Patrick the Miracle Dog Before and After

Are high profile abused dogs a ‘brand’?

Most people have heard about the case of Patrick, the Pit Bull mix who was repeatedly abused by his owner, Kisha Curtis. In 2011, Curtis left Patrick tied to the railing of her apartment for a week, before shoving the emaciated dog into a plastic bag and throwing him down a trash chute. Patrick was rescued just moments before he would have been compacted with the building’s garbage.

This past Tuesday Curtis pled guilty to charges of animal abuse, clearing the way for her criminal trial to finally proceed. As part of her guilty plea, Curtis has also agreed to forfeiture of Patrick, something she had fought against until now. Essentially, she was not only pleading not guilty to the charges, but was also demanding the right to have Patrick returned to her.

Unbelievable, right? After all, why would someone who so obviously didn’t care about Patrick’s welfare fight so hard to get him back? For the answer to that, we need to follow the money, which we can do in this case by simply reading the sentence that Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey (AHS) used to describe Patrick when fighting a court battle for their own custody of him –

(Patrick is a) “very valuable brand for commercial exploitation and fundraising”

As Nathan Winograd so succinctly summed up Patrick’s custody battle –

It is expected that the court will also determine whether Patrick is given to the only “loving home” which he has ever truly known: the home of the veterinarians who saved his life and want to keep him or whether he will be given to the Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey (AHS), which has sued those veterinarians (and the City of Newark) to gain custody of Patrick so that they could continue to exploit his name for money.

AHS is claiming “ownership” of Patrick because it was to their clinic that Patrick was immediately rushed for emergency treatment after being pulled from the trash chute of Curtis’ New Jersey apartment building. Once stabilized, the dog (as yet un named) was transferred to Garden State Veterinary Services (GSVS) in Northern New Jersey. Since it was St. Patrick’s day weekend, staff at GSVS named him “Patrick”, hoping that the “luck of the Irish” would help the severely starved and dehydrated dog survive his injuries.

Patrick’s recovery has been nothing short of a miracle, and the Veterinarians and staff of GSVS have been responsible for that, spending hours nursing him back to health. As the only loving home Patrick has ever known, a GSVS Veterinary Nurse who particularly bonded with Patrick has long hoped that Patrick will be allowed to live out his life with her, as a family pet, once the court cases are over.

AHS, however, has other plans. They want “trademark registration number 23699″ (that’s how they refer to Patrick in their court documents) to be returned to them, so that he can live out his life at the AHS Forked River Shelter that shares property with the AHS Popcorn Park Zoo.

Their reasons? Denying AHS ownership will, in the words from their court documents,  “deprive AHS of its property interest in Patrick”, resulting in “significant losses” of “economic advantage”.

In other words, ‘we won’t be able to keep using him to raise money’.

AHS believes that what’s in Patrick’s best interest is to spend his life essentially on display at their zoo shelter, where he can continue to operate as a fund raising cash cow, and to that end they are suing both the City of Newark and the GSVS veterinarian that saved Patrick’s life. In fact, by even writing about Patrick, myself and any other bloggers could be violating what AHS claims is their ‘intellectual property ownership’ of any stories, articles or images of or relating to Patrick (affectionately nicknamed “Trademarky Mark”, I’m willing to bet).

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 12.15.51 PM

Figure above taken from Court Filing of Associated Humane Societies Inc. Vs City of Newark and Garden State Veterinary Services

Read Nathan Winograd’s excellent full story on the fight for control of Patrick here, and the Patrick Miracle Facebook page has a step by step break down of Patrick’s history and current status.

You tell me – where should Patrick be allowed to stay? Is he a “fund raising brand”, or an abused dog who deserves a chance at a new life?


Swimming French Bulldog Dives for Rocks

A few summers ago, I was swimming in our pool while Elliott hung out poolside on the concrete patio. Out of the blue Elliot, for some weird Frenchie reason that only he could make sense of, decided he would simply walk off of the concrete and into the pool. The thing is? He didn’t even try to swim – not a stroke. He just sort of got this resigned look on his face, a look that said, “uh oh. I guess I’m drownded now”, and then he sank to the bottom of the pool.

I, of course, reached down and lifted him out, and he sort of shook himself, shrugged, and then tried to walk into the pool again. After that, Elliott didn’t hang out with me poolside, because some sort of invisible sirens in the deep blue pool water seemed to be calling him to a watery doom.

This is a kind of long winded way to say  DO NOT TRY WHAT YOU SEE IN THIS VIDEO WITH YOUR FRENCH BULLDOG! Chances are that your French Bulldog, unlike the French Bulldog in this video, will NOT be able to swim, but will sink like a rock. Just ask Elliott.

With that out of the way, how cool is this cliff diving, rock fetching Frenchie?

Toronto Dog Park Poisoned & Barrie Dog Poisoned in Own Yard

A Barrie, Ontario Veterinarian is issuing a warning to other residents of the city to be on the lookout for poisoned hotdogs, after his own dog was poisoned this weekend.

The poisoned hotdog was left in Dr. Martin’s own yard, leaving no doubt that this was an intentional case of attempted poisoning.

“I let my dog out, and he was out in the backyard and I saw him eating something in the corner of the yard. I took a look at it, grabbed it out of his mouth and it was a hotdog that was sliced down the middle. there were three tablets.”

Martin says those tablets were extra strength Tylenol and his little dog Marcel swallowed one.

Martin rushed his dog to the animal clinic and then to the animal hospital to induce vomiting. He says the dose would have killed his dog because of his size.

Luckily Martin was able to get the drug out of his dog’s system in time.

“If I had just let him out and went back in the house he would have eaten the whole hotdog and he would have died that day or the next day,” Martin says.

Read more:

Meanwhile in Toronto, rat poison has been found in the off leash dog park located inside High Park. The deadly poison, still in its packaging, was found in the popular dog park by two women walking their own dogs. They contacted police, who are actively investigated whether this was a deliberate poisoning attempt.

If so, it would not be the first time.

Last year, three Leslieville area dogs died after ingesting poison, and at least fifteen more dogs became seriously ill.

A High Park dog owner summed it dog owners’ fears, saying –

“This is becoming a common occurrence that happens every summer and dogs have died,” Phillips said. “It is concerning because some dogs eat everything and because this is such a big space you don’t notice what your dog gets into. It is hard to know who the suspect could be.”

Read more:

This is a good time to remind people to be aware of their surroundings, and to be extra careful about letting dogs off leash. It’s also a good time to start training the “leave it” command, to reinforce that dogs should not eat random items they find on the ground.

A good overview is here –


Raven Asks for Help After Encountering a Porcupine

I’ve heard about at least seven dog versus porcupine cases this year so far. One unlucky customer’s dog has had two porcupine encounters this year so far – the first one required a trip the University and a $700 surgery.

Last week, when I took Phoebe in for her shots, I urged a walk in client to go ahead of me at the vet clinic, when they arrived with a dog literally BLANKETED in quills, including inside his mouth, nose and ears. They were still working on him – under sedation – when we left.

Apparently even the birds in Canada are having a hard time of it this year – this Raven actually came to a person and seemed to ask for help after a porcupine encounter.

By the way, if your dog encounters a porcupine, and there are just a few quills to deal with, you can usually remove them yourself. Get some rubber gloves, a pair of needle-nose pliers and someone to help you hold your dog. You may need to cover his eyes at first so he doesn’t see the pliers coming.

Stay calm and talk to him softly. Next, grasp each quill near the point of entry and pull straight out. Your pooch will probably pull back, making it easy to remove the quills. Try not to break any of them. Once you’re done removing the quills, apply a topical antiseptic to the affected area.

If the quills are in the eyes, the mouth, the ears or there are an excessive amount of them, a trip to the vet is in order.

More here:

Carla Cheney

Walmart Fires Employee for Confronting Customer Who Left Dog in Hot Car

If you’ve ever read this blog before, you know how much hatred I have (and I’m sure all of you feel the same way) for morons who live their dogs inside hot cars while they “run in to do some shopping just for a minute”.

Carla Cheney, a former pharmacy technician at Walmart in Kemptville, Ontario, feels the same way, so when she saw a man leaving his Newfoundland dog inside of his pickup truck in the parking lot of the Walmart where she worked, Cheney felt compelled to do something about it, and confronted him on his asshattery.

“I said he should not be leaving his dog in the car. The man said it was none of my business.”

Cheney says that this sort of thing is nothing new – in fact, she says that Kemptville Walmart customers leave pets inside their vehicles almost every day, no matter how hot the weather. Less than a week before the incident that got her fired, Cheney, a dog owner herself, witnessed another customer leaving her dog inside of her car, on a scorching hot day.

“I was pretty upset and I said to my manager, ‘What do I do?’ He said it was none of our business and went into the store.”

Cheney disagreed, and phoned the police herself. They responded to the call, and reprimanded the woman for leaving her dog inside the car (I hope ‘reprimand’ is secret cop code for ‘slapped the moron upside the head with a baton’).

When Cheney confronted the owner of the Newfoundland Dog, she had not yet started her shift, and was still wearing her street clothing. Despite acting as a ‘civilian’, and on her own time, Cheney was called into her Manager’s office on the day of the encounter, and told she was being terminated for being ‘rude to a customer’.  She was then escorted out of the store by security, which she said was ‘humiliating’.

Walmart Kemptville seems to have a history of terminating employees who speak up on behalf of animals. Sean Dhaliwal, another former employee of the same store, was fired after he confronted a customer who left a dog inside a hot car. Dhaliwal had already given his two week’s notice, but was told not to come back to the store to finish out his shifts.

Walmart Canada issued a statement saying,

“there are guidelines in place for associates to follow when it comes to identifying dangers, including pets in danger.”

Apparently, those guidelines are something along the lines of “shut up and go clean the bathrooms, wage slave”.

Cheney has now retained a lawyer, and plans to contest her firing.

Read more here on Cheney’s firing.