Check out “War Dog”-photo essay by Rebecca Frankel, Foreign Policy Magazine, May 2011


A tribute to the dogs who fly into danger, sniff out bombs, mines and dangerous fugitives. One such dog, whose identity is being kept a secret, was there with the U.S. SEALS the night they found Osama bin Laden. See Rebecca Frankel’s on-line photo essay in Foreign Policy Magazine.

Also, check out the World War 11 Mascot section of this blog.

Dog found floating on flotsam three weeks after Japan tsunami


Search Dog Foundation units ready for deployment to Japan

Gary Durian and Baxter

Gary Durian and Baxter

US Canine Disaster Teams To Leave For Japan
Good Dogs Canada commends the six canine search and rescue teams in Los Angeles who are responding today to the devastating 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The American National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is deploying six canine disaster search and rescue teams from Los Angeles County Task Force. The LA Task Force is being mobilized along with Virginia’s Task Force 2 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which dispatches Disaster Assistance Response Team (Dart) to help coordinate rescue efforts in Japan.

Each Task Force will be composed of approximately 72 personnel, including Urban Search and Rescue canines and 75 tons of rescue equipment. The teams are in the process of getting a health clearance for their dogs from their veterinarians, certifying that the dogs are in good health and able to be deployed. Unlike other national disasters Japan is asking for immediate help.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation was founded in 1996 with a mission to strengthen disaster response in America and across the world by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to assist in finding humans buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. Currently there are 74 Search Dog Foundation teams located in California, Florida, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization that provides “free veterinary aid, resources and support during times of disaster all over the world”. Their non-profit efforts spans 25 countries and 6 continents, and handles both veterinary issues and human health issues caused by animal-related infectious diseases.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a non-profit, FEMA-certified agency that searches for survivors in the wreckage of catastrophic events such as the one is Japan. NDSDF has already deployed six Canine Disaster Search Teams to respond to the current crisis; each task force is made up of approximately 72 members (including both humans and Urban Search and Rescue dogs) and some 75 tons of rescue equipment.

Snow snow snow

Smoky and Steve

Smoky and Steve

Thanks to the Coates family for sending this photo of Steve and Smoky after a full day of shovelling in Bury, Quebec. Smoky appeared on their doorstep one morning in the Spring of 2010, skrawny and hungry. She’s the Queen now. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Buddy and Joey

Blind Buddy Jim and Mary Borrowman own and operate Stubbs Island Whale Watching which is located in picturesque Telegraph Cove on North Vancouver Island.

In February 2009 their five year old Shi Tsu, Buddy, (pictured left) weighing about eight kilograms, lay asleep outside the gift shop. Suddenly, a cougar turned up at the open front door, picked Buddy up in his mouth, and began walking down the boardwalk with him.

Horrified, Mary and her assistant, Cara Aman, ran after the cougar yelling and screaming. Buddy was struggling in the big cat’s mouth so they knew that he was still alive. Mary’s husband, Jim, grabbed an axe and chased the cougar as he took off up the stairs toward the Borrowmans’ house. When the cat growled at Jim, he quickly dropped Buddy who rolled down an embankment. Jim was able to pick him up right away.

Buddy was in terrible shape. His eyes had popped out of their sockets because of the pressure. The Borrowmans rushed the little dog to a veterinary clinic where his eyes were treated as well as a cracked jaw, broken teeth, and other injuries.

In the meantime, the cougar was treed by a neighbour’s Rhodesian Ridgeback. As a precaution, he was shot dead by a conservation officer who thought that the cat’s taste for blood might escalate his prey instincts.

Out of love for their dog, the Borrowmans forfeited their holidays last year to pay for five surgeries on Buddy. Eventually most of Buddy’s injuries healed, but he did loose his sight.

The little fellow coped well enough during the summer, but when Fall came, Mary says he seemed to be depressed and disinterested in activities. She contacted support groups online and was advised to get another dog to keep Buddy company.

Initially Jim and Mary were doubtful, because Buddy is more of a people lover than an appreciator of his own species. When Joey, a Shih-Tzu/Lhasa Apso mix, arrived as an eight week old puppy, Buddy growled at him every time he tried to play. But little by little they grew closer and closer and the dogs are now inseparable.

Mary says that it is hard to know if Joey knows whether or not Buddy’s is blind, but Buddy doesn’t go anywhere without Joey anymore. They’re always seen together greeting visitors on the boardwalks at Telegraph Cove. Joey manoevres Buddy around obstacles. He’s Buddy’s guide dog.

True World War 11 story of an English Pointer named Judy

Ron Cuthbert of North Bay (shown right), Ontario, brought the true story of a remarkable English Pointer named Judy to my attention. This photo shows Ron with two other soldiers and puppies from Judy’s first litter. The details of Judy’s history are extrapolated from a long out-of-print book by E. Varley, The Judy Story. Read the rest of this entry »

Guardian in the woods, streams and lakes of Ontario

Colin with Tanner during daily training

Colin with Tanner during daily training

A word of praise to the largely unsung work done by the Canine Services Unit in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

This unit assists Conservation Officers in the detection and recovery of evidence and concealed fish and wildlife. The highly trained dogs accompany their handlers every day to work and ride with them in trucks, boats, snowmachines, helicopters and ATVs.

These dogs provide high visibility patrols to deter violators from poaching and/or crime scenes. When someone is lost in the back woods they provide search and rescue support.

Once the trainer has his or her dog, it is up to them to train the dog in obedience, detection, tracking, etc. Frequent and intense refresher courses are mandatory. It is very important for the dog to have complete trust in the trainer. The dogs live with their trainers and are treated as professionals within the family. They are police officers. At present there are only six to seven such dogs working in the province of Ontario.

Colin Cotnam is a Conservation Officer in the Bancroft District and is shown here during training exercises with his Golden Retriever mix, Tanner, who has been a canine officer since 2008. When not directly servicing the south and central part of Ontario, Tanner and Colin conduct educational seminars.

Captain Kilkenny of ‘The Toronto Irish’, 1939


Thanks to Susan Henderson, Fergus, Ontario

When I read your request for stories in the Canadian Legion magazine I was happy. I have a story about an Irish Wolfhound. This photograph was published by the Star Weekly, Toronto, on October 28,  1939.                                                          

Before the war started, my father raised this and other Wolfhounds to show and breed. My dad was 17 years old in this picture. When my grandfather realized that he and his three sons were going to war, he sold and gave away his horses and his dogs. Read the rest of this entry »

The way we were: Beagle with Betsy and Mike Smith, Barry, Ontario, 1955


To diet or not to diet


This is Bob the Pug.  He belongs to Trevor Deschamps and Courtney Scott.   With their children they live in a residential area of Prince Rupert, B.C.   

On April10,2010, neighbours observed what they first thought was a large dog grab Bob from his front lawn and trot away with him in his mouth like a mother would pick up a kitten.

They hollered to Trevor and Courtney that a wolf had picked up Bob and run off with him.  Soon everyone, including Courtney who had given birth to her third child just two weeks before, was yelling and running in pursuit down the street into the woods nearby.  As they ran they kept hollering and making a lot of noise and throwing rocks and sticks.  Finally the wolf, who by all reports was a large and very handsome  guy, dropped the Pug and ran off.  Bob’s neck was punctured, but he was alright.  Apparently his neck was too fat for the wolf to maintain a good bite on him!

Bob is home safe with his family who wonder whether to put him on that diet they’d been considering before wolf boy paid them a visit.