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‘Nubs the Dog: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle’

Major Brian Dennis and Nubs the Dog today.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When Major Brian Dennis of the United States Marine Corps met a wild stray dog with shorn ears while serving in Iraq, he had no idea of the bond they would form, leading to seismic changes in both their lives. “The general theme of the story of Nubs is that if you’re kind to someone, they’ll never forget you — whether it be person or animal,” Dennis tells Paw Nation.

In October 2007, Dennis and his team of 11 men were in Iraq patrolling the Syrian border. One day, as his team arrived at a border fort, they encountered a pack of stray dogs — not uncommon in the barren, rocky desert that was home to wolves and wild dogs.

“We all got out of the Humvee and I started working when this dog came running up,” recalls Dennis. “I said, ‘Hey buddy’ and bent down to pet him.” Dennis noticed the dog’s ears had been cut. “I said, ‘You got little nubs for ears.'” The name stuck. The dog whose ears had been shorn off as a puppy by an Iraqi soldier (to make the dog “look tougher,” Dennis says) became known as Nubs.

Dennis fed Nubs scraps from his field rations, including bits of ham and frosted strawberry Pop Tarts. “I didn’t think he’d eat the Pop Tart, but he did,” says Dennis.

At night, Nubs accompanied the men on night patrols. “I’d get up in the middle of the night to walk the perimeter with my weapon and Nubs would get up and walk next to me like he was doing guard duty,” says Dennis.

The next day, Dennis said goodbye to Nubs, but he didn’t forget about the dog. He began mentioning Nubs in emails he wrote to friends and family back home. “I found a dog in the desert,” Dennis wrote in an email in October 2007. “I call him Nubs. We clicked right away. He flips on his back and makes me rub his stomach.”

“Every couple of weeks, we’d go back to the border fort and I’d see Nubs every time,” says Dennis. “Each time, he followed us around a little more.” And every time the men rumbled away in their Humvees, Nubs would run after them. “We’re going forty miles an hour and he’d be right next to the Humvee,” says Dennis. “He’s a crazy fast dog. Eventually, he’d wear out, fall behind and disappear in the dust.”

On one trip to the border fort in December 2007, Dennis found Nubs was badly wounded in his left side where he’d been stabbed with a screwdriver. “The wound was infected and full of pus,” Dennis recalls. “We pulled out our battle kits and poured antiseptic on his wound and force fed him some antibiotics wrapped in peanut butter.” That night, Nubs was in so much pain that he refused food and water and slept standing up because he couldn’t lay down. The next morning, Nubs seemed better. Dennis and his team left again, but he thought about Nubs the entire time, hoping the dog was still alive.

Excerpt, “Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle,”
Little, Brown for Young Readers

Two weeks later, when Dennis and his team returned, he found Nubs alive and well. “I had patched him up and that seemed to be a turning point in how he viewed me,” says Dennis. This time, when Dennis and his team left the fort, Nubs followed. Though the dog lost sight of the Humvees, he never gave up. For two days, Nubs endured freezing temperatures and packs of wild dogs and wolves, eventually finding his way to Dennis at a camp an incredible 70 miles south near the Jordanian border.

“There he was, all beaten and chewed up,” says Dennis. “I knew immediately that Nubs had crossed through several dog territories and fought and ran, and fought and ran,” says Dennis. The dog jumped on Dennis, licking his face.

Most of the 80 men at the camp welcomed Nubs, even building him a doghouse. But a couple of soldiers complained, leading Dennis’ superiors to order him to get rid of the dog. With his hand forced, Dennis decided that the only thing to do was bring Nubs to America. He began coordinating Nubs’ rescue effort. Friends and family in the States helped, raising the $5,000 it would cost to transport Nubs overseas.

Finally, it was all arranged. Nubs was handed over to volunteers in Jordan, who looked after the dog and sent him onto to Chicago, then San Diego, where Dennis’ friends waited to pick him up. Nubs lived with Dennis’ friends and began getting trained by local dog trainer Graham Bloem of the Snug Pet Resort. “I focused on basic obedience and socializing him with dogs, people and the environment,” says Bloem.

A month later, Dennis finished his deployment in Iraq and returned home to San Diego, where he immediately boarded a bus to Camp Pendleton to be reunited with Nubs. “I was worried he wouldn’t remember me,” says Dennis. But he needn’t have worried. “Nubs went crazy,” recalls Dennis. “He was jumping up on me, licking my head.”

Dennis’ experience with Nubs led to a children’s picture book, called “Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle,” published by Little, Brown for Young Readers. They have appeared on the Today Show and will be appearing on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Monday.

Was it destiny that Dennis met Nubs and brought him to America? “I don’t know about that,” says Dennis. “It’s been a strange phenomenon. It’s been a blessing. I get drawings mailed to me that children have drawn of Nubs with his ears cut off. It makes me laugh.”

by Helena Sung – PawNation Nov 3rd 2009 @ 6:00PM
Nubbs:  The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle

Great Gift for Any Child, Veteran and Animal Lover!!

Order Today: Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle

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November 11, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, dispels the long-held myth that “table food” is bad for your pets.

Animals Like People Benefit From Live Foods

Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, dispels the long-held myth that “table food” is bad for your pets.

Human, edible foods can be very healthy for your pets. Throw away the concept of “cat” food and “dog” food, and just think “food” — food that grows in the ground or comes from animal products.

A whole generation of pet owners is afraid to feed anything but over processed rendered food to their pets. But there’s no way you can create abundant health in an animal by providing only the minimum nutrients it needs for survival. Dogs and cats have a living food requirement, just like you do.

The food you feed your pet should be biologically suited to meet your dog’s or cat’s needs. Dog and cat chow may be nutritionally “complete,” but it is akin to your drinking a meal replacement shake three times a day for the rest of your life … or giving them to your kids in lieu of fresh foods.

Yet, many veterinarians will often recommend you feed your pets kibble or canned food for the rest of their lives. Some will go so far as to say that feeding your pet anything that doesn’t come from a bag or can will be harming your pet!

This is a paradigm problem, and one that can be very confusing for pet owners.

In reality, there’s no way you can give your pet the food it needs to thrive if you do not feed it a biologically appropriate diet that includes a variety of fresh foods.

In fact, a growing number of holistic-minded veterinarians state that processed pet food (kibbled and canned food) is the number one cause of illness and premature death in modern dogs and cats.

So how did conventional veterinary nutrition positions get so skewed?

Well, major dog and cat food manufacturers provide much of the veterinary nutrition information to veterinary students. It becomes engrained in many new vets’ minds that it’s wrong to feed pets “living” fresh foods.

This is a myth!

Your Pets Need Living Foods

Veterinarians tell you to never offer living foods to your pet. But your pets need living foods on a consistent basis to achieve optimal health.

So, yes, you can and should offer your pets some of the very same foods that you enjoy. And since those foods are at a much higher grade nutritionally than typical dog or cat foods, they may be the healthiest foods your pets have ever consumed.

As you know, I recommend you feed your dogs and cats an all raw, nutritionally balanced living food diet. In my opinion, the only viable excuse to not to feed your pets a species appropriate diet is cost. Feeding raw food cost more than dry food .However, raw fed animals have fewer health problems, which mean lower vet bills over a lifetime. If you cannot afford to feed your pet an all raw diet, don’t deny your pet’s access to living foods throughout the day, in the form of treats. Remember, treats (even really healthy treats) should not constitute more than 15 percent of your pet’s daily food intake.

Berries are one of the best treats you can offer. Bite size and packed with antioxidants. Many cats enjoy zucchini and cantaloupe. . My favorite training treats for dogs include peas, raw nuts (remember, the only nuts you should never feed your pets are macadamia nuts).

A salad without dressing, but with plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, is also good for your cats — your pets are chewing on your houseplants for a reason, after all.

Avoid giving your carnivorous companions biologically inappropriate foods, including grains, such as oats, soy, millet, , wheat, or rice. Dogs and cats do not have a carbohydrate requirement and feeding your pets these pro-inflammatory foods creates unnecessary metabolic roadblocks to health.

Furthermore, there are certainly some foods that are toxic to feed to dogs and cats such as grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts and onions. Never feed your pets these foods.

The Optimal Choice to Feed Your Pets

I highly recommend you give your dog or cat an opportunity to experience living raw foods like fruits and veggies as treats, and feed them a biologically appropriate, balanced raw diet the rest of the time.

Remember, your pet is resilient and can eat a variety of suboptimal, metabolically stressful foods on occasion and be fine, but because it’s my goal to provide a diet that most closely fits your companion’s biological requirements, I don’t recommend a lifetime of kibble or other “dead” over-processed food.

The goal is to provide a diet that mimics your pet’s biological nutritional requirements as closely as possible … in this case it means rethinking the “lifetime of dry food” or “canned food” theory.

If you are unable or unwilling to feed your pet a species-appropriate, nutritionally balanced, raw food diet, then I strongly recommend you compromise with the next best choice: USDA-approved canned foods (and supplement with raw)

My last choice would be a dry food (kibble), made from human-grade ingredients with little to no grains, and LOTS OF WATER.

But no matter which option you choose, remember that you can treat your dog and cat to berries, leafy greens, raw nuts and many other fresh fruits, veggies and meats on a regular basis.

I hope this insight will help you feel more confident offering foods and treats to your pets that are unadulterated and fresh. They deserve the same benefit of living foods that you get, and there’s no better way to start than by sharing some of these raw healthy foods with your dog or cat today.

We have always cooked for our pets, so always find it amazing, if not horrifying, that there really are pets who never get live food and who are doomed to eat the same dry food every day and that there really are pet owners who think that would be okay!!  This myth created by the pet food industry and perpetuated by pet stores who just want to sell animals, regardless of whether the potential purchasers should be pet parents and then accepted by the “ME” generation, is another one of those practices like keeping your pets in a crate all day or all night, or shock collars, electric fences and collars with spikes etc that defy all common sense and really fall into a category of pet abuse or neglect, perhaps pet abuse light… but unacceptable pet parenting to be sure!!

Would you want to eat the same packaged food everyday?  Would you want to be locked in a cage all day or all night?  Would you want to have to wait to go to the bathroom all night or most of the day, until some lets you out and says it is okay?  Would you want to receive an electric shock when you tried to talk or walk across a boundary area… or have spikes dig into you?  Would you do these things to your kids?

When making decisions for your fur-babies, you should ask yourself, “Would I want to be treated this way?  And would I make these choices for my human children?”, and then act accordingly!!  As Dr. Laura would say… Use common sense and compassion and “then go do the right thing!”.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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November 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment