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Spoiler Alert

If it’s a movie or TV show that I haven’t seen, I always appreciate the warning of spoiler alert. I’ve never been one skip to the end of the book to see what happens, before reading the book. I’m not sure that’s really a good analogy. Do people really do that?

As to spoiler alerts, I think some kids probably should get a spoiler alert to life. The belief in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy are the wonder of childhood. When you find out the truth… you wonder how you ever believed, and you miss being paid for losing your teeth.

Some kids are told that their old dogs are no longer at the house. They have gone to happily live at a farm for old dogs. I think I was told that one; and to this day, I still believe it!

Well, I wanted to write a blog about something positive to get us started after a long weekend. There really is a farm for old dogs! One in Virginia is called Peacefulpassings.org. Here is their mission:

Our mission is to save senior animals. Peaceful Passings will work to achieve our mission and vision by housing and caring for senior and hospice animals, in a home environment. We will work to educate the public as to the worth and dignity of life, and provide sheltering where the needs of senior animals are met, as long as a quality of life remains.

I saw a story about them on PBS and it made me smile.  You probably don’t have time to watch it right now but I am posting that episode right here.  It might be something to come back to and watch when you want a feel good story. Their website gives streamlined information.

And for pic o’ day, I am posting one that I saw on Facebook yesterday. Even dogs are happy about some sun and beach… right?

image1

Some Animals in the Law

This is a blog of two stories about animals in the news for breaking the law, something like that.

First we go to West Virginia. (ABC News)

deer

Apparently this West Virginia man is not a dog or cat lover. Instead, he decided to keep two bucks in his house for over a year. In that state, it is against the law to confine or secure wildlife. They must be allowed to roam! No word on whether their new ”place-to-roam” will still include Netflix.

The second animal story involves a player recently signed by the Baltimore Orioles. He is currently serving a 50-game drug suspension. That’s where the story gets curious.

Chris Perez was an All-Star closer for the Cleveland Indians in 2011 & 2012. In 2013, he and his wife were arrested for drug possession after a package of marijuana was delivered to their home… addressed to their dog. Apparently, Perez forgot that you don’t let your dog drink and drive, use firearms… or have drugs shipped to the house.

I could keep going with this stuff. Instead, how about some amazing fandom?

And for pic o’ day, here’s the fan at Wimbleton who decided he wanted to look like a tennis ball… Hmm:

tennis head

Loving the Animals

A while back, I indicated in a claim settlement package that my client had suffered emotionally, when her dog was hurt in the crash. I know that it was a bit unusual to include that in a settlement package. However, when the adjuster completely discounted any consideration relating to the emotional impact of watching your dog get hurt, I knew that the adjuster was not a “dog person”. Sure enough, he did not have a pet.

That caused me to do a little research on our love of pets. Psychologists tell us that 80% of dog owners buy their dogs a present for holidays and birthdays. More than half of them sign letters and cards from themselves and their pets. When I read that, it confirmed my belief that the adjuster was in the minority!

dog sitting

Minature Horse Therapy

 

 

 

A miniature horse named Whisper

 

 

 

In my personal injury practice, treatment and therapy comes in many forms. This Wisconsin news article from “The Journal Times” brought a smile from this therapy.

” Whisper” makes her rounds to Oak Ridge nursing home residents to provide therapy. Now, they are trying to get her officially certified as the first therapy mini-horse.

Initially, Whisper had some difficulty walking on the tile floors. Because she was so loud and sometimes would slide, she now wears sports hoof-wear. Her collection of shoes includes black Converse  shoes and Hello Kitty tennis shoes.

Whisper’s guide says that she lifts the spirits of the residents and has caused some to even get more exercise as they follow her around the facility. She also goes to other disabled homes and provides “visiting cheer”.

For pic o’ day, I found it hard to top Whisper. I went with one that looks like “Team Mischief”.

Service Dog Law

About a year ago, we represented a client who relied on a service dog. A service dog provides assistance to help people with visual, hearing or other disabilities. I will further define from the US Code, below.  The man had disabilities that could cause seizures, and the dog had been trained to recognize the symptoms of a potential seizure and warn him.

The first time that I met with the client was in our small conference room. I didn’t realize that he had a service dog. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. Seeing a dog unexpectedly did make me jump. Then, my client showed me his service dog card. It also indicated that you were not supposed to pet the dog. It really was hard not to. It was a sweet dog.

As we progressed throughout the case, I would see the dog stand and shake. It was a reminder to the client to do certain things to avoid placing himself in a situation that could cause a health problem. To avoid risks.

About a month from trial, we mediated the case. Still, the insurance company was far short from the needed amount to resolve the claim. That’s when we started talking about whether we needed to file a motion, to make sure that the dog was allowed in Court. I could imagine the court deputies stopping us at security, telling us that we could go no farther with that dog, on the morning of trial.

We never faced the issue at court.The case settled a few days before trial. But, the ABA Journal recently discussed a fact pattern that was similar to our concerns. The title of the article explains as much as the story. “Law Firm Settles Feds’ Civil Rights Suit re: Client’s Service Dog; Will Pay $25K, Post Welcome”.

The article says that on two occasions, a law firm denied their own client from bringing her service dog to meetings at the Firm. As a result, she contacted the U.S. Attorney; who brought an action against the Firm relating to a violation of the American with Disabilities Act.

The Firm ended up settling with the payment. They also agreed to post a sign at the Firm entrance that reads, “Service Animals Welcome”.

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service dog as “any guide dog, signal dog,  or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability; including but not limited to guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items”.

Businesses are permitted to deny access to service dogs that are not behaving properly.  They may also be excluded if the presence of the animal constitutes a fundamental alteration of the business or poses a direct threat. I wondered if the Judge would consider what of those exclusions at the Courthouse. Here’s a link for Service Dogs of Virginia.

As I was searching for service dog pictures, I got distracted. I know… hard to believe! Pic o’ day makes me laugh to see that cat peeking behind:

 

Mr Moke’s Excellent Adventure

     I have been told that our “on hold” music sounds like a monkey grinder. In other words, no one seems to like it. Some go as far  to say that they wish we would just have “nails on chalkboard” music. This brings us to  look back at an old case of monkey business.

     In the late 50’s and early 60’s, I am told that zoo attractions sometimes included shows that starred chimpanzees. I guess it beats watching bears eat Fig Newtons. Back then, the chimpanzee show included chimps dressed in zany bright costumes. They would tease their trainers, play baseball and ride around in little cars. Of course, this was before we had ever heard of Primates attacking people. Today, Monkey Vaudeville would offend our sensibilities.

     The St. Louis Dispatch reminds us of the story and case of a chimpanzee named Mr. Moke. It was October, 1959.  Mr Moke had been taught to say “no” and “Mamma” to the amazement of audiences. He had even managed to make an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. The Zoo director had announced on the show that there was a possible “Mr Moke show” that would be coming during the next summer.

     Mr Moke’s (I like referring to him by name instead of “the chimpanzee”.) trainer had a different idea. On the night of December 21, 1959, maybe as a Christmas gift to his furry friend, Trainer Tomarchin slipped into the Zoo; broke the lock of Moke’s cage and hustled away. He did leave a note that said that Mr Moke was “heartbroken for freedom”. Tomarchin also left a cashiers check for $1,000, with a promise to send more. I guess he felt that stealing a future TV star would be more acceptable if he left money.

     The two escaped by bus, with Moke hidden in a dog case. No mention in the story whether the trainer had also taught Mr Moke how to sing, so I guess he just hummed a few bars of , “I gotta be free”, as the bus rolled along.

     Ten days later, the trainer surrendered in Miami and was released on bail. The Judge let him keep Mr Moke. The Zoo demanded his return. Finally, Tomarchin was tried and convicted of theft with a requirement that Mr Moke be returned to the zoo.  Unfortunately, when the sentence was handed down, the trainer and Moke were on the lam. The zoo sent out investigators and could only determine that Tomarchin was somewhere working on a sailboat and it was assumed that Moke was with him.

     Finally, a surrender was arranged and Moke was returned by Jet travel. A throng of Moke well-wishers was waiting at the zoo and they weren’t disappointed. Moke came riding up on a scooter to loud applause. They announced over the megaphone, “This is Moke. He’s come home.   He was a regular as a zoo entertainer until 1971, at which time he retired to the Knoxville Zoo. The trainer received 18 months for his involvement in the caper of escape.

     To me, it just shows that fact can be more interesting than fiction. If we decide to change our “on hold” music, I guess I’ll do another story. For now, I’ll just think of Mr Moke when I call in and am put on hold.

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