Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to the Vet We Go

With the herd of critters we have around the farm, going to the vet is just part of what we do. The goal of this little visit was an annual check-up and shots for Dixie Doodlebug and Goober.  However, the playful and mischievous Maybelle has never been left home alone, i.e. sans her pooch siblings.  So you guessed it, we loaded up all three for a farmtastic adventure.

Poor Cowboy drew the short straw.  Since his truck has fabric seats, it became the pooch mobile.  So we folded up the back seat in his truck, laid out the blankets and towels, and got it road worthy.  (Just FYI, as I’m sure you can probably guess, this farm mama does not approve of pooches riding in pickup truck beds.  It’s just too nerve wracking for me, and I’m convinced not the safest for our four-legged friends.)

Now the next challenge – how do you get the big guys in the truck?  Cowboy’s farm genius was in full gear, and he got out the horse steps. (For my city friends, horse steps are for shorties like me to make it easier to get on up on the equines.)  Amazingly it worked beautifully.  Goober and Dixie Doodlebug hopped up the steps and into their chariot.  Meanwhile, Maybelle had it easier as a medium-sized gal and got her princess paws lifted into the back seat.

Farm Photo - Horse steps
Cowboy’s farm genius. Horse steps to help the dogs into their doggy coach. (Cowboy’s shadow patiently waiting for me to take the photo. Pooches in the truck waiting to get out.)

All loaded up, we headed out for the short trip to the vet.  It’s about a 20 minute drive (yes, in the country that is a short trip).  Unfortunately, our fur balls can’t sit still.  All were panting and bouncing from window to window.  Maybelle, being the littlest of the bunch, found it easiest to walk under the big guys, so she had her own personal little highway for roaming back and forth.  Meanwhile, Goober thought surely there was something more interesting in the front seat and challenged Cowboy’s arm, the guard gate, for a chance to get at it.  Cowboy won.

Dog Photo - Maybelle and Goober in the truck
Woohoo! Maybelle and Goober angling for a front seat.

Once at the vet, we filed in like the circus had come to town.  At which point our wonderful vet exclaimed, “I thought you were just bringing two?”  We explained that Miss Maybelle had not been home alone, and because we wanted to come home to a sofa and doors still in tact, she had to come along for doggy moral support.  He cracked a smile and immediately understood.

Everyone checked out well and got clean bills of health.  And bonus, Dixie Doodlebug, who is a bit round and has been on a diet, lost nine pounds. Woohoo!  Now if this farm mama can just figure out how to follow suit.

Dog Photo - Dixie in the truck
Dixie Doodlebug – her new svelte self.


Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Free Dogs Are Never Free

Well if you’ve been following the farm’s Facebook page or read the blog regularly, you know that our beloved hound dog and Maybelle’s best pal, Goober,  recently went in for some surgery, as the vet suspected it might be the big C.  Well, thank goodness for an astute vet, as it was cancer.  But the great news for us, and for dear old Goobs, is that our wonderful vet got all of the cancer.  And as far as cancers go, it’s not a terrible one, if such a thing exists. It doesn’t metastasize, so really our job is to watch for more lumps and bumps and get them removed when and where needed.  (We love our vet, but I’m pretty sure he loves us, too.  Wink. Wink.)

This all all leads me to a running joke we have here at the farm, free dogs are never free.  You see dear old Goobs showed up at the farm three years ago now (you can read about his adventure here), and it was love at first site.  That poor pooch was not going anywhere, as he had found his furever home, and both he and I knew it, and we’ve been a bonded pair ever since.

However, in his short time with us, he’s had three surgeries for various lumps and bumps (this is the first cancer, though), and when he showed up he was also heart worm positive, so we had that treated and cured as well.  Can you say cha-ching?  Goober hit the jackpot, and we had to hit our savings account.


However, in the case of rescue puppies (and cats, and horses, and donkeys), I wouldn’t take a million bucks for any of them.  You see most of the critters here on the farm are rescues of one sort of another.  Most of our horses are American mustangs, born in the wild and adopted from the Bureau of Land Management.  The cats all just had a way of showing up in our lives; in fact, I’ve never ever gone looking for a cat.  The donkeys were a gift from some dear friends, and the most of the pups are rescues.  It seems we’ve all just found our way to each other.

Speaking of finding their way to us, several of our friends have hypothesized that the animal kingdom has put out a sort of  signal that the farm is a safe place to turn up.  No matter domestic or wild, you’ll find grub, water, and love.  Our vet likes to joke that if he knew our real address, we’d have even more. (Thank goodness for a post office box!)

But I think the real culprit for our population are some very special friends.  Before we moved to the farm we had a sweet pooch named Petey, who we affectionately called Needy Petey.  While I loved that little guy, he had some issues.  He had come from abuse and while he had lots of love to give, his behavior could be a bit quirky to say the least. In fact, he used to love to mark his spot, which often meant whizzing on his sisters.  Poor soul just could not aim.  Friends used to tell me all the time, “He’s sweet, but I wouldn’t keep him.”  Clearly, I’m going to need to write about Petey someday.  I digress …

Petey has since passed over the rainbow bridge, and I firmly believe he and all of our fur-children who have passed before and after him continue to guide new “kids” into our life.  It seems the ones who alway need us most and who are the perfect fit for us find us, and in return we find ourselves needing them right back.  (Check out our Meet the Farm page to see our rainbow bridge fur-kids.)

So while free dogs are never really free, no fur-kid ever is, and that is okay.  What they give back to us is more than we could ever repay them.  They make our lives full, and for me, in many ways, they make me who I am.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

P.S. – If you are looking for a pet to add to your family, please make sure to check out your local shelters.  You could find your million-dollar pal.


Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Oh, Sweet Sleep

It’s been a busy vet week here at the farm, and our four-legged children are keeping us hopping.  First, we took Maybelle in for the usual round of shots.  Blessedly, that was uneventful, other than the fact that Maybelle loves to get in the car but starts to spin like a maniac when you try to get her out of the car.  Go figure.

And since Goober is Maybelle’s best pal, we took him along for the journey.  Two are better than one, plus Goober had some odd little growths we wanted the vet to double check.  Well as it turned out, the spots all needed to be removed and the vet was concerned it was the dreaded C word, aka cancer.  So like good parents, we scheduled him right away and had those puppies removed.  We need to keep our Goobs happy and healthy.

Which leads me to my sleep deprivation, as I’m sure moms of two- and four-leggeds can relate.  Goober was in and out of the vet in one day, and was super happy to be back amongst his pals.  However, he’s got stitches in multiple places, but mostly on his undercarriage, hence it’s not so comfy to lay down.  Well we thought he had himself settled for the evening, and so we tucked the farm in for a good night’s rest.

Not so fast.  At 11 p.m. I awoke to hear Goober moaning.  Just sad little sighs and moans, as if to say, “Mom, I don’t really feel so great.”  Not helping the matter was that he was wearing a standard issue cone of annoyance in order to keep him from licking away on his fresh wounds.  At first, I thought he was just stuck, as he had his cone wedged under our bed.  (Yes, he really did.) But not so.  He just felt badly.

Dog Photo - Goober with his cone
Goober rocking out the cone. None to thrilled, but reaching the point of acceptance.

So as not to disturb Cowboy, I took the Goobs out to the sofa where we twisted and turned, propped up with pillows, tried with cone on and cone off to get peace.  He’d lay with his head on my shoulder and just about the time my heavy eye lids would finally drift off to sleep here would come another moan. (Not to mention the surgery had given him a lovely case of doggy gas.  Poor guy, and my poor nose.)

I was stuck in that spot between heartbreak and begging for just five minutes of sleep.   Finally sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. he gave it up and finally tuckered out with my hand on his head.  (But not before one of the feline kiddos also decided to upchuck on the floor. Really???? ) Let me just say thank goodness for comfy sofas, tough stain-proof floors, and antibacterial wipes.

I am happy to report, we got some good meds at the vet today and Goober is wagging and feeling much better.  He’s also become proficient in carrying around his cone.  Yes, he still runs into the door frame, but is figuring out how to wiggle around to make it work.  I love my four-leggeds, but this farm mama needs some shut eye.  Here’s to hoping Goobs is up for it too.  Putting meds in a cheese snack now, just in case.

P.S. – Please keep Goober in your thoughts and prayers.  We’re hoping for a good report.


Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Not During Business Hours

We’ve been pretty blessed on the farm, and all of our animals are getting along really well.  We like to think it comes from a lot of love from us and absolutely wonderful vets, both equine and small animal.  On occasion, things go off course and someone gets hurt or injured, and of course when this happens it’s always at odd times.  What do I mean by odd times? Night, weekends, and holidays – when the price and the panic level both rise!

The latest adventure belongs to Ranger. It was once said that Ranger should have been named Dennis the Menace because he simply can’t keep himself out of trouble.  It’s not that he’s looking for trouble or mean in any way, his imagination just always gets the best of him.

On a recent Wednesday evening, Cowboy and I ran into town to grab dinner and groceries.  When we got home, we went out to check on the horses and low and behold there stood Ranger with a horrible gash on the left side his face, hide just hanging there.  Now, for those who know me you know that I have a weak stomach for these things, so I immediately called for Cowboy to take a peek by yelling into the barn, “Come look at Ranger. He hurt himself.”

This got Cowboy’s eyes rolling because, let me just admit this right now, I am a bit neurotic about the critters. I watch them for changes, scrapes, any little thing.  Cowboy is used to this cry from me, and normally it’s nothing or even less than nothing.  So he comes sauntering out with that look that says, “Come on, it’s late.”

Cowboy takes one look, and I hear him say, “Oh man.  That’s not good.”  Which means, you guessed it, call the vet.  Cowboy is a firefighter/paramedic in his day job, so he’s seen a thing or two, and when he votes for medical attention, I pay attention.  After texting back and forth with the vet to share pictures of the injury, it was decided Ranger needed to go to the vet that night

Oh, one minor detail I forgot to mention, this was right after the great ice storm in Texas this past December, which then turned into a mud-pocalypse in our pasture. Cowboy dutifully climbed on the big red tractor and pulled out our horse trailer.  (Oh how I love tractors, but more on that another day.) We load Ranger, lock up the farm and head to the vet.

Long story short, stitches are required, as are drugs.  This is the first time in Ranger’s life he’s been sedated, at which point we learned not only is he goofy when drugged, but he is STUBBORN.  It was great fun getting his groggy hind end back in the trailer for the ride home.  Picture us out in the parking lot, me and the vet pushing on his rump and Cowboy pulling on his front.  Oh what a sight we were!

Back to the farm we went, supplied with medicines and thankful hearts.  Ranger just missed his eye, so we were definitely counting our blessings. Two weeks later, stitches came out and Ranger is on the mend.  The great news is that it looks like there won’t be a scar on his handsome face (because as you know he is my Fabio).

Big thanks to our wonderful vets who always fit us in, night or day or holiday.  We couldn’t live this farmtastic life without you!

P.S. – We found how Ranger injured himself. It was a rogue screw high up on a piece of equipment.  It was an absolute fluke that he found it, but it has been fixed.  Thanks to Cowboy of course, who was up at dawn the next day hunting the source of the injury.  They may be “my” horses, but I know how he really feels about them.