The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : December 2013 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : December 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Dog and Several Feral Cats Take Shelter in Local Nativity Scenes

Christmas nativity scenes in towns, churches, and front lawns usually contain a usual cast of plastic religious figures, Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus, of course, curled up in a manger. Perhaps the three wise men with their gifts, some shepherds, a couple of angels.

If any animals feature in the display, it is usually a donkey, an ox, some sheep, and maybe the wise men’s camels.

But a few animals are making headlines this Christmas week for adding themselves to their local nativity scenes.

Last Friday, in the small town of Glendale, Ohio, someone noticed something unusual in their village square nativity scene: curled up in the hay near Jesus and his manger was a white and brown American Pit Bull Terrier.

The Pittie was exhausted, injured, with wounds to his eye and one of his legs. Concerned about the dog’s condition, Glendale residents called town officials, who were able to secure the dog in one of their offices while searching for his owner.

Glendale village administrator Loretta Rokey borrowed a kennel from a friend. She tells FOX 19 she knew it was important to get the injured pup to a veterinarian immediately, so she took the dog to Noah’s Ark Animal Clinic for treatment. While the Pittie received the medical attention he needed, members of the nearby rescue group Cincinnati Pit Crew (CPC) joined Rokey at the clinic, ready to take the dog into their care.

CPC decided to give the dog a name befitting where he was found, Gabriel, after the angel who foretells Jesus’s birth.

“Tonight, our hearts are very full,” the CPC writes on their Facebook page. “Rescue isn’t easy work, but it’s always rewarding at the end of the day. Some very special people came upon this today and through networking with various rescues, CPC was able to help find a safe place for Gabriel and start the process of finding him a loving family.”

Because of the community’s efforts, Gabriel will now be able to enjoy the Christmas holiday at his new foster home. St. Francis of Assisi, both the patron saint of animals and the person credited with creating the very first nativity scene in the year 1223, would surely be delighted.

Meanwhile, two Brooklyn sisters are getting a kick out of some feline additions to their family nativity scene display.

Annette and Sue Amendola have been erecting their homemade nativity scene for more than a decade in a lot next door to their home. However, for the past few seasons, their display has became more of a “cativity” after a group of feral cats started nesting near the baby Jesus and his holy posse.

“People love it, but they really get a laugh out of the cats,” Sue Amendola tells DNAinfo New York of the nativity.

The kitties, including grey tabby cat Bandit, Bandit’s Sister, Blue Eyes, and four other unnamed cats, have set up shop in the small makeshift stable built by the Amendola sisters. The cats aren’t afraid to make themselves comfortable; in fact, Bandit has no qualms with pushing the plastic savior aside and napping on his hay bale manger.

People have flocked to the Amendola’s block to catch a glimpse of the Christmas kitties, noting that they could actually be enacting a certain Biblical feline folktale. Tabbies are said to have gotten the ‘M’ marking on their foreheads for lending new mother Mary a hand that cold night after Jesus’s birth. As the chilly winds blew into the small stable, the infant Jesus started to cry. When Mary called to the stable animals to help her warm the baby, it is said that a small tabby hopped into the manger, snuggling with little Jesus to keep him nice and toasty. Mary, grateful to the kind kitty, bestows her first initial, the letter ‘M’ on the cat’s small forehead as a token of her thanks.

And it seems the Amendola sisters try to pay it forward to their kitty nativity friends all year long. Even after the holidays are over and all the lights and ornaments are stocked away, they keep the wooden stable open for their feral friends, giving them a warm place to rest.

For more information about Gabriel, or to learn when the nativity Pittie will be available for adoption, visit the Cincinnati Pit Crew website and Facebook page


Thursday, December 26, 2013

URGENT! 2 Major Dog Food Brands Issue Recall on Select Iams and Eukanuba Dry Dog and Cat Foods, Due to a Possibility of Salmonella Contamination

Proctor & Gamble has issued a press release regarding a voluntary recall they are performing on select Iams and Eukanuba dry dog & cat foods, due to a possibility of Salmonella contamination. Fortunately, according to P&G, there have not yet been any reports of illness due this contamination.

Please review the list below to ensure that your dog’s food is not affected! If your food is on this list, please visit the original press release below for more information on what to do.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Blind Man Can Keep Hero Dog Who Saved His Life After Falling Off of Subway Tracks in New York - Receives $45,000 in Donations

The blind man who thought he would have to say goodbye to the guide dog who helped save his life when they both toppled into the path of an oncoming New York subway train on Tuesday will now get to keep his loyal companion of eight years.

Donations totaling more than $45,000 have flooded in since it was revealed that Cecil Williams, 61, would not be able to stay with 10-year-old Orlando because his insurance wouldn't cover his best friend when he retired.

At an emotional press conference at St. Luke's Hospital today, a teary Williams thanked strangers nationwide for their kindness saying, "Orlando, he is my best buddy, he's my pal. The spirit of giving, Christmas, it exists here and it's in New York."

Cecil Williams, 60, was standing on the subway platform at 125th Street in Harlem, Manhattan on Tuesday when he felt dizzy and fell to the tracks, police said.

Williams' 11-year-old black Labrador, Orlando, who had tried to hold him up, fell with him and just as a train was approaching the station woke him by licking his face.

Clutching his dog, the blind man flattened himself in the space between the rails as the train moved into the station. The lead car passed over them, as terrified witnesses screamed for the train to stop.

"I feel that it's a blessing, I feel that it's a miracle," said Williams. "All the people that contributed or donated, we should take our hat off to them. There's still good people in this world."

"I appreciate that people got together and helped me to keep Orlando. It is going to to cover him for the rest of his life."

Williams raised a smile when he noted that Orlando will deserve his retirement.

"He’s a senior citizen -- he’s got grey hair," Williams explained. "He’s looking forward to enjoying life now."

And when Williams gets a new guide dog, Orlando will be able to stay with Williams and his partner as a pet.

"For me, I know that angels, miracles, that’s what saved me down on the track."

Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the guide dog school that trained Orlando, said they have been fielding hundreds of inquiries about whether Williams will be forced to give Orlando up for adoption in January when he retires from his job and loses his current insurance plan.

"We recognize everyone's concern about Orlando's future - whether he stays with Cecil or goes back to the loving home of his puppy raiser, please know he will be honored like the hero he is," the group said in a statement.

Several donation web pages were created in an effort to raise enough money to keep the pair together.

"Come January, Cecil's insurance will no longer cover the cost to care for Orlando," the crowd funding platform Indiegogo said on its page. "Please help these two stay together!"

Donations on the site have already reached $19,000 and on the site, more than 600 people have donated more than $21,000 for the cause.

'"Guide dogs serve a purpose, and they are very loyal and they are very good," said Williams according to the New York Daily News, as he battled back tears.

"Orlando, he’s my best buddy. He’s my pal. He takes me on the train. He takes me on the buses. He takes me everywhere I need to go. He’s a very gentle, gentleman," he said.

"He was there. He’s always with me. When I travel on the train or bus, he’s next to me. He’s always watching out for me. He’s always looking for me. When I go on the street, he guides me through traffic, guides me through sidewalks. So he’s always looking out for me. That’s his job," Williams said.

Yesterday the nation was gifted a Christmas miracle when they heard of how Williams and Orlando survived their terrifying brush with death.

Cecil Williams, 61, was making his way to the dentist at 9.30 am on Tuesday with his 10-year-old black Labrador Orlando when he suddenly felt faint and began to wobble perilously close to the edge of the platform.

His longtime buddy desperately tried to hold him back from falling by pulling at his leash.

They both tumbled onto the tracks where Orlando managed to wake Cecil by licking his face just in time for them both to duck into the middle trench between the tracks.

"The dog saved my life," said Williams from his St. Luke’s Hospital bed, "He tried to hold me up."

Witnesses said the dog was barking frantically and tried to stop Williams from falling, but they both fell to the tracks when Williams fainted.

"The dog was trying to pull him away from the southbound edge of the platform, but his feet were on the edge, he was wobbling, and the dog was barking," said Ana Quinones, 53, to the New York Post.

Despite Orlando's best efforts, he and his owner toppled onto the tracks - just as an uptown A train was approaching the station.

"But there was nothing he could do once he was down there. He just sat there with the man. He just licked the man’s face trying to get him to move," said Quinones.

As horrified commuters watched an employee of the MTA shouted down to Cecil who by now was sitting upright on the tracks not to move and to lie down in the trench between the tracks.

The train, whose driver had seen the two slammed its breaks on and then rolled two carts over Orlando and Cecil.

The train's motorman slowed the subway cars while witness called for help. Cecil and Orlando were not struck by the train and only Cecil suffered a gash to his head - presumably from the fall.

Cecil said he was astonished by the help from emergency crews and bystanders on the platform.

"Everyone was screaming, everyone was shaking in horror. We heard someone on the other side scream he’s fine, he’s alive!" said student Ashley Prenza to the New York Post.

"It was a big relief for everyone."

FDNY Capt. Danny O’Sullivan, a 17-year FDNY veteran told the New York Daily News someone must have been watching out for Williams and Orlando.

"We checked out under the train and found that he was not trapped; he was just in between the rails. It must have been a lucky day for him. This definitely is a miracle."


Thanks: Blind man Cecil Williams (L) speaks about his guide dog Orlando as his partner Cynthia holds the leash during a press conference in New York December 18, 2013.

Emotional: Blind man Cecil Williams pets his service dog Orlando as he is hugged by police officer Anthony Duncan (left) following a press conference in New York December 18, 2013.

Blind man Cecil Williams speaks to the press with his service animal Orlando by his side in New York December 18, 2013. Williams fell on the subway tracks with Orlando even as the dog tried to pull him away.

Best friends: Blind man Cecil Williams speaks about his service dog Orlando during a press conference in New York December 18, 2013.

                                              Thankful: "The dog saved my life," Williams said, his voice breaking at times

Man and his friend: Cecil Williams pets his guide dog Orlando in his hospital bed following a fall onto subway tracks from the platform, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, in New York.

Thanks buddy: Williams, of Brooklyn, has been blind since 1995, and Orlando is his second dog. The lab will be 11 on Jan. 5, and will be retiring soon.

Slight injury: Williams, 61 and blind, says he fainted while holding onto his black Labrador who tried to save him from falling.

Tough day: Cecil Williams, 61, told The Associated Press from his hospital bed that he was on his way to the dentist during the morning rush hour when he felt faint on the 125th Street platform.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blind Man Falls on Subway Tracks with Service Dog - They Both Survive

A blind man and his loyal service dog fell from a subway platform in Harlem Tuesday morning and together ducked beneath an arriving train without a second to spare, suffering little more than a laceration between them.

Orlando, a black Lab, stood by Cecil Williams in the railbed after the 60-year-old Brooklynite fainted and tumbled off of a northbound A train platform at the 125th St. station.

Williams was dazed. The train was quickly rounding the corner into the station and transit flagman Larmont Smith was screaming for him to lie down in the trough between the rails.

“I only had seconds,” Smith told the Daily News. “I yelled, ‘Put your head down! Put your head down!’ I don’t think he heard me the first two times, but after the third time, he put his head down.”

Then, and only then, did Orlando do the same — just in time to dip under the lead car, Smith said.

“One more second, he would have been dead,” Smith said, still amazed by Orlando’s instincts and devotion.

Orlando had tried to prevent Williams from falling when the blind man grew faint while waiting on the platform at about 9:30 a.m. He was en route to the dentist.

When Williams fell, Orlando went with him onto the tracks. Williams was laying in the railbed with his head up. Straphangers screamed and yelled and summoned help. The train was coming — fast. Orlando wouldn’t leave Williams’ side.

“The dog was sitting right in front of him, kind of like he was guarding him,” said Smith, a 15-year Metropolitan Transportation Authority veteran who happened to be working at the station on Tuesday morning and was alerted to Williams’ plight by a straphanger.

“I give that dog a lot of credit,” added Smith, 54. “It was incredible. Normally an animal,
or another human being, would run. That dog stayed right there.”

Williams suffered mere bruises and a cut to his head during the fall and was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment, authorities said.

“The dog saved my life,” he told The Associated Press from his hospital bed.

“I’m feeling amazed,” he said, stopping at times as he spoke with a reporter, clearly overcome by emotion.

“I feel that God, the powers that be, have something in store for me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.”

Orlando was unhurt and still by his master’s side at the hospital.

“It’s a miracle!” Williams’ girlfriend, Cynthia, told The News as she took Orlando for a walk outside St. Luke’s late Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s doing great. He’s feeling fine,” Cynthia, who would only give her first name, said of Williams. “He’s resting. He’s under observation right now.”

Williams said the Labrador retriever, who will turn 11 on Jan. 5, will have to be put up for adoption soon because his insurance will no longer cover the cost of caring for the dog. Williams said that if he could afford it, “I would definitely keep him.”

Williams remembers little about the remarkable drama that unfolded after he fell from the platform, but told the AP he does remember Orlando trying to pull him back from the platform edge.

“He just remembers falling and somebody calling him and that’s basically it; he doesn’t remember much else,” Cynthia said.

Williams said he does not know why he lost consciousness, but added that he takes insulin and other medications.

Witness Danya Gutierrez, 19, who was on the opposite platform, told The News: “I heard him say, ‘Oh, no!’ and I saw him fall into the train tracks with his dog . . . Everyone was screaming and running around to find an MTA employee.”

As the train bore down on Williams and Orlando, some straphangers turned their heads, unable to bear what seemed like a tragedy in the making. “I was in horror,” Gutierrez said. “I screamed. Everyone in the station screamed.”

But after a few moments, someone yelled in amazement. “He’s fine! He’s alive,” the person cried out, said Gutierrez.

Straphangers signaled to the motorman with their hands as the train rounded the corner, and the motorman pulled the emergency brake, but it was not enough to stop the train before it reached Williams and Orlando.

Williams said that his first memory after the fall is of emergency responders reaching him underneath the train, after cutting off power to the third rail.

FDNY Capt. Danny O’Sullivan, a 17-year department veteran who was among the rescuers, said that when emergency officials arrived, Orlando was already back on the platform.

“We checked out under the train and found that he was not trapped; he was just in between the rails,” said O’Sullivan, who is assigned to Engine Co. 37. “It must have been a lucky day for him. This definitely is a miracle.”

Williams was placed on a backboard and in a neck brace. “We lifted him up onto the platform, we treated him for a laceration to his head, and we turned him over to EMS,” O’Sullivan said, amazed.

Orlando’s feat showed the pooch is the Wesley Autrey of the canine world. Six years ago, Autrey made international headlines by jumping down onto the railbed and lying on top of teen Cameron Hollopter as a No. 1 train passed over them in Manhattan. Hollopter had had a seizure and fell onto the tracks at the 137th St./City College station.

So far this year, 144 riders have been hit by subway trains, and 52 have died, according to the MTA. Since 2001, an average of 134 people a year have been hit by subway trains, and 49 people on average have died, records show.

The News reported exclusively on Thursday that the MTA is about to start testing “intrusion detection” systems which would alert train operators when someone is on the tracks. The four technologies being tested involve motion-detection sensors, radio frequencies, thermal-image cameras and an “intelligent video” computer program designed to recognize when someone has left the platform.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 contends the MTA could save lives immediately by telling motormen to reduce speeds when entering stations.

“The ability to stop is an important factor in saving people’s lives, and that should be a priority for the MTA,” said Local 100 Vice President Kevin Harrington.

Orlando's Job
He's a dog that did exactly what he was trained to do, a veteran trainer told the Daily News.

Orlando, a black Lab, is being hailed a hero for sticking by Cecil Williams’ side when the 60-year-old Brooklyn man fainted Tuesday and tumbled on the subway tracks in Harlem.

“It sounds like it was an attempt on the dog’s part to help him in any way he could.

That’s what they’re trained to do, to protect the owner from what the dog perceives as a danger,” said Beth Hollier, who trains guide dogs for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

Guide dogs go through up to three years of training, starting as pups, before being put to work. “They learn to cross streets, not walking off the edge of anything, negotiate sidewalks,” said Hollier.

 Cecil Williams pets his guide dog Orlando in his hospital bed after he fainted and fell onto the subway tracks Tuesday in at the 125th St. station in New York.

MTA workers shouted for Williams and Orlando to lie down in the subway track bed, sparing them from being hit by the train.

    Orlando, who is being hailed a hero, did exactly what he was supposed to, a veteran trainer told The News.

                                        Emergency workers respond to the A train platform at the 125th St. station.

                           Williams and Orlando managed to put their heads down just seconds before the A train arrived.

                                                          FDNY rescuer Danny O’Sullivan called it a 'miracle.'

                                      Orlando, a black Labrador retriever, would not leave Williams’ side after he fainted.

                                                Hero MTA worker Larmont Smith yelled for victim to get down.

                                                            Williams is recovering in hospital after his near-miss.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Buy Puppies from Pet Stores!

With the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping in full swing, we know you’re busy. But if you have a second, we could really use your help. This week, we launched our holiday campaign focusing on puppy mills and why you should never, ever shop at any pet store that sells puppies.

You see, most pet store puppies come from puppy mills—you know, those huge, factory-like breeding operations where dogs live in horrible conditions and never receive love. Every time you buy anything from a pet store that sells puppies, you’re actually supporting this very cruel industry. We made a one-minute video that explains how:

We think our video has a really great message and we’d love for it to go viral. That’s where you come in. After you watch our video, please share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and kindly ask them to share it, too. Be sure to use the hashtag #AdoptDontShop. We’re counting on you to help us reach millions of people with this important message.

Also, if you’re really into helping end puppy mills, sign up for a chance to win a free ASPCA Puppy Mill Advocacy Pack. It contains all sorts of cool gear, including a puppy mill message tote, a puppy mill message tee and more!

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Washington Humane Society: When Music and Advocacy Meet: Interview with Doug Ratner

Sharing from: The Washington Humane Society

By: Bethe Almeras, WHS volunteer and guest blogger

To read her story, click here:  When Music and Advocacy Meet: Interview with Doug Ratner

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Visit my blog! The News Whisperer, An informative blog of what's going on in your world today!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

T-Shirts by Doug Ratner - "I'd Rather Be With My Dog" - (Doug Ratner & The Watchmen)

My friend Doug Ratner...come on you know the name and the music! Doug Ratner & The Watchmen, has just launched his new company, "I'd Rather Be With My Dog", a line of T-Shirts with some of your favorite breeds. Currently available are: Beagle, Bulldog, Black Lab, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd and Dachshund.

From Doug:
Check out the shirts, read about the charities, check out the blogs, and tell us what you think and remember that every single one of YOU played a little part in inspiring me to launch this new company.  Check them out HERE! 

                                              Check out these cool T-Shirts...and order your favorite!


                                                                 German Shepherd

                                                                    Golden Retriever


                                                                        Black Lab

Dachshund  - *IMPORTANT: Dachshund T-Shirts are in production! Pre-order now! They will be able to be shipped by 10/14/13*
They have just released a new music video for the Washington Humane Society!

Did you see my baby, Jonas in the video!

About: Doug Ratner & The Watchmen

Doug Ratner & The Watchmen have covered a lot of ground in a pretty short space of time. If rock n’ roll and the highway make a perfect marriage, the power trio out of Longmeadow, Massachusetts has spent the last year-and-a-half on its honeymoon.


                                                                    Doug and his favorite girl...Trudy!

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Visit my blog! The News Whisperer, An informative blog of what's going on in your world today!