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How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row
The long awaited follow up book to the critically acclaimed The Man Who Talks to
Dogs will soon be available with a message and a story that are unmatched.
Official release date
April 15th 2005
Launch and preview date
February 26th 2005
By Randy Grim
Foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall
request a review galley contact publicist Andrew Kerman at 314-221-2482,
The day Randy Grim got a call from a
animal shelter worker pleading with him to take yet another unwanted dog to his
no-kill shelter; he had no idea that the dog would change his entire life. The
dog had survived a horrifying procedure still practiced in some animal shelters:
"euthanasia" by carbon monoxide gas poisoning. The account of Quentin's ordeal
and the crusades he and Grim have undertaken on behalf of abandoned animals is
sobering, hilarious, and ultimately uplifting. Grim and Quentin have made
numerous television appearances including The Today Show, Animal Planet, It's a
Miracle, CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, Access
and in People Magazine, National Geographic, Forbes and Guideposts.
Available April, 2005
Contact: publicist Andrew Kerman at 314-221-2482or
andrew@kermanmarketing. Both Mr. Grim and Quentin are
available for interviews.
MIRACLE DOG: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death
This is a story about an unlikely hero and a dog that refused to die in the St.
Louis city pound's gas chamber. Quentin, a basenji mix with ears too big for his
head, survived to spread a message of compassion to the world. His guardian,
Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of
and a man with many social phobias and fears, tells Quentin's story and the
plight of the homeless dogs in
in a way that no one else can, with a sense of humor.
Few people are aware of the tremendous overpopulation of pets in the
Too many feel it is acceptable to get rid of their companion pets when they
move, go through a divorce, or decide they don't have time for their faithful
friends anymore. People don't realize the emotional pain these animals go
through when they are separated from their families, put in sterile cages in
noisy shelters to wait a few days before being put to death. Some think their
dogs can survive on the streets by themselves; however, they have been
domesticated far too long to have any survival instincts left. Our throw
away/convenience-driven society somehow makes their animals seem disposable.
Thousands are euthanized daily, and thousands more die horrible deaths on the
city streets, alone and unwanted.
Quentin seems to know he has a message for everyone - adopting from shelters
helps stop the unnecessary euthanization and suffering of animals. Seeing
Quentin acting like a seasoned professional in front of a camera, posing during
interviews, and behaving perfectly on long airplane flights confirmed Randy's
realization that Quentin has a higher purpose to fulfill here on earth. The
miracle of his survival, standing on top of seven dead dogs when the gas chamber
door was opened, was just the beginning for this dog destined to wake up
humanity. The other miracle is Randy's ability to overcome his phobias and fears
to handle all the publicity and media events without passing out or running
away. It is Randy's total commitment to the homeless and often abused dogs that
has helped him cope with his social fears and become a national spokesman for
their plight. Both Randy's and Quentin's message of compassion is spreading
Randy Grim and Quentin travel around the
promoting the concept of animal guardianship rather than animal ownership and
the need for more no-kill shelters. In Defense of Animals, an international
charitable organization has adopted Quentin as the "spokesdog" for their
Guardian Campaign, aimed at elevating respect for companion animals. Alongside
the story of Quentin's survival and the media frenzy in the days that followed,
Randy tells some of the stories behind the horrifying statistics of euthanasia
and death of the homeless animals.
Quentin, known for his bottomless stomach, mooching food from everyone, standing
on three legs for minutes at a time while relieving himself, and his abundant
flatulence, is a friend to all. A born ham, he makes himself at home on the sets
of all his television appearances just as easily as he does in the office of the
St. Louis. His hilarious escapades will make you laugh, and Randy's efforts to
cope will touch your heart.
Miracle Dog is a book that opens your mind as well as your heart releasing the
compassion and awareness that is deep inside each one of us.
"Randy Grim is the best kind of hero: a flawed, ordinary person who wouldn't let
anything - either in the world or in himself - stand in the way of his desire to
help his fellow creatures."
- Ptolemy Tompkins, Senior Editor, Guideposts Magazine
"With action, humor and skillful detail, Randy Grim captures the life-and-death
situations faced by animal rescue workers everyday."
- Diane West, Publisher
New York Tails Magazine
"Read Miracle Dog if you're ready to change the way you see the things around
you forever. If you're ready for a gripping, funny, heartrending, unimaginable
true tale of passion, dedication, fate, and the humor that gets you through the
worst of times, this is the book for you. Randy Grim is the Pied Piper of St.
Louis, and though not every dog will have his day, so many more will, because of
- Elayne Boosler, Comedian
"Quentin has a large task ahead of him as the face for all of the animals that
are abandoned in our shelters or dumped out in our cities and rural areas to
fend for themselves. And Quentin's partner Randy Grim has an equally large task
to speak out against the injustices the animals endure every single day. Quentin
and Randy's story resonates with all of us who strive for the day when the
killing stops, and all animals have a home to call their own."
- Faith Maloney, Co-founder of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
"Miracle Dog is a stark reminder of a grim reality for millions of lost and
homeless pets in the
but with one important difference. Quentin's story conveys the hope that soon we
may be able to forever end pet euthanasia as a method of pet over-population
control in the
Quentin's single life personifies what we could gain as a nation in
companionship and love a million fold if we end the need for euthanasia."
- Edward Boks, Executive Director, New York City Animal Care And Control
"Randy Grim is my fellow rescuer, a mirror image, who lives his life in the
deep, dark, horrific trenches of animal rescue. His first book "The Man Who
Talks To Dogs," brought me to tears as I knew each step he took and the pain he
went through, risking his life to save abandoned, neglected dogs on the streets.
Miracle Dog takes the reader straight to the deep dark secret of
gas chambers. Killing boxes for our forgotten friends. Randy comes to the aide
and rescues Quentin, the miracle survivor canine, who was placed in a gas
chamber, gassed and survived! He miraculously said "NO" to death! He is the
miracle dog! With Randy at his side they have helped to educate and ask the
public to say "No More" to these inhumane gas chambers. Quentin's, quirky
personality will charm any reader and remind them they can make a difference by
helping us end pet overpopulation, increase adoptions and say no more to gas
chambers and euthanasia! This is a must read for any compassionate human being!"
- Linda Blair, Actress and founder of Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation
"Miracle Dog is a mesmerizing and inspirational story of a remarkable dog who
adopts an equally remarkable man. This book gives a straightforward and
compelling description of the challenges and opportunities in providing help for
unwanted and abandoned animals."
- Elise Lufkin. Author of Found Dogs and Second Chances
Contact: publicist Andrew Kerman at 314-221-2482
or at andrew@kermanmarketing for review galleys. Both Mr. Grim and Quentin are
available for interviews
Alpine Publications, Inc. P.O. Box 7027, 225 S. Madison Ave., Loveland CO 80537
Animal Gas Chambers Draw Fire in U.S.
April 11, 2005
When animal-shelter employee Rosemary Ficken opened
the door to the St. Louis pound's gas chamber one August day in 2003, she
couldn't believe her eyes: A reddish brown mutt, standing on top of six dead
dogs, was still alive.
In the shelter's 64 year history, no dog had ever survived the chamber's noxious
Unwilling to close the door and re-gas the dog, Ficken called Randy Grim, the
founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. The Missouri organization rescues abused
and neglected animals, restores them to health, and places them in new homes.
Grim retrieved the big-eared Basenji mix and named him Quentin after
California's San Quentin prison.
Quentin's life was spared that day, but many others are not so lucky. Nearly
four million dogs and cats in the United States are put to death in shelters
Carbon monoxide gas chambers (a euthanasia method used since World War II) are
routinely used in animal shelters throughout the country, including Rhode
Island, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (whose euthanasia guidelines are
widely followed) considers carbon monoxide gassing an acceptable method when
done in a properly manufactured and equipped chamber. Many animal-welfare
advocates, though, say the method is inhumane.
"It's America's dirty little secret," said Grim, who has written the book
Miracle Dog: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death
Row (Alpine Publishing). "If people actually saw the gas chamber working,
they would sign a petition tomorrow to ban it."
Due to Grim's fundraising and lobbying efforts, the St. Louis gas chamber shut
down in January of this year.
The Euthanasia Process
From start to finish, the process of gassing an animal takes about 25 minutes.
One or more animals are placed in an airtight chamber, and a high concentration
of bottled carbon monoxide gas is released.
Cats and dogs are rendered unconscious within a minute, then eventually die from
lack of oxygen.
Doug Fakkema, an animal-euthanasia expert, said that, in theory, the gas chamber
doesn't sound bad, but in reality it's awful.
"The animal is in a warm or hot box, usually with other animals. They don't know
what's going on. The hiss of the gas is going on inside. They get dizzy, and
they panic," he said. Fights can break out, and animals' calls can sometimes be
Today most private and city animal shelters euthanize animals with sodium
pentobarbital, a controlled substance that is injected into one of a dog or
cat's veins. Animals die in seconds, experts say, and without pain or suffering.
Private-practice animal hospitals also use sodium pentobarbital to euthanize
sick and old family pets.
The American Humane Association (AHA), an animal- and child-welfare nonprofit,
says that lethal injection is the only acceptable method for putting down dogs
Currently 13 states, including California, Florida, and New York, require animal
shelters to perform death by injection, according to the AHA.
In the rural farming community of Enoch, Utah, the animal shelter's brick gas
chamber uses carbon monoxide exhaust from an old pickup truck.
The city was heavily criticized for its method by animal welfare organizations
in 2002. To put the controversy to rest, the city hired a veterinarian to
perform a necropsy on a 50-pound (23-kilogram) dog euthanized in the shelter's
His report found that there was no evidence of heat injury to the dog's
respiratory tract. No mouth or foot abrasions were found, indicating the dog did
not try to escape.
Enoch's animal-control officer, Jim Mitchell, said the shelter will soon use
bottled carbon monoxide gas, because a newly constructed addition to the shelter
is blocking the truck's access to the chamber.
The shelter, however, will not switch to sodium pentobarbital, Mitchell said.
"Unless you have an actual veterinarian on site to administer and supervise the
process, in my mind euthanization by injection is inhumane."
Mitchell explained that only aggressive dogs are put down at the Enoch shelter,
adding that the animals would have to be held with a control stick while a
lethal injection was administered to their muscle or chest cavity. (A control
stick is a metal pole with a wire loop that tightens around an animal's neck.)
He also noted that the massive overdose of barbiturates may take as long as 20
to 30 minutes to take effect if injected into a dog's chest, during which time a
dog would be stressed and possibly have convulsions.
Injecting sodium pentobarbital into an animals muscle or chest cavity, however,
is not an acceptable practice, according to the American Veterinary Medical
Associations Euthanasia Report released in 2000.
Aggressive or fearful animals should be sedated prior to intravenous (within the
vein) administration of the drug, the report states.
Proper Training Urged
Jodi Buckman, director of animal-protection services for the American Humane
Association, said training shelter workers on proper euthanasia techniques is
"We want them to be the most humane people in our communities, because they are
taking care of the homeless animals that no one else has taken responsibility
for," she said.
Currently four states (Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Nebraska) require special
training for workers who use lethal injection to euthanize animals.
Animal welfare advocates say euthanasia rates are on the decline. Experts
attribute the decline in large part to aggressive spay and neuter programs
initiated by shelters and humane societies.
In some parts of the United States, adoptable animals are now even in demand.
To cover the shortfall, volunteers drive to areas where a severe overpopulation
still exists, then take dogs and cats to cities seeking adoptable pets.
The retail giant PETsMART recently built a custom bus specifically for this
purpose. The Rescue Waggin' program will save more than 4,000 pets annually, the
"Probably within ten years the only animals that will still have to be
euthanized are those suffering, health-wise, or [those] that are too dangerous
to adopt out," Fakkema, the euthanasia expert, said.
Miracle Dog: How
Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row‹a
new book by animal-welfare advocate Randy Grim‹tells the story of Quentin
(pictured), the Basenji mix that survived the gas chamber at a Missouri pound.
Photograph courtesy Randy Grim