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All The Dogs of Our Lives  - Dogs are People, too

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Any persons who have had a dog in their lives, know that they are full members of the family and that they are people, too. We can't present a site devoted to local history and culture without including our canine family members. This page will be the collecting point for news clippings about the dogs in our three county area. If you have clippings to send in, be sure to give me the date and the newspaper if you can. Type them up in MS Word or in your email.
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Placing Older Pooches Difficult
By Salle Richards Crooks – Star-Gazette

You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you may have trouble finding him an owner for whom he can perform. Max Shedden of Wygant Road, Horseheads, knows first hand of the problem of finding an old friend a new home. Shedden’s doctor has told him he must give up his small dog, Tiny, because dog hair is irritating Shedden’s lung condition.

"He hangs tight to me all the time," Shedden said of the small red dog. "I would keep this little dog until he died, but…" Shedden took Tiny in last fall after his own dog died. Although Tiny was probably about 9 years old at the time, he seemed like a youngster to Shedden. His old dog died at age 16. "I had no reservations about taking him in," Shedden said of Tiny. Tiny had apparently been misused and abandoned. He didn’t even weigh five pounds and was missing big splotches of hair all over his back. "You’d never know it now," Shedden said stroking the dog’s luxurious red fur and noting the dog’s weight has doubled. "He looks like a fox." Shedden wants a home for Tiny that will provide the dog with similar experiences to the ones he has had with Shedden. He thinks Tiny would be a wonderful companion for another elder person like himself. "I don’t think he would appreciate a lot of kids," Shedden said. "He does sleep quite a bit."

Tiny also rides around in a car seat Shedden got for him. "He loves to ride in the car. He rides all the way to Owego and goes to the drive-in bank to get his bone," Shedden said. "You don’t have to worry about training him. He’s a very clean dog. He walks good on a leash and is not stupid." "He would be nice for some older person who doesn’t have anyone," Shedden said. The problem is Tiny’s age. It disqualifies him from consideration at the animal shelter. "We can’t adopt anything out over the age of 5," explained Margaret Geraghty, director of the Chemung County Humane Society. "There are so many young ones looking for homes." When a person has to place an older pet, Geraghty recommends they look among their own family and friends for someone willing to take the animal in.

"An older animal is pretty set in its ways," she explained. "It’s very difficult to put them into different surroundings. It can be a form of suffering to put them into a bad situation. It’s not an impossible task. Just one that demands time and understanding." "Finding a home for an older dog isn’t that different from finding one for any dog," said Dr. Thomas Leininger, the veterinarian at Lake Road Animal Hospital. There is the consideration that an older dog may have more medical expenses, just like people. But the biggest deterrent may be the shorter amount of time the old dog will be a member of the family. "There’s the emotional investment," Leininger said. "When they know they may only have the dog for four or five years, they don’t want the heartache. It’s sort of like foster parents. They have to be able to get involved and then let them go."

Finding a new home for an old dog depends a lot on the dog, the people available and the time to do it, says Sally Walker of Nichols, a member of the Susquehanna Valley Kennel Club of Sayre. Walker, who breeds and shows Samoyeds, is involved in her breed’s rescue service. When the Samoyed rescue service hears of Samoyeds in trouble, they try to find them new homes, she explained. Walker has had her best luck placing homeless dogs with older people. "A lot of people reach retirement age and have time for a dog. But they don’t know how much time they have left themselves," Walker said, "A lot of smaller breeds live for 15 or 16 years. People don’t want a dog that’s going to last 15 years and outlive them."

A dog like Tiny, in good health and people-oriented, may be the perfect choice for someone who would like a few quality years with a pet. "Travel is big with elderly people They want a dog that will travel with them," she said. Both Walker and Geraghty believe the key to successfully placing an older dog is to carefully interview the prospective new owners. "I’ve had people tell me it’s easier to adopt a child," Walker said. Walker thinks it’s important to paint an accurate picture of a dog. But prospective owners should also be hones about their circumstances. It’s not fair to a dog used to being with people to go to a family who is never home, she said. Sometimes the right person is the most unlikely, Walker said, recalling a truck driver who wanted a dog. Walker usually insists that someone will be home most of the time before releasing a dog. But the cross-country truck driver was single and home seldom. His winning argument was he wanted the dog to travel with him. "It’s easier than to get a wife," Walker quoted him and added, she still hears from the truck driver. He and his dog are doing just fine.

Amos and Andy Join Joyce's Household - March 2007


Corning Man’s Dog Survives Being Lost For 28 Days.

Corning—George Montopoli was determined to retrieve his dog Dusty when he went on the lam last month. Dusty was a puppy two years ago when Anne Montopoli, George’s wife for nearly 50 years, adopted the mixed Labrador Retriever and terrier from the Chemung County Humane Society. The dog eased into the family effortlessly. "He’s an extremely intelligent dog," said George Montopoli. " You can talk to him as you would a person."

Anne Montopoli, 68, died in December, 1989. George Montopoli knows he’ll see her again but didn’t want to have to tell Anne that he’d lost her dog, he said. "We certainly loved the dog. I would have had to answer to her." Dusty is mostly an inside dog in Montopoli’s home at 175 W. First St., Corning. On Jan. 8 during one of his few forays out of doors, Dusty ran after a jogger and was hit by a car in from of the Montopoli home. The dog panicked, ran between houses and disappeared.

Montopoli’s search soon became a quest. He spent $200 to advertise in local newspapers, offering a $100 reward for Dusty’s return. He rolled up more than 1,000 miles on his 1989 Buick Riviera during the search. Dusty was seen but eluded capture. A woman who lives in East Corning, five miles from Montopoli’s house, spotted the dog in her neighborhood. Montopoli switched his efforts to East Corning, endlessly driving Goff, Hickock and Gorton roads. "I was getting very frustrated and discouraged," he said. Out of desperation, he placed another ad in the "Star Gazette", adding Dusty’s picture.

A woman who saw the ad on Feb. 3, the last day it ran, reported seeing Dusty near a service station in East Corning, Montopoli drove to the station but Dusty was gone. Dejected, he got back in his car and started toward Corning. Fifty feet down the road, he saw a black object trotting toward his car. The object slowly defined itself as Dusty. "When I stopped the car, he came over and cried like a little kid," Montopoli said. Dusty was a muddy mess and much of it rubbed off on the leather interior of Montopoli’s car. "I didn’t mind that at all," he said.

Dusty’s first stop was the vet’s where Montopoli learned the dog has lost 16 pounds which was about a third of his pre-lam weight. He was undernourished but suffered no other ill effects from his 28-day adventure. "That’s amazing. It’s hard to believe that through these nights of below zero temperatures, survived," Montopoli said. Last order of business; An ad in the Star-Gazette thanking any one who might have given Dusty a pat on the head or a morsel of food during his ordeal.(At top of article is February 22, 1991)

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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 03 FEB 2005
By Joyce M. Tice
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