Courtesy Small Paws Rescue
Three legs are as good as four for Safari.

How Did I Miss That? Canine Rescue; Firefighting

Steve Russell

In the picture above, meet Safari, now called Sammy. He’s a “tripod” (note the missing hind leg) and he has been named Rescue Dog of the Year by a Tulsa nonprofit called Small Paws Rescue. From the middle of what was Indian Territory, Small Paws has become one of the most active dog rescues in the country.

Why “rescue” dogs and why would they need rescuing? For most Native traditions, it’s taken for granted that non-human animals live for their own purposes and are owed the same regard between species that we assume between nations. Dogs might get neglected, but actively doing them harm is unthinkable. Rescuing dogs, you see a lot of active harm done by humans.

Christians have a theological difference about the dominion over animals conferred on humans in Genesis. Some hold that it’s a blank check to use and abuse while others claim it imposes a duty of stewardship. Rescuers practice the latter.

I discovered dog rescue when I was chasing tenure at Indiana University under the dictum, “Publish or perish!” Tracy had time on her hands.

She made a niche for herself combing the animal shelter for pure bred dogs, or dogs she could claim were pure bred. Strays don’t have papers. She would contact the breed rescue group and get an agreement to take the dog and sometimes dogs would stay with us until transport could be arranged.

This is how I first encountered a bichon frise. Well groomed, bichons are white and fluffy, but they don’t have to live on the street long to look pretty rough. I’ve always kept dogs, but I was prejudiced against bichons. To me, they were “foo-foo dogs,” good for decoration only, not serious---starting with the name shortened from the French, Bichon à poil frise.

The name means “curly lap dog.” I was used to scent hounds, sight hounds, retrievers, herders, terriers—dogs with a job. I now see the upside to companion animal breeding. The sweet disposition of bichons is legendary and it remains through horrible maltreatment.

Small Paws is the largest breed rescue group in the U.S., with over 800 volunteers. In the last 16 years, it has saved over 10,000 bichons, some seriously injured—which brings me to the 2016 Rescue Dog of the Year.

Rescue dogs always get a name to help sell them. The dog named Safari was hit by a car and his need for substantial veterinary care would normally be a death sentence. By the time Small Paws was notified, the broken hind leg was not operable and Safari was in a great deal of pain.

Thousands of dollars later, the leg was removed and Safari was groomed into what Small Pawsers call “a fluff.” Last weekend, Safari appeared at the 18th Annual Bichon Bash in Tulsa and wagged his tail when honored as Rescue Dog of the Year.

Safari was ready to be put up for adoption, but that never happened. One of the people present got a case of love at first sight and whipped out the nominal adoption fee. Safari acquired a new name, Sammy, and a new home.

In other tripod news, KXAN reported that Pirate, who lost a leg to a trap eleven years ago, is having some discomfort in his old age. Theodore Moldenhauer, who teaches engineering at Connally High School in Austin, assigned his students to design mobility aids for Pirate.

Three designs the kids created appeared workable, so they will all be produced on a 3D printer so Pirate can pick the one he likes.

Also this week, CNN reported that Meridian, Idaho bestowed its “Hometown Hero Award” on Jaxon, an 11 year old pug, for alerting his humans to a house fire in time to save the house.

Mikaela Sebree, the lady of the house, said that Jaxon has a “someone’s at the door” bark and a “Holy crap!” bark, and it was the latter that led to flames shooting from an electrical outlet.

Meridian Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer presented Jaxon with a probationary firefighter badge on top of the Hometown Hero recognition.

Turning to humans with less regard for animals, HuffPost reported from the trial of Ammon and Ryan Bundy for armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon that Ammon Bundy is about to testify in his own defense. He claims the judge otherwise won’t let him try to prove that the federal government has no authority to operate a wildlife refuge.

As I’ve reported before, the party with grounds to complain about the existence of the wildlife refuge would be the Northern Paiutes. The Paiutes and the park rangers have come to agreements that satisfy both, so the Paiutes have expressed no interest in litigation to shut down the wildlife refuge.

Another occupier, Brand Nu Thornton, testified that if the park rangers had showed up the occupiers planned to “get out of the way and let them go to work.”

Prosecutors have presented, so far, 22 long guns, 12 handguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition confiscated from the occupiers. My cousin Ray Sixkiller speculated that they planned to hunt for food “and expected the food to shoot back.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Forsyth County teacher’s aide Jane Wood Allen was fired for a discussion on Facebook where she several times referred to Michelle Obama as “a gorilla.” Earlier, an official with the Georgia Department of Education, Jeremy Spencer, “resigned under pressure” after posting a photo of a lynched black man in a discussion about President Barack Obama with the caption, “Only one way to solve the problem…”

Cousin Ray claimed he could think of at least one more way to solve the problem.

The Trump campaign produced a viral video when The Donald visited the International Christian Academy in Las Vegas, provoking a child on the soundtrack to observe, “See? I told ya his hair wasn’t orange.”

“Easy to see,” Cousin Ray snickered, “when you compare his hair to his skin.

The vice presidential debate took place in the electronic equivalent of an empty room, so the departures by VP nominee Mike Pence from the Trump platform will be little noticed. Between Pence and Trump, there was lots of daylight but the big deal was Pence interfering with the flowering bromance between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Trump wants to befriend Putin; Pence wants to confront Putin. Trump wants to ignore Bashar al-Assad; Pence wants to deploy military force against Assad.

Time published a summary of the recent wave of “clown hysteria.” It started in August with reports from South Carolina that clowns were trying to lure children into the woods. Clown hysteria spread to at least two dozen states.

Alabama charged seven people with making terrorist threats involving “clown-related activity.” Hundreds of students at Penn State organized a clown hunt. I am not informed whether they carried torches and pitchforks. Other schools were on clown sighting lockdown in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Texas.

This week, things got so dicey for clowns that horror writer Stephen King, who created the evil clown Pennywise in It, was trying to dial back clown fears on Twitter:

Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria--most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.

“Shucks,” Cousin Ray said, “I thought ‘clown hysteria’ was about the presidential election.”

Contrary to Trump’s speech on the campaign trail, The Detroit Free Press reported that Ford is going to bring back the Bronco--- and the big SUV will be built in Michigan. Cousin Ray was wondering if O.J. Simpson is planning a low speed prison break?

Mashable reported that Lukas Yia has ramped up his job search by pretending to be a delivery service bringing a box of doughnuts. In addition to the doughnuts, the box contains Yia’s résumé. His profession

HuffPost ran a pic of an itemized statement from an Intermountain Healthcare hospital in Provo, Utah, that charged the new mother $39.35 to hold the baby. It was itemized as “skin to skin after C-SEC” and a hospital rep told HuffPost the reason for the charge is they had to bring another staffer into the room to “ensure the safety of both the mother and the child.”

The proud dad declined to criticize the hospital, but after he quit laughing he put the baby holding fee up for crowdfunding. He quickly raised $60.

“Wow,” Cousin Ray exclaimed. “That’s almost enough money to allow his wife to hold the baby again!”

Navajo Times reported on allegations by Water Protectors at the Red Warrior Camp in North Dakota that their on line posts—including real time video---are being censored by Facebook. There was no word on Facebook’s position when the Times had to publish so this has not been sorted out yet. Stay tuned.

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