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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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Checkout:  Dogwise, All Things Dog! – 2000+ Books and Doggie Goodies

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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

Poop Eater – Do You Have This Problem?

(Discussion taken from my AARP Blog Pet Group)

Can anyone help? My adorable 2 year old, 11 lb Havamalt has a bad habit. She is pee-pee pad trained and if I am not around to pickup when she poops, she cleans up herself! I have tried everything from changing her food to using the special powder in her food, the pills sold for this problem and nothing works. I would appreciate any suggestions.

———–

Responses Back:

1.  Hi – I have a 14+ year old border terrier, Maggie, who I adopted when she was 12.  One of her bad habits was eating her poop. I learned to clean up after her like a shot – and eventually good nutrition virtually solved the problem, together with cleaning up after her.

Like some of you said, I loved her anyway.  One solution I have read about is that pineapple makes the feces taste bad to a dog (fed to the dog).  Anyone have experience with this or the pills available for this problem?  The individual writing in has a particular problem since defecation is allowed inside the house (not something I have ever done).

2.    Yes, a frustrating habit and you have the best advice from other posters.  One thing that I heard on television with Victoria Stillwell.  Feed pineapple with the dogs food. Then of course pick up ASAP.  Her claim was the dogs hate the smell in the stool and will not eat it.  Good luck, Judith and Maddie. 

3.  I appreciate your response. Since my dog is pee pee pad trained I cannot let her sleep at night anywhere but her crate because of this habit. I also pick-up immediately when she goes outside but sometimes I think she deliberately does not go so she can practice her bad habit in the house when I am not looking. She is fast and good at it. I love her anyway!!!

4.  My 4-year-old Lab does the same thing, and I have tried the powder and everything else… The fact is this… Dogs can smell every ingredient in anything…. that is if you have a pot of soup on the stove they can distinguish each ingredient in the soup by smell….sometimes  all of their food does not digest, and  they smell it in their feces, and yes will eat it if .. my vet told me this, and some eat it out of boredom.. and it is a very bad habit.. it is up to you to pick it up ASAP to keep him from eating it… It does not harm the Dog , its just disgusting more than anything… as soon as my Dog is done going, I am out there with a shovel…not a good place to be in the winter time

5.  Although none of our 4 dogs (Chihuahuas and Chiweenies) do it now, I was amazed when our Chihuahua had puppies at the efficiency and thoroughness with which she cleaned up after her birth mess, the puppies themselves and then after the puppies eliminations.  It is obviously a natural instinct.

Even though we live in the city, we live in an area backed up to a large open wilderness area where there are lots of wild animals: bunnies, squirrels, raccoons, possums, birds of all types, an occasional snake, lizards and coyotes.  I understand that before we lived here there was even a wolf citing.  And if we are not diligent all four of our pups will try and to eat the bunny droppings; obviously an attraction there…

 

Stool Eating (Coprophagy)

Q.
What are the causes and cures of stool eating?

A.
Coprophagy (pronounced kä – präf’ – je) comes from the Greek copro which means feces and phagy which means eat. And that is what it is – eating feces. A habit of dogs we all find disgusting, but as we say, dogs will be dogs. Some dogs especially like feces fromherbivores like rabbits, deer, and horses. Others love to raid the cat’s litter box. Still others only eat dog feces if it is frozen.

Why do dogs eat feces?

A lot of theories have been suggested as to why dogs eat feces. Are they missing something in their diet? Generally not.

Dogs who eat their feces usually do not have a dietary deficiency. Some medical problems, however, can contribute to coprophagy including severe disorders of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) or intestine, severe malnutrition from massive parasiticinfestations, or starvation. These cases are rare.

Some dogs, especially those in kennel situations, may eat feces because they are anxious or stressed. One researcher suggests that dogs who have been punished by their owners for defecating inappropriately start to think any defecation is wrong, so they try to eliminate the evidence.

Another theory is that coprophagy is a trait passed down through the ages. Dogs’ cousins, the wolves and coyotes, may often eat feces if food is in short supply. Feces from herbivores (animals that eat plants for food) contain many of the B vitamins. Some researchers suggest that wolves (and some dogs) may eat feces to replenish their vitamin supply.

In some instances, coprophagy may be a behavior learned from watching other animals. It may also become a habit in the course of play and puppies having to try out the taste of everything.

There is a stage of life in which coprophagy is common and expected. Can you think of what it is? Bitches and queens normally eat the feces of their offspring. This is presumed to occur in an attempt to hide the presence of the litter from predators.

Finally, some dogs may eat feces just because it tastes good (to them).

How do we prevent coprophagia from occurring?

The best way to prevent the problem is to keep yards and kennels free of feces.

Some owners find it successful to use something to make the feces taste horrible. Products such as For-bid (for cats or dogs) and Drs. Foster and Smith Dis-Taste (for dogs) are added to the food of the animal whose feces are being eaten (it could be the food of the dog with coprophagy if he eats his own stool; or the food of the cat, if the dog with coprophagy eats the cat’s feces). The product is digested by the animal, and results in giving the feces a very bad taste. Some people try putting Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper (chili powder) on the feces (not the food!). Unfortunately, some dogs have acquired quite a taste for Tabasco. These methods work best if the behavior has just started. Once coprophagy has become a habit, it is very difficult to break.

Dogs should be on a leash when walking, so you have control over the dog in case a luscious pile of feces is found along the way. Sometimes, the only way to prevent coprophagy is to fit the dog with a wire muzzle. The dog will be able to sniff, pant, and do most things dogs do, but the dog will not be able to eat with the muzzle on. DO NOT LEAVE A MUZZLED DOG UNATTENDED.

Adding toys and other diversions to the environment may be helpful. We need to find something that is more fun for the dog than eating feces. A dog may find a Kong toy laced with peanut butter a better alternative. Also give the dog lots of exercise to help it ultimately relax.

In situations in which the behavior may be linked to stress, the cause of stress should be eliminated or at least reduced. In some instances of extreme anxiety, or if the behavior becomes obsessive-compulsive, medication may be necessary to try to break the cycle.

One researcher recommends checking the dog’s diet to make sure he is getting enough B vitamins and is not getting an excess of carbohydrates.

Some dogs will improve if they are fed more often, so you may want to increase the number of meals (but keep the total daily intake about the same).

There have been anecdotal reports that adding Prozyme to the diet may aid in eliminating this problem.

For dogs attracted to litter boxes, you may need to be quite creative. Using covered litter boxes and placing the opening towards a wall may help. Some people put the litter box up high. Others put the litter box in a closet and secure the closet door so that the opening is big enough for the cat but will not allow the dog to enter. Keep in mind that if we make the litter box too difficult to reach, the cat may not go to it either.

Above all, do not punish the dog for eating feces. This may reinforce the behavior. General work on obedience is sometimes helpful. If the dog knows what is expected of him and looks to you for cues, he may be less anxious and less likely to start or continue the behavior.

What are the health risks of coprophagy?

Many parasites can be transmitted through eating stool. Generally, herbivores have parasites specific to them; these parasites will not cause disease in carnivores. But dogs eating the feces of other dogs or cats can infect themselves repeatedly with parasites such as giardia, coccidia, and if the feces are around for 2-3 weeks or more, roundworms and whipworms. Such dogs should have regular fecal examinations and dewormings with the appropriate medications depending on the parasites found.

Summary

We are not sure why dogs eat their own feces or the feces of other animals. We do know that if a dog starts this behavior, the sooner we implement prevention measures, the better the chance of success.

Source:  Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc, Veterinary Services Department

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment