Stray dog saved from freezing cold in New York park

Charlie is a shepherd mix who lived in Highbridge Park, New York for about 10 years

Charlie is a shepherd mix who lived in Highbridge Park, New York for about 10 years

New Yorkers have a dog-eat-dog reputation, but a few Good Samaritans recently showed that their hearts aren’t as cold as the weather.

Tina Imlet and several other Manhattanites saved a stray dog from the freezing temperatures of Highbridge Park in the city’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

“He knows me. When ever he sees me coming into the park he wags his tail. He barks. We howl,” Imlet said in an interview with Fox 5 News.

But she and others, who named the canine Charlie, started to wonder how the feral shepherd mix was holding up as temperatures in New York continued to drop.

“Those who know him love him deeply, we are devoted to saving his life. He once had a family to roam Highbridge Park with, but they were all trapped years ago. Charlie was always too smart to fall for our human tricks,” Denise Lauffer wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help care for Charlie.

“A lot of people were going out, like 10, 11, 12, 1 o’clock in the morning. There was a whole series of people going to visit him, just to make sure, to see. And everybody was like, ‘Have you seen him? Has anybody seen him?’” Imlet told the news station.

On Feb. 15, Good Samaritans managed to get Charlie into a van to take him to the borough’s BluePearl veterinary center.

The animal hospital has a team of veterinarians dedicated to taking care of him around the clock.  He was malnourished, dehydrated, and unable to walk when he first arrived at the hospital.

Charlie has been vaccinated and will be neutered when he is stable enough

Charlie has been vaccinated and will be neutered when he is stable enough

Imlet decided to adopt Charlie so he would not be stuck outside in the cold again. Late Thursday night, she brought him back to her home.

Cassandra Williams, a veterinary neurologist at BluePearl, told NBC New York that they tested his blood for infectious diseases and were awaiting the results of a spinal tap.

“He no longer has his pack, he’s a slow old man now, and was not going to make it in this extreme cold,” Lauffer wrote. “He is a handsome mutt that was never dangerous. This stoic old boy needs some help with vet bills.”

Lauffer started the GoFundMe page to raise money to cover the veterinarian costs to get Charlie back on his feet.  As of midday Friday, the Highbridge Charlie GoFundMe page had raised more than $10,000 for the pooch.

By Michael Walsh February 20, 2015 11:41 AM Yahoo News

February 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm Leave a comment

Caribbean Cruise – Rescue in the night

Crew members of the Excalibur coming onboard Zuiderdam after being rescued.

Crew members of the Excalibur coming onboard Zuiderdam after being rescued.

I couldn’t end my posts about our wonderful Caribbean cruise to the Panama Canal without mentioning that during the middle of one night while we were sleeping, our ship rescued a 90 foot craft that was sinking along with its 8 man crew!

By the time our ships officers heard the distress call from the Excalibur, it had already lost power and was sinking.  A crew member was desperately calling on a hand held radio.  The ship was pitch black and was not visible in the dark of night.  They were out of flares and running out of time.

The eight crew members of Excalibur were taken onboard after their boat started to sink.

The eight crew members of Excalibur were taken onboard after their boat started to sink.

Below is the article written about the rescue on the HAL website.

HAL’s Zuiderdam Rescue Crew of Sinking Boat

Submitted by: HAB Editorial Team

On a recent cruise, the Zuiderdam was called upon to assist a vessel in need of assistance.

At 2:10 a.m. Jan. 3, 2015, while en route to Oranjestad, Aruba, Zuiderdam answered a distress call from the Bahamian inter-island vessel Excalibur that was sinking with eight crewmembers onboard. Zuiderdam was approximately 15 miles away and the closest ship in the area.

 “Congratulations to the officers and crew onboard Zuiderdam for their quick response that saved the lives of eight people,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are proud to be able to come to the rescue when called upon, and it’s even more gratifying when everything goes as smoothly as this operation did.”

Zuiderdam altered course and was able to successfully execute a nighttime rescue of all eight crewmembers at 3:01 a.m. The ship brought them onboard and provided food and accommodations. The rescued crewmembers debarked in Aruba Jan. 5.

I’ve been on many cruises, but never one that actually saved lives!  Just one additional event that made this trip awesome!

February 13, 2015 at 8:41 am Leave a comment

Caribbean Cruise – Fun on the ship!

While cruising in the Caribbean on the Holland America’s Zuiderdam, we managed to have tons of fun on the ship between ports.  Mostly because of the really fun group of people we were traveling with.  There were ten of us joining my friend Karen to help her celebrate her 70th birthday.

If we weren’t sitting by the pool, we were playing card games in the game rooms, going to the casino, stopping by a seminar, or having our own little party.  We never got bored.

Karen’s friend Gail made a fun countdown plan for the 5 days before her birthday, so we had a five day celebration.  She supplied fun party favors for each day.  Every evening during dinner in the dining room, we announced her upcoming birthday and had fun with the party favors.  Soon the tables around us were joining in the fun.

Here are pictures of our evenings in the dining room.  Our two tables had so much fun!  It was contagious and many people told us how much they enjoyed our fun.

Announcing 5 days to Karen's birthday!

Announcing 5 days to Karen’s birthday!

Everyone wearing their flashing rings

Everyone wearing their flashing rings, the party favor of the day.

Tina was so much fun!

Tina was so much fun!

Karen is surprised!

Karen is surprised!

4 days til the big birthday!

4 days until the big birthday!

Karen with the party horns :-)

Karen with the party horns :-)

It's getting closer!  Only three more days!

It’s getting closer! Only three more days!

There's the party girl!

There’s the party girl!

Donna, Terri, Eunice, Barbara and Gail

Barbara, Terri, Eunice, Donna and Gail

Gail announcing just ONE more day!

Gail announcing just two more days!

Tina blowing bubbles

Tina blowing bubbles

Look at those bubbles!

Look at those bubbles!

Susie, Charles & Tina having fun with bubbles

Susie, Charles & Tina having fun with bubbles

SO much fun!

SO much fun!

It's a party every night at dinner!

It’s a party every night at dinner!

One more day!  It's balloon day!

One more day! It’s balloon day!

Fun birthday week!  We loved our waiters!

Fun birthday week! We loved our waiters!

Tina gets to keep the balloons.  And off she goes!

Tina gets to keep the balloons. And off she goes!

It's finally Karen's big day.  Happy Birthday Karen!

It’s finally Karen’s big day. Happy Birthday Karen!

The wait staff singing Happy Birthday

The wait staff singing Happy Birthday

Me and Susie at dinner

Me and Susie on birthday night

Cheers!  Here's to a great cruise, and great friendship!

Cheers! Here’s to a great cruise, and a great friendship!

One night we went to the Pinnacle Grill restaurant for dinner.  A VERY fancy affair!

Dinner at the Pinnacle Grill

Dinner at the Pinnacle Grill

This was the first cruise that I had a verandah.  It was wonderful!  We opened the walls between four of our rooms so we could all enjoy our verandah’s together.  We spent our days enjoying the views, and in the evenings we sat and watched out over the beautiful water in the warm night air.

Karen enjoying the verandah

Karen enjoying the verandah during our party

Everyone watching us come into port

Everyone watching us come into port

Donna and Susie enjoying the sun

Donna and Susie enjoying the sun

All lined up on Tina and Charles' verandah

All lined up on Tina and Charles’ verandah

Karen and Jon checking out the Panama Canal

Karen and Jon checking out the Panama Canal

The evening activities were lots of fun, too!  There was a great show each night, and my favorite place to go was the BB King’s Blues Club.  Not only did I absolutely LOVE the music, but the fact that one of the band members reminded me of an old flame didn’t hurt a bit either!

We also hit the Northern Lights Nightclub and danced the night away!

Northern Lights Nightclub

Northern Lights Nightclub

Karen and I shaking a leg.

Karen and I shaking a leg.

Susie dancing with Charles

Susie dancing with Charles

Karen and Charles dancing

Karen and Charles dancing

One afternoon we had a little party in Susie and my room.  We had been given a complimentary bottle of wine in each of our rooms so we thought this was the perfect way to have a glass.  Susie and I gathered snacks to serve and everybody brought their wine.  It was cozy, but fun.

Having a glass of wind in our room

Having a glass of wine in our room

A nice gathering with new friends

A nice gathering with new friends

Me and Charles listening to funny stories

Me and Charles listening to funny stories

On Karen’s birthday we had a before-dinner party in Tina and Charles’ room.  I had bought a couple bottles of Original Curacao liqueur while we were in Curacao.  We served it along with chocolate covered strawberries that Karen’s sons had sent to her for her birthday.

Party in Tina's room

Party in Tina’s room

Curacao liqueur and chocolate covered strawberries...yummy!

Curacao liqueur and chocolate covered strawberries…yummy!

The girls visiting at our party

The girls visiting during the party

Susie and Karen.  We made Karen wear a wig for the party.  I think she liked it!

Susie and Karen. We made Karen wear a wig for the party. I think she liked it!  Isn’t she cute?

Another fun part of the ship was the Crow’s Nest.  We met in the afternoons to have a cocktail, but we also went to Karaoke night!  Oh my!

Afternoon drinks in the Crow's Nest

Afternoon drinks in the Crow’s Nest

Tina was the first to get up and sing.  And she actually is a really good singer!

Jon, Gail, Charles & Tina watching Kareoke

Eunice, Karen, Jon, Donna, Gail, Charles & Tina watching Karaoke

Tina singing her song

Tina singing her song

Susie and I getting ready to have some fun!

Susie and I getting ready to have some fun!

Oh yeah!  Karen, Susie and I singing "Girls just wanna have fun"

Oh yeah! Karen, Susie and I singing “Girls just wanna have fun”

Were we good?  Uhhh, not even close.  But we DID have fun!

Were we good? Uhhh, not even close. But we DID have fun!

I'm thinking Charles and Tina are laughing at us ;-)

I’m thinking Charles and Tina are laughing at us ;-)

I couldn’t end the on-board fun without mentioning Susie getting all dressed up to watch the Seahawk game.  She brought it all the way from Washington state!  Now that’s a true fan!

Susie cheering for the Seahawks!

Susie cheering for the Seahawks!

What an absolutely amazing cruise!

My next post will be about our “Rescue in the night”.  Something awesome that happened on our cruise.

 

 

February 11, 2015 at 2:42 am 1 comment

How Urbane: Dog Rides Seattle Bus To Get To The Park

By Bill Chappell. Written on January 13th, 2015

Eclipse, a two-year-old black lab-mastiff mix, gets around Seattle on the D line bus.

Eclipse, a two-year-old black lab-mastiff mix, gets around Seattle on the D line bus.

“Did that just happen?”

That’s the reaction one bus rider had in Seattle, after realizing a dog had just joined him for a ride through the city, traveling several stops to her destination: a dog park.

The story comes to us from Seattle’s KOMO 4 TV, which reports that Eclipse, the black Labrador who is winning fans for riding a city bus by herself, lives very close to a bus stop.

Eclipse is owned by Jeff Young, who does not seem to be a control freak.

“It’s not hard to get on” the bus, he tells KOMO. “She gets on in front of her house and she gets off at the dog park, three or four stops later.”

Dog riding bus 3

It all started when Exlipse refused to wait for Young to finish a cigarette before getting on the bus that takes them to a dog park they regularly visit. Then she took the bus by herself again. In the past few weeks, the two-year-old dog has been noticed by many commuters, such as radio host Miles Montgomery of station KISW.

“She is most concerned about seeing out the window, and I couldn’t figure out what that was” Montgomery tells KOMO. “It was really just about seeing where her stop was.”

This week, the story of the well-mannered dog and her beguiled fellow bus riders is being embraced by web readers hungry for a bit of uplifting and interesting news (we confess: we’re in that group, too!).

"All the bus drivers know her. She sits here just like a person does," commuter Tiona Rainwater tells KOMO. "She makes everybody happy. How could you not love this thing?"

“All the bus drivers know her. She sits here just like a person does,” commuter Tiona Rainwater tells KOMO. “She makes everybody happy. How could you not love this thing?”

Pictures by Eric Jensen @EricJensenTV

 

 

 

 

 

February 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

Caribbean Cruise – Curacao!

Willemstad, Curacao

Willemstad, Curacao

On January 6th we pulled into the slim passage of the Sint Annabaii channel.  This is one of the most interesting towns I’ve ever been to.  At every turn we saw something new and different.

The first thing we noticed was the colorful painted Dutch architecture that lined the waterfront.  Legend has it that the 19th century Governor-General suffered from migraine headaches that he attributed to the harsh reflection of the sun on the white buildings of Willemstad.  Thus a decree was issued to paint the structures any color other than white.

Colorful waterfront of Willemstad

Colorful waterfront of Willemstad

In order to cross the channel to get to the downtown district, we walked across the Queen Emma Bridge, also known as the “Swinging Old Lady”.  The bridge is built on pontoons and swings to the left to allow boats to come and go into the bay.  We were walking across when it closed to let a boat through.  So cool!!!

Susie on the Queen Emma pontoon bridge

Susie on the Queen Emma pontoon bridge

We walked along the waterfront and down to the Floating Market.  A mini boat fleet comes from Venezuela each day and sells fresh fish and fruit to the locals.

Floating Market

Floating Market fruit stands along the road

Boats from Venezuela that supply fish and produce to the market

Boats from Venezuela that supply fish and produce to the market moored in the back of the stands

After walking through the lots of shops and local markets of Willemstad, we stopped at an open air café along the waterfront to have a cool drink and watch the pontoon bridge swing open and shut letting the boats through.

Iguana Café along the waterfront

Iguana Café along the waterfront

Cheers!

Cheers!

Next we decided to see more of the island so we hopped into the back of a truck to take a tour.  Now let me tell you this is a high tech truck tour if I’ve ever seen one :-)!  What fun!

Susie boarded and ready for the Casper Tour ride!

Susie boarded and ready for the Casper Tour ride!

Tour guide was really informative about the island (although his mike didn't work most of the time) :-)

Tour guide was really informative about the island (although his mike didn’t work most of the time) :-)

We saw a lot of the beautiful brightly colored houses and buildings along the way. DSC02119DSC02121

Beautiful archetecture

Beautiful architecture

We also passed a refinery during the tour.  The guide told us that the oil is brought in from Venezuela, refined and shipped back to Venezuela.  Gas here is about $5 a gallon so it seems they don’t get a break on the prices.

We stopped at the Curaçao Liqueur Factory at Landhuis Chobolobo where the Genuine Curaçao Liqueur is made.  To differentiate it from other brands of Curacao liqueur that are not original, “the Genuine Curaçao Liqueur” is the only liqueur that is made of the peels of the “Laraha” (the bitter orange native to Curaçao). It’s produced in 5 different colors; the original clear liqueur, the famous Blue and Green, and Red and Orange as well. And there are also the special tastes: Coffee, Chocolate and Rum Raisin. The small distillery is more than 115 years old.

The original Curacao Liqueur distillery

The original Curacao Liqueur distillery

Curacao Liqueur still made by hand according to an ancient recipe

Curacao Liqueur still made by hand according to an ancient recipe

After sampling some of the delicious liqueurs, and buying a couple of bottles to take home, we went on our way.  We stopped at a vista point where we could look down onto the bay.

Windy viewpoint of Willemstad

Windy viewpoint of Willemstad

And then stopped by the beautiful Cabana Beach where we saw lots of sea life as well as crabs and lizards along the rocks.

Cabana Beach

Cabana Beach

Clear water at Cabana Beach.  We watched an eel scamper off with his lunch

Clear water at Cabana Beach. We watched an eel scamper off with his lunch

Crab on the rock next to the water

Crab on the rock next to the water

All too soon it was time to return to the ship and say good-bye to this unique little town of Willemstad.

Leaving Sint Annabaii channel.  Notice the pontoon walk bridge fully opened in the foreground.

Leaving Sint Annabaii channel. Notice the pontoon walk bridge fully opened in the foreground.

Our last glimpse of Willemstad with the fortress wall overlooking the entrance to Willemstad

Our last glimpse of Willemstad with the fortress wall overlooking the entrance to Willemstad

Next stop – Panama!

January 31, 2015 at 10:27 am Leave a comment

Caribbean Cruise – Panama!

Panama-Canal signSeveral years ago my cousin Bruce and I traveled through Panama.  While we were there we visited the Miraflores Visitor Center, just outside of Panama City.  We watched the ships going through the locks.  It was just fascinating!  From the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Atlantic Ocean exit, the canal is approximately 51 miles and is about a 9 hour journey to complete.  It handles around 13,000 ships a year.

This shows why the locks are necessary going from one sea level to another sea level.

This shows why the locks are necessary going from one sea level to another sea level. A question I always had.

This time coming to Panama I got to actually go through the locks on our cruises ship!  I woke up early (before light) and sat on our verandah in anticipation.  There were lots of ships hanging around just outside the locks.  I assumed that they were waiting for their turn to enter the canal.  We entered on the Atlantic side just north of Colon and went through the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake.

Approaching the Gatun Locks.  You can see the entrance to the third lock to the left

Approaching the Gatun Locks. You can see the entrance to the third set of locks to the left

The Panama Canal expansion project (also called the Third Set of Locks Project) is intended to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2016 by creating a new lane of traffic and allowing more and larger ships to transit.

This photo shows the Third set of locks under construction

This photo shows the third set of locks under construction

Going through the Gatun Locks

Going through the Gatun Locks

While going through the locks all the pilot boats and trains started blowing their horns.  It lasted several minutes.  We later heard that it was in honor of a man who was retiring after working at the canal for 30 years.

A ship passing through on its way to the Atlantic

A ship passing through on its way to the Atlantic

Entering Gatun Lake

Entering Gatun Lake

After hanging out in Gatun Lake for a couple of hours, we passed back through the locks towards Colon.  There really isn’t much at all to see in Colon.  Pretty much a strip mall with restaurants and shops.  But it was still exciting to be on land in Panama again.

Colon, Panama

Colon, Panama

Our next stop was supposed to be Costa Rica.  Unfortunately when we got close to the port, the captain announced that due to the swell conditions he had to make the decision to cancel the port call.  It was just too dangerous.  We were SO disappointed!  We had planned a 5 hour excursion to see a banana plantation & packing house, an animal rescue eco tour where we were to see sloths, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys and macaws.  A jungle boat tour, and a drive through the city ending at a viewpoint of Puerto Limon.  It would have been so wonderful to see Puerto Limon.  Well, I guess I’ll just have to go back some day!

After we were 5 hours away from Puerto Limon, the captain announced that a passenger had a medical emergency and we had to turn around and go BACK to Puerto Limon since it was the closest port.  So back we went.  By the time we got back to the port the water had calmed and it was thankfully safe to transfer the patient to the ambulance.  We later found out that it was a young woman who was having a miscarriage.

The only glimpse I got of Puerto Limon

The only glimpse I got of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Patient being taken away in the ambulance

Patient being taken away in the ambulance

My next post will be of all the fun and activities we had on the Zuiderdam!

 

 

January 29, 2015 at 10:07 am Leave a comment

Caribbean Cruise – Aruba!

DSC02048

On January 5th our cruise ship arrived in Oranjestad, Aruba.  I was so excited because this was the stop where we had scheduled a snorkeling trip.  I had contacted Captain Rene’s “Private Snorkeling Aruba” site and set up a trip for 5 of us.  We headed out in a taxi to MooMba Beach.

MooMba Beach

MooMba Beach

Susie, Karen, Jon and Charles waiting for Captain Rene

Susie, Karen, Jon and Charles waiting for Captain Rene

As soon as I met Captain Rene I realized he was Dutch (I love my Dutch heritage) so I immediately liked him!  It turned out that he was exceptionally nice, funny, helpful and just a joy to be with during our trip.

Heading to our snorkeling site with Captain Rene

Heading to our snorkeling site with Captain Rene

Our time snorkeling was fantastic!  We saw lots of fish and coral, and just enjoyed floating around in the water.

Having a blast in Aruba!

Having a blast in Aruba!

Next we headed to Malmok Bay to take a look at the sunken ship Antilla.  This ship has an interesting, very short history.

"Antilla" by unbekannt, Foto aus dem Jahr 1939 - http://willemsubmerged.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/antilla-1-copy1.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antilla.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Antilla.jpg

“Antilla” by unbekannt, Foto aus dem Jahr 1939 – http://willemsubmerged.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/antilla-1-copy1.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

SS Antilla (1939)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SS Antilla was a Hamburg America Line cargo ship that was launched in 1939 and scuttled in 1940.

Antilla was built for trade between Germany and the Caribbean.  On 15 July 1939 Antilla left Hamburg on her maiden voyage, which took her to the Caribbean. On 9 August Antilla left Curaçao for Galveston, Texas, where she loaded 3,000 tons of sulphur for Europe. En route the captain received several coded messages directing him to leave main shipping lanes and to alter their ships’ names and appearance, communicate only in code and return to Germany as soon as possible.  If the ship was not able to return to Germany within 4 days he was to find refuge in neutral ports.

On 1 September, the day Germany invaded Poland, Antilla sailed for neutral Curaçao. However, en route the captain learnt that Willemstad Harbour was already full of German merchant ships, so he changed course for Aruba and anchored in Oranjestad.

On 10 May Germany invaded the Netherlands so the Dutch government ordered the seizure of all German ships in the Dutch Antilles. The German crew immediately started scuttling Antilla. They were not going to hand the ship over to the Netherlands.  At 0500 hrs the Dutch marines boarded the ship. The Marines escorted the crew ashore in a lifeboat and handed them into the custody of the Royal Marechaussee.  By the time the Netherlands Coastguard came back to board the ship, they found it on fire and sinking.

Antilla lies in Malmok Bay, Aruba in just 60 feet of water and is one of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks and a popular dive and snorkel sites because of its location in shallow waters.

The sunken ship Antilla

The sunken ship Antilla

Because of the rough waters, I wasn’t able to see the ship.  But Charles snorkeled out and was thrilled to get a chance to see it.

After a beautiful afternoon on the water, we reluctantly headed back to shore.  The rum punch that was served on our way back made it a little easier to accept our trip was over :-)

Susie, Charles and I enjoying our rum punch on our way back to shore

Susie, Charles and I enjoying our rum punch on our way back to shore

Next stop – Curacao!

January 27, 2015 at 8:43 am Leave a comment

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