News and Posts About Dogs
Week of Oct 14 2012

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  • Endal the Yellow Labrador

    Endal was a British service dog born in 1995. He was given different titles for his service such as "Dog of the Millenium" and was given the PDSA's Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty, which is the highest award given to animals. He was also considered the most famous dog in the United Kingdom.

    Endal became a service dog through Canine Partners. This charity helped to train Endal and place him on a good diet to overcome osteochondrosis, a debilitating joint condition he was born with.

    In the late 1990s, Endal was placed with his owner, ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Allen Parton. Allen suffered from a number of ailments including a short term memory caused by a head injury, physical disability, speech and word difficulties, poor eyesight, and a difficult judging speed. In 2001, Endal pulled Allen out of the road when a car hit his wheelchair and left him unconscious. He then retrieved Allen's phone under the car, fetched a blanket and placed it over Allen, and finally ran to a nearby hotel for help.

    Endal received nationwide fame for his heroic act. The rest of the country then got to know just how intelligent he really was. He could use an ATM card by both inserting and removing the card from the machine. He would pull the plug out of the bath before Allen would get out preventing him from tripping. He would also open train doors for Allen and help unload laundry.

    Parton told Abel magazine about how Endal helped him during some of this lowest points. He said:

    When I couldn't talk, he learned sign language - if I touched my head, I wanted my hat; if I touched my face, it was for the razor. He learned hundreds of commands in signing. Eventually one day, in this very silent world we lived in, I grunted. That was like an electric shock going through him, he was so excited. They said I'd never speak again, but Endal just dragged the speech out of me.

    The one thing that Allen hoped for after Endal's death was to be able to remember him in ten years. When he first received Endal, he could barely sign and with him he learned to be able to speak once again. In 2009 at age 13, Endal was put down. He suffered a stroke, and his arthritis had become severe. He was buried at the IIford PDSA Animal Cemetery. Allen started a new charity in 2010 called Hounds for Heroes in memory of Endal. It would be to train dogs to help injured military men and women.

  • Faith the Walking Miracle

    Faith was born to an almost full blooded Chinese Chow Chow shortly before the Christmas of 2002. Faith's mother, Princess, was a guard dog at a local flea market near where her soon to be owners lived. If it were not for Jude Stringfellow's son, Reuben, Faith would have been smothered to death by her mother for being deformed like the rest of her brothers and sisters already had been.

    Instead, Reuben brought Faith home, and she was adopted by Jude and her family. Faith was born with three legs, and her single front leg was deformed. When Faith was seven months old, the family had the leg amputated due to atrophy, and against the advice from many veterinarians to have her euthanized, Jude taught Faith how to walk on two legs.

    Jude used peanut butter as an incentive to get Faith to stand on her hind legs. "She'd try to lick it and fall over, like any other toddler," Jude said. "Eventually her back legs became strong enough to sit up like a squirrel. Then her belly muscles became stronger so she could sit straight up. That took about three weeks."

    Eventually the standing would lead to hopping when the family would take Faith out into the snow. By Stringfellow's son's birthday, Faith was able to walk like a human. From that moment on, Faith has been inspiring everyone around her.

    Since that time Faith has become famous. There have been books written about her, and her owners and she make regular public appearances for motivational topics. In 2006, she was also given an Honorary Commission as an E5 SGT in the Army. Since her time in the Army began, she has been an inspiration to many injured soldiers that have had to have amputations.

    Jude has said that not only does Faith make a profound effect on others, but she was lifesaver for their own family. The Stringfellows had just gone through a messy divorce before Faith came into their lives. Jude said that everyone was acting "independently" and not for one another. When Faith came into the picture, it really brought them back together.

  • John and Schoep

    John Unger rescued his 19-year-old shepherd-mixed dog, Schoep, when he was 8-months-old. In September, Hannah Stonehouse, a photographer friend of John's took pictures of John and Schoep in Lake Superior, where John takes Schoep to relieve his arthritis. The picture went viral after being place on Facebook. It showed how much love a man can have for his dog and how much love a dog can have for his human.

    Unger told reporters that his ex-fiance and he found Schoep at a humane society in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. Schoep had been beaten by another male before Unger brought him home, and it would be another eight months before he had earned Schoep's trust.

    After the breakup the two initially share custody of Schoep, but John has been the full guardian for 13 or 14 years, since his ex moved to Colorado. Schoep was a real life saver to John, whom suffered from depression, after the breakup whom suffered from depression.

    John said that one night he went out to Lake Michigan with thoughts of suicide. "To be honest with you, I don't think I'd be here if I didn't have Schoep with me (that night). He just snapped me out of it. I don't know how to explain it. He just snapped me out of it...I just want to do whatever I can for this dog because he basically saved my butt."

    Hannah was amazed by the feedback that received from the photo and how quickly it spread. She said the photo was not posed. She is against posed photos, and her photos are always in the moment. She said the following about some of the responses she has received:

    In this photo, people have said they see everything from pure love to hope for the world. They see peace, kindness, the relationship between man and dog. Two women, both whose husbands died from cancer, said they never thought they'd see love again, but this photo showed them love. People are leaving me messages, crying and opening up about dogs they've lost, spouses they've lost.

  • Rowan the German Spitz

    Rowan, a German Spitz, is a very unique dog. He was born without eyes but still manages to get around as well as dogs with normal eyesight. He does this by using a form of echolocation to determine where objects are.

    Most people that do not know Rowan would have no idea that he could not see. They would probably just wonder why he keeps his eyes closed at all times. However, instead of using sight, Rowan has replaced this sense by using his bark along with smells and hearing to figure out what is around him.

    Rowan was five weeks old before his owner, Sam Orchard, who runs the Spilmah Home Boarding Kennel in Potton, realized something was wrong because he would not open his eyes. On taking him to the vet, she learned that he did not have any eyes. Instead of having him put down, Sam decided to do the best she could to raise him.

    "I was shocked," she said, "but I decided that I would just do the best I could for him. Now, he is just like the others. He is an incredible chap."

    She first noticed that Rowan was seeing the world around in a different way when the leaves on the trees began to grow back. When Rowan was outside, he would hear the leaves rustle, and Sam saw a distinguishable difference her dog. She said, "He would go out and to find his direction he would use his bark. It really does seem to be a form of echolocation."

    Rowan is a testament to all blind dogs, or dogs born with other disabilities. All it takes is a loving owner to give them a chance, and they can be completely as fine and happy as other dogs.