Pets

Safe Haven…

It’s been a hectic year but I’m back.

We recently visited the beautiful island of Curaçao for a bit of a disconnect.  It was a fabulous place to flop and you can read more about our trip in a post I’ll have done shortly.  One thing we noticed, as in Puerto Rico, was the abundance of stray dogs.  At first glance, these did not appear as neglected and abused as in Puerto Rico which was a terrible place for dogs; there is hope however.

A day or two after we arrived, we notice a tiny dog slinking around our place.  She was gun-shy and skinny but had a bright eye and wanted to play.  Two other women at the place noticed her as well.  Little did I know that Josée was talking to both of them as well as a local animal rescue and shelter, CARF Curaçao.  A little later in our holiday, I bumped into one of the ladies, from Croatia, who exclaimed “Oh you’re the Canadian who is rescuing this dog!!”  Scheming Josée had worked some magic behind the scenes, setting the wheels in motion for the grand affair.

I’ll have a movie up soon with the whole story but basically within another couple days, we captured the dog, took her to the shelter, had all her medical requirements met and arranged the paperwork to get her on the plane to her new home in Canada.  Westjet was great and waived all the transport fees so on our last day, we collected the dog at the airport, watched as she was loaded on board and then eventually welcomed her to our home in Comox.  We named her Haven – as in ‘safe haven’.  Hopefully she will have a long, fun, safe life with us on the farm.

 

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Had a bad day – watch this….

We love animals so this clip was an immediate hit.  If this doesn’t make you chuckle..well..no comment!  Enjoy!

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Petal’s Place

Today, I cleaned up the pet’s room in the side building.  It is a palace; couple ol’ couches and dog beds, nice and dry and offers accessibility to the yard.  When in the back yard, Petal’s little house consisted of a big cardboard box stuff with a dog bed.  She liked it but Daisy sometimes destroyed it and the whole thing was a bit junky so I decided to make her a little house.  I used a few old shelves, some leftover flooring from my office renovation and a couple planks of the laminate in the house.  She should be nice and comfortable in there in this cold weather!

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Categories: Farm stories, Pets, projects | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Pet owners – please view and share

Summer is here and with it the heat!  One of my pet peeves is when I see animal owners leave their pets in a car, even if for only a couple minutes.  I confronted one dog owner who was just running in to get some milk at a local shop; “I’ll only be two minutes” he said, perhaps ignorant of the fact that his dog could die in those short two minutes.  I now have some posters printed which I keep in my car and I put them on the windscreen of anyone leave a pet in the car, even if it is shaded and has the windows cracked.  Anyway, I saw the video below on youTube; if you are a pet owner or know someone who owns a pet (hell, just watch it anyway) then take a couple minutes to watch this vet as he spends 30 minutes in a car.

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Our new addition…

Last year (it seems like yesterday), was a tough one from a loss perspective; our first pig, Monty died early in the year while in the spring, we had to say goodbye to our Great Dane, Jack.  As any pet owner knows, it is hard to lose a pet but eventually the pain eases and by late 2012, we were ready to start looking to add to our family.

Eventually, Josée found our new addition at a house in Courtenay.  The mother dog was a Blue Tick Hound and the father a Great Dane / Mastiff cross.  You can see some of the hound in her head profile / ears; some of the colouring of an English Mastiff and some of the big legs of both Danes and Mastiffs.

Josée asked me to come up with a name.  Here is the stream of thought process:  hounds…deep South (perhaps incorrectly)…Dukes of Hazzard…Daisy Duke.  So, we call her Daisy.  Here she is!

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My little pig Monty…

Early Tuesday morning, about 2am, my little pig Monty died in my arms.  I felt his last breath on my cheek.  He looked so peaceful when he finally died, his spasms and seizures over.  He was a brave little pig and really fought hard against the poison the vets think was ranging in his body, causing him to basically bleed to death from the inside out.  I haven’t stopped crying in the last 24 hours and I’m sure it will be a few more days before the fountains stop.  To be honest, my relationship with Monty is the first close relationship I’ve had which has ended in death.  I’ve known acquaintances who’ve died and my grandparents as well but they were all slightly distant relationships and many of them died when I was young.  I’m not trying to say that pets are more important than people but I’m sure you get my drift.

I guess I’m writing this mostly for myself as I don’t really expect people to understand how one can love a pig.  After all, he was an uncommon pet and, unfortunately, no one except Josée and I spent enough time with him to see how sweet he was, how he loved us and communicated with us (pigs can make up to 20 different noises you know!!) and how his cute little habits, like poking his head out of the dog house when we came home or knocking over the metal food bowl so we’d let him in at the door or sneaking away to a quiet corner to eat a bun, grew on us til he held a most special place in our lives.  Some people couldn’t get their heads around the fact we had a pet pig and he lived in the house at night, just like our dogs and cats.  Some people experienced the dreaded Monty nip as he tried to keep his place in our social hierarchy; but they didn’t see the intimate nuzzles he gave us, the endless times he would curl up and spoon us, grunting and oinking softly as we rubbed behind his ears or along his (rather ponderous) belly.

Our vets and their staff, at Shamrock, were wonderful, very supportive and concerned, as were my parents and our friend Lynn.  Monty was near death Monday morning, his red blood count at 10 when 40-45 is normal.  Joan and Saskia said if it dipped below 10, life was not sustainable.  Through a combination of treatments, they managed to raise his count by late Monday afternoon to 15, an increase they said was encouraging.  We took him home Monday evening, scared but a little more optimistic.  We fed him Gatorade, trying to help re-hydrate him and he gulped down syringe after syringe, obviously thirsty for the fluids and nutrients.  He had a few min-seizures or spasms but these last just seconds and then he relaxed.  Eventually, he started to breathe more regularly, even snoring gently a few times – as sign of improvement we thought.  Around 2am, Monty started into a seizure from which he just couldn’t recover.  I told him he could die if he needed to, that he didn’t need to fight anymore, that he didn’t owe us anything; anthropomorphizing, I know, but I loved him and I think he knew that even if he didn’t understand my words.  He started to hold his breath between spasms and then finally took one big breathe, exhaled over my cheek and he was gone.  I never knew the meaning of the expression broken heart until that moment but I do now.

I lay with Monty, soaking his peaceful, smiling face with my tears.  Mum and Dad arrived and gave us some hugs, as they’d done at the vet in the day time.  They didn’t say much and didn’t need to as just their support was nice.  We wrapped Monty in his blanket and I slept in the room with him; Josée slept with Tegan and Jack, our dogs, who were aware something had happened but weren’t quite sure what.  This morning, I got up and in the rain, dug a grave for Monty, a nice spot on the ridge near our ponds.  I think we’ll plant a dwarf apple tree on his grave because he loved apples!  Mum and Dad came back down and helped us move Monty to his grave; it was a very sad moment but I’m glad we buried him on our place.  Maybe I’ll put a bench up beside the apple tree as well for us to sit and reflect on the fun and loving times we had with Monty.

My grief is made worse by the tremendous sense of guilt I have.  Monty stopped eating on Friday and that should have been the number one warning sign but I downplayed it, thinking he maybe had a cold or just was feeling under the weather.  I should have taken him to the vet at that point to be sure and, while Monty probably would, I will never forgive myself.  Everyone says that I shouldn’t feel guilty, that it was “just his time” or a cliché of that ilk but they really don’t know and it doesn’t make it any easier, nor does it ease my feelings.  My guilt may never leave me but I know in time I will be able to remember Monty without the pain.  Until then, I will keep my pain beside me as it serves as a reminder of how much I loved Monty.

Thank you for your messages and condolences.  We have no children but Monty was our baby.  I think he had a short but sweet life with us and we were blessed to have him in our lives.  Rest, my little pig Monty – I’ll always love you.

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Categories: Family & Friends, Pets | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Snowshoe through the tulips…

Josée and I took the dogs for a snowshoe up the mountain today – great views, fresh air and no bears.  Mt. Washington has a base of 500cm right now which reportedly makes it the ski resort with the most snow in the world!  We only went half way up but found more than enough snow.  What a treat to have such a place just half an hour away from us!

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Categories: Family & Friends, General interest, Pets | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Full Monty

Maybe three weeks ago, Josée asked me about adding another animal to our growing menagerie.  We talked about another dog, perhaps additional farm cats – even more chickens (see John 15:13).  Our long-term plan includes sheep and possibly beef cattle but more than likely that is a 2011 project.  Anyway, I figured that one more pet wouldn’t really make a huge difference; we have lots of space, we enjoy our pets and they have a good life with us.

A week or two passed and the subject wasn’t raised.  Early this week, I found a link in my inbox: “Pot-bellied pig looking for a good home”.  Strange, I thought, why would she send a link on this topic.  We planned to raise pigs for meat but to my knowledge I didn’t think pot-bellies were meat pigs.  I was right.

Monty, a 5 month old pot-bellied pig, lived in Victoria and as his owners were being asked to leave the home they were renting and could not find another pig-friendly abode, they had to put him up for adoption.  And the lucky winners are/were?  You guessed it; we now have a pig wandering around our house.

Surprisingly, I’ve quite taken to Monty.  He is very clean, house-trained, inquisitive and friendly.  He’s quite a smart pig too – IQ rates above most dogs!  Charlotte and Oliver, my brother’s kids, absolutely love him and I think he will become a nice friend for them over the years.  He lives up to his namesake, Bernard Montgomery, hero of El Alamein and massively decorated British veteran: bold, unafraid of Great Danes and Mastiffs (both of whom outweight him by 100 pounds) and not afraid to exert his personality.

Stay tuned for more Monty updates….

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Christmas cheer for dog lovers (well, actually everyone!)

As most of you know, we have two giant dogs, Tegan (our Neo) and Jack (our Great Dane).  While they are talented in many ways, I’m not sure their owners (blush) would have the talent to get them to do what these Polish dogs do.  Check out the clip – it’s amazing!

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Thanksgiving Dog

It’s been one year to the day since Captain Jack joined our family on Knight Rd.  He was shy and jittery when we first got him from the rescue centre in Washington State but after a short while he started to relax and make himself at home.  He has gained some weight, enjoys barking at the airplanes and playing incessantly with Tegan.  They are great friends.

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