November 26, 2010

What will become of me?

I used to be someone's friend. I was loved and taken care of. I slept in bed with my person, I had my own bowl and toys and I could curl up on my person's lap and be petted. Then I ended up in a cage, in a "shelter".

It may be shelter, there is a bed, there is food and it is not so cold as it... was outside but it is not a home! I'm scared here! It's noisy, there are lots of big dogs and when night comes, I have to sleep all alone with no one to tell me everything is OK. What will happen to me now? Will I ever have a lap to sit on again or someone to hug me and let me sleep under their covers? Will I ever have a home again? Will someone help me?

For Mr. Bill, things are looking up. He was rescued from the shelter by Ratbone Rescues. He will be neutered and cared for and loved by a foster mom until a new, loving family can be found for him. For Mr. Bill, there is hope! For thousands of others there is none! Every year, thousands of dogs and cats don't make it out of shelters because there is no place for them to go. Please help! Have your pet spayed or neutered. Adopt your next pet from a shelter. Join or support rescue in their efforts to make a difference for other's like Mr. Bill.

October 23, 2010

Calamity or just Klutz?

It's becoming rather routine, if there is an accident happening, Mommy is going to be involved. I may have hit on something when she first arrived as my "accidental" rescue, having turned out to be a Jack Russell Terrier instead of a Rat Terrier. She has been the victim of one calamity after another.

The first was when she stuck her head under the board fence in pursuit of a toad and got stuck. While she was constrained, the pack, quick to fall upon the helpless, attacked, biting her mercilessly. This incident was very nearly the end of her, she spent a couple days in the doggy hospital and was on meds for weeks to combat the infections. For a while Mommy wore a sock on her neck and head to cover the huge open wound that developed from tissue damage done by the fence. Amazingly, she recovered completely, the wound pulled together and she was left with only a narrow scar around the back of her neck.

After healing, she went to spend a week with my father, whose old dog died last spring, to see if she would be a good pet for him. She proved to be more than he could handle but while visiting, she wrapped her lead around a cedar tree while out to potty and most likely impaled herself on a broken branch. She returned with a quarter sized lump on her chest from infection around the hole. Back on antibiotics and wound cleaning to deal with this injury which quickly healed.

Today, Mommy played in the side yard for a while, seperate from the other dogs so there would be no disputes. When she came in to eat, she romped in as usual, racing to her crate to wait for her bowl. On delivering her meal, this is what I encountered.

She is now on Benadryl, working to reduce the allergic response. It's unlikely I will ever know what she reacted to, although I can rule out toads. She killed at least 6 of those this summer with no visible effect on her. Being a tireless hunter, she will go after almost anything. Wasps have been particularly bad this year. I'm sure she will learn nothing from this lesson, the toads taught her nothing.

Although Calamity Klutz Mommy is a real character and has a certain charm about her, I suspect that Jack Russells are not the brightest pups in the pack.

October 18, 2010

Demolition crew

Another major project was begun on Sunday, the demolition of about 6 square yards of concrete slabs from the back yard. When undertaking a big demolition job, it always pays to have a good crew on board. What my crew lacks in size, they make up for in sheer cuteness and entertainment value.

There is always someone willing to join in the digging. Getting dirt out of the way, so cement can be smashed, is a big step. Scooter and Triki tag teamed on the digging while Badger just blew through the work site hoping for attention.

Everyone has quickly learned what "OUT" means so they back up and watch while the hammer is swinging. Sadly, the digging crew lacks persistence so when no small critters were dug up during their efforts, they decided to go pursue other interests, leaving me to handle the rest of this project on my own.

October 09, 2010

Pointack? Jointer??

Zoey "Mommy" fancies herself a Pointer apparently. Granted, what she points is my caged cockatiels but she would garner high marks for style. Mommy has been fascinated with the birds since she arrived here. Sadly, I must report she has nibbled toes on one bird who foolishly climbed the side of the cage.

Every day Zoey spends much of her time circling the birds' flight cage, jumping as high as she can, hoping to catch a juicy bird. By and large, the birds ignore her efforts, with the exception of when she grabs at their little toes. Some of them actually have become pretty arrogant, having apparently figured out that climbing the cage is not wise and they will go to the ground to forage despite Zoey's attempts to get at them.

Zoey doesn't actually point that often but on this day "Killer" the attack bird was really working it. He walked around the ground for a while then he took a leisurely climb, by way of the branches, back up to the top of the cage. Throughout this performance, Zoey's nose was mere inches from his. I don't think she knew what to do, other than to point at him. She couldn't even muster a bark until he got back to the top, then off she went, streaking around the cage, barking at this insolent feathered thing who dared taunt her.

September 01, 2010

Oops! Accidental rescue?

In rescue, as in everything, accidents sometimes happen. Not all of them are bad.

"Mommy" Zoey was an accidental rescue and from one day to the next, she is an accident waiting to happen, yet I can't help loving her. She is such a klutzy, ditzy, OCD, ADHD little dog who just happens to be a Jack, not a Rat.

Zoey's rescue request came from a east-central Kansas shelter, asking if Ratbone could take this female Rat Terrier, maybe 4-5 years old. The picture that came with the request was not very good but in a weak moment, instead of asking for better photos, I said I would take her since she could be transported to me.

Zoey was able to ride the CARE bus across Kansas with a bunch of Colorado bound rescues. When the bus arrived and the door was open, imagine my surprise when the only terrier I saw was a clearly Jack Russell Terrier. Even more surprising was when the driver proceeded to unload this stocky, big headed girl for me. Oops!

In rescue, when you go to pick up a dog from a shelter, if the face to face meeting is a big surprise, you have the option to walk away. Not to say this is an easy thing, once you are face to face with a sad little shelter dog, it is almost impossible to leave without that dog. When it arrives on a transport bus however, there are not many options, so Zoey came home with me.

Zoey did not have puppies when she went to the shelter, she did not have them after she arrived here and thanks to my vet, she will not have pups in the future but for some reason I found myself calling her "Mommy". Of course, what I call her doesn't matter that much as she usually has too much on her mind to pay attention to me anyway. With time she had begun to realize I am addressing her when I yell "MOMMY!" but responding depends on what else is going on around her.

Mommy's first discovery was that TOADS are easy prey. No matter what anyone says about how bad they taste and how they make you drool and foam when you put them in your mouth, Mommy knows they don't move very fast and they are soft, like big marshmallows. She persists in slaughtering any toad that dares to enter the yard. For a while, there was a regular population on the shady, north side of the house, between our fence and the neighbor's fence. Every so often, one would come under the fence. Mommy became so obsessed with these creatures that she would spend hours pacing the fence, looking under the boards and through the cracks for another victim.

Then, her obsession lead to her first major accident. In her drive to capture toads, Mommy forced her head through a small, chewed out spot at the bottom of the fence and got stuck. Now, every other dog in this house is a Rat Terrier and Rats are great at "pack" activities. This includes going in for the attack when offered injured "prey". With her head stuck under the fence and her butt defenseless, Mommy was fair game. Before she escaped from the neck hold the fence had on her, she had been bitten on all 4 legs by her evil Ratty siblings.

I suspect mommy saw the "bright light" before she got to the vet. She was in pretty rough shape, having caused a large tear in the skin on the base of her skull. There was also tissue damage so as a few days passed, the injury looked even worse as damaged skin sloughed off, leaving a open wound with bared flesh, an inch wide and three inches long. For a few days, she wore a sock around her head when she went outside to keep flies from attacking the open.

Amazingly, as she regained her strength and began to heal, the skin drew together, eventually closing up completely, leaving only a line of scar at the back of her head. As the hair grows in, you can barely tell she was injured.

Well before she healed up, she was already pursuing her next obsession, the birds in my flight cage. She now fancies herself a Pointer. She held this point for nearly 5 minutes, until the bird climbed to the top of the cage.

This week, she discovered the neighbor's Pygmy Goat!

March 25, 2010

Little Ducky, one of the first Ratbone dogs, (Nov. 99) who I adopted, is now 11 years old and becoming quite spoiled and contrary in his old age.

For example, if he doesn't eat something in the morning, his tummy gets rumbly then he won't eat in the evening. He has now learned that I am more committed to him having breakfast than he is. So, he will refuse to take a biscuit when the other dogs get theirs. He will sniff it then look away with a pitiful "I just don't think I can handle that" look. In response, he has trained me to go to the kitchen and fix him bread and milk for breakfast. In fact if he is in a real mood, I will have to microwave it for 10 seconds before serving.

Two weeks ago Monday, I had to travel across the state to attend mandatory training. I fought this for 2 years, to no avail and I was finally forced to go. Three years ago, I gave up going to my summer carving workshop because watching the dogs was becoming too much for my dad so it has been that long since Ducky has had a significant separation from me. If I have gone visiting for a couple days, he is usually able to go along.

I explained all of Ducky's special eating needs to my dad before I left on Monday morning. I also told him to let my personal dogs sleep in my room at night since they are used to sleeping on my bed. I wanted to cause them as little stress as possible. Ducky especially has always fretted when I was gone.

When I returned home the following Saturday evening, everyone jumped around and barked excitedly. Ducky did his little Ratty bay at me. When my dad told me how the week went however, he informed me that he didn't see a reason to fix the bread and milk because Ducky ate very well all week and took biscuits. I was feeling worked.

In addition, Ducky pouted or maybe was just punishing me. For the first four nights after I returned, he REFUSED to sleep on my bed. He would crawl in the dog bed that is on the floor under my bed but would not come up no matter how much I called or cajoled. If I physically picked him up to put him on the bed, he would growl at me and once on the bed, he would promptly get down and go back under the bed.

Finally, last night I put him on the bed and he crawled under the covers and stayed there. Tonight, he put his feet on the bed, asking to be put up and once there went rooting to get under the covers. I guess he felt I had been adequately reprimanded for going off without him. Sometimes, I think I'm too prone to anthropomorphism, I mean they are DOGS after all! Other times however, I really think they are just scary smart.