I have added my name to the title because (and I am so happy to announce!) our blog is expanding from a soloist to a quartet with guests sprinkled throughout. Woody, Guy and Margaret have each agreed to blog weekly, which will not only keep the information flowing, but from a variety of perspectives. Staff and clients of the Sacramento Easter Seals Help to Recovery program will also participate in the rotation and I assure you that their sharings will be "must reads" as there are many talented and fascinating people associated with the program. Other regular, dedicated volunteers will also have the oppotunity to share from their experiences at the ranch.
Now for a speedy trip through November's highs and lows...
November 1 ~ Goodbye to Woody the Poodelle
Clearly, Woody had one of the lowest quality of life experiences of any animal in our care and he is in a far better place. Woody was a part of our crew for 19 months, lost both eyes one at a time and never seemed to have a sense of balance. He had to be hand-fed as he just couldn't keep his radar on his bowl. He came to us after two years on an apartment sized patio... He wasn't in pain, but life was never the same after his Momma died. He may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.
November 8 ~ Additional Pasture Space!
Good friends and neighbors, Ann and Fred Smallwood, offered use of a fenced space just over one acre in size, which has become a retirement pasture. We're rotating the residents a bit and are so grateful for the offer. Fred was happy to have less area to mow and the previous residents (another neighbor's llamas) were picky eaters. Still, I think Fred was surprised to see what five horses can do to such an area during the Winter months - no mowing, for sure. The kids lucky enough to spend time at the Smallwoods' have a great view of horses being ridden at the Traylor Ranch Nature Reserve, which is great for their spirits. The Smallwoods' daughter, son-in-law and grandson currently reside in the guest house, which has been an added blessing.
November 9 ~ One Dog and Two Horses Arrive
Cora, a black and tan Miniature Dachsund arrived as a "short-term boarder" ~ um, sure. Have you met my husband? It seems that the gentleman who adopted Cora through Doxie rescue could not keep her. He communicated this to the rescue, but dropped her off at Sacramento County Animal Control instead of returning her to rescue. We bailed her out. She was slated to stay until after Thanksgiving at which time transportation was available, but Cora showed Woody that she had other plans. She's not quite senior yet, but she had been bumped to several homes, which is always hard on kids. Still, my personal belief is that the spell she's cast over Woody is due in part to the fact that his eldest brother, John (a two-star General in our great ARMY), is a Dachsund man. They love each other dearly and that's really all that matters.
That same day, two horses were delivered by the daughter of their owner. The owners, who are elderly, were in over their heads and had an empty fridge. Wilbe is a "twenty-something" sorrel QH with a badly swayed back and chronic laminitis who was a rescue case when he came to them. His sight is faulty, as well. His feet feel better with a strict diet and proper supplements and now he fancies himself a ladies' man. So cute.
The second horse is a seven year old Tennuvian mare, and I emphasize MARE, that we have renamed Cuervo, Spanish for raven. Princess! Attitude to spare on her BEST days. She is jet black, gorgeous and a good ride. On the ground, she is nice when there is something in it for her, but can give you heels and squeals with a swat from her tail in a blink. She needs work, for sure. She came to her previous home pregnant and even more hormonal. We were told that they purchased formula for the foal and prepared the .38 but were talked out of it. It took eight people to separate the foal from the mare at weaning time. So far, she and I get along pretty darned well. Cuervo has amazing potential (famous last words).
November 11 ~ A Most Generous Donation
A kind business associate, Trygve Mikkelsen, visited the ranch in person to deliver eight assorted gates that were manufactured by his company, Western Square, in Stockton. These gates were considered seconds due to slight (and I mean SLIGHT) damage, dings and scratches. Going above and beyond, Trygve asked his welder to add a hinge system to a few of the gates so that we might use them to construct small a containment pen, which we have. To further illustrate just how thoughtful Trygve is, he included cans of touch-up paint. It was a pleasure to meet the man I'd heard so many nice things about, along with his dear pal, Monty, before they headed home to the Bay Area. The animals bring out the best in people - I can't believe how far Trygve went out of his way to deliver these gates and see our ranch.
November 17 ~ Mobile Grooming
Beloved volunteers Samm, Cerena and Stacey came armed with all the equipment to give Guy's pup, Pinky, a REAL groomer's clip and took care of everyone else's nails and ears while they were at it. Pinky was obviously proud of her new do and very happy to receive the kind of royal treatment that she KNOWS she deserves.
November 22 ~ Mobile Chiropractic!
At our first Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce mixer, Guy and I met the warm and friendly Dr. Garry Bell of Bell Chiropractic, who offered his services to the animals in our care. We were thrilled by the offer and told him about Jake, the Mustang afflicted with stringhalt. Jake was spooked by the sound of the activator, but made great progress in each of the three vistis we've had to date. His gait may not have changed significantly, but his overall demeanor and sociability have improved greatly. What a gift. Thank you, Dr. Bell!
November 23 ~ Trim, Trim, Trim
Although I don't have photos to prove it, our adored and trusted barefoot trimmer, Rachel Chao, was here with apprentice, Randi, and trimmed until her back could take no more. Both new special cases, Ranger and Wilbe, were trimmed with visible relief. Randi performed some bodywork on Wilbe who was appreciative of the attention. We have the utmost faith and trust in Rachel and the horses sense her integrity. Rachel is right up at the top of our list of blessings.
November 25 ~ Our HTR Friends Visit
We got to meet new staff members this visit! Prem came to take photos and was such a pleasure to spend time with. I am eagerly anticipating their participation in our blog. Woot! Woot!
November 27 ~ Thanksgiving
Once more, limited photos. The only shots I snapped that day were of our trip to visit the parcel that we hope to someday expand our sanctuary to. More about that later - it is truly the biggest wish of our wish list which I have yet to publish. Our talented cook, Guy, prepared the majority of our feast on his own and we shared our holiday with our newest Board Member, Margaret, as well as my dear Mom, Bev, and the fantastic Jane St. Croix, who gives so much of her talent to support our work. It was a real "Chance for Bliss" holiday and we were very present with our gratitude and abundant good.
* heavy sigh and smile *
We Took Tom & Jim to Visit the Parcel, Also
November 29 ~ Bartley Brothers Volunteer
Woody's older brothers, Jim and Tom, spent a day at the ranch helping with various chores. The three are very tight, but Jim and Tom have spent too many years doing physical jobs for time at the ranch to be a big draw to them. Still, they had a good time working along side their brother and a couple of special projects were completed (like protecting the neighbors' trees from gnawing ponies!) Once more, our photographer was off doing other things (the nerve!) and only this silly shot was snapped. I'm including an unrelated shot of the brothers for fun.
(counter clockwise from bottom)
(now) MG John R. Bartley (eldest),
Dustin Bartley, next to and son of Tom Bartley (third born),
Lary Bucher (Best Man and best friend),
Michael Slavec (my only sibling),
Jim Bartley (second born),
(Step) Dad Richard Brintzenhofe (85),
All Surrounding the Love of My Life
(and the lives of so many critters)
We've had a big day today, so I'll save December's updates for my next turn at the keyboard. I've got puppies who need their Momma.