Sunday, July 28, 2013

A feral dog, vomit, and ticks. Oh my!

For months I have said, “I’m going to take a rescue break.  I’m not going to foster anymore dogs.”  And for just that long, the universe has said: “No, not yet…”

That’s sort of how this situation went down two weeks ago.  I got a call from a friend Julie, who explained she was on her way to help another friend with a stray dog that she had caught.

She went on to explain that her friend was at a very busy intersection unsuccessfully trying to catch this little dog, had given up, was walking back to her car, and heard the dog screaming.  She ran back to see what was wrong, and he had fallen into a pond and was drowning.  She lassoed the dog and quickly pulled him to safety.  At that point he started freaking out from being on a leash, and was “alligator rolling” trying to get away.  In my mind I was thinking, “Oh, just a little dog being a little dog.  He is freaked out but will be just fine in a day or two.” 

I have never been more wrong….

Julie brings me this boy, who is pressed so tightly up against the back wall of the crate, that I was expecting the impression of cage bars on him when I reached into the kennel to remove him.

Usually this is the point where I would get bit and draw back a bleeding appendage, but that was too predictable for this boy!  Instead when I reached in to pick him up, he promptly barfed up 2 cups of food on my hand and arm.  In my mind I was quietly chanting:  “I love dogs.  I love dogs.  It is okay that you just vomited up warm, semi chewed food all over me.  I love dogs....”

I carry him into the house, Julie was in charge of carrying the cage full of vomit (small price to pay really…) and we set off to bathe the little prince.  Now, my bathroom is small, (It’s honestly the size of a shoebox...) and I’m bent over the tub scrubbing the heck out of this dog watching the fleas and ticks fall off him, when I hear Julie, who is standing behind me say: “Don’t panic.  Hold still.”  (Never something you want someone to say when standing behind you!)  I immediately froze and Julie in the calmest voice ever says:  “I think that’s a tick on your back.”  Suddenly, I hear the Reluctant Farmer scream from behind the closed bathroom door: “Just hold still!  I’ll get it!”  She knows her role in this relationship so WELL Secretly, I think she was worried about Julie’s safety.  There is not enough room in this bathroom for me to freak out and do my “bug dance”.

For those of you that have never been privileged enough to witness my “bug dance”, it entails screaming, jumping up and down, the flailing of arms, and occasionally the shedding of clothes.  (Think Tom Cruise during the infamous Oprah couch interview, but worse because I am naked.  Which is almost as scary as Tom Cruise, but an entirely different blog post…) So now, we have 3 women, 1 dog, and 1 dead tick squeezed into the postage stamp sized lavatory.  Crisis averted!

It isn’t long before we realize this little dog had some BIG issues!  He isn’t your average “I’m scared and out of my element, but I can be bribed” little dog.  He is an all out “I’ve never been around humans, not lived indoors, hunt for my own food” sort of dog. 

There were a few things about this dog that set him apart from any other dog I had ever fostered:

1) He tried to escape through any window, door or screen that he came into contact with, and would climb on any surface that might get him a little closer to the escape route.

2) He would be as quiet as a mouse in his crate during the day, but as soon as the lights were off he would scream like he was being killed.  (The trainer says this is a sure sign he had been running for a while.  He is afraid of the dark because he knows he has the possibility of being something’s pray.)

3) This dog was scared out of his mind of any and all humans.

All of this behavior was enough to make some think euthanasia was the best option for him.  But, there would be one thing that would save his life.  This dog, as feral as he was, showed no aggression towards people.  In the end, I would try to rehab and save this dog, purely on this fact alone.  Success?  Well, that remains to be seen, but what I do know is that death is permanent and I couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t give this little guy a chance.  There will be more about this boy in the days to come.  

Meet Wigzi….

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Girls just wanna have fun!

Katzya is having Briley sleep over tonight, and after much singing and giggling I hear: "Emily, come look at this!"  

Clearly Suzi wanted to be "one of the girls" too, and decided to join the party.  Suzi knows the value of friendship and laughter.  

What a smart girl she is.... 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy endings look like this....

As I ponder about a dog that may or may not ever recover from the traumas that were inflicted on by humans*, the life of rescue has pretty much sucked for the last week, except for one bright shiny spot:  Nabb, my foster for Tri State Collie Rescue found his forever home!  

His family flew all the way in from Georgia to adopt him, and fell in love with him instantly.  It is evident that he loves them too!  Here is the photographic proof that rescue is worth all the heartache and frustration, which is just the reminder I needed tonight....

Clearly he thinks he it the king of his new castle!

Nabb and his new brother at Petco!

It's a long ride from Ohio to Georgia, but well worth it for the perfect home...

They call it a love seat because it is meant to be shared....

Doesn't he just look so happy?!  Congrats my love, you deserve the best!

*  As you all know, there will be a blog post about my newest rescue project in due time.  I ask for a bit of privacy from the "activists" that read and frequently send harsh email to me about my rescues until I have a few more things figured out.  The reality is that rescue is not always fuzzy bunnies and rainbows, thank you for your understanding...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quality, not Quantity

Last night we went over to the Remy Homestead to enjoy their company and to swim in their pool.  When we were there we decided to order pizza, and had an impromptu dinner party, and I was reminded just how lucky I am.

In life you don't get to pick your family, but you do get to pick your friends and if you are lucky you will find friends that are as close to you as family.  I'm lucky in this way, unbelievably so!

Whether it be changing the locks on my house, jumping my car 3 times in a day, or rescuing dogs from all sorts of perilous positions, these guys have my back 100% of the time, and I would do anything for them as well.   That's how this relationship and the rest of my relationships work.   I want the type of friends that you love like family.

As I watch my daughter struggle thorough her middle school years and the friendships that come along with that, I pray she realizes it's not about the quantity of friends, it's the quality of friend's that matter.  My, how life would have been so much easier if I had figured that out as a 13 year old instead of a 35 year old!

The friends I surround myself with now day are the most positive, honest, genuine, selfless people I know and I would be lost without them in my life....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sometimes crap happens...

Who knew something this cute could make that big of a mess?!

When I got home Friday night, I was so excited for the weekend to begin.  I hit the front door of my house, high on the promise of a great weekend, took a deep breath in, and promptly gagged.

The smell permeating from my house immediately made me recoil and beg God for mercy.  Once I stopped dry-heaving and pleading with the heavens from the front yard, I decided to try and gain entry into the house again.  I bargained with God:   "God, if you could please make whichever dog that smell is coming from be a small dog, I promise to NEVER ask for anything again!"  (I knew I couldn't honestly get that lucky....)

With tears streaming down my cheeks, and my shirt covering my nose and mouth, I glanced in the door and realized that the little dog's crate was clean.

Things went to hell in a hurry after that!  

The only 2 dogs other dogs that could have produced this smell are both VERY large and VERY hairy.  I peeked around the wall into my library, and crap!

Lots and lots of crap!  And one very upset collie standing in the middle of it, pacing back and forth, splashing poop on anything within a 2 foot radius of his crate.

Now, I must interject at this point in the story, and tell you we just made the move to "go green" and stop using paper towels.  Who does that?!  Certainly no one with 6 dogs!  (We are currently renegotiating this idea!)

So there I stand, shocked by the sight and not really sure how to tackle the mess before me.  After several moments I realized the ONLY way to clean this up would be to carefully extract the collie out of the crate, not making eye contact because that induces tail wagging, which causes poop flinging, and human puking.  But, this boy processes an exuberance for life, and it then dawned on my that it might just be best to slide the entire crate out the front door, with the dog in it, so I could wash both dog and crate off in the front yard.  I really felt like a genius!

Then I went to the grocery store and bought the biggest case of paper towels I could find and started on the rest of the room, and 6 rolls later, even though many trees had to die, my house smelled better!  Sort of like a porta-john in mid May versus mid August....

And not to worry the dog smells and feels better too.... 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Scorcher in the kitchen!

We have given up central air this year, so far.  If we do much more canning though, I may have to break down and turn it on.  It is so hot tonight!  How did Mrs. Ingalls ever manage?!  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Raspberry "Jam Session" with RECIPE

Saturday morning The Reluctant Farmer declared that we should go berry picking at a local farm that is known for growing the best berries in our area, and since we missed strawberry season, and were dangerously close to being out of jam, I eagerly agreed.  When we arrived at the farm we were told they had black raspberries in season, and out into the field we went. 

The field was very wet and muddy due to the massive amount of rain that we’ve received lately, but with the rain has come cooler temperatures, which is a Godsend for berry picking!  We both took our time and worked up and down the rows of brambles, loading up our baskets and brought home 4 quarts of berries.  I was amazed how beautiful these berries were, and I kept remarking about how perfect they looked, and they smelled even better than they looked! 

As we were leaving the farm my mom called and told us that her neighbor had a huge crop of red raspberries that were going to waste, and wanted to know if we would be interested in any of those.  Not one to turn down produce of any kind, let alone organic berries, off we went.  We were able to harvest an additional 4 quarts of red raspberries off of those bushes.

With 8 quarts of berries, there was little else we could do except have a jam session on Saturday night.  This year’s recipe is both simple, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face when served over vanilla ice cream.  The following recipe is a simple jam recipe that even the most novice canner can master.

Simple Raspberry Jam

5 ¼ c. of raspberries
7 c. of sugar
1 package of powdered fruit pectin (1.75 oz)

Mash berries in a stainless steel pot.  Stir in pectin and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Add sugar, and continue to stir, until mixture reaches a hard boil.  Then stir constantly for 1 minute, afterwards turning off heat and filling jars.  Leave ¼ inch head space.  Process jars in water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Makes 8 half-pints of jam.

When I posted on my Facebook page that we were going to make jam this weekend, I had several people that wanted to learn to make jam, but were afraid to try.  I promise you this is the easiest way to prepare food, and once you get the hang of it you will be amazed by just how much food you are able to preserve with such little effort.  If you are interested in canning, go to the library get yourself a book on canning and start reading.  (I recommend Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving.)  Grab a friend too and you can have your own jam session.  You won’t be able to buy the memories that you create together in a store, and if you need any help or have any questions I’m just one “click” away!

Shared on my favorite blogs:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Preparing for Jam Session...

The sun has gone down, the kitchen is cool, and we are preparing for a Saturday night  jam session here on the urban farm!

More picture, and recipes to follow....

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sometimes death is the fair option....

Last night I went out to the chicken coop and noticed one of my hens was off by herself.  This is not that uncommon for this particular chicken.  She is somewhat of a loner, and I have said for several months that something looks “off” about her.   I called her over to me and she came hopping over, clearly not using her left leg.  The Reluctant Farmer scooped her up, turned her over and I examined her leg.  It wasn’t swollen, hot or deformed.  She just wouldn't use it, and you could tell it was painful.  I watched her for a while and she just kept flipping the lifeless leg out in front of her.  It was such an effort for her to get back inside the coop that she would just lie down by the ramp instead of going inside to roost or eat. 

I thought about separating her from the rest of the flock, but after discussing it with a friend, who is more knowledgeable on chicken illnesses, it was decided that the best thing would be to just put her out of her misery.  And with the help of Brent, that is just what we did.  It was fast, painless, and she is no longer suffering. 

I know there are people that won’t agree with this decision, and there will be people that will insist I should have taken her to the veterinarian, had x-rays performed, etc.  However, at the end of the day, this is a farm, not a petting zoo.  It is not a wise business decision to spend hundreds of dollars on a small fraction of your livestock.  I have to protect the rest of my flock from the possibility of contracting a deadly disease and more importantly, I never want any animal in my care to suffer.

Sometimes in life, death is not the worst thing that can happen to a living being….