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Posts Tagged ‘animal rescue’

My beautiful wife is the Pennsylvania State Foster Co-ordination for the National Great Pyrenees Rescue. For the lay people, Great Pyr’s are very large dogs who were bred to guard livestock. They are also known in the dog world as ‘Gentle Giants’. How did my wife end up with such an illustrious title? After we adopted Clary we were so impressed with the organization my wife decided to give back and asked if they could use some help, perhaps she could field applications and such. And they said, “sure, You are now the Pennsylvania State Foster Coordinator” After reading this and commenting in the comment section below, and of course hit the follow button if you are not already a loyal follower to this blog, you should go visit the National Great Pyranees website http://www.nationalpyr.org and see about adopting, volunteering or make a donation.

Usually when my wife is conducting a phone interview with a potential Foster/Adopter I can be found immersed in the world of the video game Assassins Creed. My ears perk up when my wife gets to what NGPR (National Great Pyranees Rescue) calls the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is when my wife tells the potential Adopter about the traits of a Pyr in order to make sure the victim knows just what they are getting involved with in order to secure a good fit between man and beast.
I can’t help but grin as I listen to my wife go through the litany: the over abundance of the hair, (y’all only think you know about shedding) their need to bark, they are nocturnal, stubborn, expensive, they drool oh yeah baby we got drool! Did I mention the shedding? If you walk them off leash they become a ‘disapyr’! Oh they…dig, jump and climb oh my. Did I mention the hair? Better be ready it’s everywhere.

I find myself wondering who would want such a dog? But then I look at my two beasts and I know, you know, we all know. This my friends brings me to the whole point of this post. ‘What Have I learned From My Dog?’ The following 10 lessons I either learned or already learned but re-enforced by our dogs.
1. There is a lot of shit in life, it works out better for all if we clean up after ourselves.

2. At least once a day find something to bark at, and do so without regret or remorse.

3. I am the Master of my domain.

4. I can yell all I want and it won’t change much. Keep calm, stay strong, take a breath and square up your shoulders. Everything will be just fine

5. Don’t surround yourself with clutter, have a space for everything and keep everything in its place.

6. Don’t go cheap on a vacuum cleaner. Learn to enjoy vacuuming and do it often.

7. Always have something handy to wipe stuff up with.

8. Get up and go out every single day. It doesn’t matter if you are sick, drunk or tired. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing or blistering hot, go outside every single day

9. Just because you don’t hear it, doesn’t mean it is not there.

10. A little mud never hurt anything.
The following were some of the responses I got from asking the question on Facebook. Both to my friends and the good people at NGPR.
-You have to have patience Dig deep to understand others.

-When you finally figure out what’s going on, it’s not the real story anyway.

-Unconditional love

-Why sweat when you find your stuff in pieces – it’s just… stuff… right?

-Never buy expensive shoes, only cheap ones.

-dog hair is edible

-You can be young all the way up to Your last days.

-Forgiveness, no matter how badly they were treated before they meet you they give you the benefit of being a good person.

-Love is free, give it away often

-How to “rule” non-violently. My Stinson could control an entire pack with a look and a woof.

-Be happy to see everybody.
If you are considering introducing a pet into your family please find a rescue and adopt.

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When I started this blog every 10 posts I wrote an ‘introspective’ for lack of another word.  It has been awhile so I figured I would try another.

What have I learned/observed?

1)      People like to read my lessons on Jewish holidays.   While my favorite such post, (there have only been two) was about Chanukkah, it gave me a new found respect for what it is to be Jewish.  You readers on the other hand seem to like the one about Passover.

2)      I’ve written one post at somebody else’s suggestion.  It was not a pleasant experience so while I am open to suggestions, I’m a little gun shy on the whole concept.

3)      If you are going to write a fictional piece, it may be best to create another page for that purpose. The post generated a lot of questions.  The bulk of the story is true.  The only part I made up was the very end.   Since writing that post I have learned that most of the locals do believe the Avondale is haunted, but I made the ghost part up.  When we drove up to the Avondale there were two grizzly men, but one got in a pickup truck, the other got on a motorcycle and they both drove away.  There was no picture of George on the wall.

4)      I learned how to post stuff on YouTube and since then I’ve learned how to embed them on my page.  Now I have to come up with more video.

5)      Foxes are really beautiful animals. Elephants are still my favorite.

6)      One of my most popular posts had to do with a conversation between my mother and myself.  It seems a lot of people identified with it, I’d like to say the conversation was unique, but really it was just normal for my family.

7)      I may suffer from a little road rage.

8)      With some of our pets getting older I am dreading the next few years and the decisions that are going to have to be made.  After the passing of Maya I am finding that ‘dreading’ is to light a word.

9)      Never take air-conditioning for granted, we would have never survived this last week without it.  At the moment I love my air-conditioning almost as much as I love my Garmin.

10)     I still stand by my previous lessons learned.

11)     I feel a little bad about punching Ant because he was just doing what wasps do.  Now I check the van before I start it up.

13)    The most common phrase that people type into a search engine and find my blog is ‘mouse poop’  I find it a little worriesome that people are typing ‘mouse poop’ into a search engine.

14)    I don’t care what people say, possums or o’possums are really cute.  

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Emerging from carrier

The other day we got a call from Sparrow our local wildlife rehabilitator.  There were two foxes that needed to be released.  It wasn’t skunks so I was down with it.  Not that I have anything against skunks, but we have had too many close calls between the husky and skunks, and many a nights we have arisen from our slumber with tears in our eyes due the odor of Pepe Le Pew. 

This morning we picked up the foxes. I believe it was the first time I’ve seen foxes up close and they are incredibly beautiful animals. When the foxes left the safety of the carriers and started running around the woods, well lets just say it was one of those indescribable magical moments that will last a long time for both my wife and I. 

I have been unable to download video onto this blog, so I only brought my trusty little camera down to the release rather than my supercool video camera.  My little camera does take some decent movies and I did manage to capture some of the excitement.  I also managed to create a YouTube account and posted the video here.  So this is my first appearance on YouTube.  Before you click on the link see the photo’s below.  I’d also like to take a moment to thank Robyn (aka Sparrow) and the good folks at Centre Wildlife Care for giving us the opportunity.

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My wife reminded me that Dorian was not the first time Sequoia was wary of a cat.

We went to Cook Forest State Park here in Pennsylvania.  Sequoia and I waited in the car while my wife went into the information station to find out where we could picnic.  My wife was taking a long time to get the information so Sequoia and I decided to wait outside the car.  Even though we were in a parking lot it was very rustic, very beautiful.  Amongst the people, cars and quaint cabins I spotted a cat a bunch of yards away.  The cat was watching us, watching Sequoia.  Sequoia for her part was ignorantly sniffing the ground, I did not particularly like the way the cat was watching us.  People would be walking between us, carrying canoes making all kinds of noises, cars would pass by kicking up dust and all the while the cat just stared. I started looking for my wife, where the heck was she? I’m about to enter a Stephen King story and my wife is taking forever getting directions to a picnic table…or did the cat get her?

Then the cat started to move, it started moving towards us.  It would stop to let a car pass, it would negotiate its way around a family, it would check out something on a stone wall but it was coming closer and while it would pretend to take interest in something else, clearly we were its target.  I was pretty confident it wasn’t going to approach a husky, where the hell was my wife?  While still some yards away Sequoia finally took notice.  She strained at the end of her leash whining as huskies do when being denied chasing pray, and the cat kept coming.  Then the oddest thing happened, Sequoia started backing up.  The cat kept coming and now it wasn’t walking around people, it wasn’t stopping to check out the bird, the cat was coming, and it was coming for us.  I was looking at the information place for my wife.  Sequoia was no longer strained at the end of her leash, she was standing by my side.  When Sequoia broke her stare from the cat and looked at me her expression was priceless and unmistakable, it said, Dad, perhaps we should wait in the car. And that is exactly what we did and it was only when we got back into the car did the cat change direction, still keeping an eye on us, but no longer approaching.  A few moments later much to my relief my wife emerged from the building.  Not knowing what had transpired my wife pointed at the cat so I would not miss seeing it.  To the horror of Sequoia and myself, my wife actually bent down and started calling “here kitty kitty”  Could she not see that this was no ordinary cat?  Could she not see that it was some sort of demon?  Lucky for us the cat (if that is what it was) paid her no heed, it just wandered off probably looking for another dog to terrorize.

My wife had her own tale to tell. While Sequoia and I were being hunted by a demon my wife was dealing with a hummingbird.  Some children had found a wounded hummingbird in the parking lot and brought it to the information station (yes I like saying information station) in hopes that the bird could be fixed.  A wounded hummingbird is not an easy animal to fix.  But you can’t tell children that, they were so hopeful, and the information people didn’t know what to do.  My wife as always, stepped up to the plate.  She told the children that we knew a lady who might be able to help.  They put the bird in a shoebox with a little towel and kept the bird in a warm quiet place inside the office.  My wife made an arrangement with the park people that on our way out we would stop by and pick up the hummingbird and drive it the two hours (with a prey driven tramatized by a demon husky in the car) back to State College where we would take the bird to a wild animal rehabilitator.

True to our word we stopped by the office on our way out of the park(amazingly the bird was still alive) and we brought the bird to Sparrow our local wildlife rehabilitator.  Sparrow tried her best with the hummingbird but its very fragile wing was broken and the bird refused to eat and didn’t survive the night.   I wasn’t surprised, first off it was a hummingbird, delicate to begin with secondly it was probably the victim of the demon cat that haunts Cook Forest State Park.

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Pets don’t have many choices, they are completely at our mercy, I know it doesn’t always feel that way but they are, and we are responsible for them, every last one.  They are bred, for the most part, with little or no thought for the thousands of other dogs and cats who don’t have homes, don’t have anyone to look after them.  Most people don’t understand that when a dog is purchased from anywhere but a reputable breeder or some sort of humane society we are supporting puppy mills, supporting back yard breeders who out of ignorance are producing dogs that are probably going to end up with temperament or medical problems if not both, breeding dogs that are statistically going to end up on the loose living a miserable existence, or living in a shelter.  Either way it’s no way to live but at least at the shelter they have just that, shelter, food, people who care about them and with any luck, eventually a good home. 

Animals in our society don’t rate for much in any legal sense, they are simply property and not just property but the lowest sort of property.   In an emergency (such as a fire) the rule of thumb according to Emergency services is you save people, property and then animals (the last is usually optional).

Our pets give us so much otherwise why would there be so many of them?  No matter what we do to them they love us unconditionally, they help us in so many ways. How many times on the news do we hear about the pets that alert their owners to a fire and end up saving the family?  They are our constant companions, they are our eyes, there are alert dogs, rescue dogs, dogs that help us find criminals, find mines for soldiers and the list goes on.  

clicking on this link will enable you to donate to the Clearfield County SPCA where every bit helps.  Plus if Sequoia is one of the top donation earners she will be featured on their 2011 calendar.  Raising money is not really what my blog is about and I promise this won’t be a regular theme, but every once in a while you have to give back.  So thanks in advance, thanks to those that have already given. 

As always thanks for reading, and next post we will be back to our regularly scheduled programing.

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French class in high school lasted an hour a day for our entire youth, we were forced to do two things,  conjugate every verb on the planet and read the book,  “La Dynamite”.   ‘La Dynamite’ was about these guys who had to transport TNT over an old logging road to get to the job site.  The previous drivers died on the way because the truck hit a pothole and the TNT exploded.   

One fall day my wife and I found ourselves driving home with two pet carriers full of  skunks in our back seat.   Yes we were holding our breath for fear of setting one or all of them off.    Sparrow the wild life rehabilitator promised they would not spray.  I wasn’t sure how she could make such a promise, after all they are wild skunks, but she promised and we trusted.  Sparrow failed to mention, (and we didn’t know enough to ask) that skunks stink even when they don’t spray.  

With the windows open and the air cranked, we cringed at every stop light, turn and bump on the road.  As the skunks chattered away in the back seat I thought about those two guys in ‘La Dynamite’ and really, they were idiots! Why the heck didn’t they just keep the blasting caps separated from the TNT?  

 

  

 

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Standing in the parking lot at the grocery store in Phillipsburg my wife announced that she was ready for a kitten (see Fate Or Circumstance, Part 1) and I rebutted that I wanted a dog. Who knew it was a magical parking lot? 

August of Nine years ago we were still trying to find a home for Husky when the Trouble began!

We were just about to take our exit off the highway when my wife yelled, KITTEN! I pointed the car to the shoulder of the road, hit the brakes then checked the rearview mirror. “Where is the kitten?” I asked as we got out of the car.

“Over in the bushes on the other side of the road”

 “sigh”

Just as home is always up hill, everything else seems to be on the other side of the highway.  Sure enough I looked at where she was pointing and there the kitten sat meowing bloody murder.  Our experience has been that when you approach cats on the side of the road they tend to turn and run, so the plan was simple, I would head around on the diagonal and try to loop around behind while my wife took the direct approach.  I went my way, my wife waited a beat and went her way.  The kitten had plans of its own and made a direct charge across the road into my wife’s arms and promptly bit her on the wrist.  If cats could talk this one would have been telling us. ‘What the hell took you so freakin’ long!’ We made sure none of his litter mates were hanging around and then headed home.

From day one the cat was trouble and was so named.  He didn’t get along well with others,  he was strong, he was ornery and he was not afraid to use his teeth and claws.  This one we were definitely adopting out.  When adopting out an animal our first priority of course is to find a good home.  There is no use placing an animal in an environment that isn’t better than the previous situation.  We were starting to realize Trouble was going to be a difficult case.  There is no doubt that he would take one bite out of somebody and he would find himself back on the wrong side of the door.  It made sense that this was how he first wound up on the side of the road.  We took him to our trusty vet Lee and there were no parasites, no worms, not a tick or flea to be found.  Somebody probably decided that he was just too much to handle and had recently dumped him.

Trouble was a pain in the ass, because of that he spent most of his nights locked in the bathroom, otherwise around two in the morning we would all pay the price.  The other ‘problem’ was he could charm the pants off the devil.  Didn’t matter how scared our arms and hands were from his scratching or how sleep deprived we were from his night time antics,  it didn’t matter how he would torment the other cats all he had to do was turn on his charm and your heart melted. 

At four months old Trouble weighed in at five pounds and to the relief of all our vet agreed to have him neutered.  Nine years later Trouble weighs in at 18 pounds of solid muscle.

I admit we didn’t look too hard to find Trouble a home.  First because of his disposition most sane people would have booted him out the door.  Second, Trouble just has that certain charm. While he has calmed down some he can still raise a little hell.  Not long ago we added Gumdrop (our latest cat) into the mix and for months Trouble would simply not let Gumdrop on the floor!

Obviously it all worked out and some might accuse me of anthropomorphism but I think Trouble appreciates the fact that we love him for who he is and on his terms.  Every night after my wife and I settle into bed Trouble runs up between us for his nightly hug and then heads to the foot of the bed where he sleeps curled up behind my knees.

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