Thursday, September 24, 2009

Laugh for the Day

It's been a long day - exercising 40 dogs, cleaning kennels, feeding, water, washing bowls, restocking, so I went to the house to get my own house dogs and take them out to potty. It's a damp, muggy evening and it's misting rain and very still outside. Jessi heads out the door with her nose in the air sniffing for whatever it is that she smells. Koko, who no longer worries about rain on his back, heads out to put a barn cat back in the barn where it belongs. We have 7 acres of fencing for the kennel dogs, but the house dogs don't have a fenced yard and they head for the south pasture with me.

Ah, those wonderful smells entice them to do a bit of hunting, while I am asking them to hurry and poop so we can head for the house, dry off, shower, and get something to eat. They are busy with their project, and I am getting impatient. The air is still and sound echoes. I prompt them to "hurry up" several times, and finally in my authoritative voice tell them "Hurry up and poop!"

From somewhere in the neighborhood, comes the response "I don't have to!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


"My friend is hiding a dog that she found lying in her front yard. The landlord doesn't allow dogs. Can you take her in? She's so thin that animal control will put her down."

That's how we ended up taking in a purebred collie. When she was found, she was so weak she couldn't stand up, so the friend took her in and fed her chicken soup. She slept in bed with her children and obviously is well housebroken. About that time the friend found out she had killed a farmer's chicken, and the farmer was looking for her. (Makes you wonder where the chicken soup originated.)

Immediately upon seeing her, I decided to call her Katrina, because she looked just like the dogs that survived the hurricane - mud, wet (it's been raining), mats, and so thin her backbone and hip bones stick up a good inch and can be seen even with her long coat.

We've done some cleaning up and clipping off the matted fur, and she is eating and drinking very well. She's probably seven years old and gaining strength on a daily basis. Hopefully we can find her a family to live with for the rest of her life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scruffy Shih Tzus & more

"We have to put dogs down on Friday afternoon because of overcrowding. Thought you might be interested in a few small dogs."

They were in an outdoor kennel together. Papa Smurf has been neutered, has had one eye surgically removed, has no upper teeth, has one snaggletooth on the bottom, has some fatty tumors, and just wants to be a good senior citizen. Smurfette is younger, chunkier, needy by comparison, has no leash manners, and needs to feel secure so we will give her some time to settle in and realize she isn't going to be dumped again. She also has a fatty tumor. These two were neglected as evidenced by their coats of matted, clumped, dread locked fur. One clump of matted fur was the size of a jelly filled donut, which means I won't be eating any jelly filled donuts for awhile, and there were so many clumps and mats we couldn't tell if they were male or female at first. Boy, did they stink!

Ripley is a Jack Russell mix, very friendly, lousy on a leash, quiet for a JR mix, and very capable of climbing a six foot fence - he's managed it twice so far.

Chico was found lying between two dead dogs on a back road. He's a chihuahua/dachshund mix with a defensive attitude that could easily become aggression if not handled properly. He's noisy, needy, and quick to use his mouth when he's not calling the shots. He is learning there's a better way to make friends and quarantee his kibble and a roof over his head.

Tess is a wirehair mix about 4 years old. She has a unique look to her, and she is heartworm positive. She has no aggressive tendencies so far, and needs some groceries as her backbone and hip bones are readily palpable.

Jackie is maybe a basenji mix about six months old. She is housebroken, learned sit in nothing flat, learned to walk on a leash in record time, and has shown no aggressive tendencies. She was dumped, covered with fleas and flea dermatitis, and a rash on her belly which she had been scratching and made herself raw. She's just a great little girl.

Then's there's Rusty, now called Barney, a senior beagle, neutered, housebroken, and just a good natured, easy going, guy that loves to eat, but is now on a diet. One of the volunteers at animal control had fostered him and could no longer keep him, and because of his age and the overfill capacity, he was going to be on the list for euthanasia. We were pulled aside and asked if we could take him into the rescue, so we did.

We have 40 rescue dogs right now, and each and every time a kennel empties, the phone rings or someone emails and asks for help. Guess that's just the way it's supposed to be.

Apollo, the Malamute

"His whole back was moving!" That's what the lady at animal control told us when we went to meet a malamute they emailed us about. The owner had dropped the dog off because she didn't have enough money to take him to a vet and thought animal control might be able to help him. Apollo had been tied outside 24/7 in the heat and humidity and developed hot spots, and had no flea control medication on him. He reached around and chewed the irritated spots and had learned how to lean into a fence or doghouse and rub the areas. Maggots were all over his back from between his shoulder blades all the way down his back and over his buttocks. Actually, the maggots probably saved him from dying of gangrene, but he was so badly infected, swollen, and very very sick.

Animal control has a policy of putting down a sick animal immediately, but the girls took him to a vet anyway, much to the irritation of their boss. They got hold of us because they didn't want to see this 115 pound, extremely well housebroken, gentle giant be euthanized, nor did they want to get fired for defying the rules.

So, Apollo came home with me. There were a few problems to deal with. One was that he was extremely overweight. Another was his ability to reach around and chew on himself. Third was the fact that the back was so raw, he was getting pretty darn grouchy about being treated.

I put him on a diet and exercise program, especially since he has to be hand walked so he can't scratch his back on a fence or roll on the ground. We put one cone on him and had to add another one as he also had learned to destroy one to the point where he could reach around and chew on himself.

Now the biggie - the raw area. I used to work for a doctor who not only celebrated his birthday once a month with cake and champagne for everyone in the building, but truly believed that no medicine should be prescribed that tasted bad or caused discomfort. I have applied that particular theory to my work with animals. I started using my "secret sauce" horse medicine on his back and within three days he quit caring whether we touched him where he is healing. I can now run my hand over the affected areas with no negative response from him - much better than having him snark around to bite. He's losing weight and actually is showing some muscle tone in his hips and legs.

Since the last post

Goliath had a 2 1/2 hour surgery with a dramatic improvement in his heart function. He returns to the hospital on October 6 for a repeat echocardiogram. Goliath is available for adoption starting this week, and my biggest concern is that he goes to a family that will allow him to be a dog and not be overly protective in light of his past history. Goliath is not the type to become a couch potato - he thinks he's a hunter and a farm dog - let him explore, investigate, play with the cats, chase butterflies, play with his mentor, Jessi - but don't expect him to sit in your lap or watch soaps on the couch with you. It was very difficult to keep him from running or jumping for the 10 days after the surgery, especially since they had to ligate his jugular vein on the right side and he couldn't wear a collar till it healed. A harness was of little or no help, so we opted for house confinement. He was so happy to get outside again!

Sapir, the female mini-Aussie mix that looked like a zucchini when she was pregnant, had five pups - two were stillborn and one died shortly after birth. There is one female and one male still alive, but we have been cautioned by the vet that once they are weaned and no longer have their mother's immunity, they will likely die. Time will tell the outcome. They are 3 1/2 weeks old.

Local animal controls have called and emailed asking us to come to visit, meet, and hopefully take as many dogs as possible. One week we took in 9 dogs, another week 8, and this week 6. We have one dog leaving for a new home tomorrow, but this afternoon a lady who adopted one of our rescues a short time ago called and said her neighbor had taken in a stray collie who is skin and bones and killed a farmer's chicken, so she is hiding the dog, not only from the farmer, but from her landlord. Because of it's emaciated state, she knows if it goes to animal control it will be destroyed immediately. The empty kennel will be empty only long enough to disinfect for the new arrival.