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Archive for February, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Us!

This marks the 2 year anniversary of my girl making her trek from Canada to sunny Florida. So many things have changed. I’ve changed. Our family has changed. She’s certainly changed and Becca just keeps growing. When we started out both Cass & I were terrified. I was dependent on everyone around me. Now, we confidently run our own little barn and care for cows, donkeys and even a lamb. We’ve weathered some terrible sadness and loss. Cass is always there for me whether I need to cry or laugh. Enjoy the beauty that is Cass and Becca.

Cass & I walking to the small pasture. See why I love her so much?

Cass doing what she does best.

Becca hanging out with Clementine & Mathilda.

Beautiful Becca…who needs a haircut.

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She didn’t matter.

She didn’t mean anything.

She was nothing more than a piece of trash, to whoever it was that owned this precious girl.

I only learned of this old lady minpin (miniature pinscher) a few days ago, through an email generated to many minpin loving people throughout the country. As soon as I saw her photo there was no doubt in my mind, I was going to do whatever it took to give her a chance. The first step was to get her out of the shelter. Since she was in the one I don’t normally work with a few strings had to be pulled. Thankfully, they were or she would have had to continue waiting her stray time. Another 4 days in the shelter would do her no good. She needed immediate veterinary care.

She scored a 1 on the body condition chart. No way to go any lower. All her fat reserves were gone and the muscles were also wasted away. It takes a long time for a body to starve. To think of the weeks and maybe months she’s been hungry makes me sick and angry. She wasn’t out on the streets starving. She was in someone’s home, watching as they ate, but there was never any for her. I’m sure she wondered what she had ever done wrong. What did she do to deserve this?

She had extreme dental disease. Worse than any puppymill dog I’ve ever seen. One would think maybe this is why she’s emaciated, she couldn’t eat because her teeth were so bad. Wrong. When food was put in front of her she ate it, with much appreciation, by the way. It doesn’t take a millionaire to feed a small dog. There’re even dog food pantry coalitions now that are helping those in financial trouble by giving them food. There is no excuse.

That hunk of brown you see above is tartar, plaque and infection. In other words, pain and discomfort. She had every right to lash out at all of us but she didn’t. She was calm and trusting. Anyone who met her was taken in by her grace and kindness.

She had heart damage, clearly from malnutrition. She was severely dehydrated so we could only give her subcutaneous fluids for immediate relief instead of having her on a full catheter set-up for hours of fluids. To do so would have put her into congestive heart failure. Heart meds were going to be imminent.

She had a large mass on her neck. This probably wasn’t causing much trouble but would’ve had to be checked for cancer. The plan had been to remove it at the same time we removed her rotten teeth. We were all still being very optimistic. We’ve certainly pulled many dogs from the brink of death, so it wasn’t beyond possibility.

That is until we saw the results of her x-rays.

The shelter staff had noted she was having trouble walking. We quickly realized the trouble was she couldn’t walk at all. The question was if it was trauma or something else. She had slight feeling and a few slow reflexes in her legs and feet but she was basically a limp dishrag. Could this simply be from weakness? Oh, how we prayed it was.

The x-rays showed lesions in her vertebrae. She’d become paralyzed immediately whenever it happened. Surgery could have been possible to repair her back had she not been starved. Even at her advanced age, it could have been possible. If only the people who were supposed to love her had taken her to the vet. Or, if they couldn’t afford the vet care, take her to a shelter where they could find the help she needed.

Instead they allowed her to lay, motionless in her own urine and feces. They allowed her to go hungry. When they couldn’t take it anymore they called the authorities and claimed they found this stray dog in their front yard. That’s where she was picked up, in the cold, laying paralyzed in the front yard. This beautiful soul was let down by those she loved most.

In the short time she graced me with her presence I told her how much I wished she had been ours. No harm would have ever come to her. As I drove her from the shelter to my veterinarian’s office, I held her head in my hand and tried my best to let her know she was a good girl. We would do all we could to help her. I can only guess at what she experienced before we met. I do know the day we adopted her she became Karen, she felt love and respect. She got a warm bath, ate some yummy food and made a deep impact on all who saw her.

We came to the harsh conclusion that the only thing we could give Karen was a loving death. I knew going into this situation that could be the end result. She’d only been ours for a mere 8 hours. It was so unfair and our hearts were broken once again. People knew this was going on and did nothing. Why? If you see an animal suffering you are obligated to help. That is what we must do. It’s our responsibility as humans. So, shame on the ones that let this girl down! You allowed her to think she was unloved and unwanted. You allowed her to be in pain and suffer indignity. You will get your payback in the end, for what goes around, does come back around.

Karen is now truly a precious angel. She no longer will know hunger or pain or the heartless cruelties of man. Many came together to pray for her and now we cry. We cry for her life. We cry for her death. My tears came hard and true for she deserved so much better. Her remains will be added to the rest of our beloved pets and she will be home with us always. My only peace comes from knowing she was welcomed at the Rainbow Bridge by Ramirez and the others who have gone before.

She mattered to us.

She meant something to us.

Wind to thy wings, Precious Angel Karen, wind to thy wings.

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Our cats live inside with us. A few of them would really like to be outside but there are just too many dangers out there. Ask Binks. He was trapped by a neighbor once and spent 5 days at animal control. We’ll start with the oldest and go to the youngest. Simon is going to be 18 and we’ve had him since he was 10. He was a client’s cat and we were just “keeping him for a while” until she got back on her feet. She was embarking on a new career as a truck driver and couldn’t take him along. The first day I had him home I knew I wasn’t letting him go. We had worried about acclimating him as he’d never lived with dogs before. The first day we found him asleep on the bed right in the middle of a pile of pups. He certainly wasn’t worried about it. Simon’s a seal-point Siamese and is super sweet. He gives great back massages and just purrs and kisses when you hold him.

This is Sarah Baby Cat. Ramirez raised her from 4 weeks old. He was quite the cat daddy. She was as enamored of him as he was of her and they remained that way his whole life.

She is probably around 12 or 13 now. Sarah lives in our bedroom and refuses to socialize with the rest of the family. She tolerates Kobay and a few of the dogs but prefers her own place. She has everything she needs, Hi-Def television, food, litter box, king-sized bed – why go anywhere? She has her moments, she’ll ask to be petted then lash out and bite you before you even know it.

Big Daddy Binks looks like her twin but he’s not. Actually, they don’t even like one another. He showed up at the TV station one day, walked in with my boss, followed him through the building to his office. When he curled up in the chair to nap, Don called me to come do something. He wasn’t a kitten so it’s harder to pinpoint his age. We think he’s also around 13 or so. Binks is one of Scottie’s loves. He reminds him of his childhood cat, QBert. I’ll admit Binks has some cool characteristics. He gives head butts to those he likes and admires. He’ll bop the dogs on the butt as they pass by, just because. He’s the one who had to stop his traveling ways after being trapped.

The World’s Greatest Cat is, without a doubt, Kobayashi Maru Phooey X. She’s our lilac-point Siamese and was one of those divine intervention situations. We’d been pet sitting for two lilac-point Siamese and fell in love. I happened to mention to my friend that runs the shelter that one day I’d like one. About a week later she called and told me to come up – she had 9 lilac point Siamese cats! Good grief! A breeder had died and the family wouldn’t take her kitties. Kobay was 9 months old, still nursing on her mother and was in terrible shape. So, being the most pitiful, she’s the one I chose. She lived her first month with us on my chest (she got better, I got sick). Have I mentioned I’m allergic to cats? Ramirez once again became the cat daddy and he helped me nurse her back to health while keeping the other dogs away. She’s around 11 now, I’m guessing. She has asthma and sees cross-eyed most times. She’s our ninja-cat and gets along with all the others, yet will quickly kick their butt if need be. She still sleeps atop one of us and used to sleep on Ramirez. She is simply awesome!

Last,  but not least is Baby Nut Butters. Scottie came upon her on a cold night at a client’s house. She was sitting out in the yard, all alone, crying and only a few months old. He could find no mother cat or littermates. He called me and said in the most pitiful way, “This baby cat is breaking my heart”. So we set up a trap with a crate and captured her in the middle of the night. She came during the last few months of Jack’s life. Part of his medication was massive amounts of steroids which made him a little crazy and ravenously hungry. He really wanted to eat Baby Nut. She’s more of a wild cat than the others but she adores to be snuggled and petted. She’s the first to hide if something’s going on, though. She’s our youngster at the age of 7. Binks is her man.

Next post will be the critters.

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The start of each year Scottie takes photos of our animal family, our yearbook. We’ll share them with you. With so many losses last year it’ll be nice to brag on who we still have with us. Let’s start with the pups.

Eva is our youngster at 3 years old. She’s been with us since 10 weeks and was my surprise anniversary present. It’d been a long time since I’d raised a puppy but she was definitely worth all the work. And, yes, it’s a lot of work. She is my best bud. Australian Cattledogs (Blue Heelers) are not for the faint of heart. They are extremely smart, super energetic, oftentimes dog aggressive and wary of strangers. They bond tight with their special people and usually aren’t impressed with much else.

CindyLou is our littlest Hoo. She’s a teeny thing and doesn’t even look like she weighs her 5 lbs. but she does. She was the result of one of those phone calls from my friend who runs the county shelter – there’s a tiny dog here that needs your help…I shouldn’t have answered the phone that day! As sweet as she may look, this girl is a terror and hard to understand. She was a sickly 4 month old when we got her, she quickly improved her health but not her attitude.

She hates to be petted or held and seems to dislike everyone around her. She’s got to be around 5 years old now. She’s Eva’s favorite squeeky toy and does offer us lots of laughs. She had one best friend for a year and a half, an ancient doberman named Granny. They were seriously bonded and Granny’s death left quite a hole in her little heart. Everyone thinks Cindy is a chihuahua, but she’s not. We did the DNA testing on her and she’s Schipperke & Mastiff – yep, really. Dr. Rick explained the whole genotype versus phenotype thing to me so it is possible. I’ve found photos of Schipperkes in Europe that look just like her.

Jill is our big, mutt girl. She has the good fortune of looking exactly (and I mean exactly!) like our former dog, Jack. He was part of our Holy Trinity and was very important to the family. Jack had been dead a year and a half when I stumbled upon Jill at the shelter. I was there to evaluate a doberman for the rescue folks and she happened to be in the run across from the girl I was there to see. Fate intervened and she accompanied me home…right before a hurricane was set to hit us. She spent her first weekend in a crate in the closet.

She’s really a good girl but has a hair trigger temper with the rest of the pack. She’s put 3 of the dogs in the hospital and her intent was to kill them, not just wound. So, when she’s in general population she must wear her “mask”. It’s a greyhound or basket muzzle. She can eat, drink, bark, etc but she can’t bite anyone. It was that or she was a dead dog. She’s middle-aged now at 7 years. It’s funny but the only dog I actually trust her with is CindyLou. She scares Jill, too.

Blinky could be considered one of my greatest achievements or biggest failures, depending on how you look at it. He came here with his littermates and momma. Babies were just a few days old. At 3 weeks he began fainting into the food dish. After lots of tests and an ultrasound, it was determined he was born with a heart defect. I can’t recall the scientific name but his heart pumps way too fast and the blood bashes against things instead of nicely flowing. I was told by the specialists he would not live to be 6 months. Well, I believe he turns 9 years old soon. He’s about 10 lbs and there’s probably chihuahua and some sort of terrier in his lineage. He missed out on getting adopted into a normal family like the rest of his siblings. His momma sends us a Christmas card every year. He’s a sweet boy but barks at absolutely everything. I see his brother and sisters on a regular basis since they were all adopted by clients. He’s our medical miracle.

Barby is the newest family member and is just starting to acclimate into the pack, somewhat. She definitely prefers to be alone or have just a couple cats with her. She’s also an Australian Cattledog (Red Heeler) and is very dominant. We think she’s about 10 – 12 years old and feels much better than she did a few months back. (Her whole story is on the blog from September.)

We had a tick problem and had to shave her. They were only on her somehow. After a few baths and deticking at the vet it’s now under control. She looks cute with her haircut. Her coat is the densest I’ve ever seen, amazing.

Kaley is our Minpin / Basenji mix. She’s 16 and has been in “end-stage” kidney failure for at least 2 years, maybe more. Her mother died the same way. Kaley’s bloodwork is off the charts and the vets have no idea how she is still living. I raised her from a newborn and wish we would have kept her instead of adopting her out. She was in 2 failed homes during her younger years. Came back to us the last time when she was around 7. She didn’t leave again. She screams like a banshee and can run like the wind and even still tries sometimes. I made 2 different appointments last year to euthanize her but she keeps on going. She’s our little Energizer Bunny.

Joey is our elder statesman now. He’s got to be 19 sometime this year. He came to us middle-aged and sick, of course. He’s our lover not a fighter dog and has always tried to romance the ladies. He had a rough go of things last year with some eye issues but overall he’s in stellar shape. We think he’s a Minpin / Chihuahua of some sort. He used to sleep in the bed with us but it’s too dangerous now since he can’t see. We don’t want any one else falling off the bed.

The two old-timers are usually cuddled up with one another. (That’s CindyLou in the background looking slightly annoyed.)

Next post will be the kitties of the family.

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Introducing… Threeva

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday Dear Eeevaaaaaaa!

Happy Birthday to You!

…and many more!

Our girl is now a big three year old. My, how time flies…

(10 weeks old when she became my driving buddy.)

(Today at 3, with her clown face.)

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