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Unleashed A blog for animals and the people who love them
Helping pet owners deal with loss

Her name was Obie. When she died in 2013, Martha Harris went into mourning. She had owned the black Labrador for six years and her death left Harris shaken and bereft.

"She was everything to me. She was my daughter," said Harris, a retired nurse and medical office receptionist. After surgery failed to relieve her 11-year-old dog's pain, the Glyndon resident had her euthanized.

"I wanted her to die with dignity but it was the hardest thing I ever had to do," said Harris, who keeps Obie's cremated ashes in a box on a bookcase, surrounded by photographs of the two in happier times.

In her sorrow, Harris turned to the Baltimore Humane Society, a private, nonprofit organization at 1601 Nicodemus Road, Reisterstown. Besides its veterinary practice and animal adoptions, the "no-kill" society offers a unique service — pet grief groups led by a certified counselor. In the local area, only one other venue, Hunt Valley Animal Hospital, appears to have a similar service.

The society's veterinary building...

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This shih tzu can't get enough of the O's

Think you’re excited for some Orioles playoff action? Consider Trufflz, who may be more excited than anyone else in town.

Trufflz is a 4-year-old shih tzu owned by Caryn Green, who lives in Mount Washington and works at Glarus Chocolatier in Timonium — hence the pup’s name. She has an impressive collection of orange and black toys that Green collects every Halloween and is spending much of her time this week in an Orioles tutu and hair bow.

“We are waiting for our Orioles to triumph in the post-season and hopefully bring that World Series trophy back to Baltimore,” says Green, who’s also a life-long fan of the team.

Is your pet an Orioles fan? Send us photos of him/her in orange and black! sun.unleashed@gmail.com

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Rails & Tails will offer family fun and a chance to adopt a dog

Make plans to spend Sunday at the B&O Railroad Museum in downtown Baltimore for a great day of trains, history, and adoptable dogs. Bella’s Bully Buddies dog rescue, which finds homes for pit bulls in need, will hold its Rails & Trails event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all are invited for family fun and maybe the chance to add to that family.

The rescue will host Choo Choo Blue, the museum’s mascot, along with family and pet-friendly vendors, a dog-training demonstration, carnival games and prizes, a coloring and stamping station, live entertainment, a moon bounce, and a chalk and bubble fun station, too.

Admission is just $1 and includes parking and museum admission. Adoptable dogs will be on-hand, too!
For more information, visit bellasbullybuddies.org.

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DogFest is this Saturday

Grab a leash and some comfy shoes: DogFest is scheduled for Sept. 27 and promises fun for all the people and pets in your family.

This day-long festival will include games, contests, demonstrations, and kids’ activities -- and everything there welcomes humans and dogs. Watch Rover knock down 10 pins in a game of bowling, play hide-n-seek, or paint with his paws (seriously).

Challenge him with an agility course, have him tested for his AKC Canine Good Citizenship Award, let him swim, or visit a vet and trainer to ask questions. And if all that’s not enough, enter him into the best costume contest, best trick, or best kisser competition — all feature terrific prizes from MaGooby’s Joke House and are hosted by national comedians, including Mark Unger from HBO’s "Veep."

Don’t forget the Paws on Parade Walkathon — a 1 or 1.6-mile walk on the Baltimore Humane Society’s nature preserve property. Walk with your dog or as part of a team. Visit dogfest.org to register.

And be sure to work up an...

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Orioles to sign pet calendars at BARCS

The sixth annual Orioles Pet Calendar benefitting the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) will go on sale August 12, and five players will be on-hand to sign calendars at the shelter that day.

J.J. Hardy, Tommy Hunter, David Lough, Bud Norris, and Matt Wieters will visit BARCS from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on August 12 to sign calendars bought that day. Those attending must buy their calendars on-site for autographs. There will be free parking at Lot D on the south side of M&T Bank Stadium.

The 16-month calendar features photos of Orioles players with their pets and BARCS animals at locations around Baltimore, including the National Aquarium, Fort McHenry, the Hippodrome Theatre, the U.S.S. Constellation, and the American Visionary Art Museum.

Calendars are available for $15 at the event August 12, or at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Orioles Team Store in York, Penn., and online at orioles.com/petcalendar.

Calendar sales raised more than $51,000 for BARCS last year. The autograph...

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Soldier's dog vanishes in Crownsville

Jon Walker’s friends were looking forward to watching him reunite with his beloved German shepherd, Zara, when he returns from a year-long Army deployment in Afghanistan later this month.

But his dog bolted into a patch of woods while playing catch with a dogsitter in Crownsville last week and a non-stop effort to find her has proven fruitless, leaving them suspicious that there might be more to this than meets the eye.

“Jon is devastated,” says his friend Heather Cappelli, who’s spearheading the effort to find Zara. “I feel so badly for him. He wants to come home and look for her, and he can’t. We’re doing everything in our power to find her before he comes back.”

Walker, who is from Kent Island, was deployed to Afghanistan about a year ago and left Zara in the care of Ashley Morsberger, a friend who’s from Davidsonville but now lives in South Carolina. On a visit to her parents’ home last Monday, Morsberger took Zara to a field in Crownsville. She said she threw a ball and Zara ran for...

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