For months, construction workers would show up at their North Carolina job site like clockwork. And every morning, they were met by the same sorrowful scene from a yard across the street.
A dog had been living in a muddy pen, on a Hendersonville property slated for demolition. He would run to the fence, his tail wagging feverishly. The construction workers were his only visitors and rarely saw anyone emerge from the house, except to occasionally throw dry dog kibble over the fence, where it scattered in the mud.
The workers would share their sandwiches with him. Other days, they'd bring spare construction materials and build him a makeshift shelter from the elements.
The dog, who they named Demo, was all licks and gratitude for every scrap of compassion. At some point, a worker, worried about the dog's condition, called an animal rescue.
Valentine's Day is upon us which means a lot of different things for different people.
For some, it's a day consisting of hanging out with friends, basking in being single and free; for others, it's an excuse to get all dressed up with your S.O. and gett a fancy dinner.
Here's all the different types of Valentine's Days you can have as told by our furry friends.
1. A Passionate Love Triangle Conundrum
Maybe this Valentine's Day is going to be a little uncomfortable for you because you don't know your relationship status. These sloths get it. A sloths life may seem simple on the outside--slowly moving from branch to branch... eating one... leaf... at... a... time. But when it's mating season and girlfriend Samantha catches the eye of an eligible slothalor (sloth-bachelor), it turns into a stressful situation for Mr. Sunshine, her "long term companion" (aka, friend with benefits). Who do you side with: Mr. Sunshine or Romeo?
2. A Honey-Moon Stage Love
...with someone you weren't expecting to be attracted to! Is there something more there? Will this Valentine's Day date lead to forever? Let Charles the Kudu and Camilla the Giraffe show you that you can fall in deep love with whoever, no matter their species.
3. A Fun Night Doing What You Love with Friends
Maybe you're not in a relationship, but that's not an excuse to not celebrate love! You'll be spending the evening eating the foods you love with the friends you love. However, hopefully your friends won't surprise you with the secret that Maria surprised Dominic with...
4. Self-Pamper Time
You're smart and taking advantage of all the Valentine's Day spa and massage deals! There's nothing wrong with spending some "me time" this Valentines Day. Hopefully you can get as relaxed as this golden retriever!
Or maybe you can fancy yourself an all natural tea-bath like these baby sloths are getting:
5. Spend the Day With Your Long-Term Love
Whether you've been dating for 10 years or married for 50, Valentine's Day is a great excuse to remind your soulmate how much you appreciate them. Meet Judith and Tariq, two geese that have been together for 8 years and are still going strong.
6. Going and Seeking Out Next Year's Valentine
Maybe you're single this year, but you want to take advantage of the day to find someone to spend next year with! Since it may be awkward to go on a first date on V-Day, you head to the bars or club. Now is the time to bust out your best lines and dance moves. These flamingos have "nine signature moves" - what do you have?
7. A Long-Distance Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day can be tough when your person is away. Whether they're in school across the country, serving in the military or can't make it home for some reason, Valentine's Day is a tough one when you're apart. But don't worry, one day hopefully you will be reunited like this pitbull, Roxy, and her owner. (Warning: tears may occur).
8. A Special Day with the Kids
Valentine's Day doesn't always have to be romantic. If you have kids you might just want to settle down and spend some quality time reminding them how much you love them. Watch this single mom, a Portuguese water dog named Boston, try to wrangle her newborn babies for dinner. She is working so hard, but it's all for love!
There are all kinds of Valentine's Days to have. Whether you're single or in a relationship or something in between, you can still make it great!
But in the end, I think all any of us want is someone to be as excited about us coming home as this boxer is:
The only home one pit bull knew was a homeless camp near a busy freeway.
Sharra Platt, a volunteer from Karma Rescue, started seeing the white and black pit bull whenever she took the Crenshaw Boulevard exit on the Santa Monica (I-10) Freeway in Los Angeles. The dog would often be lying on a pile of old clothes, or sitting beside a man as he panhandled at the corner.
Platt figured someone was taking care of the pit bull, but she wanted to make sure the dog was healthy and had enough food and water. But going into the homeless camp took courage. "I was very tentative about going in," Platt told The Dodo. "Then one day I saw two women in there, so I decided this was the safest it's going to get."
Platt introduced herself to the camp residents and learned that the pit bull was a female dog named Clarissa. She looked healthy, but there was no food or water out for her. So Platt started visiting every few days to bring Clarissa food, make sure she had clean water and, of course, to give her some affection.
At first, Clarissa seemed wary of people, probably because she wasn't used to getting much attention. But each time Platt visited, Clarissa became more and more affectionate. "She'd crawl on my lap every time after the first few visits," Platt said. "It became clear to me that she craved attention."
Then everything changed for Clarissa. Her main caretakers at the camp moved to another part of Los Angeles. They told Platt they'd take Clarissa, but they ended up abandoning her for three days without food, water or shelter.
Thankfully Platt noticed, and she phoned Karma Rescue, getting permission to pick Clarissa up. "When I put a leash on her, walked out with her and put her in my car, she was so happy and had a huge smile on her face," Platt said.
Yet Clarissa still had a long road ahead of her. When Karma Rescue placed her in a temporary foster home, she developed anxiety, and would "scream" whenever she saw another dog, making it impossible for Clarissa to attend adoption events.
Instead of giving up, Karma Rescue ended up spending thousands of dollars for Clarissa to be trained at K9s Only, a training facility in Los Angeles, where Clarissa learned social skills and got basic training. It was here — at the training facility — that Clarissa met her future sister.
"There was a dog named Penny who would go to K9s Only, and her owners noticed that Clarissa looked a lot like their dog, but with opposite markings," Platt explained. "So they asked to meet her, and the meeting went well. The trainers started walking the dogs together, and Penny's owners had the dogs go into play care together."
Penny and Clarissa hit it off so well, the family adopted Clarissa. Now Clarissa enjoys walks with her sister, snuggles on her new owners' laps and long snoozes on the sofa. But whenever Platt visits, Clarissa makes it quite clear she has never forgotten her.
Clarissa's story has a happy ending, but other pit bulls aren't so fortunate. Pit bull mixes are one of the most common types of dogs who end up in shelters in the Los Angeles area, and many of them end up being euthanized. According to Pit Bull Rescue Central, pit bulls comprise of 40 percent of all dogs in the 12 registered Los Angeles shelters, and 200 pit bulls are euthanized every day just in Los Angeles County.
Karma Rescue is a non-profit group that rescues pit bulls, as well as other dog breeds and cats. They rely completely on charitable donations from the public to provide their rescues with food, housing and veterinary care. To support Karma Rescue, please visit its website.
Brianna and Ivy are proof that some dogs and people are meant to be together, making this adoption extra special for Mariah.
This pit bull managed to defy all odds on the night she was brutally run over by a train. They call her Miracle Molly.
On January 20, in Baltimore, Maryland, Molly — a stray with a collar that had only her name but no other leads — wandered into a tunnel just as a fast-moving Amtrak train approached. The train was unable to stop in time.
According to a Facebook post by the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter(BARCS), after an alert was put out to stop all other trains from approaching, rescuers expected to find a dead body. Amazingly enough, they were greeted with life. However, the 1-year-old pit bull had lost an entire leg in the aftermath and her body was covered in deep cuts. Her major arteries were exposed and she lost a lot of blood.
"It took nearly three hours from the train hitting her to animal control arriving, to them bringing her to BARCS for processing to us sending her immediately to an emergency clinic," Bailey Deacon, director of communications at BARCS, told The Dodo. "But she never lost consciousness, which is why she's a miracle. All details of the story point to her not making it, but she did."
Molly wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for the swift action taken by Amtrak officer Kevin McMullen, who picked up her battered body from the train tracks. "He told us that — even in her moment of horror, as Molly was rapidly losing blood — she was trying to give him kisses as he lifted her," BARCS noted in a Facebook post two days after the incident.
Kizzy was the first dog at Villalobos to be diagnosed with Chagas disease.
Saturday's heartbreaking episode of Pit Bulls and Parolees showed us the devastating effects of Chagas disease. What originated in Latin America through the "kissing bug" has found its way into parts of the United States and the Villalobos Rescue Center dogs in Assumption Parish felt it first hand. While Kizzy wasn't so lucky, Leo was fortunate enough to find a treatment that improved his quality of life, thanks to Dr. Kristen Kulinksi and her staff at Cypress Lake Animal Hospital.
We were lucky enough to get some time with Dr. Kristen to learn more about Chagas disease. Take a look at our Q&A with her.
Q: What is Chagas’ disease?
A: Chagas’ disease, also known as American Trypanosomiasis, is a parasitic disease caused by infection with the protozoa, Trypanosoma cruzi. This protozoal parasite lives inside the Triatoma (reduviid) bug, also know as the “kissing bug” or the “assassin bug”. The infective form of the parasite is passed in the feces of the bug. Not all kissing bugs are infected with the protozoa parasite. In Texas, it has been reported that about 50% of the kissing bugs carry the disease.
Q: How is Chagas’ disease transmitted in dogs?
A: T. Cruzi, is passed in the feces of the kissing bug, and is not transmitted through their blood sucking bite. The infected feces can enter the body through open wounds, scratches, or even the initial bite of the kissing bug. Dogs can also be infected by eating the bug, or food contaminated with the kissing bug’s infected feces. Chagas’ can also be transmitted by blood transfusions, through the placenta from an infected mother to the feti, or by handling tissue that is contaminated with the disease.
But others would become his voice. First, it was a local organization, the Animal Protection Foundation, an organization that cares for thousands of downtrodden animals in the country.
Then it was SNARR''s turn.
"We've taken dozens of animals from them and brought them to the States, animals who otherwise would be in agony in a country that cannot care for them," Connelly, a foster coordinator at the U.S.-based group, said.
This supposed dognapper picked the wrong sweet old lady to mess with.
Last Friday, well-known animal lover Jessica Chastain took to her Instagram account to announce the alleged kidnapping of her grandmother's dog, Livvy. According to the 38-year-old actress, Livvy was taken from a McDonald's in Vallejo, California. "For those of you who love animals, you must understand how devastated my grandma is," Chastain wrote in the post to her following of nearly 500,000 fans, asking for their help in finding her.
A photo posted by Jessica Chastain (@chastainiac) on
A day later, Livvy returned home to her rightful parent. Chastain shared a sweet photo of the happy reunion on Instagram, also giving thanks to the "guardian angels" who spread the word of her grandmother's plight:
Being surrounded by vultures often has a disquieting effect on the living.
Something about waiting for you to die in order to pick at your bones, looming mortality, that sort of thing. In classic scenes from not-so-classic movies, vultures are often seen circling overhead, etching their baleful message on black, inky wings.
Maybe this little dog seemed sad enough already, and the vultures figured they could dispense with all the theatrics.
In a photo that seems to be making the rounds on Facebook again, after being taken in late 2014, the dog is seen cowering inside a plastic house in Greensboro, North Carolina. She's chained, scared and surrounded by vultures. It's a timeless, haunting image of despair.
The birds darken her doorstep, perch on her roof and bristle in the trees above.
In fact, Guilford County Animal Control was called to the scene by a concerned neighbor, the Facebook post notes. The dog appeared too despondent to care.