Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Adopting a four-legged veteran

Benny was declared “excess” by the military and scheduled to be euthanized by January, according to his military medical records.

Today, Benny — a spry German shepherd — is anything but excess to Debbie Kandoll, who found him during a determined search to adopt

Photo – GREG SOUSA / GOLDSBORO NEWS-ARGUS Benny, a former military working dog, was adopted after retirement.

a retired military working dog.

Even at the advanced dog age of 10, with degenerative bone disease, Benny has become an integral part of the Kandoll family since he was adopted from Langley Air Force Base, Va., on Jan. 4.

Kandoll, the wife of an Air Force Reserve officer currently on active duty, wants to get the word out to other military families and civilians that retired dogs are available for adoption at military working dog facilities across the country, as are some younger dogs who may have washed out of the program.

She has launched a Web site that includes phone numbers for 125 military working dog facilities.

The idea of supporting the troops, said Kandoll, who lives near Goldsboro, N.C., “should apply to all veterans, not just the human ones.”

Kandoll said she thought at first that she could adopt retired dogs only through the Defense Military Working Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

“People should check with regional facilities to see what is available,” she said.

As for Benny, he’s thriving and his mobility has improved, she said — partly because he now gets to sleep on comfy pillows instead of concrete.

Although Benny is no longer on military patrols and sniffing for drugs, he is anything but retired. He visits hospitals, including the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Durham, N.C., as a certified therapy dog.

Kandoll and Benny make appearances at local events to raise awareness and encourage more civilians to adopt retired military working dogs.

Last year, 360 retired military working dogs were adopted or transferred to law enforcement agencies, according to officials at the Defense Military Working Dog School, with the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland.

Of those, 103 were transferred to law enforcement agencies, 139 were adopted at Lackland and the remaining dogs were adopted elsewhere, many likely by former military working dog handlers.

Under a law passed in 2000, dogs declared “excess” by the Defense Department can be adopted by law-enforcement agencies, prior military handlers and the general public.

“A lot of people still don’t know they can adopt dogs,” said Ron Aiello, founder of the U.S. War Dogs Association and a former military dog handler in Vietnam. “They don’t know dogs were used in Vietnam and that they are being used now. I’d like to see more veterans adopt military working dogs.”

Aiello said he works closely with Kandoll to provide information to people who want to adopt dogs. Interest has come from a number of Vietnam veteran dog handlers, many of whom had to leave their dogs behind in Vietnam.

He and Kandoll think adopting the dogs can be therapeutic for veterans.

By Karen Jowers – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 24, 2008 11:00:42 EDT

Source:  Sean Hannity

Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Camel riders jockey for race cup

photoOn most days of the year, Jason Pfafman is a mild-mannered computer engineer for Intel in Seattle.

But once a year, he and his family come to Virginia City to be camel jockeys and take on “feather backing,” as they call riding an ostrich. He leaned as far forward as he could, flattening his body to the camel to win one heat Friday.

“It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s certainly not the kind of thing people back at work would believe,” Pfafman said.

From far and wide, as a television sportscaster might say, a crowd of 5,000 or more is expected for the 50th year of International Camel Races at Virginia City.

The Aussies are here. Champion jockeys Shorty Smith, from Tasmania, and Ian Rowan, from Alice Springs, Australia, are here to compete for the International Cup on Sunday. The cup is traded between the winner at Virginia City and Alice Springs, which had its 38th annual race this year. There is no prize money. Just a cup.

Surrounding Alice Springs in the middle of the Australian desert are more than a million feral camels. Many more were born this year because of rainy weather, Rowan said.

In Alice Springs, wild camels are captured and trained to race when they’re young. They’re bigger and stronger than the domesticated animals raced at Virginia City, he said. And they also are used for safaris to the Outback.

In Virginia City, the stock comes from Joe Hedrick’s Exotic Animal Farm in Kansas. In addition to camels and ostriches, he has brought emus and a zebra. Children take to the field to race with the emus.

You can’t exactly say it’s the 50th annual camel race in Virginia City. But it’s the 50th year since the first race.

And it was a hoax. Bob Richards, now deceased, a reporter from the Territorial Enterprise, made up a story about camel racing on the Comstock in 1959 that was picked up by the news wires. Soon, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Phoenix Sun challenged each other to a real race, and that’s how it began.

John Huston, in Reno to direct “The Misfits,” was an original camel jockey while Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe watched.

For a couple of years after that, no race occurred because of lack of interest, a lack of camels and a lack of funding, said Joe Curtis, who owns the Mark Twain Bookstore.

The camel jockeys come back year after year to race and volunteer in putting on the event, said Kristy Bond, 47, a fire captain from Mt. Shasta, Calif., who sported a hat with feathers. Many camp right next to the racetrack.

Bond considers racing the ultimate challenge of balance.

Karla Burrell, owner of Silver Sadie’s Old Time Photo in Virginia City, has been riding for eight years now.

“It’s an adrenaline rush like no other,” she said.

Linda Conroy of Carson City attended her first race Friday as a spectator.

“It was great,” she said, saying her favorite moment was watching an ostrich run in circles.

“I liked the little Australian dude,” said her husband Steve, in watching Shorty Smith.

When was the last time you witnessed a camel or ostrich race? If you haven’t yet experienced it, you must make it a point to attend this hilarious and unpredictable event. A Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival tradition for years, camel and ostrich races continue to captivate audiences with their crazy riders and unexpected animal behavior.

Did you know that the ostrich is the largest bird on earth today and the only two-toed bird on earth? African natives use ostrich eggs as canteens! Don’t believe the myth that ostriches stick their heads in the sand when frightened. One fact, however, that is true, is this birds’ ability to run at very high speeds in excess of 40 MPH. At that speed, it’s a good thing that ostriches have excellent eyesight, and it makes for more excitement at the races!

Camels are fun to watch too, but they have more important uses to Bedouin people, who say that the camel gives the local tribesman his mobility as well as his beast of burden. He can ride it to his date garden, to a distant market, a port – or for fun, such as in the traditional races.

Although JOMP is not a fan of any kind of animal racing events… these are always interesting races!!

Prairie Meadows camel and ostrich races

Quite a crowd for the Prairie Camel and Ostrich Races in August 2009

Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 14, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet | , , , , , | Leave a comment