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Stormy’s Bowl

Wild elephants gather inexplicably, mourn death of “Elephant Whisperer”

Elephant Whisperer

Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 7. His family tells of a solemn procession on March 10 that defies human explanation

For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.

The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7?

Known for his unique ability to calm traumatized elephants, Anthony had become a legend. He is the author of three books, Baghdad Ark, detailing his efforts to rescue the animals at Baghdad Zoo during the Iraqi war, the forthcoming The Last Rhinos, and his bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.

There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death.

“They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.”

Elephants have long been known to mourn their dead. In India, baby elephants often are raised with a boy who will be their lifelong “mahout.”

Meet Lily - Rescued From Starvation, She Now Helps Alzheimer Patients

Alexandra Golaszewksa

Shelter dogs often fall victim to the old stereotype: If it's been returned, there must be something wrong with it. Mixed breeds can have a tough time finding a home because potential owners are unsure of exactly what they're getting, but when the rescue pup has bull terrier in its bloodline, the stigma can be even worse.

The truth is that many rescued mutts, regardless of their breed backgrounds, go on to become incredible pets that are sources of inspiration for their families and everyone they meet. (Benji, the canine movie star, was a mutt that brought happiness to millions.) In honor of National Mutt Day, which raises awareness and encourages adoptions from shelters, and to prove you should never underestimate a puppy with a checkered past, we want to tell you Lily's story.

Near Starvation
We know what you're thinking, but despite her strong build, Lily wasn't rescued from a dog fighting ring. Nor is she the least bit aggressive. This pup's sad story is one of severe neglect. In fact, when Lily was rescued by Pennsylvania SPCA officers, she was on her way to starvation, confined to a yard with two other dogs, including one that had died from lack of food.

Lily's rescue was featured on Discovery's "Animal Cops: Philadelphia" in an episode titled "Dead Dog Denial." As the story goes, Lily's neighbors noticed the dead dog and alerted authorities. Lily's owner claimed she knew nothing about the dead dog in her yard, her neighbors told officers a different story. After an autopsy concluded that Lily's brother had died of starvation, the woman was charged.

Meanwhile, Lily was taken in by PSPCA for treatment and put into its foster program. Though Lily's rescue was dramatic enough in its own right, her rescuers had no idea what bigger and better things were in the skinny pup's future.

A Second Chance
It was through the PSPCA foster program that Lily came to live with her new mom, Alexandra Golaszewska. "When I picked her up, she looked like a black-and-white mutt," Golaszewska tells Paw Nation. "But as she ate more food and got more exercise, her muscles developed. Even the shape of her head changed."

Only then did Golaszewska realize that Lily had some pit bull in her bloodline. However, in stark contrast to her breed's tough-guy stereotype, Lily was quite frail. "She seemed like a dog who probably never got out of her small, fenced-in yard," says Golaszewska. "Her paws were really delicate and got very irritated if we walked even a block on the sidewalk."

Even in the first days at her foster, then forever, home, Lily showed that she was special. "She immediately touched noses with my cat, and wherever I took her she always approached everyone with friendship," Golaszewska explains.

From Rescued to Rescuing
According to Golaszewska, a few friends told her about an upcoming Canine Good Citizen test being held by the PSPCA. Though she thought Lily was probably not ready yet, PSPCA behaviorist Nicole LaRocco encouraged Golaszewska to take Lily as a training exercise. Instead of simply taking notes, Lily amazed her new owner by passing the test on the first try.

Since then, Lily has completed her therapy dog certification and now visits a nearby nursing home regularly. She even has her own Facebook page. The first time Golaszewska took Lily to the nursing home, she witnessed firsthand the powerful effect her therapy pup had on 15 patients in the Alzheimer's ward.

"As soon as we walked into the room, it completely lit up. The patients came to life; they were so happy to see a dog," Golaszewska says. "Lily wags her tail so hard that she looks like she may fall over, which everyone thought was charming, and she toured the room and gave everyone kisses."

Lily's journey from a criminally neglectful home to bringing joy to people at a nursing home makes for an incredible story, but it also illustrates the power rescue pets have to impact and improve our lives. Believe it or not, Golaszewska says she wasn't looking for a dog when she was encouraged by a family member to foster Lily -- but look how that turned out.

Read Paw Nation's article on National Mutt Day and be sure to check out the main site here.

Alaska dog honored for leading troopers to fire

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Buddy the German shepherd was hailed Friday as a hero for guiding Alaska State Troopers through winding back roads to a fire at his owners’ workshop.

Stormy' Memorial“Buddy is an untrained dog who for some reason recognized the severity of the situation and acted valiantly in getting help for his family,” Col. Audie Holloway, head of the troopers, said Friday at a ceremony for the 5-year-old dog, who stood quietly before an adoring crowd.

Buddy, whose good deed was caught on a patrol car’s dashcam video, received a stainless steel dog bowl engraved with words of appreciation from troopers for his “diligence and assistance.”

Buddy also received a big rawhide bone, and his human family got a framed letter documenting his efforts.

“He’s my hero,” owner Ben Heinrichs said, his voice breaking. “If it wasn’t for him, we would have lost our house.”

The dashcam video shows Buddy meeting the trooper’s vehicle, then dashing to their property about 55 miles north of Anchorage on April 4.

Heinrichs said he was working on parts for his truck when a spark hit some gasoline and ignited, lighting his clothes blaze. The 23-year-old man ran outside to stomp out the flames by rolling in the snow, closing the door to keep the blaze from spreading.

Heinrichs then realized Buddy was still inside the burning building and let the dog out. Heinrichs suffered minor burns on his face and second-degree burns on his left hand, which was still heavily bandaged Friday.

Buddy was not injured.

“I just took off running,” Heinrichs said. “I said we need to get help, and he just took off.”

Buddy ran into the nearby woods and onto Caswell Loop Road, where the dog encountered the trooper, Terrence Shanigan, whose global positioning device had failed while responding to a call about the fire. He was working with dispatchers to find the property in an area with about 75 miles of back roads.

Shanigan was about to make a wrong turn when he saw a shadow up the road. His vehicle lights caught Buddy at an intersection, and the dog eyed the trooper and began running down a side road.

“He wasn’t running from me, but was leading me,” he said. “I just felt like I was being led … it’s just one of those things that we’re thinking on the same page for that brief moment.”

The video shows Buddy occasionally looking back at the patrol car as he raced ahead, galloping around three turns before arriving in front of the blaze, which was very close to the Heinrichs’ home.

From there, the trooper guided firefighters to the scene.

The workshop was destroyed and a shed was heavily damaged, but only some window trim on the house was scorched.

The Heinrich family said they knew Buddy was smart ever since they got him six weeks after he was born to a canine-officer mother and that he was brave, twice chasing bears away while Ben Heinrichs was fishing.

But saving their home beat them all.

“Downright amazing, I would say,” said Tom Heinrichs, Ben’s father. “Maybe there was some divine intervention.”

Stormy’s Memorial

Andy wrote and read this at Stormy's Memorial. Rachel loved it so much we wrote it out in calligraphy.

Stormy's Memorial

Casey James, a memory by Lee Tyler

Our dog, Casey James (Casey), was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who died just a couple months before his 16th birthday in January 1998. The average age for this breed is ten years.

We found him when he was three months old in 1982. He was one of a large liter of Chesapeakes on my husband's mail route in Petaluma, California.

The first day we took him home he became a vegetarian, just as we were/are. He immediately loved "people food" and took to macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, carrots, apples, raisins and watermelon. He then moved on to rice and vegetables, tofu, cheese, good quality oils, etc., still enjoying his organic peanut butter and whole grain bread. Anything we ate, he also loved. In those days vegetarian kibble was not an option (that we knew of anyway) and besides we felt whole grains and organic vegetables and fruit, tofu and cheeses, nut butters, etc., were the best for him anyway. So Casey continued his whole life to eat what we did.

When Amy's Kitchen food came along in 1987, and we could get the foods in our rural upstate New York area, Casey loved the pot pies and grew with the company to enjoy the other entrees on occasion, for treats, especially the vegetarian lasagne which was his favorite and which we used to send to the kennel for his dinners if he ever had to go away from home. It turned out that that lasagne was the last meal he ever had before he died peacefully in his sleep, in 1998.

In 1991, Casey was nine years old and became sick. He was not eating properly. We took him for an x-ray at the Vet's. Because of something they saw on the x-ray, the doctor thought they should open him up. He was given surgery and his belly was cut open and the doctor went in and examined all his organs. It turns out that the x-ray was wrong, apparently it often is with large dogs (Casey was 95 pounds.) There was absolutely nothing wrong with him at all.

When the doctor, around age 35, who was educated at Cornell Veterinary School, talked to me about the situation when I went to pick up Casey, he could hardly look me in the eye. First of all, he was sorry to have operated on him in the first place, and said they should have taken a second x-ray. Secondly, he had been very critical of our feeding Casey a vegetarian diet. After talking awhile, a bit sheepishly, the doctor finally looked at me and said, "You know, I was very sceptical of the vegetarian diet for Casey, but I have to tell you, I have operated on thousands of animals of all types, many of them his age, and I have never seen one with insides like his ... they are immaculate ... every organ is in fabulous shape and there is absolutely no junk floating around inside of him. Whatever you are feeding him, keep it up!"

I had to stay up with Casey for many nights (and days) after that to keep him from scratching out the stiches on his belly, and Casey had to do some major healing from that incision, but I have always felt the operation happened for a reason. I have been able to share the story of "Casey's insides" with people who were wondering about whether to make their dog a vegetarian and it has swayed many a pet owner.

We have our second vegetarian Chesapeake named Billy. He will be eight in March. He is 100 pounds and doing great. Unlike Casey, he prefers (instead of people food) vegetarian/vegan kibble (made by Natural Life with the same protein, fat and carb ratios as Purina Dog Chow.) He has a piece of whole grain bread with butter every day; he loves raw vegetables -- carrots, green peppers, apples, sweet potatoes, etc. He has a mozarella cheese stick each day; whole grain corn flakes; slivered almonds; and my peanut butter cookies made with local maple syrup (instead of sugar) and walnut oil and organic peanut butter. One of the most unusual things he loves is Nori Seaweed, the type of seaweed that you use for sushi. He has two to three sheets of it a day. He also loves twig tea (also called Kukicha) and has a big bowl of that a day. He has a well-rounded diet and is very happy and excercises alot by walking, running and swimming.

A great story about Billy happened when he was about two. We were concerned about some aggressive behaviors and were advised to take him to Cornell Veteranary School for an evaluation. At one point in the process, the trainer excused herself and then came back with a dish of cooked beef from the kichen and put it down on the floor in front of Billy, waiting from him to move in and gobble it up. Instead, Billy gave it a sniff and came over to me and put his paw on my lap and looked at me as if to say, "Mom, what is that?" By that time, I told the trainer Billy was a vegetarian and asked her to remove the meat. Needless to say, I was very proud of my vegetarian dog.

We have absolutely loved having our two vegetarian Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. The stories of their lives and tastes in food are endless. Casey was an unbelievable friend who helped us through so much "life," -- raising our boy, getting through my mother's death, etc. Billy is also just such a companion and friend, doing wonderful things for us every day.

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