Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiny, the Tease

Tiny was a feral cat when we moved out here. She ended up trapped in the crawl space when the pre-sale house inspection was done, and spent two weeks teasing the house cat through the furnace registers.

We had a mare foal for the first time and refuse to nurse her baby, so we had to feed him by nasogastric tube every hour for the first week of his life. Tiny would hiss and spit at us from 40 feet away when we went to "her" barn to care for the foal. She was thin and pregnant, so I started taking food to her and leaving a bowl of milk when we left the barn. She gradually came closer and one day I stroked her back. The next day it was two strokes, and after a week, I brought her to the house to have her kittens in a safe environment.

Tiny likes hunting birds and mice in the machine shed and barn. She loves to tease the dogs when they are turned out, and she knows which ones she can saunter up to and get so close they can sniff her. She knows which ones will kill her too. One day a pit bull spotted her and kept jumping on the fence trying to get to her while she sat on the truck and nodded her head up and down in rhythm to the jumping dog.

We put in a motion detector security light on the office, and she and two of her partners in crime (Cotton and Radar) deliberately set it off at least three times every night. They have also discovered how to trip the driveway monitor, and that's fun for awhile in the middle of the afternoon.

Tonight she ambushed me on the way to the house from the kennel. She was taking the blankets off the clothesline - something she does routinely - and decided to grab my pant leg on the way by. Her goal was to get me to give her a special treat, and sucker that I am, I did just that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It Happens

Sometimes we have a dog returned - fortunately it doesn't happen often, but when it does, the reason for the return sometimes makes us shake our heads. Such is the case with two dogs that were recently returned. One was returned because she didn't know how to walk up and down stairs.

And then there's the Black Friday return of a 2 year old husky female, Katya. Katya had been a house dog, was turned in to animal control, and rescued by our organization. She is housebroken, great on a leash, not destructive, but she is a husky. She went to the home of a young lady for a sleepover for about a week, and was absolutely perfect. She was adopted and went to her new home on Monday before Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, the lady called and said she was bringing her back because she couldn't handle her, and "We'll see you in a few". She wasn't kidding because by the time I filled a water bucket, got some food ready, and walked it to her kennel, they pulled in. The lady was in her robe, PJ's and slippers as she had gotten up early to go shopping and then went back to bed.

Here's what happened. They had Katya at her uncle's house and took her for a 3 mile run that morning. The uncle lives in the country and they passed a hog confinement. Katya was very interested in the hogs, so later in the day when the opportunity presented itself, she stood up on the screen door, pushed it open, and took off in pursuit of that new adventure. She jumped into a pen full of sows, and it took four grown men to get her captured and out of there.

So, when they brought her back, my husband looked out and didn't recognize her - mainly because she was covered from the tip of her nose to the tips of her toes and tail with hog manure. Ahhh, what a wonderful smell if your are a husky looking for adventure!!! I stoked up the fire in the wood stove and gave her a bath before putting her in her kennel, and then headed to the house for a shower myself.

Life at the rescue kennel is never routine or boring, and it certainly pays to have a sense of humor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Newbies, Giving Thanks

We have eight new dogs in the last 10 days. Quincy, the starving stray husky is gaining weight and learning some manners, and will soon weigh enough to be neutered and have his picture put up on the website for adoption. Lilly, a lab mix, who was given up by the owner because of a divorce, is also learning how to be a lady and will be listed as available for adoption very soon. Diamond, a black lab/golden retriever who was given up because the family lost their home and had to move to an apartment that wouldn't allow dogs, is getting healthy and happy. She now looks forward to seeing people. She had all but given up finding a new home. Luke, a registered golden retriever, came in last night. He was given to an older couple at a horse sale earlier this year, but his youth and activity level worried the couple because of the use of oxygen in the home.

Then we have Bella Sue - a wirehair mix, older small dog, that is absolutely housebroken, has no aggressive tendencies, is a joy to have around. She is sharing the office with Maria and her puppies, and Penny - one of our seniors - and has an appointment to get her teeth cleaned and her nails done after the holiday. There's Oliver, a purebred pet quality miniature schnauzer, very well housebroken, that needs to be neutered and learn some leash manners. Mac, a border collie puppy, is growing and learning how to walk on a leash and not to jump on people.

And then there's Paco and Bell, a male and female chiweewee, that were left with their siblings in a vacant house to survive on their own. They are 10 weeks old. Another rescue took the other 7 puppies and left these two at animal control. They were in sad shape - ribs showing, bellies bloated, heads too big for their bodies indicating that they hadn't grown because of poor nutrition. These two little munchkins are coming along great.

All of these newbies are joining us, along with all the current residents, for Thanksgiving. We will be giving thanks not only for being able to rescue all these animals, but also for the owners of the property who provide a place to care for them and a budget to pay for their food and supplies. We will give thanks for the owners who purchased an outside wood burner so that we can keep these animals warm during the winter months. We will give thanks for the rescue organization that helps us find homes for these dogs, and also provides building supplies for the ongoing projects to improve the facility, and helps us out when we have reason to get away for a little bit, such as visiting our own families and grandkids.

All will share the leftovers with us. They are a part of our family. When we say the blessing before dinner, we will ask that each of these rescues finds a forever home. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Swoozie's Birthday and an Update

Swoozie was part of a litter of puppies and their mom thatwe rescued a little over a year ago. She had respiratory arrest at birth and CPR saved her life, but left her with some motor skill loss because of the oxygen deficit. She was Puppy #7, and we found a wonderful family for her. She came to visit yesterday, her birthday, and her family brought some liver muffins for the current residents to share.

This is the week that most animal control facilities have to make some tough decisions. Because of the holiday, many animals will be euthanized because the budgets won't allow a lot of overtime over the holiday weekend to take care of the animals - and most shelters are full to overflowing right now.

So, we have a road trip planned for tomorrow, Monday, to find some adoptable dogs to fill the kennels that we emptied out this week. Fortunately, we were blessed to find homes for some dogs. We took in a lab mix yesterday, an owner surrender, and we still have some empty slots. I believe that things happen for a reason, and every time we adopt a dog out, it is because there is one waiting for us to find it.

Maria's puppies are almost a week old, two boys, two girls. One of the females was born with a stub tail. They have some wrinkles on their faces, and because of the coloring, we are beginning to think that dad might have been a pug or pug mix - would that make them schnuggles?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hermie's Story

"You're getting a dog - a coonhound, and he's sick." Gee, thanks boss. With 40 dogs on site, including a litter of puppies, that's the last thing I wanted to hear, but that's what quarantine areas are for, and I have one set up for just such situations.

Hermie had been dumped, along with two other hounds, into someone's fenced yard. The man who owned the place found an outlet for two of the dogs, but took Hermie to animal control, and told them if no one claimed him or adopted him, to notify him and he would take the dog back. The dog stayed there for about two weeks, and contracted kennel cough. He was on the euthanasia list when they contacted the man and told him to either come and get him or he would be put down. Somehow along the way, the boss got involved and told him to bring the dog here. Why? Because he had two dogs at home, and he didn't want them to get sick!!

He dropped Hermie off, offered a small donation, and said he would come back and get Hermie if he wasn't adopted out within a month. He said the dog was a quiet hound and caused no trouble. Yeah, right - we never heard from him again.

Hermie was extremely thin, and very sick. We got him on antibiotics for what was by then pneumonia, and started teaching him some manners and worked on getting his weight back up to normal. Hermie got better and developed into a good looking treeing walker coonhound.

Coonhounds, however, aren't in great demand, so we figured he would be with us for awhile. We found him a friend, Olivia, a hound mix, to play with. We put him in a kennel with a doggy door and outside run, but he could see the barn cats and barked all day, so we had to move him or have the neighbors banging on the doors in protest.

We received an application from a man who listed himself as disabled. After reviewing the application and contacting the man, a meeting was set up. He was offering what we were hoping for Hermie. A home with a fenced yard, a coonhound female to play with, squirrels to chase, no cats, and he wanted Hermie to be part of the family in the home itself - something most hounds don't get to do.

The meeting went well, and I asked why he picked Hermie of all the hounds currently available. He said that our rescue was the only one to reply to his request, and his picture on the website was also a factor.

So, Hermie has a great home, and it's a good reminder to respond to all requests.

Update as of 11/17/09

In the last 10 days we have rescued one starving stray husky, and taken in four dogs from a local animal control - one husky, a beagle, a corgi mix, and a wirehair type petite female mix - none of the five know how to walk on a leash, so training leash manners occupies part of the day. Maria, our pregnant schnauzer, gave birth to four puppies yesterday morning - a quick sneak peak gives us two girls and two boys - and all are doing well at this point.

We were also fortunate to have some really nice people apply to adopt. The best part is that these folks are willing to work with the dogs on a continuing basis. Hermie, Sapir, and Copper are going to new homes.

The rescue group we foster for is helping us expand our quarantine area, as I keep filling up the old one, and they will then be able to have other volunteers work with that group of dogs. We will have to set down some guidelines, but it will be very good for the rescue dogs to be handled in a consistent manner by more than myself and my husband.

Since we now have 42 dogs here, four of which are post operative, and four new babies, I have to get busy. Have a great day!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In Memory of

Lucky was the product of an Australian Shepherd mom and a rottie dad. We were living in a converted school bus on the backside of a racetrack in Arizona, and the people that owned the feed store were trying to find him a home. The boys had to sweep the feed store for two weeks straight to pay for the pup. He taught himself to use the litter box for the cat when he had to stay inside. He would stand between any one of our family members when he thought there was impending danger - he protected me from a 3 ft. long bull snake, the vet from a round pen full of yearling horses. He watched my husband testing out a cutting horse in a pen full of cattle, and when the guys took a break and we turned him loose, he held the cattle at the far end of the pen without any formal education. Lucky saved our truck from being stolen in New York, while we were sitting on a ferry waiting to ride out to the Statue of Liberty. He woke us up one night when the furnace malfunctioned and saved us from being blown sky high. When we were training horses for the public, he would check each new one, and their owner, onto the property. They were then allowed to enter the property without any problem. If you didn't have a horse there, you had better wait till we told him it was okay. He never left the acreage, and wouldn't let any stray wander onto the property. If kittens or foals were born there, it was okay.

One day a cat had her kittens in a round bale outside. We had a spring snow storm, and one of the kittens crawled too far away. I found it while feeding horses, and looked over at Lucky and said that we would have to get them to the house and get them dry and warm. While I took care of the one that was cold and wet, he very carefully brought each baby to the porch and left it at the back door. He weighed 125 pounds.

He was a great dog. He died 8 years ago today at the age of 14.