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Sunday, August 18 2013


From time to time strangers cross our paths, and through inattention on our part, we forget to show our appreciation for the sunshine they bring. Such was my case today.

Although I enjoy PetsMart, I rarely take the opportunity to shop there, thus a trip to PetsMart is a treat for the dogs. Because we have so many dogs, only a chosen one or two get to go.

Briar - Nope, except to go to the vet, she never leaves the farm.
Ranger - No, strangers and shopping carts? His idea of hell.
Ice - No, slick floors. Ice has the "linoleum gene."
Aja - Only once, to try on boots for work, and then it took three police officers to protect Aja from the curious public who believe a police dog in public should behave like a stuffed animal.
Cowboy - from time to time he goes
Trace - He should go more regularly, but he is more interested in working stock.
Dillon - sometimes
Lily - ALWAYS! (Princess goes EVERYWHERE with Mommy!)

Today however, Dillon was The Chosen One.  He was quite excited, but on his best behavior. We shopped. We avoided children. We avoided other dogs. Dillon was stressed, but having a good time. His shopping cart was full of beef bones and stuffed toys, and he had controlled his urge to lift a leg and mark things. (which is why I like FEMALE dogs!)

We were just approaching the counter when our stranger appeared. She was a sweet woman who politely commented on how handsome he was and asked to pet him. Since Dillon is normally the friendly sort, but was a bit stressed, I told the lady that it was up to Dillon, as he was a little overwhelmed by everything at the moment.  The lady talked to him nicely and put out her hand, but Dillon ignored her. He gave her the classic, "look past" look. 

This can be interpreted as "I see you. I don't wanna see you. I don't want to make a scene or anything, but I'd rather you just went away, so I'm gonna pretend I don't see you."

Now this situation can be played a couple of ways:

(1) Force the dog to endure the stranger. This can result in either:

     A. Unhappy Dog is violated by total stranger. Dog loses trust in handler. Dog no longer feels safe in public.
     B. Unhappy Dog growls at stranger. Handler jerks dog. Dog loses trust in handler and no longer feels safe in public.

Or . . . .

(2) Handler recognizes the look and advises stranger the dog is stressed and shouldn't be approached. This can result in either:

     A. Stranger is offended. Dog trusts handler to take care of him. Dog feels safe in public.
     B. Stranger is not offended. Stranger recognizes "the look" also. Stranger continues to talk sweetly to dog and tell him "Maybe another day." Dog feels safe in public. Dog feels safe enough to happily eat cookie offered by store clerk. Total experience: Positive for dog.

Now fortunately, our stranger was a dog person who recognized the look and not only did not push herself into Dillon's space, but wasn't offended. This interaction gave him the confidence he needed to interact positively with the next person he met in the store. It was a positive learning experience for him. I wish I had taken the time to thank her profusely for her behavior. How a dog is treated in public can shape his entire outlook in the future. I never allow people to push themselves onto my dogs. Although I try to be polite, my attitude towards the public is this:

"My dogs are not here to amuse you or your children. I do not rush up to your husband, pet his head and gush about how handsome he is, so please don't push your attentions onto my dog. Rude is rude, whether it is a human or a dog. If you ask, and he wants to approach you and get his ears scratched, then that's okay."  (this doesn't apply to husbands.)  I don't allow my dog to drag himself into your space, so I appreciate it if you don't push into his."

Dogs are like people. Some are gregarious, and some are more reserved. As a puppy, Dillon was more social. As an adult, he is reserved with strangers, and it behooves all of us to respect that. The world is just a happier place when we respect the space and rights of each other.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 06:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 17 2013


I give you . . . .


       . . . Franken-puppy!!!

OUCH! (makes my butt pucker)

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 12:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, August 14 2013


Other Half has been on the working on the border and I have been spoiling someone while he's gone.

Other Half has that rancher mentality. Livestock is livestock. Dogs who are supposed to be guarding livestock are supposed to be outside WITH THE LIVESTOCK!  (yeah that's probably true.)

But I'm a softie...

....  and it's hot.

So this week I've been letting a certain someone inside. It started innocently enough. She needed to be brushed and I sure as hell wasn't standing out in that heat to brush her. So I brought Briar inside and she sprawled on the carpet while I watched Longmire and brushed her, and snipped out the matts.  She was in Heaven.  Briar LOVES air conditioning!

So this morning after I did a head count of livestock, I turned the sheep in with the horses, and let Briar in the house again. She found one of Henry's stuffed toys and decided to play keep-away with Ranger. That big dawg richocheted around the coffee table and bounced off the couch. Other Half would have stroked. I laughed and laughed and laughed and wished I had a camera.

He is coming home today and so Briar is back to being an outside dog, but she sure enjoyed getting a peek at how "the other half lives."

And since we are currently designing the barn at the ranch, Briar also put in her order for a window unit air conditioner in the barn.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:48 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 12 2013


Sometimes we make poor choices. If we're lucky, we learn from our poor choices. If not, we serve as a cautionary tale for others.

This was my Saturday night:

Am sitting at work, minding my own business, when Other Half calls. He is screaming sentence fragments:

"Blood all over the porch." "Trace needs stitches." "Cannot find Briar." "Need help stitching up Trace." "Come home as soon as you can."


Alrighty then.

A few minutes later he calls to inform me that Trace needs an animal emergency clinic. I'd say that was a clear and accurate representation of the situation.

 Trace's front leg from elbow to pastern

I meet him at ER. Trace is muddy, bloody, and has released his anal glands. Yuck. I'm kinda embarrassed that he looks like such an unloved creature. (This is why your momma says to wear clean underwear! I will ammend that advice to include: "Always bathe your dogs too! Even in rainy weather, you can end up in the ER and your very well-bred, well cared-for Border Collie could end up looking like a ragamuffin. And thus, you look like a bad doggy mommy." Just sayin'.)

Anyway, they take him away for sedation, painkillers, and assessment. They come back for money. Estimate: $992 (I think.... it was late and we were in shock, but that sounds about right.)

Anyway, well duh, it's Trace, so we have to plunk down the Ranch Credit Card. And leave him overnight.  The vet assures us they will call after surgery. We go home. It is now 3:30 AM. We find Briar. She is fine. We then find the culprit.

 Trace had broken the bottom pane of a French door leading from the dining room to the muck room.

Apparently Trace was outside (and came into the muck room) while Other Half was inside the house playing fetch with Aja and Dillon. Trace LOVES to play fetch. He must have crashed through the window pane and with the television on so loud, Other Half didn't hear him. He then ran to the front porch and began bleeding "like a stuck pig." (just out of curiosity: Does a "stuck pig" bleed more than any other 'stuck' mammal?)

We get no sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning. The vet doesn't call. I check my phone at 4:30. At 5:00. At 6:30. by 8:30 I call them. Yes he is ready and can come home.

We drive back out to the city to retrieve Psycho-Pup-Who-Crashes-Windows-to-Play-Fetch.  He is now on lots of drugs.

The first day home sucked. He spent a lot of time sleeping on the bed.  Since we had no sleep, we slept with him.

 At 9:00 PM he got his Rimadyl pill. Trace announced that Rimadyl was great stuff and should be served in 6 packs because he was "back in bidness."  (Translated: "It doesn't hurt any more and so I am free to leap on the coffee table with a kong.") Put dog back in bedroom and turn the fan on him.

Day Two:  He thinks he's healed. Sees no reason why he cannot be outside. Believes we are punishing him and being unrealistic. Hates Henry. Has announced that if Henry tries one more time to pull off his bandage, Henry will no longer be available for adoption...


Looking back, Trace has decided that perhaps crashing through a glass window wasn't his best idea.



Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 12:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 08 2013


Remember this little ghetto puppy?

God smiled at Henry and my, how his stars have changed!

 Yes, that happy little face floating on a raft in the pool is Henry! He is a perfect example of how your stars can change. God sent Other Half down Henry's little ghetto street and his story changed forever.

Dear Friends Michelle & Bobby share the duties of 'Henry-sitting' with us, so he bounces between our households. (God, bless 'em!) Like us, they have way too many dogs to be able to be his "forever home" but they too, are caught under his spell.

Henry is . . .

 . . .  well, he's special . . .


Henry's got IT. He's got star power.  He's a minor celebrity who is on his way to bigger and better things.


I took him to the vet again today for his second set of puppy shots and you should have seen this little rascal work a room. The clinic staff just fell in love with him and soon whisked him off to play with him. Henry, as skilled as any politician, worked it like a pro.

The vet said Henry has doubled in weight. When Other Half brought him home, Henry was 7 lbs of skin and bones. Now he weighs a whopping, healthy 15 lbs! He is scheduled for a neutering and microchipping later this month.  Henry is now healthy enough to go to his new home.

He is probably some kind of rat terrier mix. He will stay small. Henry is very friendly with humans, dogs, and cats. He will bark at sheep and goats and horses, but is not aggressive at all. Thus far, he doesn't chase anything but his toys.

He is as housebroken as a five month old puppy can be. He'll let you know when he has to go to the bathroom, but if you don't notice or you ignore his request, he will pee right in front of you. ("I TOLD you I had to PEE!")  

Henry is a house dog, unless of course you have a swimming pool like Bobby and Michelle. Then Henry likes to float in a raft and sip umbrella drinks.

Michelle has listed Henry on Petfinder this week, and we're hoping to find him a Forever Home soon.

He needs his own music video. I haven't decided if it should be set to the soundtrack of "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Aire" or the "The Jeffersons" ("Movin' On Up!") 

This is a perfect example of how much Henry's life has changed:

The air conditioner in my house stops working. While bitching to Michelle about it, she realizes that little Henry, who was on the streets a month ago with no food, no water, and certainly no AC, will be hot, so she phones her husband, who is on his way home from work, to inform him that he is to slide by our house and pick up Henry.  So as the rest of us go back inside our house, that is 91 degrees, His Royal Highness drives off to his "Otha Mutha" with the frigid vent of an F250 pointed at his smug little face.

It made me laugh. My, how his stars have changed.


 What do you think he thinks about as he floats on his raft?


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 05:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 03 2013


Some things pay for themselves with just one use. You sink money into something in hopes that you never really need it, but when you do . . .

As a crime scene investigator in a major metropolitan city, I am fully aware of how quickly summer heat kills. I've seen it. It's ugly. It terrifies me. And so it was that today when Other Half dropped the phone and ran, I almost burst into tears. 

I waited in silence, telling myself that she'd be okay. That's what the Hotdog system is for - to save lives. 

And today it did.

When I couldn't wait any longer, I called him back. He was on the phone with his Captain. Aja was alive. The system had worked. (And THAT'S why they bought it!)

While Other Half was inside an office doing a report, Aja waited patiently in her air-conditioned police truck. Fortunately Aja is owned by an agency that pays for the Hotdog system. If the temperatures inside that patrol car rise above 83 degrees, the windows will roll down, a fan turns on, the lights and siren on the truck activate, and Other Half gets an alert on the Hotdog pager that he wears on his belt. I was on the phone with him when he heard the alarm go off. He ran. Aja's air conditioner had failed. In this heat, minutes mean death.

Thankfully, the system worked. He rescued her, contacted his supervisor and explained that he was taking Aja home where she'd be safe. The truck can go into the shop on Monday. The system isn't cheap, but it paid for itself today. These police dogs average about $7000, but losing a dog like this isn't about the money. It isn't about the manhours of training lost.

It isn't about the loss of an officer.

It's about the unthinkable. It's about the unbearable.

It's about this . . .

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 05:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  10 Comments  |  Email

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