Archive for the ‘dogs’ Tag

Gays, NFL, Dogs Prevent Suicide

This is a really nice article containing a few of my favorite things: football, gays and dogs

Former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan comes out in moving profile

Ryan O'Callaghan

Ryan O’Callaghan played for both the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Jeff Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, who played for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, has come out of the closet in a moving interview for Outsports.

O’Callaghan, who spent five years in the NFL, never expected to have a post-football life. He was deeply closeted, unable to imagine living as an openly gay man. Instead of coming out or continuing to live with the pain of life in the closet, he planned to commit suicide after he retired from the game.

“I wrote a letter,” he said. “I was close.”

“If it wasn’t for some good friends, a couple of good dogs, I’d be gone,” he added. “I’m just glad there were people that were looking out for me, pushing me in the right direction to actually get help.”

He also struggled with drug addiction.

“I was abusing painkillers, no question,” he said. “It helped with the pain of the injuries, and with the pain of being gay. I just didn’t worry about being gay when I took the Vicodin. I just didn’t worry.”

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Ryan O’Callaghan with his dogs.

He credits a small group of people within the Chiefs organization with helping lead him to a better place, including the team’s general manager, Scott Pioli. He reassured O’Callaghan that he still had Pioli’s support, who shared that he had many gay people in his life and had previously counseled other gay NFL players.

Related: These NFL teams just became the first to sponsor a pride celebration

O’Callaghan said he hopes his coming out will show others that it is safe for them to do so as well, including some more recognizable names.

A handful of NFL players have come out after retirement, including running back Dave Kopay, cornerback Wade Davis, defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo, guard Roy Simmons, offensive tackle Kwame Harris, and running back Ray McDonald.

Defensive end Michael Sam was drafted into the NFL, by the St. Louis Rams, as an openly gay man, but was cut before the season began.

O’Callaghan recalled growing up in Redding, California, in an environment where gay people were not readily accepted.

“If you’re a gay kid and you hear someone you love say ‘fag,’ it makes you think that in their eyes you’re just a fag too,” he said. “That got to me a lot.”

But when he went home to come out to his family, he was pleasantly surprised.

“All the people I was most concerned about were fine. It was so much easier and better than I ever imagined,” he recalled.

He said he thinks the NFL is ready for an openly gay player.

“I think teams are ready. Guys just have to understand he’s gay. It doesn’t mean he wants to date you, he just wants to be your teammate,” he said. “It’s not a big deal, it’s really not.”

Related: NFL documentary profiles closeted gay player

He added that he hopes his story will lead to “someone else much higher profile coming out.”

He said he is in a much better place since coming out.

“I’m having a great time. I love life now, I absolutely love life now.”

He went to school at California and played for four years in the NFL. His career is captured here: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/O/OCalRy20.htm

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Rescuing a Dog

Lori came speeding off the transport from North Carolina and ran into the grassy area where we waited to take home our foster dogs. “Who’s got Lori?” said her handler. “I do,” I responded and she handed me her leash. Immediately, the Shepard mix tried to tug me around to get a sense of where she was/

lori-4She looked sad and a little apprehensive when we got home. I tried to hand her a treat but she would not eat it from my hand. Later, we discovered that this was not unusual.

The shelter asked for money to send Lori, then named Elise, to the vet. She had burn marks on her back and was 10 pounds underweight. The people of her home area came through.

Then City Dog Rescue stepped in. The Washington, D.C. based group picked her up among many other dogs and brought them to our area so that someone might adopt them.

My husband and I fed and cared for Lori for two weeks.

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Lori began eating out of my hand after one week and she quickly adopted to her requirement to sit before getting to eat her meal. We also hired Anibal S. Apunte to walk her during the day when we weren’t home. He introduced her to other dogs that he walked as a part of her socialization.

Lori enjoyed her runs immensely! She proved to be a good member of the pack as well.

A few days later, two great human companions adopted her and rechristened her Saga after a modern heroic narrative resembling the Icelandic saga and her own long struggle. She has a happy new home and lease on life.

Portugal Trip: Animals

I enjoy all kinds of animals. Their charm and joyful personalities make them wonders to be around. On our trip to Portugal we saw many fun, wonderous creatures.

Inside the monestary and cathedral at Batalha,  the Royal Cloister, with its embellishments in the Manueline style and the square Chapter House with a huge Gothic vault that is remarkable for having no central supports get most of the attention. One no longer used basin for water collection contains an array of Koi.

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We had seen the wild chickens on our visit to Kauai many years ago but did not expect them in Sintra, 40 miles outside of Lisbon, the most populous city in the nation.

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Not everyone is a student in the university town of Coimbra. While one long-legged dog lounged during the day, later that evening three joined their human companion at an outdoor cafe.animal_3

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These dogs weren’t the only ones engaged in playful fun. A nice couple who ran a beautiful bed and breakfast outside of Obidos had a pair of cats that enjoyed a tossle while we talked around the dining room table.

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Inside the walled city of Obidos, the sun beat down on all of us tourists walking in and out of shops. Several cats seemed to take the best approach.

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Outside of Porto, the country’s second largest city, we found a beautiful new church that displayed nice architecture.

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We were surprised to find a farm next door.

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Near the city of Evora we stayed in a bed and breakfast run on a farm. The first sight we encountered were two burros.

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The gate to the farm was locked, so I did the next best thing and climbed over to search for the owners. Two fellows came to greet me. Lucky for me the Irish Wolfhounds remained calm.

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At a beautiful bed and breakfast near Lagos, this French bulldog found the fish endlessly fascinating.

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We encountered much more active dogs when we talked with their human companions. Vegan never wanted to stop chasing the tennis ball. I convinced others sitting around the outdoor cafe to join in the game.

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On the beach at Faro, this dog liked nothing more than digging holes and burying important rocks to find later in the day. He amused himself and all of us who watched.

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Cats and Dogs: What States Prefer

A really fun blog that appeared in the Washington Post about ownership of cats and dogs in the United States and in the World. Take a good look at the US map: the divide is almost neatly north and south (cat versus dog). What’s more the Union States from the Civil War appear to be the cat lovers, while the old Confederacy prefers dogs.

What of those of us who like both?

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/28/where-cats-are-more-popular-than-dogs-in-the-u-s-and-all-over-the-world/

Dog states, cat states

SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association

 

Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.—and all over the world

 

We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

Here in the U.S., slightly more households own dogs than own cats. But Euromonitor’s numbers show that in terms of raw population, cats outnumber dogs to the tune of 2 million (the number is closer to 4 million, by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s estimate). Why? One simple explanation is that cats are more compact. You can fit more cats in a house than you can, say, golden retrievers. (You can also geolocate a lot of them, which is fun, but entirely besides the point.)

At the state level in the U.S., cats outnumber dogs in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Dogs are the favorite in the South and Southwest. The most dog-friendly state is Arkansas, where dogs outnumber cats 1.35-to-1. At the other end of the spectrum stands Massachusetts with 1.87 cats for every dog.

“A lot of that simply has to do with population density,” Jared Koerten, a pet industry analyst at Euromonitor, said in an interview. “Many cities just aren’t that dog-friendly.”

Still, overall, most states have a pretty balanced cat-dog ratio.

Around the world the story is quite different. Euromonitor gave us estimates of the pet dog and cat populations in 54 countries, and some show a stark dog/cat divide. In India, for instance, pet dogs outnumber cats 10-to-1. Dogs enjoy a 2.5-to-1 advantage in China. On the other hand, cats outnumber dogs 3-to-1 in Switzerland, Austria and Turkey.

 

Overall, cats are the favored pet in most of Western Europe, with the exception of Spain, Portugal and Ireland. South America is strictly dog country, as is much of Asia.

“Some regions, like the Middle East and part of Africa, have an especially long-standing appreciation of cats,” Koerten said. “In Latin America it’s the complete opposite. Dogs are part of family life there.”

World pet populations also appear to follow a few interesting—if inexplicable—trends. For one, highly developed countries, for reasons yet unclear, tend to have more balanced cat and dog populations. “Looking across all countries, there’s a correlation between developed economies and balanced pet preferences,” Koerten said. Brazil, as is turns out, has a strange affinity for small dogs—it has more small dogs per capita than any other country. And there’s legitimate reason to believe young Americans might be having dogs instead of babies.

Top 10 dog-loving states

Rank State Cats Dogs Ratio, dogs to cats
1 Arkansas 810,000 1,097,000 1.35
2 New Mexico 533,000 703,000 1.32
3 Texas 5,565,000 7,163,000 1.29
4 Oklahoma 1,041,000 1,327,000 1.27
5 Louisiana 877,000 1,115,000 1.27
6 Mississippi 668,000 846,000 1.27
7 Arizona 1,438,000 1,798,000 1.25
8 Tennessee 1,749,000 2,157,000 1.23
9 Missouri 1,653,000 1,978,000 1.20
10 Georgia 2,162,000 2,479,000 1.15

Top 10 cat-loving states

Rank State Cats Dogs Ratio, cats to dogs
1 Massachusetts 1,593,000 850,000 1.87
2 Maryland 1,677,000 915,000 1.83
3 Maine 498,000 300,000 1.66
4 Vermont 234,000 142,000 1.65
5 Connecticut 796,000 507,000 1.57
6 District of Columbia 63,000 42,000 1.50
7 New Hampshire 309,000 212,000 1.46
8 Pennsylvania 3,544,000 2,485,000 1.43
9 New York 4,261,000 3,054,000 1.40
10 Ohio 3,786,000 2,730,000 1.39

What’s Love Got to Do With It

Columnist Richard Cohen went to see the new movie Her and came away with a stronger impression of our cultural narcissism. Critics and sociologists and historians have talked about our cultural obsession with ourselves for 50 years. The 70s were the Me generation; great historian Christoper Lasch wrote The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations at the close of that decade.

The awareness of our navel gazing is nothing new but the movie adds a twist; our ability to use technology to serve this purpose. It seems to provide a cure: we can all have our own personal technological male 0r female to serve our desires! Cohen provides several examples that embody this self focus, including selfies, watching only a cable network that provides the information you want to hear (Fox, MSNBC). He also adds that Americans have about 70 million dogs and 74 million cats and, says “…while some of them are for helping — guard dogs, etc. — most offer the service of uncomplicated affection.”

The animal companionship item is an odd example to demonstrate narcissism.In fact, it demonstrates our need to be related to others and the joy we receive from that connection. People with animals know that you spend a fair amount of time fulfilling their basic care needs. Other time is spend playing with them and showing them affection. We have relationships with the animals. We love watching them be themselves, and get an amazing amount of joy out of the things that they do. That’s far from narcissistic and someone who has a pet for their own glorification is providing a great disservice and missing out on so much.

Adoption at Little Goblins

The Humane Society took over a small area near a large patch of pumpkins for an annual children’s costume walk in DC. The path for this Halloween event takes children and their parents down P Street to Logan Circle.

We had three dogs, a beagle mix, a poodle mix and a dachshund. They dressed in costume and greeted the kids.

Canine Captain America

 

 

Bones Dog

 

 

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Humane Society Adoption

At yesterday’s $12 adoption for 12 hours event I spent three hours portraying the mascot, Wags the Dog. My main job centered on standing out on New York Avenue, NE, in front of the animal shelter, waving to the cars. The truck drivers got a big kick out of it and always tooted their horns, like the did when we would ride past them in school buses.

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I got to hug adorable dogs too. Some of the dogs did bark at me, as they weren’t sure if I was really one of their species or not!

Science and Dogs

I’m thrilled. As science proceeds to study animals rather than studies on animals, we learn more about their abilities. we can now continue our move away from acting patronizing to our pets, or to pet owners. It is time to realize how many of the emotions and cognitive abilities animals and humans share.

I enjoyed the book Animal Wise because it effectively summarized the studies done on the thinking and feeling of animals from dogs to elephants. It showed how much we have learned now that scientists and society are more open to seeing animals as amazing living beings.

Today’s Post carried an article on the ability of dogs to recall. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/dogs-can-copy-what-humans-do-even-10-minutes-later/2013/07/29/bcfbdbb0-f2ca-11e2-ae43-b31dc363c3bf_story.html

Cinco De Mayo Pets

Lots of pet events today for Cinco de Mayo in Washington, DC.

Went down to the Waterfront in Southwest to watch dog races. Chihuahua races took place inside a penned in area. One owner held the dog and waited for the call to release while the other stood at the far end encouraging the dog to come to the finish line. They had twelve heats of five and six dogs each.

The winners of the heats went on to the semi-finals and finals. My favorite, a loud Washington Capitols fan trying to psyche up his dog before the start of the race as he stood at the finish line. When the race started his dog started playing with another competitor at the starting line and didn’t even run.

So many cute dogs.

Next Planet Pet had a big party on Florida Avenue in Adams Morgan. Lots of foo, beer, and pets of all sorts.

Movie Premiere

We saw the US premiere of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale at the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Sponsored by the Japan Information and Culture Center the event drew the Japanese ambassador told the crowd a nice story to set the movie.

Staring Richard Gere and Joan Allen, the movie is based on the true story of a college professor‘s bond with the abandoned dog he takes into his home. The akida is beautiful and the simple story warms the heart.

I cried and you could hear sniffles and noses being blown throughout the theater. Director Lasse Hallstrom  answered questions and spoke after the event.

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