Welcome to my Insanity!

A blog for all the people that know me, want to know more, and don't mind listening to dog or horse stories. Or for people that give up so much, to help creatures that are less fortunate. Maybe you just want to figure out why we do what we do...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Polk County Parade 2012

Parade yesterday. Really love everyone that attended. I really missed some that were not able to come.
Watching the kids attempt to carry their bags of candy and cuzzies. Amazed me. I am sure it was more of a bounty than their Halloween was.
It was a long day, but fun was had by all!
My view was mostly the back of my wiener dogs heads. Texas was in the back seat. Popping his head out the window occasionally to amaze the crowd. That's always funny! Buddy finally settled down and seem to Enjoy himself.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Skin cancer?

I am sitting in the Dermatologists office. I have a funny feeling I might have a run in with my first spots of skin cancer. I have a large spot on the top of my head and a small triangle on my forehead. My sister said she experienced the same exact marks. All those blistering sunburns from Miami when I was a kid didn't help.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

You could ride that Trophy!

I had to share this.
It has been a long "SHOW" career for my boy Texas. "Longest Tail," "Tallest Dog" "Best Trick." Ahhh! the fun of small towns. Today he won a huge, wonderful trophy at the "Pooches to Pedigrees" show by the Kiwanis Club at Tri State Arena. The class was for "The most Handsome Male." I was glad to see others thought so too!
Texas is sadly announcing his retirement from the "Hee Haw" Show Circuit. He is 7 yrs old, (which is starting to get up there) graying and not quite enjoying it like he had. I am getting both my knees replaced Sept 20th, so we are both a bit worn out!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Cuban Food

Did my eyes deceive me? As I was rushing down Spring Place Rd (HWY 74) my eyes spied a hot red wagon parked on the corner where the Tornados tore down all the buildings a little over a year ago. "Authentic Cuban Food" it said, in big block letters one the side of the wagon. "Footlong Cuban sandwhiches!" That was all it took!

Having been living in Miami for over 40 years. The one and only thing I found I missed was the food. The Mexican's have great food here. But it is nothing like the Cubans! Rich with flavor, the smell of lemon, garlic and onions. Oh gripes, I am dying just thinking about it. I had to stop.

"Cuban Sandwich," "Croquettas," "Papas Rellenas" (mash potatoe fried balls stuffed with meat) O.M.G! I walked up to the bright red lunch mobile ready with my Espaniol. (I know how to order authentically also!) Only to overhear the propriator speaking to the customer a head of me in English! With no visible Cuban Accent! NOOOOOOOOO! It can't be an AMERICAN serving AUTHENTIC CUBAN FOOD! How authentic could it be?

Well, as I struck up a conversation (in englaise) I found that he was not even from MIAMI!
Could it be...that Cubans have taken over other parts of Florida as well?????

It turned out my night in shining red wagon was from Tampa, Fl. Where he proudly told me that the origional authentic Cuban Sandwiches were first made. Tampa! What?:I couldn't believe my ears...Wasn't the Cuban boat rush in Miami? Didn't I start my stay in Miami in 1960 with only one cuban on our block? Only to leave in 2005 and find I was one of the few Americans left in Miami? Pronounced mee-ham-ee! You mean they made it up to Tampa and made the first AUTHENTIC CUBAN SANDWICH there first? Well even though I didn't believe it. I decided to give him a try. I'll have a Cuban Sandwich, a Papa rellenos, and 5 hamone crocettes I said. As I proceeded to have a conversation with the very nice American (Bruce). He began the preparation of my food.

Looking into my wallet I discovered I only had $3.00 (This never happens to me) Halt! I said in my best German. I have to go to the bank! I have no dinero! Bruce was only too happy to partially cook my food and continue when I came back (So it wouldn't be cold). Wasn't that sweet? Well I am here to tell you THAT wouldn't happen in Miami!

Well I bid him "adious" and drove home. I have to tell you, the food was wonderful! Very authentic and I was pleasantly surprised to find an extra croquetta in my box when I got home! Ya got to love it!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Until next summer my sweet!

My wonderful 8 yr old niece "Holly" left yesterday after 10 weeks with me. I miss her giggles, her smile, and even her moods. The dogs are all depressed and mopy. Because she knows I have some health issues, she told me: " I will be your knees, I will be your feet, I will be your back, just lean on me too."  How great is she?

She did everything around the animals, fed the goats, horses, dogs, bird and turtle. Big responsibility for an 8 year old.

I rewarded her behavior with gaited horseback riding lessons, where she learned from the best teacher around. "Susan Brown" with "Rarity Bay Equestrian Center" in Vonure, Tennessee.  She could not have a better trainer.
I was so proud of her.

Until next summer sweetheart! I will miss you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dog rescue in Thailand

This makes our mission in Tennessee look easy...Just puttin things in perspective.

1,200 Dogs Rescued from Thailand's Dog-Meat Smugglers
Posted: 13 Aug 2012 12:00 PM PDT
On July 28, Facebook fans of Animal Activists Alliance Thailand were overjoyed to read the breaking news that more than 1,200 Thai dogs had been rescued from international dog meat smugglers. The dogs were intercepted in two separate raids as they were en route to their doom. One convoy containing some 800 dogs was intercepted late at night. Those terrified dogs had been kept in the jungle for several days without food or water. They were very weak; many of them were wearing collars, indicating they had recently been pets.
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One of the smugglers' trucks, loaded high with dogs in cages.

The rescue was accomplished by the Royal Thai Police and the Royal Thai Navy Border Patrol, with support from members of Animal Activists Alliance Thailand. The smugglers were arrested in the Ban Phang district of Nakorn Phanom Province.
The only viable option for the rescue team was to transport the dogs to shelter facilities in Nakhom Phanom, but the province's governor said there were no funds to feed and care for the dogs. To the rescue came Soi Dog Foundation, an international nonprofit that has committed to covering the immediate cost of the dogs' care. The charity (Soi is Thai for "street," as in "street dog") teamed up with Animal Activists Alliance Thailand to supply 12 tons of dog food, as well as vets and other staff.
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The emptied cages tell their own story.

The canine survivors are now safe from dog-meat smugglers and starvation, but there's still the very real danger of distemper and parvovirus to contend with. So all 1,200 dogs must be vaccinated, each one requiring a course of three vaccines, to prevent outbreaks of these highly contagious diseases (which have, sadly, killed many other dogs rescued from smugglers in the past).
"The lives of these dogs are at immediate risk," says John Dalley, Soi Dog's executive director. "Unless they are vaccinated soon, disease epidemics will break out and most will perish. The ongoing cost of caring for the dogs will be over 500,000 Thai baht per month."
Here's a video showing the rescued dogs:

The value of these dogs alone in the Vietnam restaurant trade is well over 3 million Thai baht, or $95,000. "The smugglers are losing a lot of money, but we need to raise a lot to be able to help these dogs and others who may well join them in coming weeks," Dalley adds.
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The dogs being fed by Soi Dog staff and volunteers. Note that many dogs have collars -- and are probably stolen pets.

You can do your part to help these dogs and prevent the birth of thousands of unwanted animals through Soi Dog's vital spay-neuter mission, by making donations or sponsoring animals through its site.
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The rescued dogs all get vet exams.

Is there hope of putting an end to the cruel trade in dog meat, which is happening even as you read this? Dalley says there is: "We can save the rescued dogs and stop the dog meat trade altogether. The sheer numbers of dogs that are going to need somewhere to go will bring matters to a head very soon, thereby prompting the government to take action to stop the trade at its source."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thank goodness for good friends

OK, I have already admitted to myself that I am not as sharp as I used to be. Maybe I was never really that sharp, but my memory for names left me in my late 30's when I started taking tons of medicine for my neuropathy. My body has been so abused and tortured, it surprises me it's still hanging in there.

The last few years I have been subjected to the worse muscle spasms in my inner thighs, I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately my brother and niece have had to be witness to this as they stood by helplessly. At the onset, I am totally incapacitated for at least 20 mins. Can't stand, can's sit, can't move. I just scream in pain. The poor dogs get so freaked out.

The doctor put me on Soma (you just got to love the way we medicate people in this country) and I take one at night with the rest of my tons of other medication. No one has figured out why I am getting these unbelievable muscle spasms, but I suspect it may be associated with dehydration. 

Made a huge mistake last night. I haven't been much of a drinker for years, but very occasionally enjoy a glass of wine or a tiny glass with a finger of Brandy in it. I made sure I had a huge glass of water as well and poured a bit of Brandy. My niece commented on seeing me drink alcohol and I assured her that little bit would be fine.

So much for that...Not only did I get one of the worse muscle spasms an hour later, I mistakenly took a second dose of muscle relaxer with my regular night time pills. Because I  take so much medication for my leg disease (Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome) and my herniated discs, I was sure I was going to lapse into a coma and leave my 8 yr old niece to deal with this, I called the poison control center. They were worried about my blood pressure dropping and wanted me to call 911 or at least have an adult stay with me.

My good friend Helen had just returned from a vacation and was kind enough to come and hold my hand (I know she was looking forward to sleeping in her own bed) I am sure she didn't sleep much (I was out like a light). All was well this morning (I lived) as we had some much needed coffee and cantaloupe. My point to all this is that I have come to appreciate my friends so much for their incredible selflessness. I don't know what I would do without them. I have no family anywhere near me. I have been so lucky in my life to have the friends I do. They all know who they are. I just want you all to know how grateful I am to having you all in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This will make you cry...sorry.

They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie , as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly. I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie 's advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things,
which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from his previous owner.

See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls --- he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes.
I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once
he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it.
He never really seemed to listen when I called his name --- sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn't going to work. He chewed up a couple of shoes and some unpacked boxes.
I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.
The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled,
rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me."

Finally, I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. I tossed the pad in Reggie 's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home.
But then I called, "Hey, Reggie , you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction maybe "glared" is more accurate and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down ... with his back to me.

Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number.

But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.
I had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay, Reggie ," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."

____________ _________ _________ _________

To Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie 's new owner. I'm not even happy writing it. If you're reading this,it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a
trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong.
And something is wrong...which is why I have to try to make it right.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it
will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet.
Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after them, so be careful. Don't do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands.
Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again:
Reggie knows the obvious ones ---"sit," "stay," "come," "heel."
He knows hand signals, too:"back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down --- I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows"ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.

I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule: twice a day,
once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.
Good luck getting him in the car. I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time.
I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.

And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....

His name's not Reggie .

I don't know what made me do it, but
when I dropped him off at the shelter, told them his name was Reggie .
He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. For me to do that,
it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. And if I end up coming back,getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine.
But if someone else is reading it, well ... well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It'll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.

His real name is "Tank.

Because, that is what I drive.

Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make " Reggie "available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've
left Tank with, and it was my only real request of the Army upon my
deployment to Iraq , that they make one phone call the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.
Luckily, my colonel is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting downright depressing,
even though, frankly,
I'm just writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a
wife and kids and family ... but still, Tank has been my family for the
last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.

And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too,
and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

That unconditional love from a dog is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things ... and to keep those terrible people from coming to the U.S. If I have to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love.
I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that's enough.
I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter.
I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home,
and give him an extra kiss goodnight every night from me.

Thank you,
Paul Mallory
____________ _________ _________ _______

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.
Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory , everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

"Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

" C'mere boy."

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.

"Tank," I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face
into his scruff and hugged him.

"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me."
Tank reached up and licked my cheek.
"So whatdaya say we play some ball?" His ears perked again.
"Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?" Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room.

And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

Over the Top

Oh gosh, I knew it would happen...I finally  lost my marbles. My wonderful niece wanted to dye her hair blue. Of course being the adult, I thought it perfectly fine to dye an 8 year olds hair blue! I thought many a time after these new dyes hit the market, that I would have done that had I been younger...
 This totally proves that you never really have to grow up! My hair got progressively bluer through the night!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

And then there's TEXAS...

 Lots of pictures, for lots of dog!

Texas was tied to a trailer down the road about 4 yrs ago. I noticed him (who wouldn't) when I drove by every day. He was thin but beautiful. The owners kept him on about a six foot lead. He didn't have any shelter except the side of the trailer.
I kept watching him every day and noticed him getting thinner and thinner as I got madder and madder.
At one point I felt that if I found the owners (They were never home when I went by) I would beat them senseless (as if they had any sense anyway).
This feeling was very frightening, because I knew how angry I was.
When I expressed my anger to my good friend. Who is a wonderful lady, she suggested I tell the people I had two old Danes (which was true) I knew I would lose them soon, and that I couldn't bare to be be without a Dane. I thought since that was true, I was capable of talking to them. To make a long story short, I found them at home and said just that. I bought him for $100, and headed home. (15 mins)  They also told me he was a bad eater.  He only weighed 113 lbs. I brought him home and he pulled me through the gravel road after knocking me down twice as I bathed him.
Then, he went over my couch and recliner about 40 times. Ok, I knew it...Intact male, fights, problems, never been in a house before. What did I get into? I began his rehabilitation slowly with 5 meals a day. He was up to twelve cups within a few days.
Then it happened (2 days later) I swear he had an ephiphany! He was getting fed, he was being loved, he had air conditioning, company, and a couch! He became the BEST dog I ever had. It has been 4 years now. I have never been happier with my friend. Oh did I mention he has weighed 170 lbs since then? Yep! That's my big black cuddle bug! and then...well that's another story!

Two nubies

Oh gosh, let me start by telling you about these two loveble critters. The one on the top of the chair is Diller (Phil) and the sleeping fat boy is Oscar. They were two of four intact males chasing a small female dog. I came within inches of killing them all last winter with my truck on a major hwy. Wasn't planning to keep any...hoped I would find the owners. Even kept them in the barn. My thinking was if I kept them in the barn and didn't name them, I could find them a home before I got attached...But it was soooo cold. Couldn't stand to watch them shiver every morning. Yes! I am a total "Foster failure!" I own it! I know it!  But look at these guys!


Two Years Later

Ahhhh! The story of my life!
Trying to write in this blog with an ice cream cone in my hand. You just have to laugh...First time I have attempted to blog in two years and I have nothing to say. Hope springs eternal. A bit rusty, but hope to get the hang of this. I will attempt to blog next time about what's happened in the last two years...at least if I start talking about my animals,I'll have something to say...stay tuned! (I know you're breathless with anticipation!)