Archive for April, 2008

The morning ritual…

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We have a baby!!!!

Well…it’s not Cassidy’s…another mare at her barn gave birth last night! WHOOHOOO!!!! I drove by the barn around 6:30am and parked at the front of Jingle’s pasture. I couldn’t see real clear because it was still a bit dark but, sure enough, there was a baby! I ran up to make sure mom and baby were ok and then got her owner on the phone. I was the only one there with them for a short time and it was special. Wow! I still don’t understand how that big baby came out of her belly. Jingles’ owner, Shaila, arrived in quick time and the barn owner and another boarder showed up, too. My wonderful husband, Scottie, came with his camera to capture the moment.

Once our Cassidy was out in her pasture across from momma and baby she took one look and got all worked up. She was trotting the fence line and calling to them. I had her tied up to groom her and had to let her go because she wouldn’t settle down. She apparently loves babies, which is good since hers is on the way. Shasta’s birth may jump start hers to get on out here. Last night I was poking around the website of the rescue I got Cassidy from and found her past 3 babies listed. I could only get specifics on her foal from last year. It was a filly born on May 10th and was adopted by someone in California. When she has this baby, there will be no more – I can’t handle it!

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Making friends

For several weeks I’ve been taking my cattledog pup, Eva, when I go to the barn in the mornings. This horse thing has gotten in the way of the intense training I had been doing with her so I’m trying to combine some of it. Eva is just 1 year old and very full of herself. But, I think she and Cassidy are becoming friends. When I first get Eva out of the car I do some leash work with her between the two pastures and we play a bit. Then when I’m ready to work with Cassidy I tie the dog to the back of my Scion on a long line. She usually entertains herself with sticks but mostly keeps a close eye on what I’m doing.

When she first met Cassidy, as was expected, she snapped at the horse’s nose. She’s gotten much better about that these days. They actually seem to enjoy hanging out with one another. This is teaching the dog much needed patience and it’s showing Cassidy dogs can be ok. I was cleaning out the pasture a few days ago and Eva was tied in her usual spot next to the fence. Cassidy was done being groomed so she was no longer tied. Everytime before she has followed me as I clean. She stays so close I end up hitting her with my arm as I’m tossing the poop into the wheel barrow. This day, she chose to stay at the fence with Eva. It was nice to see.

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Greetings, Tech Guy!

Scottie is calling Leo Laporte’s show today so he can pick his brain about setting up a live cam to keep an eye on Cassidy while we await the birth of her foal. We figured Leo might want to check out the blog, and of course our girl insisted on taking a special photo just for him (taken before last weekend’s haircut).

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The day after Oprah’s show on puppymills, Scottie uploaded his documentary from 2002 onto YouTube. In two weeks, it’s been viewed almost 7,000 times! He’s also set up a new site, PetStoreTruth.com, that we are going to use to spread the word about pet stores and puppymills. The documentary features our two girls I mentioned previously, Mia and Nellie.

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Butt scratching and a lunchtime trot… what more could you ask for?

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First haircut.

Greetings from Cassidy April Land! Things have been going smoothly with our pretty girl. We’ve gotten into a good daily routine. I spend a couple hours in the mornings, grooming and bonding with her. I quickly stop in early afternoon time to check on her and give her some much appreciated lunch. Then at the end of my client rounds I stop again at dinnertime. Sometimes I only have a short time, other times I just can’t leave and then I get in trouble because I make dinner for us late! Luckily, the barn is 2 miles from my home.  I’ve read my Fjordhorse Handbook and I think I’m about as ready as I can be for this baby Fjord to join us. She’s showing us some signs that she is going to have this baby sooner rather than later.

I’ve gotten the majority of her winter coat out but Cassidy was in need of a haircut. With our days getting warmer, she was simply burning up under all that mane. I know Fjord purists believe the mane should be cut short and standing up to show off that amazing neck but I just couldn’t do it to her. I also didn’t trust myself to do anything with it, since I can’t cut a straight line on a piece of paper. So, I called on my longtime friend (and personal stylist) Micheal to come give her a trim. I’ve known him for nearly 20 years but never knew (or maybe had forgotten) he’d grown up with horses. When I requested he make time for this special horse, he didn’t hesitate. Women generally have to schedule way in advance to get a sitting with him. Of course, Scottie documented the event. Enjoy!

He’s using thinning shears. It cuts the bulk of the hair out but leaves the length.

She was really enjoying the pampering. I think she fell asleep for a while.

When neatening up the tail she reminded him she was a horse – she simply raised her hoof a bit. We got it done with no one getting hurt!

We can actually now see her beautiful face. I think Micheal dug her just a bit.

Friendship has been struck. Now Cassidy will always have her own personal professional stylist. Micheal, you rock!

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Yesterday I was able to clean out Cassidy’s hooves! I’ve been working with her to pick up her front feet (haven’t tried the back ones) and I got so motivated I decided we were going to pick them out. Her attitude was great but she was still giving me a hard time when picking up her right front foot. I believe I was holding her entire 1,ooo lbs. myself with no help from her! Now I know what could be the problem. A couple days ago she stumbled a bit when coming down from the pasture to get her lunchtime hay. She wouldn’t run with me that day. It seems this morning now she is having some pain associated with her left leg or foot.  That would explain her not wanting to lift up the other foot and having to bear all her weight on the sore one. The barn owner looked at her for me and we decided to put some linament on it and I’m going to ice it later. I will probably call the doctor tomorrow. We’ve also noticed she is creaking with every step and it seems to be coming from her back legs. I sure hope nothing is wrong with my girl. She is huge with this baby, though, so maybe the extra weight is causing this. She also gave herself a couple abrasions overnight in the barn somehow. She is patient with me when I’m cleaning and medicating her. I can tell she does not feel very well today.

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Bless you Oprah.

Puppymills was the subject today on the Oprah show. Everyone of us in the dog rescue world were glued to our tv’s, I’m sure. I am grateful that a person with the influence of Oprah is now on our bandwagon. I was a bit confused as to how she had not known anything about puppymills before, but that doesn’t matter. She does now and so does the rest of the world.

We have had the honor of sharing in the lives of two former puppymill breeder dogs, Mia and Nellie. Both came to us at separate times but both had spent their first 10 years as puppy making machines in the Midwest. Both could have had as many as 18 – 20 litters of pups. Their bodies showed it. Their souls never forgot it. Mia came first in 1997 and was with us for 4 years, then finally lost her battle with failing kidneys.

Nellie came in 2001 after Mia died. I was having a terrible time with my grief for her. I felt the only way I could ever be right again was to save another mill girl. Nellie was the exact same type of dog (miniature pinscher) but completely opposite in personality from Mia. Nellie came as a zombie. She had learned to turn off all emotions, I suppose to keep herself from going crazy. I am happy to say, Nellie is still here and going strong. She will turn 16 this summer.

Both girls were bought at auctions. The millers didn’t bid on them because they were past being productive, so undercover rescues liberated them. Both came with many health and emotional problems. Mia’s voicebox had been crushed so her bark was just a raspy wisp. Nellie has scarred corneas on her eyes and constantly weeps. Mia’s uterus basically fell apart when she was spayed. Nellie had breast cancer. Neither could ever be housebroken. Mia opened our eyes many years ago to the plight of the puppymill dogs. Both girls have been vital in educating anyone and everyone they met as to why buying that cute puppy in the pet store is not a good idea.

Our work in the puppymill fight is why we opened our hearts and home to Cassidy April. The puppymills and PMU ranches share the same philosophy. They profit off the misery of innocent animals. We have carried the burden of this truth for a long, long time. We are pleased the burden is now shared by millions more.

For more information on puppymills, please visit the shelter that rescued our beloved Mia:


To read Mia’s story:


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Well, today was the first time since Cassidy got here that I have not been able to go to the barn. It felt sort of strange. I’ve gotten very used to the routine of grooming her and spending quality time in the quiet of her pasture. I’ll get over there for her lunchtime. I had to take two of our young dogs to the vet for their annual checkups. For me, that means everything but vaccines. We did bloodwork, I took fecal and urine samples and they got a good once over.

Cindy Lou is a teeny, 5 lb. terror of a dog who has had chronic bladder infections since coming to us at 3 months of age. She is a very strange looking and acting dog. We have never known what she was until a few months ago when we did a DNA test on her. Everyone figured she was a chihuahua since she’s so little but she’s mostly schipperke with a dash of mastiff in there for good measure! We took an x-ray to make sure she had no bladder stones and found out she is missing ribs or has one too many vertebrae. Told you she’s weird.

Jill is our big girl who has always been healthy. Didn’t expect to find anything wrong but I had noticed a lump on her back leg and wanted that checked. Our vet, Dr. Rick, took a needle aspirate and found some unusual looking cells (we were hoping it was simply a fatty tumor) so we are going to have to remove it and send it off for biopsy. The location of it is such, that if it were allowed to get any bigger, removal would be difficult. So, here we go again…we just went through 2 months of post-operative care for our 1 year cattledog. She had to have her ankle fixed! It’s always something around this menagerie.


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