Sunday, November 13, 2011

Farm Dogs

We have five dogs here at Calamity Acres, and sometimes it seems like four too many.  I have always loved dogs, and though we had them as a girl (mainly because I begged so much), they were "outside" dogs, who led solitary lives in our fenced back yard. 

We started out with Oscar, the Min Pin.  Oscar was a pistol, he had legs of steel, and could jump three feet straight up in the air.  We had to spell the word "walk" because he would go berserk when he heard it.  He literally pulled Keith off his feet on an icy sidewalk one day, taking off.  He was hard to keep in the yard in Leavenworth  because of his jumping ability, and when he was loose, almost impossible to catch until he wanted to come home. 

Sadly, Oscar, who loved this farm, was killed when the front gate was left open one night.  He chased a truck up the fenceline, out the gate, and was hit and killed.  He is buried under a tree in our yard.

While Oscar was still alive, we found Ranger in the countryside, starving, and sick.  Keith gathered him up in his arms, put him in the van, and brought him home.  After we treated a severe ear infection for months, he gained his health and has been our happy, brave protector ever since. Now he is 8, as far as we can tell, and is on daily medication for his bad hips and rear legs.

Here is our Brave Protector playing with his food.

We stop this broadcast to announce that Keith has just come in from the yard to tell me Lilly went on point, then ran as fast as she could to the pasture gate near the chicken yard.  He let her in and she treed two big possums on the fence between the two yards.  He asked me if he should kill them, and I reluctantly told him yes.  We DO have a haveaheart trap, but we have now had four possums in the last three weeks after our birds.  I hope it's not a precursor for the winter months.

We don't condone killing just to kill.. and would trap these if we had the time to take care of them tomorrow.... unfortunately, we don't.  I am tired, though, of finding headless chickens, when I worked so hard this summer to care for them and keep them alive in the heat. 

Lilly came to us after Oscar died.  I actually set out to find another German Shepherd, because Ranger had turned out to be such a fine boy.  We went to the Leavenworth City Animal Shelter, because we had lived near it and took paper to them.  They had a nice young German Shepherd female there.  We did not want to breed... we just liked the dogs.  While there, a small red puppy ambled over to Keith and laid her head on his foot. 

Here she is in her favorite porch chair. 

Lilly is the only one of our dogs who went to Obediance Training, because she has tried to be the Dominant One here since she came home.  She had Ranger cowed within a day, and still has him cowed.  She is the Boss Dog.  She sometimes tries to be boss with us, but we don't take any sass from her.  She fears the squirt bottle, which is a good thing.  We have to watch Gertie around her, because Gertie is so brave she would take Lilly on, to her own danger.

People are afraid of Ranger because he's loud and a German Shepherd, but this is the one they should be afraid of.

She's also our intrepid Possum Hunter... Possums Zero, Lilly Four. 

And this was our sweet little Addie Mae, our first pug.  We lost her in March of 2010 to a heart attack.  She was a loving, sweet little girl, also from Leavenworth Animal Control.  She had a surgery the week we brought her home, and we think now she was never really well, and that maybe was the reason she was put out on the street.  We had two wonderful years with her, and she rests now under Beau's tree in our pasture.

So when you have one pug, you must have another... and hence, Hannah, adopted from Second Chance.  Hannah, one of five pugs orphaned where their human mama died of cancer, came to us already mostly blind.  We have loved having her... she is now eight or nine, and completely blind.  Addie Mae and Hannah bonded completely, and were very close sisters.

You can see here that we are struggling with Hannah's left eye, now with glaucoma.  Dr. Tom told us yesterday that it does not seem to be causing much pain yet, but it is surely painful to look at.  I am putting three different kinds of drops in it daily. 

This was taken this afternoon.

Yes, it hurts me to look at it, too.  It looks especially bad right now.
Hannah had just had her dinner, and had cottage cheese all over her chin... we mix some cottage cheese with her soft dog food so she'll get as much down as she can.  We carry her to the deck to go potty, but we encourage her to walk as much as she can indoors, so that her bowels keep moving.  We do have to bring water to her, too.  She is getting along all right at the moment, but we watch carefully for signs of suffering.  She is the dearest little dog, and this next girl stepped in after we lost Addie Mae, and adopted Hannah immediately, as if she knew.

Here is Abby meeting Lilly Horse.  Abby also came to us from Second Chance Pet Adoptions. They are a wonderful organization that operates here in the Metro Area.  Abby is the one dog I trust around the chickens... she makes it her business to check the henhouse out and does not hurt the birds. She's my official Farm Dog.

And finally... we have

Gert the Squirt.

Gertie Lou, the smallest of all the dogs, was passed from family to family before us.  We adore this little dog, who is, ounce for ounce as brave as Lilly Ann.  She is so brave that we have to be careful that she doesn't get herself into trouble.  She is also the cuddler... she likes to be the heat-seeking missile at night, and tunnel under the covers to curl up at our sides.  She is a chicken chaser, but not a chicken killer, and I swear she was ready to go through the partly-opened window and attack the intruder who came here last summer during the night.  I feel safe with her at hand, though her size is small, her courage is mighty.

Today, while Keith worked on roofing for the new henhouse, Abby and Gertie began tunneling under the larger of our two storage buildings.  We know something has denned under them, the openings they are going through are plain to see... and we suspect oppossums, because Lil makes it her point to guard these buildings.  Abby literally was ready to tunnel under there and find out... and though I laughed, Keith stopped me, stopped THEM, and then turned around and said to me:

"I don't want ANYTHING to happen to my little girls!"

'Nuff said!


  1. I love it!!!I also love dogs, they made me feel happy everyday. Thank you for sharing this one.

  2. I love your blog Mary Ann. There is never a dull moment at Calamity Acres. Mary G.

  3. So many lucky dogs to have such a good home! Your German Shepherd looks a lot like our Baron did. He was such a good and smart dog. We miss him! Our next GS was called Harley, he was a sweet dog but never grew up. He always acted like a puppy and tried to crawl into my lap all the time or jump up on me. He was just too big for that! Since he passed, we haven't had a dog. We have a house cat and she's a handful!

  4. We have four???.......All rubbish at Security!Lol

  5. doesn't everyone have multiple dogs????here we have, Camille, Hunter, Trevor, Tatter, Tazzy - all cockers... then Ginger (golden) service puppy in training, Edgar (Lab) service puppy dropped from program and waiting a new home.. and Hank (cocker) foster dog for cocker rescue - also waiting for a new home... :) I just sort of thought that was "normal".......

  6. Love the photo of the horse and dog together.


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