A blog about my life with dogs.......

Thursday, May 30, 2013

puppy play

Miles and Captain show the cattle dog pup how to have a good time!
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's baby season. And,....You can't run from ticks

Two baby great horned owls.
It's hard to find the time to sit and write when the sun is FINALLY shining.
Then the rain is unceasingly falling.
The green house is bursting with plants to transplant.
The garden needs more planting and the garden needs hoeing.
Work is bursting with baby owls, baby falcons, baby hawks, baby animals of all varieties. My job is to avoid baby animals(sort of). Today alone I took over twenty bird calls,(meaning people calling the raptor clinic about birds) most of which pertained to young birds being clumsy and kind hearted people determined that those birds needed to be saved. Again, my job is to avoid those babies at all costs, because baby birds and other baby animals, are best kept in the care of their true parents where they can learn how to hunt, who to mate with and what a predator is. Convincing people that the clumsy, 12 inch tall, not flying raptor in their backyard is not in desperate need of medical attention can be a daunting task. Many people begin telling a long tale of discovery and concern, others talk so fast you can barely understand them and they themselves are running out of breath.
20minutestherearenototherbirdsaroundcomequick!"......( I dearly hope this fast talker never has an emergency requiring them to call 911- the operator will never understand her.)
It consistently feels anticlimactic to tell people that this is normal and no action needs to be taken. Some people are relieved, others in disbelief will argue and insist. Some people call me names like "honey-bun can ya come and help?" while others swear at me when I don't give them the answer they are looking for "You don't give a damn about this animal do you? What the hell do you do all day?!". Today I was alone in the clinic with a baby owl who had two of his talons (the toes on the feet that have long claws for hunting and perching) traumatically amputated (a.k.a. accidentally cut off)when the tree he was nesting in was cut down. I was examining the bird for other injuries when the phone began to ring. I ignored it prioritizing the INJURED baby bird in my hand, but the person called again and again and again. I wrapped the nestling barred owl in a towel and took him with me as I reached for the phone. The man on the other line said "Thank god! I thought it was going to be the voice mail again! My name is Mr. Recall Man (names have been changed to protect the innocent) I live at 1234 blah blah blah road in This City and I need someone to come out right away. We've got a bird on our back porch and its just standing there!" I gently asked the man to describe the bird, height? eye color? did it have a slightly fuzzy appearance? Together the man on the phone and I decided that it was indeed a young red trailed hawk and that it must be exploring the area after coming from  the woods just a few yards away. Yes, he had thought there was some baby hawks up there. Yes, it made since that he couldn't fly yet, must be a baby. The bird was too frightened to move and it would be best to leave the area.Yes, we agreed. I thanked him for his concern for Iowas birds of prey and returned to the baby owl in my hands, who is very likely doomed. Owls need their talons to hunt and perch, releasing an owl missing one talon would be okay, depending on what talon was missing, but two talons? One of them being the most important one of all? I called my boss to confer, she suggested I make the baby comfortable with pain medication, stabilize the foot, give the baby antibiotics and reassess in the morning. I cleaned the wound as best I could and wrapped it. I hand fed it a cut up mouse with the antibiotics. As I put the baby into a clinic cage for the night the phone rings again.

For as much time as I spend avoiding babies, they keep finding their way to me. This little buckaroo was found by my mothers neighbor and after going unclaimed in the area she called me to help. I have to give a big thanks to the wonderful volunteers of Protege Canine Rescue for taking him in. It just kills me to see little bitty pups in animal shelters and Protege is making sure he stays out of a shelter. I just can't walk away from a face like that! It's those same chemical reactions in the the brain working on me and on the people calling me about baby birds, saying...."take care of that baby! Don't walk away!" This little cattle dog puppy will be with me until tomorrow when I will take him to the vet for a check up, then drop him with a volunteer foster home. He wriggled and cried when I gave him a bath, but he doesn't stink anymore. He yelped when Michael and I removed his ticks, but he forgave us soon after.

Having this puppy around for a whole 2 days has helped me realize how hopelessly busy I am. No wonder I'm behind on blogging! It's that time of year. That time when things are bursting out of the ground and time slips away faster then the sun at the end of the day. A few weeks ago Michael and I went for a run in the woods at a nature area near me. We took Bugsy, Wonder and Miles with us and ran about three miles. One week later we were still pulling ticks off the dogs. The total tally must of been over 100 ticks all together between what Michael and I found crawling on either of us or any of the dogs. In addition to the tick problem the poison ivy has shot up around the edges of the paths and I haven't been to that park since. Even if I diligently avoid the poison ivy creeping at every trail edge, I can't keep the dogs from letting their paws brush against it. If  I even suspect they were in it I scrub them up in the kiddy pool in the yard with dawn dish soap to break down the oil and protect myself. I am highly allergic to poison ivy.

Posion ivy and ticks be damned. I'm going camping this weekend! Michael and I will be spending the entire weekend hiking and camping with lucky dogs Miles and Bugsy.  In other news Wonder Dog and I finished our fly-ball class and have been invited to join the Disorderly Conduct team! Last practice I took Comet along, and he really enjoyed it. Looks like fly-ball is in this dog packs future! Captain and Miles come to the garden with me every day to water the green house, pull weeds and walk through the field and farm. Captains favorite part is the giant field puddle he splashes then lays in. Then he runs around full tilt like his little fuzzy butt is on fire. Every time I see this I think ......I should make a T-shirt that says
"My pekingese has more fun than your Labrador!"

Raw duck neck and buffalo heart with green herbal supplement.
If you are thinking about adopting a puppy and think a cattle dog might be in your future, take the time to learn some more about this SMART, ACTIVE and LOYAL breed.