Over the last few weeks, conspiracy theorists have been in their glory. Likewise, the blogosphere and local (NYC) news outlets have been abuzz. Why, you ask? Because an enormously large and grotesque mystery creature washed ashore near NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge last week.
The beast, affectionately referred to as the “East River Monster,” was seven feet in length and, according to witness accounts, quite ugly. Gawker dramatically described the enigma as follows:
It had the scales of a fish, body of a serpent, head of a pit bull, and was the size of a large alligator.
Quite a looker, no?
While New Yorkers were enjoying the mystery and cooking up all sorts of hilarious tales, experts were preparing to slash any and all sci-fi dreams. Within days of the discovery, marine biologists offered up a reasonable explanation, thus dispelling the rumors and calming the firestorm of excitement. According to biologists, the mystery creature was actually a gigantic decaying fish (called a sturgeon). FOX News has more:
“We could tell it was an Atlantic sturgeon right away,” Kim Durham, a rescue program director and biologist for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Riverhead, N.Y., told Life’s Little Mysteries.
“They have bony plates all over their bodies. There’s no mistaking a sturgeon,” she said.
A not-so-mysterious looking sturgeon (above).
So, the hoopla was all for nothing. This scenario is oddly reminiscent of another NYC monster tale — the Montauk Mystery — an even creepier story that was characterized by an even more decrepit-looking animal. Luckily, there’s no legitimate mega-monster threat (for the time being, that is). Still, the speculation was fun while it lasted.
Source: the Blaze
Mike Kepka / The Chronicle – Jennifer Lu holds Jack Daniels at San Francisco’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
(08-10) 18:04 PDT San Francisco — If Jack Daniels could talk, he could probably explain everything.
But alas, Jack can only meow. So it remains a mystery as to how the nearly blind black cat, abducted from the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals a year ago, ended up on the streets of Harlem last week.
“He’s this superstar cat,” said Falciani, who took a week off work to escort Jack Daniels from New York’s animal shelter to San Francisco’s SPCA. “He’s wonderful. I’m actually kind of sad right now to say goodbye.”
Jack Daniels’ saga began in May 2009, when San Francisco animal control officers brought him and his brother, Jim Beam, to the SPCA for adoption. Jack Daniels was suffering from scarred corneas because of a viral infection, a common condition among kittens, SPCA veterinarian and interim co-president Jennifer Scarlett said.
With his milky gray eyes, Jack Daniels relied heavily on his brother, who acted as a sort of seeing-eye cat, Scarlett said. SPCA staff intended for the brothers to be adopted together.
But a week after the pair were put up for adoption, Jack Daniels vanished from his enclosure. Someone had catnapped him.
“How or why that happened, I can’t say,” said SPCA spokeswoman Jennifer Lu. “But we had the police involved, volunteers looking for him. We were very worried.”
Jack Daniels seemed lost forever. Jim Beam meanwhile, was adopted by a nice San Francisco family, Lu said.
But on Aug. 4, New York City animal control officers spied a nearly blind, apparently homeless, black cat ambling along 110th Street, and they brought him to the city’s nearby animal shelter. Staff scanned his microchip and contacted the registered owner: the San Francisco SPCA.
“That shelter is so busy. To think that someone took the time to track us down … I’m actually very moved by it,” Scarlett said. “When you think of all the horrible things that happen in the world, it’s such a beautiful thing to see so many people come together for a little black cat.”
The next hurdle was how to return him to San Francisco. An SPCA volunteer e-mailed Dr. Jennifer Gabriele, a veterinarian who formerly worked for the San Francisco SPCA but has since relocated to New York, asking if she knew anyone who was flying to San Francisco and could transport Jack Daniels.
Enter Falciani, who happened to be on the phone with Gabriele, her cats’ vet, when Gabriele received the e-mail.
“She told me the story, and I said, ‘Sure, I can go,’ ” Falciani said.
So Falciani took time off work to bail Jack Daniels out of New York’s animal shelter and took him in a cat carrier by subway to her home in Brooklyn. After two nights there, he spent the weekend at Gabriele’s vet clinic, then, with Falciani as an escort, hopped a free JetBlue flight to SFO.
“He’s in great shape. He likes to snuggle and make muffins (knead his paws),” Scarlett said. “Whoever had him obviously kept him indoors. He’s very affectionate and friendly.”
It’s possible Jack Daniels has an owner in New York who’s looking for him now, Scarlett said. But unless someone comes forward, Jack Daniels will go up for adoption – again – at the San Francisco SPCA within a day or two.
Falciani, meanwhile, is enjoying three free nights in San Francisco, courtesy of Kimpton Hotels.
“It made me sad to say goodbye to Jack Daniels. You get attached very quickly,” she said. “Although it’s great to be in San Francisco, this will fly by, as most fun things do.”
E-mail Carolyn Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page C – 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle
The Incredible Journey – Book
A Scottish Terrier named Sadie has beaten over 2,500 dogs to the coveted “Best in Show” award at the 2010 Westminster dog show.
Another sold-out crowd at Madison Square Gardens has Madison Square Gardens watched more than 2,500 dogs and 3 new breeds compete for honors in one of the world’s most prestigious dog shows. At 11 p.m. last night Sadie, a Scottish Terrier from Eagle, Idaho became the 8th Scottie to win “Best in Show”. Sadie, also known as Ch Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, was also in the final last year and this win is her 112th Best in Show award. The other group winners competing in the final were a Puli, a Whippet, a white Toy Poodle, a French bulldog, a Brittany Spaniel and a Doberman Pinscher.
The Westminster Kennel Club’s Annual All Breed Dog Show is probably second only to the United Kingdom’s Crufts show as a measure of canine success. Last year’s show was celebrated by senior citizens everywhere, with the 10-year-old Sussex Spaniel called Stump winning “Best in Show” – that’s 2 years older than the previous oldest winner. What was even more remarkable was that Stump had retired 2 years earlier after winning the Sporting group but failing to win “Best in Show”. In 2008, the show was won for the first time ever by a Beagle named Uno.
This year’s show welcomed 3 new breeds to the 170 breeds of last year: The Irish Red and White Setter, the Norwegian Buhund and the Pyrenean Shepherd. Despite its name, the Irish Red and White Setter is a distinct breed, not just a different colored version of the Irish Setter, and has been known in Ireland since the 17th century. The history of the Norwegian Buhund extends back to the Vikings, and is used for herding livestock, guarding and hunting. The Pyrenean Shepherd is a herding breed that is important in farming communities in the High Pyrenees mountains in France.
by Daphne Reid – New York City, New York (Feb 17th, 2010)
Posted: Just One More Pet
The life of a puppy with a show dog future is slightly different than that of a pup with simpler aspirations.
For one thing, puppies in training are likely to spend some of their time with a professional dog handler, like Clint Livingston of Denver. Livingston has been training Westminster hopefuls for three decades. “We start them young, and the key is socialization,” he explains. “We make sure they’re around lots of people, with lots of hands on them so they get used to it.”
While non-show dogs don’t need to be as comfortable with the human touch as Westminster wannabes, they can nonetheless learn something from Westminster training and grooming standards. Below, Livingston shares his tips for helping your furry friend achieve best in its own show.
What’s crucial to training a dog to do just about anything? Repetition, food motivation and compliments. “Dogs want to make people happy,” emphasizes Livingston. “Give them lots of praise when they do something right, and lots of verbal encouragement along the way. Positive reinforcement is the best training tool of all.”
Before they compete, show dogs must master these skills:
- Stacking: A “stacked” dog is one that stands squarely and still. For most breeds, front legs are straight and under the shoulder blades. Rear legs are vertical from the hock (comparable to the human ankle) down. Paws face forward. To teach your dog to stack, place four bricks on the floor where you’d like your pet’s paws to go. With treats, help your dog practice standing in this position on the bricks before moving your pet to the floor to replicate the position.
- Giving Ears: A dog that is “giving ears” has its ears perked up, its head held high and its eyes gleaming with confidence. To train your pet to put its best ear forward, hold a treat at a level where head and neck are drawn high. As your pet gets used to this position, pull the treat away quickly to keep your dog’s attention before allowing your pet to indulge.
- Walking: If a model struts, a show dog trots, which means its right front leg and left back leg move in concert (followed by the movement of the left front leg and right back leg), showing off its physique to best advantage. Pacing is key to proper trotting. Take your pet’s leash in your left hand. Try different speeds to see which one allows your dog to trot comfortably.
Pet Care Resources While grooming standards vary greatly by breed, all show dogs are brushed and bathed weekly. “Clean hair grows, and it also looks nice,” explains Livingston. To make bath time easy at home, try this:
- Brush your furry friend first to remove loose hairs.
- Lay out bathing supplies – such as a diluted commercial shampoo, a pitcher for rinsing and a towel for drying – in advance.
- Put cotton in your dog’s ears to keep water out.
- Always use warm water.
But the work doesn’t end there. If you want your pet to look like a show dog, add nail clipping, teeth brushing and ear cleaning to your weekly to-do list. For each, choose a time of day when your dog tends to be relaxed. Talk sweetly to your best friend throughout, and if it begins to resist you, finish up another day. But more specifically:
- Invest in a nail clipper made just for dogs. Trim only the nail tips to avoid cutting into “the quick,” or the veins in your pet’s nails.
- To brush your pet’s teeth, position your dog on an elevated surface like a table, hold its head firmly and its mouth open with one hand. Move the toothbrush in a circular motion, making sure to brush at the gum line.
- Moisten a cotton ball with a commercial ear cleaner and swab the outer ear canal outward in order to remove dirt and wax.
Your pal doesn’t have to be a show dog to look and act like one. With Livingston’s guidelines, your dog can be like the puppies he trains in no time. “It’s great to watch them learn,” he says. “You watch their confidence grow by leaps and bounds”…