Before 24-year-old Margaret Hays and her girlfriends fled their cabin, as the ship Titanic began its descent to the sea floor, she made sure to take one treasured possession: Lily her Pomeranian.
Standing on deck - 100 years ago on Saturday - they put on their lifejackets before boarding the lifeboats. One passenger commented, "I suppose we ought to put a life preserver on the little doggie too."
When Hays stepped into the lifeboat she held tight to her ball of fluff wrapped in a blanket. The two would both survive the most storied maritime disaster in history.
In the annals of Titanic lore, few know that 12 dogs boarded Titanic at Southampton that April day in 1912. Of those, miraculously, three would live.
The dogs of Titanic are featured in an exhibit, RMS Titanic: 100 Years, that opened this week at the Widener Art Gallery at Widener University in Chester.
"Not a whole lot is known about the dogs," said exhibit curator J. Joseph Edgette, professor emeritus of education and folklore at Widener and a Titanic scholar. "All belonged to first class passengers. When the rich and famous traveled they took their dogs with them."
Since dogs were considered cargo there was no official list of those on board. Edgette - from his extensive research into the personal papers of passengers - created his own "pet manifest" listing the dogs, their names, breeds and owners.
All of the objects in the exhibit come from Edgette's personal collection, including the photograph of the group of Titanic dogs on the deck above, that was taken by passenger Father Francis Browne, a Catholic priest.
Browne captured the few surviving images of the voyage and took the only known photographs of the ship's grand interior, Edgette said. "The Kodak company was to take pictures of Titanic's interior when it arrived in New York," he said.
There were 100 passengers from Philadelphia aboard Titanic of whom 78 survived. Among those who perished were George Widener his son Harry, and William Dulles, an attorney and horse breeder, whose fox terrier, Dog, also went down with the ship.
Among the other canine passengers was the Airedale, Kitty, who belonged to financier John Jacob Astor. Neither she nor her master survived.
Other artifacts on display include original newspapers, replicas of Titanic's silver service, a newly-issued anniversary replica of a Stieff "mourning bear," just like those given to the families who lost children. There is even a vintage embalming table to show how the victims were treated on the rescue ship, Carpathia.
There is a section on how the lost passengers were memorialized, most often, given their station in life, that meant with ornate mausoleums. (Edgette regularly gives Titanic themed cemetery tours at Laurel Hill in Philadelphia and New York's Woodlawn and Greenwood where many passengers are buried.)
Edgette says one popular Titanic dog story is not true.
Capt. Edward Smith's dog, Ben, was not on board the ship when it sank. In fact, Ben did spend the night before aboard Titanic in the captain's quarters. But because he was a recent gift of Benjamin Guggenheim to Smith's daughter, he was taken to the Smith's home in Southampton before the ship sailed.
"There is such a special bond between people and their pets. For many, they are considered to be family members,” Edgette said. “I don’t think any Titanic exhibit has examined that relationship and recognized those loyal family pets that also lost their lives on the cruise.”
The exhibit runs through May 12.
A dog that was being choked by a telephone cord unwittingly called British emergency services as he thrashed around to get free, summoning the help that saved him from strangulation.
The dog – a basset hound named George - got into trouble when he knocked the phone to the floor and the cord wrapped around his neck, The Sun newspaper reported.
In his struggles, the 2-year-old dog somehow dialed 999, the British emergency hotline.
The emergency operator could only hear sounds of heavy breathing and gasping on the line, and police were dispatched to the West Yorkshire location. As officers were preparing to break in the door, neighbor Paul Walker opened it with a spare key the animal’s owner had left him.
Walker and police searched the house frantically. It was Walker who found the distressed dog and freed him. George was “absolutely terrified,” Walker told the Sun.
“When the police came into the room and realized what had happened they burst out laughing,” he added.
George’s owner, Lydia Brown, 18, said the dog was lucky his paw hit the dial the way it did. She described the pooch as “not usually very smart.
“He’s really dopey,” she said, “and just likes to chew socks.”
Doesn’t everyone just love a cute, cuddly pet…polar bear?
Horror stories of wild-animals-turned-adorable-house-pets suddenly attacking their owners doesn’t seem to phase 60-year-old Canadian Mark Dumas, who has raised the polar bear, Dawn, since she was six weeks old. The Canadian clearly shares a loving relationship with his large pet, as he affectionately accepts kisses on camera.
What are some of the duo’s favorite pastimes, you might ask? Wrestling in the backyard, swimming in the pool, and a good old game of chase and be chased.
Let’s just hope that predator instinct doesn’t kick in
KINGMAN - A Prescott Valley woman was bitten Monday by a coati, a member of the raccoon family, which she had been apparently keeping illegally as a pet. The animal attacked the woman, biting and slicing her finger when she tried to take something away from it.
It is illegal in Arizona to take animals out of the wild or to possess restricted wildlife without a permit. Not only had this coati been kept illegally as a pet, it had also been improperly cared for, according to Game and Fish officials. The immature coati was about the size of a large house cat. The tips of the animal's toes had been amputated at or near the last joint to intentionally de-claw it. These inappropriate alterations were performed in a failed attempt to turn a wild animal into a pet.
When the woman voluntarily surrendered the animal to Game and Fish officials, it was wearing a tight red pet harness device that had left marks from what appeared to be nearly constant wear and constriction. The coati had also been neutered. It had been living on an unnatural diet of cold cereal, human baby food, and a milk-based protein drink for domestic pets.
"Wild animals deserve to live their lives in the wild," said Jim Paxon, information branch chief for Game and Fish. "This is a basic tenet of wildlife conservation."
The injured woman readily admitted to medical personnel that the coati had never received a rabies vaccination. When the animal bit her, it broke and sliced her skin, leaving a bleeding wound that required medical treatment. Because the animal had not been vaccinated against rabies and its bite had broken the woman's skin, testing the coati for rabies was necessary.
Many animals in the wild may look tame enough to be pets, but it's important to remember that wildlife is just that - wild.
An investigation by Game and Fish is ongoing.
Police in Des Moines, Iowa are currently investigating Colby Karaidos, a man accused of housing a 3-foot long alligator. Officers found the pet -- along with a dog and infant -- after being called to his home on an unrelated matter.
Could that matter have been Karaidos' recent drug arrest? Or perhaps his occupation?
Oh yeah, he's apparently a cage fighter that goes by the name 'Tha Alligator."
Colby Karaidos told officers he has a license for his pet namesake, but was unable to produce it at the time, reports the Des Moines Register. Josh Colvin of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa told the paper that the state doesn’t give out those licenses to just anyone. Licenses are reserved for those who operate a commercial, scientific or educational enterprise.
Maybe the pet alligator was Karaidos’ mascot?
Even if Tha Alligator has a license, chances are his reptile-owning days are gone forever. Photos indicate that the gator was allowed to wander free. With an infant in the house, this was hardly the safest move.
Granted, Colby Karaidos claims alligators are "friendly pets."
But maybe, for the sake of not attracting child services, he should stick to his other pet — the dog. It may not be a pet alligator, but its name is Gator. And according to Karaidos’ Myspace page, Gator is "no joke."
Police are searching for a woman who stole an expensive puppy from a pet store in Huntington Station Friday.
According to police, an unknown white female walked into Canine Corral, located at 1845 New York Ave., stole a white Bichon Frise puppy, valued at $1,300, from the open pen where the dog was kept. The woman, described by police as being 25-35 years old and heavyset, fled the store with the the puppy in her large handbag. She was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with bold stripes.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential, acording to police. A cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest is being offered by police.
One of the world's biggest pop stars may now be sharing her name with the world's smallest puppy.
Beyonce, a dachshund mix born at the Grace Foundation animal shelter in El Dorado Hills, California on March 8, now measures less than four inches, according to the Sun.
The pipsqueak pup was so small when she was born that she could fit into a spoon.
Now, the NY Daily News reports that Beyonce is about the size of a business card, and can comfortably fit on top of an iPhone. The animal shelter has submitted an application to Guinness World Records on Beyonce's behalf for the title of smallest dog.
If Beyonce wins the title, it will be the culmination of a lucky streak for the diminutive dachshund. When her mother, Casey, was found pregnant and without an owner, Devore Animal Control scheduled the dog to be euthanized. However, they ultimately contacted the Grace Foundation, which agreed to take Casey in, according to CBS Sacramento.
When Casey finally gave birth, Beyonce, the last of five puppies to be born, had no heartbeat and was not breathing. Veterinarians performed heart compressions and mouth-to-mouth, and soon little Beyonce began breathing, the Telegraph reports.
The shelter states that Casey is now healthy and thriving. The pup and her mother and siblings will be up for adoption within the next few weeks, though none of the puppies will be available to take home prior to May 3.
More than 1 in 5 American drivers with a dog in tow let Fido climb into the driver's seat — and some even play fetch
Texting behind the wheel may be the new drunk driving, but it appears we have a furry front in the war on unsafe motoring, too: Keeping dogs off drivers' laps. Driving with an unrestrained pet in the front seat is apparently widespread enough, and dangerous enough, that at least two states — Rhode Island and Tennessee — are considering bans on the practice. Here, a look at the issue of driving while under a dog, and why people are trying to stop it:
How widespread is this problem?
A 2010 survey from AAA has some pretty jarring numbers: 21 percent of drivers who transported their dogs in the last year said they let the pooch ride on their lap, 7 percent said they'd fed or given water to the dog while driving, 5 percent admitted to playing with the dog while driving, and 31 percent said that the dog had distracted them, regardless of where it was in the car.
And it's dangerous?
Yes. An unrestrained 10-pound dog traveling at 50 miles per hour flies forward with 500 pounds of pressure in a crash, and an 80-pound dog at only 30 mph packs a 2,400-pound punch, says AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher. "Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in the vehicle in its path."
But it's legal to drive with a dog in your lap, right?
For now, yes. No state forbids dogs, cats, or other animals from running around freely inside your vehicle. But two states are trying to change that. In Tennessee, a Republican-sponsored bill passed in the House on April 2 and is currently stalled in the Senate. In Rhode Island, a Democrat-backed bill was introduced April 9, and is working its way through the House. "There shouldn't be anything in your lap, whether it be your little pooch or your Great Dane of your wife," Rhode Island bill instigator Suzanne Arena tells WPRO Morning News.
How would Rhode Island and Tennessee punish violators?
Rhode Island dog-driving scofflaws would only get a fine: $85 for the first offense, $100 for a second ticket, and $125 for every violation after that. In Tennessee, driving with a dog in your lap or "between the driver and driver's door" would be a Class C misdemeanor, bringing a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail. But given the risk of injury or death to the dog and driver, "it is clear logic to me that anyone would want to secure an animal in the car," Arena tells WPRO Morning News.
Have other states tried this before?
California's legislature outlawed dogs in drivers' laps in 2008, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it. And South Dakota's Supreme Court sided with police who stopped a woman in 2010 with 15 cats running loose in her car, impounding the cats because they posed a risk to public safety. The woman, Patricia Edwards, didn't even see the patrol car behind her because cats were huddled in her rear window.
Q: My 12-year-old daughter wants a pet bird. Can you recommend what kind? Something that's not too hard to care for, please.
A: Zebra and society finches are the "easy keepers" of the finch group — hardy little guys who'll bring energy and sound into your home.
They're not very expensive to acquire, set up or maintain. Unlike hookbills — budgies, cockatiels and parrots — who need and desire physical interaction, finches will be happiest if you leave them alone. That's really the only downside of having them as a children's pet, by the way: They're not the best choice for a child who wants a hands-on pet experience.
Since finches, unlike other pet birds, are generally always left in their cages, they're a good option for a multiple-pet household. (In most cases, the cage will offer protection from cats.) Still, since predatory pets can be resourceful, you should probably keep finches in a room that you can close off when you're not around to supervise.
Because finches stay in their cages, get the biggest cage you can afford, with bar spacing close enough to prevent escape. Since cage-bound birds need to fly for exercise, choose a cage that's more horizontal than vertical, to give them room to flit from side to side. A reputable bird shop will be able to set you up with everything you need, including healthy finches.
If you've ever had a pet, you've most likely wanted to know what it was thinking about or why it acts the way it does. I was lucky enough to get some of these questions answered when animal communicator Joan Ranquet came to my apartment yesterday to read my new cat Baby, who I've had for just three weeks. Joan got quiet, closed her eyes, and connected with Baby, who was hiding in the closet.
"The first thing she wanted me to tell you, over and over, is 'I'm a really good girl, I'm a really good girl.' Has she been a good girl so far? It's almost like someone didn't think she was good. There was something there that she really needed you to know that's she's a really good girl...and a very cute girl."
I think a lot of people are skeptical about the idea of an animal communicator, and I was too, but I surprised myself by getting emotional during the reading.
Joan: She said that you guys really connected right off the bat. It feels like they were very kind to her, where she was, but she almost got pretty depressed there and there was something about the way that you looked at her. She also feels like it was really good timing for you, that you needed her also.
Rachel: This is really weird! I almost feel like I'm going to cry. I'm so happy that she's here. I've only had her for 3 weeks and I totally love her, like I really love her.
Joan: She loves you too. It's going to make me start crying too. Yeah, it's really really big.
Joan has been communicating with animals for the past 18 years, but she's not a psychic.
"I do telepathy which is the transference of pictures, words and feelings. I would say that I don't have a gift, I think everybody can do this, but I've been really good at honing the skill."
All she really needs is a photo and the answers to a few simple questions.
"I like to find out how old the animal is, who else is in the household and how long they've had the animal."
She can even do readings over the phone with all kinds of animals.
"I've talked to the elephants at the zoo, I take people on dolphin trips and we talk to the dolphins, a lot of horses. Up at Sarvey Wildlife Center, I go up and talk to the eagles."
Joan says she's often contacted by frustrated pet owners who want to know why their cat is peeing on the rug or why their dog is biting the kids. She can help them understand why the animal is behaving that way, and tell them how to change it. But the owner has to do some work.
Joan: The owner has to also participate in rethinking their thoughts. It's good to be careful of your thoughts.
Rachel: So even thinking 'You're a bad cat.' They can read that?
Joan: Oh yeah, that's an easy one. Then they're gonna be like 'Oh boy, here we go again.' or 'Oh yeah? I'll show you bad!'
The only problem I've been having with Baby is that she wakes me up really early in the morning. She walks all over me, she purrs loudly and she wants me to pet her. Joan told me to play with her a lot before bedtime and then tell her, out loud, that we're not waking up until 8 o'clock.
"Just keep telling her that, you know, this is really fun to sleep. I'd really go to sleep with that intention. Make it all about her before you go to bed so that she's tired."
For the past 3 weeks, Baby has woken me up early every single morning. But last night, I did exactly what Joan said to do and I swear to you: for the first time, the cat did not wake me up! She wasn't even on the bed when I woke up, like she always is. Joan told me I could expect some small changes.
"She may be different. She may be more relaxed because now all this is out, how much you love her and how connected you are."
Joan told me that Baby also thinks that she's very cute, that she thinks I'm funny and that she likes the 'cat voice' I use when I talk to her.
Spring hadn't even clocked in a full week before two dogs belonging to friends of mine were bitten by rattlesnakes. Both dogs survived and will recover fully, but the pain was significant – and so was the cost of treatment.
Fortunately, most snakes aren't all that interested in biting; they prefer to hide or skedaddle when faced with a threat. If they can't escape, they'll bite. That's when dogs typically get bitten: They put their noses where they don't belong, and instead of letting a snake slither away, they bother the reptile until it strikes.
Dr. Tony Johnson, a veterinarian specializing in emergency and critical care, spent part of his career practicing in the dry, brushy foothills of Northern California – prime rattlesnake country. In his experience, terriers tended to be bitten more often than other dogs.
"It's almost always dogs and it's almost always terriers," he said. "Cats tend to be more cautious than dogs, and a terrier is more likely to put his nose where it will get him into trouble than many other dogs. And they don't learn from the experience."
What can you do to protect your dog? Here are some tips:
• Keep your dog on leash if at all possible. While that's not possible for working dogs such as search-and-rescue or hunting dogs, it's likely the safest strategy for all others.
• Work with your dog to ensure that he comes when called, so that if you hear or see a snake, you can get your dog away and give the snake room and time to escape.
• Stay on established trails instead of hiking through areas where snakes can hide.
• Don't allow your dog to burrow or otherwise try to tangle with wildlife. If he's looking for trouble, he may find it.
• Consider snake-proofing. Many hunters take their dogs through clinics where professional trainers expose the animals to caged snakes and use electronic shock to establish a negative association. The clinics are controversial, however, because of the use of pain in teaching dogs to fear the reptiles. Balancing risk vs. benefit is an owner's judgment call.
Signs of a bite include puncture wounds from the fangs of the snake, bruising, blood and a rapid swelling as well as severe pain. If you suspect that your dog may have been bitten, end your outing and immediately get to a veterinarian – and call ahead, if at all possible, so the veterinary team can prepare.
Your pet will need emergency veterinary care to address the immediate dangerous of swelling and pain as well as the longer-term challenges, such as dead tissue and infection. Most dogs survive a bite, especially with prompt veterinary care.
"There's nothing you can do in the field to help your dog," said Johnson, "certainly not cutting the wound or sucking the venom out. Just get to the vet."
It's worth asking your veterinarian about vaccines that protect dogs from the venom of some snakes. But really, if you're going to be hiking with your dog in areas that are perfect habitats for snakes, you'll need luck as well as precaution.
And, as always, know where to find a veterinarian when you have to, quickly.
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and journalist Gina Spadafori. The two are also the authors of several best-selling pet-care books. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.petconnection.com. Back columns: www.sacbee.com/spadafori.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A white, mixed-breed dog utters a warning bark at a beige SUV as it pulls up alongside a barn on Mount Gilead Road, a few miles east of Bloomington.
The van stops, and a 30-year-old man climbs out.
"Hey, buddy," the man says, extending his hand. "Remember me?"
The dog, which has an unsightly hump on its surgically repaired back, carefully studies the man. For the past five months, the two of them have been a world apart, separated by an ocean and 7,000 miles. But the dog seems to detect something familiar about the man — his voice, his mannerisms, his scent.
Suddenly, the dog flattens its ears against its head and begins wagging its tail. Then, moving with a noticeable limp, it hobbles over to the man and burrows its snout into his thigh.
"How you doing, Bub?" the man says, scratching the dog behind the ears. "It's good to see you again. You're one lucky dog."
The dog slathers the man's hands with a wet tongue, panting between licks with an open mouth that looks for all the world like a smile. The dog remembers.
In late 2010, Kyle Huttenlocker was in Kabul, Afghanistan, working for a security company hired by the U.S. State Department to protect the U.S. Embassy there.
"There was a stray dog that lived in an alley right behind our camp that we were all very fond of," said Huttenlocker, a Bloomington native who previously spent a year in Iraq as a member of the U.S. military. "We named him Darak after the neighborhood he lived in, which is called Shash Da Darak."
Darak was leading a difficult life — scrounging for food, sleeping on the hardscrabble terrain and running for his life from unfriendly people.
"Afghans don't treat dogs very well," Huttenlocker said. "They throw rocks at them and hit them with sticks. Darak figured out really quickly that we treated him a lot nicer."
Huttenlocker would often take bologna from the dining hall, place it on a white paper plate and give it to Darak — who must have thought he'd died and gone to heaven as he voraciously devoured the meat.
"Darak would hang out with us behind our camp, and bark at the Afghans whenever they walked by," he said. "We were clearly his favorites."
One day Huttenlocker got a phone call from one of the camp's guards, who told him he saw an Afghan motorist intentionally drive his vehicle over Darak. Huttenlocker and some friends rushed to the area and found the terrified dog hiding inside a pipe that ran along the base of a ditch.
"He was scared and in pain," Huttenlocker said. "But we were able to loop a leash around his neck and drag him out. We could tell he was seriously injured because he was dragging his rear legs behind him."
Huttenlocker and his friends pooled their money and gave $400 to a dog rescue kennel in Kabul, which housed Darak for three weeks and gave him some antibiotic shots, but was unable to diagnose or treat his injuries. The kennel contacted the Rescue Puppy Mission, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to help American soldiers bring their furry friends home.
The mission raised more than $4,500 to transport Darak to a veterinary clinic in Pakistan, where he got some cursory care, and then fly him to the U.S. for more extensive treatment.
Three months ago, Huttenlocker's mother, Beth Sherfield, picked up Darak at the Indianapolis International Airport while a television news crew filmed the scene.
"We got home at 1 in the morning, and I quickly realized that he was more than I could handle," said Sherfield, who already has two dogs and six cats. "Cats were probably part of his regular diet in Kabul, so he really went after them. Once I was holding him on a leash, and he pulled so hard I actually fell down."
Sherfield took Darak to a Bloomington veterinarian, who found not only that his spine had been fractured, but his abdomen contained three deeply lodged bullets. She then took him to Wayport Kennels, and hoped a Bloomington family would open their home to a 60-pound dog with a battered body but a sweet heart.
When Steve and Kathy Headley heard Darak's story from a friend, they contacted Sherfield and told her they wanted to adopt Darak.
"We needed another dog like we needed a hole in the head," said Kathy, who along with Steve already had three inside dogs and three inside cats. "But when we heard the story, we couldn't refuse. Because Kyle had gone through all that effort to bring Darak to the U.S., there was no way we weren't going to adopt him."
For the Headleys, the first order of business was paying $4,000 to an Indianapolis veterinary hospital to have Darak's broken spine repaired and the bullets removed.
"He still walks a little funny and has that hump on his back," she said. "But now he can at least use his back legs, and his back right paw is no longer curled up."
Kathy said Darak has adjusted to his new life in America. Still frisky at just one year of age, he loves to fetch plush toys in the Headleys' fenced-in backyard or luxuriate in the lush grass — taking long naps in the warm sunshine. Inside, he's always up for a game of tug-of-war using one of his soft blankets, or a nap in his downy soft doggie bed — perhaps dreaming of the rocky ground in Kabul.
Kathy said Darak gets along well with the family's other dogs, except at dinnertime.
"We have a sweet boxer, Lucy, who Darak allows to eat with him, but he goes after the other two if they get near his food," she said. "He used to go after our cats, but we have a big tomcat, Big Boy, who smacks him on the nose if he comes after him, so he's learning that's not a good idea."
Kathy said Darak is outgoing and sweet-natured, but still has a lot to learn.
"He tends to run into our sliding glass doors," she said. "He's never seen them before."
Huttenlocker is gently stroking the white hair on top of Darak's head. Darak's eyes are closed contentedly and he's panting softly — his tongue hanging sideways out of his open mouth.
Huttenlocker tells Darak he has something special for him. He pulls out a package, opens it, and hands him six slices of Oscar Mayer bologna.
The dog gives the meat a brief sniff. Then it is gone.
Now that her dogs have started modeling, Miley Cyrus is taking extra steps to keep them camera-ready.
"Just gave Lila a blueberry facial," she Tweeted on Sunday, posting a photo of her fresh-faced pooch, who's also received a new wardrobe in recent months. "Doesn't she look purrrrttttyyyy!!!"
A day earlier, the 19-year-old singer caused a stir when she stepped out sporting a serious sparkler on her left hand, prompting rumors that she and Hunger Games beau Liam Hemsworth, who are parents to English bulldog Ziggy, got engaged.
But Cyrus took to Twitter again to deny the buzz. Instead, it seems the singer's best accessory remains her furry family.