Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thoroughbred Angel, part 3

Roxie started to enjoy her life. The gamblers loved her. She always ran second or third at that little track, but she needed to break her maiden (win her first race) and she could really only handle 5 furlongs. The racing secretary finally wrote a 5 furlong race, and Roxie won it with the announcer saying "and they won't catch her today". The crowd had grown to love her too, and gave her a standing ovation as she crossed the finish line. Again, tears filled our eyes.

The track went bankrupt and we ended up in Tucson for the winter. It was December, and the boys each had one thing they wanted for Christmas. We had no extra money. We were living in the bus and the generator had died. We were both doing little extra part time jobs and hoping the horses would continue to support themselves.

We both like "hook horses" - quarter horses that could run 660 and 870 yards. Why not a thoroughbred sprinter? We entered Roxie in an 870 yard race, praying that she would be able to get a piece of the purse so the boys would have something for Christmas. She did just that, and we had just exactly the right amount of money to get each boy his one gift.

We retired her after that race, and gave her to an old friend so she could be a broodmare and graze nice green pastures for the rest of her life. She deserved it, and I still get tears in my eyes when I think of her.

Thoroughbred Angel, part 2

Roxie, a small chestnut filly who wasn't sure she could trust humans, went to the track in Wyoming with us, another thoroughbred, and two quarter horses, a pygmy goat named Frisky, and our two boys ages 8 and 10. At the time our living quarters consisted of an old Bluebird school bus, capacity 54, which had been crudely converted to a motor home, but had no water, and the only heat and electricity came with a gas generator. Money was very tight.

Roxie trained well, didn't require or want a pony horse with her, and was definitely a sprinter. We entered her in her first race, and she came out of the gate and ran in front, but got passed just before the wire going 5 1/2 furlongs. I picked her up after the race and took her to the barn to cool out, washed her off and put her on the walker. She was tense and it took a while before she was relaxed and cool, but finally put her in her stall with fresh water and feed. About five minutes later, my husband (who was also working track maintenance) came by to check on her. He went by her stall and then came and chewed me up one side and down the other for putting up a hot horse. I told him she was fine when I put her up, and he proceeded to haul me to her stall - she was huddled in the farthest corner, soaking wet with sweat, shaking like a leaf, waiting for someone to come in and beat her because she didn't win. We both stood there and cried, and, of course, got her back out and spent the next 2 hours alternately hosing, walking, letting her graze and putting her in the stall till she realized she wasn't going to get a beating.

Thoroughbred Angel, part 1

Roxie was our Christmas angel after a very tough year!

We were training race horses and in Texas getting together some stock to race at a small track in Wyoming - mostly because the horses we could afford wouldn't be able to compete anywhere else. While at the training track, we were told about a filly that was for sale so we went to her barn and were shocked to find nails around the top of her feed and water buckets and hot wire around the stall. Thinking this must be one nasty customer, we went back to our own barn. The filly and her owner/trainer were racing in Louisiana that day.

Another trainer came by and we mentioned her casually. We found out that she had been raced at bush tracks and won, but never at a parimutuel track. We mentioned the nails and hot wire, and he told us to watch for their return. If the filly didn't win, the owner/trainer would bring her back, beat her, and put her in her stall without food and water. Sure enough, when he pulled in, that's exactly what happened.

My husband and I bought Roxanna Time that very day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shasta Needs a Home!!!

Shasta is a cocker spaniel mix - a very pretty brindle with feathering on her hips and tail. She has a gentle, timid nature, gets along with other dogs, is good with children, and likes to hang out with her human.

However, she was born with a deformed right front leg. Not her fault that there were so many pups in the womb that her right leg couldn't straighten out and thus the long bones were molded to the shape of her chest. Several veterinarians have evaluated the leg - some advised amputation, some advised to leave the leg alone as she can support her weight and travels very well. One said he "might" be able to fix it, but couldn't be sure as he had never seen a case this bowed. The surgery would be very complicated and painful, not to mention expensive.

Our rescue organization has told her story and put her on the internet in hopes that someone would be able to overlook the leg and adopt her "as is". A few people have emailed or called, but no one ever comes to meet her.

Isn't there someone out there with at least enough guts to meet this nice young lady? She deserves more than living in a kennel for the rest of her life.

Annie, part 2

Annie didn't know what to think of the dream team till she realized she could sniff the ground like Jessi, our lab/rott that likes to hunt rabbits. Koko, the min pin from hell, taught her to chill and chase butterflies. Beaver, the suicidal whippet, taught her not to be afraid when something runs by you as fast as they can go. Daisy, a cocker spaniel with fear issues, and Shasta, Daisy's puppy which has a deformed leg, were also part of the team. Annie relaxed and began to play with Daisy, and one day she started to run to the front of the kennel and bark to go out!!! I smiled from ear to ear the first time she not only barked but did the "sheltie prance".

A client stopped by and mentioned that her mother-in-law loved shelties. I told her to send her by to meet Annie. The rest is history. Annie has a new name and a great home with two other dogs and a family that loves her.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Annie, the Shutdown Sheltie

"She's a purebred sheltie, but she's so scared she won't eat and won't move away from the back of the kennel. " Animal control asked our group to take her for fear she would starve herself to death. She had been purchased from a breeder who advised the new owners to spray her in the face when she made a mistake. They did just that, and pretty soon Annie started hiding under the bed. They would have to crawl under the bed, grab her front paws, and drag her out. She started to potty under the bed which resulted in more spraying in the face. She also had developed the habit of spinning tight circles to the right almost constantly. They finally decided it was useless, and surrendered her to animal control.

I put her in a 5 ft. x 10 ft. kennel, and all she did was sit in a corner by her food and water. I became suspicious that she wasn't even moving around so put powder on the floor so I could see footprints, hoping to calm my fears that she was totally withdrawn. No footprints overnight! I took her outside and when I took the leash off to go clean her kennel, she would go to a corner of the play yard and sit there and not move till I went and got her. She didn't care about food, didn't care about being with a human, didn't care about being around another dog. Annie needed The Dream Team!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Our veterinarian called to say someone had dumped a puppy at his clinic - an emaciated, wormy, muddy, but very friendly and frightened, puppy. The vet offered to give him his vaccinations and worm him free of charge if we would take him. We took him home, cleaned him up, taught him to walk on a leash and sit. He was a terrible kennel dog - barked a lot, kept a messy kennel, but he had a good heart. We turned him out with Joe, a rott mix, and they played for hours.

In the meantime, we became acquainted with a rescue program that was willing to help us find homes for the private rescues, if we would foster some dogs for their organization. They put Jasper on Petfinder, and we got an inquiry from Chicago. Everyone involved was a bit nervous as this was out of state and a whole new concept. We asked for pictures, references, and did a google search of the address. Everything checked out okay, and my gut said to try it.

Jasper hit the jackpot! He lives in a condo on Lake Michigan, has a dog walker to take him out when the owner isn't able, sleeps on the bed, goes to the dog park, and is known as the mayor of Lake Shore Drive.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Min Pin, Judgment Day

So Koko made the short list again. The organization we foster with has limited resources and space, so we all try not to accept aggressive dogs because we have no outlet for them. If we fill up with aggressive dogs, we have to turn down the "people" dogs that we can save. What was going to happen to this little guy with so much fear of people that he bit to save himself?

There's that gut feeling again - I offered the rescue organization one whole dollar for him, and they accepted! Koko and I have worked together, gone to dog camp for six months, and made great strides. I can bathe him, trim his nails, brush him, and he has learned to sit, lie down, roll over, and shake. We have one more major hurdle, and that is his fear of people when he is OFF leash. Yep, now he feels safe when he walks by me on leash. I have a plan to accomplish that.

Koko, the dog from hell, is doing great, and we both look forward to butterfly season.

Min Pin, Part 2

At the end of the first week, Koko had a bite record - five total - a vet, 2 vet techs, my husband, and me. Because of liability issues, the rescue was headed toward euthanizing him. There's that gut feeling again - I asked for more time knowing full well he would not be adopted out.

I socialized him with my lab/rott female, a full 90 pounds larger than he was, and she liked him. We started pasture therapy with a 25 foot line so I could drape it over his back from time to time to get him used to a leash touching him. He needed to learn to relax on a leash, and he needed to stop fearing the world. He found something that he loved to do - chase butterflies in the hay field. We worked on recall, and after a week, I could turn him loose to just be a dog, and he would come back to me. One day it started to sprinkle, and when the rain hit him, he took off like a bat out of ____ for the house. Water was our next biggie.

About that time, a woman actually requested to adopt him. She called numerous times and insisted that she could handle him, and I cautioned her not to try to bathe him, but to leave him with me till I could rehab him past his fear of a bath. For the first four days she had him, she called telling me he was "the perfect dog" (I knew better), and casually mentioned that she wanted to give him a bath. Again, bring him back and let me do it, but she tried it herself. On the fifth day she called saying "he's the dog from hell, and I am bringing him back!" If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Min Pin from Hell

She thought she had made a big mistake - a min pin so aggressive she was seriously thinking of euthanizing. A neighbor had rescued him when the owners had wrapped a garden hose around his neck and thrown him against the house and then tried to drown him in the pool. Twice the neighbor asked the rescue group to take him, and the second time she got the job done.

They brought him to me in a crate, and when we let him out, he went ballistic, but you could see the pure fear in his eyes. He had learned to fight for his life, and he was darn good at it. The rescue coordinator apologized, but I told her to give me a week to see what we could do. Just that gut feeling again.

After the garden hose episode, he wanted no part of a leash touching him, and he broke three collars in 24 hours. We both got bit just applying flea preventive on him, so every day for a week we would put a few drops of water on his back to let him know it wasn't going to hurt him, and he wasn't going to drown. He was extremely food aggressive. If this had been a dog of 40 pounds or more, we would have needed major emergency room treatment on a daily basis.

Whippet, Part 4

A friend was at the veterinarian's office and mentioned to an older lady with a cane that we had a beagle female that needed a home. The older woman had lost her beloved dog recently and was looking for a new companion. When she came to meet the beagle, she walked through the kennel and after looking at the beagle said she just wasn't what she wanted. We continued walking and when she spotted Beaver she said "That's the one I want!" I told her the whole story, all of his bad habits and behavior, and she asked if she could meet him. Then I got that gut feeling that tells me to let it happen.

She walked him and he wasn't afraid of her cane, and he was a true gentleman. She bent over and asked him if he would love her. She wanted to take him home, and the gut feeling said to let him go.

He sleeps curled up next to her, hasn't had one accident in the house, never counter surfs, loves to ride in her truck with her, and has gained more weight. She brings him by to visit and they are a true match. Now I need to find a new member for my Dream Team, but that's just fine with me.

Whippet, Part 3

Beaver needed to decompress, and since he was already well socialized, we started "pasture therapy" with my lab/rott who loves to head to the hay field and woods and look for rabbits. After about a week of daily walks, I put him on the 50 foot rope and started recall. Eventually I could turn him loose and he would run like a racing whippet, and then circle back and check with me. After that, he would put his nose to the ground like the other dog, but he always kept me in sight and came when called. He was eating normally, gaining weight, not gorging himself with water, and stopped chewing on the 2 x 4.

I started using him to help other new rescues with their rehab. I called him, Jessi (my lab/rott) and Koko (the min pin from hell) the Dream Team. He had a job, and he loved it. Little did we know that his job would change.

Whippet, Part 2

The first day a rescue comes in is always an adventure, and if he was going to act like a kid throwing a major tantrum on medication, what was he going to be like the next day without his drugs? For two hours he paced, whined, jumped as high as he could trying to clear the fence, drooled, and then would quiet down and listen till he heard me moving around inside and start all over again. He finally gave it up, and when I went to get him, he growled and let me see his teeth when I reached to attach the leash, so I made a loop, caught him up, and we went walking. Once he settled down, I took him to his kennel, turned him loose with food and water, shut off the lights, and walked away till morning.

He had to wait in his 4 foot by 12 foot kennel till all the other dogs had been exercised, kennels cleaned, fed, and watered, and he didn't like it. He pitched another series of tantrums, the first one lasting 30 minutes. As the day progressed, they got shorter, and he never realized I could keep an eye on him the whole time. When I went to turn him out, he growled, but no teeth were bared, and he got a new name in view of the fact he was destroying the 2 x 4. We started calling him Beaver.