Your "aww" for the day 1/20

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:01
PAGE 1 of 1

Sunday, January 20, 2013 2:27 PM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

This guy is really cool.

Randy Grim thinks of himself as the shyest man in St. Louis. Unfortunately for him, he's also one of the better known.

"I can't go to the grocery store these days without being recognized," laments Mr. Grim, who claims to have little or no gift for small talk.

Like it or not, however, Grim has become a local icon.

In 1998, Grim formed a nonprofit group called Stray Rescue. The group's goal: to save as many of St. Louis's stray dogs as possible. Wounded, dangerous, half-starved: Grim doesn't care. He's a passionate dog lover whose goal is to alleviate the suffering of these animals – often lost or discarded pets – whose lives on the street tend to be desperate. Grim's hope is to heal and rehabilitate as many as possible and see them placed in loving homes.

He has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. And along the way, he has helped to reshape his city.

Grim began as a team of one. The former flight attendant opened a dog-grooming business in the early 1990s, hoping to satisfy his love for dogs by working with them all day long. But he found it wasn't enough.

He brought home his first stray dog when he was only 5 years old. The fear that he saw in the eyes of that first dog – eventually replaced by gratitude and love – moved Grim so deeply that even at that young age he knew he had found his life's work.

While working as a groomer Grim continually rescued stray dogs from the street, keeping them in his condo until he could find homes for them. By 1998 he had decided that rescuing dogs needed to be his profession. He closed his grooming business and, operating alone and out of his home, launched Stray Rescue.

Today, Grim heads up an organization with a $3 million annual budget, a staff of more than 50 paid workers, thousands of volunteers, and a state-of-the-art shelter that houses as many as 200 dogs. The money that supports Stray Rescue has been raised through donations and through the sheer force of Grim's outspoken advocacy: A man who sees himself as shy is anything but that when it comes to speaking out for dogs.

For a long time Grim had a less-than-friendly relationship with the St. Louis city government. Police were not always comfortable with Grim's forays into the city's most dangerous neighborhoods to check on loose dogs, and the fierceness of his attachment to the animals. "The police were taken aback by Randy's devotion to the dogs," says Pam Walker, St. Louis city health director.

Louis Naes, a St. Louis police detective who works with Grim on a city task force fighting animal abuse, puts it differently. "He's more passionate than anyone I've ever met. If you don't know Randy, and you don't know how to take him, you're kind of like 'Are you for real?' "

But today Grim and the city government have forged a working partnership.

It all turned around, Ms. Walker says, in 2009, when St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay – dismayed by the city's poor record on animal care and control – asked Walker and the city health department to step up their efforts. Walker said that at first she didn't know where to turn. The department was overwhelmed and understaffed, she says. It was not able to meet the health needs of the city's people – much less those of its animals.

Then she thought of Grim, who was already known throughout the city as a self-appointed savior of dogs. She called him and asked if he could help. "He basically took the whole problem [of stray dogs] off my hands," she says, at no charge to the city.

Since 2010, reports of stray dogs in St. Louis go directly to Grim's iPad. He takes care of them within 24 hours – taking the dogs to his own shelter and, if need be, providing them with round-the-clock medical attention from the Stray Rescue veterinary team. (The city still deals with what it considers to be dangerous dogs and enforcement issues. All other loose dogs have become Grim's responsibility.)

The impact has been significant. While there are no good estimates as to the number of stray dogs on the streets of St. Louis, the city, before partnering with Stray Rescue, picked up 1,700 dogs in a peak year, Walker says. Today she estimates that 40 percent more dogs are being picked up off the streets than just two years ago, yet 90 percent fewer are euthanized. Instead, about 98 percent are now adopted into homes.

"The whole landscape has changed," Walker says. Since Grim's involvement, she says, St. Louis has become a model for good practices in the area.

"What we're doing here is cutting-edge," adds Mr. Naes of the city's task force. "I don't know that too many other cities have anything like it."

Stray Rescue also funds a massive education campaign. The group's billboards advocating adoption, spaying, and neutering of dogs are everywhere, as are pamphlets and brochures informing the public of free medical care for dogs and volunteer opportunities at Stray Rescue. The group has recruited 2,000 to 3,000 local volunteers who walk, hike, run with, and help to train Stray Rescue's dogs. ("It doesn't take a village; it takes an army," Grim says.)

The group has also been working with a grant from the National Humane Society to target one ZIP Code at a time within the city, going door to door offering free spaying and neutering services, as well as microchip dog tags, to city residents.

Grim says he is delighted at the way the city has responded. Many St. Louis citizens "were already there," he says, in terms of concern for dogs. "But now the government has followed. I'm really proud of my city."

Officials elsewhere sometimes ask how St. Louis deals with its dog problems, Walker says. "My answer is: We have Randy Grim."More at

He really works at it. And that work pays off. This should give you happy tears or chills or just a smile:

Who says one person can't make a difference?


Sunday, January 20, 2013 4:18 PM


Oh, in case you missed it - reposted from elsewhere on Wed.

Originally posted by FREMDFIRMA:

Well, I "borrowed" one (although not sure if he's a full breed Huskie) from a resident today, who was all but LAUGHING UP HER SLEEVE, she was a little TOO eager to let me walk her dog for her, and I was already thinking "Ooooh boy..".

First he tries to maypole me with the leash, didn't get far with it cause I am used to that trick, THEN he wanted to chase a squirrel, and when he didn't get his way went all pouty and challenging, at which point I got down on hands and knees and offered to have it out with him, to which he's like WTF?!

I had some more work to do on our broken snowblower and tied to the leash to a tree right next to where I was workin, cause I know what HAPPENS if you take your eyes off them or let go, but he seemed more interested in trying to "help" by shoving my toolboxes toward me with his nose.

He did appear to have enjoyed himself, and getting him back in his house was something of a chore, but while the idea looked good on paper I ain't too sanguine about it in practice, I think we'd have to hand-raise a rescue puppy for this or something.

They sure are rambunctious critters, I'll say THAT much - I suspect a large part of the problem there is the owner being temporarily stuck with a small apartment and a big husky - that can't be fun!



Monday, January 21, 2013 7:57 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

Hee, hee, hee...I can just see all that, 'cuz I've 'been there/done that'!

No, the problem is that the owner doesn't get him OUT enough to get rid of some of that energy! Anyone who owns a husky and doesn't get him out DAILY for at the very least a walk has no right to have a husky, in my opinion. Same for some other breeds--like dalmatians, because we had one living next door for years; the people got him, stuck him in the back yard, and that was that. Makes smoke come out my ears, it does...

Yes, they are incredibly full of it. Remember, they were bred to run and run and run for very long times; that makes for stamina. Mals are heavy-haulers, they can pull immense loads short distances. Sibes were bred by the Chukchi to take their kill back to the tribe, which could be a long ways away. They're no good at hauling really heavy stuff, but they can go all day...that energy has to go SOMEWHERE!

I often speak of Ed and Andree, who own five huskies and a mal/wolf cross in a tiny house in Fairfax with a postage-stamp back yard which is ALL hill. I don't know how they do it. They get theirs out daily, have six because they mush all Winter, and if they don't get them out...well, here's a post from Ed:

"As opposed to the tiring task of thumbing through each and every page of the ENTIRE sunset Gardner western region textbook, the dogs thought it would be easier to just spread the book out all over their room."

And the comments from other BAM members?

-- Awesome living with Huskies!!

-- Mine did that to a Monet book, a Russian grammar book, and a Russian dictionary ... Both very carefully chosen from one of the book cases in my living room.

-- Apparently, I have the only dog that loves the taste bitter apple.

-- Yeah we tried it on Tigger. They seemed to think it was seasoning.

-- Our Sibe Copper loves to eat 24 carrot gold CDs from Bad Company! Great taste in music.

And on and on. We all have our stories, and eventually we learn to laugh about it! With our guys, it was iPod earphones when they were younger...I lost count of how many we replaced. For Tashi it's always been gloves, any gloves, on hands or anywhere...

You're brave to try and walk an energetic one. Jim's come home bloody more times than I can remember, from one or the other knocking him off his feet or suddenly darting one way or the other. Hasn't happened much to me, but then his balance ain't all that great. But yes, you were VERY smart to stay near him when you tied him to the tree. If he'd been on his own for more than five seconds, he'd probably have chewed through that leash and been off like a rocket!

Yeah, I love the "pushing it toward you" thing. Another pack behavior, and ours do it constantly, especially with toys. They'll push the squeaky toy several times with their nose, then shove the toy repeatedly toward us, "C'mon, get off your ass and PLAY with me, dammit!"

A pup is definitely one idea, OR an older dog. They DO calm down with age, believe it or not. But if you got a pup, you should be prepared for all that energy for the first few years, whether trained or not! They HAVE to get out daily, unless you really get them out (bikejoring or mushing or somesuch) and really wear them out. Then you've bought yourself a day, sometimes as much as two, but that's pushing it.

Y'know, if you got a pup and trained it, you could "wheelchairjor". They've been trained to that, too, and are really good at it--WHEN TRAINED! If not properly trained, you could end up like the bushes with two broken toes when a skunk ran in front of the sulky! In your situation, that would be really bad news, and brakes don't mean shit to huskies.

All in all, an older dog would probably be best. The energy has gone down considerably, they're easier to train, there are SO many out there who need homes and of course, past puppy age, harder to re-home, and they can even be trained to off-leash walk (well, many of them...). At the same time, they still retain their joy in meeting humans, their family/pack behavior, their loyalty and their love. Only downside is the "clown" is gone...tho' not completely.

Just spent an hour or so playing with them (our morning routine) on Jim's bed. Jim lets them play on his bed all the time--never said he was bright--but has learned to keep his arms up to protect himself some (I took this after they'd already played a lot and had slowed down):

As you can see, his bed, even with him in it, is just a playground...

Not that I would suggest it with a wheelchair, but when they go, they really GO:

There's your energy level!

Tit for tat got us where we are today. If we want to be grownups, we need to resist the ugliness. If we each did, this would be a better reflection on Firefly and a more welcome place. I will try.


Monday, January 21, 2013 10:55 AM


Well, the lady in question is temporarily stuck with a small apartment and big husky as a result of divorce/asset management issues, and while she does walk his crazy butt daily I still don't think he's getting enough exercise/stimulation, as you say.

Whenever a doggy tries the leash yank on me, I just sit straight down with my legs out and get both hands on it - sure, you might drag me you fluffy bonehead, but you'll HAVE to, and I'll dig my heels in all the way.... they learn pretty quick.

His reaction to me getting down on hands and knees and challenging him, complete with growls and body languages was downright hilarious, he gave me the doggy version of "You can NOT be serious!" but he did chill out a bit after that one, hehehe.

I suggested she get him a harness with some weights or something, and one of the other dog owners who has a rambunctious dog suggested a treadmill - her dog Chico is older shepard-mutt, all but blind in one eye with a gimpy leg, ironically the same ones, so you can imagine I have a strong bond with ole Chico, he will go NUTS when he sees/hears me and all but strangle himself on the leash trying to get to me, cause he KNOWS I will come play with him a little.

A huskie on a treadmill, that'd be amusing, I think.
Mind you, said Husky in question is a bit... larger than yours.

And damn they are quick, Kungas can pull more weight, but he ain't that fast even on a bet.



Monday, January 21, 2013 11:01 AM


Oh, and additional "aww" stuff - it's been a bad week for fires this past one, and we had two other smaller ones west of here, and another big one at a place with a long history of code violations, so the fire guys have been doing a legions work lately, but to their credit zero casualties, and in every case they went and rescued the pets too - them guys are awesome.

This is Earnhardt, the cat that Jason pulled out from under the desk at Schooner Cove.

Although my job doesn't require it beyond evacuating the building, I do have an established plan to secure pets and if at all possible suppress or mitigate the fire until the arrival of reinforcements - our buildings are up to code, but they're fairly old too and not as fire resistant as modern materials... I get kinda techy around the 4th of July for that reason, and ask residents to check their in-unit smoke detectors and fire extinguishers during that time and have any replaced if needs be.



Monday, January 21, 2013 12:55 PM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

That's deserving of an "aww" all it's own:

one of the pets rescued by firefighters

That's pretty cool. Not all firefighters would go that extra mile.

Back to huskies (singular is huskY, you know ;o)

As to being yanked...where Jim's concerned, it was often when he kept trying to do his morning run with the dogs ON LEASH, up hills on trails. He finally gave up on that--a lot later than I wish he had! Sometimes he'd come home all bloodied up...idjit. I do understand, we hate that we never take them to the Divide off leash anymore, but after waiting an hour and a half a couple of times for them to get through doing their thing, we don't let 'em roam up there anymore.

I'm not surprised at his reaction to you getting down with him. If you ever saw "Snow Dogs" (may it rot in hell for all the people it encouraged to get huskies which ended up in shelters!), one of the mushers tells the novice how to take care of the aggressive alpha (also used in "Eight Below"--he's spectacular) was to "bite him on the ear". The novice DID it, and it changed their whole relationship. Asked what he'd done, he said he'd bit him on the ear; the musher looked astonished and said "I didn't mean to actually DO IT!" Hee, hee, hee...yeah, a lot of dogs (maybe most) react with puzzlement when we behave like they do; Kochyok got used to me howling with her and now we have "song fests", but Tashi still doesn't understand and tilts his head. They can often respond quite "usefully" to us getting down and meeting them on their own territory.

Hey, listen, huskies and treadmills get along GREAT...once they figure out what it's for, they'll "run" for hours. I kid you not.

If they weren't so expensive, I'd get one for ours...well, once I'm too infirm to get out with the sulky, that is. We just got back from Concrete Pipe Road...Jim on his bike, me in the sulky. I just found it and I'm madly in love--it's the closest I'll ever get to hiking again, and so full of smells and stuff the dogs think it's the best thing since sliced bread! This is long, but will give you an idea:

What'cha mean "said Husky in question is a bit... larger than yours." There AIN'T no such thing, Frem, unless it's a cross with something quite a bit bigger. I know Mals that weigh in at 70lbs, and BOTH my Sibes weigh either 70 or close to it! They're monsters; it's always weird to us when we see "regular" Sibes, they seem so small. We knew Tashi would be (the breeder called him "Big Boy"), but Kochyok was a shock. Huskies are "supposed" to be 45-55 for females, 55-65 for males. Nobody told our guys that. They're both on diet right now 'cuz even with all the running, their ribs aren't "feelable" enough, so they'll go down some. But probably not much.

Kochyok is a "long, tall drink of water"...when she sprawls out on the couch, hind feet stretched behind her, front feet stretched in front (a common pose for her, and on her back to boot), she stretches the WHOLE length of the couch! So that guy must be a cross, if he's bigger than mine. Even a Mal cross might not be enough (tho' they're MUCH furrier!); the only dog I know in BAM that's bigger than mine is Goose, who's half wolf, half Mal...and a REAL handful! If they knew what they were getting in for, I don't think Ed and Andree would have agreed to adopt him.

Tit for tat got us where we are today. If we want to be grownups, we need to resist the ugliness. If we each did, this would be a better reflection on Firefly and a more welcome place. I will try.


Monday, January 21, 2013 5:13 PM


I have no idea what he is, but he is quite noticeably bigger than your guys, and he does have some feral mannerisms, so I wouldn't be too surprised if there was some big bad wolf up there in his family tree - no WONDER we get along so well.(1)
He's a digger too, or so I hear, but he didn't do it when he was with me, maybe cause he was too busy trying to feel me out.

As for getting down with them in their own little world, I do that with many animals, so far as I can emulate their body language and vocalizations, I can indeed do that Arrrooowha? sound yours do, hell I've gone as far as putting one hand on the head and one on the shoulders of an aggressive mutt and butting my face into the back of his neck - (Trans: I COULD bite through your spine, you jerk!) - and we got along rather famously after that, to his owners semi-horror.
There's some risk to that mind, and I wouldn't advise it for most people cause you *can* get mangled that way if the dog in question really wants to push it and you're not fully prepared for that, but it's always worked for me.

(1)- Looked up some pics, yeah he is closer to mal/wolf than husky, which explains much... the lady wound up with him cause her former husband "ran off with a bimbo" and didn't care to take the dog with him, and while she's not terribly a dog person and wasn't too keen on having a dog to begin with she's a responsible miss and will not abandon the poor guy.
Not entirely sure I wanna tell her what her dog is, she will so totally freak.

PS. Yes, I play to the big-bad-wolf stereotype, to the point where Wendy mocks me for it by playing to little red riding hood, except she's more like Bulleta!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:26 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

Yup, there's a thriving market in wolf crosses, especially with sibes and mals. It's a shame, but I won't go into it. Definitely do NOT tell her about the possibility, with any luck at all she'll never have to deal with it. But if she DOES have some problems, like biting, SERIOUS food aggression, aggression toward other animals, etc., you might keep an eye on him. As they get older, the wolf traits can come out.

Questions: Is his snout longer than other sibes/mals? Long and pointed. Is he "tall", long-legged? Two dead giveaways that there's wolf in there, tho' they don't necessarily show up. Genetics is weird.

We've got a number of them around here. Some I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw them; others are big sissies Obviously the sibe/mal side has dominance! ;o)

The digging is most likely BECAUSE he doesn't get enough exercise. Sibes and Mals were born to "go". Wolves even MOREso. Shame she can't afford a treadmill, that would solve all her problems. I hate to see any northern breed stuck like that, but unfortunately it's all too common. (Just guessing, but if hubby ran off with a bimbo, possibly he got the dog 'cuz he made him feel "macho". You know how that goes...) Please pass on to her that she's a really great person for not giving up the dog; he's very, VERY lucky to have her! I wish her all the luck in the world. How old is he, by the way, or do you know?

Can she look into a dog walker? They're are tons and tons and TONS of them out here, but I don't know how it is there or how much they cost if they DO exist. I won't suggest a dog park, nice as it would be to let him run off leash. She might TRY it once, just to see. But they aren't really healthy; too many unmanaged dogs AND people; too many people who don't take responsibility for their dogs and haven't even trained them; too many chances for altercations.

It's no wonder you had so much trouble with him and that he was so strong, if there's wolf in there. They are INCREDIBLY strong, and sibes and mals are quite strong enough, thank you! Of course, he might be crossed with something else, but if so, it would show pretty obviously. Mals/sibes are closer to wolves than almost anything else, so visual clues don't necessarily mean anything.

Okay, I've yattered on far longer than I should; we've totally thread-jacked (funny, typo came out thread-hacked!). Tho' nobody else seems to be interested in this thread, so that's cool.

Tit for tat got us where we are today. If we want to be grownups, we need to resist the ugliness. If we each did, this would be a better reflection on Firefly and a more welcome place. I will try.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:01 PM


Oh yeah, by your description he's almost certainly mal/wolf, he's definately an aggressive food-defender, to which her solution is to put his food down and stay the hell away from him for a half hour or so - he has his own "room", back with the washer/dryer which is a small apt size unit and leaves plenty of space for him to laze about when he's feeling unsociable.

Workin on getting a treadmill for her, shouldn't be too hard to get one used, especially if the fancy widgets are broken but it still works, I figure, and the mechanicals of a busted one I can fix easy enough.

No idea how old he is, her husband just came back with the dog one day and was pretty ambivalent about its care, much to her ire - I guess it was more the having-of than taking care of, as you say... and then of course scurried off with some co-worker he'd been putting it to on the side, leaving her with a dog she can't really handle so well - definately an asshole she's better off without, that for sure.
There's a couple farmers around here I could maybe talk to who might take him in, and wouldn't be too bothered by his heritage or attitude, and he'd have room to be himself, so that's a thought too.

And yes, he *IS* strong as hell, but I've walked Kungas a time or two, and *HE* can tow a car, so his guy isn't near that bad, just gets all pouty like when his tricks don't work on me.

As for threadjack, like we didn't know any discussion of animals and behavior with us two around would go this way, and it's more pleasant to talk about than a lot of other topics, so no harm done there!

Oh, funny little trick my buddy termed cat-hacking.
This for very cold days - an hour or so prior to leaving, take your jacket out, and lay it on the couch or floor with the inside facing up... the cat will find this absolutely irresistable and flop on it, of course...
Then when you have to go, grab the jacket at one end and pull, rolling the cat out, and viola!
Now you have a nice pre-heated jacket, and managed to troll your cat, hehehe!







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