More Than Produce in Your Garden?

We had showers and thunderstorms off and on all day yesterday. Between showers Mike brought in a bushel basket of shiitakes and half a bushel each of snow peas, green tomatoes, and new potatoes. Some of that will go to the local Farmers Market; some we will use in the next day or two. He also picked the first burpless cucumbers of the season. I am still unable to walk the rows because of my ankle and of course, feel a bit guilty for not helping him harvest the produce.

Mike’s morning routine is to feed and water the calves and check their health. The dogs usually accompany him on the trip over and it seems to be a highlight of their day– so much so that this morning, when he slipped his shoes on after his shower, they were excitedly anticipating the opportunity to jump into the backseat of the truck. Ed almost ran into the door on their way, forgetting that Mike had to open it first. Goofy dog! Fritz, the little Paterdale terrier, get so excited he literally tap dances his way to the door, or maybe it more closely resembles clogging. If you’ve never seen clogging before, you can check out this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-ljsnhHeEI I swear the dog does some of these same moves!

Fritz arrived here a couple of years ago. We saw, out the living room window, what we thought was one of our black cats near an area of the garden we knew coyotes were the night before. Mike went out to retrieve the “cat,” but found a little black dog instead. He’s been here since. He named himself Fritz by coming to the name when called. Finding Fritz on the farm like that, in fact, is how we came to have seven cats, as well. All of whom we paid to have fixed and treated by an area vet.

Which brings me to a question: Why do people think dumping a pet in the country is better than taking them to the Humane Society?

Household pets are NOT equipped to live in the wild! They do not know how to hunt for food. They do not know the dangers in the wild, particularly in the case of coyotes if they were raised with dog in their household. Many are so traumatized by the drop, they will not let a human approach them. And most will die within a week of being dumped, unless by some quirk of fate they stumble across animal lovers like Mike and I. Yet every year we see the arrival of two or three frightened ‘strays’ who arrive near starvation on our doorstep. We always feed those that arrive, but often never see them again. One of our most recent arrivals showed up on our doorstep during an ice storm. She was hungry, exceedingly cold, and all the water was frozen. She is a loving little black cat that I named Visitor, because she was not going to stay…she’s still here. We now call her Vizzie and you couldn’t ask for a sweeter, better-behaved pet. Maybe she got lost in the storm and made her way to us; more than likely she was dumped a day or two before the ice storm. I cannot imagine the sort of person that would dump such a wonderful cat.

At the Humane Society, unwanted animals at least have a chance for adoption and many places offer ‘no-kill’ shelters, including the one closest to our farm. Therefore, if you have a pet you can no longer take care of, please, please, please take him to the shelter or at least ask yourself if his messing in the house, clawing the furniture, or other normal animal behavior warrants a torturous death sentence! When you take on the responsibility for a pet, just like a child, you take on that responsibility for the life of that animal whether it is fifteen years or thirty! If you cannot handle that responsbility, DON’T GET A PET! And if you can longer handle the responsibility due to life’s circumstances, don’t force that responsibility on someone else! Be an adult about it, admit your failure, and take it to the pound. Do not drop your pet on someone’s farm. Imagine someone bush-hogging their field that doesn’t see your poor, confused, scared little animal hiding in the grass– and all because you thought yourself too “kind-hearted” to take him to the shelter!

As you see, this is a subject I feel very strongly about, but while I’m on that soapbox…

Due to recent nature related floods, fires, tornadoes, and so forth, there are THOUSANDS of unclaimed pets in various shelters throughout the country. If you love animals, please consider donating to your local shelter, volunteering to foster a pet, or adopting an animal. It was not their fault they lost their families in the confusion. Shelters throughout the country are taking in these animals where the local situation means over-crowding. They need you…TODAY! Many places will even pay for food and vet bills for those who will foster a pet, so all you need to provides is a safe and loving home. There are many types of animals to choose from as well, not just cats and dogs.

Autumn, an adoptable mini. Photo courtesy: http://www.kyehc.org/Adoptable_Horse_XNVF.php

All of them, like Fritz, deserve the chance to get excited and clog dance over the prospects of going for a ride in a truck with a family that loves them…or at least to have a family.

About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
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6 Responses to More Than Produce in Your Garden?

  1. M.J.Deare says:

    I could not agree with you more. We have five rescued pets right now, two dogs and three cats. All have been spayed or neutered and are current on their vaccinations. It costs quite a bit to maintain and care for a pet, and it should be a lifelong commitment on the owner’s part. Pets are not supposed to be disposable! Everyone, please think twice before you decide to bring that cute puppy home. Dogs bond with their people and need someone who will commit to caring for them all their lives.

  2. Great minds think alike! 🙂

  3. JAS says:

    Horses and ponies get dumped a lot as well, in my experience. Friends of ours even woke up to a former racing Thoroughbred standing in their pasture. She had been through so many hands that tracing who had dumped her was impossible. Another problem from people dumping pets or horses is that they are frequently ill, or parasite infested. So you have to deal with its health problems and deal with the health problems it brought with it possibly infecting your own pets.

    We had one day where we had the vet come out and neuter and vaccinate 25+ cats that had been dumped during just the prior month or so on a farm we were taking care of… poor things. They were obviously house pets, from Burmese to Maine Coons, that had no idea how to survive. No local shelter or rescue at that time, so they stayed put and became well-taken-care-of barn cats.

  4. It is a problem on farms all over the country and at least here, only rarely are they kittens. These are full-grown animals who obviously were well-loved pets before their owners couldn’t be bothered with them anymore. Thanks for letting us know about the situation in your area.

  5. JAS says:

    Do you run into the problem there of city folks coming out and whacking down your pine trees for Christmas trees? OMG–they’ll even cut down ones you have right by the house that you’ve strung with lights!!

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