I'm dogsitting my cousin's dog, Josee again. I thought the last I dogsat two years ago would probably be the last time. She is really old now. She sleeps most of the day. She likes to go outside and venture around in the mornings and after dark. This week has been pretty hot. If she overdoes it, I make her go back inside in the air conditioning.
My cousin warned me that Josee has been having some "spells" where she drops to the floor and is semi-comatose for a few minutes. Then she revives back to life. My cousin said there is a chance due to her age that she might die while in my care. She asked if that would bother me. I told her no And besides, we have a backhoe.
I expressed my views on animals and pets in a prior post: Link.
Update: On Thursday, Josee took off running after my niece and the dog fell on the sidewalk hard. After that, she was dragging her ass around. My brother and I thought she had either broken her hip or her back. I thought for sure that I was going to have to take her to the vet in the morning...or worse, put her down. But I called my cousin Margaret and she said that Josee does this all the time and she'd be better in a few days. Sure enough, the next morning she bounced out the door and wandered all over my property. She went back home on Sunday.
I need to be careful when I make off-the-cuff comments about burying a dog. It almost came true!
If you don't like to hear stories about dead animals, you better just skip this post. If you are a member of PETA, you might just have a stroke.
Back when we raised hogs, the sows had two litters a year. One in the winter and one in the summer. The winter litters were kept inside as long as possible. The summer litters could go outside after just a few days, and usually were more comfortable than being cooped up on a hot day. Nothing much worse than a big dead sow in a farrowing crate on a hot day. Well maybe finding one outdoors after several days. Trust me, that is worse.
Anyways, we had about 1000 head of hogs that we raised. Every day there were dead pigs, usually babies. I would reckon there were about 1-3 dead baby pigs a day. Some died from a physical abnormality. A few died when the sow accidentally stepped on the baby and ripped open its belly and its guts fell out. Most just died from suffocation, where the fat sow simply laid on the baby pig and didn't get up. Once we let the sow out of her stall to eat, it was time to collect the dead pigs. We would throw the dead, or nearly dead, baby pigs out in the alley way. If one was nearly dead and already gasping for air with its tongue hanging out, it had to be "finished off." No veterinarian calls for a baby pig. You would grab the pig by his hind legs, and then whack its head onto the nearest post, as hard as you could. Death was quick. All the dead pigs were then placed on the tailgate of the truck.
In the summertime, the pigs were thrown into the cornfield. The leaves of the corn provided shade so that the pig corpse was not rotting out in the full sun. There was a technique to the pig fling. You grabbed the dead pig by the back legs and flung it as high and far as you could, like a discus throw. You wanted the pig to drop into the corn from a high angle, so as not to damage the corn. The pig hitting the corn always made the same sound: Flap, Flap, Thud. From there the buzzards and coyotes would take over.
One particular hot summer day, I found a dead baby pig that had been dead a few days. It was bloated and its legs were spread eagle. I went to fling the pig and the pig went flying over the corn. In my hand was a sleeve of skin from the pig's legs. Acccckkkk!!! From then on, I kept a glove in the truck for the extra ripe dead hogs.
Still, to this day, when the corn is at full height, I still picture those dead pigs flying over the corn. Flap, Flap, Thud. And even though I have almost no sense of smell left, I can distinctly remember what a dead pig smells like.
I guess the whole pig farming experience has left me a bit cold toward animals. I don't mind animals. I just don't want one in my house. I just got done dog sitting for a friend with two indoor dogs. The older one is diabetic and has to take insulin. The younger dog has a nervous bladder and has to be taken outside about once an hour. He peed himself during the night and laid in it...on the king-sized bedspread. I was given instructions that the dogs prefer water cold out of the refrigerator. Give me a break. They got tap water. It was probably an act of dog protest. A dog may be man's best friend...but I'll never shit in your living room.
A friend of mine in Tulsa had a great mutt dog, Caney. But one day Caney bit a neighbor kid in the face. The kid's mother was a lawyer. They figured they better put the dog down. My friend, who had to leave town for a business trip, asked if I would be upset if I took Caney to the vet for him, after the kids left for school. Me? I told him if he had a gun and a shovel, we could handle this in the back yard.
I wrote earlier this year about my brother's dog having her second litter of pups. They decided to keep one of the boy pups. They named him Jasper. As you can tell from the photo, Jasper was gonna be a big dog (look at those paws).
Ava was very good with Jasper and would make him mind if he was misbehaving. They would play rough and chew on each other for hours. Ava even allowed Jasper to follow her on her rounds around the farm. Up to my parents' house for scraps of food and down to the hog lot further down the road. Jasper either got tired or lost, and ended up at my doorstep. I took him home twice in one day in my old beater truck. The first time, he freaked out. The second time, he was hanging his head out the window.
Ava just went to the vet this week to get spayed. No more accidental litters. No more pups. She has been doing pretty well being cooped up in the house. Ava does have a tendency to chew at the wound though. She may have to get a cone around her head until she fully heals. Plus, when she was around Jasper, he would start to chew at her incision. So they remained separated for awhile. Jasper was getting into trouble without his mother to correct him. He chewed the newspaper that was in the mailbox and he found some of my brother's old gloves and left them all over the yard.
I was over there yesterday and Jasper began running around the yard yelping and rolling around and rubbing his eyes. My sister-in-law asked me if his eyes seemed swollen. In a few minutes, they were completely shut. Then the pup hid in the corn field. By then his whole face was swollen. We figured he must have been stung, or swallowed, a bee. The poor thing looked like a prize fighter who lost.
This morning my sister-in-law and niece were heading to church. They got in the van. My sister-in-law put it in reverse, and felt a thump. Thinking it was just a 2x4 board or a clump of mud, she continued on. To her horror she was shocked to find that she had run over Jasper...twice. Jasper died instantly. He had been dozing behind the back wheels of the van. Jasper was wearing a brand new collar and was still warm when I saw him, shortly before my brother buried him.
My sister-in-law was so distraught. They have the absolute worst luck with animals.
I kept thinking about poor little Jasper. He's in doggie heaven now, thinking that damn bumble bee got the best of him.
This morning I went to Lowe's to get more supplies for the chicken house. When I returned, guess who was strolling in from a three day bender. My kitty. I had given her up for dead. I picked her up and noticed that she was shedding a lot. It is springtime; time to ditch the fur coat. But Kitty seems a bit skittish now, thinner, and exhausted. After feeding her out in the barn, I didn't see her again until about sundown.
I wonder where she's been? Out cat-whoring around I suppose. At least I won't be having any grand-kitties.
I guess the great cat experiment continues. You better get out there and rid this place of the rodents. You're three days behind on your chores, Missy!
Please disregard my heart-felt tribute to my Kitty. To misquote Mark Twain, "The report of her death was an exaggeration".
Well, I am a cat owner no more. I haven't seen my barn cat in two days now. The cat was always at the door in the morning waiting to be fed. But not yesterday. Nor today. This is why we don't name our farm animals.
When I would go out to the barn to feed her, if she has not greeted me already, she would come bounding down from the highest point in the barn. I climbed the ladder and peeked up in the loft, but no kitty. The trouble with barn cats, is when they are picked off, that's it. You never find the remains; they are just gone. I started with four kittens about a year ago. Now, they're all gone.
A few weeks ago I was heading down to my parents and I spotted my cat heading back home after being off to who knows where. I thought that if she was fixed that she might stay around more so in March I took her to a local vet and had her spayed. A girl in front of me had a list of about 10 special instructions for her cat, Natasha. When I got to the front of the line, I was asked the name of my cat. I said, "Kitty." They then gave me all these post-op instructions. I told them that she was a barn cat. They replied, "Well, you can just skip that then. She'll be fine." And she was quite the trooper. Still, if I knew then what I know now, I could have saved $121.25.
I won't be getting any more barn cats. The cat experiment is over. I'll just sign a treaty with the rodents. When I was a kid, you could keep a barn cat around for years. But the coyote population has expanded since then. A year is about the max for a barn cat.
Still, I think she had a good (albeit short) life. One of total freedom. Not many pets have that anymore.
Here's some links to past posts about my cat and her siblings:
My brother's dog Ava went and got herself pregnant again. Ava always shows up at Mom and Dad's right at mealtime. She is always parked right outside the front door looking for a handout. On Thursday, Ava was missing from the noon and evening meals.
My brother had made a makeshift pen in the tool shed and bedded it with straw. He even put up a heat lamp. I went over to the pen, but Ava wasn't there. Then I heard a whimpering from the other side of the tool shed. I found Ava in the abandoned doghouse, giving birth. At that point she had about three, but she was popping them out pretty quickly. I called my brother on the phone and told him the news. My sister and I moved the doghouse over towards the heat lamp. We turned on the heat lamp and closed up the pen.
When she finished, she had seven pups. All survived the birth. Ava seems to be more attentive this time around. I think this is mostly due to the setup of the pen. Ava can jump in and out of the pen and still have her freedom. But she mostly stays in there with the pups.
My niece wants to keep one of the pups. I hope this one survives until it's grown. They have had some bad luck in the past with the dogs.
I shot this video out of my kitchen window. I should let you know that the cat did NOT catch this mouse. I found it dead in a mousetrap in my garage and threw it outside. Had to call the cat to come see what I had. Worthless cat.
Still it was kinda fun watching a cat do what comes naturally....torturing and then eating the mouse. But since the mouse was already dead, I guess it's not really torture. The only thing more fun than a dead mouse, is a live one. Still, a dead one is pretty fun too...to my cat anyways. It must be very lonely out there in the barn.