The Guardian and Trainie

The Guardian and Trainie
Nick and Babe

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rainey, Rainey Day

Gee people I had no idea.  Sorry for the big space in writing.  There have been so many new things happening around the ranch.  My favorite puppy was just sold off!!  Boo Hoo,  big crocodile tears.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  I made friends with Babe and she loved me.  I could whistle for her and she would come running from really far away.  I could see her across the field and whistle.  She would look up and come a running.  I loved her.   She would prance up to me and flop her big body down on the ground welcoming my scratches and looking through her fur for stickers or ticks.  She loved the attention.  As I made friends with her she allowed me to put a collar on her and my goal was to get her to trust me enough to put her in the car without any problems.  The owner of these ranch dogs treats them like cattle.  You can't hardly touch them.  They do not trust you.  This makes for a really bad situation.  What if they need veterinary care?  They do need rabies shots and the basic puppy shots.  I took it upon myself to socialize the puppies who are now 16 months old.  Babe who is gone now was coming along.  The day she was to leave the owner asked me to help him catch her so he could take her to her new home I knew I could hold her but I had no idea how things would work out.  I got a hold of Babe's collar and it was suggested that I put a leash around her neck instead of clipping it on to her collar.  First big mistake!  She flipped out, hopping all over the place and the leash just got tighter and tighter around her neck which set her off and I felt terrible.  I let go of the leash and Al started barking at me about why I let her go and now I wouldn't be able to catch her.  Well at this point I really didn't give a holy shit about catching her.  All I could think was how I was totally screwing up the trust I had built up.  Well what did it matter now they were sending her away and I would never see her again anyway.  I caught her again and watched as they loaded her into a cattle cage like a piece of meat.  It killed me.  I was so sorry!  There was nothing I could do to change the situation.  She is gone now and I miss her.  She was such a good dog.  I will never understand the narrow minded mentality of the old school farmer/ranchers.  A dog must be cared for in a humane way.  The only way to attend to an intelligent animal is to socialize them.  When raising a working dog who has been bred to be a working dog they will do their job even if they are social with humans.  This particular rancher thinks that if his dogs are friendly with me or anyone for that matter that they won't do their job or they will allow themselves to be stolen.  This is a bunch of bunk but I haven't yet been able to convince him otherwise.  He does not want me to associate with his dogs.  I live on the ranch he does not.  I see these dogs everyday.  They come up to me and want attention.  I give it to them willingly.  I do not interfere with their job.  They go about their business every night.  The only way I could stop them would be to have them in the house at night.  I would not do that.  What I have observed is that during the day they do not work anyway they are guard dogs not herding dogs.  In the day time it is resting time.  Naturally they come and visit.  What I have observed also is that the only reason they might not visit is because someone has beaten them and they shy away thinking that they might be beaten by me.  The rancher thinks that this is a genetic trait.  How ignorant can a person be.  Pretty ignorant I would say.  It pisses me off just a little bit but hey these are not my dogs and I do not have a say in how they are raised.  However I do live on the ranch and I do see these dogs everyday.  Since Babe is gone Madrigal the other female pup is more friendly than when her sister was here.  Babe used to keep Madrigal apart from me.  Babe liked all of the attention.  Maddy has always been a bit more reserved when it came to people.  Her mom was beaten in the past by a previous owner and quite possibly by this owner.  I have never seen him do this but there have been signs.  Since the mother, Nina, is insecure about trusting people Maddy is also not sure or trusting.  I have always talked to the dogs and never expected them to come to me.  I just wanted them to know that I was no one they needed to be afraid of.  Hence they have come to me for attention.  Nina is not always comfortable enough to approach but she does sometimes.  I am here when she wants.  The big male dog, Nick has some how managed to make it through the abuse he has received over the years and still seeks out human companionship.  He is by far my favorite male and the only male on the property I might add.  He was Babe's companion.  She was his student.  Nick showed Babe that humans can be a great asset.  Humans give affection and they might give you some food now and then.  Maddy was taking notes from her mom and she just doesn't trust too much.  I continue to take baby steps with her.  She used to only bump me from behind and let me touch her without looking.  She got to a point where she would let me touch her face while looking at her but I couldn't touch her with both hands.  I got to the point where I would kneel down so I wouldn't be quite so threatening.  This worked a little and Maddy decided to play with me like she did with her sister.  She would paw me and kind of jump on me and I let her even though she is at least 100lbs.  I wanted her to know that I was not a threat.  After I got her to trust me more I had to stop her from jumping on me because she started to jump on me when I would go for a walk and sometimes I was not aware when she was approaching.  This was a bit hazardous.  I did not want to be knocked down.  She listens to me and she realizes that I still am okay.  She is still skitish enough that I am careful about how I reprimand her.  So she still will paw at me from time to time and I have to watch my back because she just might jump up on me.  She wouldn't mean to hurt me but she is a really big dog.  I created the behavior trying to get her to trust me and she is moving in that direction. 
The fleas and ticks are so bad here and the dogs recently got a bad case of ear mites that I took the matter into my own hands and bought a medicine to put on the dogs to take care of all of the issues.  The owner wasn't doing anything about addressing the issue so I did.  When the medicine came in I told him and he paid me back but I am the one who applies the medication.  As I told you earlier if you do not socialize your dog how are you going to treat them when they need something.  Well I could put medication on Nick and Nina but Maddy was going to be another issue.  She is so leary of any object coming at her.  It was really a challenge to get the medicine in her.  I did but it wasn't easy and it is a challenge each month to do it again.  I hope that things will change in the near future.  I tried to brush her the other day and I got in a couple of strokes but she just isn't ready yet.  Some day I hope.  I actually hope that she will plop herself down on the ground like her sister did. One can always hope right?  I work with the dogs whenever I can.  I am an animal person and nothing will ever change that. 
Speaking of animals we have so many different creatures on the ranch.  The ground squirrles are starting to come out and our bird population is so much more diverse this year.  Right now we have a Canadian Goose sitting on her nest and we hope to have goslings in a couple of weeks.  This goose is the same one that nested here last year and she can back again and is using the same nest.  I think that is so cool.  We watch her every chance we get.  Her mate is so good at keeping everything focused on him.  He stays at the other end of the pond attracting us towards him and away from her.  We also have a pair each of Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Mallards, Buffel Heads and Wood Ducks.  We hope all of them are nesting here but who knows.  In the nesting box outside my office window we have a starling couple nested up and looking forward to their babies.  I hope to make a few more nesting boxes for our Bluebird population and anyone else who will nest up here. 
The lizards started to come out with the warm weather last week and I am sure we will be seeing more of them.  I was sad the other day because when I was weed whacking out at the front entrance to the property I accidently injured a rather large lizard.  He looked to be reasonably okay and scurried off so I hope he/she healed up and will be fine.  I hate to hurt anything but accidents do happen.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching an American Kestrel pair above the lower pond.  They hung out for quite a while.  At least long enough for me to see them clearly and identify them accurately.  They are really cool looking.  The ones I was observing had what looked like eyes on the back of their head so you couldn't really tell from which direction they were looking.  I am sure this must have something to do with faking their prey out. 
We recently have had a visit by a Cormorant.  We thought this was a bit unusual but when I looked it up in our bird book I found out that where we are located is such a place that they would visit but not necessarily nest.  I believe that it is a Double-Crested Cormorant.  Our Quails just returned.  They have been gone all winter.  I do not as of yet know where they go.  I will be researching that soon.  I think I have mentioned before that we have Robins, Finches, Oak Titmouses that we call helmet heads because they have a little tuft of feathers on the top of their head, Humming birds and so many others that we do not yet know the names of.  Many of the little birds hand outside our kitchen and under the veranda at the back of the house.  We have a single bird feeder outside the kitchen and a variety of birds eat there.  Our wood pile is at the back of the house under the veranda and the birds love to hang out there.  Well folks I will do my best to write each and everyday.  Thanks for checking back with me.  See you tomorrow.

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