Another punishing blow…

I am back here talking about Golden Retriever Robin, Police K-9 detection & SAR dog (aka Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder). I have posted here, here, here, and here about this very special guy, who has an aggressive form of cancer and is now fighting for his life.

Mary’s latest news is not good, Robin’s cancer having metastasized to the right mandibular lymph node:

I have heard that grief has several stages, one of which is denial. I find myself repeating that while the statistics are grim, Robin is no ordinary dog. He does not know that this will be the fight of his life, and it will be a prohibitively expensive process. Somehow in my struggle, I find myself taking momentary comfort in believing that somehow, this whole thing will be a big error and that Robin isn’t really sick. But, as soon as I sell out and feel that few seconds of comfort, reality comes back and drives a blade between my ribs and reminds me that Robin is in the cross-hairs.

Right now Robin and I are involved in a battle for his life, even though he is not yet showing signs of his illness. Robin’s type of cancer can have a variable prognosis, and Cornell has informed me that the initial treatment for his lymph node removal and radiation will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $8,500 to $10,000. If subsequent treatment is required, the costs will escalate from there. We are desperately trying to raise enough money to save him, and we need your help. Whether it be fundraising ideas, or personal donations, every little bit will help.

Please get over to grants.landofpuregold.com/robin.htm to learn more and help in this fight.

Here’s Golden Robin (BISS Am-Can Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder OS SDHF CGC TDI) and breeder/owner/handler Mary MacQueen receiving their AKC ACE award in the law enforcement division at the 2009 AKC/Eukanuba Invitational in Long Beach California.

And, here’s Robin doing his thing (drug detection).

I don’t understand how we ended up in this place.

That is how Mary MacQueen begins her moving article, Personal Reflections:

I don’t understand how we ended up in this place. Not my partner! Not my hero! Not my friend! I keep rehashing all of this over in my head and just can’t seem to grasp it.

You see, Robin, my Police K-9 detection dog (aka Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder) and I are sitting in the waiting room of Cornell University’s Small animal Hospital, 200 miles from home, waiting to see an ONCOLOGIST!   …

Read more from Mary’s article at Golden Retriever Robin’s page: grants.landofpuregold.com/robin.htm .

He does it all … Update on Police K9/SAR Dog Robin

Golden Retriever Robin leading the parade

ROBIN IS THE FIRST GOLDEN RETRIEVER IN HISTORY to win the American Kennel Club Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in Law Enforcement [2009]. This is an incredible feat and we are so proud that Mary MacQueen and her boy Robin (Am-Can Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder SDHF BISS TDI CGC Police K-9/Search and Rescue Dog). We came to know about Mary’s exceptional work in 2002 when she shared the story of Golden Working Dog-in-Training Buddy. And, we wrote about Robin earlier this week when I learned of his Cutaneous Epithelioltropic Lymphoma diagnosis and their being laid off from the Salamanca Police Department due to budget disputes.

Robin’s story was featured yesterday and today in The Salamanca Press, a paper that has been following his work in the community for several years now.

FREWSBURG — Less than a week after owner Mary MacQueen learned her dog, Robin, had been diagnosed with a malignant form of skin cancer, the pair visited Cornell University to run additional tests. After several tests — including chest x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work and urinalysis — the diagnosis was confirmed: Robin has Cutaneous Epitheliotropic Lymphoma.

Although MacQueen doesn’t expect to hear the complete results from the test for about a week, she does know Robin will at least have to undergo 16 days worth of radiation as well as another surgery procedure to followup one which removed a minor bump on Robin’s rib cage earlier in the month.

Depending on what the results determine, Robin may also need to have chemotherapy conducted.

MacQueen said the radiation is expected to cost at least $6,000, and she has been accepting donations online from friends, family members and fellow dog lovers. She said she wants to help not only Robin, but to raise awareness for the disease in general.

“What I am looking at now is a bigger plan than just Robin,” she said. “He is such a great ‘spokesdog’ for the things dogs are capable of. No matter what the future holds, maybe it will raise some additional awareness for the disease.”

Come over to grants.landofpuregold.com/robin.htm to learn about Robin’s strong work ethic, this week still doing a drug demonstration for elementary school children. And, see how much we have now raised for his care at Cornell.

Be sure to spread the word about Robin’s story (you can use this short address as well:  http://bit.ly/4robin

Can you help Police K9/SAR Dog Robin?

ROBIN IS THE FIRST GOLDEN RETRIEVER IN HISTORY to win the American Kennel Club Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in Law Enforcement [2009]. This is an incredible feat and we are so proud that Mary MacQueen and her Golden Robin are the recipients. We came to know about Mary’s exceptional work in 2002 when she shared the story of Golden Working Dog-in-Training Buddy, and continue to be amazed by her strong work ethic. We initially blogged about Robin a little over a year ago.

Robin also is the recipient of the 2010 Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) Gold Standard Award. This award is presented to honor a Golden who performs honorable, heroic acts or who enriches, inspires or contributes to the lives of individuals and communities.

Eight-year-old Golden Retriever Robin (Am-Can Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder SDHF BISS TDI CGC, Police K-9/Search and Rescue Dog) and Mary MacQueen have worked for the Salamanca Police Department, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, and assist with searches for the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force in Western New York State. In 2009 alone, Robin had been responsible for getting about half a million dollars worth of dangerous narcotics off the streets.

Robin and Mary’s work with the Cattaraugus County, NY Sheriff’s Office included jail & vehicle searches, school searches, and searches during community festivals. Robin, the second narcotics certified K-9 in Cattaraugus County, is their first to be allowed to search people/students due to his easy going temperament and passive “sit” alert when he locates drugs.

Mary MacQueen and Robin also assist with searches for the Southern Tier Regional Drug task force and Kinzua Search Dogs, a non-profit, all volunteer group that endeavors to locate missing persons. Based in southwestern New York, Kinzua Search Dogs conducts searches in New York State as well as Pennsylvania.

Robin and Mary were recipients of the 2008 Police Officer of the Year award for the Salamanca Police Department. In addition to his work in law enforcement, Robin is also a therapy dog, AKC Canine Good Citizen, AKC Champion of Record, and the recipient of the Golden Retriever Club of America’s Show Dog Hall of Fame title.

When Robin’s busy schedule allows, he also leads local parades, visits hospitals and nursing homes, and makes trips to schools to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse. They say during community events and fundraisers that he can often be seen carrying a donation basket or lunch box filled with candy for the kids.

BUT, MARY’S EMAIL TO ME  YESTERDAY DID NOT BRING GOOD NEWS
On October 18, 2010 we received a very sad email from Mary about her special boy Robin, his being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer on October 15th, two days after his eighth birthday.

Needless to say, I am still reeling from this horrible news. I have our first Oncology appointment on Wednesday at 11AM at Cornell University. They said it is an all day appointment filled with blood work, scans, ultrasounds, and x-rays. The original mass removal was done by my vet, but the histopathology was done at Cornell, so there was probably little room for error in the diagnosis which was Cutaneous Epithelialtropic Lymphoma. They said it was in the early stages for this aggressive form of cancer, so we are confident that this is the ONE special dog who will beat this disease!

While there is never a good time to get a cancer diagnosis, the situation has been compounded by Mary and Robin being laid off from the Salamanca Police Department on Oct 11th due to the Seneca Casino/NY state disputes.

Robin’s medical bills are not covered by his police department, and the treatment will be both extensive and expensive. Please help us save this dog who has given so much of his life for his community. Make a tax-deductible donation today …. designating it solely for Robin’s care. The money will be directly applied to his care at Cornell University

TO DONATE, JUST CLICK HERE.

And, please spread the word by having folks come to http://bit.ly/4robin

Golden Retriever Riley: The Real (Iconic) Hero of 9/11

New York, N.Y. (Sept. 15, 2001) -- Golden Retriever SAR dog, Riley, is transported out of the debris of the World Trade Center. The twin towers of the center were destroyed in a Sept. 11 terrorist attack. U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres.

This one photo has never left my mind, heart, or soul as the images
from such a tragic day tend to be indelibly marked.

_____________________________________

The post below originally appeared on May 28, 2007, sad news from Riley’s dad, Chris Selfridge, prompting many heavy hearts. Although I never got to meet Riley, I loved him as did so many other folks who had been glued to their television sets after the attack on the twin towers.

On 2/26/10, Riley passed away. He was our family pet, my friend and partner. Riley was 13 in November. He lived a good life and taught me many lessons during his time with me. He will be greatly missed. I love you Bub!

Dog book author, Susan McCullough, has included Riley in her upcoming book on Golden Retrievers and learned more about his final days.

While Riley had aced a physical this past December, a mass was found in his abdomen on February 20. Surgery to remove the mass took place on February 24, but Riley died two days later.

Chris and I exchanged email last fall when I was writing my book about Golden Retrievers and wanted to feature Riley as a representative of the breed. At that point, Riley was still enjoying chasing Frisbees and had helped to welcome a new puppy into the family. He clearly was enjoying his retirement from SAR work.

I am so glad Riley was able to be by his family’s side for a little over 13 years. Cancer has kept me from having a Golden Retriever beyond the age of 11. These special souls live their lives so intensely, never tiring of seeing our faces or simply the joy of going for a walk or getting a treat. I don’t think we could ever appreciate life or live it as well as they do. So, while it seems like they have such short lives, I think they live far longer than we do when it comes to happiness and fulfillment.

__________________________________________________________________________

May 28, 2007 Post

I have a page at the foundation site on our Disaster Search and Rescue Goldens. It details a great book, Dog Heroes of September 11th: A Tribute to America’s Search and Rescue Dogs. The book details the stories of 77 handlers and their Search and Rescue dogs who responded at the World Trade Center & Pentagon following the September 11th attacks. It shows a photo of Dissaster SAR Golden, Riley.

Riley is one of the most famous dogs of Sept. 11 because of a photo taken of him at the World Trade Center site a few days after the attacks. In the photo, Riley is in a basket being sent over a 60-foot-deep canyon to search the rubble of the North Tower. “Normally when we send a dog, the handler goes with him,” said Riley’s trainer, Chris Selfridge. “This time we decided it was more practical to just send the dog.”

I also recently learned of video being available of Golden Riley through SAR worker and author extraordinaire, Susannah Charleson. She is most familiar with this apparatus on Riley as she has trained in activities with similar gear with her SAR Golden Puzzle.

It is wonderful to actually have footage of the Golden Retriever who really DID work at the World Trade Center (separating him from those preposterous claims made by Scott Shields).

Riley is now retired, and suffers from various skin problems and the like due to his time at Ground Zero.

Meet Payton: SAR Pup-in-Training

I just love this little guy. Meet Robin Stanifer with Golden Retriever Payton, her search and rescue dog. They are working from a motorboat on a pond in the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in central Indiana to track scent during a Department of Homeland Security Search and Rescue Conference training exercise held June 4. (U.S. Army photo by John Crosby)

Learn more about Golden SAR dogs here.

Golden Retrievers on duty

Duffy, only 15-months-old, is already being trained for Drug Detection. You can learn more about our potent drug-detectors here.

And, here’s Golden Rocky, an explosive/bomb Detection Dog, searching for explosives off lead. You can learn more about this type of detection here.

Remembering Golden Riley: The Real (Iconic) Hero of 9/11

New York, N.Y. (Sept. 15, 2001) -- Golden Retriever SAR dog, Riley, is transported out of the debris of the World Trade Center. The twin towers of the center were destroyed in a Sept. 11 terrorist attack. U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres.

This one photo has never left my mind, heart, or soul as the images
from such a tragic day tend to be indelibly marked.

_____________________________________

The following post originally appeared on May 28, 2007, but sad news that I received today from his Riley’s dad, Chris Selfridge, prompted my giving it top billing again. My heart is truly heavy today. Although I never got to meet Riley, I loved him as did so many other folks who had been glued to their television sets after the attack on the twin towers.

On 2/26/10, Riley passed away. He was our family pet, my friend and partner. Riley was 13 in November. He lived a good life and taught me many lessons during his time with me. He will be greatly missed. I love you Bub!

Dog book author, Susan McCullough, has included Riley in her upcoming book on Golden Retrievers and learned more about his final days.

While Riley had aced a physical this past December, a mass was found in his abdomen on February 20. Surgery to remove the mass took place on February 24, but Riley died two days later.

Chris and I exchanged email last fall when I was writing my book about Golden Retrievers and wanted to feature Riley as a representative of the breed. At that point, Riley was still enjoying chasing Frisbees and had helped to welcome a new puppy into the family. He clearly was enjoying his retirement from SAR work.

I am so glad Riley was able to be by his family’s side for a little over 13 years. Cancer has kept me from having a Golden Retriever beyond the age of 11. These special souls live their lives so intensely, never tiring of seeing our faces or simply the joy of going for a walk or getting a treat. I don’t think we could ever appreciate life or live it as well as they do. So, while it seems like they have such short lives, I think they live far longer than we do when it comes to happiness and fulfillment.

__________________________________________________________________________

May 28, 2007 Post

I have a page at the foundation site on our Disaster Search and Rescue Goldens. It details a great book, Dog Heroes of September 11th: A Tribute to America’s Search and Rescue Dogs. The book details the stories of 77 handlers and their Search and Rescue dogs who responded at the World Trade Center & Pentagon following the September 11th attacks. It shows a photo of Dissaster SAR Golden, Riley.

Riley is one of the most famous dogs of Sept. 11 because of a photo taken of him at the World Trade Center site a few days after the attacks. In the photo, Riley is in a basket being sent over a 60-foot-deep canyon to search the rubble of the North Tower. “Normally when we send a dog, the handler goes with him,” said Riley’s trainer, Chris Selfridge. “This time we decided it was more practical to just send the dog.”

I also recently learned of video being available of Golden Riley through SAR worker and author extraordinaire, Susannah Charleson. She is most familiar with this apparatus on Riley as she has trained in activities with similar gear with her SAR Golden Puzzle.

It is wonderful to actually have footage of the Golden Retriever who really DID work at the World Trade Center (separating him from those preposterous claims made by Scott Shields).

Riley is now retired, and suffers from various skin problems and the like due to his time at Ground Zero.

Love these Golden Retriever Avalanche Dogs-in-Training

Recently, I shared a video of Brendan Mcgraw and his Golden Retriever Coomba. Coomba is a ski patrol avalance dog in training.

Well, I’m back with more Avalanche Dog puppy training. Check out Coomba and Jackson, Golden Retriever puppies currently training to be ski patrol avalanche dogs. Both dogs (and handlers) will be doing their official test in a few weeks. Once the test is complete the dogs will be given a cross to go on their vest, and be part of Heavenly Resort’s avalanche rescue team.

Wishing good luck to Brendan, Coomba, Jeremy and Jackson on their upcoming tests.

Awaiting 3′ of snow like us? Relax with Golden Coomba!

Well, we are waiting for the blizzard conditions and predictions of up to three feet of snow. Poor little Golden Alfie is not going to like it. But, I wouldn’t like it either with my tush exposed on the snow trying to do my business.

So, chill out with Brendan Mcgraw and his Golden Retriever Coomba. Coomba is a ski patrol avalance dog in training. This short video, with an almost 1-year-old Coomba, comes at the end of his first season on the mountain. Boy, is he something!

Meet the 1st Golden to win AKC’s Law Enforcement ACE Award

ROBIN IS THE FIRST GOLDEN RETRIEVER IN HISTORY to win the American Kennel Club Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in Law Enforcement [2009]. This is an incredible feat and we are so proud that Mary MacQueen and her Golden Robin are the recipients. We came to know about Mary’s exceptional work in 2002 when she shared the story of Golden Working Dog-in-Training Buddy, and continue to be amazed by her strong work ethic.

Six-year-old Golden Retriever Robin (Am-Can Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder SDHF BISS TDI CGC, Police K-9/Search and Rescue Dog) and Mary MacQueen work for the Salamanca Police Department, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, and assist with searches for the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force in Western New York State. In 2009 alone, Robin has been responsible for getting about half a million dollars worth of dangerous narcotics off the streets.

Robin and Mary’s work with the Cattaraugus County, NY Sheriff’s Office includes jail & vehicle searches, school searches, and searches during community festivals. Robin, the first narcotics certified K-9 in Cattaraugus County, is their first to be allowed to search people/students due to his easy going temperament and passive “sit” alert when he locates drugs.

Mary MacQueen and Robin also assist with searches for the Southern Tier Regional Drug task force and Kinzua Search Dogs, a non-profit, all volunteer group that endeavors to locate missing persons. Based in southwestern New York, Kinzua Search Dogs conducts searches in New York State as well as Pennsylvania.

Robin and Mary were recipients of the 2008 Police Officer of the Year award for the Salamanca Police Department. In addition to his work in law enforcement, Robin is also a therapy dog, AKC Canine Good Citizen, AKC Champion of Record, and the recipient of the Golden Retriever Club of America’s Show Dog Hall of Fame title.

When Robin’s busy schedule allows, he also leads local parades, visits hospitals and nursing homes, and makes trips to schools to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse. They say during community events and fundraisers that he can often be seen carrying a donation basket or lunch box filled with candy for the kids.

As shown in the video below, Robin appeared on NBC’s Today Show while at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show with Mary.

At our foundation’s site, get the whole story and learn about this guy’s training that began at a mere 7 weeks of age.

Kids and Paws – Furever Love Photo Contest

“The dog was created specially for children. He is the g-d of frolic.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

Now, get on over and submit an entry in my Kids and Paws – Furever Love Photo Contest . It costs nothing to enter and there is a HUGE $600 prize package. The entries can incorporate any breed dog and any aged youngster (ages 0 to 18), so featuring a bond between the two.

And, remember, my foundation’s contest will benefit not only the winning participants but 100% of the proceedings will go toward funding cancer treatment for our working dogs.

Golden lovin’ & savin’ Sam Connelly made my day!

A Serious Golden Retriever Salsa ready for her next important mission

Sam Connelly became known to the Land of PureGold when she won Fourth Place in our Treasured Golden Bonds Storywriting Contest, with: Emilee, The Throw Away Dog. Sam also provided us with a wonderful tracking tale: Darla Lost and Found. An experienced Search & Rescue professional, Sam recently formed her own company, Pure Gold Pet Trackers, the team consisting of Sam and her Golden Retrievers, Salsa & Brando.

Working dog teams (including scent dogs for SAR, tracking & trailing; substance detection dogs for agriculture, explosives, human remains, etc.) do their jobs under the most hazardous environmental conditions to help find the lost, bring help to the injured, and so much more. So, finding a cost-effective and safe product to make their lives easier would genuinely be a great help.

For whatever reason, Sam happened onto my website within a week of my adding Liquid Net for Pets, a new, natural flea, tick & insect repellent product. She ordered two bottles. And, this is what happened . . . .

[June 6, 2009] It has been such a horrible year for ticks. I have had numerous searches in Virginia where my Golden Salsa and I were bitten so badly that I look like I just got over the worst case of chicken pox. We’re positive for Lyme Disease, but at the moment our bodies are successfully fighting off the disease and we are without symptoms.
I just feel bad for Salsa because her fur is so thick and fluffy that the ticks are just all over her as soon as she goes through the first field of tall grass. We had one search in Ashburn, VA where I pulled nearly 100 ticks off of her after only three hours of tracking. It was disgusting. When I ran my hand down her front legs they felt like washboards from all of the ticks. She has been on Frontline Plus and then I switched to K9 Advantix and neither has stopped the ticks. The only comfort is that any ticks I miss will die as soon as they bite her. I would love something that actually repels them and can be used on both of us. So I’m really looking forward to trying Liquid Net for Pets Ultimate Flea, Tick & Insect Repellent. And, BELIEVE ME, if it works as well as it says, I will be letting you know.

[Ten days later] I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The two Liquid Net for Pets bottles I just purchased are gifts for rescue managers that I work with who spend a lot of time out chasing lost foster dogs in Virginia—which has got to be one of the most tick-ridden places I have ever searched. I can put Liquid Net for Pets on my face (I’m allergic to EVERYTHING and most repellents cause me to break out in a rash), in my hair, on my clothes, on my DOG (which is so fantastic because I worry about causing her to not be able to smell when I use chemicals on her), and my gear.

Last night we were tracking a little Italian Greyhound down in Richmond that got away from a boarding kennel. We were in woods and in a field with grass and weeds that were up to our chests and when we got home there wasn’t a tick on either of us! The owner of the dog who has been looking for her little dog for two weeks now— and has been plagued with ticks every time she goes anywhere off of paved areas — called me this morning and begged me to send her the link for the spray, because she didn’t have any ticks either this time. This is a wonderful product and I will be recommending it to everyone I know. Thanks for introducing this to us. I’m going to take a picture of Salsa wearing her tracking harness sitting next to the bottle! — Sam Connelly

In the video below Sam demonstrates two pet tracking techniques, air scent tracking and straight tracking.

Go visit Sam’s website, Pure Gold Pet Trackers, to pick up some GReat tips on how to keep your pets safe, and on what to do if they get lost.

And, be sure to get some Liquid Net for Pets for your treasured dogs and yourself as well, this strength perfect for adults as you can tell by Sam’s immersing her whole body in it [ingredients shown below].

  • Citronella Oil – essential oil derived form different species of ‘lemon grass’, a natural animal and insect repellent.
  • Cedarwood Oil – fragrant natural insect repellent. Cedar has been used for centuries to repel various insects, and is regarded for it’s fresh clean scent.
  • Lemon-grass Oil – derived from tall perennial grass, lemon grass oil has been used for centuries as a natural insect repellent.
  • Geraniol – an extract of thyme, a natural insect repellent with a sweet, fresh and spicy scent
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – naturally occurring wetting and thickening agent. Commonly used in toothpaste, shaving cream, bubble baths and other health and beauty products.
  • Peppermint Oil – natural insect repellent, produces a wonderful scent, and a pleasant cooling on the skin.
  • Eugenol – an essential oil from clove and cinnamon. Natural insect repellent, and used as an artificial vanilla flavoring and scent.
  • Lime juice and zest of limes are highly valued for their floral aroma and acidity.
  • Wintergreen – natural insect repellent, produces a wonderful scent, and a pleasant cooling on the skin.
  • Water essential to all known forms of life and is known as the universal solvent. Used to dissolve and mix active ingredients to allow them to be readily applied.

Canine PTSD

This article is a very sad commentary on the utilization of innocent dogs for quite dangerous endeavors. While I do realize the life-saving that takes place via our canine friends at times such as earthquakes or on the slopes due to avalanches, I could never engage a dog of my own in such a field.

Pretty good accounting of Scott Shields scams

Civil suit filed 9/11 rescue fraud case
By Lisa Coryell, Special to the Times, February 6, 2009

Scott Shields, the West Windsor man imprisoned for bilking the federal government out of funding meant for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, now faces civil fines and penalties for his crime.

In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of New York, U.S. attorneys are seeking undisclosed damages from Shields, whose dramatic stories of rescuing victims in New York following the World Trade Center attacks and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina have largely been debunked.

In New York Shields claimed to have worked with his dog, Bear, to sniff out people trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center buildings, but an officer who led K-9 rescue at the scene later said Shields’ dog was not properly trained and the two were ordered off the site.

Shields’ sister, Patricia Shields, is named as a co-defendant in the civil suit, which seeks damages and penalties for false claims, fraud, unjust enrichment and mistaken payment.

The government wants a jury trial to set damages and penalties.

“Scott Shields and Patricia Shields knowingly, or in deliberate ignorance of or in reckless disregard of the truth, presented, or caused to be presented, to an officer, employee or agent of the United States, false and fraudulent claims for payment or approval by submitting false or fraudulent applications to (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for (Mortgage and Rental Assistance) funds,” the suit alleges.

Shields and his sister received $38,906 from FEMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $10,553 from the American Red Cross after making false claims to the agencies in 2002 that they lived near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

The siblings were indicted for theft of government funds, mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States. In October they were both sentenced to eight months in federal prison and ordered to repay the ill-gotten money.

The pair actually lived in Greenwich, Conn., at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the FEMA money was meant for rental or mortgage assistance to people who lived near the World Trade Center site.

Although the Shieldses later moved to Lower Manhattan, the Red Cross assistance money was meant for victims who lived below Canal Street at the time of the attacks.

Court papers show the Shields siblings did not move to Lower Manhattan until October 2001.

Moreover, court records show the Shieldses were evicted from their Connecticut residence for nonpayment of rent, never used any of the FEMA money for their Manhattan apartment, and that they were “entirely delinquent” in rent from the time they moved in until they were evicted from that residence as well.

Scott Shields later moved to West Windsor.

Shields, who gave himself the rank of “captain,” had wowed the media and the public with his dramatic tales of mass rescues in New Orleans in 2005, and of his heroic K-9 work with his beloved Bear after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some of the stories appeared in The Times.

The stories about Bear, who Shields said died in 2003 due to 9/11 injuries, led to the creation of a charitable foundation in the dog’s name and a book about his exploits as well. But the accounts eventually were called into question by many authorities and animal rescue specialists.

For example, Shields had claimed he and Bear found the most victims during the rescue efforts following 9/11.

But in 2007, retired New York City Police Lt. Dan Donadio, a former K-9 handler whose teams led the Ground Zero recovery efforts, said he told Shields to leave the site during the initial hours of the recovery effort because Bear was not a trained rescue dog and might mislead emergency workers.

Shields was also suspected of having manufactured a letter from the governor of Louisiana inviting him to lead search and rescue efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The letter was posted on Shields’ website but was discredited by the governor’s office.

To learn more about this saga from its beginnings, just go to TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness.

And, to see the series of blog posts on this pitiful man and his sister, just click here.

The fun continues.

While one is locked away, the other one plays? Who can say? But, sadly their nonprofit (yea, right) Bear Search and Rescue Foundation’s website still appears online and asks for money. Go figure.

My question, who really will pay? (The taxpayers, of course. What a stupid question.)

To learn more about this saga from its beginnings, just go to TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness.

And, to see the series of blog posts on this pitiful man and his sister, just click here.

Cherishing the moments

Brady and Deana, together, enjoying the ocean

Brady and Deana, together, enjoying the ocean

A man with Alzheimer’s wanders from his home, a hiker goes missing, a trapped family desperately tries to escape flood waters. The National Association for Search & Rescue indicates that the ability to save a life is often dependent upon how quickly the person can be found and accessed. But, providing enough well-equipped and well-trained search and rescue professionals is a daunting task.

Deana Hudgins, President of the Ohio Search Dog Association, Inc., a non-profit all volunteer response unit, recently shared her story with us, detailing the work of her SAR Golden boys, Brady and Chase. Sadly, Brady, a talented boy whose specialties included Live Finds and Area Search, was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma in June 2008. And, we just learned today from Deana that he lost his battle to this horrific disease in November.

I am truly grateful to have had Brady in my life and I am fortunate to have gotten the chance to take Brady to the beach in Florida in September. He had a great time running and playing. He was even well enough to play the day before he passed away. Brady has taught me so much about love, loyalty and happiness. I hope to honor him by continuing to dedicate myself to K9 Search and Rescue. Brady was a fantastic ambassador for search and rescue and the Ohio Search Dog Association.

Go experience a wonderful photo montage that shows this Golden family’s celebration of life. Just click here.

Training Golden Retriever Avalanche Dogs

This Alpine Meadows video features search and rescue dog training in conjunction with the Placer County Sherriff Search and Rescue, and the Placer County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Tahoe Dog Team. It was a real carnival for the Golden Retrievers and other breed dogs with helicopter rides, treasure hunts in the snow and non-stop games all designed to train them to sniff out and save buried avalanche victims.

_____________________________

Learn more about Search & Rescue Dogs here at our foundation website.

I guess the jig is up.

li.jpgWell, our lying self-named “captain” reports to Fort Dix Federal Prison tomorrow. For the whole sordid tale, click here.

Man sentenced in 9/11 fraud case
By Debra Friedman, The Stamford Advocate, November 11, 2008

A former Greenwich man who credited himself and his golden retriever Bear with recovering bodies at the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001, has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison after his conviction for fraudulently obtaining thousands of dollars in government relief funds, according to court records.

Shields pleaded guilty earlier this year to illegally obtaining government money from two agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and American Red Cross, according to documents on file in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

He was arrested, along with his sister, Patricia Shields, in March 2007 and initially pleaded not guilty, records show. In March 2008, Scott Shields changed his plea to guilty, according to court records. “Mr. Shields has pleaded guilty to defrauding the American Red Cross and FEMA, in an attempt to exploit programs that were providing financial assistance to people affected by one of this country’s greatest tragedies,” read the sentencing opinion handed down by District Judge Robert Sweet on Oct. 14.

The sentence opinion said that Shields had a previous conviction for bank fraud 18 years ago involving a “significant sum.”

After his release from prison, Shields will enter into three years of supervised release. He also was ordered pay back $49,439 to the government. His sister received an identical sentence.

According to court records, Scott and Patricia Shields applied for mortgage and rental assistance from FEMA after Sept. 11, 2001, claiming they lived in Manhattan at the time. However, government records show they were living and working in Greenwich and not eligible for FEMA assistance. The aid only was meant for people who lived near the World Trade Center, those who had been injured by the events and businesses that were damaged.

Scott and Patricia Shields were evicted from their rental unit in Greenwich in October 2001 for nonpayment of rent, court documents show. While they did move to lower Manhattan after their eviction, they were not eligible for the funds they received and did not use them to pay rent owned on their city apartment, according to court records.

They were evicted for nonpayment of rent at the Manhattan location, according to court records.

Scott Shields’ sentencing comes after six years of making claims about his search and rescue exploits, which were detailed in a book titled “Bear: Heart of a Hero,” credited to Captain Scott Shields and co-author Nancy West. The book was pulled from shelves in 2006, according to a spokesman from the publisher, Hero Dog Publications, after the firm realized Shields was not a captain.

Shields’ main claim was that he and his dog Bear aided in the rescue of victims at ground zero. Roy Gross, chief of the Department at the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, whose organization maintained logs of every dog who assisted in the rescue effort, said Shields and Bear were never documented in its records.

“He was a fraud, unfortunately,” Gross said.

Shields claimed in a Greenwich Time article in 2001 that he was a marine safety specialist who consulted with the New York City parks department. Phil Abramson, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, said the department was aware of Shields’ claim, but that it was not true. “Scott Shields was never employed by the parks department and he was never connected to the parks department,” Abramson said.

Shields’ Manhattan-based attorney, Joel Mark Stein, said he had no comment about the case.

Shields is scheduled to being serving his term on Wednesday, according to the clerk’s office for the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York.

Finally, a newspaper reports on this Ground Zero Liar & Felon

li.jpgSept. 11 fraud nets jail term for man
W. Windsor resident lied to obtain FEMA assistance
BY KEVIN SHEA, The Times of Trenton News, October 17, 2008

Scott Shields, the West Windsor man whose dramatic stories of rescuing victims in New York following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and in New Orleans after Hurricane Ka trina have largely been debunked, has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining government money.

Shields also was sentenced to three years of supervised release once he is freed from prison, and he and his sister Patricia Shields, a co- defendant in the case who received the same sentence, will also have to pay back nearly $50,000 in money they had sent to them by federal agencies in 2002.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The siblings had been indicted on three counts: theft of government funds, mail fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Scott Shields’ lawyer, Joel M. Stein, declined to comment yesterday on the sentencing.

Shields and his sister received $38,906 from the Federal Emer gency Management Agency and $10,553 from the American Red Cross after making false claims to the agencies in 2002 that they lived near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

They actually lived in Greenwich, Conn., at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the FEMA money was meant for rental or mortgage assistance to people who lived near the World Trade Center site.

And while the Shieldses later moved to Lower Manhattan following the attacks, the Red Cross assistance money was meant for victims who lived below Canal Street at the time of the attacks.

Court papers show the Shields siblings did not move to Lower Manhattan until October 2001.

Moreover, court records show the Shieldses were evicted from their Connecticut residence for nonpayment of rent, never used any of the FEMA money for their Manhattan apartment, and that they were “entirely delinquent” in rent from the time they moved in until they were evicted from that residence as well.

Scott Shields later moved to West Windsor.

Shields, who gave himself the rank of “captain,” had wowed the media and the public with his dramatic tales of mass rescues in New Orleans in 2005, and of his heroic K-9 work with his beloved dog Bear after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some of the stories appeared in The Times.

The stories about Bear, who Shields said died in 2003 due to 9/11 injuries, led to the creation of a charitable foundation in the dog’s name and a book about his ex ploits as well. But the accounts eventually were called into question by many authorities and animal rescue specialists.

For example, Shields had claimed he and Bear found the most victims during the rescue efforts following 9/11.

But in 2007, retired New York City Police Lt. Dan Donadio, a former K9 officer whose teams led the Ground Zero recovery efforts, said he told Shields to leave the site during the initial hours of the recovery effort because Bear was not a trained rescue dog and might mislead emergency workers.

For background, see my comprehensive article and indexing of 30 blog postings/stories.

Thank SAR Golden Retriever Trulee for Climber’s Dramatic Rescue!

Greg Varney of the King County Search Dogs team feeds and praises his golden retriever, Trulee, who followed the scent of a granola bar to climber Derek Mamoyac in rough terrain at the 6,000-foot level of Mount Adams. Photo by Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

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CHECK OUT 2 GREAT VIDEOS (NEWS REPORT & MSNBC INTERVIEW) WITH GREG & TRULEE!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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An amazing tale of survival

Jill Bartlett and other rescuers spoke glowingly of Mamoyac after he was found alive after five frigid days and nights on the mountain. “He was in very good shape for what he went through,” she told The Oregonian.

As she and several other rescuers waited with him before he was flown from the mountain, he told them he ate centipedes and other bugs after running out of food early in the week. He drank water from creeks.

He was wearing water-resistant pants, insulated boots and gloves but was still very cold. “We put all our coats on him, and he was still shivering,” Bartlett said. “We asked him, ‘Are you warm? and he said ‘yeah.’ ”

Mamoyac was found by the team of Greg Varney with his search dog, Trulee, a golden retriever, and navigator, Ron Buermann, who kept them on course. Mamoyac told rescuers that his climbing trip turned bad as he was descending after reaching Piker’s Peak at 11,657 feet, below the mountain’s summit. He stepped in some snow he thought was solid, but it gave way.

Bartlett said the climber broke his right ankle tumbling down the mountain. He spent nearly four days crawling and dragging his feet through the snow, trying to drag himself off the mountain. When his knees hurt too much to crawl, he said he would turn around and scoot backward.

“We get happy endings, but not at the end of a five-day search,” rescuer Varney said.

Well, this is pretty cool.

After spending five lonely days as the subject of a search, Mamoyac’s mother says, her son has decided what he wants to do with his life. He plans to pursue a career in search and rescue.

Hopefully, he can talk to Greg Varney about that as he is the Operations Leader for King County Search Dogs.

He is working quite hard as Golden Retriever Trulee is qualified in trailing, airscent and cadaver searches.

Is this dog abuser & convicted felon still on the take?

li.jpgScott Shields and his sister, Patty Shields, appeared before US District Judge Robert Sweet yesterday on Tuesday, October 14, 2008. The sentencing recommendations (seen here) had Scott Shields sentenced to 8 months in prison–then 3 years supervised release–with a requirement to make restitution of all the money plus an additional $300 and submit to mental health counseling. His sister Patty was sentenced to 12 months and one day, plus all that noted for Scott. The recommendations were followed for the most part, except that Patty’s sentence was reduced to 8 months.

In addition, the court decided to allow each felon to serve their sentences separately. Scott must report to Fort Dix, NJ’s Federal Minimum Security (country club type) Prison on November 12, 2008 to begin his time. And, during that time, Patty will remain free for the next 8 months, not needing to report for her prison sentence until Scott comes out. Unfortunately, that means she will be free to continue stealing monies through their bogus non-profit foundation. Obviously, the court had no comprehension of the fact that Scott and his sister have stolen far more money through the foundation than he did from FEMA and the Red Cross.

Many folks have been fighting for years for Scott to be investigated regarding his foundation monies, but to no avail. Many have filled out complaint forms with the state of NY regarding his foundation, but there has been no response. That is by far the bigger issue here as it allows both him and his sister to continue their criminal ways. Scott should be barred from ever being in a first responder role or in having such a nonprofit entity. How this can be achieved, however, is beyond my available knowledge.

It was interesting to see that within the ruling it was noted that Scott had a criminal record and that his current actions were so consistent with his con artist ways. Specifically, on April 25, 1990, Scott had been arrested on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, and on October 24, 1990, was sentenced to 3 years probation and 6 months home confinement, as well as being required to make a $147,804 restitution and special assessment, in the US District Court for Connecticut.

Not only does it seem like Scott is continuing to get away with murder, but it is amazing to see the lack of media reporting on him and his purported good deeds through his foundation. It is hard to accept but I guess he’s gotten away with misappropriating hundreds of thousands from his nonprofit foundation, and via SSA disability and Workman’s Compensation with respect to his supposed Ground Zero injuries. It is sad to see the lack of response from the state of NY.

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It is hard to believe that it is already two years since I wrote the article, TRADING IN ON TRAGEDY FOR FAME: Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness. In that article, I admitted to being taken in by this con-artist. I gave him a presence at my website, and collected over a thousand dollars for him (and his Golden Retriever Bear) through a raffle. But, that was not the true grievous aspect to my dealings with Shields.

Sadly, I learned that Scott was trying to build onto his 15 minutes of fame, but at the expense of his purportedly beloved Bear. Here was an animal who was quite senior in years at 12 years of age. An animal who had been injured by the dangerous metal debris on the pile. An animal that was used to either spending his summer days indoors in an air conditioned home or enjoying the cooling breezes off the Connecticut waters on Scott’s boat. But, tragically, now Bear was forced to walk the hot asphalt streets of the city day in and day out. Scott and Bear would venture out in the morning and continue until nighttime. Always dressed in his mock rescue outfit, embellished with numerous patches, with Bear sporting a bright orange rescue vest, Scott would seek out the folks who often frequented the area streets.

I was shocked to learn about what Bear was now being asked to endure, despite observers relating their own concerns about this to Scott. However, this fell on deaf ears despite the fact that Bear was reportedly now beginning to show outward signs of physical decline. So, I searched out veterinary health professionals in NYC that could possibly provide services for Bear. How excited I was when I learned of a woman who had a facility within blocks of Scott’s city residence, a facility that could provide hydrotherapy sessions for Bear. And, because Bear had been at Ground Zero, he would be given these quite expensive therapy appointments (over $100 per 30 minute session) at no charge. Excitedly, I relayed the great news to Scott, assuming that he would not delay in setting up appointments for Bear. Knowing how Bear loved the water, I thought this would be just perfect for him.

But, who could have predicted what happened next? Who knew that the reality of who Scott really was would finally hit home? You see, I was later contacted by the hydrotherapist who indicated that Scott had not come in for his scheduled appointments and no matter how often they were rescheduled for him, he just always failed to show. Obviously taking a huge financial loss in keeping these hours open for Scott, she finally had to sever this generous offer.

I contacted Scott who was unable to deny any of this. The man who was so concerned about his wonderful Bear just didn’t want to take the time away from parading up and down the streets. I guess it just wasn’t that important in the scheme of things. Such blatant disregard and neglect was beyond my comprehension, and I felt humiliated about having presented his story as an honest one. And although I removed every mention of Scott Shields and Bear from my site in the summer of 2002, the stench still remained.

DEATH SPRINGS ETERNAL
I continued to be updated about Scott’s sordid story, learning that Bear died on September 23, 2002, at almost 13 years of age. The proceedings following his death were filmed, as was his funeral. And, while it is not on film, and certainly only hearsay, I heard that Scott’s sister incongruously asked, “What do we do now? He’s dead.”

In my naiveté I could not even begin to fathom what was to be set in motion. I thought Scott would pocket the memories from his small brush with fame, and go on his way. But, just the opposite occurred. This silly man’s claims of having the most celebrated dog were actually being taken seriously. And, it appeared that the prodigious firm of Proskauer Rose LLP was also taken in by this man—despite his repeated evictions, poor business practices & bankruptcy—affording him even more credibility in their formation of his foundation in Bear’s memory.

Unfortunately, I’ve had difficulty generating mainstream interest in this story, and Scott has caused irreparable damage to the typically unheralded Search & Rescue heroes who are always there for us at devastating urban disasters …. such as that at Ground Zero following the infamous 9/11 attacks. And, he has continued to take money from unsuspecting folks as he touts his purported heroic deeds at trade shows, elementary & middle schools, Boy Scout Group meetings, and more.

Besides his theft of government funds, mail fraud & conspiracy to defraud the US after receiving almost $50,000 from FEMA and the American Red Cross, Scott Shields has collected years of disability for his purported Ground Zero injuries. Funny, how despite a claim of breaking both knees and an ankle, that he was doing just fine about a month later while walking behind Hilary Clinton in the October 8, 2001 Columbus Day parade.

Lt Dan Donadio, head of the NYPD’s canine teams in 2001, had 25 teams on the site round the clock for nine long months, scraping through the pulverized concrete. Scott Shields was down at Ground Zero for a little over a day, but managed to spin his experience into an epic. And, always on the look-out for the next big disaster, he further tried to benefit from the Katrina disaster.

Shields claimed 847 live rescues, evacuating under 6000 people, and that 11,000 people are alive today because of his group. Yet, rescuers who were there indicated the following: “His numbers exceed the entire 82nd Airborne’s numbers including the Superdome evacuation. So even if he took credit for all of their hard work, his numbers are still an aberration. … Scott was escorted out of LA and was on the water only ONE DAY. I spoke to the Chief and Superintendent of NOPD. They told me they never heard of Scott and there was NO WAY he rescued 5,000 or 11,000. … In those pictures, if you look, he is in shorts and just shoes, looks like he is on vacation while everyone else has knee pads on and is working, and that was just at camp.”

I have learned that the true heroes out there are not easily found. They do not do this job for the fanfare. They do not have media agents working on getting them mentioned in endless news articles. They are not obsessed with gaining notoriety. In fact, they’d rather not be in the spotlight. Rather, they struggle and train and work hard because they can, because they know they can help a fellow human being. These folks are a gifted bunch, and we do depend on their spirit of giving . . . for that time when it may be our lives hanging in the balance.