Raisin’s New Life

Little by little Raisin was coming around. There’s less cowering and more tail wagging. As he started to put on some weight and feel better he became more active. He was learning how to play with his toys and harass cats a little. The weather was getting nice and he wanted to lay on the deck in the back yard while I was working. I’d check on him once in awhile and found him sunning himself. Raisin was finally starting to relax and enjoy life.

It was Memorial Day weekend 2011. It  was such a beautiful day we decided to sit on the front porch and have coffee/tea. We put the baby gate at the entrance so Raisin couldn’t get out. There was a 2 1/2′ wall on one side and the rest was fenced. He could sit out with us and enjoy the pretty morning without being on a leash. We opening the door to go out. Raisin ran out the door and came to a screeching halt at the baby gate. He looked around, quickly turned left and over the wall he went. We were in shock. How did that little sickly dog with bad legs scale that wall? Over the wall I went. Up the hill into the woods in slippers and sweats. I could hear him baying as he gained ground. I followed him thru places only a rabbit could fit. I followed his baying over the mountain, down the other side. I called and called. No use. That nose had him and wouldn’t let go. I was in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone. I was soaked and exhausted. I finally caught up with him at a small creek. I called him. He wagged his tail and took off … nose down, tail up and baying. At least he was heading toward home this time. The baying stopped and I had nothing to follow. The only thing I could do is head home and see if he showed up. I finally made it to the road. Easier walking. Greg met me on the road and said Raisin was home. 45 minutes after this fiasco started, it was over. Raisin and I was soaked to the skin and filthy. It was 7:30 am. I’d already had my exercise for the week and almost no coffee. As much as I wanted to collapse, Raisin and I headed to the bathroom. Raisin got his bath and I handed him to Greg for drying while I showered. We spent the rest of the morning relaxing while Raisin slept in his bed.

By late afternoon Raisin couldn’t get up. I called the vet and they said to come right away. The on call vet would meet us there. We explained what happened as Dr. Geoff examined him. Raisin’s chronic cough turned into servere pneumonia because of his morning dash. He had to stay in the hospital. It was going to be touch and go for a few days.

Goodbye Farm

The farm was owned by an older couple. They bought it when they were first married and work it all of their lives. When they retired from farming, they built a house up the street on a different part of the farm. The rented out the original house. The land was farmed by someone else. He was very nice, she was a witch. We didn’t know what she was like until after we moved in and the guys next door told us.

It was summer and our neighbors had picnics. They always had friends over. We put signs at the barn to try to keep people away. Apparently they couldn’t read. We constantly found people messing with our horses. We talked to our neighbors about it, but that didn’t work and better than the signs. Having the horses with us was getting to be a problem.

We were there about 7 or 8 months. The owner had been coming down more and more to do things. His visits were during the day when everybody was at work. This would have been fine, but he found reasons to knock on the door and talk. I had work to do and really couldn’t deal with the interruptions. The more he came down, the bitchier she got. Then she started knocking at the door to yell at me. To this day I have no idea what she was yelling about. It was getting to be too much. We could see where this was probably going and we decided to move the horses to a near by boarding stable.

The horses were moved to their new home. It was a relief not to have to worry about people being around them. The fence came down and was stored in the barn with the rest of our horse things. We were still paying the extra for the barn so there was no hurry to get our belongings out. One night we came home from dinner out. I don’t remember why we went to the barn. We found the doors screwed shut and a no trespassing sign on the door. We weren’t sure what was going on. We didn’t do anything wrong. Nobody said a word to us. The following day we removed everything from the barn.

It was time to start looking for a new place to live. Life was getting more and more uncomfortable and I wasn’t happy about being home alone all day. The cats were no longer allowed out and my trips outside with Mocha were limited until Greg got home from work. In the midst of all of this we lost electric one day. The neighbors didn’t have any either so I called to report it. They said they never received our payment so they shut it off. I told them I’d give them payment over the phone but they needed to turn it back on because we had no water. Try to explain to an electric company employee from the city what a well was and how a well pump worked. I also told them they shut our neighbor’s electric off too. Within a few hours someone from the electric company was knocking at the door. We’d have electric back! They came to investigate why the neighbors had no electric and why none of us had water.  It turned out there was one meter for both houses. The boys had no idea because their electric was included in their rent. Greg and I had been paying for both sides of the house since we moved in. The electric company gave us a refund of everything we paid them since we’d been there and  sent the owner a bill. The bill would stay in his name until he installed a separate meter. To add insult to injury, he got a hefty fine for not having separate electric for each unit.

This s**t really hit the fan after that. Fortunately we bought a house, gave our written notice and just had to wait for settlement and moving day. It couldn’t come soon enough! Koko and Wrangler moved to a boarding barn. Mocha, Furball and Jasmine, Greg and I moved to our new house.

 

The Life of a Farm Puppy (Mocha – part 2)

Along with the standard puppy lessons, Mocha was learning how to be a farm puppy. She was pretty good during my work day. At lunch we’d play in the yard and work on her lessons. We’d walk over to check on the horses. After I was finished work we’d go out to do stalls. She learned another lesson that I wasn’t happy about – how to roll in and eat horse manure. oh well. She’s a farm puppy. She also learned that a bath with horse shampoo in the barn yard wasn’t as much fun as rolling in manure.

Mocha and Jazzy were becoming best buddies. They spent hours playing, which kept Mocha out of trouble for the most part. After dinner and dishes and after the horses were taken care of was now play time instead of relaxing time. Refusing to play resulted in her stealing something that belonged to the person she wanted to play with, finding that person and running off with her treasure. She had to be chased around the house. When she had enough she’d drop what she stole. Playtime was over and we could relax.

Mocha loved people and had to visit all of them. The oil man, the guys that lived in the other part of the house. It didn’t matter who as long as they made a fuss over her. She had the oil man laying on the ground one day, standing on his chest and licking his face. Wasn’t one of my reasons for a dog a watch dog? That wasn’t going to happen.

It had been quite some time since I had a puppy and I’d forgotten how stressful if could be at times. I also forgot about the middle of the night trips outside because puppies couldn’t sleep all night. I was quickly reminded about all of it. Getting a puppy in the winter wasn’t very good timing either. With temps in the teens at 2:00 am Mocha decided it was the best time to sniff the entire yard for a spot to go. Every night, like clockwork. I found it to be funny, but I wasn’t the one standing outside freezing at 2 am. I at least got to freeze at 6 am.

Winter finally turned into spring and we could get out more. We roamed the farm and found the stream and creek. Mocha and Jazzy played in the water. Furball had no sense of humor for the pup so he didn’t go for walks with us. She graduated to a 30′ line to see how well she listened and give he more room to run. That was going so well I decided off leash training could start. As soon as she was off the line the pup couldn’t hear a thing I said. The nose went down and she was off chasing scents. I was off chasing down Mocha. this was going to take quite a bit of work to get her to listen to me instead of her nose.

 

 

How Do They Do It?

It starts when you bring them home. They take over your sofa, bed, the entire house and somehow, when you’re not looking, your heart. Are they born with this ability? Do their Mamas teach them? Or is it something they read in the puppy handbook? I certainly can’t answer that question, but they all seem to have the ability.

We adopted a Beagle on February 15, 2010. They told us he came up from West Virginia with five other Beagles. There was a kennel fire and only the dogs in outside pens survived. They told us he was 3 years old and that he had been on meds for a cough. He had been adopted, but they returned him because he wasn’t a good fit. Underweight to the point of spine and hips sticking out and afraid of everything, we brought him home. Poor little guy did nothing but sleep, eat and occasionally go outside for 3 days. He was housebroken, learned his commands and eventually started coming out of his shell.

On Memorial Day weekend, just 3 months after we got him he got loose and took off  up the side of the mountain with me following in sweatpants and slippers, without my cell phone. Almost an hour later he returned home. It took me a little longer. After a good drink and a bath (for both of us) we resumed our day. Later that night he collapsed and couldn’t get up. An emergency trip to the vet and several days later he returned home to recover from pneumonia. It turned out his cough was chronic bronchitis and had to be managed with meds. He also turned out to be much older than 3. This was the start of Raisin’s medical issues. Over the years there would be 3 hospital stays for pneumonia and a couple of “we caught it in time and he can be treated at home”.  Change in weather, humidity and inability to test the fluid in his lungs to properly treat him were the culprits. We finally found the right meds and he was pneumonia free for over 3 years. That didn’t stop us from worrying that he wasn’t coming home every time he had to go to the vet.

At first both of us refused to get attached to him because we weren’t sure he was going to live. Somehow, when we weren’t looking, he took over the house and weaseled his way into our hearts. Instead of being afraid of being petted, he loved everyone he met and was offended if someone didn’t pet him. We took him everywhere we could. When I had a store, he went with me every day and greeted customers. Raisin told us when we were late with his dinner, when it was time to play and when it was time for bed. He was my best buddy. I work from home so he was with me all day, every day. We’d spend time outside at lunch. He and the 3 cats had a love/hate relationship. He’d chase them, they’d run. If they didn’t want to play they’d lift a front paw and Raisin came to a screeching halt (before he got smacked in the nose). Harlie watched over him like an old mother hen.

On November 16, 2015 there was another trip to the vet. He’d been on meds for what they thought was a bladder infection and things took a turn for the worse. It turned out to be an inoperable tumor. It was time to say good bye to our beloved Beagle. He visited with both of us. He knew what was going on and he was ready. He grew impatient as we said our goodbyes. Raisin had a wonderful life for the almost 6 years he was with us. The day we were always worried about had come. We went home without him.

The following days were difficult for all of us, but especially for me having to be home all day working without him.  The cats were unsettled, we were unsettled. I finally got a call from the vet. We could pick up Raisin any time. I didn’t want to go to the vet’s office and at the same time I wanted Raisin to be home, where he belonged. I ran over that day after work. The strangest thing happened when I got home. An eerie peacefulness fell over the house almost immediately. Unsettled changed to calm. A beautiful wooden box with a name plate, his paw print and a few very nice cards are in the curio cabinet with his collar. Harley sat on the step next to the cabinet every day for weeks. We swear she was visiting him. She still does, but not as often. I miss him every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I know he’s still here. Once in a while I feel a nose touch my leg or his fur rubbing on my arm. He weaseled his way into my heart far deeper than I knew.

We can’t thank #Douglassville Veterinary Hospital enough for going above and beyond to take such great care of Raisin.

Reblogged from My Life With Horses. Originally published 3/12/16.

Daisy

It was late August 2016 and we were on our way home from a very long day. We drove 6 hours round trip to pick up a horse trailer. While sitting at a stop light I saw a sign that said Beagle puppies. My husband pointed out that we just had a very long day, he had teeth removed the day before and we were both tired. We could see them the following day if I wanted. We were talking and listening to music as I drove.  A few miles out of town I mentioned that I’d never seen a Beagle puppy. Since I’ve been around dogs all my life, he couldn’t believe I never saw a Beagle pup. He told me to turn around.

There was one female pup left. I picked her up and I was done. She licked my face so much she made me laugh. She was beating my ribs with her tail. I handed her to Greg and she did the same to him. I put her down and sat on the floor with her. She sniffed and crawled all over me. I was really done. Although we enjoyed not being tied to the house, we both missed having a dog. We lost our old Beagle just before Thanksgiving the prior year.

We had bowls, beds and a crate. We needed a collar, leash, food and toys. And there was that matter of putting fence up. I couldn’t stand to look at it after we had to put Raisin down so it came down. Ready or not, we were going home with a 2 month old Beagle pup! The cats are going to be thrilled …. or not.

Even though our 3 cats grew up with dogs, they stayed true to form when we came home with the new pup. Harlie was Raisin’s best buddy. She’d check on him every night after he went to bed, before she came up on our bed. If she thought he was sleeping too long, she checked on him. After he passed away I brought his ashes home and put them in the curio cabinet. Harlie sat by the box every day for weeks.

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Raisin and his buddies

Harlie was the first of the cats to hiss, spit and run when she saw the pup. Life as the cats knew it came to a very abrupt halt. It’s amazing just how much a 6 lb puppy can disrupt a household!

For the next few months we didn’t see much of the cats. They had dry food, water, toys and a litter box upstairs and a bouncy, annoying, tri-colored reason not to go downstairs. Their can food was served to them on the stairs. When they did see Daisy it was hiss, spit, growl and swat. I was beginning to think they’d never accept her.

I’d had enough of not seeing the cats during the day. I work at home and they always visited while I worked. Indy sat on my office chair behind me every day. I brought their dry food down and put it back where it belonged. If they wanted to eat more than twice a day they were going to have to suck it up and face the puppy. It took a few days, but they eventually came down looking for food.

Daisy hasn’t helped herself with the cat situation. She wanted playmates.  There were 3 in the house and she couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t play with her. Being the typical over active, playful Beagle pup tried playing with them which resulted in more hissing, spitting, growling and swatting. Oh well, at least the cats were coming downstairs.

It’s taken 8 months, but Indy and Mouse have finally accepted Daisy…. sort of. They’ll cuddle and rub on Daisy then swat her in the nose.  Indy will take a light away at Daisy’s tail as she walks past. Daisy bounces and barks. When the pup gets too noisy Indy swats hard and ends the play. Daisy is scared to death of Harlie and the cat knows it so Harlie toys with her.

Raisin

We were without a dog for almost a year when I really started to miss having one. Greg convinced me that we should get a Beagle.  He said they were just like Labs, only much smaller and manageable. A local shelter had received about a half dozen Beagles from West Virginia. It was a cold Saturday in mid February and after being snowed in for several days, we were ready to venture off the property. When we got to the shelter most of the Beagles were already adopted. They said Beagles go quickly. There was a smaller male that was under weight, a bit sheepish and wore a cone of shame since he’d recently been neutered. We asked to see him. I took him outside for a walk and to spend some time getting to know him. What a different dog! He strutted with his head held high in the too big plastic e-collar. He was very friendly and wanted to be fussed over. We really liked him, but decided to go to another shelter to see what dogs they had before we adopted one. I walked him to the door to go back in, opened the door and he put on the brakes. He wasn’t going back inside. After a little struggle I did get I’m inside.

At the other shelter there was only a young female Lab and she really had no interest in me. We left and stopped for lunch. We decided to go back to see the Beagle again. If he was still there, we’d adopt him.

He was still available! After I had finished the paperwork and paid the adoption fee they told us he had been adopted by a young couple but he wasn’t suitable and they returned him after a few days. Oh boy – lets hope it was just a mismatch. They also said the information that came with him was that he was 3 years old and fully housebroken. We saw him come out of the back but he didn’t see us right away. When he did his head shot up and he started to run toward us. At that moment he was probably the happiest dog in the world. He pranced out the door and across the parking lot to the truck that waited to take him to his new home to start his new life. He strutted around Petco like he owned the place as we picked out a collar and leash, a crate, a bed, food and some toys.

We took our new dog and all of his belongings in the house. The introduction to Harlie, Indy and Mouse went better than I expected. The cats seemed to take to him right away. He found his bed and laid  down in it. And there he stayed. For the next three days he did nothing except sleep, eat and go outside once in awhile. Greg was starting to think we made a bad choice. I was hoping he was exhausted from everything he’d been thru. Tired, underweight to the point of his spine sticking up with slightly deformed back legs, he was our new dog and he was here to stay.

 

 

Dakota

It was close to a year after we lost Mocha and I was starting to think about another dog. Every once in awhile during that time I’d stop at the local pet shop to see the puppies. I always looked at the puppies and walked away. I knew I wasn’t ready. On a Saturday on our way home from the barn I wanted to pop in to see the puppies. I expected to look and walk away. I started to play with them and pet them. I was going from pen to pen looking at puppies. It looks like I might be ready. It’s time to keep an eye on the shelters to see what they had for adoption. I looked in the last pen just to see what kind of puppies were in it. A little liver & white Springer came bouncing over to me. Unlike the other puppies, he was all licks and nuzzles. I picked him up and he melted into me and tried to give kisses. I know better than to get a pet shop puppy. The owner is a friend of a friend. I know his puppies come from breeders and not puppy mills. But it’s still a pet shop. We took him into the puppy play room. He played with toys and bounced on me, played a bit more then visited Greg. I tried putting him back in his pen and he clung to me. I shouldn’t … I know better … I’m going to anyway. Greg decided he needed a good cowboy name. Dakota Wade (named after Greg’s saddle) was on his way to his new home and family.

When Mocha passed away I washed all of her stuff and put it away – just in case. Apparently it was more than just in case. Mouse wasn’t quite 2 so she found Dakota to be a fun playmate instead of an annoying puppy.

Dakota settled in quickly. It didn’t take long for him to be house trained and rarely touched anything that wasn’t his, but he was a very active puppy. He loved to get on the wall separating the dining room from the living room, over to the portable dish washer and jump off. Oh boy, we really need puppy insurance for this one! Puppy soccer was how I spent my lunch time during the week. It didn’t take him long to learn his commands or how to con us into playing with him.

Mocha

A farm needs a dog. Horse and dogs just go together. I’m home by myself all day and the cats aren’t going to protect me. All good justifications on why we needed a dog. We had to get a larger dog that could keep up with us when we rode the horses and follows us around while we did barn chores. I had Labs in the past and loved the breed. I did my research on breeders, picked out a pup and sent them a deposit. All I had to do was wait until she was old enough to come home.

It was a few days before Christmas 2006 and we were finally picking up our puppy. It was a long 3 hour drive. We had her new collar, leash and crate (in case we needed it). She was friendly, outgoing and playful. Everything I wanted in a pup. It was time to head home with our new addition. If we thought the drive out there was long, it was even longer going home with a whimpering pup. It was after dark by the time we pulled in to the driveway. We walked her into her new home. Just as Greg took her leash off, Furball came out to greet us. She saw him and took off after him. He bolted. She chased him around the house barking. He finally had enough & jumped on a speaker to get away from her and to see what’s been chasing him. She jumped up and put her paws on the speaker and got her first lesson from a cat. A good swat in the nose sent her running around the house yelping. When her nose stopped hurting she went back to bark at him again. Oh boy, this was going to be an adventure. Did I really tell the breeder I wanted the hell raiser of the litter?