Archive for October, 2012

I just brought in the mail and there was an envelope marked “fragile” from my Mom. I smiled having suspicions as to the contents. No jewelry or baubles. No books or puzzles. No photographs. The envelope simply contained Fall, or as some may say, Autumn. I had mentioned to her she hadn’t sent me my Fall gift in some time. Since my Dad’s passing things haven’t been easy for her. She has all us kids proud that she is doing so well, being 80 and now alone, but things do slip her mind. A couple tears sprang to my eyes as I gently lifted out the dried leaves she’d so carefully sent to her Florida girl. Their colors took me back to the simple childhood pleasure of raking huge piles of leaves. We had to jump into them before bagging and dragging to the street. I miss the change of seasons still, though I’ve been gone a long time. Thank you Mom, for the little bit of back home.

There are a couple sure-fire ways to know Fall is here, though our high temperatures don’t reflect it. One is the fuzzy coats the girls seem to grow overnight.

The other is the dreaded sticky weeds!

Becca is a pro at finding every single clump of sticky weeds in the pasture.

I find her this way about every other day!

She’s usually well-behaved as I toil to comb them out.

They cling to not only her forelock, but her mane, her legs, her face, her belly, her neck. The worst part is, once I comb them off her, they’ve attached onto me! It’s really rather ridiculous. Her mother will come in and not have a single one on her. I don’t get it. At least she cleans up rather nice, don’t you think? And I have my leaves to remind me of simpler times.

Read Full Post »

Eva (our main cattledog) had a swollen face a couple weeks ago. I assumed she’d been bitten or stung by something and treated her accordingly. The Benadryl and Prednisone combo kicked in and the swelling subsided by dinnertime. Thought nothing more of it. A few days later her face was swollen again, in the exact same place.

A Roman nose does not suit her!

It was time to see Dr. Rick. He immediately found she had an abscessed tooth! Ouch! We scheduled her surgery for the next week and began antibiotics. My girl was still chewing her bones despite the pain she had to feel. Cattledogs are simply tough dogs.

Well… until they get scared about going to the vet…

Doing her best to hide under the chair.

Surgery day arrived. I have the utmost faith in our beloved Dr. Rick (Longwood Vet Clinic) but I actually had butterflies in my stomach as we waited. I was making my girl more nervous. My feelings reinforced how important this particular dog is.

The Cattledog stare. (She looks like a bobble-head!)

I made sure to completely scare the techs into believing Eva would rip the face off any dog that got too close. I didn’t want them letting their guard down where she could take advantage. I’ve had five years spent training this dog and know all her signals. I can block her behaviors before she even starts to think about them. A dog of her intensity can nip the face of another in the blink of an eye and leave everyone wondering what the heck happened! So I told them not to let another dog look at her, don’t let another dog pass by her, don’t put her next to another dog… or better, yet, how about we just keep her in the isolation room until her surgery time? 🙂

Vet tech, Kristy, keeps Eva out of trouble pre-surgery.

Dr. Rick & Kristy start her la-la-land cocktail.

Now she is off to sleep. Thud!

Breathing tube is inserted. Try that when she’s not asleep, Dr. Rick!

Yep, she’s feeling no pain.

X-rays are taken of the suspect tooth.

Root causing her problems. It’s gotta go.

Scaling the tooth.

Cutting the tooth. Good thing she’s asleep!

Elevating the roots.

Where’d that tooth go?!

There’s the culprit.

Once they were able to see completely inside her mouth they found another problem. She had a broken tooth on the other side of her mouth. That one had to come out, too. This one really should’ve been causing her pain.

Broken tooth on other side.

All done. Now just have to wake up…

Eva was his last procedure of the day so she wasn’t on the table until noon. He had me come pick her up at 1:30 since he trusts me to carefully watch them as they recover. She was walking on her own but pretty groggy!

Did you get the license of the truck that hit me?!

In my car is one of her favorite places. She’s been my co-pilot since she was 10 weeks old. She settled right in.

We going to work now? How ’bout we wait till tomorrow? 🙂

The afternoon was spent sleeping. Then more sleeping after a small meal of canned, soft food. She was back to her usual, intense, wonderful self the next day. We give all thanks and great love to Dr. Rick & his staff. They’re simply the best!

Read Full Post »

Shortly after the girls & I moved to The Red Barn a load of dirt was delivered. The dirt has been used to fill in the ever present low spots in the pasture. These are hippo puddles when we’ve had rain! This dirt happened to come from a pet cemetery. Yep. I said pet cemetery. We’ve found an occasional leg bone, dog blanket and toys during our daily jaunts to and fro. I’d heard the owners of the pet cemetery contacted the animal owners to tell them the property had been sold. I hope this allowed folks to move their beloved pets if they wanted.

You can just see the edge of the barren dirt pile to the left of Cass.

Our pile of cemetery dirt has come to life.

A big chunk of the dirt pile had been used a few months ago to fill in where the trees downed our fence. After that an amazing transformation began.

The prettiest little wild flowers have taken over the pet cemetery dirt!

This makes us smile. We find it quite appropriate. They are lovely and we hope they stay.

Read Full Post »

It’s been just over 3 weeks since we first met the starving Paso Fino horses. When we pulled onto that property and saw the condition of those horses nothing mattered except saving the ones we could actually get on the trailer. Chica, Gypsy, Sierra and Lily were the lucky ones that day. They landed at a little slice of Heaven. Once the immediacy of the situation was at bay and things settled into the daily barn routine it was evident these four girls were going to require more than we could give them.

Enjoying actual grass!

It’s such a disservice to our horses when we don’t train them and show them people can be trusted. These girls were simply scared and unsure. When that’s coupled with not having been handled properly by people it’s downright dangerous. Feeding them was a given and they learned that right away. People with food buckets meant good things. Anything much after that was met with fear and distrust.

Lily needed her nose medicated but was afraid to be touched.

Getting a horse over this type of mentality takes time and patience and then more time and more patience. You also need skills. We realized we didn’t have those skills and needed help. The word was put out to countless forums and rescue groups. Was anyone experienced willing to take on a project such as this?! The general consensus was a big, fat NO!!!! We were getting discouraged and scared. I actually began getting angry. It seemed people were hung up on the fact they were Paso Finos. A horse in need is a horse in need, isn’t it? Then the right message got to the right person at the right time…

I received a private message on one of the forums: “Are you needing someone to take the mares or are you looking for advice on them? We have quite a bit of experience with Pasos. Let me know if we can help you.”

This past Saturday the 4 Paso Fino girls loaded up and were transferred to Promise Acres Equine Rescue. When you do rescue you’re forced to do a lot of soul searching. You must admit your strengths and your weaknesses. Being honest with yourself is the only way you can truly help those animals. When it comes to dogs, Scottie and I are gifted and skilled with the old-timers. That is our passion. Don’t even try to give me a puppy! Won’t work. We (Terri, Gayle, Jim and myself) all knew these horses were beyond our abilities. It wasn’t easy to admit but we had to move forward and do what was best for them. And thank God for the Angels of Promise Acres!

On the way to their next chapter.

They understand the Paso Fino breed. Though I’d gotten a little bent out of shape because of the whole “Paso thing” I now understand there is a difference in breeds – just like with dogs. A Paso requires a certain type of energy and understanding that’s different from my Fjordhorses or a Quarter Horse. At Promise Acres they are in the hands of folks who understand and appreciate this. I know they are going to blossom into the beautiful mares they are meant to be.

The girls at Promise Acres.

Please show Promise Acres some love and “like” them on Facebook. Terri kindly donated funds to care for the girls with their initial vetting and food for at least a month. If you’d like to help also, please go to their website – Promise Acres – they do a lot of cool stuff at this facility. They can only continue their good work through donations and volunteers. We look forward to watching their progress! Chica, Gypsy, Sierra & Lily, we love you. 🙂

Read Full Post »