Since meeting one another last year, Timofey Yuriev and his faithful dog Kira have been inseparable companions. Indeed, the happy duo do just about everything together.
And that includes saving lives.
Last Saturday, Yuriev, his wife and Kira headed out for a sunset stroll around an ice-covered lake near their home in New York. It’s a tranquil spot, but on this chilly early evening, the quiet, peaceful air was shattered by the sound of a tragedy unfolding.
“We heard a woman screaming something across the lake, so we went to see what was happening,” Yuriev told The Dodo. “Her two old Labradors were crossing the lake, when they got to a spot where the ice is much thinner. One fell in, then the second. They tried to climb out but they couldn’t.”
Yuriev watched as the dogs’ energy was quickly sapped by the freezing water — and he knew time was of the essence.
Having experience swimming in icy waters, Yuriev decided to take the plunge in order to save the two dogs himself — but he was not alone.
After Yuriev undressed and leapt into the freezing lake, he looked and saw Kira by his side entering the water as well to lend him her paw in the rescue effort.
“I knew she was going to follow me,” Yuriev said. “We were going to do it together.”
Here’s video taken by Yuriev’s wife showing him and Kira reaching the nearest dog first:
“She was great moral support; I was not alone,” Yuriev said. “There was my little helper.”
After leading the first dog safely to the shore, Yuriev and Kira headed out for the second:
“She came to each dog and touched them with her nose, then helped guide them back.”
Once back on dry land, both of the rescued dogs were frazzled but in good health.
Yuriev and Kira had saved the day.
“The owner, of course, was in tears,” Yuriev said. “She was so thankful.”
Kira has always been a kindhearted and intelligent dog, able to assess situations and sense when she’s needed.
And on this day, it was clear for all to see.
“We told her that she’s a dog-saving dog. I’m sure she understood that something was happening. She could see the dogs were in distress. I’m positive about it,” Yuriev said, adding that he’s just happy they were able to help.
“It was pure luck that we were at that place at that time. It was like the universe smiled at us.”
When Seattle-based mountain guide Don Wargowsky was leading an expedition to Mera Peak and Baruntse in Nepal’s Himalayas last November, he picked up an extra member on his team. A stray dog noticed the climbers somewhere around 17,500 feet and decided to stick around with the group.
The climbers had just summited Mera Peak, and when they were coming down around Mera La pass, they saw the pup going up.
“What struck me was to get to that pass, there were a few hundred feet of fixed rope which means the terrain was so difficult that most climbers need rope to help themselves up,” Wargowsky tells MNN. “To see a dog up there just running by all these climbers in their $2,000 down suits and crampons was very unusual. When she came up to me, I gave her a bit of beef jerky and she didn’t leave for 3 1/2 weeks.”
The team dubbed their newest four-legged member “Mera” and she tagged along on the way back down the mountain. Wargowsky realized he had seen her in the town of Kare a few days earlier, but she had made no effort then to get close. He thinks that’s because street dogs aren’t treated very well in Nepal due to the fear of rabies.
“Dogs are shooed away pretty aggressively,” he says. “So, she was naturally pretty shy.”
A new climbing partner
But once Mera decided to join the expedition, she gradually lowered her guard. The first night, Wargowsky tried to encourage her to sleep in his tent, but she wouldn’t come inside. The next morning, he found her curled up outside the flaps covered in a layer of snow. After that, he was able to coax her inside. He gave her one of his sleeping pads and a coat to keep her warm.
Wargowsky was in a difficult position with his uninvited guest. The elements were unforgiving, and he was worried about the dog who had no protection for her paws or her body in conditions that likely reached minus 20 or minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit at times. But he had no luck getting her to leave … and where would she go?
“Obviously my responsibility was to the group, but I was super happy to have her with us. I didn’t encourage her to come along, but I wasn’t going to have her starve, so I would feed her,” he says. “I really tried to persuade her to stay at camp as we got into steeper and more dangerous terrain. Where we were was a more remote part of Nepal. If we didn’t feed her, she was going to starve.”
Mera stuck with the expedition the entire time, never venturing far from Wargowsky’s side. Or technically, his knee.
“She would walk with her nose almost in the back of my knee when we would walk,” he says. “But she wanted to be up front. If I would drop back to hang out with a slower client, she would go up and walk with whoever was up front. She didn’t get out of sight pretty much the entire time we were there.”
‘No clue what her motivation was’
There was only one time when Mera was gone for several days.
While Wargowsky was working on training with some members of the expedition, showing them how to climb the ice with rope, Mera followed the team’s sherpas instead. They were working to set up ropes to “camp one” at around 20,000 feet. She scrambled up the steep terrain but seemed afraid to go back down and wouldn’t return with them to base camp.
“She ended up spending two nights alone on a glacier at 20,000 feet. I really thought she was going to freeze to death,” Wargowsky says. The sherpas went up to continue working and she was there. But instead of going back down right away, she followed them to 22,000 feet as they continued working before going back to base camp.
The next day when the entire team went to make the climb, Wargowsky tried to keep her at base camp because he didn’t want her to make the steep climb again. He tied her up but she got out of her rope and quickly caught up with them. Wargowsky couldn’t leave his human clients to take her back, so Mera was allowed to stay with the group.
“I have no clue what her motivation was,” he says. “We were feeding her at base camp, so it wasn’t the food. It’s not like there was anything up there for her, but it was amazing to see.”
Tackling the ice and snow
Early on, Mera started to slide and Wargowsky was able to catch her and save her from what could’ve been a dangerous fall. When the team moved to camp two at around 21,000 feet, they were sidelined there for four days because of bad weather. Mera stayed with Wargowsky, who shared his tent and his food with the pup.
“I split all my meals with her 50/50 so we both lost weight,” he says. He guesses the scruffy brown-and-tan stray weighed probably 45 pounds to start with but lost maybe five or 10 pounds during the trip. Wargowsky says Mera looked like a combination of a Tibetan mastiff and a Nepali sheepdog.
Wargowsky was impressed with how well Mera navigated the snow and ice and handled the cold.
“She did very very well like 98 percent of the time. There were certain slopes very early in the morning or late at night when the snow was very crusty and icy when it was very slippery and you could see her kind of struggle with it,” he says. “Her paws got beat up and it was hard to see her paws bleeding a little. But everything healed up that evening and it was all superficial.”
He says it was also hard to believe she didn’t go snow-blind. The humans were all wearing expensive glacier goggles while she trotted along with no protection.
The highest a dog has ever climbed
There was only one part of the descent where she was assisted by a rope. Somehow, she had climbed the vertical 15-foot-tall section without incident but when it was time to go back down, she didn’t want to do it. The humans were rappelling, so to coax the dog down safely, they tied a rope harness to her so she could half-run, half tumble. You can see it in the photo above, but Wargowsky points out that the truly harrowing part of the mountain isn’t even visible in the shot.
In the end, when the team — along with their canine mascot — had come down from their completed 23,389-foot climb of Baruntse, Mera was hailed as a bit of a hero. Word had spread about her alleged feat and Wargowsky had to show off photos from his phone to prove she had been with them.
“She was the first dog to ever have climbed that mountain,” he says. “We can’t find anything that says a dog has ever been that high. I believe that is the highest that a dog has ever climbed ever at any point in the world.”
“I am not aware of a dog actually summiting an expedition peak in Nepal,” Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database, an organization that documents climbing expeditions in Nepal, told Outside. “I just hope that she won’t get into trouble for having climbed Baruntse without a permit.” Bierling told Outside that there have been a few reported cases of dogs at Everest Base Camp (17,600 feet) and some who’ve trailed teams through the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp II (21,300 feet) on Mount Everest, but Mera’s adventure is perhaps the highest-recorded elevation by a dog anywhere in the world.
‘This dog wants to climb mountains’
After all that climbing and bonding, Wargowsky was tempted to bring his new friend home with him to the U.S.
“I really would’ve loved to adopt her. But I live in a 700-square-foot unit in Seattle and this dog wants to climb mountains. I gave it a lot of consideration. I didn’t care what it cost. Despite how much I loved this dog, I thought it would’ve been a very selfish thing to do to bring her to such a small space.”
But he didn’t want to leave what he calls “this hero of a dog” out on the streets. Fortunately, the expedition’s base camp manager was also smitten with the adventurous dog. Because dogs can’t fly, NirKaji Tamang paid someone $100 to walk three days to pick her up until they could get her on a bus and get her to his home in Kathmandu.
After what she had accomplished on Baruntse, Tamang changed the athletic dog’s name to Baru. He took her to the vet to make sure she was healthy. Her injuries quickly healed, and she gained weight.
Wargowsky, who told his remarkable Mera story online, was thrilled recently to receive photos of her. He will be back in Nepal several times this year for expeditions, and he plans on visiting his canine climbing partner.
“With what we had available, I don’t know what more I could’ve done to prevent her from climbing. She was definitely there of her own free will,” he says. “I truly loved that dog.”
This is such a wonderful account of a stray dog coming into contact with a group of such loving people. Plus, the photographs are wonderful especially the fourth one; just following the Tackling the Ice and Snow sub-heading. I could look at that photograph for ever!
I thought that you and Jeannie might like to see this, if you haven’t already done so.
It brought a tear to my eye. Very inspiring – the way the world should be. The best of humanity.
– Margaret K
“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this” says Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen, 56, who took these surprising photos. The female grey wolf and male brown were spotted every night for ten days straight, spending several hours together between 8pm and 4am. They would even share food with each other.
“No-one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends,” Lassi told the Daily Mail. “I think that perhaps they were both alone and they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone…It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see.”
“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this”
This unlikely pair was spotted by Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen
He photographed the female grey wolf and male brown bear every night for ten days straight
“No one had observed bears and wolves living near each other and becoming friends in Europe”
The two “friends” were even seen sharing food
“No one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends”
“I think that perhaps they were both alone when they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone”
“I came across these two and knew that it made the perfect story”
“It seems to me that they feel safe being together”
Taken from here but I wouldn’t have known about this beautiful story if Margaret K. hadn’t sent me the link. Thank you, Margaret!
Have you ever noticed that your dog’s mood shifts with the weather? Storms, heat, cold, and the changing seasons affect our dogs, just like they affect us. Understanding this behavior can help you prepare your canine companion for the forecast ahead.
When the temperature heats up, some dogs rejoice, while others seek out cool, shady spots where they can rest. Though all dogs can be susceptible to hot weather hazards, certain dog breeds are less heat tolerant than others. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers, do best when staying cool in hot weather because they can have difficulty breathing in extreme heat. Large breeds are also susceptible to heat, as are longhaired breeds like the Komondor, Afghan Hound, and Alaskan Malamute. If you own a breed like these, you may find that your dog is not as active in hot weather or as willing to engage in play and other activities.
Seasons change gradually, giving your dog time to adjust. Relocating to an entirely new climate, however, can cause sudden shifts in your pup’s mood. Depending on your dog’s breed, you may notice that he becomes more or less active, and some dogs even show signs of irritation if the weather makes them too uncomfortable.
A move to a cold climate can be shocking for dogs that are not used to chilly temperatures. Some pups seek out warm places, like air vents, blankets, or human contact, and you might notice your canine companion becoming cuddlier in the cold. Understanding the cause of your dog’s sudden lethargy or increased activity can help you determine if his change in mood is circumstantial or medical. Lethargy is a common symptom of many illnesses and should be taken seriously, so make sure your dog is not exhibiting any other abnormal signs. If he is, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Avoid taking your dog for walks during the hottest parts of the day.
Make sure he has plenty of fresh water.
Raised canvas platform dog beds offer a cooling alternative to traditional beds, and you can even invest in cooling mats or kiddie pools for particularly heat-intolerant dogs.
If you don’t have air conditioning, adjust a fan so that your dog has access to a nice, cool breeze.
Never leave a dog unattended in an enclosed vehicle or in a warm environment that does not have good air circulation.
You can also help your dog acclimate to the cold. After all, who doesn’t love a pup in a sweater? With so many dog sweaters, jackets, raincoats, and booties to choose from, keeping your dog warm is easier than ever. However, it’s important to note that you should never leave an item of clothing on an unsupervised dog. And anything you do put on your canine companion should fit properly (not too tight or too loose).
“Understanding this behavior can help you prepare your canine companion for the forecast ahead.” One wonders just how one prepares our canine companions (all six of them) for the forecast.
I am indebted to Margaret K. for including a number of videos in her long comment to my post The End Of Ice. They are being watched.
On Monday morning we watched one of them Deep Adaptation. It was a stark message.
It is included below. It’s 39 minutes long.
Please watch it!
Then if you are so minded their website is here. It’s free to join and you will be left with the feeling that you are doing something important. From that website:
The Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth
At some point we realize that humanity has strayed down a rabbit hole from which it cannot seem to emerge. This quagmire is the belief in the idea of Consumerism, with its cast of advertising executives, bankers and economists, corporate CEOs, politicians, etc. We have evolved a defective ‘operating system’ that insists on infinite, accelerating economic growth despite the ecological costs – namely the destruction of Nature. Those who have signed or endorsed the Scientists’ Warning through this website have displayed a clear understanding of what is wrong and how we must head to avoid the worst of ecological destabilization that we have inflicted on Mother Earth. We are all therefore de facto members of what we are calling the Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth.
“The world will have to start listening to the good scientists and not the ones paid to justify dodgy developments.”
– Greer Hart
I know hundreds, if not tens of thousands, share my lack of understanding of those who are cruel to dogs, or any other animal come to that! I cannot get into the head of someone who does cruel acts towards dogs.
If Joe had shed any tears over his fate — tied to a fence in a New York City park — it would have been hard to notice for the puddle of water he sat shivering in.
In fact, it was hard to notice the 11-month-old pit-bull mix at all on that cold December day in Betsy Head Park. The rush of people hurrying to get to where they were going must have seemed endless, all the while oblivious to the tragedy unfolding at their feet.
But while on a routine patrol in the area, NYPD officer Michael Pascale caught a glimpse of the abandoned dog.
“Just out of the corner of my eye I saw him,” he told the New York Post. “I jumped out of the car before the car even stopped.”
He found him scarcely moving, but still managing a whimper.
The officer wrapped the near-frozen dog in a towel.
“He was just looking up at me with these eyes … sitting in this puddle of water,” Pascale added. “I knew I had to get him out of there.”
Pascale and his partner wasted no time in ushering Joe to a local shelter. A triumphant photo of the pair was taken and later tweeted by NYPD Special Ops.
And that’s where you might think the chance encounter between Pascale and Joe would end.
But three weeks would pass and Joe was still at the shelter looking for a family. So Pascale, who had been keeping tabs on the dog, came to his rescue once again.
And this rescue would last a lifetime. Last week, after filling out the adoption papers, Pascale took Joe home for good.
“I felt a connection,” he told News 12. “I felt responsibility to make sure that he was going to have a good home, especially after what he experienced that day.”
Officer Michael Pascale, you are a very good person. And I know Joe will be very happy with you.
On January 21st this year I republished a post by Tom Engelhardt and called it The song this planet needs to hear. His post was essentially a piece written for Tom by Dahr Jamail. It was called A Planet in Crisis and it included reference to a recently published book The End of Ice.
Subsequently, I decided to order the book by Dahr Jamail, it arrived a week ago and I ended up finishing it last Saturday.
I was minded to publish a review of the book, and here it is:
The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail
This is a book that I wished I had not read.
Yet, this is a book that once started I wanted to finish, and finish quickly.
It’s a brilliant book. Very impressive and very readable. But I speak of it from a technical point-of-view.
Now that I have finished it life will never be quite the same again. Nor, for that matter, for anyone else who chooses to read it.
Dahr Jamail has a background as a reporter, with some other books under his belt. But his reporting skills really come to the fore with The End Of Ice. For he has travelled the world speaking to experts in their own field and listening to what they say about the future prognosis of the planet that you and I, and everyone else lives on.
Earth has not seen current atmospheric CO2 levels since the Pliocene, some 3 million years ago. Three-quarters of that CO2 will still be here in five hundred years. Given that it takes a decade to experience the full warming effects of CO2 emissions, we are still that far away from experiencing the impact of all the CO2 that we are currently emitting. (p.5)
And if you are below the age of 60 or thereabouts you are going to experience this changing world head on. To be honest, whatever age you are things are starting to change.
We are already facing mass extinction. There is no removing the heat we have introduced into our oceans, nor the 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every single year. There may be no changing what is happening, and far worse things are coming. (p.218)
It really is a grim read. A grim but necessary read.
The eight chapters in the book spell out what is already happening. The diminishing glaciers and rising snow levels, the loss of coral, the rise in sea level and the loss of vast tracts of land as a consequence. Then there is the future of forests around the world. As I said, it is a grim read but a necessary one.
Towards the end of the book Dahr Jamail quotes author and storyteller Stephen Jenkinson:
“Grief requires us to know the time we’re in,” Jenkinson continues. “The great enemy of grief is hope. Hope is a four-letter word for people who are willing to know things for what they are. Our time requires us to be hope-free. To burn through the false choice of being hopeful and hopeless. They are the two sides of the same con job. Grief is required to proceed.” (p. 218)
Upon finishing this superb book, that you really do need to read, the one emotion that I was left with was grief. For what we have done to this planet. For what we are doing to this one and only home of ours.
P.S. Dogs would not have done this to our beautiful planet.
I was supposed to be on a break. I fostered eight puppies back to back last year with the last one leaving right after Christmas. No doe-eyed dog was going to tug on my heartstrings.
But then I heard about a hoarding and neglect case where some 30 doodles were found living outdoors, perched on piles of hard clay and mounds of feces. A local rescue, Releash Atlanta, waded into the mess and scooped up seven of these dogs, putting out a plea for fosters to help. I kept looking at the face of a mama dog curled up with her newborn pup.
What break? The frightened mom and her itty-bitty baby are now decompressing in my basement until their permanent foster takes over next week. They’re learning that people aren’t terrible, and mama has found that chicken tastes great.
There’s something about cases like these that hit animal lovers — heck, most people — with a sickening blow. We can’t wrap our heads around the idea of animals, especially pets, living in such deplorable conditions.
The 5 freedoms of animal welfare
Look at the lives of most of the pets you know. They eat quality food, go to the vet regularly, stay cool in summer and warm in winter and want for very little.
These life basics seem like common sense to most of us, but more than 50 years ago the U.K. government wanted to put them in writing. In 1965, the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (which later became the Farm Animal Welfare Council) defined the specific conditions that must be met for animals being cared for by humans. They called them the “Five Freedoms,” which cover an animal’s physical and mental state. The freedoms were later updated but the gist is basically the same.
These conditions of humane treatment have been adopted by veterinarians and animal-welfare groups including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The Five Freedoms are:
Freedom from hunger and thirst, by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health and vigor
Freedom from discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment
Freedom from pain, injury and disease, by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
Freedom to express normal behavior, by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and appropriate company of the animal’s own kind
Freedom from fear and distress, by ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering
Taking things for granted
These freedoms seem so incredibly basic and that’s likely why when an animal neglect case makes headlines, we’re all so horrified.
This happened in early January, when hundreds of German shepherds were found living in unimaginably squalid conditions from a suspected puppy mill in two locations in Montgomery and Candler counties in Georgia. Led by New York’s Guardians of Rescue, dozens of rescue groups immediately stepped up to help, rescuing more than 300 of the mostly purebred dogs. They found that in addition to being housed in filthy, crowded pens, some of the dogs had sores and had been living like that for at least five years.
“We know that a lot lost their lives fighting simply because they fought for dominance. It was a recipe for disaster every single day,” Mike Lawson, an investigator for Guardians, tells MNN. “They didn’t get out, they didn’t go for walks and they had to share the same soil covered with their own feces and urine. There was no protection from the cold and no shelter from the sun on a hot day. Obviously we are grateful they are no longer there.”
People from around the country and even in other parts of the world followed the drama on Facebook as all the dogs were removed from the property. Many people donated to the various rescue groups and offered to help foster or otherwise give support to these hundreds of dogs.
While Guardians also is involved with typical, everyday rescues, the group is often called in for these complicated cases.
“When people feel there’s no more hope, that’s when we jump into action,” says Lawson, who’s a retired FBI agent, like many of the group’s investigators.
“There’s the sheer number of animals and generally it’s the same typical M.O. in all these hoarding cases: It’s cramped areas, the hygiene is at an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10, and generally the health of the animals is not taken into consideration,” Lawson says. “Regardless of how it started, nobody should be keeping so many dogs on any property.”
People step up
Rescues and animal shelters save animals every day. They always need donations, fosters and other kinds of support. But when these unimaginable neglect stories surface, they know they can count on people to help.
“We see an outpouring of support from the community for a few reasons,” says Kristin Sarkar, founder of Releash Atlanta. “The first is, usually it’s a big undertaking that requires a lot of donations, whether financial or just items needed to begin the process of transferring the dogs to safety and it’s something everyone can help with, such as donating blankets, crates or leashes and collars.”
Sarkar posted the heart-wrenching video above of the doodle dogs being rescued with photos of the petrified pups as they were taken from their filthy pens. Immediately, people started asking how they could help.
“There’s also a visual that makes it hard to ignore. We can tell a story all we want, but when you actually see the story, it has a much greater effect. We’ve passed 100 car accidents, yet we will still slow down to look at the next one,” she says. “Lastly, a lot of times with cases like this, for the most part, people are good, and they want to help, and what better time to want to help than when the need is so great? Such is the case with these recent hoarding situations.”
I’ve learned this kindness firsthand.
My scared little foster dog was covered with mats and not trusting enough to really be handled yet. I asked a trainer friend of mine for advice and she called her assistant trainer who is also a groomer. He immediately came over on his day off and spent time calmly talking to this frightened pup as he trimmed off these horrible clumps of nastiness. People are amazing.
I fostered one other hoarding dog, Pax. He was petrified when he arrived and had heartworms, so he had a long road to recovery. People donated toys, treats and medical care while he was with me and were very kindly invested in his background and rescue, as well as his transformation. It took five months for him to come around and realize that people can be good.
The doodles and the German shepherds have a long road ahead of them. Thanks to rescues, fosters and the people who are donating for their care, they will now have access to the Five Freedoms. They’ll be free from hunger and pain, discomfort and fear, and will be in a safe, loving environment.
It will take a lot of work, but the good news is that eventually there will be happy endings.
“So many people have to invest time, energy, love and money into these dogs to fix them,” Lawson says. “These dogs have never been inside a home. They have never taken a car ride. Never been on a leash. Never have had a collar. To put these dogs into wonderful homes, everybody who has taken these dogs will have to put a lot into them. I’m sure, before you know it, you will start seeing some wonderful before-and-after photos of these dogs placed in homes.”
Words fail me when it comes to the appalling cruelty as described above.
So thank goodness for those wonderful people who truly understand what it means for a dog to be loved and cared for.