Friday, December 31, 2010


So much for my dog being in the bedroom, Cotton has moved in and so Buddy
is just being watched, played with more and walked more. It is all i can manage to do right now. I can't have my dog not with me. Here are some after Christmas dinner pictures for you.

Suzy has been going down hill and yesterday i had this mad cap idea that her mass looked bigger, could it just be an abscess? I do this all the time when I have already made vet appointment. And based on my experiences with pigs I should know better then to sway from what i know and what i want it it to be. Of course it is not just an abscess, something less life threatening and with totally different symptoms. It is natural i guess when facing a possibility of euthanasia , it just sucks to have to make these decisions.

I called my Farm Call vet, Herman Geerstema came out yesterday and he arrived just after 6 to see my Suzy. Together we moved her onto a blanket and laid her down in the lower part of a crate. Placed her on a wagon and we took her for a ride to Penny's large shed. I had already fixed it up for her , moving all the straw and laying down a carpet. She had to get out of the little house she was in, as she wasn't getting up to go outside potty. And of course this makes it easier for the vet to get a good look at her , with more elbow room and lighting.

Her leg or foot is okay , it is not broken and yet there is a mass on it causing her enough pain to stop going out every morning. She stopped eating her peanuts for breakfast, and the normal piggy pellets. At first i thought she was just refusing the new food here as it has been a struggle right off the start to get her to eat.

Herman suggested we ex-ray her and although this is another expense, it would help Ken on the day of our appointment for surgery to see what he is up against. And it would answer the question of should i let her go now. Poor little girl did her best to get away from us and she struggled to her feet to go out the door. This was after many pictures were taken and moving her little self around for better angles. I wanted her to stand up and use those legs as my heart and mind are still on her tomorrows.

Herman will email those pictures to Ken so he will have a chance to view them on Jan 10th.

After I fed the crew outside, smashed out the ice for drinking water, thawed the stupid hose to the sump pump and then i fed Suzy. I had an old tin of chicken soup in the back of the cupboard and added baby carrots. And i went to the store and bought eggs as although i try to be vegan , i just don't know what else to offer her that will have her get some nutrition into her,to keep her weight on and for her to be interested in eating what i offer. The tins of sardines i had for the turtle weren't tossed either and i forgot about them way in the back of my cupboard. Suzy ate with gusto and we do quite good laying down. I gave her some pain meds and repeated this ritual this morning. I tried beans of every variety and she doesn't like them.

So this will be an estimated cost of last nights call to be well over 600.00 and i know the surgery will be another 2500.00 . WE really need some surprise donations to come in. After everything we put threw last night , i simply couldn't let her go after all that and i just have to try.

Suzy is adorable and lets me kiss her and rub her eyes. Even Herman mentioned that she was a cute pig , not everyone see's them for who they are. She is darn cute and answers me with every word and she ah ah ah's in a piggy way of letting you know just how she feels. I have to try.

Look at her hip ...and her cute sweet face

Edited to add at 9:50 and after feeding. I tucked everybody in and closed the shed door on Penny and Suzy. Penny gave the door a thump and it sprang open. Penny is quite restless so she must be in heat and i walked in Suzy was getting up. Was she going to make a break for it too?? Any how filled me with hope , it wasn't much but she stood for a while and then she settled back down and is all tucked in again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Wrapping

Is it too late to say Merry Christmas?? LOL I guess we are all leaning to the Happy New Year now ;o)

Mom was here for a few days so we could share Christmas Eve together and open presents in the morning. We have done this for years after Dad died and then my Mark .

Mom and i went out at about 1 when the rain stopped to cheer up the pigs with there Christmas goodies!! We passed out the 'fun food' and took pictures of everyone having there Christmas goodies. Some not vegan but i can't hurt peoples good intentions when they bring treats for the pigs.

Lenny is in foster and Karena is awesome. She writes me an update every day and i a so happy for Lenny to land in love they way he has. She loves on him, gets him cheerios and covers him up every night. He is under a heat lamp and lots of straw. But Lenny did not snap out of his depression and he was on and off his food, moving his bed.. unsettled and now a snotty nose. Tomorrow we call for our farm call Vet Dr Herman Geertsema , so we can get him on some meds.

Suzy who arrived over a month ago is failing now. She arrived with a limp and was getting up every morning to potty. A few days after arrival i rushed out when i saw her out and realized she has a large mass over the right hip area. Now either she has been really kicked hard and is suffering from a mass of fractures or there is a tumor in there.

Suzy came from a place where she had no warmth and no shelter and her fight to survive was constant. I believe now that she is warm and safe , the adrenaline to survive that kept her strong is wading now. It has been a battle to get her to eat , anything. And Christmas fixings worked well for two days. But she is a worry and i want to bring her in the shed with Penny but do i stress her out in order to do that and hurt her more? And then there is my surgeon Dr Ken Mcquisten who is out of the country until January 6th. My appointment is on the 10th , will she make it until then or will i have to call Herman to let her go? .

I have been giving her a variety of pain meds but she did best on the homeopathic one so i have been giving her arnica twice a day. And i crawled into the house to get her to move out as i see no signs of her being outside to potty. I had been hand feeding her at night but i still thought she was getting up.

Going vegan i had given all my tuna and canned salmon to Mom that i had in the house accept for one tin in case of a sick pig. Tonight i went out armed with a can of peaches and a tin of salmon. Suzy went to get up when i gave her a mouthful and this time when i went to help her she didn't get mad. She ate with gusto and wanted more. She ate all of it and when i came back with apple slices she was still standing up in her house. I really hope she is starting to feel better with a little help from homeopathy.

Well i hope everyone had a great Christmas , i got an awesome pair of boots from Dave and Pam. Lots of goodies from my sister like two new brooms for the barn and slippers and pj's for me. Mom gave us kids some money so i am going to get a new vacuum.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pre Christmas STRESS

Is every one ready for Christmas??? I'm not , me and my big mouth of lets have it here means dog hair, cat hair and pig bristles along with dust balls the size of a bunny have got to go. And what am i doing , oh sitting here waiting for the rain to let up so I can feed the pigs without them getting too wet while there eating.

I spent all day yesterday wrapping presents , ALL DAY!! Well no true i spent an hour in a frenzy as i couldn't find some things i bought and thought i was loosing my mind. The little bag was found ( pre -screaming) behind the laundry basket.

Buddy is doing well and is getting the program around here down to a tee. I still need to fix and out side space for him when he prefers to be when the pigs are out but that will come. I am off now until Jan 5th and he actually seems happier with all the attention he has been getting. In fact he was so pooped out from a nice long walk the day before he slept in until 11 all stretched out on my bed.

Well i better getting going here , me being here is not getting anything cleaned dusted or put away!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dealing With The Cards Dealt

One day five years ago an offer of some free hay had me heading out to check it out one morning. Jingle at 15 years old came along for the ride. From the email I gathered from what they briefly said they were moving and as i drove long i wondered why they didn't need the hay where they were going. I even went as far to question and wonder what they did with there animals and if they were giving them up. I also thought, I hope they don't have any dogs. It always hurts my heart for the animals being torn away from what they know , moved from there home and families.

On arriving i saw three dogs and during the conversation with the donor he told me they were moving to Australia and i exclaimed "but what are you going to do with your dogs?". Sadly the three dogs would be separated and the big one had still not found a home. This is how i got Buddy.

Buddy is unlike any dog that has lived with me. He prefers his own company and appreciates a good love when he asks for it. He likes to be on my bed but not when i am in it. He is a bit of a loner and prefers to do things on his own. He doesn't follow me around when i am outside working for example. Unlike my other dogs who would lay in front of the barn as i did chores and then followed me into the house when I was done. Buddy does and is where he wants to be it really makes no difference to him where i am. As long as i am there when he wants me to be.

When Buddy arrived at 2 years old he chased the pigs , chased the horses and scared my cats. He would learn, but it was a long process and my gentle Buddy, BUDDY , and then BUDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY would escalate sometimes. Trying different techniques to teach him , changed very little of his behavior.

Buddy had not ever been dried off and i know this because when i dried his feet his lips with snarl and he would growl at me. It took a lot of guts to teach this dog as he was big and bending over to do this put my face next to his. Every chance i got i touched his toes, held his paws when he laid down and eventually he got used to it.

When he is on my bed and i would go in and lay down to cuddle i questioned if his voice was a growl or if he was talking. But when a friend came to stay with me and leaned up on the couch he was laying on and he growled i knew his growls were exactly that.

He was here when Rose was brought in as a baby. He seemed taken with her and took on an almost protective nature. They played together, chewed toys , he let her sleep with him and on him. With me always watching the big dog and reminding him to be gentle with her . They were great friends.

But as Buddy got older as did Rose i watched a new behavior emerge. One of an Alpha dog who when Rose would come to greet him as she did since she was little, Buddy would get rigid. He would stand tall and his body language clearly sent a message to me that he was ready to take her on. Don't presume here because i rescue pigs i know nothing about anything else , i know aggressive body language i don't care who it is man or mouse. I kept a watchful eye on Buddy and would bark out the words "out" when i saw him do this. I had no control over Rose this way but I did with the dog and to prevent something terrible it was the dog who needed to move away from the situation.

If you go look back at my movie with then Bacon and Buddy, you can see what i see coming from my dog.

One summer day i heard Rose scream on the front porch and running out there was my dog and a pig whose face was bleeding. I didn't see it happen but i knew it was a dog bite and once again i questioned my keeping such a dog at a Sanctuary for rescued pigs. Pigs will duke it out and over the years when i have found one of my pigs with a scratch or two i have looked and wondered if it was my dog or not. And i have heard the horror stories of dogs killing pigs at Sanctuaries and i know what damage a dog can do to a pig as i have one here without an ear. I am always telling people never ever leave your dogs and pigs together unsupervised.

Last night when i got home from work i greeted Buddy in the driveway. I came in and Cotton followed Buddy right back out the door . A few minutes later i heard a blood curdling scream from a little pig . I rushed outside and saw the two separate and saw blood gushing from the pigs snout. I immediately called the dog in exclaiming "WHAT DID YOU DO????"?? That question carried so much in it you have no idea. My mind raced with how our lives just took a huge change, will i need to euthanize this dog , give him up , get a kennel a muzzle. I was using my hands to direct my dog and told him to get in here and get in my bedroom. And up on my bed a dog looked back at me with "don't you touch me" . His fur was raised and his eyes were black , this dog scared me but called him to follow and pointed to the pig and told him NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO now get back in my bedroom and i shut the door to attend to the pig.

I got him settled and cried my heart out for a little pig who was brought here to be safe only to be attacked by my dog. And my dog .. what of his life now and how it will change.

Needing help and totally upset i looked towards a rescue forum only to be met with judgment and no thought to my experience with multi species. I for some stupid reason thought the people on there would be nice to me and offer up some kind of assurances or a home or help for my dog. Over the edge now and sobbing hysterically i edited all my words and shut this computer down.

This morning because I am high strung and an emotional Italian I have decided to CALM down and manage my dog. Last’s night ordeal sent me over the edge with working and coming home and getting back in here after 9 the night before to still feeding the inside crew and then me.. menopause and no sleep add’s to the mix of emotions.

I bring an animal in here to be safe and he gets hurt here … but the pigs duke it out and get hurt too so I don’t look at that pig any differently I just keep an eye out for the problems and remove them before they are one.

I have a dog who I will never trust. I just talked to a friend and she gave me an out if I needed one as she would take him soooooooooo now I have done musical chairs this morning with dog and pigs and will have to be way more aggressive with my watch. In order for Buddy to live his life out with me without being a danger to anybody here I can never forget what happened last night.

My bedroom will become his room , simple as that and I will buy a muzzle even though no one has suggested this to me it will make me feel better to have this option available at times.

Today Buddy found his front porch gated, his dish and water in my bedroom, also gated. He is NOT ever to be trusted with the pigs again. And no matter what i do I will be criticized mostly by dog people because there are more of them and they are who they are and love there dogs. And no doubt pig people will be on the other side of the fence saying get rid of the dog.

The decisions i have come to this morning were founded by someone who loves them both equally , this is my torment. All of our lives changed last night and in order to keep everyone safe precautions have been taken. Buddy's life will be the most dramatic change but verses the options It is the only one i can make. As an animal lover and to give him a life here unless i can truly find a better one for him somewhere else. Yes i would give him up ..

I am more educated now thanks to him, about him, then I will ever be now .. and he will never be the dog I ever wanted him to be and that’s just the way it is as I have a pig here who has the same issues and I manage him. Sucks but that the cards dealt to me and my dog.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Two years ago a family sent me an email about there house pig Lenny who was getting cranky with the grand kids and was no longer wanted. I always ask for pictures of a pig being given up, both to use to find them a home with and to see the pigs overall condition . This pig was only two years old and a time in a pigs life where he is coming of age into maturity , one that we all associate with kids and the terrible two's. It is the same of pigs, at two for many of them they want to be boss now. Also add being over weight, and his vision getting worse and worse as the fat closes over his eyes. It would be enough to make me cranky.

At the time i had listed the acreage and sent them back a letter suggesting they build Lenny a yard with a outside house. That this is how there pig would be living if he came in here. And i offered to come over and work with them and share some of the techniques i use for behavior issues. This pig was also a house pig and wanted nothing of going down the ramp to go outside. Maybe the ramp was to steep for the now two year old fat blind pig, and babies do all sorts of things at a young age they will not do once they get older. I offered to give Lenny a home once i moved but i was not spending any money on putting up new pens for incoming pigs when i needed that money to be spent on pens for all of us when we moved. I wrote a nice long letter and never heard back from them.

A year later , I think i had been out here a few months when a lady called me for help with a pig she took in. It was just basic care information and wouldn't you know it , the pig she had was Lenny.

Where does the time go? And here we are again a year later only to receive a call from now this lady who no longer can care for Lenny. And she knows he is not happy where he is and asks if i can take him. I simply can't take in any more pigs here right now but there is no hurry to get him out as he has a nice yard and a good house and spring is a better time to be moving pigs any where. But that changed in a matter of weeks and the new message on my machine turned Lenny into a emergency, i had to get him out now.

24 hours after my plea on facebook Karena offered up a stall in her barn and agreed to foster him until spring. They also had a nice house in a pen but felt Lenny would have more company with her horses in the barn. So yesterday morning in the pouring rain I loaded my truck once again with a crate, blocking boards , treats , a bucket, dolly, food and blankets.

Lenny was confined in his house and we placed the crate with the door open at his doorway. Then i climbed in with a herding board and a bucket. We didn't have much room and Lenny is a big boy , but i moved quietly and slowly blocking him , creating a shoot to the crate. I suggested that he could go in all by his self , that he was gong on an adventure. The he need not worry as he would be safe, but needed to be very brave. Lenny moved towards me and i allowed that using the board and with the bucket ready in my other hand he put himself in a perfect position. Gently placing the bucket over Lenny's head he moved back wards to get away from it and backed right into the crate.

And Lenny was on his way to the new digs within 30 minutes which was spent mostly on setting up time, so I could do this without scaring him.

As we were all pulling out the lady reached threw my window in the truck and gave me a kiss , no one has ever done that when i am taking there pigs. And i turned into a bowl of jelly as i followed the horse trailer out.

I was concerned about Karena's horse's being scared to death of there new barn buddy and for two reasons i grabbed a bag full of Lenny's hay bedding before we left. Some hay for his new bed to bring him comfort at his new place and to sack out the horse's. I suggested to Karena she toss in a hand full of Lenny's bedding in there stalls to get them used to his scent.

I laughed when Karena updated me after i left that she did that very thing , and her horses simply ate it LOL. That went well, and i only wish we had a
picture of three gentle horses reaching over there barn stall doors to try and reach Lenny and welcome him home.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday Night Action

Last year i talked to a young man who had acquired a pig from his boss at work. Apparently the pig was shipped from a Texas Breeder (UGH) and became unwanted not too long after. I am sure this would of been somewhere around $1000.00 in cost after the purchase, medical records and transportation costs on top of the 30 day quarantine for one very scared little baby who had been yanked away from his mom. Note that the breeder shipped this pig unaltered. GRRRRRRRRRRR

Anyhow i do remember trying to get the breeders name out of the guy after giving him an hour of my time to help him care for this baby. He was too call me back, but never did. And he didn't want him either and the next family who took him in loved him, got him neutered and he had a real family for a little while..

Yesterday was join up for Volunteers here as it is every Saturday and only my sister arrived to help. After working outside for several hours we came inside so she could help me put plastic up on some windows in here to try and lower my heating bills here.

By 2 Nancy took off and i sat down here to catch up on emails and the phone rang. The SPCA had a pig in a eviction crises and while talking to them i saw a email from the family pleading for help.

Dec 1 late afternoon a Mom with her baby answers the door to the landlords. Facing eviction as the economy has taken the toll on this family and they are struggling to get back on there feet. The husband finally gets a job and is working 14 hour days and is not home when Mom lets the landlords in. Once she let them in they were allowed to throw her out. I wasn't there but i can imagine the mayhem that ensued from there and this is when the pig bolted out the door in the commotion and took refuge under the porch. And i spoke to both of the family members and i can tell you i cried along with both of them on the phone.

About 20 minutes from here i jumped in the truck to go to the house to see if the pig was still there as the landlords were threatening to take care of the situation in an unfavorable way. A little silver and white pig under the porch trying to keep warm in the hay and the blankets the family took over there. The family was unable to get the little traumatized friend and no where to take him they starting reaching out for help once they found help for themselves. I was able to figure out a game plan and spent a few hours back here trying to rally up help to pull rescue off. NO way could i leave this baby pig out there in this cold one night and at the risk of being eaten.

I called Carol at SAINTS and she rounded up two friends and we headed out here in the dark with flashlights , crate, hay bale string and a portable pen. I saw some fencing and some crates there we could use to pen in the porch. We would go in quiet so this little guy didn't bolt from under our trap. Quietly we placed pallets and wire pen, then secured it with the twine to the deck supports. I placed the crate where i figured the pig came and went as this is key to the way a pig travels. It is was easier to get the pig to go in a direction they know , then in one they have never been even in this situation.

Pigs are more like any feral animal when it comes to trapping them . And out of the 100 plus pigs i have known in my life not one of them will walk into a crate on there own. With or without food!!

Then two of us crawled under the 24" crawlspace and with a light broom i brought we took turns in herding the little boy as he had quite a bit of room under there to retreat too then we did. I cracked my head good on one of the supports under there and i still don't know what one of my hands sunk into. With no place to go as we were positioned well and as best as we could lying down under there he went for the crate, and with one little push we had him.

We were all back here by about an hour and a half later and the girls carried the crate into the great room here and i opened the crate door. He strutted right out tail wagging a mile a minute. He explored all over here and up down the hallway to the kitchen and back while we fed him treats and laughed about our Saturday night adventure.

All the kids needed to be fed here now and my day starting at 6:30 am unthawing a sump pump hose again ended with me starving and exhausted falling to the couch by 9.

This pig and I could really use a sponsor now if any one can help us. He will spent the winter in here as there are no empty piggy paddocks and tossing him in with any body right now is not a good option for this soft little house pig.

He is under a pile of blankets a few feet away from me and snoring every so lightly.