Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wild Goose Chase

Well sometimes dog crates are useful for carrying animals other than dogs in them! My friend who has a small farm including chickens, ducks, goats, sheep and a LLama, recently saw some geese in the front yard of a property while driving on the highway to town. She thought to herself " boy I'd really like to get some nice big geese like those" Well in an odd stroke of rural synchronicity, the man who lived in that house somehow knew that she had a farm full of animals. The very next day after my friend saw the geese, the man came knocking on her door asking if she had lost some geese. She said no, and he offered them to her because they had shown up on his place and he was feeding them but didn't really want them. I suppose there may be something to the mindset of asking the universe and then receiving your request. She called me up to see if I would help round up the geese and transport them back to her house. I decided to take my old 12 year old Australian Cattle dog with me as he is intelligent, a mind reader, and relatively mellow around livestock as compared to my younger Australian Shepherd who is learning but not so quick to understand my wishes and not quite so reliable. I have recently had the Aussie Shepherd with goats, but on a leash with a large link choke chain and a few corrections, Woodhouse style, before he fell in line. I loaded up my car with a large dog crate, my dog, a puffy winter jacket and gloves, for my protection, and drove to my friend's house where we loaded up her car with a large dog crate, fencing and protective gear.Before heading off, I had to sarcastically mention, as I am at heart, rather a rational, analytical, person " pardon me for asking but how much do geese cost to buy them, and is it worth all the risk of injury and trouble to get some free ones?". But of course as she is my friend, and who can really pass up a rural adventure and the chance for a good story?, so off we went. With three adults, one elderly Australian Cattle dog and a large piece of sturdy fencing(not chicken wire) we set about our task. My friend had had some previous experience herding and rounding up poultry and discovered that this sturdier, larger about 5ft by 7ft piece of rigid but wavy fencing was best. After a few humorous attempts with people going in one direction and the geese spooked and moving away from us, we got the dog on a leash and opened the door into a shed and the dog made some high pitched yipping sounds, and the three people made a semi circle, walking in towards them, so the geese quickly ran away from us and into the shed. We then put the fencing on top of them,as they were cornered in the back, and then we put a large dog crate with the door open and some food trailing up to and into the dog crate, on the opposite end, and then pushed on the back of the fencing, that was over top of the geese and like toothpaste moving up the tube, herded them into the large dog crate, relatively easily, with no one getting bitten, flapped at, or injured, just hissed at by the biggest goose whose neck seemed as big around as my thigh almost. Phew, we were thinking, we might have had to grab them like a football, as the book said and lift them into the crate! My little rescue Australian Cattle dog seemed pleased at the job he'd done. We were all relieved that it went relatively quickly and easily including the part where we two women lifted a dog crate full of 4 large geese into the car, and then out and up a snowy, icy, hill to the enclosed poultry area without dropping them. There were a few tense moments of geese distress when we accidentally tilted the dog crate while walking up the hill, but not too unsettling for the geese when everything was said and done. The geese are now doing well with their new poultry family.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

walking dogs and contemplating the global economic crisis

The dog in the above photos is Fletcher, an affectionate, energetic, Cattle dog/ Border collie mix available for adoption
I was trying to get my mind around the issue of people unable to provide for their horses, a topic I wrote about in my previous blog post. I talked to a woman who views personal responsibility to one's animals as never ceasing, no matter what. I feel this way towards my own animals, and consider myself an educated, resourceful, woman but wonder about those unfortunates who find themselves living at the margins of survival, who may not be well informed. I do ask myself whether rapid economic turmoil, with it's broad sweeping, devastating effects, would constitute mitigating circumstances? I understand that having a punishment for neglect, may deter some people from acquiring large animals in the first place, that they may later be unable to feed if the market price for hay goes sky high again, and the economic recovery wanes. Fear of being unable to provide for large animals in an uncertain economic environment, is part of the reason why it is hard to even give away large animals these days . I suppose fear of punishment could also induce a person to get out of their dysfunctional stupor and find a solution to their problem before it goes too far. Some of the legal solutions, according to our state law if one can not find another home for their horses,though humane, seem brutal to horse and owner as well, which you can read bout on this link .I wonder if the tough emotional choice leads people to indecision. It's just such a sad situation all the way around, and sends me walking and helping the dogs as I try and make sense of it all.
Apparently inability to provide for one's horses is somewhat of a global problem as the economic crisis is unfortunately a global phenomenon . Here's a disturbing story out of the United Kingdom on the topic
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine only and I am not affiliated with any organization

Friday, March 9, 2012

more thoughts on the state of the economy- woman" pimped herself out for hay"

I came across this newspaper article from our Inland Northwest U.S.A. area , it's rather sad.

The economic downturn has really hit people with animals, especially large animals,hard. There are food banks and government food assistance, for people, but few food banks or assistance programs for animal food. This year I chose to donate food directly to families and I also gave dog food for their pets. A local man went to jail for animal cruelty because his horses were starving. I am always against cruelty to animals but in this situation I think it was more a case of a lack of a market to sell the animals,combined with the rising cost of hay leaving some people with few options. Previously, I had helped the man round up an injured horse that he treated. I can't imagine him being neglectful on purpose.I'm not sure what throwing people in jail at great expense to the tax payer will do to fix the problem( other than assuring that they get food clothing and shelter, and the animals get taken somewhere where they will be cared for).
Perhaps there should be an educational campaign in the form of flyers sent out to all county residents informing people what to do if they find themselves unable to support their animals.There are rescue groups for horses (links here and here) and local humane societies. In this economy, the gas money to trailer large animals to auction 50 miles away is probably unaffordable for some animal owners, and animals are going for so little money at auction they may as well give them away for free on Craig's List (assuming of course that they have access to a computer). Petfinder also has listings for large animals that one can search for by specifying the type of animal (horse, goat, etc.) under the slot for "animal".
Unfortunately, hard times for people translates to hard times for their animals as well. I hope we as a society can draw the distinctions between cruelty and lack of information. I'm trying to figure this all out for myself. If some people are"cruel" to their animals because they have fallen into poverty and can't feed them, aren't the people who wrecked the economy "cruel" for driving these people into poverty? Please take care of yourselves and your animals and help educate others to do the same