We’ve all had the misfortune of suffering through some inconsiderate audience members while enjoying ourselves at a theatre. There’s that one person that has to spoil main plot twists or the ever-annoying social media addict that’s glued to their phones with screens blasting on a 100% brightness. But have you ever met a dog in the audience?
The Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada hosted a very special kind of audience, a group of adorable service dogs. On August 15, the Stratford Festival shared a gallery of photos on their Twitter account with the caption, “We had some pawsitivly adorable audience members from K-9 Country Inn Service Dogs during last week’s Relaxed Performance of #sfBillyElliot.”
The team of canines were from K-9 Country Inn Service Dogs, a Service dog training Program that specializes “in programs for first responders, front line workers, and victims of trauma with PTSD”. The working dogs probably enjoyed the music and pretty sights, but they were actually on a training plan. They were brought to the Relaxed Performance of “Billy Elliot the Musical” to learn proper theatre behaviour which involved a lot of sitting, quietly.
Laura MacKenzie, the woman behind K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, revealed she’s been dog training for over 35 years. “I made the move to training service and guide dogs years ago because I wanted to give back to society and found a great need within the service dog industry,” she revealed. MacKenzie previously trained police dogs, personal protection dogs, herding dogs, etc. “It’s important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend,” she said.
Who are the Service Dogs Watching Billy Elliot?
This adorable canine pack are from the dog training provider, K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs. K-9 Country Inn aims to support first responders, veterans, and civilians suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The performance that the pups were observing was also special and as the theatre calls it, relaxed. Their site describes the relaxed performances like this:
“Relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome patrons who will benefit from a less restricted audience environment. Patrons of all abilities are welcome, including but not limited to those with intellectual or learning disabilities, sensory processing conditions or autism. There is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement within the auditorium, and some minor production changes may be made to reduce the intensity of light, sound and other potentially startling effects. Babes in arms are also welcome to our relaxed performances.”
It’s not the first time that dogs have been seen having a good time in weird and wonderful places.
A cinema in Planto, Texas, became the first in the world to allow dog-lovers to attend the movies along with their pets.
With this in mind, having the service dogs there is actually a huge help to the performers. In Billy Elliott, there are tons of child actors. This specific situation helps the child actor get used to seeing animals in the audience. It’s a win-win!
A Stratford Festival spokesperson told CBC that the festival hosts guests with service dogs several times a week.
“It’s wonderful that going to the theatre is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theatre is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn’t,” the spokesperson said.
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Deep in the Alaskan wilderness, a prospector came to the rescue of an injured mother wolf and her pups, and a lasting connection is formed.
One spring morning many years ago, I had been prospecting for gold along Coho Creek on south-eastern Alaska’s Kupreanof Island, and as I emerged from a forest of spruce and hemlock, I froze in my tracks. No more than 20 paces away in the bog was a huge Alaskan timber wolf—caught in one of Trapper George’s traps.
Old George had died the previous week of a heart attack, so the wolf was lucky I had happened along. Confused and frightened at my approach, the wolf backed away, straining at the trap chain. Then I noticed something else: It was a female, and her teats were full of milk. Somewhere there was a den of hungry pups waiting for their mother.
From her appearance, I guessed that she had been trapped only a few days. That meant her pups were probably still alive, surely no more than a few miles away. But I suspected that if I tried to release the wolf, she would turn aggressive and try to tear me to pieces. Here are the proven skills to survive any emergency.
So I decided to search for her pups instead and began to look for incoming tracks that might lead me to her den. Fortunately, there were still a few remaining patches of snow. After several moments, I spotted paw marks on a trail skirting the bog.
The tracks led a half mile through the forest, then up a rock-strewn slope. I finally spotted the den at the base of an enormous spruce. There wasn’t a sound inside. Wolf pups are shy and cautious, and I didn’t have much hope of luring them outside. But I had to try. So I began imitating the high-pitched squeak of a mother wolf calling her young. No response. A few moments later, after I tried another call, four tiny pups appeared.
They couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. I extended my hands, and they tentatively suckled at my fingers. Perhaps hunger had helped overcome their natural fear. Then, one by one, I placed them in a burlap bag and headed back down the slope.
When the mother wolf spotted me, she stood erect. Possibly picking up the scent of her young, she let out a high-pitched, plaintive whine. I released the pups, and they raced to her. Within seconds, they were slurping at her belly.
What next? I wondered. The mother wolf was clearly suffering. Yet each time I moved in her direction, a menacing growl rumbled in her throat. With her young to protect, she was becoming belligerent. She needs nourishment, I thought. I have to find her something to eat.
I hiked toward Coho Creek and spotted the leg of a dead deer sticking out of a snowbank. I cut off a hindquarter, then returned the remains to nature’s icebox. Toting the venison haunch back to the wolf, I whispered in a soothing tone, “OK, Mother, your dinner is served. But only if you stop growling at me. C’mon, now. Easy.” I tossed chunks of venison in her direction. She sniffed them, then gobbled them up.
Cutting hemlock boughs, I fashioned a rough shelter for myself and was soon asleep nearby. At dawn, I was awakened by four fluffy bundles of fur sniffing at my face and hands. I glanced toward the agitated mother wolf. If I could only win her confidence, I thought. It was her only hope.
Over the next few days, I divided my time between prospecting and trying to win the wolf’s trust. I talked gently with her, threw her more venison, and played with the pups. Little by little, I kept edging closer—though I was careful to remain beyond the length of her chain. The big animal never took her dark eyes off me. “Come on, Mother,” I pleaded. “You want to go back to your friends on the mountain. Relax.”
At dusk on the fifth day, I delivered her daily fare of venison. “Here’s dinner,” I said softly as I approached. “C’mon, girl. Nothing to be afraid of.” Suddenly, the pups came bounding to me. At least I had their trust. But I was beginning to lose hope of ever winning over the mother. Then I thought I saw a slight wagging of her tail. I moved within the length of her chain. She remained motionless. My heart in my mouth, I sat down eight feet from her. One snap of her huge jaws and she could break my arm … or my neck. I wrapped my blanket around myself and slowly settled onto the cold ground. It was a long time before I fell asleep.
I awoke at dawn, stirred by the sound of the pups nursing. Gently, I leaned over and petted them. The mother wolf stiffened. “Good morning, friends,” I said tentatively. Then I slowly placed my hand on the wolf’s injured leg. She flinched but made no threatening move. This can’t be happening, I thought. Yet it was.
I could see that the trap’s steel jaws had imprisoned only two toes. They were swollen and lacerated, but she wouldn’t lose the paw—if I could free her.
“OK,” I said. “Just a little longer and we’ll have you out of there.” I applied pressure, the trap sprang open, and the wolf pulled free.
Whimpering, she loped about, favouring the injured paw. My experience in the wild suggested that the wolf would now gather her pups and vanish into the woods. But cautiously, she crept toward me. The pups nipped playfully at their mother as she stopped at my elbow. Slowly, she sniffed my hands and arms. Then the wolf began licking my fingers. I was astonished. This went against everything I’d ever heard about timber wolves. Yet, strangely, it all seemed so natural.
After a while, with her pups scurrying around her, the mother wolf was ready to leave and began to limp off toward the forest. Then she turned back to me.
“You want me to come with you, girl?” I asked. Curious, I packed my gear and set off.
Following Coho Creek for a few miles, we ascended Mount Kupreanof until we reached an alpine meadow. There, lurking in the forested perimeter, was a wolf pack—I counted nine adults and, judging by their playful antics, four nearly full-grown pups. After a few minutes of greeting, the pack broke into howling. It was an eerie sound, ranging from low wails to high-pitched yodelling.
At dark, I set up camp. By the light of my fire and a glistening moon, I could see furtive wolf shapes dodging in and out of the shadows, eyes shining. I had no fear. They were merely curious. So was I.
I awoke at first light. It was time to leave the wolf to her pack. She watched as I assembled my gear and started walking across the meadow.
Reaching the far side, I looked back. The mother and her pups were sitting where I had left them, watching me. I don’t know why, but I waved. At the same time, the mother wolf sent a long, mournful howl into the crisp air.
Four years later, after serving in World War II, I returned to Coho Creek. It was the fall of 1945. After the horrors of the war, it was good to be back among the soaring spruce and breathing the familiar, bracing air of the Alaskan bush. Then I saw, hanging in the red cedar where I had placed it four years before, the now-rusted steel trap that had ensnared the mother wolf. The sight of it gave me a strange feeling, and something made me climb Kupreanof Mountain to the meadow where I had last seen her. There, standing on a lofty ledge, I gave out a long, low wolf call—something I had done many times before.
An echo came back across the distance. Again, I called. And again the echo reverberated, this time followed by a wolf call from a ridge about a half mile away.
I had no fear. The wolves were merely curious. So was I.
Then, far off, I saw a dark shape moving slowly in my direction. As it crossed the meadow, I could see it was a timber wolf. A chill spread through my whole body. I knew at once that familiar shape, even after four years. “Hello, old girl,” I called gently. The wolf edged closer, ears erect, body tense, and stopped a few yards off, her bushy tail wagging slightly.
Moments later, the wolf was gone. I left Kupreanof Island a short time after that, and I never saw the animal again. But the memory she left with me—vivid, haunting, a little eerie—will always be there, a reminder that there are things in nature that exist outside the laws and understanding of man.
With four tiny pups to feed, the mother wolf would need to stay nourished.
During that brief instant in time, this injured animal and I had somehow penetrated each other’s worlds, bridging barriers that were never meant to be bridged. There is no explaining experiences like this. We can only accept them and—because they’re tinged with an air of mystery and strangeness—perhaps treasure them all the more.
This story originally appeared in the May 1987 issue of Reader’s Digest.
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A critically endangered Sumatran Tiger was found dead after being caught in a trap on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, authorities said on Monday, in the latest setback for a species whose numbers are estimated to have dwindled to about 400.
The female Tiger, aged between 4 and 5 years, was found dead Sunday near Bukit Batu Wildlife Reserve in the Bengkalis district of Riau province, said Fifin Arfiana Jogasara, the head of Riau’s conservation agency.
Jogasara said an examination determined the Tiger died from dehydration five days after being caught in the snare trap, apparently set by a poacher, which broke one of its legs.
She said her agency will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in an investigation.
Sumatran Tigers, the most critically endangered Tiger subspecies, are under increasing pressure due to poaching as their jungle habitat shrinks, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It estimated fewer than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild.
It was the latest killing of endangered animals on Sumatra island. Conservationists say the coronavirus pandemic has led to increased poaching as villagers turn to hunting for economic reasons.
Three Sumatran Tigers, including two cubs, were found dead in late August after being caught in traps in the Leuser Ecosystem Area, a region for tiger conservation in Aceh province.
In early July, a female Tiger was found dead with injuries caused by a snare trap in South Aceh district.
An Elephant was found without its head on July 11 in a palm plantation in East Aceh. Police arrested a suspected poacher along with four people accused of buying ivory from the dead animal.
Aceh police also arrested four men in June for allegedly catching a Tiger with a snare trap and selling its remains for 100 million rupiah ($6,900). Days later, another Sumatran Tiger died after it ate a goat laced with rat poison in neighbouring North Sumatra province.
In 1996, Makaiko the Dolphin was driven from his pod in Japan and forced into a life of captivity – hauled from venue to venue in painful conditions and starved in a cruel bid to teach him tricks.
Driven mad by years of loneliness, Makaiko took to smacking against his tank in a heartbreaking act of self-harm.
Snatched from his family in 1996, the poor bottlenose was starved and forced to perform for human crowds – but ran out his final years alone after being deemed “too heavy” and “foolish”.
He died a lonely death some ten years ago after being snatched from a life in the sea with his 80-strong family pod – that were either murdered or taken too. No one noticed he had got tangled in a net at the dolphinarium and quietly drowned.
Makaiko — meaning “inner strength” — was born in 1996 in the waters of Taiji, Japan, where she socialised with other pods and spent carefree days playing and roaming the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Ocean.
His former trainer Lorena Kya Lopez recently opened up on his heartbreaking tale in a grim warning about the wildlife trade, which “subjects millions of wild animals to suffering every day”.
Born in 1996, Makaiko roamed free with other pods, playing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Taiji, Japan.
One day, however, the sound of motorboats approaching the group left mothers desperately scrambling to gather up their young.
Hunters threw down heavy nets, scooping up dolphins to harvest for their meat or to sell into the tourist entertainment industry.
“While the water turned red from the blood of the dolphins who tried to escape or were killed, Makaiko was lifted out of the water, unable to move in the net,” Lopez told World Animal Protection.
“Makaiko had been captured. And so began the rest of his life in captivity.”
Alongside his sister Kumiko, the young animal was sold to a dolphinarium in Japan.
During transportation, he was painfully laid out on a stretcher and sprayed with water to keep his skin from drying out.
It was days before the pair were given any food. When they finally arrived at their temporary home, Makaiko was put in a small tank treated with chemicals to keep it clean.
“It wasn’t until they went to the surface and people approached them and started throwing dead fish at them that they had a chance to eat,” explained Lopez.
“The dead fish were not as nutritious as the food they would normally get in the ocean, but at that point, it was better than nothing.”
The meals came with a catch – the trainers would only feed the dolphins if they obeyed orders to perform tricks.
Weak and disorientated, Makaiko learned to jump and pushed trainers around the tank for hours on end.
After 10 months, the siblings were suddenly moved into a pitch black transportation box. For over two days, they were unable to see anything.
Hauled out on to a stretcher, Makaiko was treated with a cream to stop his skin drying again, but he was left in agony – visibly bleeding.
Eventually, they landed at the Six Flags dolphin venue in Mexico, where Lopez first came across the distressed creatures.
Here, trainers continued to teach them the tricks they had struggled with in Japan, but Kumiko was depressed and sadly died soon after.
Makaiko was once again moved, this time to the island of Isla Mujeres.
While the tanks here were bigger, the dolphins were still given punishingly little food and Lopez took sympathy.
“I would always come back at night to give them some extra food so they wouldn’t be as hungry,” she said.
“The water was too warm, leading to skin irritations and fungus infections. The sun was too bright, causing skin burns.
“The dolphins were getting weaker each day.”
Concerned about the animals’ welfare, Lopez supported a rescue mission which failed.
The trainer was fired over her involvement and was only allowed to come back one more time to say goodbye to the dolphins, which was “one of the hardest days” of her life.
Distressed dolphin dumped for being ‘too fat’
For Makaiko, however, the stakes were even higher.
When it came time for his pod to be moved again, he was said to be a “foolish” performer who refused to listen to orders and was deemed too big and too heavy.
While the rest of the animals were transported to another island, he was left behind – increasingly lonely and depressed.
“He stayed alone for some time, without food, and with a growing sense of anxiety he started banging his head against the walls,” said Lopez.
“At some point, people would come in with dead fish, and to clean the water. This was the only time Makaiko wasn’t alone.”
Makaiko’s fortunes changes after an intervention by the Mexican government.
He was rescued and placed with a company called Aqua World, where Lopez was able to lead a rehabilitation process.
Yet the years of mistreatment had left a deep impression on the distressed dolphin, who continued to self-harm.
He was finally transported to Dolphin Discovery at Isla Mujeres, where he would see out the last four years of his life.
While he was able able to swim in the ocean once more, it was only in a confined area and he was required to perform for crowds again.
One day, following Tropical Storm Emily, tragedy struck.
“Nets had been put down due to the destruction and Makaiko got tangled up in them,” said Lopez.
“The people looking after them didn’t see any of this, so Makaiko died. He lay tangled up in the nets in the dolphin venue where he was exploited to entertain thousands of people.”
Image Credits: Rocio Cue
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A terminally ill woman was given the chance to say her final goodbyes to her beloved horse and dogs, thanks to the incredible work of hospice staff.
Jan Holman had been separated from her pets since she was admitted to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Chester several weeks ago.
Due to her quick admission to the hospice, which covers Cheshire and North Wales, the 68-year-old didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to her two King Charles Spaniels Monty and Rowley, or her horse of 10 years, Bob.
Coronavirus safety measures meant that hospice patients aren’t allowed visitors, and Jan’s husband of 46 years Dennis says the lack of contact had been very difficult for her.
After four weeks at the hospice, Jan was then moved to end of life care.
Knowing how much Jan was missing her four-legged friends, the staff went above and beyond to organise a special visit.
Even though she was unable to get out of bed, Jan was excited to have the chance to see them one more time.
Dennis said: “It was just such a relief once Jan was moved from the hospital to the hospice in Chester and we were able to have named visitors who could come and see Jan regularly, however, we never imagined that we would be able to include Monty, Rowley and Bob on the visiting list.
“All the staff here have been wonderful. Jan has been so well cared for, nothing is too much trouble even down to the chef coming every day to see what he can tempt Jan to eat.
“Nothing is too much trouble, including arranging for a horse to visit!”
Jan added: “I just can’t believe what the staff here at the hospice have done for me. Until a few weeks ago I was still riding Bob every day and he is such an important part of my life, and I have missed him so much.
“I knew that arranging for my dogs to visit was possible as we had a neighbour who was a patient at the hospice a few years ago and we were allowed to bring the dogs to visit her, but I just didn’t expect that they would ever be able to give me the chance to see Bob one more time.”
Louise Saville King, deputy ward manager at the hospice, told North Wales Live: “It was obvious when Jan first came to us that she is passionate about her animals and that horses have played a large part in her life for many years.
“The ethos of hospice care is not just about caring for the clinical needs of our patients but also looking after their emotional and spiritual needs as well.
“It’s about making a difference to our patients and their families in whatever way we can.
“We know that sometimes people are scared at the thought of coming to the hospice, but it’s a positive place where people are supported and well cared for.
“The work of the hospice really does make a difference to people’s lives.“
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A mother and her son got the surprise of their life in their Adelaide backyard when a curious Koala Joey climbed off its mother’s back and onto the boy’s arm and refused to let go.
If you live out in the country, you are used to seeing wild animals. The rest of us aren’t, but when we do come across them, we often find that these little creatures unsurprisingly don’t want anything to do with humans.
Meagan Pfitzner and her teenage son had a different experience. The pair were outside when they saw a baby Koala and its mother. They live in Adelaide, South Australia, where Koalas are plentiful, so weren’t surprised to see a Koala family in their yard. There was a puddle outside of their home, so the mother Koala decided to take a drink from it. The boy knew that Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves, so he grabbed one and offered it to the Koalas.
However, instead of accepting the treat, the baby Koala decided to get friendly with the teenager instead. The curious little Koala just climbed off its mother’s back and climbed up the boy’s arm. Koalas are known as very asocial creatures and the bond between the mums and their little joeys are unbreakable. Therefore, this unlikely interaction is even more fascinating.
After a little coaxing, the little mammal slowly climbs down and has an adorable moment with his friend. He stares at the young boy’s face in spite of the young man’s insistence that he return to his mom.
As the boy gets up and turns to leave, the little joey takes a step forward seemingly wanting to follow his new friend. The boy has to point his fuzzy friend back towards his mother who at this point was still drinking.
All Credits: Meagan Pfitzner
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Before he was rescued, the dog was spotted by a man, who returned back home to find the pup chained behind his garage in a neighboring backyard. He frantically began calling around for someone to help. Luckily, Rebel Dogs Detroit took the call and sent a volunteer, Tiffany Perkins, out to investigate. She had no idea what to expect when she first arrived — but as soon as she saw him, her heart just melted.
“Beaker was timid and cowered behind the garage to hide,” Perkins told The Dodo. “He peeked out the side as I started calling for him. As I got closer, his tail started wagging. Then he pushed his weight against us for petting him — and seemed to be visibly relieved. He ‘meeped’ like a muppet, he was so excited, so he got the name Beaker!”
After being chained up and abandoned, Beaker was understandably a little nervous at first, but as soon as he realised Perkins was there to help him, he completely relaxed and was so excited to meet his new best friend.
“When the chain was untethered from the garage, he dropped to the ground for belly rubs and kisses and playful chaos,” Perkins said.
Unfortunately, the chain that Beaker had around him was stuck on his neck, so Perkins quickly rushed him to the vet to get him checked out. While they waited for Beaker’s surgery to remove the chain, Perkins took advantage of the extra time to give Beaker all the love he’d never had before, and the sweet dog appreciated it so much.
“We had lots of bonding time in the car waiting for his surgery for 5+ hours,” Perkins said. “He was napping with his head in my lap after a while.”
Even after everything Beaker had been through, all he wanted was to be loved — and finally, his wish had come true.
Beaker is now healing from his surgery in his foster home and is just the happiest dog anyone has ever met. For Beaker, it doesn’t seem to matter what happened to him in the past. What matters is where he is now and all the new friends he’s made who care about him and are making sure he’s happy and safe.
“He’s learning how to be an indoor dog with unconditional love in his foster home,” Perkins said.
Beaker is currently looking for his forever home and would love a home with another playful, energetic dog who can continue to show him the ropes and become his best buddy. As soon as Beaker laid eyes on his rescuers, he knew he was finally safe, and he’s so excited to find the forever family he deserves.
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Roxy Danckwerts is the founder of Wild Is Life, an animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe. And one day, while working, she stumbled upon a baby Elephant that seemed to be lost and separated from her herd. The small baby Elephant almost drowned in a river while the herd was trying to cross it, and her health was in a critical condition.
The baby Elephant was found on the shore of Lake Kariba, and the efforts to find her herd were in vain because there were no Elephants in the area. At that time, the Elephant was just a few days old, fragile, scared, and separated from its family. Roxy decided to nurse the Elephant back to health, but what she didn’t expect was for the two of them to become best friends.
Roxy spent a lot of time with Moyo, giving the baby 18 litres of a specialised milk formula every day. They spent a lot of time together, and Roxy even slept with her, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that she became so fond of Roxy and now follows her everywhere she goes.
Moyo – which in African translates to ‘Of The Heart’ ~ is now 5-years-old and growing up fast. Moyo has become so attached to her savior Roxy, that she sees her as a second mother and doesn’t let her out of her sight.
While there’s plenty of room for her to go play outside in the wildlife sanctuary, Moyo seems to be enjoying life inside the house and doesn’t really care for outside activities. The cute elephant regularly visits the kitchen, munching on peanuts, brownies, salt, and he also seems to be really into silverware.
The fact that Moyo almost drowned while crossing the river left the poor Elephant with a great deal of trauma and a fear of swimming. However, her caring guardian Roxy has been there the whole time, to help Moyo recuperate, and after 15-months of therapy, Moyo was finally able to overcome her fear of swimming.
And with the selfless help of the people at the Zimbabwe sanctuary, Moyo and other orphaned and injured animals like him get special care and lots of love and attention to overcome their fears and traumas.
WILD IS LIFE
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”
Wild Is Life is a genuine wildlife sanctuary in Zimbabwe. It is also home to the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN), Zimbabwe’s first elephant nursery which rescues, rehabilitates and re-wilds orphaned and injured Elephants.
Nearly 120 years ago, the fate of one small brown dog caused rioting in the streets of London, to say nothing of the protest marches to Trafalgar Square and questions asked in parliament.
London 1903: Rumours abounded about the barbaric experiments taking place within London’s medical schools. This is the story of the public vivisection of a stray dog carried out by Dr William Bayliss led to riots in 1900s Britain.
THE VIVISECTION OF A LITTLE BROWN STRAY DOG
Onto the stage strode Doctor William Malcolm Bayliss, the distinguished academic, physiologist and star of the evening’s demonstration. His voice a booming, classically trained baritone. ‘Gentlemen. Welcome, welcome to you all. It’s most humbling to see so many here. He gestures to his technicians, waiting in the wings, who wheel on a tall metal trolley. Upon it lies a small terrier dog, a young adult. He lies on his side, strapped down with leather leashes by the neck. His front and back paws are lashed together, his mouth muzzled. The technicians unbuckle him and unceremoniously dump him onto the operating table. They untie the limbs, place him on his back, and re-secure the leather straps to four metal rings at each corner of the table, placing his skull into a head-holder. Once satisfied the dog could not escape under any circumstance, the men leave the stage, shuffling backwards, almost genuflecting as they go. Suddenly, the dog appears to shudder and you can see the vicious, painfully red, criss-cross scars of earlier operations on his shaved stomach and flank.
A RECONSTRUCTION OF BAYLISS OPERATING ON THE DOG
‘Without further ado I’d like to re-introduce you to our star specimen, dear Rufus here.’ He gestures at the dog’s prone body, unaware, or unconcerned, that the dog appears to be trembling. ‘If any of you were present at earlier demonstrations, or my esteemed colleagues’ lectures perhaps, you may recognise the little fellow. He’s become quite the celebrity.’ Bayliss suddenly notices movement in the dog. He frowns slightly and gestures as if to recall the technicians. Glancing up at the clock on the far wall, he frowns again, quickly shrugs off any misgivings and carries on. He wields his scalpel aloft in his right hand. ‘And now, gentlemen, to work…’ The audience shouts and claps encouragement. ‘I’m now cutting into the abdomen. You may recall the earlier surgery where we ligated the animal’s pancreatic duct. This new incision is to inspect that work and monitor healing.’ He looks at his enthralled, wide-eyed audience with a satisfied smile. ‘A warmup, shall we say, to the main act of the evening’s performance.’ As he continues to cut, the body trembles.
STEPHEN COLERIDGE’S SPEECH
On the 1 May 1903, Stephen Coleridge, Secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, gave an angry speech about the dog to the annual meeting of the National Anti-Vivisection Society at St James’s Hall in Piccadilly, attended by 2,000–3,000 people. Coleridge accused the scientists of torture: “If this is not torture, let Mr. Bayliss and his friends … tell us in Heaven’s name what torture is.”
BROWN DOG MEMORIAL
Anna Louisa Woodward, founder of the World League Against Vivisection, raised £120 for a public memorial and commissioned a bronze statue of the dog from sculptor Joseph Whitehead. The statue sat on top of a granite memorial stone, 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) tall, that housed a drinking fountain for human beings and a lower trough for dogs and horses.
It also carried the inscription “In Memory of the Brown Terrier Dog done to death in the Laboratories of University College in February, 1903, after having endured vivisection extending over more than two months and having been handed over from one Vivisector to another till death came to his release. Also in memory of the 232 dogs vivisected at the same place during the year 1902. Men and women of England, how long shall these things be?”
Battersea council agreed to provide space for the statue on its Latchmere Recreation Ground. The statue was unveiled on 15 September 1906 in front of a large crowd, with speakers that included George Bernard Shaw.
THE BROWN DOG RIOTS
Medical students were angered by the provocative plaque on the statue which led to frequent vandalism and on one notable occasion, a group of UCL students attacked the memorial with crowbars and hammers. Ten of the students were arrested and fined as a result.
The rioting reached its height on 10 December 1907. A thousand medical students marched through central London waving effigies of the brown dog on sticks, clashing with suffragettes, trade unionists and 400 police officers, one of a series of battles known as the Brown Dog riots.
DEMONSTRATION AGAINST VIVISECTION
THE STATUE WAS REMOVED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
The statue was quietly removed before dawn on 10 March 1910 by four council workmen, accompanied by 120 police officers. Nine days later, 3,000 anti-vivisectionists gathered in Trafalgar Square to demand its return, but it was clear by then that Battersea Council had turned its back on the affair. The statue was at first hidden in the borough surveyor’s bicycle shed, according to a letter his daughter wrote in 1956 to the British Medical Journal, then reportedly destroyed by a council blacksmith, who melted it down.
DEMONSTRATION AT TRAFALGAR SQUARE TO PROTEST THE STATUE’S REMOVAL.
Little Brown Dog By Paula S. Owen
THIS IS ‘THAT’ LITTLE DOG’S STORY
When friends Lena and Eliza hear rumours of barbaric experiments being conducted under the guise of scientific progress, they infiltrate the closed ranks of elitist, male dominated academia to help expose the callous truth. What they witness horrifies them and they swear to bring the perpetrator, a celebrated physician William Bayling to justice. The women enlist barrister Stephen Coleridge to help fight their cause, but woefully underestimate the tactics Dr Bayling and his Establishment allies will employ against them. An infamous court case, class warfare, a statue that incites an insurrection, and riots in London streets follow. How much will Lena and Eliza risk in their fight against intolerable cruelty? What are they prepared to lose their loves, their future, their freedom? Based on events that shook Edwardian London society and sent shock waves across Britain, Little Brown Dog is a deeply emotive, at times humorous, and agelessly important story that resonates with modern dilemmas regarding our careless treatment of nature.
Daisy the adorable terrier didn’t have the best start in life. The pretty tan shorthair cross was born with an underbite, two wobbly front legs that never managed to work properly, and was abandoned when she was only two months old.
Daisy was abandoned on the streets of Bellflower at the age of 2 months, and was found by an animal control officer. 2 months passed and the shelter scheduled to euthanize her, but luckily, a volunteer from A Home 4Ever Rescue pulled her out just in time. Several months later, she found her forever home.
Sheena Main was looking for a special needs dog to adopt and found Daisy in the summer of 2011. Daisy was born with a congenital deformity in her front legs and uses a wheelchair to assist her walk. After learning that disabled dogs have a difficult time finding a forever home and are usually the first ones to be listed to euthanize at the shelter, Sheena was heartbroken.
And although Daisy managed to get around just fine on her paralysed paws, Sheena was concerned about the strain it was putting on her spine, so had a pink glittery wheelchair made especially for her.
In Sheena’s eyes, Daisy is a strong girl and she doesn’t pity her disability and feel the same way about all disabled dogs. She decided to use social media platforms to share Daisy’s story and raise positive awareness for all disabled dogs.
With Daisy’s sweet nature, spunky attitude, and underbite smile, she has gained many fans from all around the world and I am beyond grateful. I hope that Daisy’s story and photos will continue to spread, and more people will open their hearts to dogs with special needs.