Thursday, July 16, 2009

Strom gets to Talk and get's a Pedicure

Well, one of my friends and clients is a Reiki master and animal communicator. We kind of have a trade going. I trim her horse whenever it needs it and she comes and talks to my horses (or Terri's) or other animals and gives them Reiki if they need it, whenever I need it. Works out great and the horses LOVE the Reiki and I have discovered some neat things about my horses. Her rates are really reasonable and she can do readings over the phone. Check out her webpage for more info and on neat stories and such... http://www.creaturespeak.com/
So I had her ask Storm several questions... What caused all the bucking? (he'd NEVER offered to buck with me, but at the training barn in Kentucky, he was labeled as too old to train something new and he bucks and is afraid of other horses...?????????????) He replied with not liking how he was being rushed through the training there and also he REALLY didn't like the "thing" attached to his saddle/girth/tack (?? they "talk" in pictures and feelings more so than in words and Linda was having a hard time describing the device) and then attached to his feet/lower legs and it was supposed to make him lift his legs higher but he really hated it. Anyone have an inkling of such a device used to get more leg action out of a horse? Let me know...
He did say he liked the food there (well yeah, alfalfa and grain, which he'd never gotten before) and that the main trainer riding him had nice, quiet hands on the reins....
Then some stuff about his/our future. He is not going to go live with Kamela. He also is not going to stay forever and become my horse (boo hoo :( ....though I really shouldn't have a 4th horse in my life anyway, LOL..one only has so many hours and dollars to spend :P). He IS going to find the right home and that there is a woman with a young girl involved (he apparently also really loves children...prob why he won't be with me, none of those in my future thank goodness, LOL). He will be gelded some time in his future (get your breedings in now, while I have him! Might not be another chance! I am so glad I have Ari...) and he is going to stay with me for a year, maybe 2, but not more, before he moves on. He is in my life cause he is my spirit guide (and no, despite what I was wondering, we did NOT meet in a former life...I am just so connected to him cause he is my guide) to help me grow further and into my next stage in life...His daughter (Ari) is going to be my big time partner though, since he won't be.
Hhhmmmmm. Wow. Like I say, I always learn interesting stuff when Linda comes out to talk with my animals, LOL...
Well, after all that and sitting around in the sun (we actually HAD some in Trinidad today, but later the fog did blow back in...sighhhh) chit chatting, Linda went home and I figured it was about time to give the boy a trim. He got to our place looking like he was prob 10wks or so out from a trim (hard to say..I know a lot of farriers leave way too much foot, compared to how we barefooters trim...so it looks like the horse is really "long", when he was trimmed not too long ago), but I really didn;t have time to fuss with it as he was looking ok and not seeming bothered by them. So today I pulled out the tools and set him up. He has some good flaring going on, but the last 4mos or so of growth down from the coronet looks like it is coming in ok. So once the old hoof grows out, he should be fine and have nice feet. He has what looks like an abscess blow out about a third of hte way down his right front too. Back feet looked better flare wise than the fronts and all four had retained sole that had to come out. Over all he had healthy and well connected white lines and thick walls and decent frogs. I also fit him for Gloves (no shoes for this boy while in my care :) ) and he has a good sized foot..will take a 2.5 (same size as Chey, who was a 2 in shoes) and he seems to fit into the shells really nicely! Whoo Hoo!
Here are some before and after trim pics of his fronts and hinds...










































Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Storm's new Buds!

Well, the endurance boys are back home at Terri's. They did a great job "mowing the lawn" at my place and Storm was getting bored with the goats I think, as they won't hang real close to him. We got the hot tape set up for him (was just living in the no-climb by itself right now as there were no other horses to tempt him out) and then brought the boys up to the fence one by one on the end of a lead to say high. Storm zapped himself a few times when he got to close, but then stayed a ways back, so he seems to really respect it now that he knows it is there. Being the typical Humboldt Horsewoman, Terri was wearing flip floppy type shoes and of course Oli jumped on her and stomped her foot pretty good when Storm got zapped the first time (our horse know what THAT sound means, LOL). It made a nice big lump and bruise, but what else is new, LOL. Oliver (the bay sabino, about Storm's age) was easy. He said hi and then proceeded to ignore Storm.
Then I brought over Cheyenne (the big grey...20 going on 8). He WAS the head honcho of the ranch and Terri and I both figured there'd be a "showdown" to figure out who the REAL "stud" was, LOL. I wish we could find our cameras (both of us have the same one and BOTH of us can't find it...they are too dang small!). Chey arched his neck as high as he could over the fence (man, he would have made a MAGNIFICENT stud...sighhh....poor dude never got a chance, LOL) and sniffed noses with Storm (we were at the pipe corral side...easier to go over as the wire side has the tape on top and is higher...) and they both snorted, squealed and "struck out" (stomped the ground and stuck a foot out a little, but no "real" strike...) and sniffed more and so on. You could tell they were talking about who was the big dude and Chey was telling Storm to stay away from HIS guy (he and Oli are SO the gay couple...really cute actually. I have a few gay friends and these boys are as close as horses could be to the human relationship, minus the sex, LOL). But after a little bit of that, both settled down and Terri tossed out a bunch of hay on both sides of hte fence. Close enough to see each other, but not right "on" the fence. All three went to eating and it was fairly anti-climactic. Here are a bunch of pics (with my blurry cell phone...I WILL find that camera one of these days, LOL) from about half hour after the initial meeting...
OH! and I found Storm's FAVORITE itch spot... I HAVE to get pics, or better yet, video, when we find the cameras....he LOVES his belly scratched and the faces he makes...PRICELESS!





















Sunday, July 12, 2009

Great horse mvoie/training/info site

I keep planning on joining this when I have the money (not expensive, but right now I am having to run a tight ship). This is basically the horse version of Netflix...pay a monthly fee and you can "rent" a bunch of videos. There are movies we all love and then better, training videos for most disciplines (none on endurance, but do those even exist in general??). There are even videos on gaited horse training! And lots of stuff on health (learn to do massage, learn foal care, whatever!). This is a great resource, without having to pay thousands of dollars for all those different training series if you bought them...
http://www.horseflix.com/

Funny for the day...

This is my kinda stimulus plan, LOL...got this off another list. LOVE it! We need a pony in the white house again!

HELPING THE ECONOMY
MEMO

TO: President Barack Obama
FROM: Ange Finn
RE: Economic Recovery Stimulus Ideas

Mr. President, it has come to my attention that you're having some challenges with the economy. If I understand things correctly, we're in a recession, consumer confidence and spending is down, credit is tight, investors are spooked , we need renewable energy, and health care costs are through the roof. Trillions of dollars, not to mention our future, are at stake. Mr. President, I'm just a regular citizen, but I think I have a solution.
Give every American a horse.
My proposal may not make sense to you at first, but let me give you a little background. First of all, horses in the U.S. are a multi-billion dollar industry, and that’s just at my house. I suggest you have your economic advisors do a little research on the spending around horse ownership. You'd be surprised, Mr. President.
Start by visiting the tack and clothing retailers like State Line or Dover. Look at the variety of goods available there. Now take into account that every horse owner, especially if it’s a woman, is buying not just one or two, but tons of these items. Believe me.
So my thinking is that if you give every American a horse, starting when they reach the horse-receptive age of 10, you're going to do two things: boost consumer confidence and boost spending immediately. Horses make us feel good, and once Americans all own horses (at the government’s expense, of course), they will all logically fall into the pattern that every horse owner succumbs to: accessorizing. For starters, we need horse-care implements like buckets and muck rakes, hoof picks and curry combs. And we need at least basic tack, halter, leadline, saddle, saddle pad, bridle and bit. But then the fun begins.
Zebra print leg wraps. Neon bright fly masks. An assortment of sheets and blankets for all seasons; you've got your cooler, your lightweight blanket, your medium blanket, your heavy blanket. Then there’s your stable sheet and your pasture sheet. Also your hoodie, and tail wrap items.
And that’s just the clothing for the horse. Don't get me started on the clothing for the rider, even if he or she doesn't show. Since most Americans don't have a basic riding wardrobe, the stores would be swamped for jeans, boots, breeches, T-shirts, dozens of pairs of cute boot socks, and the ubiquitous ball cap. Tell the retailers to get ready. It'll be Christmas all year long.
Now let’s talk about support industries. In addition to the usual veterinarian and farrier expenditures, people also give their horses chiropractic, massage and acupuncture, not to mention buying more beauty products for their horses than they do for themselves. All those professions and industries will benefit. And of course there will be a big spike in hay and grain demand, so the farmers will be happy too. You see, that’s the secret to jump-starting
consumer spending through my stimulus package. People will spend money on their horses when they won't spend money on anything else.
But, your advisers might say, there’s a catch. Aren't we paying the price, in global warming, of the large number of livestock animals we currently have? They produce a all that methane!
Ah, Mr. President, here’s the real beauty of this idea. When you introduce the Methane-Assisted Natural Unrefined Renewable Energy plan (M.A.N.U.R.E. ), you'll be a hero for coming up with an alternative, renewable, home-grown source of clean energy. Just challenge the energy gurus to come up with a methane gascollectio system that can harness all the “natural resource” produced by all those horses to power our cities. Talk about shovel ready-projects:
M.A.N.U.R.E. fits the bill!
And you keep stressing how we need new industries for investment; well, under the M.A.N.U.R.E. plan you can sell Petroleum Offset Opportunity units to investors. By buying these units, investors can help us gradually convert from a petroleum-based economy to one basedon horse P.O.O.
Health care costs will go down, too, as everyone cares for their horses. You can give tax credits based on the amount of time people spend working, riding and hanging out with their horses, which will automatically make them healthier. (Don't tell the docs, but most horse owners already get their own basic healthcare from their vet.)
One more thing: everyone is annoyed by these corporate CEOs and their big bonuses in a down economy. So give the executives, say, one horse for every $100,000 of bonus money they've received. Those bonuses will be plowed back into the economy in no time.
Finally, because you, Mrs. O, and the girls are such role models, you can encourage us all by getting a pony for Sasha and Malia. It will teach them responsibility, help the First Lady plow the garden, and as a bonus: free fertilizer for the Rose Garden.
If you don't believe me that horse ownership stimulates spending, go ahead, Mr. President. Buy that pony for your girls. You'll see.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Modified

Modified. This better be the end.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

First day with Storm

So today I went up to Trinidad with a bunch of goodies in my truck for Storm. He'll be getting some beetpulp, ricebran, minerals from the vets (our area is 3 x's lower in Selenium than normal and the vet formulates minerals to balance the hays and pastures here), a salt block, and some treats. So he will be royally spoiled of course :) I haltered him up, wormed him (he was really good about that), and then took him to the round pen. Oh, and he really liked the salt block...he's like Oliver (Terri's gaited endurance horse)...licks the heck out of them :) I then brushed him down well and worked him a few rounds in the pen. He responds well at liberty and was showing some nice gaits and a great rocking canter... Then I did some in-hand work with him. He was a little pushy into my space, but other than that responded nicely, so we will just work on that. Finally, he got to go down the drive to Terri's backyard, where he got to eat lots of good grass for 20 mins or so. All in all a nice and quiet, easy day. The next two weeks will be pretty much like this, as I don't want to overdo anything and start any "Real" training until he is settled and recovered from his trip. Next week the geldings will be coming back to Terri's too (they are living lawnmowers at my house right now and are almost done with that job) and then he'll have some horsey buddies (he does have the goats right now, but they are not that interesting I think).
I'll post some better pics of him soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

To Sell a Horse....

Just found this on Facebook...it is written for an Arabian, but could be for every horse. So apropos to the post I just did, I had to share it...once we get them, it sure would be hard to give them up for anything! (Even when they are stupid, rascally 4 yo dingbats you can get soooo frustrated with! This is dedicated to MY "Arabian"...well half anyway, Eoywn's Thunder...


The qualities of the Arabian have long been valued by historians, artists, writers and poets. Who could not thrill to the passionate words of "THE ARAB'S FAREWELL TO HIS HORSE" by the 19th century poetess Caroline Norton:

My Beautiful! My Beautiful! That standest meekly by,
With thy proudly arch'd and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye,
Fret not to roam the desert now, with all thy winged speed;
I may not mount on thee again - thou'rt sold, my Arab steed!
Fret not with that impatient hoof - snuff not the breezy wind.
The farther that thou fliest now, so far am I behind.
The stranger hath thy bridle-rein - thy master hath his gold,
Fleet-limb'd and beautiful, farewell; thou'rt sold, my steed, thou'rt sold.

Farewell! Those free, untired limbs full many a mile must roam
To reach the chill and wintry sky which clouds the stranger's home.
Some other hand, less fond, must now thy corn and bread prepare.
The silky mane I braided once must be another's care!
The morning sun shall dawn again, but never more with thee
Shall I gallop through the desert paths, where we were wont to be.
Evening shall darken on the earth and o'er the sandy plain
Some other steed, with slower step, shall bear me home again.

Yes, thou must go! The wild, free breeze, the brilliant sun and sky,
Thy master's home, from all of these my exiled one must fly.
Thy proud dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become less fleet,
And vainly shalt thou arch thy neck, thy master's hand to meet.
Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye, glancing bright;
Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm and light.
And when I raise my dreaming arm to check or cheer thy speed,
Then must I, starting, wake to feel - thou'rt sold, my Arab steed!

Ah! Rudely then, unseen by me, some cruel hand may chide,
Till foam-wreaths lie, like crested waves, along thy panting side:
And the rich blood that's in thee swells, in thy indignant pain,
Till careless eyes, which rest on thee, may count each started vein.
Will they ill-use thee? If I thought - but no, it cannot be.
Thou art so swift, yet easy curb'd, so gentle, yet so free.
And yet, if haply, when thou'rt gone, my lonely heart should yearn,
Can the hand which casts thee from it now command thee to return?

Return! Alas! My Arab steed! What shall thy master do
When thou, who wast his all of joy, hast vanish'd from his view?
When the dim distance cheats mine eye, and through the gathering tears
Thy bright form, for a moment, like a false mirage appears;
Slow and unmounted shall I roam, with weary step alone
Where, with fleet step and joyous bound, thou oft hast borne me on;
And sitting down by that green well, I'll pause and sadly think,
"It was here he bow'd his glossy neck when last I saw him drink!"

When last I saw thee drink! Away! The fever'd dream is o'er.
I could not live a day and know that we should meet no more!
They tempted me, my beautiful - for hunger's power is strong -
They tempted me, my beautiful! But I have loved too long.
Who said that I had given thee up? Who said that thou wast sold?
Tis false, 'tis false! My Arab steed! I fling them back their gold!
Thus, thus, I leap upon thy back and scour the distant plains;
Away! Who overtakes us now shall claim thee for his pains!

Pics of Eowyn....






Our first real good ride together 2 wks ago at Chalk Rock 10 miler... All grown up (well, kinda at only 4 :P)




















And as a 3 mo old.... what a cutie!



















Another at 3 mos old...love this one...














And this is more her REAL personality :)

In an add on to the last post, I want ppl to go visit these two sites. One is a listing of breeders who will take back any horses they bred or sold, or help re-home them, or help in other ways. These breeders all want what is best for their stock and if I ever have the money to buy property and such and start some selective breeding, I would sign up. I would never want to see one of my babies end up at a slaughter house, just cause someone down the line can't afford to feed it or something else went wrong. Same thing as a horse owner. I have the mare (has a forever home with me) and the two young'ns...if I EVER had to sell them, they'd go on trial first and then have a buy-back clause and I would FOLLOW what happens to them throughout their lives as much as is possible. I hate how so many ppl buy a horse and then just sell it when things don't work out (or worse, when the horse is too old or injured to win those ribbons or whatever) and then never follow up...like who cares? It's just a horse and is no longer useful? GAH!!
The second link pertains to that. It is a site where you can look for past horses or help ppl find theirs...so go take a look and if you are looking for a long lost horse, give it a try!
http://www.horsereunions.com/welcome/list.html
http://www.horsereunions.com/

Transport...

Some have voiced concern about Storm and his transport. I have to say, he looks fine for a horse that went 2500 miles across country in the summer, that before that had a hard 6 or more months.... I used http://www.ddhorsetransport.com/ and Angel and David Vierra were wonderful. I had posted to various horse transport bid sites to get as reasonable bid as I could, to get him from Tennessee to Ca. Due to his owner being in financial difficulties, I had to wrangle up some 'Friends of Storm' (Thanks Barb! You are a most responsible breeder, trying to help your former horse as much as possible! All breeders/horse owners should follow your example of following up on horses one has bred/owned and trying to keep them out of situations that are not good for them...I think horses would have wonderful lives then!) to help with the shipping and still, we couldn't afford a ton (I had one bid at 2600$!! Holy Cow! That must be a gold-padded trailer!), but wanted him to make the trip safely nonetheless. I got lots of bids, but only 3 we could even begin to afford. After emailing and talking on the phone with the three, I settled on D&D. They really sounded great and like they knew what they were doing and I had a good feeling that Storm would be fine with them. They offered a great bid, but didn't compromise safety of the horse for that price.
Storm was going to come out here in a shipment with some horses moving from Ohio to Oregon. The Vierra's were going to pick him up on the 23rd of June, and they made it back to their ranch in central CA late on the 27th. They had no problems working with a stallion and took great care of him, stopping every 3-4 hrs, offering water, feeding when hay ran out, cleaning the trailer, whatever was needed. If I called therm on route I either got a long and fun conversation, or they called me back (leaving detailed mssgs if I was not there) as soon as they got my mssg. There was a small hangup with the owner of the Or horses (Storm would go up I-5 to Redding, where Terri picked him up, with the Or horses going to their home) as they were not in Or as soon as expected. So the Vierra's put Storm and those horses up at their place for a week (once they heard from the Or ppl, they wisely decided dealing with 4th of July weekend traffic would not be fun for them or the horses), we decided to meet in Redding on the 6th. At the last minute I told them my friend Terri would pick him up, as my truck was hiccuping, and there was no problem with that CiP either. They were very flexible and wonderful to work with! They took great care of him during his week at their place, and didn't even charge me board (THANKS!), including it in the shipping fee.
Storm arrived at my place a little thinner than in his former life in OR, but not really that thin weight-wise...it is more a loss of muscle condition along the spine and hindquarters, that I have seen on plenty of horses that have had injuries or been sick and had to have "stall rest" and couldn't move around much or be ridden...the back kinda atrophies and the butt, and the muscles drop low on the spine, giving it a "poor" look. But he had fat on the ribs (can't see ribs and have to push his side in a little to feel them) and tailhead and his neck looked fine, etc... so he really didn't seem malnourished to me or anything. So rest assured all y'all, he is feeling and looking fine. And with some gradual conditioning work on the ground, then in the saddle, his muscles will fill out again and he'll look great! And I would ship any of my horses with D&D any time in the future!

Monday, July 6, 2009

BIG THANKS!

I want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!! To everyone that helped with time or money, and good thoughts, with getting Storm out here! It will be well used and he will thank you for it too...He's going to be such a fun guy to work with and I think he'll do well in endurance once he is up and running. THANKS SO MUCH! :):):)

He's HOME!

Terri went and got Storm for me today...THANKS! My truck has been hiccuping a little, so I just didn't trust it to go up over the mountain over 299 with The Precious...So I took Oliver to the vet for her this morning (he needed his blood drawn for a chem panel) and she went to Redding to go get Storm. The shippers were going to be at the fairgrounds around 10am...Terri says he took a while to load up (we are guessing he is just sick and tired of being hauled all over the country, LOL), but other than that, and throwing his haybag onto the floor, he was really good.




Once we unloaded him and let him drink, I tossed him into the roundpen first. He spent a good amount of time sniffing poop (ooooo, all those other horses that live here! YUM...) and spooking at the "goat toy" (flipped over water trough that the baby goats love jumping around on) and going for a good roll....













OOOOooohhhh that's goooood!














Nothing like a good roll in sand!















YEAH! That was GREAT!













Then we moved him around a little to shake off the drive (bout 4 hrs by trailer..3 if you are in a car)...He did everything from a runwalk, Rack, step-pace, rack-a-lope, and a nice canter...












Such a beautiful boy :)
















Round and Round we go....










video Then we moved outside and were going to take pictures of me and Storm, but they came out as video instead...oh well :)

video Trying to give him a kiss...he thought it was too silly and was trying to move his head away, LOL...







Then I took a picture of him and Terri in his new pen....

















And in his new home.....











He really likes the bits of clover that was trying to grow there... What a pretty boy, and so good! Just settled right in with no problems. We have the geldings at my house right now, but after this weekend we'll take them back to Terri's and he'll have neighbors. Till then, the goats will hang out with him :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ari...the saga continues

Well, after being called out of bed to Bayside (next town over, 15 mins away) at 6:10 am,where my two mares and Terri's mare are pastured, because the gals got out of their pasture and were across the street, I got another call at 10:30 or so. Ari has ripped her stitches out...grrrrrrrrr!!! I expected as much, I have to admit, when she got them put in. After all, there was no way to keep her from scratching her face or covering that area. So there went 200$ down the drain for nothing. I supposed it at least let the inside heal enough, that there is no hole all the way through her cheek... But now I am going to have to clean, irrigate, and goop up the wound (now a round, quarter sized hole, no longer the nice, clean cut) up twice a day at least until it heals... Oh Joy Joy.
I had to go through all this with my now 4yo when she was two...had a gash on her side that popped all the stitches as well. It looked ugly, but healed great! (Good thing, as it lies right under where a girth goes). But it sure was a PITA to mess with every day.
This morning Ari tried to trample me...not too appreciative of me scrubbing her wound, cutting out dead stitches, etc...I got dirt, blood, and betadine/water all over me, but finally got her all cleaned up nice. This evening she stood pretty well for her treatment though. Pics below are from this evening, after she was cleaned up.




















Sad but needs saying

From one of my email lists...tear jerker, but something we should all think about...
And, if at all possible when thinking of adopting that dog or cat, please take a look at the older ones and not just the cute kittens and puppies...

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh.
You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple
of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad",
you'd shake your finger at me and ask "how could you?" But then you'd
relent, and roll me over for a belly rub. My housebreaking took a little longer
than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that
together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your
confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be anymore
perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for
ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you
said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end
of the day.
Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and
more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted
you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad
decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.
She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" still I welcomed her into our
home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you
were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I
was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother
them too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most
of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to
love them, but I became a "prisoner of love". As they began to grow, I
became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly
legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on
my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch-- because your touch
was now so infrequent--

and I would have defended them with my life if need
be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret
dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.
There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you
produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These
past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone
from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on
my behalf.
Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they
will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the
right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only
family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal
shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out
the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They
shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understood the realities facing a
middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to prise your son's fingers
loose from my collar as he screamed "No Daddy! Please don't let them take my
dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about
friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect
for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and
politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to
meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you
probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to
find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"
They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules
allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first,
whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you, that
you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it
would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I
realised I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies,
oblivious to their own fate. I retreated to a far corner and waited. I
heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded
along the aisle after her to a seperate room. A blissfully quiet room. she
placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart
pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of
relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was
more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her,
and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a
tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand
in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid
the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid
coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes
and murmured "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak,
she said "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained that it was
her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored
or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and
light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of
energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could
you?" was not directed at her.
It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and
wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so
much loyalty.
THE END.

A note from the author: Jim Wills, 2001 -- If "How Could You?" brought
tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, It is
because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who
die every year in Animal Shelters around the world. Anyone is welcome to
distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly
attributed. Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in your
newsletters, on animal shelters and Vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that
the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that
animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another
appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society
or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is
precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay and
neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.