Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good thing come in Furry Packages

About a year ago, I had to say goodbye to my good friend, Munci. It was heart wrenching. For 12 years, we were inseparable, best buddies. He saw me through a lot of life ; 3 moves, numerous jobs, bad decisions, and miles upon miles of trails , both tagging along behind the horses or at my side for a hike or run. He was my chore buddy, my nurse when I was sick , my guard dog when I was threatened and my best friend. He withstood a brutal attack from a Mastiff to keep me safe. We spent some of our best days together chasing rocks and minnows along many Montana rivers and lakes, In the end he developed lung cancer. Always a stoic being, he hid any symptoms that he was sick. We didn’t know until it was so far gone there was nothing we could have done. I only had a few days and our time together quickly came to an end.
The topic of getting another dog has come up a lot lately but a subject I tended to shy away from. The thought of another dog was more than I was ready for. The thought of a puppy was even more alarming! Losing one dog is hard enough but we had actually lost three dogs with a year and half time. We both missed all of them terribly but for me, I decided that when the time was right for another dog, a dog would find me, just like Munci did.
Things have a funny way of working out but through a series of events and happenstance networking, we were put in contact with a German Shepherd rescue facility about 3.5 hours from home, which also happened to be 5 minutes from friends of ours who we happened to be planning to go visit on December 23rd, which just happened to be one year to the day of losing Munci. Life is so weird sometimes.

German Shepherds have always been my first choice in dogs (grew up with them) and I always thought that someday I might like to get another one.. just not now. Nonetheless, since we were going to be in the vicinity anyways, I was convinced that I should go have a look, meet the lady that ran the rescue and just "see". Tom threw the doggie travel crate in the car when I wasn’t looking.…hmmmm.

Well, here is what we came home with. Meet Xena (my Warrior Princess).

She 18 months old and has a little history. She grew up with a family but had to be given up due to employment difficulties. She was then adopted out to another family but it didn’t work out due to allergies. As a result, she has some anxiety as she has been bounced around a little. Who wouldn't? German Shepherds are generally one person /family dogs that bond very closely. She seemed to take to Tom and myself pretty quickly during our visit. I guess the deal was sealed upon seeing that. She knows her basics and has a sweet temperament. She needs some doggie socialization time but otherwise, her worst habit is jumping on poeple when she wants to play. She isn't a chewer , shows no signs of separation anxiety, and not a barker. She isn't sure about the cat yet but she hasn't shown any aggression either. The horses were totally new to her but she is quickly getting into the chore routine. It seems her biggest downfall is that she just hasn't been exposed to much in life. We'll change that!!

In just the few short days we have had her, she has definitely filled a void in our lives that I didn’t want to accept was missing.
Yah, I am a little smitten…

Welcome home Xena.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Short Horse Story

Here it is again, weeks and weeks with no posting. Yes, it’s ridiculous. I know. (hanging head)
Compared to last year at this time, we are enjoying a non-winter – winter (if there is such a thing) thus far!

Well,okay, not completely…
It has been cold but we have nothing more than a skiff of snow on the ground which means I have been able to ride a bit more. Maggie is quite plump. We.. I mean , I, have practicing the best technique of how to get on a round horse with a fluffy slippery coat. I swear one of the other horses has gotten a hold of my show sheen and is wiping Maggie’s back down with it when I am not home. What the hell is with her slippery coat!! (yes, it's a sign of a healthy horse I suppose but seriously??) It’s requiring some athletic capabilities on my part in order to get on without sliding the saddle over. Maggie gets pretty irritated about the whole thing and has actually walked over to the mounting block as if to say "please.. just use this .." Yes, I could always use the mounting block and some days I do but I think I just like the challenge of. I almost have it down to a science! Maybe I will do a little write up on details of the "How To's" and yes, there is actually a technique involved!

Maggie has also been perfecting her Houdini acts and has the "getting into places where she shouldn’t" be down to an art. I guess the allure of the compost heap full of rotting hay , chicken and horse manure was too much for her stomach to ignore any longer?? Sans electric fence. Getting in is one thing, the getting out she hasn’t really perfected yet, much to my fencing’s demise. When she first started her latest antics, she patiently waited until someone came home and rescued her. We would unplug the fence, un string the wire and release her from her confines. Well, the last time, it was Tom that got home first and ultimately had to deal with her. I am just guessing but I would imagine he cussed a blue streak all the way out to her and back and called her a few choice names in the process. But ever since, things went back to normal again. Maggie stayed out of the area. I figured she probably grew bored with the whole routine and realized there wasn’t anything worth eating in there anymore. Perfect! We were done with finding her stuck somewhere she shouldn’t be and I didn't have to worry about her getting into bad hay.

I am not exactly sure what happened after that because two days later, we came home to find the entire perimeter fencing of the compost heap saggingm ripped and two of the poles(cheap temporary plastic ones) broken right off and , as if to add insult to injury, Maggie and Cassidy were contently standing on top of the immaculately groomed grassy knoll that serves as Tom’s archery stop, which is also .. correction.. WAS fenced off . More wire fence busted. 12 degree weather…( I LOVE this mare, really...)

As if that weren’t quite enough, as we walked into the pasture, brother and sister took off, leaping off the mound (quite impressively I might add)and kicking up fairly large clods of sod as they went.. of which one landed at promptly at Tom’s feet.
Do you suppose they planned that part??

I didn’t want to look at Tom at that moment because he surely had to have steam rolling out of his ears by now…after a few seconds, as Maggie and Cassidy did what I presume was a Victory lap, I couldn’t help but start laughing hysterically at the whole thing. It was as if Maggie gave him the middle hoof… !!

I figure Maggie decided at some point in all this that she was pretty offended at what Tom called her just days before. I guess she got the last laugh and I will be fixing the missing hoof clumps on the arrow mound.

Bored horses… I may not have a fence left on the place by spring..