"Wholesome." This should be a word used to describe bread. Not women.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tuesday evening, January 22, PCHS received a call from the Sheriff's Department requesting assistance at a home just outside of Dixon where an individual has passed away and there were numerous dogs on the property. Upon arriving we found several dozen dogs, along with an elderly gentleman who was mourning the passing of his wife earlier that afternoon. It was after dark by this time and quite a ways down a country road, the dogs were scattered about the 4+ acre property making it impossible to get an accurate count of the dogs at that time. We left the property with 8 puppies that evening with the promise to return the next day to better assess the situation. Volunteers have been there every day since that time helping care for and remove the dogs, along with clean up and repairs to the gentleman's property to make his living conditions more tolerable. By my current count, we are at 35 dogs. Eight recently weaned puppies went into a foster home the first evening, three went to LPAC, three went to Waynesville Animal Shelter, one expecting pups at any moment went to TASTC in Houston, four went to three local foster homes, twelve went to one local foster home and at least four are still on the property. All of these dogs need vetting, ranging from regular vaccinations, worming and spay/neuters, to treatment of mange, along with eye and skin infections, etc. Vetting costs at this time are expected to exceed $3,000, which does not include the cost of food, or any other supplies needed to care for these dogs while they are readied for adoption. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Feelings on Horse Slaughter and a Triute to an Old Friend

I've been hearing a lot of different ideas and opinions about the horse meat industry trying to set up shop here in Missouri. I'll be the first to admit that my thoughts are clouded with emotion when it comes to this topic. Please let me tell you why.

In the summer of 1989, I turned 9 years old and met Shawna. She was a 19 year old, sorrel mare who was literally skin and bones. Shawna was inbetween being purchased by a horse dealer and being resold again at auction. My family and I were told by the horse dealer that he'd rather sell her because her fate  was to become "dog food" if she did not find a loving home. My mom told him that the loving home would be ours! And so began some of the most magical and wonderful moments of my young life.
Shawna was the perfect kids horse. Once we got her up to her fighting weight she would do just about anything for us. I was a dark haired, freckle faced, "Punky Brewster" looking little girl.
I always felt chubby and awkward  but atop my sorrel mare I became the woman in the maxi pad commercial on the beach, bareback, wind in my hair!
One time when I was a boy crazy 11 year old I took Shawna to the river. Everyone was
out that hot summer day relaxing in the water, swimming and playing. I was the only
one there on horseback. Naturally the kids (I mostly noticed the  boys) were pointing at me and excited to see a horse. This encouraged the show off in me.
Shawna and I raced up the bank putting on quite a show. She trotted through the knee deep water on the river's edge picking her feet up in an exotic prance (or at least that's how I remember it). Caught up in the show I was giving to all (your welcome) I missed the fact that Shawna had taken a pretty large... let's call it "horse-sized" dump. This dump was bobbing up and down in the water following the current. The only thing that could have brought my attention to this and away from my performance was the screaming mothers. They were frantically picking lawn chairs and babies up out of the water and running for dry land. Shawna and I made a glorious galloping exit that day. She always had a way of making me feel special but keeping me humble.
My favorite memory of Shawna was laying on her back in the sunshine finding pictures in the clouds while she chomped on grass, unbridled in our yard. She was as trustworthy as a horse could possibly be. Her nose was as soft as the petals of a rose and she had huge, honest brown eyes.
When I was around the age of 16, my beautiful friend's health started to fail her. Her teeth were worn away next to nothing and she had started to lose weight even though the grass was high. The day the vet came to put her to sleep, my little sister and I braided blue corn flowers all throughout  her mane and tail. She looked beautiful though her body was roughly in the same shape as the day we saved her from the auction house. The vet who put her to sleep was a huge trucker type of a man. He looked tough but I remember his eyes welled up as my sister and I begged him to take care of our horse. We couldn't bare to stay and watch him inject her but I knew from the gentle way he laid his hands on her  that he would be kind.
It was a dignified way for Shawna to leave this world. When I think of horse slaughter I picture the one we saved and the way she died. I think about the fear she never had to experience of being loaded into mass transport and being lead down a conveyer belt to die. When people tell me that I'm just being emotional I agree with them. Love is emotional. I loved Shawna and she created within me a love and repect for all horses.

The Breakout Steer

The love I have for my pet steer is endless, even though he wonders if  'the grass is greener on the other side.' Simon has broken numerous fences and in his younger years he even escaped through and under barbed wire. This has always resulted in some sort of embarrassing catastrophe for me.
When my sweet, bottle feeding steer was about one week old I would take him for strolls around our big back yard. My neighbors are all Black Angus ranchers and I'm sure that they all thought I had to be nuts. I dressed him up in my husband's Army jackets and some home made legwarmers to confirm it. Back to the story though. I was walking Simon in the yard and had all of the gates shut so I thought it would be a good time to let him run and play.
I unhooked his lead rope and without hesitation, my little, furry baby cow ran under my barbed wire fence and between the wires of my neighbor's fence into their pasture. My heart was in my throat as I chased my beloved new pet across fences and feilds, in monkey print pajamas and fuzzy bath slippers. I could not find him. Breathless, wild haired, and paniced I was forced to knock on my neighbors' door. The reaction to my frantic pleas for help was to double over in laughter. They put on the appropriate clothes for that fall day and helped me find my little run away, who was hiding inbetween some round bales.
A more recent escape attempt took place in the middle of the day this summer. I was painting the interior of our home when the troubled cries of my 10 year old peirced my ears. "Simon is in the road, Mom!" This time I was in socks, a painters outfit and bandana, chasing my 1200 lb jersey steer down the busy road. The only way Simon could be pursuaded to come home and abandon his adventure was for me to shake a bucket of range cubes and holler, "Simon, want a cookie?"
The reaction to those 4 magical words is always the same. Simon will come running. He will be determined. He will be like Cookie Monster, cow style and he will run right over the top of you if you don't immediately set the cookies down. Well, I was in the middle of the road in socks, shaking the cookie jar. I saw it in his cartoon-wide and wild eyes, he was coming for me. The chasee became the chaser and I booked it far enough into my drive that I could close the gate while he ate his treats. That was the first time he broke the fence.
Simon has broken many more fences since that day. This summer has been the summer of fence mending. Finally, my husband and I decided to replace the old fence along the road to avert any immediate danger. Simon was happy to help. We drove the lawn mower up and down the feild with all of our tools in it while we made repairs. He walked along with us and stuck his nose in everything. He loves to be with us and loves being brushed, scratched, petted and loved on. When this doesn't happen he gets into trouble. He breaks fences and eats things he shouldn't.
When we were distracted with wiring and post driving, Simon stole the keys out of the lawn mower. By the time I looked back from what I was doing, he had my key chain all the way into his greedy, whiskery mouth. The keys were just dangling there. I barely saved the beeper locker thing from being slimed. Bad cow, Simon. I retrieved my keys and we got back to work, which was not what Simon had in mind.
I heard this god awful choking noise and Simon was making a funny face. We ran over to him, and he spit out a work glove, completely covered in slimey Simon spit. It's like having another toddler! We finally have the repairs done to our fence. Lately Simon has been a pretty good boy. No new escapes to report, but I'm always ready for the next adventure with my beloved bovine.

Foster Mom

Good-morning! I've been drinking my morning Cup(s) of Joe while having my pant leg chewed on by a 3 lb, black and tan bundle of holy terror. Or, as his adoption profile will read, a feisty and energetic little darling! Aren't all puppies? I just have one foster puppy right now, which is a nice and easy addition to my four rescued dogs. He came from a deplorable situation, as many foster animals do. When he was brought to me, he had fleas, worms and skin issues. It's often the foster parent's job to mend and heal. Some of the neediest animals I've ever had have been my favorite rescues. There is something really magical about being able to see an animal transform from weak and ill, to healthy, feisty and energetic, like the little puppy who is now asleep on my lap. Another magical transformation: He went from evil to angel in roughly 2 minutes!
To foster for Pulaski County Humane Society, first you must inquire at petfinder.pchs@gmail.com or leave a message at 573-774-0067. You will be asked what sort of situation you'd like to assist with; puppies, kittens, pregnant animals, adult animals, etc. It won't take long for you to be able to help. There are many destitute animals on a waiting list and more that come in via emergency situations. The more foster families we have, the more animals we save. There are constant opportunities to do good.
This Spring I was called to assist with a large group of puppies whose mother had died giving birth. I took 3 for around the clock bottle feeding. Every time I bottle feed an animal, it's like starting over from scratch. Getting the baby to take to the nipple or syringe is always a challenge. Those little puppies ran into a few problems along the way. I thought at one point I was going to lose one or maybe even all of them. Best Friends Animal Hospital helped sort out their belly troubles. Sometimes a simple issue creates a huge problem. For those little puppies, a change in formula remedied upset tummies and bloody poos.
It was a very stressful time for me, because while I stayed up and fed them every hour, my youngest (1 year old) daughter was having some serious tummy issues of her own. I was not only changing puppy bedding, but also washing baby sheets throughout the night. When you take on the responsibility of puppies, you have to be ready for anything but this turned into too much for me. My daughter needed multiple trips to the doctor and even the emergency room during this time. I got the puppies through the first few difficult weeks of their lives, until they weaned from the bottle. With all that was going on, I was finally ready to throw the towel in and place them in a new home. I called one of the ladies who is heavily involved in the Humane Society for help. She immediately got to work on my behalf and found another rescue friend to take the pups for me. I could now care for my baby, uninterrupted. Another part of rescue, is the amazing people you meet and quickly grow to love. We all network to help each other.
My daughter was later diagnosed with severe food allergies and those puppies went on to find wonderful homes. The woman who took them provided them with foster home #2 and saved my sanity, allowing us to visit them before their final send off. We always get attached and good-byes are always difficult. It's knowing that what we do makes their lives better and sometimes, even possible, that makes it all worth it. I've had so many great experiences as a rescuer. You fall in love with the animals and all of the wonderful, generous people who come together to make a difference for those who depend on human kindness.

I often think of the community of caring people I've been blessed to be a part of. We all come from different walks of life. Some of us are educators, some 'stay at home moms', some truck drivers and some, soldiers. The thing that ties us all together is the inner connection we all made at some point in our lives to animals. I don't think I'd be happy without the mountains of dog hair on the floor, that repeatedly send me into an irrational, furious dance with the vacuum cleaner. I don't think I'd be happy without the muddy footprints or the weekend wake-up calls from my dogs needing to go outside. How could I be happy without my 4 dogs dragging me along on walks while I push my double stroller? I'd just miss that horrendous breath, coming in waves of torturous heat, while I lay on the floor with them and my kids, giving belly rubs and tickles, while we all giggle (the dogs too, in their own way).
I love my rescue dogs! My little corgi/pitbull mix, Jelly Bean, can add humor to any situation with her Cheshire grin. She greets all people at the "sit pretty' position. I never trained her to do this, she was just made to be adorable. She came from an animal shelter in HI, where she was dumped, after living for 2 yrs with a homeless person on the beach. Ziggy, my black Shepard mix, lays his head on my lap, only to stare up at me with the most imploring golden eyes. He is very possessive of me, and will playfully chase away the other dogs if he is in the middle of being loved on. He "speaks" like Chewbaca, and he pounces toward you like a cat if you call him. He came from a kill shelter just before his time was up. Samson, my Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, is in constant wiggle mode. He won't hold his head still while you pet him. My husband insists that he is "petting you back." He was found living under a dumpster with his litter mates. He survived Parvo after his rescue. Then there is Petey, my oldest daughter's chihuahua mix. Petey is the fattest chihuahua ever. Because he is the quickest and smallest of my dogs, he is always the first under the dining table. We've had him on multiple diets but Petey's appetite cannot be suppressed. He always finds a way to maintain his voluptuous figure! He was brought to us originally as a foster dog. He had been abandoned with several other small dogs when a family had their house foreclosed. The people who left the dogs told the neighbors to use them for "target practice."
Only one of my dogs' ownership was intentional. That was Samson who we rescued in Hawaii at a shelter I volunteered for. Petey, Jelly Bean, and Ziggy are all what the rescue world calls "foster failures." Sometimes when you foster, you fail as a temporary home, and become a permanent family.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Banana Icecream

Freeze your extra ripe, or even regular ripe bananas.
Thaw slightly and peel.
Blend until smooth in blender.
Add 1tsp vanilla.. or more/less to taste.
Add Baker's chocolate (it's vegan) chunks, strawberries, blueberries.... get creative :)

Easy!! Stuffed Peppers

5 Green Peppers
Your favorite boxed Spanish Rice
1 Can of Vegetarian refried beans
1 cup chopped veggies (I used summer squash)

Cut the top of the peppers in a circle, pop the "lid" out, and seed/cut out the entrails (hehe)
Prepare rice according to instructions. When it's time to simmer rice, add chopped veggies and cover.
Meanwhile, plop refried beans into peppers, so that entire can is used.
When rice is done cooking, stuff into peppers. Top with little pepper lids (the top portion you cut off)
Place peppers into olive oil coated pan, and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until bottom of peppers are forkable.
Serve with salsa.

It's summer time, and the livin's easy

I finally gave into becoming a (mostly-it's hard to know sometimes) Vegan, after almost 20 years of Vegetarian life. The book, "The Kind Diet," by Alicia Silverstone, wrapped my pre-existing ideas and thoughts into one pretty package. The bow on top was Simon.

Simon is a 2 year old Jersey/Holstein Steer, whom I rescued from becoming veal at the ripe old age of 3 days. He came into my life and my heart, via the hatchback of my husband's Scion XB. (His car smelled like a petting zoo for weeks.) My intentions were to keep Simon forever but when I became pregnant with Rowen, he was in his adolescence and very playful. For a pregnant woman, this also meant he became dangerous.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by him and the horse that we had rescued who had big vet bills. (She was 20 yrs old and had the equivalent of human asthma) A friend in animal rescue, who owned and operated a sanctuary offered to take both animals. Our verbal agreement was that she would return them if she ever was unable to care for them, that they would remain in the sanctuary for the rest of their days and that Simon would never be slaughtered. She was even kind enough to tell me that I could have them back, if after the baby was born, I changed my mind.

To make a very long, sad, frustrating story short, this woman lied to me repeatedly. She either sold or gave (I have no idea because her stories always changed) Simon away to a rancher who lives 400 miles from here. Most of my spring/summer was spent worrying and trying to get him back.

Well, he's back! It cost us $400 and a lot of heart ache but my ridiculous pet is home.