The Search Goes On…


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original dogs…

As I am still looking for a companion for my little Dachshund, Ginnie, the loner and only female in the group, I decided to head to the three different Dog Rescues that I tend to visit on a periodic basis.

The first and furthest away is in Bastrop, a distance of 38 miles from my house. That is the same place that I got Mikey although at the time, his name was Charlie. It doesn’t seem to matter what I call him as he only comes when he feels like it. Actually, that is not really true as when I am out in the yard and working around the ponds, he is usually no more than a couple of steps away. Only if Ginnie starts to bark at something which she is prone to do, will he tear off at top speed to help her investigate whatever she was barking at.

I walked around the kennels at the Bastrop Rescue, many of which are empty as they are not inundated with dogs at this time. I did not see one Great Pyrenees and that has to be a first as usually, there are 2-3 of them. In the small dogs, they had a few mixed breeds and Chihuahuas, several of which were either males and/or in pairs. I didn’t see a single female that I thought would be a good companion for Ginnie.

My next stop was at the Austin Animal Shelter on Levander Loop which is the biggest of all of the places I visit. They had a lot of little dogs of all breeds and shapes and sizes but many had adopted stickers or were males. None of them said to me, “Take me home”.

My final stop was  at Austin Pets Alive in Tarrytown which is a little different than most shelters. It has four different areas all one after the other where they house the dogs several to an area. As these areas are adjoining, it is always a noisy place to visit as one barking dog sets off the rest of them. Again, these are all small dogs of different mixed breeds and varieties with Chihuahuas being the predominant strain and again, very few were female. So, very reluctantly, I left and made my way home wishing that that I was filthy rich and could give all of the dogs that I had seen today, a permanent place to call home.

Next week, I will take a drive to Georgetown, the place where I got Gizzy, just in case another small female dog is there and looking for a home.

Written 8/26/2018

Mikey the Comforter…


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Mikey looking very bright

When will it end you may well ask
working on yet another task
there is more work for me to do
why me, he exclaimed, I haven’t a clue
there was I just doing my thing
not bothering anyone in my dream
and all of a sudden and before my eyes
this shape began to materialize
not one I recognized straight away
or that I had seen on a different day
a brand new shape unknown to me
struggling like it was breaking free
ready to jump into my brain
and never to appear again
with blazing eyes and claws so strong
looking like it did not belong
in anything alive on this earth
and yet in its own familiar way
I thought I recognized what it did say
with its barks and growls and loud howls
and scratching claws and licking tongue
and wagging tail swishing in fun
and then I awoke only to find
that Mikey, my dog was what I had seen
and asleep and drifting in my dream
I had called out and thrashed around in my sleep
getting Mikey excited from his place near my feet
with his barks and his cries all for the sake
to bring me back to this place and awake
away from the demons that had me secured
dreaming of things that are totally weird
he licked my face and calmed me down
as if to say don’t be a clown
sleep peaceful now and I will watch
and make sure that your sleep is not lost
for nothing will get to you today
not while I am here to stay
I patted Mikey on the head
and turned back over and instead
of going back to sleep again
thought about how it’s not the same
to dream of monsters when I was a kid
and have my Mother stroke my head
and tell me everything’s OK
tomorrow is another day
instead I settle for a wet nose
and a cuddle as he moves in close
from Mikey as I close my eyes
and into a deep sleep did slide.

Written 8/25/2018

My Little Dog


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original dogs…

I lost one of my dogs today
she was not there in time to play
she had her shots the day before
and I knew she was a little sore
I watched her wander out into the yard
and settle down on the deck so hard
I thought she would probably sleep for a while
from soreness to be free
when I looked up she was gone
and I hadn’t seen her go
so I walked out into the yard
and started searching high and low
calling her name again and again
in an all to familiar refrain
Ginnie, Ginnie-Girl, I called
where are you was the cry
but true to form no sound was borne
no barks or whines leaving me forlorn
I searched and searched in the hope
of finding a trace  of my little girl
I searched for an hour or maybe two
but ended up with nary a clue
and then I heard a familiar bark
as Mikey found something new
he had not helped to show the way
to find his buddy with whom he plays
but his bark brought another too
as Ginnie answered in a muffled tone
so I figured that under the deck
she had manage to crawl all alone
although I really haven’t a clue
where she found the entrance to
for I thought that I had blocked it all up
so that the dogs would not venture there
for fear that the snakes would find it cool
and a place to shelter without fear
I took down a piece of the lattice to see
if my little girl would come to me
but she ignored my plea to come
and left me standing all alone
wondering just what was the next move
I would have to crawl in there I supposed
and then I turned only to see
my little girl walking free
limping a little from yesterdays shots
feeling sorry for herself for getting lost
as I made a fuss helped a little in part
by Mikey, tail wagging, adding his bark.

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Mikey looking very bright

Written 8/14/2018

The News is Bad…


redwolf1

Red Wolf

It seems to me like every day
when I check the mail in my usual way
to see what has changed in this ongoing fight
to prevent this world from disappearing from sight
at least the contents of the world
the animals and birds whose fate is unfurled
as day by day something else is news
and another species lives are reviewed
as being dispensable in the name of greed
as someone figures that to succeed
they must change the land that has been decreed
to protect an endangered species whose needs
have already been put on the list
that without protection they will not exist
and yet even though they will be gone
greed for many is very strong
and to take the land to make a buck
leaves the animals and birds out of luck
the almighty dollar rules this land
to amass a fortune things are planned
that do not consider the impact they say
too bad for the wildlife that gets in the way
and the fact that extinction for many is real
these people for animals do not relate
any empathy and they may even hate
the fact that the species was already aligned
for thousands of years in the annals of time
long before man walked on this earth
to spread his will on the land and make it his worth
Man will destroy the very world that he claims
too late will he realize that to further his aims
as he poisons the air and water and land
at the end of it all what will he have planned
what good will money and gold be then
as the Earth will be just a desolate waste
and Man a memory just drifting in space.

Prompted by the news that there are only 40 Red Wolves left in the wild in Eastern Carolina and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 90 percent reduction in the land available for red wolf recovery in eastern North Carolina. This area supports the last wild population of red wolves. And worse, the proposal would allow private landowners free reign to shoot any red wolves that wander across their property.

Sometimes, I am truly ashamed to be born a human.

Written 6/28/2018

 

 

Rattlesnake Deterrent?



Mikey in front and Gizmo behind.

I had reason to take one of my latest adoptees, Gizmo, to the vets both as an introductory event and also to treat him for what appeared to be blindness in his left eye. He had woken up that morning with the eye totally covered just as though he had cataracts which immediately had me hit the panic button.

A quick phone call and I was on my way to the Vet’s fearing the worst. My particular Vet is a younger guy who has been attending to my animals ever since he joined the Clinic several years ago. We have developed a good relationship and he is never too busy to chat to me about this and that regarding the pets. He has also been the bearer of bad news several times over these past few years when when one or the other has passed on, usually overnight. He is well used to my crying into the phone as I always get upset. The last of these was Petey who died of Heartworm that affected his heart.

The last addition, Pete

On this particular occasion he did not think it a very big deal and explained that for some reason, Gizzy had a pus build up in his eye. He ran a few tests and came back and explained to me what he thought it was and then disappeared to complete his diagnosis. Before he went, I talked to him about an Anti Rattlesnake Injection and he reappeared with the required syringe and phial and proceeded to give Gizzy a shot. I paid for the visit and the prescribed medicines and was reminded to bring Gizzy back in five weeks for a Anti Rattlesnake booster shot.

This was one of the nicer times when I came home with the dog I took in, alive and kicking but it got me thinking about Rattlesnakes. Those of you that follow my stories are well aware of how we lost Richie to a Rattlesnake in my own backyard and worse yet, from under the workshop, last August. I blamed myself following that incident for not cleaning out all of the junk that had accumulated under the shed or at the very least blocking it off to prevent the dogs from getting under there. As usual hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Time passed and being the great healer that it is, plus acquiring two more dogs to keep Ginnie company, blocking off the shed sort of slipped to a back burner and was added to the never ending list of projects, real or imagined. However, it was brought back into focus really quickly when I went out to investigate what all of the ruckus was about with Gizmo and Mikey both under the shed and barking up a storm. Their barks however, were not of the panicky kind that Richie displayed whenever he accosted an animal or snake in his backyard and was hell bent on eradicating them from his world. These were the sort of barks reserved for the discovery usually by scent, of a mouse or a rat that they knew were there but were out of reach. When I lay on the ground to take a look for myself, I could not see anything that was cause for alarm.

However, that did remind me that I needed to make that area more secure and prevent the dogs from getting under the shed. I knew I could not stop the snakes or any other small wildlife from doing whatever they wanted to do and going wherever they could get and my easiest course of action was to prevent the dogs from getting where I did not want them.

I really didn’t want to enclose all around the entire shed as it was a lot of work. I know as I had just replaced the skirt boards on three sides. I got me thinking about the best way to handle the situation and then it occurred to me that I already had the sides blocked off and all I had to do was block off the front area under the small deck. On the left facing the shed, I already have a pair of wooden doors that shuts off that side of the shed completely. On the right, I have the fenced in area that I use for storage and the compost heap. Both of these are absolutely small dog proof and even Mikey who is a prodigious jumper can’t clear the fence or gate to get in.

Without further ado, I unscrewed several of the deck boards attached to the workshop so that I could get to the area and proceeded to get to work. I had several pieces of the plastic lattice which is easy to work and cut and fitted the stuff in and around the different obstructions that always seem to be in the way on any of these sort of projects. I was in no hurry and spread the work out over a couple of days stopping for a cuppa when I felt like it or even making a fuss of the dogs as they came by. Mikey likes to help which mostly consists of just getting in the way but I do relish his company. Gives me someone to talk to and reminds me a little of Richie.

I finished the project and feel much better that we have shut off one of the several different areas around the garden that snakes and such can crawl (or is the word slither?). That does give the dogs a fighting chance of at least sighting the snake before it strikes which was not the case with Richie. Whether they will run away or stand and bark remains to be seen and of course, it all depends on the snakes. A hot dry summer and they may well be in because of the proximity of the water in the ponds. BTW, I do not kill the snakes but try to “persuade” them to leave usually with the use of a water hose. Whether I would have killed the snake that got Richie, I don’t know how to answer that as I don’t know what my reactions would have been. As it was, I was more concerned in getting him to the Vet’s. I didn’t see that Rattler and to date have yet to see one either in the garden or in the wild even on all of the hikes that I do. Plenty of Tree snakes and Water snakes but no Rattlers or any others of the poisonous variety.

Oh yes, when I take Gizzie back for the booster shot, the other two dogs will also go with him to start their Anti Rattlesnake Series. Such is the life of a dog owner in Texas.

Written 5/9/2018

Working on the shed
Richie and the Snake.
More Sadness

 

My Three Dogs


Ginny the new girl

Ginny, the last one remaining of the original pack…

Those of you that have been following my blogs for a while know that I recently have had some losses on the pet scene, much more than I ever dreamed would happen so close together. My large population of pets, both cats and dogs, some through old age and others through acts of nature was depleted down to Ginnie, the stuck up little Mini Dachshund. I was able to increase those numbers with the addition of Mikey who I adopted from the Bastrop Animal Shelter who was also the subject of a previous blog. You can read about him at this link.

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The new little boy, Mikey

I was still on the lookout for at least one more addition to the pack and spent some time touring the different Animal Shelters around the area and finally found what I was looking for in the shape of a Yorkie. He was already spoken for when I was at the Shelter and another family was also checking him out but they decided that he was not the right dog for them. I spent some time with him and then put my name down on the list just in case he didn’t work out with the other adopters.

Less than a week later, I received a call from the Shelter asking if I still wanted him as he had been returned back to the Shelter. I immediately jumped in my truck and made the 40 mile drive back to Georgetown to pick up our new addition. The Shelter people told me that his name was Charlie and/or Gizmo as he answered to both. They fitted me up with a collar and leash and his own special food plus a couple of squeaky toys, one as big as the dog and with him sitting on my lap, we were on our way.

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Gizmo

True to form, Ginnie tried very hard to ignore the new addition preferring instead to go back to bed. Mikey, on the other hand was overjoyed at having another little male dog that he could play with. I forgot to mention that Gizmo, as that is what we settled on, is also 10 years old and is pretty energetic for an older guy and in no time flat had acclimatized himself to the garden although he didn’t quite know what to make of the ponds. Turns out he is house trained and it only took him a couple of days to figure out the doggy door although sometimes especially at night, he will stand and whine to be let out even though he is right next to the aforementioned door. So I let him out and he has no trouble coming back in through the doggy door. Go figure.

So now we are at three with room for at least one more, preferably a female Dachshund. Both Ginnie and Gizmo are a bit careful around Mikey as he is a little on the rambunctious side. He is a little bigger than both of them but is also only a couple of years old and has way too much energy. He tends to do everything at top speed which is not the other two’s style. Apart from that, things seem to be working out just fine. They have each got their allotted spot on the King Size bed at night with Ginnie having the prime spot right next to me under the covers, Mikey curled up against my feet and Gizmo off to one side surrounded by a half dozen squeaky toys and a host of half eaten chew sticks.

Today, I took Gizmo to the the Groomers for his first haircut since moving in with us. Haircuts are not something that I have had to worry about these past few years since Mini and Manley both passed on. After the two of them, it has been short haired Dachshunds and Chihuahua’s that hardly shed at all but both Mikey and Gizmo are going to need to be trimmed periodically to keep them looking sharp and to stay clean (sortof).

Below is a picture of Gizmo after his haircut. You can now even see his eyes.

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Gizmo after his haircut

Dogs, Man’s best friend and companion since time immemorial over all others including wives and members of the opposite sex.  How can you not help but love them.

Written 3/27/2018

Thoughts About Dogs


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The new little boy, Mikey

Following the death of my fat little Chihuahua, Pete from untreated heart worm caused by his previous owner not taking the necessary precautions, I spent most of the week visiting many of the Animal Shelters around Austin including the one at Bastrop.

I was looking for a small dog of any breed that would keep Ginny  and me company. Not that she really cares that much as she spends most of her days under the covers of my bed, fast asleep in a world all of her own. Occasionally, she rushes out through the doggie door to do her business and if the weather is warm, she may stay outside for a couple of hours or more. Her favorite spot is at the bottom of the garden, sitting in the grass, warming in the sun and barking at anything that moves on the other side of the fence. When she does come back in, she heads straight for the bed again and disappears under the covers. Not exactly what you might call a companionable dog. She interacts with other dogs only when she has to like warning them away from her food or treat. I love her dearly but she is not the greatest of company. This is OK with a couple of other dogs around but when she is the only one…..

When our pack was at full strength a few years ago with Manley, a male Maltese, BeBe, a female Dachshund, Minnie, a female Scottie, Danielle, a female large breed mix, Abigail, a female Dachshund, Richie, a male Dachshund and her, she fitted in just fine getting along with all of them in her own snotty way. I think that was because there were so many of them and they were all established when she arrived. BeBe, Manley, Minnie, Danielle and Abigail were all laid back and could care less about the pecking order and when Richie arrived, he quickly established himself as the leader of the pack.

Minnie and Danielle went to that Doggy Heaven in the sky  due to age related illness and Manley had a heart attack and died in my arms leaving Abigail, BeBe, Richie and Ginny three females and the Pack Leader. Disaster struck and Abigail fell into the septic tank and drowned while we were doing work on the system. BeBe wasn’t acting right so I took her to the Vet’s where she died in my arms in the waiting room leaving just Richie and Ginny. All of a sudden, my house that had been so full of dogs before was suddenly very empty and way too quiet and peaceful.

I had a neighbor call me to see if I would be willing to take another rescue, this time a fat little Chihuahua named Pete and of course I immediately agreed. As it happens both Pete and Ginny got along well with each other so the deal was done. Those of you that follow my blog are aware of the circumstances leading to Richie’s death from the rattlesnake bite and then last weekend, little Pete was struggling with his breathing and I took him to the Vet’s where he died overnight from Heartworm complications . We thought we had treated the recurring heartworm at Pete’s last physical and check up but apparently, his little heart had been damaged and just gave out.

Now that leaves Ginny who not being a super active dog, is not the best of company for either myself or herself so when Pete died, I started to look for another to fill the voids. My Neighbourhood Watch was a great place to start and I visited a couple of people with dogs that were looking for new homes for some reason or another. I took Ginny with me as she was the final test. If she didn’t like them, it didn’t matter what my feelings were as they were not coming into her house and that was that. As it happened, she didn’t approve so we were still the two of us.

I decided to visit the local shelters to see what they had to offer and what I saw made me feel very sad. All of those wonderful dogs just looking for a fresh start. They too had been dealt a raw hand (in their case, paw) in their lives and it was not their fault of their current situation.

The primary breeds in the big dogs were Pit bull or Pit bull Mix and in the small dogs, Chihuahua’s or their mix except at Bastrop where the Big Dog breed was Great Pyrenees. I was not sure if I wanted to replace both Richie, a Dachshund and Pete, a Chihuahua with another of the same breed as neither of them were replaceable in my eyes and heart. I knew that although there were so many dogs to choose from, the right one would eventually choose me.

I received a call from BJ, my very good friend who was looking at the dogs over at the Bastrop Animal Center when they had twenty eight dogs come in all at one time. She called to tell me of the new dog shipment they had received and that I should drop everything and rush on over. When I arrived, they were very busy but the Director took it upon herself to personally give me a guided tour and even though it was a bit of a mad house with the dogs being unloaded and immediately getting their shots, took the time to show me around the facility. It was not the time to be choosing a dog but from what she showed me, it looked like we might find Ginny a buddy out of this batch. The Director told me that these dogs would be available on Friday and Saturday so I told her I would be back.

Friday rolled around as it always does on a regular basis and I was at the Animal Center bright and early as soon as the doors opened. I wandered the aisles of the different kennel buildings and saw several dogs that I might be interested in. With help from one of the kennel attendants, I finally settled on a little long haired Dachshund and Chihuahua mix. The attendant carried the dog whose name was Matthew to the front whilst I went to get Ginny from the truck so they could do a meet and greet. All went well as they both more or less totally ignored each other which was good as at least they were not trying to tear each other apart.

Back at the Office, the Director helped get the paperwork done and held Ginny while I had Matthew. She followed me out to the car and we put Matthew in a crate for the ride home as I was not sure of his reactions in a truck. I made a stop at my friend BJ to show her the new puppy and she was immediately taken with the dog. We spent a couple of hours visiting and Matthew spent almost the entire time in her arms making himself right at home. I should mention that BJ had taken it upon herself to help in finding another dog and for that, I am forever grateful.

On the trip back to my house, Matthew, who previously had been very shy, sat in the front with Ginny and myself and it wasn’t long before both of them squeezed onto my lap for the ride home. At least Ginny didn’t complain or try to go after Matthew so that was a very good sign but it was a little difficult to drive.

Matthew has been renamed Mikey as I could not for the life of me remember his name and so far, has settled in nicely. Except for the occasional growl over her food bowl, Ginny has accepted Mikey as one of the family. Whether she really warms up to him time will tell but as she is not an affectionate dog by Nature, tolerance is probably the best we can hope for. Mikey has discovered that he likes to cuddle especially at night and sleeps as close to me as he can. With Ginny on the one side and Mikey on the other at least I am not cold but it is tough to roll over and as for hitting the bathroom the three or four times a night, the downside of growing old as a male, I have to be very careful when getting out of bed. I think that Mikey sees me as his knight in shining armor after rescuing him as he is never very far away from me at all times.

As for me, I think he is going to work out just fine. We have several challenges ahead like bathroom training, leash training, stop jumping and other simple commands but they will be fun and yet another challenge. Is the pack complete? Hardly as two is not a pack and I would still like to see a couple more dogs around but we can work on that in the weeks to come. Maybe there are more dogs that need rescuing and would like a home with the three of us. Not maybe, a certainty. But that is in the future.

 

You can read more about Richie at these links.
Richie and the Snake
Memories
and Pete at these links.
An Addition to the Family
More Sadness

Written 2/7/2018