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Archive for May, 2008

The stamps above are all in honor orf working dogs

Endal’s story continues, because Allen, his owner, has been in contact with us and sent lots of great photos. The photo below shows one of Endal’s amazing talents by posting a letter. He’s such a star! Many more photos are posted on Endal’s and Allen’s website.

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Endal’s owner Allen writes the following amazing and poignant report about the relationship between him and his dog Endal:

Endal ” Like a shinning Star”

Following a serious Head injury suffered while serving in the Royal Navy during the Gulf war and after three years in Hospital and rehabilitation the sum of my

condition was that – I could not recall getting married, the birth of my children and I had lost about 50% of my history. (none of which has ever come back!). My speech was awful and my behaviour bizarre. My memory then and now lasts about two days and I’m dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.

Because of my own self pity, anger and bitterness I was stuck in the darkest

soulless place a person can ever be – void of any hope!!. Without the emotions Love, Hate, Happiness or Sadness I was beyond human help, even out of the reach of my loving wife and two young children. I defended myself from people by being horrible and rude, that way I could be left alone.

One Dog cut right through that defensive armour and saw the real Allen Parton.

Like a shinning star Endal came bounding into that dark place and touched my very heart. He just said to me with those Doggie eyes “hold onto my tail and I’ll pull you out of here, at your pace and with no conditions”. He has to this day never stopped pulling. His unconditional love has healed so many of the hurts, his mischief making brought laughter into my saddest days and his zest for life has rubbed off on to me.

He never judges me, he never looks away because of my condition and his aiding of me when I at my weakest makes us both an invincible team. I can put my hand out to my side day or night and he is always there. He has taught me to love, laugh and live again.”

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Endal the Service Dog

This is the amazing story of Endal, a collegue of mine. I admire him greatly!

“Endal (b. 13 December 1995) is a male Labrador retriever in England whose abilities as a service dog and as an ambassador for service dog charitable work have had considerable news media coverage.

Among other distinctions, Endal has been described as “the most decorated dog in the world” (including “Dog of the Millennium” and the PDSA’s Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty, the highest award available to an animal) and the most famous dog in the UK has been filmed by over 300 film crews from around the world and has a number of world “firsts” as an assistance dog to his credit.

Endal is a pedigree yellow Labrador retriever. Unusually, Endal suffered from birth from the lifelong debilitating joint condition osteochondrosis in both of his front legs, which brought his suitability for assistance dog training into question. However, with the help of a specialized diet and controlled exercise, Endal qualified as a fully operational assistance dog. He became the service dog for disabled ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Allen Parton in the late 1990s.

Endal’s fame has led to his taking on the role of an animal ambassador for service dog related training and charities.

Allen Parton

Allen’s head injuries from the Gulf War are serious. They include 50% memory loss and inability to reliably make new memories for more than around 2 days (for example, not recognising his neighbour of 7 years duration), physical disability – he is wheelchair-bound – speech and word difficulties, inability to perceive items that cannot be seen, and inability to safely judge speed and distance of traffic. For a considerable time after partnering Endal, he was unable to speak and was limited to basic sign language.

Work as a service dog

Endal is able to respond to over one hundred instructions as well as a very large number (“hundreds”) of signed commands. He can retrieve items from supermarket shelves, operate buttons and switches and load and empty a washing machine. He is able to put a card into an automated teller machine, retrieve the card when the process is complete and return the card to a wallet.

“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.” Able Magazine.

The above Able Magazine article continues by noting that “Over the years, Endal has learned to pull the plug out of the bath before going for help if Allen falls unconscious whilst bathing, and is able to put Allen in the recovery position, hit the emergency button on the telephone and summon help … Endal has learned how to use cash and chip and pin machines, as well as helping out with the shopping, opening train doors, operating lifts, unloading the washing machine and more typical doggie skills like getting the paper.”

Parton states that Endal’s ability to intuit his wishes and needs showed when they first met, and was responsible for helping him recover from the initial deep depression and trauma caused by his disability. As well as intuiting the operation of a cashpoint (ATM), Endal came again to national attention in a 2001 incident, when Allen was knocked out of his wheelchair by a passing car.

In this incident, Endal pulled Parton, who was unconscious, into the recovery position, retrieved his mobile phone from beneath the car, fetched a blanket and covered him, barked at nearby dwellings for assistance, and then ran to a nearby hotel to obtain help.”

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I definitely think that each dog should have their own armchair. Alright, Underdogs like my daughter might have to rest in baskets… I allow her during daytime to have a snooze in my armchair, when I want to stretch my legs under the kitchen table. But night time is armchair time for me!

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Puppy Mills

Today I want to write about “Puppy Mills” which are a very “inhumane” way of breeding us.

“Puppy mills are nothing new. These mass dog-breeding operations have been around for decades. They continue to thrive because they prey on unwitting consumers who are smitten by too-cute-for-words puppies in pet store windows and on fancy websites.

But behind the friendly facade of the local pet shop, the pastoral scenes on a “breeder’s” website, or the neighborhood newspaper ad, there often lies a puppy mill. These canine breeding facilities house dogs in shockingly poor conditions.

Life is particularly bad for “breeding stock,” dogs who live their entire lives in cages and are continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family. These dogs receive little or no veterinary care and never see a bed, a treat or a toy. After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems. Read more about puppies and breeding dogs who suffered at puppy mills at the Survivor Stories page »

Puppy Mills:
An Endless Cycle of Cruelty

Several hundred thousand puppies are shipped cross-country to be sold in pet shops, but many are sold via newspaper classifieds or Internet sites and are often accompanied by false claims such as, “We’d never sell puppies from a puppy mill” or promises that the puppies are “home raised,” farm raised,” or “raised with kids/grandkids.” The ploys of the puppy mill are designed to dupe a well-intentioned family into buying a puppy and keeping the engine of cruelty working overtime.”

Good job I had my puppies at home and could bring them up properly… Read some of the survivor stories here>>>

The HSUS
Breeder dogs in puppy mills are
often forced to spend their entire lives
caged in shocking environments.

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the frog

“The Frog” (acrylics on canvas, 70cm x 50cm)

The other day I was told by Alpha Su that black dogs are hardly possible to be painted, because they’re black. Well… I always thought that Black Is Beautiful!
Anyway, she transformed me on this painting into a yellow lab. Why not, I don’t mind, as long as I get a bone for modeling for her.

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