Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another neglected horse finds a home

I am so proud of my friends Corrie and Steve today. Last Tuesday I forwarded an email I had received about a horse at the North County shelter. A 14 year old Thoroughbred, Indian had been in rehab for seven months, a victim of severe neglect. 400 pounds underweight when rescued, he had lost a lot of hair and was severely lame.

The next day I got an email from Corrie: “OMG! We went over and adopted this horse!” They’ve been holding court ever since as all our horsey buddies come over to meet the new family member.

As Corrie was wondering what she gotten herself into, she mentioned that she knew I would understand, since I did EXACTLY the same thing twice last year, adopting two wonderful horses myself.  “He just spoke to me…” she explained.

Indy, Corrie and Steve
I went over to meet the new arrival yesterday, and I saw what she meant immediately. Indian is the sweetest most docile horse I have met in a long time (well, at least since Honey). He is in good condition now, though he still needs some TLC. As his condition improves and his abscessed hoof heals, I’m sure he will perk up a lot, but he is clearly a gentle spirit. He loves to be handled and I had a lot fun giving him a nose massage- doing TTouch moves on his nostrils, ears and mouth. He loves to cuddle and almost fell asleep while I chatted with Corrie and Steve.

They are so excited to let him out in a corral where he can kick up his heels a bit. He’s lived in an 8 x 24 stall and has had no grass or dirt to walk on for months. And he’s had no buddies nearby, a very stressful thing for a horse. Now Teddy and Harley, his barn mates, will show him how to be a horse again.
Indian, who I dubbed Indy, has clearly been ridden a lot, and was probably someone’s prize performance horse at one time. He’s a whopper, probably a warmblood rather than a thoroughbred, a gorgeous bay with a big heart.

Welcome to our world Indy—you have lots of new friends!

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm baaaaack....

After the trauma of the holidays, things are finally somewhat normal and I am getting back into my routine. I’m still busy with lots of dogs staying here (thank goodness) but the real project is my looming deadline on a book I am writing. Animal Planet: Boxers is due to the publisher on February 15. Although I did lots of research before Christmas, writing came to a complete standstill over the holidays. Between pet sitting and plumbing, my plate was full (And if you remember correctly from my earlier post, I couldn’t wash that plate).

Tucker and Tyson, my two favorite Boxers
So now I am scrambling and writing 2,000 words a day to finish my 35,000-word book. I had a hard time getting started because many of the subjects are the same as my first book for Animal Planet, Labrador Retrievers. But I need to say it all in a new way. How many different ways can you describe tapeworms? I finally figured out a way to do it (by not looking at the first book at all), and am now clucking along, churning out pages. I’m a blabbermouth; I’ll have lots of editing to do.

A special treat this week, and a great motivator, was when the proofs for the Lab book arrived. I was thrilled to see it all laid out with photos. The book won’t be out until September, and I can hardly wait.

My beautiful Christmas quilt- Thank you Kalysta and Debbie!
A special Christmas gift
In the midst of all my holiday plumbing trauma, an unexpected gift arrived. This beautiful quilt (shown here) was made by my young friend Kalysta, and her grandmother, Debbie. Kalysta and her family visited last summer and we had a fun evening with the horses. Kalysta and Honey were instant friends, and the palomino pony on this quilt looks just like Honey. The cat looks like my Sterling, and the pony in the lower left looks like Ari.

Needless to say, I was moved to tears. It was the most thoughtful, beautiful thing I have received in a long time, and I was really touched that they went to all that work just for me. I had no Christmas spirit until the quilt arrived; then I was filled with gratitude and love for the wonderful people in my life. 

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday from Hell

About two weeks ago, the main drain to my septic system backed up. Snaking all the drains didn’t help. Then it started raining. In California, 6.5 inches in two days is the equivalent of Hurricane Katrina. We just don’t cope well. I was okay if I didn’t flush the toilet more than once every four hours. Couldn’t take a shower; couldn’t wash dishes.

My front yard- my garden demolished
Once the monsoon was over, my gardener dug down and exposed the tank and the pipes, which are 50 years old and corroded beyond saving. They just fell apart when the shovel hit them. So, once everything was exposed, it started raining again. Then it was Christmas.

In the meantime, my 20-plus year old dryer quit. Beyond repair.

After Christmas, I had the septic pumped so we could open up the pipes. I also bought a new dryer. My neighbor, a plumber, bless his heart, replaced the pipes and all was running again…almost. The plug on the cleanout under my kitchen sink would not stay put, so every time I run the water, it drains out onto my patio, a black stinking sludge.

Bodi, Nate and Madison
Through all of this I had between 7 and 9 visiting dogs staying here. On Friday after Christmas, a new dog, Bodi, arrives. His owners had been out at the desert all week, camping, and were heading to their father’s here in town for the New Year before they drove back up to their home Northern California. So Bodi stayed with me. But he had diarrhea. Projectile, sopping wet, explosive diarrhea all over my living room- floor, walls, dog beds, you name it.

During the night he had another episode in his crate, and again out in the yard in the morning. So I called the owner and they came over and took him to the ER for pets. He come back with meds and special food, and all was well from then on.

Meanwhile, I noticed a cut on the hip of another visiting dog, Molly. She is the sweetest dog on earth, and it looked like a stray tooth had snagged her while everyone was playing. I inspected the inch-long gash and it went through the skin, but not into the muscle. I could lift her skin and see a pocket underneath- perfect for infection. I knew she needed stitches and antibiotics.  Off to the ER for pets with this dog.

Poor Molly
$773 later, Molly came home with a big shaved patch on her hip, stitches, a drain, an Elizabethan collar, and bottles of pills. I had phoned her owners, who weren’t too happy about the whole thing, but I assured then she was getting the best of care and lots of TLC.

The next morning I let the dogs out for a break while I fixed their breakfast. Nate the Lab decided to play with the drain cleanout plug on the patio. Even though I had a rock over it, and a concrete block on top of that, he moved them and pulled out the plug, and started digging in the black sludge that poured out. I came outside less than ten minutes later, and his muzzle was black up to his eyes, his feet were black about 6 inches up, and he had tracked sludge all over the patio. He reeked of sewage and looked like he’d been dipped in a bottle of ink.

Since Dawn dish detergent works on oil-splattered birds in the Gulf, that’s what I used on Nate, and he cleaned up nicely. But we weren’t done. An hour or so later, he started throwing up: black crud on my living room floor, kitchen floor, and out in the yard. I gave him some hydrogen peroxide to help the process along, and after that he was fine, while I washed the floors yet again.

My friend Judy, meanwhile, brought over a soft e-collar for Molly. Poor dog had been banging into everything, refusing to eat and drink. The soft collar solved it all. She drank a long drink and returned to a totally normal happy dog, wearing her hat.

On Sunday afternoon, Madison the Golden went home. She, Nate and Bodi had been having a blast rough-housing and face fighting all weekend. I got a call from the owner. Madison had some scratches on her neck, and one looked like it was getting some pus. She was taking her to the vet. And I felt I need to pay for it.

ARGHHHH!!! How will I ever convince these owners that there were no fights? Just rowdy dogs playing rough.

And that was my holiday. I hope the cleanout plug will be solved tonight. I currently have a pile of concrete block keeping the dogs away. Then I can wash dishes…

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.