Historic Scottish Vote

Will the people of Scotland vote to become an independent country? Only time will tell as the polls are closed!

Even animals are getting in on it!

Scottish Terrier wearing a Yes bandana:
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(Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

Llama by a Yes sign in a field:
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(Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

More dogs, one wearing a Union Flag and the other the Scottish Saltire:
SCOTLAND-POLITICS
(Russell Cheyne/Reuters)

Good luck to Scotland no matter the outcome, it is amazing to see a people mobilize to vote for what matters to them.

-Cola

You can see more photos relating to the vote on The Telegraph.

Lassie and Luna at Strut Your Mutt

Sorry for the lack of posts recently! The human took a break due to the loss of a friend, and we didn’t think it pertinent to write without her. But, we are back with an exciting picture!

Lassie, the Collie of tv and movie fame, and Luna, a Boston Terrier star in the new movie “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” appeared at the Best Friends Animal Society’s fundraising walk Strut Your Mutt in California.

Here are the two dog stars together!
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Luna is making appearances to help promote “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” The movie is about a psychiatrist, Simon Pegg, who is searching for the true meaning and formula for happiness everywhere he can look. Luna is the dog star of the movie. Other human actors are Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno, and Christopher Plummer. “Hector and the Search for Happiness” opens September 19. You can find out even more from the movie’s Facebook page.

Lassie is out and about making appears to reestablish her name and prominence in the public eye. The human is dictating another post all about Lassie’s return which will be on FT in the near future.

Strut your Mutt is a fundraising event that happens all over the country to raise money for local shelters and rescues to help homeless dogs and cats. It was awesome to have two famous dog stars make an appearance for a good cause!

– Cola and Fizz

Goodbye Robin Williams

robinwilliams

He brought so much laughter to the world, and he is missed by so many. Depression is a heavy burden. Even those who seem to have it all together, making others laugh, can really be hurting on the inside. May his sad passing help others who are depressed know that even though they may feel alone, they are not. There are so many people who want to help – family, friends, and even medical professionals. If you are in the US, and feel you have no one to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Goodbye Robin Williams, may you rest in peace.

SDCC 2014 My Little Pony Funko Exclusives

Good news to everyone who couldn’t get a ticket to SDCC and is interested in getting the Funko My Little Pony exclusives, there is a chance you can buy them online!

DJ Pon-3
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Spitfire
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Gemini Collectibles, a large Funko seller, has the two listed on their website for $25.99 each: DJ here and Spitfire here.

Last year Amazon had the two SDCC exclusive ponies for sale, but I don’t know if that will happen this year as they are not available there yet. If you are really interested in these two check out Gemini!

– Cola and Fizz

No Triple Crown This Year

Did you watch the disappointing Belmont Stakes race? For another year there is no Triple Crown winner.

Tonalist won:
Belmont-1024x682
(BostInno)

It was clear that California Chrome just didn’t have what it took to make it to the end. He finished a very disappointing 4th. Was it the injury he sustained to his foot? Did he really just not have the power? And more, what of his owner’s attitude on the loss? The first and second place horses were both fresh to the competition and had placed the same way at the last race they both ran on the same course. Sure, it would be quite a different race if no new horses competed for these three races. It is much different to push a horse so much in so few weeks while having them compete with fresh animals who have experienced no such stress. And while that might be a way to see more Triple Crown winners, the sport has never been that way. If a horse can manage with all the stress and competition they are truly worthy of their title but if they only raced only the same horses it would be less of an accomplishment. I think the words of Chrome’s owner have overshadowed Chrome’s actual accomplishments and place a negative light on the whole thing. We must lose with grace and dignity, and it isn’t like Chrome is done earning them money. They are probably set, and Chrome will never be anything less than a champion.

– Fizz

Animal Friendships: Mr. G and Jellybean

Have you seen the news story about the goat Mr. G and the burro Jellybean?

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(Animal Place)

Mr. G and Jellybean were rescued from a neglectful owner in Southern California who kept them in a tiny pen without shade and with little water and food. However, the rescue did not make them happier. The animals were separated and taken to different rescue centers. Mr. G was healthy but perplexed staff when he lied down in a corner of his enclosure and refused to move or eat for six days.

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(Animal Place)

The staff at Animal Place quickly realized that he was grieving the loss of his female friend Jellybean and decided to do something about it. One of their volunteers drove for hours to retrieve Jellybean from the rescue center she was at and brought her to Mr. G. The goat instantly brightened up, acted excited, and soon began to eat again. Watch the video below to see how excited the friends were to be reunited. Mr. G and Jellybean will never be separated again!


(Animal Place/First Spark Media)

This story demonstrates that animals do form friendships, or at least bonds strong enough to deserve to be called friendship. Mr. G was willing to go without food, possibly to starve to death, over losing Jellybean. I admire the animal sanctuary workers who took it upon themselves to make the situation right and reunite the pair.

Animal Place is a sanctuary in California that rescues farm animals from all types of farming situations (which they house and/or adopt out) and to educate the public about these animals and their needs. They have a 600 acre sanctuary in Grass Valley CA and a 60 acre animal shelter in Vacaville CA. The sanctuary in Grass Valley is a forever home for rescued animals and a great place to visit. You can go see the approximately 300 animal residents and learn about what happens to many animals in the farming industry (they do promote a vegan lifestyle, so be aware that they don’t support animal farming in any way for food). The animal shelter in Vacaville is called Rescue Ranch and there they rescue, rehabilitate and then re-home farm animals. They focus on chicken rescue by working with egg farmers to provide a life for chickens after they stop laying instead of slaughter for meat. This shelter is not open to the public. Animal Place fits into a unique place to help animals that previously had few supporters. Check out their website for more information or pay them a visit if you live in or will be near Grass Valley CA.

-Fizz

Dolphin Tale 2

Dolphin Tale 2, the sequel to the first movie about Winter the tail-less dolphin, will be in theaters September 19, 2014!

Dolphin_Tale_2_Movie_poster
(wikipedia)

Here is the preview:

Another Dolphin Tale movie?!? The first movie was very inspiring, and I expect the same of the second. The original featured the story of Winter the dolphin who lost her tail, the people who went to great lengths to save her, and those who were inspired by them all.

Dolphin Tale 2 will also have Winter in it, but will feature the story of another rescued baby dolphin named Hope. Both were rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and both can be visited there! It is also the principle filming location for the dolphins. Winter played herself in the first Dolphin Tale and will return for the sequel. Hope will also play herself in the upcoming movie. More amazing still, Hope came to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during the wrap up of the Dolphin Tale movie. She was injured and separated from her mother, found in same area where Winter was previously discovered.

Here is Winter without the prosthetic tail designed specifically for her:
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Here she is wearing the new tail:
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(Barcroft Media)

And here is Hope with Winter – Hope is the one with a full tail:
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(DEMASKE/Times)

I am really looking forward to seeing this movie!

If you live anywhere near Clearwater or are going their for vocation maybe consider visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to visit these two dolphins!

– Cola

Also, if you have not seen the first Dolphin Tale I highly suggest it. Inspiring and heartwarming.

Cloning Your Pet

If money were no object, would you clone your pet? While cost is the most limiting factor at the moment, and it seems only South Korea is providing the service now, as science and technology move forward it will become cheaper and maybe even common place.

We here at FT love pets, LOVE them. People do crazy things for their pets, spending so much money to get them, keep them happy, treat them when sick, and more. But cloning? That may be going too far.

There are so many unknowns. Will the pet act the same way as your old pet? Just because a clone is genetically the same as your old pet does not mean they have the same memories or experiences, will learn the same tricks, or even have the same personality. So much is dependent not on genetics, but on how a pet is treated and what they experience. Therefore, they may never be the “same” as your beloved pet in the way you expect and that could be much more off-putting (and potentially heartbreaking) than actually getting a different pet. Even with all that, would you take the chance to maybe get your pet back or keep the same pet forever?

The story which prompted this post is Britain’s first cloned dog.

Here is “mini Winnie” – the puppy which is a clone of the dachshund dog Winnie:
The-clone-of-Winnie-3390203

Mini-Winnie-3390200

Mini Winnie is a clone of Winnie, a 12 year old dachshund created in a lab in South Korea. Sooam Biotech will clone a pet for 60,000 pounds, or about $100,000 us dollars. Winnie’s owner saw a contest where you could enter to win a clone of your dog, she sent in a video about she wanted Winnie to live on, and everything went from there. The process (very simplified) involved taking a skin sample from Winnie, which was stored in liquid nitrogen and flown to South Korea. Her cells were then transplanted into donor eggs from a different dachshund and electricity was run through them to make them embryos. The embryos were then placed into a surrogate dog womb. Mini Winnie’s owner flew to see her after she was born, but due to quarantine laws Mini Winnie must wait 6 months before flying to Britain. Only time will tell how much Mini Winnie is like Winnie.

The first Winnie:
The-original-Winnie-3390204

— Cola

These pictures are from the original story in the Mirror.

You can read why Winnie’s owner wanted her cloned here.

Goodbye Shadowfax

I just learned today that the horse Blanco, who played Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings, passed away.

Shadowfax

Blanco was a beautiful horse, spirited and willing, truly worthy of the role as Shadowfax the Lord of Horses.

Here is Blanco with his owner Cynthia Royal:
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(Facebook – Cynthia Royal)

If you have never seen LOTR, Shadowfax is the stunning white horse which Gandalf rides. The books describe him as a silvery-grey horse that is the Lord of all Horses, capable of understanding human speech. He was incredibly fast and strong, but so spirited that he could never truly be tamed by men. He was owned by the Lord of Rohan, and eventually given to Gandalf who bonds with the animal and is able to ride him. It is due to Shadowfax’s strength and speed that Gandalf is able to make it to many places in time and through many battles. It is believed that Shadowfax goes with Gandalf across the Sea and into the West.

Below is the letter from Blanco’s owner about his final days and passing:

Dear Family, Friends, Fans and Followers,

Over the past few months, my equine friend, partner, teacher and guide ‘Blanco’ – known around the world for his staring role as Shadowfax in the Lord of The Rings movies – suddenly and without warning fell critically ill. During this time, he required an array of urgent medical care and a lengthy stay in a horse hospital.

A battery of tests were performed which pointed to inconclusive, but none-the-less extremely serious issues with his intestinal tract and liver. To my dismay, this left the exact nature of his illness, as well as the best method of treatment, an illusive guess at best. As a result, a host of supportive therapies – from conventional to alternative – were provided, in addition, to an outpouring of healing energy, prayers and blessings that came in from his fans and supporters all over the world.

While Blanco was in the hospital, my family and I visited him daily, so he would continue to know that he was loved and supported even though he was away from home. Some days, he was distant – a physical shell devoid of the opinionated Blanco I’ve known so well. Other days he would rally as soon as he heard my whistle from afar. On those days we’d go on short walks together, allowing for scratches, hugs and a few nibbles of the green grass on the hospital’s lawn.

One day in particular toward the end of his hospital stay, Blanco returned to his old enthusiastic self, demonstrated by an alert ‘head’s up’ and a loud and joyful whinny to see me. After the hospital staff disconnected him from the IV, he snacked on carrots I’d brought him from home and we went for a long walk around the hospital grounds, even doing a little trotting in unison. When we arrived back at his stall, I told him if he continued to feel better, that we planned to bring him home the following day to continue his rehabilitation there.

Early the next morning, I received a call from one of the many vets overseeing Blanco’s case, informing me that he had taken a turn for the worse overnight and that I should come to the hospital right away. When I approached Blanco’s stall, he was in an obvious state of shut-down and distress – a situation I know well from recent experience with my own life-threatening illness. So, after stepping into his stall, I laid my head on his back and placed my hand over his heart for a few moments of meditative connection. Then, while kneeling down by his side, I asked Blanco if it was his ‘time’. Without a second of hesitation, he turned his head to me, looked me straight in the eye and at that moment, I knew he was ready.

While the decision was made to help Blanco transition, due to safety concerns the hospital had a strict policy of not allowing non-staff to be present during euthanasia. This was something I was simply unwilling to accept, as I knew my duty to to Blanco and our extraordinary relationship would not be complete without being able to be present to support him during this final leg of his earthly journey.

Instead of allowing him to be taken away to an isolated room to die with strangers, they agreed to euthanize him in his stall and allow me to be by his side – as long as I could persuade him to lay down on his own. Although it took several tries and lots of encouragement due to his severely weakened state, Blanco gave me the gift by laying down for me one last time in response to my gentle request. Although my heart was breaking, as my final gift to him, I stayed strong, balanced and focused, gently repeating, “Relax Blanco. Let go. Walk into the light. Relax and let go” as the Blanco I’ve known so well and loved so deeply slipped away.

While this leg of Blanco’s journey has passed and my heart still aches, I will live in peace knowing we gave our all to aid in his recovery. We spared no effort nor expense, even though doing so in conjunction with the on-going expenses of my own health challenges has placed an additional financial burden on my family.

So, if seeing Blanco in the movies or in one of our many videos, clinics or appearances has touched your heart or inspired you in any way, I invite you to make a donation in memory of Blanco that will help us pay for his extensive medical care. In doing so, your show of support will mean Blanco’s message that we have love and compassion not only toward our horses, but with each other, will truly come full circle.

In gratitude ~ Cynthia Royal and family

Vet care for horses is very expensive. If you feel so called, you can help donate to Blanco’s medical fund here.

Goodbye Blanco! We here at FT miss you!

– Cola and Fizz

Lexus Project

Time for a controversial topic readers!

Have you seen the story of little Kevin Vincent? He was mauled by a pit bull, named Mickey, in the face receiving a broken eye socket, jaw and cheek bone and will need lots of reconstructive surgery. Mickey was kept outside on a chain, and the child picked up a bone by the dog while not being properly watched by his baby sitter. The response to the story was something interesting – while there was support for the child so many people wanted to save the dog from being put down. People went on social media and expressed support for the dog, there were vigils for the dog, and petitions to put the dog down received little attention.

Mickey
mickey
(AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Schennum)

Here is where the Lexus Project comes in it. It is a nonprofit organization which comes to the legal aid of dogs who are accused of vicious attacks against humans and other animals, helping to save them from being sentenced to euthanasia in court. They claim to have saved more than 100 dogs from certain death. They also aid animals that are in kill shelters, and those facing euthanasia simply because of a shelters breed policy (like for pit bulls). The project began back in 2009 when they saved a grey hound named Lexus, who killed a Pomeranian puppy in a park while off leash, from doggie death row.

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With the intervention of the Lexus Project, Mickey has been saved from being killed. Instead the judge ordered that the dog be neutered, defanged, and microchipped.

The Lexus Project is trying to find a rehabilitation shelter for Mickey. Can he be rehabed? It is cruel to defang a dog? And does removing the fangs prevent any future damage the dog could do if it bites another child?

Only time will tell for Mickey, but below are a couple other dogs which have been saved by the Lexus Project and how they are doing now:

Sheba
140_Sheba
This white shepherd and husky mix attacked a dog while off leash. Even though the other dog lived and recovered, the town attorney wanted her killed. She was saved, and when her family could not keep her was moved to a sanctuary. After observing her, it was thought Sheba might be a wolf hybrid and went a facility for such hybrids and is enjoying a very happy life.

Sheba’s case shows the need to understand mixed breeds and the different needs of dogs who are mixed with wolves.

Brooklyn
brooklyn
Brooklyn is a stafford hire mix who bit a child that fell on him. After being seized from his owner and spending a year in a facility waiting for some type of decision the Lexus Project arraigned for the dog’s release. It was discovered that Brooklyn was deaf and did not hear the child coming. The dog is now being worked with so he can be safely rehomed with someone who understands a special needs dog.

Brooklyn’s case is one of an owner who did not understand their dog’s medical condition, and that need for an educated or experienced future owner.

Alexi
alexi1_0
This German Shepherd was rescued from a kill shelter, neutered while still under a healthy weight for surgery, and then placed with a foster who was perhaps not careful enough. The bio for this dog was written with a lot of bias in Alexi’s favor, but what is said of the situations is enough to explain why he reacted the way he did. Alexi was taken to a dog park a day after surgery in a new place which put him under too much stress, he then had a fight with the foster’s other dog at home when he just had too much the very next day. The foster attempted to break up the fight and was bitten. Alexi was again going to be put down but with intervention from the Lexus Project he was freed and is under going training from an elite German Shepherd trainer. After this he will be placed in with a GS educated owner.

Alexi’s story shows the need to really observe your pets for signs of stress and introduce new situations slowly under safe conditions. It also serves as a reminder to not go into the middle of a dog fight.

Discussion Time:
Should “dangerous” dogs who have mauled or killed someone, especially a child, be saved?

Of course circumstances are the most important consideration. But, can anyone be sure a dog which killed a child won’t get into a situation in which it can happen again? Where is it safe enough to keep such dogs? I know dogs aggressive towards other animals can be placed in homes with knowledgeable owners who can keep them away from others, but dogs who have hurt children?

It is also important to remember in cases involving children that it can seem like animal lives are valued over a human life in a society that is so sensitive (or often insensitive) to life issues. So many innocent and good dogs are put down in kill shelters every day simply because there are too many dogs without homes, and yet so much has to be done to “save” one aggressive dog. To say the least, wanting such dogs to live is controversial.

Most aggressive dogs are only that way because of owners who do not know enough, are abusive/cruel, or are careless. Dogs know no better, and they follow their instincts. Children should always be monitored around dogs and every step should be taken by an owner to understand their animal and do what needs to be done to keep everyone/every animal as safe as possible. In an ideal world, no dog attacks would happen.

Even more importantly, the people involved should be prosecuted too. Nothing will be solved, even if a “dangerous” dog is killed, if the people responsible can continue to abuse or mishandle other dogs or their children/themselves. This is true not only for the specific owners involved, but also for other people out there who read the story. Nothing is learned if the final and only answer is to put the dog down. So much can be learned all around if those who treat their dogs so badly that they lash out at other people/children/animals are either not allowed to keep dogs or be educated and checked up on. What about those who allow a child to play near a dangerous animal, or allow an aggressive dog off leash at a park? People need to understand proper ownership, and that when things like this happen that there are consequences.

What do you guys think? Is the simple solution killing the animal, prosecuting owners, maybe both? Is there more that can be done to educate owners and prevent dog attacks? Have you ever been bitten? Do you have any personal stories of dogs successfully rehabilitated after aggressive behavior?

— Fizz