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Archive for January, 2012

Tesla Mae and I began training class this week with our dear friend, Therese of Dogs Unlimited. She’s the only reason Eva survived her puppyhood! Having Tes in class was much different than Eva. Tes wants to actually visit everyone and play with the other dogs. Weird. She did well despite me not being the most consistent with practicing or taking walks. (When you’re a dog walker, you really don’t get that fired up about walking your own dog.) We knew from the get-go Tes is extremely smart, so as long as I make myself keep up with her, we should have another Canine Good Citizen in the very near future 🙂

Tes sucking up to the teacher.

Catch me if you can!

Tes goes in for the sneak sniff!

The last post I mentioned our new training tool at the barn, EasterBunnyElf. I had forgot to show off our gift from Gary. Being the sweet man that he is and knowing we wouldn’t get one ourselves, he got Cass and Becca a flashy rope halter and lead from his favorite on-line store, Half Circle Ranch. Cass was more than happy to model.

Cass gave me the “look” when she realized she wasn’t just modeling. She was going to have to do some work. This time she didn’t miss a single step as she bravely walked toward EasterBunnyElf! We walked all over the pasture, me twirling him around my head and she confidently clopping behind. We celebrated with a scratching all over from EasterBunnyElf then she was free to do as she pleased. She hightailed it back to the shed where she quickly reminded me to bring her some hay. I adore this horse!

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Our homework from Gary was for Cass to move calmly toward weird things. She needs to learn when we are out she can rely on me to take care of her, even if things are weird. When out on the trail branches can fall, birds can swoop, dogs can appear out of thin air… actually anything can happen. TaDa! Introducing EasterBunnyElf! I looked around the barn and came up with my new invention, pretty weird, huh?

Cass was sure it was a monster out to eat her. I jiggled it on the ground in front of her and made her walk toward it. Made it jiggle beside her, then scratched her all over with it. It got even more interesting when I raised EasterBunnyElf over my head. Oh, my! It was a completely different monster now! I turned around and had Cass walk behind me, toward EasterBunnyElf keeping him beside me. I worked my way up to having him twirl around the top of my head while Cass walked along toward the weird thing. When we were done I had my girl walk over the very monster she was sure was going to eat her . Very proud.

True to character, Becca walked right up to EasterBunnyElf and introduced herself!

 

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When we began our journey into the often devastating world of animal rescue some 20 years ago, there was no internet, no Facebook or Smart Phones allowing immediate consumption of information. We had recently acquired our “backyard bred” purebred and had no idea how quickly our lives were forever going to change. We happened to be watching a local tv network newscast and they showed live footage of a local animal shelter on fire! Without even a word, Scottie and I ran for the door and we were quickly driving to the shelter to help. We had no idea how we were going to help we just knew our hearts were telling us we had to do something.

As we ran up to the fence the last dog was being handed off to a good Samaritan. Though we left empty-handed our hearts were still urging us on… do something. The next day we arrived at the shelter to help in the clean up after the devastating fire. I can’t remember how many days we worked cleaning but I do remember going around to everyone at the television station where we worked taking up a collection. We raised nearly $1,000! That’s pretty empowering. What began as a heart’s pull to “help” turned into our life’s work.

In these 20 years we’ve seen the tides drastically change. Animal shelters are now the place to go. Puppy Stores are still around but attitudes toward them are certainly different. Facebook whirls frantically with rescue groups sharing photos and stories of animals in danger and needing help. Stories of amazing rescues go viral and once what was a lonely rescue road of your own heart’s burden, is now supported by thousands of like-hearted friends. It is a wonderful thing.

Seeing this on Facebook today made me giggle and proud to be the owner of a rescued heart.

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Found my long-johns… check. Put on my ugly sock cap… check. Borrowed “the Goose”… check. Waking up to 35 degrees in Central FL… priceless! First on the early AM agenda was to walk the Akita, Jessica. Her parents are on a jaunt to the west coast of FL. Hope they weren’t expecting to surf. Jess thought our weather was perfectly fine.

I apologize for the out-of-focus pic but I wasn’t quite awake, yet 🙂

Jessica, 100 pound Akita Princess

Next up was the barn to check on my big girls. I passed farms with their horses out in blankets. My girls scoff at the very idea! When Cass left Canada nearly 4 years ago, it was 50 BELOW zero! So, for us to be in the 30’s is no big deal. I’m sure she prefers to be chilled rather than sweating her butt off in our summer temps.

It was hovering near 34 degrees @ 8:30am.

One of my worries overnight was whether our water pipes would freeze. We have a well with three pipes placed throughout the barn area and front pasture. I knew the pump would probably be ok since it’s inside the barn. I covered it with tarps to be safe. I also covered the main pipe outside the barn wall but I didn’t do a good enough job. It was frozen.

Hey! There's the ugly hat 🙂

I put an extra water trough inside the shed, hoping it wouldn’t freeze and it didn’t. There were hay drippings in the water so I know the girls drank from it. The other 3 troughs were frozen over.

Ice, ice baby...

I must admit, the frost upon the pasture was pretty.

My most northern-blooded gals, were peppy and in great spirits. Their luxurious winter coats are far more insulating than any blanket would be.

The longer winter coat helps trap the body heat against the skin. Also, tiny muscles in the skin raise the hairs, creating tiny air pockets that heighten the insulating effect. Putting a blanket on a horse, flattening these hairs, can actually make them colder than without one.

Becca and Cass may have also been in great spirits because they’re getting a special treat for a few days. I went to the feed store yesterday to get our regular, coastal hay and they were out. A few stores in area have gone out of business so my store is getting swamped with large hay orders. The next truckload comes today but I grabbed a bale of the “good stuff” to get us by. This is a mix of Timothy and Alfalfa, which is too rich for them (and me!) on a regular basis.

Frosty the Fjordhorse aka Cass says, “WhooHoo! Bring on the cold!”

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