In Need of a Dog

I found myself one day in need of a dog.
You may know how this happens, it can occur in many ways. A beloved pet dies and leaves a space that needs filling, a dog you own may need a companion, or a friend happens upon a dog that is looking for a home and you hadn’t thought about getting another ……but oh well.
In my case, a beloved pet had died, tragically and violently from a Pit Bull attack. My little 6 lb Pico, a Chihuahua mix, was killed in an instant. She left this world, in blood and tears, leaving a mark on me that has yet to diminish.
I was suffering her loss and I know myself well enough that I would need another to fill that space. I am a proponent of rescue dogs, and will always look for a dog that has been discarded to the pound or the Humane Society.
I turned where so many of us turn for something that we are looking for, to the internet. I was given the name of a rescue for Chihuahuas – Chi Angeles Rescue in Los Angeles CA. I contacted the director via Facebook and she messaged me back immediately.
She led me to some postings of Chis that were at the local dog pounds. Photos of so many little dogs that needed someone. Mostly Chis and Chi mixes.

I know from experience that I will KNOW my dog when I see her. I have done this before with horses and dogs. I will know.
I was scrolling through the photos. Nope, cute, nope, nope, that one’s cute though,………sigh………nope.
THERE!
There she was. Way in the back of the stainless steel cage, her front leg lifted up as if to be as far pressed into the corner as possible. Black with a white chest and a couple white toes. That was her. I knew from the photo she was mine.
I quickly contacted the Director Janel, and said it was her that I wanted. She said she would call to be sure that they still had her (EEEK, I didn’t like that thought~!) and would get right back to me. Janel called me the next day, she was there, she was on hold for me, and someone would go get her and put her on a plane to Minneapolis.
Really? What? I just go to the airport and get her?
Yep.
They take care of everything. The animal is neutered, or spayed. Vet Checked. They put them in a kennel with a blankie and bring them to the airport. I just PayPal Chi Angeles and that’s it.
OK, I’m IN!
(The magical efficiency of the Internet)
All of this was less cost than a spay at my vet’s office!
I paid via PayPal and waited for my new dog.
My first email was to let me know she was a biter. She bit a couple people at the pound. Did I still want her?
Yes, I believe she will settle down with her own routine. Please go ahead and put her on the plane.
I get another email several hours later. She has bitten the Vet who was examining her. Do I still want her?
Yes please. She is just scared. I still want her. (She was MINE!)
Last message, via Facebook. Now she has bitten the guy they sent to pick her up and bring her to the plane, was I absolutely positive that I wanted this dog?
YES! If she chooses to bite everyone she meets, she will just spend more time at home and less with other people! It is only me, and my lovely Papillion Pipsqueak, so if she is a terror, she will not be going visiting is all. Send her along.
The next night I am at the proper building for live freight. I am waiting in a dimly lit, dumpy building on the Airport property. The lady behind the counter now knows that I am waiting for my new dog. She is excited also!
My close friend, Gina, has come along with me. Time is crawling as I worry about this tiny animal, so scared that she bites every hand extended to her, now in Minnesota from California. She has flown on an airplane for several hours, right after having spay surgery.
Then a man from the back of the building yells something, something about “Here we come” or “Here we are”. He wheels this cart to the counter and slides a small kennel onto it.
I peek in. It is dark in this building, and the lights are no better near the counter. I see a tiny shadow.
Too small really to be a dog. But as my eyes adjust………..two giant ears take form.
This small, mostly black dog, with giant ears is looking at me.
I open the kennel door and slowly, while talking in soothing tones, reach my hand inside to touch her and possibly bring her out to assess her.
Slowly my hand moves toward her… I never expected what happened……she did NOT bite me!
This scared little creature let me wrap my hand around her belly and slide her out to meet me.
I was pretty sure that this was not really a dog. She was only 3 ½ lbs! I really have never seen such a diminutive canine!
My friend and I oooohed and ahhhed over her. I got her some water right away. The airport lady was in love in seconds. I think I may have convinced her to get her next dog from Chi Angeles rescue!
I have named her Tika, and she has not offered to bite since arrival in Minnesota.
(Ok, she MAY have nipped my nephew on the nose. That was my fault for shoving her into his hands when she was scared of him) He is an Ex-Marine so a Chihuahua nip was nothing he couldn’t handle.
She is everything a lap dog is rumored to be. On my lap. Loving. Sweet and attentive.
Tika and Pippi get along fabulously. Tika uses Pippi’s fur to keep warm when they are sleeping together.
I am so very happy to have her, and very thankful to Chi Angeles for making it easy.
(Find them on Facebook if you have an interest in rescuing a Chi.!)

 

Here is Tika.

And below, Pico, who was killed by the Pit Bull

Pico sofa

 

 

Saying Hello

Saying  Hello

 

Boris picked me when he was newborn. I was coming home late at night when my neighbor stepped out of his back door and asked me if I wanted to “see something cool”. Of course I did!

Into the kitchen, he opens a closet door, and there is his Lhasa Apso,  “Kahluha” with a litter of puppies! They were all just a few hours old.
I asked if I might hold one, I had a lot of experience already with newborn pups, and  he said “please, go ahead.”  I fished around for a beige one with black tips and brought out a little boy.

It was the beginning of an 18 year relationship that would see us to Alaska and back.

This pup bonded with me that second. As the pups grew, he would walk away from his litter mates with unsteady legs, crossing their yard into mine. I would hold him, bring him in my house for hours, and only return him to his family for eating and nighttime. We napped together on weekends. We played in and out of the house. I would go over at all hours and ask for that “little puppy that I like”.

I knew that I was playing a dangerous game, for I was 19 and had no intention of having a dog.  I would have to say goodbye to him in a few weeks.

One  night my neighbor knocked on our door asking for the pup, as there were people coming over to look at the litter and pick a dog.

Oh, OK. I handed him over.

The next morning I was out of bed at the first sound of the puppies being let out into the yard. Peeking through my window I could see “My” puppy was still in the group.

Over and over this played out, people would come into the back yard, play with the puppies and leave with one. Not “mine”.

One couple held him for a looooong time, while I held my breath, and eventually put him down in favor of a black and white female.

For 3 weekends I sat at my window watching from the second story, as people came and chose their new family members. But each time they picked up my special guy, they would put him down and take another!

I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with this little guy? Why would no one choose him to take home? Was he defected somehow?

I told my roommate, who owned the home, that I wanted that little boy. Would she let me have a puppy in the house?

She was a very spiritual person and believed in asking the powers that are in the world for help in making big decisions.  She said that we would use the  I Ching oracle. I agreed to whatever she needed to consult as I was asking a huge favor, bringing a puppy into a beautiful home.

We sat cross legged on the floor in the living room. She shook the coins and threw them onto the floor. We took note of the symbols showing and looked for the proper place in the book. She found it, read a few paragraphs, then said “A change, in the form of an animal pelt, is favorable” I said  “What does

that mean?”  She said “It looks like you need to go get that puppy!”

 I hot-footed it over to the neighbor’s house. I knocked on the back sliding glass door. It slowly opened……my neighbor was holding the puppy out to me.  I said it had been torture watching everyone pick him up and then pass him over, it was 3 weeks of misery waiting for someone to take him out of my life!

He said “Lori, this dog was always yours, from the first night he was born and you held him, he never belonged to anyone else. I would tell anyone who came to look at the pups that this one was already spoken for. You just had to realize that he was your dog, everyone else knew it all along.”

He picked me, sure as I wasn’t going to get a dog, he decided differently. I named him Boris (from Boris Badenoff in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons) Augustus (It was August when I got him) and I Ching, as that was his oracle. Boris Augustus I Ching.  I registered him under that name.

He was part of me for the next 18 years.

Getting to the Gate

It has always been important to me to have a horse that will come when I call him. I was told by a cowboy years ago “You’re going to ruin your horse that way” I had no reply, I wondered how I could “ruin a horse” by getting him to come to the gate for me?
One day, in a heavy downpour, I walked out to the gate at the same time this cowboy was going to get his own horse. I called for mine and he made his way through the deep mud and came right to the gate. The cowboy said again to me, “You’re gonna ruin that horse that way.”  I said, “Well, I’m never going to ruin my boots”

I go to the ranch to spend some time with my boy.  I usually start calling him before I get him in my line of vision, you see he has a few things that he needs to do before he starts the trek to the gate. He hears me calling and looks up. If I do not wave he puts his head down again to eat. If I wave, he recognizes that it is me, and then he is terribly torn between coming to me or grabbing another mouthful.  You can watch the decision making process as it happens. He is loathe to leave his hay. He looks at me, looks at the round bale, looks back at me.  Then you see the light come on in his head – “Grain” or “Cookies!”  He realizes that I too have food for him. He chooses me, today at least.  Poor Zeus becomes terribly deaf in the summer.  I think it is the green grass in the pasture that affects his hearing.  I will give him that he is usually farther out, that is, he is farther away from me when I start hollering for him. But in the summer, he sometimes won’t even lift his head when I am calling him. I wonder if there is an ailment called Grazing Deafness?

So on this day he decides to come and see what I am up to. As I said, he has a couple of things he needs to tend to before making his way to me.
Number one is the poop. Now, I like to think that his excitement in seeing me is so great that he cannot delay his poopy. Once he has decided to come to me, there is a poopy that needs to go. Now that the poopy is taken care of, he needs to survey the route. Is there mud? Other horses that he dislikes? He begins. He is the kind that would pin his ears if a horse is blocking his way rather than move his own giant self .  Today he sees a rival gelding and pushes him, pins his ears and snakes his head up and down. He actually makes his way over to the horse, although the trip would have been shorter to bypass him. Now he stops. What was I doing? That is my cue to call him again. This is to get him back on task.
Zeus gets to the gate and I swing it wide open. He will not come out until he gets a cookie. He mugs me for the cookie instantly. Then stands and blocks the gate so I have to move him in order to be able to close it.
Meanwhile, if one of his horse buddies has tagged along, they will take advantage of the open gate and squeeze out. Now Zeus decides that he can exit also. “Oh, that one is out, I could go out too.”  Zeus goes directly to a green patch of grass, (the long walk was very arduous you know.)
The escapee takes a different route, he is eager for attention and he hotfoots it toward the parking lot.
A merry chase ensues, the proper place is found for the opportunist, and Zeus and I make our way to the arena for brushing.
Although he LIVES here and he sees this area every day all day (and night) he always snorts and spooks on the way to the arena. Like this is brand new to  him.  Then he needs to be afraid of the same pile of wood that has been there since he arrived three years ago.
I don’t care much if he wants to be a big baby about this. I believe the less I pay attention to it the less he will think that it is going to eat him.  He will follow me to the door where I put on his halter. We are about to be around other horses and people so I need him to wear his halter. We enter through the door at the back of the arena. There is a pile of hay there for storage.  Zeus attacks this like has been HOURS without food, nearly upsetting the nicely stacked bales. I call this a drive-by snack.
He needs to announce his arrival and begins noisily farting every step to the tie rail. Others turn and look, greet me, knowing before turning that it is Zeus. Even though his flatulence is legend, someone always says something about this. Like it is new to me. Like I hadn’t noticed. Like I had not blogged about it.
Of course, I have already admitted, I find the farting charming and  also funny. I have very little control when he is farting. I think a fart noise is funny. So I am charmed beyond measure by this horse of mine.

Pippi the Puppy Mill Papillon

LoriLynn's Pippi

My beloved Pippi

Pipsqueak is my little Papillon. I first saw her in a Craigslist ad. She was “rescued” from a Puppy Mill and offered for sale by the rescuer. I looked at her photo and moved on. Although she was darling, I had one dog already, a small chihuahua / pomeranian cross with the boss and sass of a lion.   I really did not need two dogs to boss me around!

A week later, looking at CL, I searched this little dog out again. There she was, still in need of a home of her own. Again I moved on.

Later,  I was on the phone with my mother, who works for a dog rescue as a foster parent for dogs that come to the Humane Society. I mentioned this dog that was on CL. She was interested and wanted to call and ask about the circumstances of the dog’s rescue. I gave her the phone number listed.

My mom called be back in about an hour. She said to stay away from this dog, she was a victim of the Puppy Mill business and would be hard to deal with. Puppy mill dogs are “raised dirty”, that is , they are raised in tiny kennels with their litter mates, never learning to poop or potty away from themselves. They are raised in this mess, and learn to live in it. They are hard to house train because of this, to say nothing of the mental stress that a dog has from living in these conditions. I agreed and I did not NEED another dog anyway.

Of course a week later, there she still was on CL, looking up at the camera, those giant ears like radar dishes. Who was I kidding? I called the number.

The woman was nice enough, she said that she was the friend of a woman who was a hoarder of this breed and she had rescued several of these beautiful animals from her property.She added that the dog was “vet checked and ready to go.” (Whatever that means)

I made a deal for the dog, “Merry” was what the woman was calling her. I offered to drive 2 hours to the small town that this woman lived in to get the dog. “No, no, that’s OK, I will be near the Cities  in a week, I’ll meet you in the parking lot of the mall.”

She called when she was near, I drove to the mall, never expecting what I was about to see. She was driving a mini van, filled to the top with tiny wire kennels, stacked one on top of the other, each with one or two Papillons.

She WAS the puppy mill. It was clear to me that there was no “rescue”. These were dogs that no longer had value to her, they were sick or they were needing vetting or they were used up for having puppies. She reached into the van and opened a kennel, turned and shoved the dog into my arms and held her hand out for the cash. I gave it to her, expecting something like, “she really likes to play ball” or “she knows how to sit and jump up on her hind legs.” Something about her, anything to let me know that she was ever paid any attention to. Nothing. The woman turned and got in her van. The dog I was holding had hanging teats.  She was obviously just pulled off a litter of puppies.Her coat was so rough dirty I knew that there was a nutrition issue. Her tail had no hair on it, she was shaking and fearful and she seemed to not know how to act while being held.

I carried her into my house and put her down. She could not walk up the stairs. She had no idea how to do that. I was getting sick to my stomach imagining her life, in a small kennel, having puppies, until she was no good to someone.

She was not spayed of course, she had horrible teeth also. She clung to me like a shadow.

Her sad life became more and more clear as I got to know her. She had several giant cysts on her that were filled with pus. She had scars that had so much scar tissue under them, they felt like pebbles under her skin.

I needed to get her healthy before there would be the spay and the teeth addressed. In several months her coat was smooth and shiny, her tail had hair, she was joyful and playful, running up and down the stairs to look out all of the windows in the house.

She is a real dog now. She is doing doggy things, and getting the idea that “OUTSIDE” is for poopy and potty! I am hoping that her younger life is a bad memory to her and she will be happy with  me until the end of her days. That is my plan anyway.

Zeus Assaults an Officer & I Go To Jail

My big palomino, Zeus, is a beautiful horse. He is a dark golden animal and very sturdy. He is built very “foundation” and I get a lot of compliments on his looks. I always say “thank you” even though of course I had nothing to do with how he looks.

I was invited to join 4 friends for a ride in the park near us. We hauled our horses to the friends home that lives right on the park, where we saddled up and started off. Our plan was to go to the pay box where I would pay the $5.00 fee to ride in the park. The pay box was on the other side of the park from where we started. We rode through the park to get there, knowing if we were checked we had 4 riders with season passes and one (Myself) with the cash in her pocket to pay. Who would think that we were NOT going to the pay box?

All was well until we passed a big hill, one that is very fun to run UP. In running UP this hill, we would be off course for the pay box, but it was too tempting. I suggested running up the hill. What fun that burst of speed is, and of course turns into a race for all of us.

Guess what is at the top of the big hill? The Park Police. I actually stopped when I saw them, then realized that to turn and go down the hill in the middle of the run would make me look like I was hiding something ( I was ) so I slowly rode up the rest of the way, along with my companions.

Hellos were exchanged and they asked if we had passes immediately. There was a picnic table and their little mini truck, and a lap top on the picnic table where they ran your name to make sure that you had paid your yearly fee for the park pass. I sat silent while my companions gave their names and addresses and were all cleared. My mind was racing, should I say I had one too, forgotten it and give him my name and address? Should I show him my $5 and tell him I was on my way to pay the box? (Even though we were NOT moving toward the pay box in racing to the top of the hill.) I knew I was caught. He came over to me and asked my name. He was standing near the head of my giant palomino.

I said I did not have a pass, but that we were on the way to the pay box, and here is my $5 to prove I was going to pay.

He said that if I had not paid to use the park I should not be riding my horse in the park and should have kept to the gravel road. I found this to be rather unreasonable, circling the park rather than riding across it. I said that seemed somewhat extreme, the five of us riding on the road with cars kicking up dust all the way around the park to the pay box. He said that was the way it was and he was going to fine me for not paying my park pass.

My Zeus all of the sudden swung his head toward the policeman, fast and hard, and connected with the policeman’s head.  We all heard the CRACK, like a bat hitting a ball, and the policeman went staggering  about 20 feet. My mouth fell open, I looked at my companions and they were all agape also. I have never seen a horse do that, so calculating, to a person before!

The policeman did not fall down,  but staggered back to the picnic table, bent in half. He put both hands on the picnic table and made odd noises, like half a groan and half out of breath kind of noises. I said “I am so sorry! I have never seen him do anything like that before!” The policeman stayed bent over the picnic table, put up one hand to “shush” me, and continued making the noises. By this time I would swear I could see the cartoon birds flying in circles and tweeting around his head. Never in all the years I have been horsing, never in all the years my four companions had been horsing, had any one of us seen or heard of a horse attacking a person in such a way. But here it was right in front of us for all to see. My horse had attacked a police officer!

I was begging his pardon endlessly but that was not enough. I got a ticket for $65 for not paying my park pass. Zeus had sealed my fate with his attempt to protect me from the officer. I told the officer that I was certainly not going to pay the $5 now, I had a ticket and the day’s riding was going to be included in that. The other policeman answered for him, and said that was fine. (He may have been scared of my horse!)

The five of us turned and rode down the hill in silence, digesting what we had just seen, and scared to comment until we were out of earshot of the police. We arrived at the bottom of the hill, and it was just as if all the air escaped out of us in one big WHOOOOOOSH.

Nervous laughter followed, along with exclamations from all about what just happened. I was given much sympathy regarding my $65 dollar fine. Although $65.00 is a lot of money to me, I thought that the story rights were worth about that for having this awesome story to tell.  I was not going to let that amount of money ruin my ride, although I think that the officer’s day was ruined pretty thoroughly.

Fast forward to 5 weeks later. I was again at this same park with another riding friend, Leslie, (the one so worried about Zuesy’s flatulence) and we were saddling up. A Park police officer came over to check our park passes and we produced them. He said “Oh, that horse, that horse is the one that hit my partner in the head!” I said that was correct, was his partner OK? He said that he was having some headaches for the next day or so but was fine now.  I again said I was sorry and that I had never seen a horse do that before, nor ever heard of it. This officer stood quite a distance from us as he was conversing, as if Zues’s neck would be able to extend many feet and wallop him also. This conversation served two purposes, one, was to prove to my friend Leslie that this episode had indeed happened and there was no exaggeration in my story, and two, to remind me to pay the fine that I still had wedged in the glovebox in my truck.

Now, because this story is really an EPIC SAGA, we will move forward in time again a few months. It is a Wednesday night, around 10 pm and I am on my way home from the ranch. I am tired, and because of that I drift over the white line on the shoulder a bit.  I see it and correct it right away, but there are now lights in my rear view, I am getting pulled over by the police. I pull to the side of the road, already crabby at the amount of time this is going to delay my sleep. The policeman that comes to my window is very young. He looks like he may be…………….15 or so. In any case he is not required to shave every day for that clean cut look. He is shining his flashlight all around in my truck, looking I suppose for evidence of drinking. He asks if I know why he pulled me over, I answered yes, because I drove on the white line for a bit. He says that is correct, when was my last drink? I said “July. I am just really tired”. He was clearly disappointed as he said “Well, I can see that you’re not drunk, I’m  just going to run your license plate and then you can get going.” He comes back to my window and says, “UM. I have a warrant for your arrest.” I said “That is not possible!”  He says, “Did you ever ride a horse in the park without a pass?”

I start to laugh. “Yes, yes I did.”  “Well, you never paid the fine and now if you do not pay it, I have to take you to jail. The fine has increased now to $180.00” I said “Oh no, I don’t have that!” He offered to take a credit card. I don’t have one. How about we go to the ATM? I don’t have $180.00 in my account so……no. He began to panic. He did NOT want to bring me in for an unpaid park pass, when he thought that he would be hauling in a drunk driver! In desperation he whines, “I am going to have to arrest you!”  I said that I understood that, that it was his job and I was cool with that. I asked if he would please not tow my truck, that would be further financial hardship for me. He said I could follow him to the jail and park in the lot across the street.

I did feel sorry for the officer, as when he brought me in for processing he was teased mercilessly by the other officers. “Is this the woman who rides her horse all over the park without a pass? Good work, she really needs to be off the streets.”

I did have a mugshot taken then put into a cell to wait for someone to bail me out. Jail is very boring, the television was on sports, too loud, and I thought that was part of my punishment.

My friend Leslie came to my rescue with the cash. I now have criminal record.

The Epic Flatulence of Zeus

2painting horses

I have an American Quarter Horse. His barn name is Zeus. His registered name is “One Rugged Shot” which was an interesting story. I will share that later.

Zeus is…….flatulent. Now I know you are going to say “All horses fart a lot” and you would be right. They sure do. Zeus is an exceptionally gassy animal, to the point where people who have been around horses all of their lives will take me aside and say that there is “something wrong with Zeus, I was just in the arena and he is farting one right after the other.” I say that there is nothing wrong with him, he came to me that way and I can see that it will only get worse as he ages. Unfortunately.

Occasionally one or another of my friends will say that they had gone out to get their horse and Zeus had come over to solicit a cookie, farting all the way. Cookie obtained, he would turn and fart as he walked away. I euphemistically refer to this as “blowing kisses”.   Adding to this is my teenaged – boy like delight with the sound of a fart, and it makes me laugh EVERY TIME.  I have no chance of ever entering Zeus in any kind of competition.  If we were doing anything and he farted, (and he would) I would fall into weakness from laughter, (and I have.)

 So all of this would be just so much talk if I did not have an incident regarding the flatulence of the giant palomino that I adore. I have a very good friend, Leslie.  She was worried about Zeus, and pretty sure that his flatulence was the precursor to some dread disease. She was concerned to the point of mentioning his emissions many times to me, suggesting that he perhaps should be looked at by a professional. I would shrug her off, saying he was just gassy.

On a trail ride I noticed that when stopped, if I asked Zeus to turn to the left he would fart. I would laugh, my riding partners would laugh. Then I would ask him to turn to the right, he would fart. Standing still, right or left, Zeus would fart. My companions were certain I was making the noise, so perfect and dependable was the timing. So the story spreads, in the little horsing community south of the river in Minnesota about the big horse that has EPIC gas problems.

Leslie was at the ranch, having her horses vetted, and she brought Zeus up for the Doc to take a look. “Doc, this horse has a horrible gas issue, I think there is something wrong here” So the vet looks him over, listens to his gut,  whatever else might be involved in the production of methane. During this process Zeus is producing as usual, much to the delight of Leslie. “See? See that?? It cannot be right!!”

“He looks very healthy” the doctor pronounces. “He is just gassy” (as I have already declared)

“Really??”she presses….”He is almost constantly passing wind!!!”

“Well” says the doc, ” I certainly can see that.  He will never die from Colic. But most importantly,  do NOT ever have this animal around an open flame.”