Is There Really Life After Childbirth?

Archive for the ‘Crazy Critters’ Category

First, I must apologize to our neighbors.  I’m sure most of them remember how I spent the second week of our arrival to the neighborhood calling to apologize for our first week.  It just keeps getting better.

This noise was even worse than the giant gerbil escapade…this time somebody was screaming.  Once Bob & I determined that it wasn’t either one of us, I ventured a peak out the door to the deck.  All I could see were legs and tails.  It was a huge ball of dog, dog, and still unidentified critter.  There was a pause in the commotion and I finally recognized raccoon parts.  Next to two big dogs, it appeared to be quite small and I inadvertently yelled, “They’re killing a baby raccoon.”  So, I take full responsibility for the fracas that followed (well almost full responsibility).

Crazy Bob (yes, he gets his nickname back) and I ran out on the deck.  I was hoping to distract the two big dogs by yelling “Treat, treat!”, a ploy that usually works, but doesn’t provide much of a distraction to this frenzied crowd.  It DID however, get Wolfey’s attention.  He is a Pomeranian, complete with short dog syndrome, that causes him to hurl himself at cars and at dogs much larger than he is, in an attempt to impress girl dogs and allpeople.   Now we have 3 dogs and a raccoon.  I did manage to get Wolfey back and to throw him back in the house.

By now the dog-dog-raccoon ball has rolled down the stairs and back behind the table and chairs into a corner.  At this point, Crazy Bob decides to intervene.  He climbs over the chairs into the middle and starts reaching for the raccoon!  I’m yelling “DO NOT PICK UP THAT RACCOON, HE WILL BITE YOU!”  Have I mentioned that Bob is naked?  I thought not.  I asked him later if he realized that he had rushed outside with nary a stitch of clothing and he admitted that he had not realized that fact until I pointed it out to him.  About this time, the raccoon rolls free of the dogs and would have escaped, if he hadn’t run into Bob’s leg.  So, he bites it.   The dogs catch up with the raccoon.  Bob hobbles indoors for…I’m not sure why he went inside, but when I followed him a few minutes later, he was sitting at the computer looking up information on rabies.

By now, the screaming is much louder…I’m pretty sure I may have been a part of it.  There is nothing that sounds so awful as a creature fighting for his life.  I make one last charge at the dogs hoping they will pause for just a second, but instead they take off into the night with their new prize.  

I admit defeat and head into the house to check on Bob.  Now I find him wearing shorts and boots and holding a flashlight and a shovel.   This is just getting weirder.  He says, “Raccoons carry rabies.”  I say, “Yes, Bob, that’s why I told you not to get bitten.”  He says, “I have to get the raccoon away from the dogs.”  And out into the wilderness he charges.

The next few minutes are filled with crashing, thrashing, and an occasional curse word.  Pretty soon Magic, the smartest dog in the bunch, returns for her treat.   I decide that I just can’t take it anymore and go inside for first aid supplies.  About that time, Bob returns from wrestling the raccoon away from Cody.  The raccoon has not survived the night’s activities.  Cody is royally ticked off that Bob stole his rightfully won prize.  Magic wants her treat and Wolfey is miffed that, once again, we won’t let him play with the big dogs.

Ah, but the night is young.  We now begin an hour’s worth of phone calls trying to find out what to do with a dead raccoon and a wounded husband.   Hospital emergency rooms refuse to give medical advice over the phone.  I didn’t want medical advice.  I wanted to know what to do with a dead raccoon.  They didn’t know (or care too much).  I finally called the emergency vet who advised us to keep the raccoon cool (not frozen) and hand him off to our vet in the morning.   The lady was very helpful and also told us to get in touch with our county animal control office.

Well, we live in Pawnee County.  We don’t even get a Pawnee County phone book.  (We only recently got DSL).  So it is morning before we can talk to anyone at the Pawnee County Health Department (there is no animal control office).  She informs us (now this is priceless), that the guy who has been calling to inspect our bakery shop is the guy we need to contact about the dead raccoon.  Is that handy or what?  We need our shop inspected.  We have a dead raccoon in the refrigerator AND the same guy handles both!  Things are looking up.

OK.  Bob delivers the ‘cool’ raccoon to our vet who shipped it off for rabies testing.  We’ll know in a week if the raccoon (or Bob) has rabies.  Cody and Magic have no visible wounds and are up to date on all shots.   Wolfey has convinced himself that he could have taken the raccoon and BOTH dogs if I hadn’t intervened.  All’s well that ends well.

Did I mention that it wasn’t a baby raccoon after all?

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Here are some pictures of the beautiful home Bob built for our two outside dogs, Cody and Magic (see previous stories!) As you can see, he did a fantastic job and we even stained it, so that they could proudly cower together during storms, burglaries, and random attacks by wild predators.

The second row, however, is how the doghouse looks AFTER a giant mutant gerbil tried to use it as his hiding place.

It sounded like what I imagine the Normandy Invasion sounded like, so we hurried out to investigate. Obviously, the dogs had lost a precious playmate under the house, so Bob tipped the house up and the little rascal took off. The playmate (Bob’s description is ‘….a rat with a tufted tail…it looked exactly like a giant gerbil!’) escaped this time, but apparently did not learn from his mistakes. Either that or we serve the best dog food in the county!
A couple of nights later, the invasion began again. This time Bob tilted the house in a different direction and the critter made a bee-line straight into Magic’s waiting jaws.

I’m thinking the next house will have to be made of bricks.

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In our quest to find a suitable home for Magic, we located a rescue group on the web that indicated they might be able to help. We were asked to bring her to their facility (about 90 miles from our home) for evaluation.
Can you spell S-U-C-K-E-R-S!
We all piled into the car. This was not as easy as it sounds since the mere sight of a leash sent Magic into full blown hysteria. We had to actually pick her up and put her in the car. Once in the car, she was perfectly behaved and actually seemed to enjoy the outing (as long as she didn’t have to look at the leash). We arrived at our destination, remaining optimistic despite the fact that the “facility” appeared to be a rather run-down house in the middle of town. There was no way we were leaving Magic here, but we thought we might be able to post her picture on their website and oversee the adoption ourselves. So we stupidly got out of the car. Not Magic…apparently she was the only one with any sense.
We were given a tour of the “shelter” which consisted of several pens of wire holding tons of dogs trying to escape through the wire. One dog appeared to have her head stuck in the wire. There was also a blocked off section of the front porch crammed full of puppies. The smell (and keep in mind this is outside) was horrific.
Were we smart enough to retreat with our tails between our legs? OH NO! Not only did we stay, we actually picked up a roly poly pup with a pink nose, pink foot pads, and a white tip on his tail. Did our stupidity stop there? OH NO! We paid a small adoption fee and rescued the little thing from certain death, taking him home to join the crew. Right about now, my maternal instincts are kicking into overdrive. There is something wrong with this dog! I JUST KNOW IT! But we take him home anyway.
Sure enough, one day (and 200 diarrhea clean ups) later, at one minute before closing time, I call the vet. Buffalo Bill Cody has parvo. Never name a puppy before you have the vet check him out. Once they’re named you cannot say “Yes, we should probably just put him down.” Once they are named, you say “OK. Do what you can to save Cody.”
One week and a maxed out credit card later, we bring him home.
Now I’m not saying all this illness (he proceeded to be infected with every type of parasite known to man) is what did it, but this dog is quite possibly the dumbest dog ever to walk the face of the earth. The dog eats wood. He eats wire. He eats toys that are guaranteed to be indestructible. He eats anything else he can fit into his mouth. And his mouth is quite large. Once his medical problems were solved (and the second mortgage on the house was approved) he quickly grew from 5 pounds to over 70. Unfortunately, his brain still thinks he’s a 5 pound dog. He wants to sit in your lap. He wants to lie on the back of the couch. He wants to romp and play with the other 5 pound dogs. His idea of fun (second only to eating his dog house) is to knock you over, run into the house, grab the first dog toy he can find, knock you over again, run out of the house and disappear into the woods to hide the toy, preferably somewhere where there is mud.
We just “celebrated” our first year with Cody and can safely say that he is the most expensive free dog we have ever rescued. They tried to convince us that he was a full blooded pit pull. Now look in those bloodshot eyes and tell me he is not a big old dopey hound dog.
Oh well, ya gotta love a mug like that!!
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As you may have noticed, I have not followed any particular order in detailing our incredible critters. Hopefully, you won’t think this is because I started this whole endeavor without a clear plan in place. That would imply that I am not organized or logical. Of course, we all know that can’t be it! Of course not. However, it should be noted that this particular event did transpire shortly after the passing of MaMa Kitty. I can think of no reason that it has taken me this long to document, so let’s just dispense with the disappointing noises and looks. OK????? Thank you.

It would probably be considered an understatement to say that our neighbors have noticed our uniquely eclectic collection of wildlife. So it was not unusual for one of the neighbors to call about a stray dog she had seen in her yard for a couple of days. She knew that I worked with someone who volunteered with a local pet adoption service and hoped that we would be able to help find the dog a home. I was working on this solution when I received a call from my husband, Krazy Bob. “Guess what’s in our backyard?” Oh yes, it was! He had sat in the road with bits of food trying to coax the frightened dog into our yard. And, of course, he had been successful.

The poor dog was starving, covered with ticks, and extremely timid (especially around men). It was quite obvious that she had been mistreated. We took her to the vet for tests and shots, feed her (almost constantly) for several days and set about trying to find a good home for her.

None of the animal rescue groups would take her. No one had room. (Let me take this opportunity to stress the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. Please! You’re welcome, Bob Barker.) We took pictures of her, posted them around work, and even drove to a place about 90 minutes away to try to find the perfect place for her. (More on that trip in the next post).

Well, you know the rest. It’s been over a year and Black Magic is happy in her new home. Yes, our home. She is very loving and extremely grateful to be a part of the clan. And the neighbors now have our number on speed dial!

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Much time has passed since my last post, although activities at the Crazy Critter household have maintained an extremely high volume. Shortly after sweet Goat Cheese took his final resting place by the side of our house overlooking the lake, we encountered a flurry of furry commotion.
Mama (AKA Square…see previous blog) Kitty had made an emergency visit (she wouldn’t eat anything) to the hospital back in March of 2007 where we received the devastating news that she had cancer and would not be with us much longer. This was right before my birthday and Krazy Bob had not made the trip with us. There was no way I would agree to leave her there without the chance for one last party. I promised the vet that we would come back before she began to suffer (the doctor recommended it be within the week) to help her with her final journey. I tearfully took her home to make her last days comfortable.
Apparently Mama Kitty took exception with this plan. I probably should mention that we were told to make her “last days comfortable” back in 1995 shortly after her second birthday and the delivery of those tiny curmudgeons that morphed her from Square Kitty to Mama. We moved her into the laundry room to live in peace and fed her the good stuff (canned cat food and cream) for about 6 months. It became apparent that Mama was having the time of her life. She loved the solitude of the laundry room with its window looking over the back yard where she was content to make faces at the dog (Cochise) throughout the day. She adopted a pet mouse (I am just making an assumption on that fact since she pretended not to see it scampering by her whenever anyone else was in the room) and rolled over for a belly scratch anytime a human strolled by within arm’s length. The only indication that she had been at death’s door was a temporary change in hair color from black to silver and back to black.
Time marched on. Boys went to high school, started driving, and left for college. I became a bit suspicious that Mama Kitty might be pulling a fast one on us. I was planning to marry Krazy Bob and didn’t want to expose his cat (High Prince Spooky) to anything lethal. We gave MK another last meal of cream and prepared to take her into our new vet for her final visit. After running a couple of tests, the vet stated, “This cat doesn’t have leukemia.” We turned to MK for an explanation. I swear she just shrugged, “Don’t look at me…*I* never said I was sick.” We took her home.
Fast forward 6 years to 2007 and we are once again preparing a special last meal of her favorites, tuna and cream (in separate dishes, of course). Mama Kitty slurped it up and settled into a chair in the den to spend the last few days indoors with us. This is about 30 minutes after we got home from the vet because she wouldn’t eat. I began to suspect a conspiracy. Needless to say, days turned into weeks, and weeks to months. Then, one night about a week after we buried Cochise, she asked to sleep outside on the front porch in her favorite rocking chair. Early the next morning we heard a ruckus in the yard and rushed out to make sure everything was OK. My husband spotted a large, shadowy, white wolf-looking creature run into the woods. Around the corner, we found Mama Kitty. There were no marks on her body and no signs of a fight. It is our belief that she died happily snuggled in her chair having won the final fight of deciding where and when she wanted to go. Our hearts are sad and it still seems wrong to drive up and not have her scamper out of her house boat to greet us, but you’ve got to admire her spirit. After all, it’s with us still!
Mama Kitty

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BEYOND LIFE’S GATEWAY

Little one lie down your head

The day is closed, it’s time for bed!

The gentle winds blow to and fro

And all of nature seems to know…

That day has fled and all around

The evening comes without a sound.

A glorious calm has settled deep

Upon the day. It’s time for sleep.

May dreams of fields and running free fill every moment of your sleep.

May peaceful rest bring you this day to yonder shore beyond the gate.

I’ll linger here awhile just yet, but you go on, my loving pet.

‘Tis time for us to part our way, until the coming of the day…

When we again will meet once more beyond Life’s Gateway, on yonder shore.

But for a time we both must wait on either side God’s shining gate.

And should you see me crying there it’s not because I think unfair

The shortness of the days we shared ’tis only that I loved and cared.

So go my gentle, little one with all my love into the sun

I’ll join you on another day when all earth’s cares shall pass away.

Author unknown

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your husband decides to bring Percy (see first blog) inside for an evening snack…like dog food isn’t good enough for him anymore! As you can see, Percy has grown A LOT in the past year and a half. Luckily we did not purchase any of the tainted dog food for him. What could be worse than killing a possum with poisoned dog food?
He’s been keeping to himself mostly, but the dogs seem to be able to figure out he is snuggled in under the deck every night. The neighbors love us! Nothing like a Pack of Panicked Pomeranians to help tuck you in at bedtime. The minute you stand up to open the door to go outside, they begin their excited greetings to let Percy know they are coming. Sure enough, they head straight for the corner under the grill and try furiously to wedge their little heads between the cracks for one last good night kiss. Percy for the most part ignores them. However, the other night he missed the turn at the bottom of the steps and found himself “dead” at the end of the stairs with a Wolfey snout sniffing furiously over his little possum coat. That’s when Krazy Bob intervened and picked Percy up for a trip in the house. Notice how this did not interfere with the “tongue hanging out dead” posture he has been honing this past year. Unfortunately, when you are dead you cannot swallow, so…you drool. I convinced Bob that Percy did not want to smoke a cigar, but I’m having trouble with the “wearing overalls” thing. So far, “I don’t have a pattern for possum overalls” is working, but I’m pretty sure that even Krazy Bob will figure out that dog patterns could probably be altered to fit a possum.