be life changing. This is exactly what happened when a 4-month-old Corgi/Aussie Mix named Zira made her first trip to Target, and the world fell in love with her reaction.

Zira’s dog mom, Jesse Donovan, wanted to bring her pup along on one of her favourite shopping adventures. Though Target has a long list of dedicated shoppers, Jesse had no idea that her pup would be one of them. As soon as Zira rolled into the store with her paws perched on the edge of the cart, it was as if she found her happy place! “She reminded us so much of Rose from Titanic, the way she leaned against the front of the cart, looking out into the world of Target for the first time! We could tell she loved it so much.” – Jesse.

As Zira passed through the aisles, it’s as if she became more excited with each turn. Her jaw literally dropped at the sight of all that Target had to offer, and really, can you blame her? Her adorable reactions caught the attention of multiple Target shoppers that day, giving multiple people an overwhelming urge to come over and meet this smiley pup. If this incredible store discovery wasn’t exciting enough for Zira, making so many new friends certainly sealed the deal.

“While we were turning a corner, this woman shopping saw her and freaked out. She couldn’t stop going on and on about how cute Zira was. Zira just started licking her, and the woman loved it. She even picked Zira up and let her kiss her face!” – Jesse. Since Jesse shared Zira’s endearing reaction to their shopping trip, she has gained a long list of adoring followers that keep up with the Donovan Family’s adventures. Jesse and her husband Kasey now have over 50,000 followers on Instagram that keep up with their daily shenanigans and shopping adventures. Zira has an equally adorable Corgi mix sibling, making this account an incredible way to get your daily dose of cuteness!

(Story source: I Heart Dogs) 

The Street Vet: Meet the dog doctor who gives free medical care to pets of the homeless

Though he’s still paying off his student loans, Dr. Kwane Stewart is committed to helping pets and people in need.

Street Vet

When Dr. Kwane Stewart, a veterinarian, spots a homeless person with a dog while he’s driving to work, he doesn’t look away uncomfortably and step on the gas.

Instead, he pulls over, grabs his bag stocked with medical supplies, and asks the person: “Is there anything your pet can use? Can I help you?”

For nearly a decade, Stewart, 49, has volunteered on his own dime to help pets of the homeless in California. In his spare time, he heads to impoverished areas and wanders the streets – usually in his hometown of San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as Sacramento and San Francisco – hoping to offer free vaccinations and veterinary care to pets.

“I love the work,” he told TODAY. “I do it because it’s hugely rewarding to me, spiritually. I’m just very fortunate to be living out my dream to be a vet in the first place.”

Stewart never expected this to become his life’s calling. It goes back to the Great Recession, which began in December 2007, when he was working as a veterinarian at an “economically challenged” animal shelter in Modesto, California, and was overwhelmed by the sheer number of stray animals who needed help.

He wanted to show his young son the importance of giving back, so one day, he went to a soup kitchen with his son and girlfriend and started asking people with pets if he could examine their animals.

“I knew then and there I was going to keep doing it,” he said. “There’s so much need out there.”

Sometimes when he offers to help a pet, he’s turned down by homeless people suspicious of his motives. The wariness is warranted; Stewart has seen people spit at the homeless and throw food out the car window at them while yelling.

But when they do accept his help, everything changes.

“As I examine their animal and really give focus to their animal – not them – they just begin to open up,” he said. “Some of the things these people have gone through that they’ve shared with me, it’s remarkable.”

Stewart became choked up while recalling an experience with a 50-something man named Mike with a colostomy bag and a beloved dachshund who was going blind. Mike had colon cancer but said to Stewart, “I would much sooner have you restore her vision if you could – because she means that much to me – than be cured of my cancer.”

“And he meant it,” he said. “He was sincere. He loved that dog. He said that dog has saved his life, mainly his sanity, and gives him hope every morning.”

The dog turned out to have irreversible glaucoma in both eyes, but Stewart was able to alleviate the painful condition with drops and treatments, for which the man was extremely grateful.

About 98% of the pets Stewart encounters on the streets are dogs – though there are a surprising number of cats and the occasional bird or reptile. While he’s heard comments that homeless people shouldn’t have pets, Stewart doesn’t share that opinion because he’s seen the benefits both to people and the animals themselves.

“To a pet, their owner is their universe,” he said. “But we go to work and leave our pet alone sometimes eight, 10, 12 hours a day and they just sit and pine for us. Homeless people are with their animal every minute of every day.”

And pets can provide homeless women with a sense of protection and security, and offer hope to their companions – a reason not to give in to despair or fall deeper into drug or alcohol addiction, he said. One man told him, “My dog is more beneficial to me than any pill or therapy session.”

“I’ve seen homeless people feed their pet before they feed themselves. I’ve seen them give their last dollar to care for their pet,” he said. “They sustain each other and that is the power of pet companionship.”

Stewart hopes to challenge preconceived notions of what homeless people are like through a TV show, in which he stars, called “The Street Vet.” He describes it as a “passion project” that he created with his brother. So far, it’s shown in smaller markets in Eastern Europe, Canada and China. While people sometimes assume Stewart is rich because he’s in a show and has had high-profile jobs, such as chief veterinary officer of the nonprofit American Humane, he’s still paying off his student loans from veterinary school.

Out on the streets, the most common afflictions Stewart sees are flea infestations, ear infections and mild arthritis, but sometimes a pet needs surgery to remove a tumour or rotting teeth. In the past, he would pay for it out of his own pocket; he is grateful to have found reduced-price care at Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Laurie Leach, a veterinarian at the practice, has even performed some surgeries pro bono.

Still, costs add up and Stewart doesn’t want to have to turn anyone away, so he started crowdfunding last fall. Inspired by his efforts, the fundraising site GoFundMe named him the February GoFundMe Hero.

Stewart has no intention of slowing down.

“One of the great things about being a vet is it’s a job I can do as long as I have physical capabilities until I’m old,” he said. “I don’t plan on stopping anytime as long as I have the strength to do it.”

(Article source: Today) 

Science confirms it: Yes your dog should sleep in your bed

It’s eleven o’clock at night. Do you know where your dog is? If you are anything like the group surveyed by the American Kennel Club, your dog is most likely snuggled into your bed. A survey conducted by the AKC  found that 45% of people with dogs allow their pup to sleep in their bed.

Sleeping Dog And Owner

If more than 60 million US households have a dog at home, that’s a lot of fur on the covers! There’s no need to be embarrassed by this sleeping arrangement. Not only is it common, but there are scientific reasons to sleep with your pup.

What science says:

Have you seen therapy dogs walking around the airport? Some US airports like Denver International have a squad of animals roaming the terminals. Why? To help soothe frazzled travellers, of course. Research shows that therapy dogs help reduce anxiety.

If dogs can help travellers keep their cool, why couldn’t they help ease tension before you go to bed? Well, your canine pal can absolutely make you feel more at ease at night. Here are three other reasons science says dogs should sleep in your bed.

A pooch sharing the covers won’t negatively impact your sleep. There’s a line of thinking that allowing your canine to sleep in your quarters will disrupt your slumber. Those hours of shuteye are extremely valuable, so you wouldn’t want to upset the rhythm of rest. Not to worry. In its study, “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment,” the Mayo Clinic found that for adults without sleep disorders, sleeping with their dog caused no negative consequences. In fact, the research results showed that both the dogs and humans slept together fine, and the size of the dog was not a factor when it came to affecting sleep quality. Make room for your Mastiff or Yorkie. There’s room for both!

Dogs reduce stress and your blood pressure!

Petting a dog reduces blood pressure. You won’t spend all of your sleeping hours petting your dog, but you can lessen some tension by massaging your buddy for a few minutes before heading off to dreamland. A study from the Journal of Behavioural Medicine measured the blood pressure of 60 male and female participants while they either pet a dog or talked to someone else. The research showed that people’s blood pressure was lowest while they pet a dog and highest while talking to someone else. When it’s time to go to sleep, help your biological functions calm down by giving your pooch a few pets.

Stressed before bed? Bring your dog onto the mattress. Maybe there’s an exam on the horizon, a deadline at work, or a sick family member to take care of. Whatever the cause, you’re most likely carrying around some levels of stress. Dogs can help. Some research has found that interacting with a dog can decrease cortisol levels and increase oxytocin. Say what? Cortisol is the hormone that causes stress and oxytocin is the hormone that increases trust in humans. Basically, being around your dog can reduce tension and increase pleasant feelings. That same study found that its participants reported feeling less stressed by being around a dog. Science says sleeping with your dog won’t hinder your rest and it will most likely keep you calmer. But wait. There’s more.

Dogs provide warmth and security.

If science and research aren’t your things, there are practical reasons to make room for your pooch on the bed. Here are two.

First, warmth. Imagine it feels like -50 degrees Fahrenheit outside. After the recent polar vortex that swept across much of the United States, many people won’t have to imagine the bone-chilling temperatures. They lived it. Back to the scenario: imagine it’s bitterly cold outside and your furnace can only do so much. Allowing your pet to curl up next to you, or stretch along your side will help you conserve heat. So when it’s chilly out there, make like the Emperor Penguins and huddle with your dog.

Another reason to catch some Z’s with your canine is peace of mind. Maybe you haven’t installed a home security network or maybe you want the added sense of safety. Keeping your dog close can make you feel safer. If there is a sudden noise, your dog will alert you by startling or barking. You can rely on your canine buddy to let you know if things are amiss in and outside your home. It’s like installing the home security network without the quarterly bill.

What’s in it for your dog?

For humans, a canine companion is a great addition to sleep. But, how about from your dog’s perspective? A study from the journal Human Nature says if you have a well-behaved, happy pup, there is no reason why you shouldn’t let them sleep in your bed. In fact, sharing your space will most likely deepen the bond between you and your beloved pooch. It’s a mutually beneficial scenario. And don’t they look so happy up there on the bed? Melts my heart.

The next time someone asks if your dog sleeps in your bed, you can proudly tell them yes. Why? It all comes down to science. Research shows sleeping with your canine counterpart lends itself toward a better night sleep, and you personally know it makes you more comfortable. So be proud, and enjoy a restful night’s sleep…with your furry friend.

(Article source: I Heart Dogs) 

Doggy vows: Why having a dog is the ultimate long-term relationship

When you think about it, making the decision to share your life with a dog is the ultimate long-term relationship, involving as much – or perhaps more – commitment on your part than one with a human partner.

High Five

Getting or caring for a dog should be taken as seriously as such a long-term relationship too, and given the same gravitas and respect as a marriage; and this article will tell you why. Read on to learn why having a dog is the ultimate long-term relationship, and why you should take it just as seriously as getting married!

For better or for worse

Dog ownership is not all a walk in the park. It’s loads of them, every day, come rain or shine, mud, bitter cold, picking up poop, dealing with diarrhoea and dog breath… There are plenty of great things about dog ownership, but plenty of less palatable sides to it as well!

Don’t go into dog ownership with a rose-tinted image of you and a pretty little toy dog looking and behaving perfectly at all times… That angelic-looking Shih Tzu might have a real taste for roadkill, or a penchant for rolling in fox poop, and you’ll still have to deal with it!

For richer and for poorer

Dogs are expensive to keep, some much more so than others; but most dog owners underestimate the cost of dog ownership and this can come as a massive shock. You can’t predict what the future holds, but you should take all possible steps to mitigate against future problems and expenses and ensure that you could still care adequately for your dog if your situation changed.

In sickness and in health

As your dog gets older, they’re more likely to develop any one of a number of health conditions that can be hard to manage, costly, and take up a lot of your time. Some dogs will of course develop health problems at a much younger age, and whilst doing your research and taking pains to select a healthy puppy is vital, you cannot predict the future health of any dog.

When you take on a dog, you’re committing to take care of their health, however that pans out; whether they turn out to only need preventative healthcare and are never ill a day in their lives, or if they develop a costly and complex condition.

Additionally, as your dog gets older they might not smell as fresh, might have the occasional accident in the house, and might go through some personality changes; and they need you much more then than they did when they were in full health.

To love and to cherish

Dogs need love, affection, consistency and plenty of your time. Even if you ticked all the boxes on paper in terms of responsible dog ownership and providing for all of your pet’s needs, that intangible bond between you needs ongoing work too, just like any relationship.

And obey?

The “obey” part of wedding vows is more commonly absent than present in modern day wedding ceremonies, even traditional ones; but it remains relevant when it comes to your relationship with your dog!

This is of course in the context of your dog being obedient and respectful to you and the rules you have in place for them; and for your part, training and managing your dog and keeping them in line is vital too.

Forsaking all others

Having a dog does not of course mean that you can’t have other relationships; like a partner, or even getting another dog too. So you don’t need to forsake all others in this respect; but you should never place another relationship above your commitment to your dog either.

Don’t get another dog if this is not in your first dog’s best interests, and don’t get involved with someone that doesn’t like or want your dog as much as you do!

…Until death do us part

The vast majority of dog owners outlive their dogs rather than the other way around; and dog ownership means committing to caring for your dog for the entire duration of their lives, until their death. A vital part of this means knowing when it is time to let go, and as well as providing the care necessary to manage any health conditions and keep your dog comfortable as long as they still have a good quality of life, it also means knowing when they’ve reached the end of the road, and it may be time to put them to sleep to prevent suffering.

Even if you should be the partner in the relationship that dies first, and your dog outlives you instead, your responsibility to your dog does not actually end upon your death!

If you’re of the sort of age (or have health issues) that mean your dog might reasonably be expected to outlive you, you should make provision for their care and ongoing management as part of your will and instructions for after your death.

Really, this is wise for dog owners of any age to do!

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes) 

The Dog Adopter: Grieving man goes to the shelter and adopts every overlooked dog there

While many of us call ourselves animal lovers, there are very few in life whose love for our furry friends run as deep as Steve Greig’s does. That’s especially true when it comes to caring for senior dogs.

Dog Adopter

As a child, Steve was lucky enough to be surrounded by animals growing up and developed a strong sense of connection with them.

This is something he has fully carried into his adulthood.

As long as he can remember, Steve has always had plenty of pets in his home. Fortunately for the Colorado-based animal lover, he has plenty of land to share with his enormous inter-species family.

One day, though, tragedy struck Steve’s furry family.

One of his beloved dogs passed away, and this time around, it hit him extra hard. After spending several months of grieving, he decided he needed to do something to commemorate the special bond he had with his pup.

That’s when Steve took a trip to the local animal shelter, but not to get just any dog. His personal mission was to rescue the most un-adoptable dog the shelter had.

“So (I adopted) a 12-year-old Chihuahua (named Eeyore) with a heart murmur and four bad knees and I brought him home and that was just the beginning of all the animals,” Steve explains in an interview with The Dodo.

Steve was determined to give a dog in need a second lease on life. He ultimately believed that the only way to heal from his dog’s death was to make sure that something really, really good came from it.

“I was just so distraught about (that death). A month or two went by and I still felt so horrible about it. I decided that the only way I would feel better was if something good happened that probably wouldn’t have happened if he had not died,” Steve recalls.

Little did Steve know that he wouldn’t be able to stop with just one adoption.

The animal lover had caught the adoption bug. Over time Steve found himself taking in more and more “un-adoptable” dogs.

Within a short amount of time, Steve had officially adopted 10 senior dogs, all of which had been passed over at the shelter. He didn’t just stick to helping out the shelter dogs, though.

Steve is also the proud human of two ducks, two pigeons, a Chicken named Oprah, and even an adorable pig named Bikini.

While she is most definitely a hog, no one can convince her that she’s not a dog like most of her siblings. In fact, she has even developed quite the little crush on Enoch, Steve’s Irish Wolfhound.

Seems like a lot, right? Well, believe it or not, that isn’t all of his pet family.

In addition to the rag-tag team of furry and feathered friends mentioned above, Steve also plays dad to Stuart, his uber adorable bunny rabbit.

Steve just happened to find Stuart hanging out in his yard one day. He thinks he may have been left there by a well-meaning local.

“That rabbit, someone just left him in my front yard is how I came to get him. I assume someone knew I had lots of animals and thought ‘Yeah, he’ll give him a good home.’

So, I found him in my front yard one morning and I put him in the chicken coop because I wasn’t sure what to do with him,” Steve told The Dodo.

Things ended up working just fine, though, as Stuart is what Steve describes as “the most chill rabbit”. The little hopper gets along with all of his hodge-podge clan.

When asked what draws Steve to the senior shelter dogs, in particular, he said that he just loves them.

The fact that they’re older and less inclined to chase his chicken and rabbit around or tear up the house makes it a lot easier to take care of all of them together. Beyond that, he feels that the old souls of senior dogs seem to be easier to connect with.

“They’re just wiser animals. You kind of know what you want out of life once you become a certain age. These dogs know who they are and it’s easy to develop a relationship with a person or pet who knows who they are,” he explains.

Eventually, Steve decided it was time to share his big animal family and their silly antics with the world. He created an Instagram page just for them, called Wolfgang2242, and it went Insta-viral. It quickly soared to 880,000 followers and counting.

While it’s nice to have so much support from his followers, ultimately Steve says that being a dad to so many unique and wonderful animals is self-rewarding.

“They just make it feel like home. It’s just fulfilling knowing that these guys are happy and loved and well-taken care of. It makes my days worthwhile,” he says.

All we can say is thank God for people like Steve who are willing to go out of their way to love the shelter dogs and other animals that go without. To see more of Steve’s large, lovable family, visit them on their Instagram page.

(Article source: Ron Project) 

One man and his lifesaving dog: The heartwarming miracle of Max the Spaniel

Crippled in a car crash, in constant agony and addicted to painkillers – Kerry was suicidal… until he met Max the Spaniel. When Kerry Irving looks lovingly into his dog Max’s eyes it’s easy to believe him when he says the devoted Springer spaniel saved his life.

Max

Once a high-powered manager with a multi-million-pound budget, he had hit rock bottom after a 2006 road accident left him with crippling spinal injuries that ended his career.

In constant pain, practically house-bound and addicted to prescription painkillers, he could see no future.

It looked like the end of his social life and his hobby of cycling up to 600 miles a month around his home in Keswick, in the Lake District, where he lived with his wife Angela.

Kerry, 55, recalled: “I was isolated, dependent on heavy drugs and I felt a burden on my wife.

“The nerve damage meant I could only shuffle along. I started thinking I didn’t want to be here. Every day and night I would think about ending it all.

I knew exactly how I’d do it.”

Then, in August 2009, Angela persuaded him to go to the corner shop for some milk, simply to get him out of the house.

Kerry said: “I didn’t think I could do it but she made me go. I got to the corner of our road and saw Max’s nose sticking through the railing of a gate.

“I stopped to say hello because I’d had spaniels when I was younger. He looked at me and straight away there was a connection.

“Stuck in a yard, it was as if he was saying, ‘My life’s pretty rubbish and yours doesn’t look much better’.

“For me, it was a tiny glimmer of what life could become again.” After that, Kerry would offer to pop out every day, just so he could see Max. Then, after a couple of weeks, he asked the dog’s owner if he could take him for a walk.

He said: “It was the best thing that has happened to me, after getting married.”

Kerry, who has now written a book, Max The Miracle Dog, said: “We went 60 feet up the road to a sandstone wall and I was exhausted.

“When you have an ailment that people can’t see, but you’re shuffling away and physically gasping, you feel so self-conscious.

“But with Max, it didn’t matter. We could stop and it was just a man having a rest with his dog.”

From then on, Max provided Kerry with the motivation to go further and further. One of his first goals was to get to Derwentwater lake.

He said: “It’s six minutes’ walk from my house but it took us an hour and a half because I’d shuffle then stop, shuffle then stop.

“I couldn’t have done it on my own because I would have panicked about how I would get back. But I wanted Max to get there because I remembered how much my old spaniels loved water.”

Still in immense pain, Kerry had found a reason to live – as well as a good listener.

He said: “I could tell him how bad I felt my life was. As anyone who has had a dog knows, they are very good listeners and it’s often easier to talk to them than to people.”

The arrangement also suited Max’s owner, who was a carer for her father and couldn’t exercise the dog as much as she would have liked. Kerry – who has since got two more dogs, Paddy, three, and Harry, one – said: “It was about reprogramming my brain.

Being with Max took me from thinking, ‘I’m in pain, I can’t do anything’ to ‘I can get out and do things again’.”

Such was his transformation, Kerry has since retrained as a locksmith.

He said: “I liked working out puzzles and thought it would let me work to my own schedule, allowing myself time off to recover when I needed it. The second thought was I could get a van and Max could come with me.”

To publicise his new business, Kerry made Max “Head of Security” and posted picturesque photos of him in the Lake District.

Life was becoming good again – but there was just one cloud. Kerry said: “Every day it broke my heart to give Max back.

People would say, ‘Why don’t you just get your own dog?’ And I’d say, ‘But then it wouldn’t be Max’. There is only one Max. He was my lifesaver.”

In 2012 fate stepped in again. Max’s owner was moving away and asked Kerry if he would like to adopt him.

Not long afterwards, despite the fact that he had only just mastered walking uphill, the pair climbed all 4,400 ft of Ben Nevis, in the Scottish Highlands.

It took six hours to go up and down the UK’s highest peak – and it took Kerry three months to recover from the exertion.

He said: “It damn near killed us. I was a fool really but I thought, ‘Go for the biggest, why not?’ If I’d been alone, I might have been tempted to pretend I’d got to the top, but I couldn’t let Max down.

“It was the best feeling to get to the top. I was the highest person in the UK, with Max at my side.”

Kerry now manages his pain with nothing stronger than the odd paracetamol. He said: “I was on prescription pills for ten years after the accident.

“I would get anxious about when I would be able to take another one. By the end I was on the strongest medication the doctors could give.

“Sometimes I would take 12 a day and it didn’t touch the pain at all. The doctor said it would take two years to come off them, by reducing the strength gradually every month.

“I thought I knew better and stopped taking them. Four hours later, Angela begged me to take one because I was sat in a corner, shaking and sweating.

“I can understand how people do stupid things on drugs, like burglaries, because it’s the need for the next dose. I was addicted.”

Kerry took his last pill 18 months after he vowed to come off them. He said: “I struggle when it’s cold, wet and damp. If I go walking with my camera bag slung on my shoulder then I’ll feel it the next day.

“But I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve had a second chance at life. I was in a career that was cut-throat and ruthless.

“Going through what I have, I realise it’s not about money or a fancy car, it’s about time and health.

“You don’t need that much to get by and from helping others by talking to them and sharing Max with them, I’ve become a lot richer.”

He and Max’s story has delighted people all over the world. Max’s Facebook page, Max Out In The Lake District, features pictures of all three of Kerry’s dogs. It has more than 100,000 followers and led to an award from Keswick Tourism.

Last year, on the ITV programme Britain’s Top 100 Dogs, Kerry revealed what he had been through and how Max had helped him.

Now a mental health campaigner, he said: “Suddenly people were coming up to me and shaking my hand. Or they’d stop their car and tell me, ‘I’m glad you’re still here’.

“Within 24 hours of the programme being aired I had 10,000 messages. So many people told me they had experienced something similar to me, or that they’d lost a loved one, and my dogs brought them some joy. I realised this could be a vessel for something bigger.”

Kerry has organised several charity walks with his dogs and has raised more than £130,000 for good causes.

Max and Paddy have received a commendation from the animal charity PDSA for bringing comfort and support to thousands of people.

Max has trained as a therapy dog, and even attended a garden party for community champions at Buckingham Palace last year and received a pat from the Duchess of Cambridge – who he has also met in Keswick.

Kerry said: “There’s something special about Max, everyone who meets him says so. It’s something in the way he looks at you. “He’s the most loyal, loving friend. He looked into my soul and fixed me.”

(Article source: The Sun)