Saturday, May 31, 2008

aunt Jemima

A 'wild, feral' kitten was put in a box with holes in the sides and left at the veterinarian's office. We partner with this vet as a drop off location for orphaned and injured wild animals as they are in a centralized location in town. Proof: you can see in this picture that she is trying to rip Forrest's finger off.

She arrived in the clinic and was immediately given a front row 'shoulder' of all of the goings on that evening. She has amazing balance for one so small, so Casey's shoulder was the best place to be as birds and raccoons were checked in and given initial fluids.

Forrest and I walked in not long after her arrival. Forrest asked to hold her and that was pretty much the end of the 'wild, feral' kitten's homelessness. I had some serious thinking on my feet to see if this kitten could indeed come home with us (the law had already been laid down "No More Animals") so I figured that we could foster the baby until she was old enough to be adopted, that way we would be able to enjoy the life of a kitten and she wouldn't be a permanent addition--not breaking any rules. So I made the phone call to Brent--I had to make it good because I knew I only had one chance.

Casey, Jemima and me

Well, it was a tough phone call but finally the kitten was on her way to a new, albeit temporary, home. We began calling her Syrup, then Chocolate Syrup. Forrest came up with Aunt Jemima and the name stuck.

She has made her tiny self at home venturing from Forrest's lap to his bed (under the covers and on his stomach)and all around down stairs. She is a very accomplished kitten for one so young. She looks like a fuzzy 8-ball with a bottle brush tail. Delicious!!!

I nave neglected telling the downside of all of this kitten love. Namely, Rosie and Maggie are entirely out of sorts and refuse to participate in the baby's upbringing in any degree. Well, hissing and nasty looks are some type of upbringing I suppose. Maggie with trail Jemima but will stay far enough away so that when Jemima turns to see who's behind her Maggie can hiss. I know Mags wants to possibly play, but, there are invisible obstacles to overcome--I just wish I knew what they were. And Rosie--she's just entirely put out by the whole ordeal. She won't even venture into the same area of the house if Jemima is there. How can a 1/2 pound kitten wield so much power over animals triple and quadruple her size and weight??


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Black Buck

This is Black Buck girl. She is of the antelope family. They originated in India and parts of Pakistan and Nepal, but unfortunately, like many other exotic animals, they have been imported to this country all for the folly of zoos and exotic game ranches where wannabe "hunters" can kill one with little effort.

Such was the case with Black Buck's mom. Raised in the Texas hill country on a large amount of land, her only lot in life was to be some one's "trophy" on a paid "hunt". These "ranches" are stocked with exotic animals from other countries. Fees are charged for gun wielding people to slaughter the wild life and claim their exotic prize. There is little reason for this kind of "hunting". No human life depends on the animal's meat and there is no shortage of human food to warrant these activities. But these "ranches" are prolific in Texas, and the moniker "canned hunt" is a true representation of what occurs.

Black Buck's mother was shot and killed by one of these "hunters". He then realized she was pregnant and a wave of guilt somehow permeated his bravado. He took his pocket knife and cut her mother's belly open and delivered Black Buck girl himself.

I vehemently disagree with these canned hunts and I have to wonder what truly transpired at the moment this man decided to do The Right Thing and save at least the baby black buck. What exact thought set his hands in action?

Black Buck girl was brought to the sanctuary still damp from the birthing. She was kept warm and fed by an entire staff dedicated to making sure she had everything she needed for survival.

She spent her early days in the clinic, then, when she was big enough, she was put out in the pasture with the other younglings--mostly lambs. They roamed banded together and were duly named "The Baby Gang". It was a sight to see--15 or so young lambs and one black buck browsing the pastures en mass.

Her life has passed quite contentedly these last few years. The lambs matured into sheep and went their merry sheep ways. She is now in pasture 2 along with a few other sheep, one lovely goat named Chocolate, several pigs, and the boys, Rocky and Vinney.

She is not pregnant--she is just very well taken care of!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A scary couple of hours

Last week Lillie and I visited the sanctuary with my camera. While I took a few shots of the boys, Lillie took photos of everyone else in the pasture--including me loving on Rocky. I love this picture--have you ever seen a lamb smile like that?

I know this one is out of focus, but I love it anyway. At first, Lillie was very afraid of this pig. He is a feral one that came in as a tiny piglet. She used to visit him when he was tiny and loved his cold wet nose. Now, his cold wet nose will leave bruises on your leg if you stand still for too long.

But this point of view is priceless!!

This is one of the girl barbado mix sheep that just loves the little goatie goats. She and her best friend NEVER mosey anywhere. They will approach you (or any visitor) at a fast trot. They'll check you out, look around, and trot to another spot in the pasture. It cracks me up. She came up to us, sniffed our hands, trotted over to where Vinney was laying down having a nap, and began to walk away. Vinney hopped up and joined her where she was grazing. It was like I totally missed their communication about it being snack time. So did Rocky.

Here's Vinney. Apparently I disturbed his nap because all he could manage was to get up, say hello, then lay down again. He is so handsome.

The title of this post refers to what happened the day after I took this photo.
Vinney was loaded up to go to his vet's appointment in town. When the intern stopped to give him water, he was nowhere to be found. He had been inside a crate with bungee cords securing the door in the bed of a truck. And he was gone.

There were a handful of people out looking for him for several hours. The intern retraced her route several times. And I know she felt worse than horrible.

I received the phone call around 6:30pm that he was gone and at that time I was walking into Niles' band concert at his school. I didn't quite grasp the situation when I heard it--I thought he had just gotten out of the crate in the neighborhood where the vet was and was roaming green city yards and gardens. What I grasped later was that it was highly possible he jumped out of the truck on the highway. I reeled at all of the horrid pictures my mind conjured up. And, I won't got into them here.

At 9pm, I got the call that he had been found and returned to the clinic, that he was wondering what all the fuss was about and why everyone--EVERYONE--was loving on him and giving him kisses. I couldn't keep from crying--for joy. And relief. He was found not far from the sanctuary by one of our key volunteers.

I wonder what he did those hours he was on the loose, a renegade, a rogue lamb.

So, Vinney's back. And, he's not even aware of how much energy was spent getting him back. Or how many tears one particular sheep mama shed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Minnie Pearl, aka M. Pearl

Minnie, M Pearl (she will have to eventually be called Pearl as calling her around Vinney ends up in a little confusion between species...) has blossomed. Once a fearful, frail little goatlet, she has turned into a very opinionated, powerful kid-woman-to-be. She's now used to our routine of feeding at 6am and every three hours after, being let out of her crate to roam the room she's in, and, now, to lead Scooter around and show him 'the ropes'. Meaning, nibbling on everything--EVERYTHING--encountered. This means all matter of laundry (clean and dirty), trash can liners, newspapers, animal care forms... everything.

Scooter came to us not long after Pearl. His story is that whomever it was that 'found' him found him in a ditch and brought him to us.

His belly was bloated from being fed way too much far too often and his skin was extremely dry and flaky--very uncomfortable for such a little guy. His stature is quite diminutive compared to M Pearl's. We think he is a miniature goat.

So far, he is still very timid about life. He will call for his mother when I take them to the pasture and then gives up and lays down. He doesn't really socialize with anyone--yet. Rocky has sniffed him out and Vinney has done a 'drive-by'. All he needs is time. He will come around.

M Pearl's tag was removed last week, hence the shortening of her name. She was named after the infamous Minnie Pearl of Hee Haw fame because of her tag. Now that it's gone, her name had to be updated. Her personality is slowly coming to light. She runs and jumps and kicks like any other goat kid. She is beginning to nibble grass and leaves and is becoming more interested in the other pasture inhabitants. Scooter slowly and sometimes reluctantly follows her around. He'll get the picture soon enough.

So now there's two more little ones to care to, spend time with, and initiate into the pasture. I am not so sure I like being a 'mama goat'--they don't follow me as well as the lambs did and they don't seem as appreciative of my endeavors with them as the lambs were.... but I know in the long run it'll all pay off.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Long live Oliver

My sweet boy Oliver--the one whose feet never really touched the ground, who was much larger than life; the little boy lamb that lived every minute of his life to the fullest--died today.