Thirty years after Harvey Milk rose to power in San Francisco on the issue of dog poop, a group of irate dog owners met with the Board of Supervisors.
The federal government had threatened to enforce leash laws on federal parkland that the city had originally given to them. Dog owners were beyond angry and the meeting got raucous and out of control.
Federal law prohibits unleashed dogs in federal parks.
A young member of the Board began making particularly impassioned speeches about the rights of citizens and of dogs to roam freely. He threatened to take back from the federal government the land in question.
"This is not Yosemite," Supervisor Gavin Newsom said, "Urban parks are different and should be treated differently."
Whether he was motivated by principles, politics, or pandering, the crowd loved it.
They began chanting: “Gavin. Gavin…”
Two years later Gavin Newsom was elected Mayor of San Francisco, the youngest in modern times. Four years later he was re-elected with 70% of the vote. He is currently Lt. Governor of the state with a campaign in place to run for governor (and beyond).
Dogs have played a big role in San Francisco politics where there are more dog owners than parents of human children.
Two civic leaders---Harvey Milk and Gavin Newsom—rose to power in very different ways in different decades, but it all started with dogs.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the country. He was portrayed by Sean Penn in the Academy Award-winning movie, Milk.
Milk spent his early life in various closets in the East. In 1969, at the age of 39 he came out of the closet, left everything behind, moved to San Francisco, and became an early champion of gay rights.
His early efforts to win an elected office were dismal. He had no money, no organization, no idea of what he was doing.
Then he hit on a common problem that was infuriating many people. The city was filled with dogs who took frequent walks with their self-involved owners. He was quoted as saying “whoever can solve the dog shit problem can be elected mayor of San Francisco, even president of the United States.”
This was the issue that would carry him to prominence.
A little theatrics was in order for his plan to work. He asked members of the media to meet him in a local park to discuss some ideas for legislation. But an hour before they were to meet, he scoped out the park for the largest, juiciest dog turd he could find.
When the reporters showed up, he walked toward the cameras to greet them and stepped on the large turd as if by accident. He was horrified at the way the city was failing to meet the needs of the citizens by not protecting them from these disgusting, smelly incidents.
He, Harvey Milk, was tired of it and was going to do something about it.
His message struck a chord with the people, and Harvey Milk was on his way to election to the Board of Supervisors.
Unlike most major cities, San Francisco has more dogs than children. As a result through the years dog owners have had tremendous political clout.
They are passionate enough to march on city hall, disrupt meetings and fund costly lawsuits over off-leash space. Some have even broken laws when they didn’t get their way. To many of them forcing a dog to wear a leash is restricting not just the dog’s freedom, it is restricting their own freedom.
While in some cities people have been grateful for one or two dog parks, San Francisco dog owners have enjoyed miles and miles of off-leash public areas for many decades.
On the other side are--
non-dog owners, environmental groups, the Audubon Society, nature lovers, bird watchers, families and parents of human children. They don’t want hundreds of unleashed dogs on public land doing what dogs do—dig, bark, poop, chase and kill birds and other wildlife, knock down children, and generally spoil the public area.
The National Park Service plans to limit walking dogs off-leash in Golden Gate National Recreation Area by up to 90 percent and on-leash dog walking by up to 45 percent.
Protesting dog owners with their dogs, many wearing red bandannas, are marching, holding signs that read “Unleash Our Land!” and “Put Feds On A Leash!”
The long-standing, on-going San Francisco dog wars won’t be over for a long time.
As neighborhood fireworks start going off with the start of July, Misty the alpha Poodle explains to the other dogs about taxation without representation, the Boston Tea Party, the Continental Congress, the shot heard round the world, and the Battle at Yorktown.
No matter how logical the explanation is for the celebrating, Chamois, the generic dog, is frightened by the noise in spite of all our efforts.
This year it might be different. For the first time a prescription veterinary medicine developed for dogs to treat anxiety caused by loud noises will be available. Sileo, made by veterinary medicine maker Zoetis, was recently approved for use in the U.S.
Millions of dogs across the country are spooked by fireworks on their least favorite day. They have often jumped out of windows, chewed through doors, and run into traffic in their panic. The busiest day for shelters in the U.S. is July 5, both from frustrated owners surrendering their dogs and from panicked runaways.
Human tranquilizers can cause physical problems in dogs and take days to wear off. But Sileo starts working in 30-60 minutes and lasts for 2-3 hours, the length of a fireworks show or a thunderstorm.*
If you have a dog fearful of loud noises, you might want to check this out with your veterinarian before the big noises start. More information here.
*Misty also explains popular theories on the cause of thunder.
Savannah, Georgia’s baseball team, the “Savannah Bananas” (don’t you love the name? ...the fighting Bananas...Go, Bananas!!) has a new team member who is about the size of home plate.
She was found crying in the stadium parking lot with no tags, collar or microchip. She is about eight weeks old and weighs a little more that a bunch of bananas.
After getting a clean bill of health from the vet, she was adopted by the Savannah Bananas President Jared Orton and his wife, Kelsey.
They have big plans for the puppy they named Daisy. Already she is coming to the stadium office to greet ticket buyers in her public relations role. But eventually she will work in sales and marketing, drawing people to the stadium to buy the cool Bananas merchandise. (Puppies make great sales people.)
She is a little small to be a bat dog, but she is loving her new baseball life even though the balls are too big for her to fetch. No one is sure how big she will grow, but the size of her paws looks like she might be able to handle a Louisville Slugger bat in a few months. If not, she may just coach first base.
She’s eight weeks old now, so she’s maybe a little bit young to start her official duties as bat dog, but hopefully in the next year or so we’ll get her trained up and she can be taking baseballs to umpires, and getting bats off the field, and really having a lot of fun. Source
Sometimes cute mascots are a bigger draw than the baseball team.
Most dogs don’t like being dropped off at doggie day care while the family has adventures without them.
But Riley, an outgoing Golden Retriever from North Carolina, escaped his yard to pop in on his buddies at the Happy Dog Café.
His owner Tonia Mosteller left him in her backyard while she ran a few errands. Riley managed to lift the latch on the gate to make his getaway. You can imagine the surprise when he turned up a mile away without an owner.
Day care owner Teresa McCarter said,
"Someone walked in the door and said 'There's a dog sitting out here waiting to come in.' He knows the way up here because they walk him all the time and he had just decided to put himself in day care that day."
He and Mosteller often walk the mile or so to the day care. He apparently missed his doggie friends and decided to take his fate into his own paws. Was he afraid they would form a clique and leave him out?
His owners have replaced the latch on the gate.
This reminds me of the story of Albert the young Husky who apparently got lonely and dug his way INTO an animal shelter.
Mugly, a Chinese Crested dog, won the World’s Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California in 2012 after winning England’s Ugliest Dog contest.
Yes, Mugly is that ugly -- with his bald, wrinkled body, beady eyes and crooked whiskers.
But the worth of a dog is not measured by cuteness. What he lacks in beauty he makes up for in personality and sensitivity, according to everyone who knows him.
Mugly spent years as a therapy dog helping children learn to read and visiting people with disabilities and learning handicaps. As a celebrity in England with his own web page, he helped raise money for charities.
He is now 12-years-old and retired as a therapy dog, but he has been recognized for his amazing work with humans. Recently he won the 2016 Heroic Hounds award at the National Pet Show in London.
Mugly amazed everyone by always knowing how to react to the people he worked with. When someone was upset he knew how to comfort them.
Life for Mugly didn’t start off very well. He was bred to be sold as a pedigree Chinese Crested, but at just 3-weeks-old his breeder thought the hairless and wrinkled puppy was too ugly to attract a buyer.
Hungry and weak, Mugly was dumped at a rescue center where his life was saved by a Shih Tzu who had given birth to cute fluffy puppies and took Mugly in with her litter.
As a joke a center worker sent his picture to Bev Nicholson who had been looking for a puppy…
”Ha ha I’ve found the dog for you.”
As soon as she saw that tiny bald face on her phone, her heart melted. When Mugly was healthy enough to meet her in London it was love at first sight.
Like all people with ugly dogs, Nicholson sees that “underneath the spots, warts, and crooked whiskers he’s really beautiful with a heart of gold.” Source
Some people criticize the Ugly Dog contests, but what they need to realize is that dogs don’t know they’re ugly. Their feelings aren’t hurt by winning OR losing.
An ugly dog can teach humans so many important lessons.
When I first started this blog there were stories about firefighters saving the family dog by administering CPR--mouth to snout resuscitation. The families were grateful and often the rescuer took some good natured teasing from their colleagues.
Through the years departments have realized how important pets are and have invested in or accepted donations for pet oxygen masks.
Tucson Fire Engineer Scott Oppel, left, and Capt. Bruce Avram, right, rescued a dog that appeared to be completely lifeless from a smoky apartment, officials said.
When they arrived they had found a charred couch, a lot of smoke, but no active fire. While searching the apartment a firefighter found a small dog unconscious in the bedroom. The dog was handed to Capt. Avram who had been trained to use the pet oxygen mask. Along with Engineer Oppel, they administered high-flow oxygen.
Pet oxygen masks are oxygen masks specifically designed coned shaped to fit the muzzles and snouts of dogs, cats and other household pets. They come in three sizes with a large rubber seal at the base of each mask allowing them a snug fit on any size household pet while keeping the jowls closed. Source
What comes in a Pet Oxygen Mask kit
1 Large Pet Oxygen Mask
1 Medium Pet Oxygen Mask
1 Small Pet Oxygen Mask
3 Lengths of standard oxygen tubing
1 First Aid and Pet CPR booklet for use as protocol
1 Laminated Data Card for quick review
2 Vehicle stickers indicating Pet Masks on Board
1 Carrying case
1 Link to online training video for first responders
Kits do not include BVM (Bag Valve Mask) or Oxygen