Metro Wines Blogs

Metro Wines Asheville, NC

Marine Hero Honored

LONDON — Move over Lassie, there's a new hero pooch in town.

Meet Lucca, a retired U.S. Marine Corps dog who lost one of her legs while hunting for homemade bombs in Afghanistan.

More than four years after she was reduced to three paws, Lucca was awarded a top military medal for the 400 missions she completed during her service.

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals — a British charity known as the PDSA — honored Lucca with its Dickin Medal during a ceremony at London's Wellington Barracks on Tuesday.

The PDSA says the award is "the highest award any animal in the world can achieve while serving in military conflict" and has given it out just 66 times since 1943.

Image: Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham and Lucca
Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham and Lucca. PDSA

The charity calls it "the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross," referring to the highest military decoration awarded by a British monarch. However, the Victoria Cross Trust has previously opposed the comparison.

Tuesday's ceremony was also attended by the dog's owner, Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, who lives with Lucca in California.

"Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog," Willingham said in a statement. "She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her."

Lucca completed more than 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, sniffing out explosives and protecting "the lives of thousands of allied troops," according to the charity. There were no human casualties during any of her patrols.

She was injured while on patrol with her other handler, Cpl. Juan Rodriguez, in Afghanistan's Helmand province in March 2012.

Image: Lucca with Cpl. Juan Rodriguez
Lucca sleeps alongside Cpl. Juan Rodriguez during her recovery. PDSA

"The explosion was huge and I immediately feared the worst for Lucca," Rodriguez said in the PDSA's statement. "I ran to her and saw her struggling to get up. I picked her up and ran to the shelter of a nearby tree line, applied a tourniquet to her injured leg and called the medics to collect us."

Lucca was evacuated to Germany and then to California's Camp Pendleton. Rodriguez stayed near her through each stage of recovery — even choosing to sleep side-by-side some nights. 

Continue reading
763 Hits

Virginia Officer and his K9 to retire Together

On this day when Belgian Malinois security dogs are serving their country and fellow citizens in Belgium, there is a good story from Roanoke.

BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) — A Virginia Tech K9 team known across the Commonwealth is set to retire later this month.

Officer Larry Wooddell and Boomer are leaving the force. Wooddell has been in law enforcement for 30 years.

He started working with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office then joined the Virginia Tech police department in 1994.

Wooddell and Boomer have been together since 2008. In that time, the two have worked everything from crime scenes to bomb threats. Wooddell says the team is often called across the state to help in difficult situations.

“They’ve called Boomer to go out to look for the weapon and we actually found the weapon which was good. It was a good feeling for me and he was excited about it too because he knew how excited I was.”

Wooddell says they work well together, even other handlers notice.

“Just understanding the dog,” he said. “We call it reading the dog because we know when the dog is doing something. It’s a unique bond that we have together.”

Wooddell says he’s looking forward to relaxing and letting Boomer, now 9-years-old, ride in his personal vehicle once he’s officially his April first.


Continue reading
635 Hits

Domhnall, Irish Guard

Meet Domhnall. This 4 year old Irish Wolfhound is the official mascot of the Irish Guard. He was in attendance and service yesterday when the traditional sprig of Shamrock was presented during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in London. Cool dude.

Shop dogs say this with great admiration and just a tinge of envy. Love the outfit.


History and photo from wiki:

Since 1902, an Irish Wolfhound has been presented as a mascot to the regiment by the members of the Irish Wolfhound Club, who hoped the publicity would increase the breed's popularity with the public. The first mascot was called Brian Boru.

In 1961, the wolfhound was admitted to the select club of "official" Army mascots, entitling him to the services of theRoyal Army Veterinary Corps, as well as quartering and food at public expense. Originally, the mascot was in the care of a drummer boy, but is now looked after by one of the regiment's drummers and his family. The Irish Guards are the only Guards regiment permitted to have their mascot lead them on parade. During Trooping the Colour, however, the mascot marches only from Wellington Barracks as far as Horse Guards Parade. He then falls out of the formation and does not participate in the trooping itself. The regiment's current wolfhound is named Domhnall. His predecessor, Conmael, made his debut at Trooping the Colour on 13 June 2009.[24] At the end of 2012 Conmael retired and was replaced with the new wolfhound- Domhnall.

Story and more photos HERE!

Continue reading
812 Hits

Iditarod Tragedy

A drunk driver slammed into a team at the Iditarod as it neared the finish line killing one of the mushers and injuring other dogs.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A man has been taken into custody after driving his snowmobile into two dog teams competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early Saturday morning, killing one dog and injuring at least three others.

Mushers Aliy Zirkle and four-time champion Jeff King said they were attacked outside the village of Nulato, a community of 236 on the Yukon River, a little more than halfway into the 1,000-mile race to Nome.

The crashes killed one of King's dogs -- Nash -- and injured at least two others 12 miles outside of Nulato. One of Zirkle's dogs also was injured.

Alaska State Troopers say 26-year-old Arnold Demoski of Nulato is being held on two counts of assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and six counts of criminal mischief.

An apologetic Demoski told the Alaska Dispatch News that he had not intentionally driven into the dog teams, but he had blacked out while returning from drinking in another village.

Shop Dogs stand in solidarity with the Iditarod Mushers, the people of Alaska and everyone who is heartbroken by this tragedy. Please drink responsibly.


The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome, which takes place entirely in theUS state of AlaskaMushers and a team of 16 dogs, of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 9–15 days or more.[1]The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams but evolved into today's highly competitive race. The current fastest winning time record was set in 2014 by Dallas Seavey with a time of 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes, and 19 seconds.[2] As of 2012, Dallas Seavey was also the youngest musher to win the race at the age of 25, while as of 2013, at the age of 53, Dallas' father Mitch Seavey was the oldest person to ever win the race.

Teams generally race through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds which can cause the wind chill to reach −100 °F (−73 °C). A ceremonial start occurs in the city of Anchorage and is followed by the official restart in Willow, a city 80 miles north of Anchorage. The restart was originally in Wasilla, but because of too little snow, the restart was permanently moved to Willow in 2008.[3] The trail runs from Willow up the Rainy Pass of the Alaska Range into the sparsely populated interior, and then along the shore of the Bering Sea, finally reaching Nome in western Alaska. The trail is through a harsh landscape of tundra and spruce forests, over hills and mountain passes, and across rivers. While the start in Anchorage is in the middle of a large urban center, most of the route passes through widely separated towns and villages, and small Athabaskan and Iñupiat settlements. The Iditarod is regarded as a symbolic link to the early history of the state and is connected to many traditions commemorating the legacy of dog mushing.

Continue reading
831 Hits

Rusty Needs a HOME

Rusty needs a home. One of our customers @MetroWines is fostering this sweetheart. Make Valentine's Day really, really, really special and give Rusty a forever home. Thank you for considering. Your Shop Dogs, Bandit and Cate

This is what foster Mom says:  

I'm fostering this sweet guy for Brother Wolf and would love to find him a forever home. At 10 years old, he's technically a senior but he's a smaller guy (35-38 pound range) and has plenty of energy/years left in him so please don't let his age deter you! I run a couple miles with him or play fetch in the yard or basement with one of his toys and he has energy to spare (see video in link!). He LOVES hiking. 

He's a little too anxious to attend hectic adoption events (but oddly isn't scared of the vacuum cleaner) so I'm trying to get him exposure in other ways. He co-exists peacefully with my cat and 2 senior dogs (with very gradual introductions) but really has no interest whatsoever in playing with other dogs. He adores his person, follows them around a lot and is happy to curl up on the couch with you so would be perfectly content as your one and only or with another very laid back dog -- young, energetic pups irritate him. Brother Wolf has said that he shouldn't go to a house with small children. 

He eats and sleeps in his crate but would love to sleep on your bed. He is housebroken and has the run of my house while I'm at work (he uses the dog door). He's listed as a shepherd mix but almost seems to have the cleverness and build of a Jack Russell and the nose of a hound. He lacks a tail and has some thin patches of fur on his butt so he definitely won't win any beauty contests. But his quirky personality and overall goofiness more than make up for it! He is very Asheville in his love of carrots, green beans, cucumbers, plantain chips and little bits of apple so far. 

I live off Beaverdam Rd/Spooks Branch Road if you or anyone you know would be interested in a meet-and-greet. Since he is a Brother Wolf Animal Rescue dog, you would follow all of their guidelines for adoption. Please pass Mr. Rusty's info along to anyone who might be interested!
Video and adoption details HERE!



Continue reading
714 Hits