For a few years now, Lagniappe has been following the saga of “local canine hero” Jeanie The Three-Legged Dog. There’s a book about her. She frequently appears on various media venues around the country. And now she’s become one of seven finalists in the contest for the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.
If Jeanie is named the American Humane Hero Dog of the Year, she’ll be the star of a two-hour red carpet awards gala broadcast Oct. 23, 7 pm on the Hallmark Channel. The program reaches more than one billion viewers each year.
Over the last nine years, 10 million votes have been cast for more than a thousand dogs seeking the title of American Hero Dog.
Based on nearly 900,000 votes cast by animal lovers and the votes of a celebrity panel of dog experts, Lake Charles’ Jeanie has already won the distinction of being named the nation’s top hero therapy dog of the year.
The seven heroic dog finalists took top honors in a field of 360 nominees. Members of the public can submit one vote a day for Jeanie through Sept. 9 at herodogawards.org.
Jeanie was rescued from a rural area in south Louisiana when she was five months old. She was adopted after a deformed front leg was removed by a local vet.
Jeanie now works for the Children’s Advocacy Center, where she comforts children who are questioned by detectives in physical and sexual abuse cases, violent crimes and even homicides. She and her owner volunteer at hospitals, schools, nursing homes, reading programs, and veterans’ homes, where Jeanie bonds with fellow amputees.
Jeanie attends counseling sessions with amputees and children’s grief therapy groups. She once spent a day with traumatized elementary students who had witnessed a shooting in their classroom. She helped an apprehensive child speak to officers after the child witnessed a murder/suicide. In cases like these, Jeanie’s presence lowers stress levels and provides a calm and joyful diversion for those experiencing hardship.
The two-hour Hallmark special, now in its ninth year, airs in conjunction with Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After program, which aims to empty shelters and end the country’s epidemic of pet homelessness.
For more info about the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and to vote daily in the contest, visit herodogawards.org. American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877.
Call For Photographers
Gallery by the Lake and the Gulf Coast Bird Club are working together to host a national amateur bird photography competition: “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” The three types of subject matter the photographers can portray are Birds in Action, A Teaching Moment and Fine Art (that is, photography of beautiful birds).
The deadline for entering the show is Sept. 1. Photographers interested in entering can find details at gallerybythelake.org. They will make their entries at callforentry.org. It costs $35 to enter three photographs.
The reception and awards ceremony for the show are scheduled for Oct. 13 at Gallery by the Lake at 106 Pryce St. The exhibit will hang until Nov. 23.
Piancastelli Is Olympics Bound
The Up Fronter has been reporting on the recent exploits of former McNeese softball superstar Erika Piancastelli. In case you weren’t aware of it, Piancastelli’s spent the last few years playing for Italy’s national softball team. Now she’s helped the team qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. To get to the Olympics, the Italians did a five-game sweep over Great Britain at the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s Europe/Africa playoff.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet; it doesn’t feel real,” Piancastelli said. “This summer was huge for Team Italy. We won the European Championship in the most extraordinary way, then two weeks later we came back and won the Olympic Qualifiers.”
Piancastelli lived in Italy until she was five. She’ll be the second member of her family to represent Italy in the Olympics. Her mother, Loredana Auletta, was a catcher and third baseman on Italy’s 2000 Olympic team.
Piancastelli will be the first female McNeese athlete to appear in the Olympics.
“I feel like this has always been my destiny, going to the Olympics exactly 20 years after my mom went is unreal. The number 20 is a very important number to my family and I get goosebumps every time I think about it.” (Piancastelli wore the number 20 when she played for McNeese.)
She’s certainly inspired. “We’re not just going to the Olympics to participate; we’re going to win a medal,” she said.
I’ll repeat the stats Piancastelli racked up at the European Softball Championship in July just because they’re so impressive. She batted .559 with 10 home runs, 21 RBIs and 20 runs. Best of luck from the Up Fronter.
Where Is Mr. Hu?
Some of you will have experienced the benefits of the healing hands of Mr. Hu, who, until recently, provided chiropractic and message services at Who Dat?, which was located on Ernest Street, kitty corner from D-Bat at Prien Lake Mall.
I went to a chiropractor once and I think he might have popped a couple of joints. Hu, in contrast, jumped right on top of me and popped every single thing inside from the top to the bottom. He had the strength to do deep muscle massage exactly where it was needed for as long as it was needed.
And now it appears Who Dat? has closed up shop. I was wondering whether anyone knew where Mr. Hu is. I don’t mean to invade his privacy, of course. If he’s retired or moved on to some new place, I wish him the best. But if he’s still plying his healing trade at some other location in town, would someone do the Up Fronter a solid and let me know?
Hobo Hotel Gets Boost
The much-appreciated Hobo Hotel for Cats recently got a $10,000 grant from the Petco Foundation. The money will be used to support Hobo’s spaying and neutering services.
“This generous grant from the Petco Foundation will help us spay/neuter and vaccinate approximately 100 cats/kittens to prepare them for adoption so they can find their forever home,” said Diana Andersen, director of operations at Hobo Hotel. “This in turn helps us reduce the stray cat population in our area, reduce euthanasia and accept more animals in our facility.”
Since 1999, Hobo Hotel has spayed and neutered more than 6,300 cats; found homes for more than 3,877 cats and kittens; and operated a successful trap, neuter and release program for feral cats in the community. For more information about Hobo Hotel for Cats, visit hobohotelforcats.com.
Trump Backs Tabasco, Marucci Bats
The only difficulty that might present for folks around here is that the residents of SWLA can choose from a vast selection of Louisiana hot sauces. But what has to be kept in mind is that isn’t the case for the vast majority of Americans. If you travel to the far-flung regions of the country, the only hot sauce on the diner table will be Tabasco. Folks in hash houses in Wisconsin or Vermont have never heard of Bayou Blow Torch, Slap Ya Mama, Frog Bone, Trappey’s Bull or Lake Charles’ Thib’s. But everybody everywhere knows what Tabasco is. Trump’s choice of the least exotic product just made sense.
The first item Trump went to as he toured the display was a Louisiana product — a Marucci baseball bat. The president made a swing with the formidable looking piece of equipment. “Look at this,” he said. “Beautiful! These are nice!” Marucci bats have always been made in Baton Rouge.
The president summed up the event this way: “While those here today create many different goods, you’re also devoted to one of the greatest missions on Earth: making the best products, from the best materials, with the best workers anywhere in the world, right here in the United States of America.”