Archive: March, 2013
Pope Francis gave his first Easter blessing to the world today.
We feel the occasion is a fitting time to consider more fully one of his first acts as leader of the Catholic church, Only a day into his new post, Pope Francis made an extraordinary gesture at his first press conference: he singled out the service dog of a visually-impaired journalist and blessed him.
We first heard about this remarkable act only hours after writing a post wondering whether Pope Francis might be a voice for animals, as his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi was more than 800 years ago.
Leigh Siegfried is an Associate member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and is a Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She conducts private behavior counseling sessions, group training classes in basic and advanced manners and agility, and a variety of workshops. Opportunity Barks classes are held in Philadelphia and Quakertown, PA. Visit www.opbarks.com for more info.
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Yo Bo, check out all the cool pastel-colored Easter eggs strategically placed on the White House lawn.
The region's raptor cams are in full swing again this spring recording all the nesting action of the peregrine falcons and red-tailed hawks.
In Harrisburg, the state Department of Environmental Protection has installed a new HD camera that is now livestreaming activity on the ledge near the top of the Rachel Carson building where a pair of peregrine falcons has been raising chicks for 15 years. Falcon watchers report the femalehas laid four eggs - while the resident male and an interloper engaged in aerial combat over the nest. High drama over the Capitol!
It surely must have been the ghost of the great environmentalist and Pennsylvania native Rachel Carson that led the first falcon to that ledge so that future generations could witness their beauty and contemplate the fact that the falcons were almost wiped out by DDT poisoning a half century ago. It was Carson who first exposed to the world the dangers of the now-banned pesticide.
With the closure of more than 250 large scale commercial breeding kennels in the past three years, some may say Pennsylvania has shed its reputation as the "puppy mill Capital of the East."
Is the state now taking on the mantle of "bad rescue" Capital?
Three days after being shot in the neck and undergoing emergency surgery, a Harrisburg police officer headed home with his handler.
The officer, a 2 1/2-year-old Beligian Malinois named Zeke, was shot by a suspect who fired at police during a pursuit and was airlifted to an emergency veterinary clinic.
The Delaware County lawyer whose pet "rescue" operation was raided by authorities last month and 28 dogs seized has been charged with dozens of counts of animal cruelty.
My colleague Mari Schaefer reports in Saturday's Inquirer:
Terry Silva, 53, was charged Friday with 43 counts of animal cruelty after sick and underweight animals were found in her filthy Delaware County house, the Pennsylvania SPCA announced.
UPDATE: Shortly after posting this story, we learned that Pope Francis, in his first press conference a day after taking on his new role, took special notice of a service dog in the audience. The Washington Post reported that the pope leaned down to bless a golden retriever accompanying a visually-impaired reporter at the event. The gesture drew amused chuckles from the crowd. For animal lovers it was a important sign of humanity from a spiritual leader whose influence touches all corners of the globe.
With the news that the new pontiff, Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergogli, would be known as Pope Francis we wondered if he had chosen the name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Or had he taken the name of the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier?