A week on the ranch (August 24 - August 30, 2009) - Blogs - Frugal Village Forums
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A week on the ranch (August 24 - August 30, 2009)

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by , 08-31-2009 at 12:49 PM (1837 Views)
Wow, it has been a crappy week. Looking forward to a better one.

This week started with a friend of mine learning that his mother's colon cancer is back and is basically now terminal. The surgeon finally told her on Wednesday (which also happened to be her birthday) that she has, at most, three months left, so my friend is down in the bay area with her, arranging for hospice.

I am consequently longterm pet-sitting two more dogs, both Chows, very sweet, but both are blind, so require a little more effort, and one gets twice-daily thyroid meds.

I am still having issues with my back, and I had to go in for a re-check, and then x-rays and an MRI to find out if there is more going on. I am hoping not, but I'll find out today, when I go in to get the results.

Horrible event on Saturday, when I had to leave the house for half the day, and came home to find that my dog, Riley, had gotten into the main house and had killed Polly. Blood all over, and a trail of it down the stairs, where I found her. Part of the reason this blog is a day late is because I was a wreck all weekend, trying to get over it, but not dealing with it very well. The hardest part is not holding a lot of resentment toward Riley, because I know that HE knows he did something wrong, but he did it anyway. I am very respectful of life, and it had been terribly hard having a dog who gets such joy from the mere act of killing. After finding Polly dead on the stairs, and Riley hiding from me, I was as close as I have ever been toward understanding why people have perfectly healthy animals killed. I didn't even want him to exist at that moment. I just opened the door to the dogs' room (that he had managed to get out of, but the door must have shut behind him, because he couldn't get back in) and he went in without a word. The dogs didn't get dinner and the Chow didn't get his thyroid pill, because I just couldn't stand to look at Riley until the next day, and I didn't want to have him come up and try to apologize, because I wasn't sure what I would do to him.

Sunday was a day of re-adjusting. I moved Angus up into the parrots' room, into Polly's cage (after cleaning it up on Sat), and I am keeping two doors between Riley and the bunny. That was my old rule, two barriers between Riley and anything I didn't want Riley to get, but I had become lax, with terrible consequences, so the rule is re-established. I am also going to be contacting a locksmith to put a deadbolt on the dogs' door, so when I shut it, I know it will stay shut. A lot of crying and a lot of sitting and staring at the walls. Sunday was crappy, basically, but it was a day of readjusting and moving forward.

I have not forgiven Riley, but I have moved past it, and have accepted that it happened and that nothing I do will change it. Now I can only try to keep Angus and the others safe and Riley out of trouble. I am seriously considering not getting another dog after my two pass.

I am becoming really tired of feeling like I am surrounded by death, and I am determined to turn the tide and to make this coming week a more life-affirming one. Starting now.

On a more positive note (see?), I did can several jars of catsup, and I learned to make a beeswax candle this week. It smells wonderful and is really lovely to look at. I made up a month's worth of veggie chili, and I learned a new and delicious way to use up zucchini: chocolate zucchini bread!

August was apparently the month where I used up all the bad karma I had stored up, so I expect September to be phenomenal!!

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  1. fixer's Avatar
    I am sorry to hear of Polly's death. The way you choose to handle it shows what inner strength you possess. After adopting Hoodie, I understand the challenges of adoption. It is so easier to teach boundaries to a puppy. A dog will do what a dog wants to. That desire come from a place that was born generations ago.

    Are you kidding me, Chocolate Zucchini Bread. That could be the best recipe ever.
  2. Debbie-cat's Avatar
    I don't even know what to say madhen. I know that Polly's death is extremely difficult. I felt the same way about Sampson when he killed my one duck. I just couldn't look at him or forgive him and then your comment kept coming back to me.....he is a dog and they do what dogs do. It doesn't bring any comfort but I realized then what you were saying. It made it easier.

    I just went through another experience on Friday. My best friends from Canada brought their black lab to visit and he went after the ducks. He broke the mallards wing...didn't kill him ....just broke the wing. We took the mallard to the vet and the vet told us that there was nothing that could be done...he wasn't in any pain but he will always be lame. So now we face the decision to kill him or keep him forever as a 'sitting duck' which is dangerous around here with all the wildlife. The four females I hope will fly south for the winter but it is unlikely without their male. I am torn at what to do. I was so angry at the dog but I didn't want my friends to feel any worse than they already did so I just let it go. It is just what dogs do. They really don't know any better until the damage is done and we scold them.

    I am sure the bad karma will be leaving your place tonight at midnight. It has done it's dirty deeds and will move on to the next unsuspecting victim. September will be better!

    I have had chocolate zucchini bread and it is to die for ...now if only I could find some cheap zucchini!
  3. madhen's Avatar
    Thank you both.

    Fixer, as DC testifies, to die for. I gave some to a friend of mine, who responded with, "This stuff CAN'T be good for you!!" I did make mine with a combo red palm/canola oil and dark cocoa, so it was high in Vitamin A and antioxidants!

    DC, I would keep the little guy, but I am a sucker for an animal in need. Maybe you can find someone with domestic ducks who might not mind another mouth to feed?

    I wish I had known - I could have sent to a bushel of zucchini. Now it is basically done producing. Remind me next year!!
  4. phoeny_moonstar's Avatar
    Sorry to hear about Polly. Chocolate zucchini bread does sound good tho.
  5. nadine64's Avatar
    I could feel your anguish over what happened to Polly. Very sorry to hear about that. Animals will do what they do, sometimes with horrible results, but we still love them. I can see how it is hard to forgive Riley, but I'm sure you still care for him, otherwise you wouldn't go through the trouble of making sure the door definitely shuts now and putting back 2 barriers between him and any other animal. I think you're wonderful in the fact that you didn't physically harm him. I'm sure Riley realized he did something bad, but again that animal instinct that is inbred in them comes out and I can't even imagine what it's like to choose over "human conditioning" and "animal instinct". I'm not trying in any way to play down what he did. Just that Riley being a dog, must be hard at times to put that animal instinct aside, especially when temptation comes into view. I think September will be a turning point for you. You still come across as optimistic and hopeful and your spirit will carry you through.
  6. madhen's Avatar
    Thanks, Nadine64. I have fostered enough dogs to know that the fault typically lies in the owner, rather than the animal. I didn't work on Riley's prey drive when I got him, because we lived in a very suburban neighborhood, and he was good about staying in his fenced yard, with supervised time out. So it wasn't really an issue that I felt I needed to deal with. But then we moved up here, where the temptations are just too varied and too great to deal with them all. He DEFINITELY knew he had done wrong, as he stayed downstairs, cowering by his door, rather than coming up to meet me when he heard me come inside. He is a very smart dog, sometimes too smart.

    I don't hit my dogs. I find that letting them know I am displeased goes a lot further in correcting bad behaviour than any physical correction. The only time I have been physical with Riley was when he was actually engaged in an attack and I had to distract him and haul him off. Then it was just literally dragging him by the scruff of his neck back to his run. It was probably more humiliating than painful to him.
  7. frugal-fannie's Avatar
    Sorry to hear about Polly. I know what you mean about the dogs. I am going to take a cat break after the 3 I have pass on. You just get so attached to them and it is hard to see them suffer. We had a dog that adopted us and killed a cat in front of the kids. It happened so fast. Some dogs are just that way.