These are Mommy's Best Boys, Laredo (red merle) and Cisco (black tri Mini). I used to have one best boy, Laredo, who couldn't stand me for about 2 years until he found out one day that he was more afraid of thunderstorms than he was of me, and we had a turning point. To this day, though, Laredo is still feral and will always be to a certain extent. Four years with me is not making a cupcake out of this dog at all. He will still snap at me if I push him past his comfort zone, like when I pinched him cutting a matt off his tummy the other day. His underlying level of fear will never go away, but most of the time he not only trusts me, but asks for my affection. He is the first one to jump in bed with me in the morning--only after Mark gets up--and will bow his head and press it against me, begging for petting, and then lets his whole body fall into me, or sometimes on top of me, as I rub and scratch him all over. Pretty awesome for a dog who wouldn't let me touch him for 2 years. Now, he has a small, curly protege, Cisco. Cisco also would rather crawl into a hole and die than allow me to touch him when he first came here, but he came around in a few short weeks....with me. He's been here about 6 months now, and will never leave, because he is still so terrified at the sight of every other human that he will risk injuring himself to escape. But, he's followed Laredo's lead and I guess looks up to Laredo, so like Laredo, jumps in the bed with me the minute Mark is not there. And he snuggles, and he loves. And the second Mark comes back, he's gone. Some dogs like this aren't able to love and trust multiple people. Sometimes, it's only one person, and I feel quite honored to be that person. Although, surprisingly, Laredo did walk over to our grandson a couple of weeks ago and ask for petting, and that was definitely a first for him. I think children have a different aura and Laredo sensed that. I know my boys' quirks, I know how to handle them in situations that are scary for them, like thunderstorms or new people or if Cisco happens to get out of the yard by mistake, and they trust me, as you can see in this pic. I also know their motivations, as in Cisco's love to play fetch, so when I had a hard time getting him to come back in the house, I could toss a ball into the house and he would run right in. I just have to be aware and cognisant of their motivators and work with that. I won't lie, I sometimes stay in bed after Mark gets up just so I can have that "special bonding time" with these two, because they each jump in the bed almost as soon as Mark's feet hit the floor. They are, and always will be, Mommy's Boys. And that is a very gratifying feeling for me, after all of the hard work I put in on them. Neither will ever be adoptable to other families, but they are very happy and loved here, and are not only great with other dogs but, as in Laredo's case, are instrumental in our rescue and dealings with other dogs. I love my boys and wouldn't trade them for anything. <3
It has been an awesome week at TBAR. The energy here has been really good and some of the dogs that need the most work have really made incredible progress, everyone is very happy, and things are actually calm! “Calm” is not a word often used in a home with a baker’s dozen of dogs, which is why I am so happy.
We have some very special dogs here, dogs that are not ready for adoption and dogs that may never be. We have ferals that we welcomed into our lives because nobody else wanted to take the risk, and we often have good luck with dogs like this. We also have extremely shy dogs that are fearful or untrusting of humans. But the two are completely different. A feral dog is not shy. Shy is a dog who takes time to warm up to you, but otherwise wants the attention of humans and wants to be part of a family. Feral dogs, for the most part, would love living in a world without humans as long as they were still getting their primal needs for food and shelter met. They are generally very social with other dogs, though, because this was mandatory in the wild for survival.
Laredo is feral. Laredo will, more than likely, always be feral. We will celebrate two years together on 2/8/15 and he still won’t allow me to approach and pet him. We rescued him and his sister when they were only around 4-5 months old, and they were the most fearful animals I personally have ever seen. I had to muzzle Laredo to pick him up, and then he emptied his bowels from fear. His sister Stella did rehabilitate in a few months, and has been adopted into a loving home. She decided one day that she liked a family, and learned to trust, and became the most loving sweetheart you’ve ever seen. Laredo refused to let go of his fears. Ferals will all socialize to a different level, even littermates. We soon found out Laredo is terrified of thunderstorms, and that’s how we got him indoors for the first time. He now happily runs indoors every day to eat, but runs to his hiding spot under the table. He won’t go anywhere that would allow someone to box him in to a corner. He has a deep fear of being “caught”. He’s always on the lookout for an escape back out into the yard, and after he eats he darts out like he’s about to be trapped. But, he does love and trust me in his own way. I crawl under the table into his hiding spot and lay there and pet him and just make him accept touching. When I come home from work, he’s at the fence dancing in excitement with his tail wagging. When I walk through the yard, he is walking about four feet behind me, with his tail wagging in a slow wag. If I turn to pet him, he takes off, but if I just allow him to be near me, he follows me everywhere. It’s our understanding—I just let him be. He no longer has a drawn face when he looks at me. I can see that he loves me, and he trusts me, as long as I don’t push the boundaries. After two years, he has finally started taking treats from my hand every now & then, instead of me having to toss them to him in his corner. But last night, he really shocked me. I had my dinner in the living room, all the way across the room from Laredo’s safe spot underneath the table. And as I was eating, he came out and started towards me, curious about what I had. So I cut him a piece of pork, and held it out to him. He walked all the way across the room, and took the food from me!!! Way out in the open of the room! I was so excited I pretty much fed him the rest of my dinner, and he continued to come take it gently from my fingers and even was licking all of the rest from my fingers. Now, if I had turned my hand to pet him, he would have been gone. But I let him be who he is, and he loosened up so much. It was so great to see him so relaxed and calm. Then today, I saw him all the way inside the kitchen drinking from the water bowl. He had to walk through an open baby gate to do that, and that is an opportunity for him to be trapped, so I was shocked that he would go that far. He’s really doing great! I may never be able to hold him in my lap and pet him all over, but he’s happy, he plays with dogs and toys, he enjoys treats, and he loves me. And I respect his boundaries, and he’s got a home here. Among dogs, Laredo is our Alpha. He sort of assumed that position after Rocket’s death, and I think it has helped to mature and settle him.
Sparky the Mini Aussie is another dog we’ve been working on, and he’s really done great this week. Sparky is not feral, but he is extremely shy and untrusting of people. Actually, he was untrusting of dogs, too, when he first came here, but once introduced ended up being very social with dogs. He is part of a bonded pair of littermates that we rescued from a South Texas shelter. I think they were puppy mill dogs. Both beautiful blue merle Mini Aussies, but they were in very poor shape. They were severely underweight with horrible coats, and were eating their own feces when we first rescued them, something that starved dogs will often learn to do. Although Skippy is the sweetest, friendliest little dog you’ve ever seen, Sparky would avoid people at all costs. Indoors, I would have to corner and catch Sparky to crate him at night. He wouldn’t allow us to pet or handle him. I decided to send Skippy to a foster home to see if Sparky might open up when he wasn’t able to depend on his brother for security, but that did not work out. Instead, Sparky would get out in our large yard and refuse to come indoors. He spent many nights outside in cold weather, and I had to feed him outside. We brought Skippy back, and after they reunited, Sparky is now opening up more and more. I made the decision to not allow him back into the yard, because our yard is 1 acre fenced and it’s too much room for a scared dog to avoid me. Instead, he only went out on leash, and we took Skippy along with us. After about a week of Sparky going out on leash, sleeping in a crate, and staying indoors during the day, and having his super friendly brother Skippy to look to for direction, Sparky really started to come out of his shell. He started coming upstairs to my office and hanging out while I worked, he started approaching me for petting and standing still for a short time and allowing affection, and he started following me around the house. I was doing a deep cleaning of one of the downstairs rooms Friday, and Sparky spent the whole day in there keeping me company, and enjoying the continuous petting and affection he was getting. I no longer have to take him out on a leash; I can let him out in the yard again without worrying that he won’t come back inside. He has his favorite crate that he often puts himself into during the day to nap, or he may just lay in the middle of the floor. He’s so much more comfortable and he is SUCH a loving little guy. He just wasn’t trusting. I may have to go through a process with his adopter when that time comes, but I feel so much better about him now and am very optimistic about his future. I still don’t want to split the boys up, because I’ve never seen two dogs love each other like these guys do. They even share a crate and sleep on top of each other. They need to remain together. But with a little more work, Sparky might be as friendly as Skippy, and with their small 23 pound size, who wouldn’t want two adorable little guys like this? They are precious, and their combined size is still smaller than some standard sized Aussies.
PepperAnn is the “somewhere in between” dog. Actually, she’s feral too, just not to the extreme that Laredo is, but she is definitely not adoptable. PepperAnn was also rescued as a 4 month old puppy with her sibling Ranger. And like Laredo and Stella, Ranger socialized and is very adoptable while PepperAnn remained more feral. PepperAnn has been here about 8 months now and we just can’t seem to crack the code on this girl. She will come indoors to eat, most of the time. She will come indoors to sleep if it’s very cold outside. But other than that, she prefers to be outdoors and will do her best to get back out there. When indoors, she gets on the sofa, and then just freezes when we approach her. This allows us to sit and pet her, but she’s terrified. You can see it in her eyes. Her pupils dilate and her eyes become black, and she is frozen in fear. She has no aggression; I can pick her up if I need to, because she is frozen. I sometimes sit with her and put her partially in my lap, and just sit and pet her for an hour while watching TV. I pet her until I feel her body relax and her heart rate slow, and I know she’s calming. With a feral, when you give physical contact, you cannot stop while they are in a fearful mode or it will be self-reinforcing for fear. If you are going to teach them to accept contact, you have to continue until you feel them relax and calm, and then stop. Never stop on a sour note. PepperAnn has been especially prone to avoidance the last couple of weeks. The problem we had with Sparky is that once Skippy was gone, he teamed up with PepperAnn, and then their fears played off of each other. That is not the two that need to be together. But remarkably, I think now that Sparky has improved, he is having a positive influence on PepperAnn rather than her having a negative influence on him. Today, PepperAnn came indoors for the first time in probably two weeks, because she ran in behind her buddy, Sparky. I was so happy! PepperAnn quickly found herself a crate to claim as a safe place away from me, but that’s fine—she’s in the house. I was able to get a new collar and tag on her, and give her monthly heartworm/flea prevention. And now, the PepperAnn Tough Love starts. We have to put her to the test to see if she will socialize more. We are going to have to push the limits with this girl, at least until she tells us she can’t do it. So, next step is leash training. And like we did with Sparky, she won’t have the opportunity to go back out in that great big yard and avoid us anymore. She will only go out on leash, and then come back into the house. Luckily, her brother Ranger is excellent on a leash now, because he’s going to help us train her. They are still very bonded to each other and were in a crate together for a while today. So, as she learns to walk on a leash, she’s going to have him alongside her helping to teach her. One thing about PepperAnn, she does love her groceries. She is very food motivated. For a job this big, though, little biscuits or training treats won’t be enough. So I am in the process of cooking some pork cutlets, the same kind that Laredo was crazy about last night, to use for PepperAnn’s training. We may not take more than 2 steps in the beginning of our leash training, but a step gets a treat. That’s how we trained Ranger, using Angel as a lead dog for him, and he was leashed trained in 20 minutes. I don’t expect PepperAnn to be a 20 minute dog, not at all. But we have to push her, and today is the day we begin. I hope to be able to post a positive update on her in the near future.
We didn’t really plan to take on any of these “special” issues with these dogs, but that’s what we got dealt. They are all good dogs. They are loving dogs, even if they are a little different. They might not ever be dog park potential, but I don’t care for dog parks anyhow. I think somehow, humans are responsible for the condition all of these dogs came here in, whether from neglect or abuse. I just don’t feel like we need to give up on them, any of them, including Laredo. I think they’ve already been let down. Once I looked them in the eye, I made an unspoken promise to them to love them and keep them safe, and that’s what I will do. But I love them enough to try and socialize them, as much as they will allow, so that they can have happier lives. Seeing the look of fear removed from Laredo’s eyes is probably the best reward I’ve gotten. These are our babies, and we love them.
We lost our family pet, Lacey, after 25 years. He died quietly in his cage on Christmas Eve 2014. He was never sick; he just knew when his time had come. He did everything that he always did, which was to monitor and dominate all of the dogs in our rescue, until he knew his time was done, and then he quietly passed.
I sure didn't know when I walked into Lakewood Pet Store in 1989 that I was going home with this bird. But when I looked at all the birds, he was the one who jumped up to the front of the cage wanting attention, and I reached in, and he chose me. He chose me. I could not believe how friendly he was. I didn't even want a bird. (OK laugh at that last comment if you will) I took him home and put him with me female, and she didnt' hate him, so it was a go. He was not my first bird, but he was the first bird to act like he wanted to be with me.
Through the years, I let him grow untame and he was no longer comfortable being handled. Now with a mate, he no longer cared for my attention, but only the attention of Lefty, the female. Why the odd names for my male and female, you ask? And that leads to another story.
When I bought Lacey, I had a cockatiel at home names Lefty. Lefty was a white cockatiel that I bought thinking it was a female. The whole background of Lefty was unfortunate. Lefty was purchased from a friend of mine whose mom had a bird that had babies….you know, the whole friend of a friend thing…and I think I paid $40 for him. Got him home, and he was missing his longest toe on his front leg. They said that was from a “bird fight” or some such shit but that the bird was fine. I loved him more. I named him Lefty, and off we went about our merry lives.
Lefty was a white bird, not an albino. There are distinct differences. Lefty had black eyes & nose, and an albino have pink eyes and often some associated health issues. Lefty was white, but had a little yellow here & there, and for a white bird, had a lot of color on the head. Sex in a cockatiel is almost impossible to tell in a young bird; you make your best guess based on color. Even in breeding, you sometimes have to have the bird “surgically sexed” where a vet will make a small incision to see which sex organs the bird has. That is not something you would want to do for a pet bird. Based on Lefty’s colors, it was a male. So I named the boy Lefty.
Years later, I found another cockatiel and really, I wasn’t even looking. The bird kind of found me. When I walked into the pet store and this bird just threw itself at me with friendliness, and it had a full crest on top and subdued colors on its face, I just knew it was a female. I bought her and took her home, named her Lacey, and my male, Lefty adored her. They bonded. It was really heartwarming, those two loved each other. I was relieved that I made a match.
One day, I heard all kinds of quiet chirping and went into my bird room, and was stopped in my tracks. My “female” bird Lacey was having a very romantic episode with my “male” bird, Lefty, and nobody was unhappy about what was going on. Wow, it turned out that I did indeed have a pair of birds, but it was exactly the opposite than I had planned. My male was my female, and my female was my male! I don’t even know how that could happen, except that I am gifted like that. So I had my pair afterall.
Lacey and Lefty went on to live very long, happy lives together. They eventually produced two bird children at two separate times that we were able to place in loving homes with friends. Lefty passed on the weekend that we moved into this house in 1991. She has a spot under a tree in our flowerbed, and has now been joined with her long time companion Lacey. We are happy to have spent such a big portion of our lives learning from these two sweet birds.
One thing I forgot to mention in this bird's tribute. He was a badass rescue-family bird. Lacey was in his cage and over the last 3 years, I bet 200 dogs came into the room and he had to deal with all of them. Lacey was not afraid, and he trained these dogs. He was brave and would dive for a dog's nose in an instant. He had them ALL scared! Even big 60 pound dogs thought, "that guy didn't last this long being a sissy." It was part of the home life of TBAR and dogs learned to respect this guy.
We got the most incredible update on one of our alumni, Parker aka Grumpy Pup. Many of you followed his story so I knew you would love to hear the great news. First, a little background for those of you who didn’t know Parker.
In October 2013, we were notified by some volunteers about Parker, an 11 week old puppy in the Carrolton, Texas animal shelter. This puppy had severe emotional issues, and even at his young age, he would sit at the back of his kennel and growl and snarl at anyone who approached, and would bite if you tried to touch him. It seems that Parker was found in a dog crate at the Parks & Rec department where they keep their tractors and equipment. The city was not using the equipment on a daily basis, so it’s not known how long Parker had been there. The truly sad part of this is, whoever dumped this baby there had to drive right past the animal shelter in order to leave him where they abandoned him at. It was a miracle that he was found in time. Once at the shelter, he was marked Rescue Only because he was unadoptable, and his status was urgent. We knew we had to help this baby. Based on his shelter picture and the scowl on his face, we nicknamed him Grumpy Pup.
We had some great volunteers rally together and get Grumpy Pup out of the shelter and they brought him to us. We carried him indoors in his crate, which was his safe place, and put it in the downstairs bathroom. We opened his crate, put a baby gate at the bathroom door, and allowed Grumpy Pup time to come out and explore the bathroom area on his own as we checked on him periodically. He was not a happy boy when he arrived, and would scream a blood-curdling scream of fear when frightened. I’ve never heard anything like it. It was truly a scream, not a bark or a howl. After a couple of hours, Grumpy Pup came out of his crate and was moving around the bathroom a little bit, so I went into the room and tried to introduce myself to him. I approached him slowly, talking softly to him, while he backed into the corner and growled at me nonstop. Being the impatient person I am, I pushed him just a little too far, invaded his personal space, and reached in and tried to pet him. He quickly gave me a bite, a good bite that drew blood. Yes, an 11 week old puppy, that aggressive. What in the world has this baby been through in his short life? I didn’t blame Grumpy Pup for this, it was my fault. He wasn’t ready. He reacted in the only way he knew how. So I left him alone for the time being.
Parker's first night with us had him huddled in the corner of the bathroom, daring anyone to come near him.
After I went to bed, Mark stayed up and worked with Grumpy Pup. Grumpy Pup had been here several hours by this time, and things were quiet and he was starting to relax a bit. Mark has a very calm, soothing nature and the dogs relax around him, and he was eventually able to not only pet Grumpy Pup but even picked him up. And once he did, Parker seem relieved. As if to say, “Oh my goodness, this is what I’ve been waiting for, someone who would be nice to me.” He was still very, very afraid, but he was trying to trust.
Having secure, stable dogs here is the best tool we have at our disposal in rehabilitating dogs like Grumpy Pup, and by the next day I would look to see Grumpy Pup standing at the baby gate of the bathroom, curiously looking at the dogs in the house and listening to all of the household noises. Not wanting to set him back, I slowly acclimated Parker to the house by first removing the baby gate and allowing him to come into the kitchen when he was ready. Once he started moving around in the house a little, I gradually introduced him to dogs to see how he would react. Much to my pleasure, Grumpy Pup was not nearly so grumpy while in the company of other dogs. Their calm energy soothed him, and he was quickly accepted by the dogs. It’s as if they knew he needed them, and they took him under their wing as if he were their new little project. It was a wonderful thing to see. I know that we would not have been able to make the progress we did with Grumpy Pup if he had been an only dog.
Brazos and Parker. You can see that he was consoled by having a dog friend.
Ruger and Parker. These two could play all day long.
Grumpy Pup continued to grow more and more comfortable here.
Grumpy Pup had pretty much become a “normal” dog and was ready for adoption, or so we thought. But shortly after listing him for adoption, he had a major setback that let us know he was far from rehabilitated. One day, when adopters came to the house to visit another dog, Parker was in the kitchen. Upon seeing the new people, Grumpy Pup completely freaked out and reverted to his fearful, traumatized state. He started the blood-curdling screaming again, and backed himself into a corner with a look of terror on his face that told me, “If you move closer, I WILL bite.” I knew he would bite me, there was no doubt. His mind had gone to a place where he wasn’t even sure who I was at that moment. I opened the baby gate from the kitchen to the living room and called Parker to the safety of his crate in the living room. He quickly ran into the crate, where he continued to growl the entire time the visitors were there. And it broke my heart. After all the progress that we had been making, I know knew Grumpy Pup had some very deep emotional scars and that he was going to need a lot of work, love, patience, and understanding.
Around this time, I was contacted by a couple who were very enthusiastic about adopting Parker. I explained his situation, that he wasn’t yet ready for adoption, and went into great detail on his emotional state. But this couple, this wonderful couple sent to us from Heaven, had already decided that Parker was meant for them and that they would be willing to do anything and everything that needed to be done to make Parker part of their family. I even tried to discourage them, but they were not giving up. They wanted to help this sweet puppy. So, at the beginning of December, Grumpy Pup and me made the trip to Ft. Worth to meet his potential new family.
The meeting went pretty much as expected: very difficult. It did not help matters that the moment I got Grumpy Pup out of his crate to go meet his new family, a loose and very friendly Pit Bull female came running up the sidewalk straight towards Parker and me. This alone might not have scared Parker that much, but the lady running down the sidewalk behind the dog, waving her arms and shouting “She’s OK! She’s friendly!” did not help matters, and Parker went nuts. He started screaming and thrashing and he urinated all over me while I held him as tightly as I could to keep him from getting away. I calmly but loudly said, “This dog is traumatized, please get your dog and put her up” which the lady quickly did. So this is how our adoption meeting started out. Sigh.
Of course, when Brian answered the door, Grumpy Pup was still growling. I had asked the adopters, Brian and Annie, to have Grumpy Pup’s crate set up in the main room of the house where we were meeting, so that he would have a safe place to retreat to when he became scared. We went inside, I showed Grumpy Pup the crate, and he immediately went inside. Annie tried to coax Grumpy Pup with some treats, but he was having none of it. He was relaxing, though, you could see it. He was looking around, seeing their other dog, looking at the house, listening to Annie talk softly to him, and he was rather curious. Then the treats started working just a little, so we brought out the secret weapon—peanut butter. I have never in my life seen a dog who could resist peanut butter. Annie smeared some on her hand, and Parker started licking it off her hand. Then he came out of his crate, and as long as he was getting peanut butter, he forgot for a moment that he was scared. He started letting Annie pet him, and then he started moving around the room a little. We had to do this whole scenario over again with Brian, and he was a bit more hesitant to let Brian touch him in the beginning. He met their dog, Ace, and he perked up a bit then. He liked seeing another dog there. It made him feel safe. So now, we have allowed petty by both the adopters and giving the other dog a good sniff, so we move on to the yard and I show him the way outside and go explore the yard with him. He was fine as long as he was with me, but at one point he lost sight of me and again went into his trauma state where he ran into the corner of this new, unknown yard and started screaming. His eyes weren’t glazed over this time as in his former episodes, so I was eventually able to calm him enough to allow me to pick him up and carry him. We did this 3-4 more times, going inside and outside and getting used to the boundaries and routine, until Grumpy Pup was actually going outside through the open door on his own and exploring a little bit. This made me so happy! I could see that he was trying to take that next step. I knew that these two people were dedicated to Parker’s continued rehabilitation, and that if Parker continued to try as well, this was the home for him. I must say, this was the most difficult adoption meeting I have ever had. I sat and worked with Parker and his new family for about 2 hours trying to make this introduction. But it worked, and when I left I received these two pictures by text message and it made me cry happy tears. Grumpy Pup found his family.
Now, six months later, we received the most wonderful update on Grumpy Pup:
I have probably never cried over an adoption update like I did this one, but I have never worked so hard to help a dog before, either. And this transformation wasn’t due to us, it was due to the amazing love and hard work that Brian and his family have done with Parker. They never gave up, and I can assure you it was not an easy road. It encourages me to know that there are people like Brian and his family who will go the extra mile for a dog. This just proves that there is a home somewhere for every dog. When we first rescued Parker, I actually had another rescuer suggest that we euthanize him, even at his young age. She said, “If he’s aggressively biting at this age, what are you going to do when he’s a 60 lb dog?” Well, in this rescue, we don’t euthanize dogs for what could happen in the future. We feel it’s our responsibility to give them every opportunity to rehabilitate and improve, and that’s exactly what Parker did. He may never be like other dogs, one that you can approach without introduction, but what one of us is without issues. Parker found a family who is not only able to work with his issues, but who are very willing to do so because they don’t focus on the traits he doesn’t have but instead highlight the beautiful traits that he does possess. Parker has grown into a beautiful dog, and he has value and meaning. Brian, Annie, and Erica did that for him. God bless adopters like this.
We had an extra-special day yesterday at TBAR. Five of our babies went to their new homes with five wonderful families! And we think every single one was a perfect match between adopter and dog. Here is the rundown of our day.
10:00: Adoption meeting for Atchafalaya Troy
The Washbourne family came all the way down from Tulsa, Oklahoma for our blue-eyed bubba. And he was a perfect match for them, too. Troy was gentle with their little girl, and very laid back and calm to meet but not scared. Their adoption application was completed by the husband, Jake, and had the wife’s occupation listed as “Housewife/Awesome Mom” and I told him that’s probably why their application was approved.
They were very nice people who have two other rescue dogs at home—a Great Dane and an English Bulldog—so Troy will be the middle kid. I love that Troy will have dog buddies as well as a very loving family, because he’s a very social dog. This baby survived neglect, a heavy parasite infection, and then Parvo, so he really is a fighter and deserves everything good life has to offer him. Happy life, Troy!
11:00 Adoption meeting for Onyx
The Masters family from the Lake Highlands area of Dallas were referred to us by a work colleague. Phil and Kay recently lost their beloved Lab of many years to old age, and when they saw Onyx and heard her story of neglect they were very interested. Unfortunately, Onyx suffered through Parvo which delayed her adoption, but the Masters continued to be patient and wait for her. Then, we found out that Onyx had heartworms, and I feared that would change their minds about adopting. It didn’t.
When I saw the way Onyx reacted to this family, and their dog, I knew it was meant to be. She absolutely adored Phil especially and was following him around after just a few short minutes. I predict they will be great buddies. This adoption makes me particularly happy, because this girl will now get all the love and attention that she has been denied in the past. They will be taking daily walks along the greenbelt that runs near their home, she has a dog sibling, and a mommy and daddy who will love her. Have fun, Onyx, be sure to write!
12:00 Adoption meeting for Zoey
The Sniders make the trip from Denton County down to visit our sweet Zoey. They have a senior male border collie mix, and they were looking for a companion for him. They enjoyed the fact that Zoey was an adult dog, already trained without bad habits, and a quiet, polite girl.
The introduction between the dogs took some time, because Zoey can be grumpy when new dogs invade her personal space. But with a little patience and perserverence, Doug and Ginger were able to get Zoey to relax and behave and I think I saw her start to initiate play with the other dog once. This family likes to take their family on the road in their motorhome for several months out of the year, and I think Zoey will adore having that kind of attention and fun. And she loved her new mom and dad, and showed them with kisses and tail wags! Zoey was rescued from the very high-kill Oklahoma City shelter, and we are so glad we were able to help her make this journey. When it was time to go home, Zoey jumped in the shotgun seat and said, “Let’s roll, Dad!”
1:45 Adoption meeting for Remoulade Remy
Remy’s family, Kristina and Garrett Graves from Austin, were also referred to our rescue by a friend. (We LOVE that!) They submitted their application for Remy almost as soon as we rescued him, and have been patiently waiting for him to be ready for adoption. He will be their first child, and they all had a very good chemistry together. Remy, that boy is changing all the time, and he’s now starting to look more like a Hound than a Lab, but who knows how many more times he will change.
Remy is more people-oriented than his siblings, so he’ll be fine as an only dog with two people who love him dearly. The Graves got to visit all of the other dogs, and see the dogs that they have been following on our Facebook page. We are so grateful for the loving home they are giving our sweet Remy, and the dedication they have had to him for the last couple of months. And to think that this sweet boy was in danger of being dumped in the woods to die by his former owner. You hit the jackpot, Remy!
3:00 Adoption meeting for Storm
Oh Storm boy, how happy are we for you. This poor dog, when we rescued him, was just a wreck. He had been shot with a shotgun and still has at least 50 pellets in him that can’t be removed. He’s got a blind eye, most of his teeth are broken, and he has heartworms. His coat was a matted mess that stunk from filth. He just had not been cared for at all in a very long time, if ever. And once we got him all spit-shined, WOW did this dog change. He got energetic, frisky, playful, talkative, and even started playing with dog toys. It seemed that he was aging in reverse. And talk about loving, oh my goodness was he happy to have someone to love him.
Storm knew it was Adoption Day. He patiently waiting while everyone else had their meetings, and when it was his turn and Leah arrived from College Station, Storm just knew. I let him into the kitchen to meet her, and he was jumping and bouncing and vocalizing and just being a major nut. He acted like, “I’ve been waiting for you, where have you been?” It was wonderful to see. Leah attends college at Texas A&M University and has lots of time to dedicate to Storm, and I know that dog is going to be in heaven being her only baby. He will finally get all of the love and attention that he was denied in his past. And Leah, she was overjoyed with Storm. I’m betting he slept with her last night, lol. Way to score, Storm!
We really really REALLY love seeing these dogs to go wonderful homes like this. And we are very flattered that people would come from such long distances to adopt one of our dogs. Combined with the amount of referrals we are getting, we consider that a huge compliment and an indication that people support what we are doing. We are so appreciative of that support, because it allows us to continue to do what we do. Today, five babies have new homes. Five families have new babies. And this makes us very, very happy!
There is something important we need to talk about, and that is what to do if your adopted dog gets lost. Accidents can happen to anyone, and dogs can get loose and get lost. But how you handle it can make the difference between life and death for the dog. Don’t think that because you have adopted the dog from us, we stop caring about it. We bring the dogs into our home; they live with us and become part of our family. And we will support you with that dog for the rest of his life. If he is lost, it is imperative that you contact us right away.
The first 48 hours that a dog is lost is the most critical period. You must make every attempt to find them as quickly as possible. Not only are the dangers for a lost dog many—being hit by a car, being in fights with other dogs, being attacked by coyotes or wild hogs, or picked up by animal abusers—time is of the essence in finding your dog while he is still in a somewhat stable emotional state. After 48 hours, a dog will go into survival mode and even the most domesticated of dogs will revert to primal behavior and will even avoid humans it knows very well. Your dog may actually see you, make eye contact with you, and run in the other direction. At this point, they are afraid of everything and are merely trying to survive. They have now become prey, and feel that everything and everyone is a danger. The more amount of time that passes, the more likely a dog is to slip into this frame of mind. Besides being microchipped, all of our dogs wear Martingale collars with an ID tag on that has three of our phone numbers and says RESCUE DOG. The tag is reflective so that it can help a dog be seen at night. We encourage our adopters to leave the collar and tag on until they can get an updated ID tag, so that if the dog does get lost at least someone can be notified.
We have had a few adopted dogs get lost. For that matter, we have had our own dogs get loose and get lost. Libby, the pretty blue eyed blue merle foster, would carefully wait until nobody was looking out the window, and then she would jump the fence and go visiting neighbors. Yvonne, who we eventually became close with from Libby’s frequent visits, would call and I would go out back, whistle loudly, and Libby would come running up the road towards home. Although we live in the country, we were very lucky that nothing ever happened to Libby. I actually wanted to adopt Libby myself, but due to us being unable to keep her safely home, we adopted her to a family with a tall, secure fence.
Cute little Mini Aussie, Banjo, was adopted by a rancher in Groesbeck. He was actually purchased by the adopter’s girlfriend at the time, as a birthday present for the adopter, but the application was in his name and he was the one approved for adoption. Banjo stayed with the girlfriend for a couple of weeks before going to his new home, and during that time, the girlfriend and her daughter fell in love with Banjo. When Banjo went to his new home, the little girl was heartbroken. She missed her little buddy. Banjo did well in his new home as the girlfriend continued to get good updates on him. But one night, I got a call at 9 pm from a very nice couple saying, “We have one of your dogs.” They live in Mexia, and we had never adopted a dog to anyone in Mexia, so I didn’t even know what dog it was but we immediately jumped in the truck to go get him anyhow. When we arrived and went into the house, bouncy little Banjo came running up with a look on his face that said, “Look, I made some new friends!” This couple said they heard something scratching at their back door, opened the door, and little Banjo ran in and made himself at home. We loaded him up and headed back home. It was a very long night and we got home at 1 a.m., but Banjo was safe. We later found out that the adopter went out of town and left Banjo with his mother, and he escaped from her house, which was in Mexia. But when we had Banjo back at the house for several days and the adopter never contacted us about him being missing, we were very disappointed. We were not giving Banjo back, because they were in violation of our adoption contract by not letting us know Banjo was missing. Around this same time, the relationship ended, and we were eventually able to adopt Banjo to the former girlfriend and her daughter had her best buddy back home by her side by Christmas. We were very glad that Banjo went to a home where someone would help him find his way back to us, because he was in grave danger being a small dog out in those ranch lands full of predators.
Suzie, formerly named Sue Ellen, was not as lucky. She was an extremely shy and fearful dog to begin with, one of the most sensitive we have had in the rescue. She was adopted and was doing well in her new home for about 2 months. But her adopters had to go out of town for one day, and left Suzie with their daughter in another town. Almost immediately, Suzie escaped the daughter’s home. A chase ensued, and Suzie was last seen running into a creek bed in Aubrey, TX on 8/28/13. The adopter did contact me for help, but Suzie had already been gone for a week when I was contacted. The adopter had been searching on her own but wasn’t having any luck. I spent two days up there, walking and searching, and even took another dog to help me search one day. I never saw any sign of her anywhere. We circulated signs, and started getting information regarding sightings. I took all of the sightings info and compiled a map of where people said they saw her. We were very optimistic that we were getting close. Finally, we got what we thought was a good lead, and this sighting was in the same place as a prior sighting. So we started baiting the spot with food for a few days. When we saw that the food was being eaten, I went back to the area and set up a game camera to see if it was Suzie who was eating the food, planning to set up a humane trap to catch her. The camera took pictures for 4 days, and there was not one picture of Suzie. She was not in the area. There was one big coyote on the camera, so I am glad we didn’t just put the trap out because I sure would not have wanted to capture him. We eventually determined that a lot of the sightings that were reported were not even Suzie. One report said that they saw her out in a pasture herding cattle all by herself. For a dog as fearful as Suzie, that is not possible. She never would get that close to livestock. One sighting was from 5 miles away, and she would have had to travel down the side of a very busy highway and move into a heavily populated neighborhood. We knew that wasn’t possible for this dog. Sadly, Suzie has now been gone almost 3 months and I doubt we will ever see her again. This is so heartbreaking to me, after all the work I did to try and rehabilitate her and give her a new start on life. I don’t know that I would have had better success if I had been notified immediately. But that is a definite possibility. This particular girl did have her ID tag on, but was too shy to get close enough to a person to allow them to read it. Of all the dogs to have get lost, this is probably the worst one it could have happened to.
Brazos is a gorgeous blue merle Aussie who came from a neglectful background where he spent the first 3 years of his life confined to a back yard behind a privacy fence, and had little or no human interaction. Once in our rescue, we found him to be so sweet and loving and starved for attention that we wanted to just shower him with affection. Although his stunning looks drew much adoption interest, we very carefully chose his new family because we wanted to make sure he had an opportunity to get all of the love and attention he had been denied in the past. After careful consideration, we adopted him to a family in Spicewood, TX that seemed like the perfect fit for Brazos. They were a mature, settled couple who were home most of the time and could spend the majority of their time with Brazos. Brazos went to his new home on 11/3/13, and we were ecstatic. But our emotions quickly changed from joy to panic and fear when, only three days later, Brazos was found wandering down a busy road alone. He was not wearing his ID tag; the adopter had changed his collar before he left us. He is microchipped, but not everyone knows to check for a microchip. By the grace of God, Brazos was wearing his Rabies tag and that is how we were eventually contacted, after Brazos was taken home by a wonderful woman who found him and kept him from harm. We were not contacted by the adopters that he was missing, and I am not really sure how long he had been missing. I started networking for transportation assistance to bring him back to us, and waited to hear from the adopters. We had a volunteer offer to get him and meet me in Temple, TX with him that evening, so as soon as I got off work in Dallas I made the five hour round trip drive to get Brazos and bring him safely back home. It was about 11 pm when we got home, and although Brazos wasn’t sure where we were going at first, he absolutely came to life when we got home and he heard the other dogs, and he practically dragged me all the way to the back door. He was stinky, tired, and very very hungry. I don’t think he had just gotten out that morning. And I still haven’t heard from his adopters. Brazos has been traumatized from this continued abandonment, and it shows. No dog deserves this. He will be with us for quite a while until I find a family worthy of him.
My number one rule: If I have to get in my vehicle and go get your dog, and you do not contact me to let me know he’s missing, you will never see that dog again. A dog can escape any of us. I haven’t even mentioned Angel, who will jump the fence and go explore, and then when I call her jumps back in the fence and comes running to the front door like she’s been in the yard the whole time. So, I know how dogs can be. Even with our best efforts, dogs can get lost or get out and wander off. But you HAVE to let me know immediately if your adopted dog gets out. We have a huge network of people that can help look and spread the word. We have social media, and lost animal hotlines. We have Yahoo groups and email lists. And TBAR is in possession of two different sizes of live animal traps, and a high quality game camera. We have all the tools we need, we just need COMMUNICATION. One person can’t think of everything, and as I said earlier, time is of the essence. Suzie’s adopter was so stricken with sadness that she didn’t think of making a flyer or a couple of other things until she enlisted my help a week later. A flyer with a picture should be done immediately. And it must have a picture, a good recent picture. “Missing, black tri Aussie” won’t cut it. Black tri Aussies are very common and can range in weight as adults from 30 pounds to 85 pounds. Your Aussie may be someone else’s Heeler. Some people don’t even know what an Aussie looks like. You MUST have a picture.
Our dogs are my babies. If one gets lost, and you don’t let me know and I don’t see that you are looking for it, I take it personally. My dogs are not disposable. They are loving, loyal beings and they deserve the same loyalty in return. Our adoption contract stipulates that you notify us if the dog goes missing, and that if you violate that contract you relinquish the dog. But it’s more than that. It’s about the safety of the dog. When I opened the email about Brazos that said, “Brazos was found…..”, my heart dropped into my stomach because I just knew the next words would be “dead on the side of the road.” PLEASE do not ever let that happen. If you see a loose dog, please take it in and try to find the owners. It could be someone’s baby. Please keep your own dogs safe, keep an ID tag on them, and if all else fails and they do get out, contact me immediately.
The following are some networking sites for lost dogs:
Australian Shepherds Lost and Found USA, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AustralianShepherdsLostAndFoundUsa
Lost Dogs of Texas, Facebook page
We rescued Gingersnap on 12/3/12 from the Ft. Worth, Texas animal shelter where she had been deemed unadoptable due to fear, and would be euthanized the following day if not rescued. To think that a dog would lose its life for being scared broke my heart, so I contacted the shelter and picked her up that day. She did not seem too bad on leash at first, and even went potty for me before getting in the vehicle. She rode quietly in a crate on the way home. When we got home, I put her in the unfinished downstairs bathroom so she would be indoors, but away from the other dogs until we could make sure she was healthy. In her little room, she laid on a dog bed in the corner and didn’t move. I would talk to her, pet her, but she would not respond. It was like she was in her own little world. I took her out on leash to do her business, which she did just fine, but then she would trot back into the safety of her room. As the week went on, other dogs in the household would look in on Gingersnap and she seemed to enjoy that. I even saw her wag her tail a bit once or twice. This was encouraging.
After listening to the excitement coming from the kitchen at breakfast time for a full week, Gingersnap decided that she wanted to join in the excitement and she came into the kitchen to eat with the rest of the dogs for the first time.
Look who decided to come out of her room and eat breakfast with the pack this morning! I was making breakfast and all of the dogs were talking with excitement, and it must have been more than Gingersnap could resist because she came out of her room, all wiggly and tail wagging, and could not wait to join in the fun. I literally just started crying. This was the best thing ever.
Just as it looked like Gingersnap was making progress in coming out of her shell, she inadvertently got out the back door one night. We called her, we tried to lure her back in with food, everything, but she would not come. She didn’t run away—she would stand in the road behind the house and look at us. That was probably the most frustrating part, that she was so close but wouldn’t allow me to approach. I tried sitting and tossing treats. I tried talking. I started baiting the yard with bowls of smelly food, like mackerel, and she was regularly eating the food. This went on for at least a week, every day sightings of her and her eating the food but not being able to capture her. One morning when I fed a dog in the quarantine pen just before sunrise, I looked up to see Gingersnap standing there staring at me. I spoke to her, “Come on, baby, I know you’re hungry. You want some breakfast?” and she started dancing and bouncing around with excitement. I walked out of the pen into the road with a bowl of food in my hand, and Gingersnap started towards me. YES! I squatted down with the bowl in my hand, and extended it, and Gingersnap started approaching very slowly, and got less than 3 feet away from me……and then turned and ran off. As the days passed, we would even see her lying in our driveway sometimes. She was really putting us through the wringer.
After about 6 days of her being on the loose, I got sedatives from the vet, Acepromazine, to lace some food with, thinking that since she was eating the food we were leaving, we could sedate her and capture her. The vet warned me that this drug will sometimes not work in very fearful or anxious dogs, because the nerve receptors that are needed to uptake the drug are filled with proteins. So it was hit or miss. We put some nice rotisserie chicken out for Gingernsap with at least 50 mg of Ace in it. We watched her eat every single bite. And then we waited. We watched her walk around in the woods behind the house, for the next 30-40 minutes. And she never even got sleepy. It had no effect at all.
Gingersnap had been coming to the bowls we left and eating for over a week now. She was very comfortable living outside the perimeter of the house, but had no desire to run away. She just didn’t really know who to trust, but she thought we might be somewhat OK. One day, I saw her in the back yard just at the bottom of the steps of the back porch. I was shocked that she was that close, so I slowly opened the back door and just stood there, frozen. After several minutes, I watched her walk up the steps and onto the back porch. She looked around, and then she came all the way onto the porch, and up onto the stoop of the back door. I could no longer hold my breath, and peeked my head around the corner, and she turned and left. DARN! Why did I do that? She probably would have walked into the house if I had remained still. Darn .
Gingersnap had been loose for 11 days when Mark decided to use some East Texas ingenuity. Since we didn’t have a live trap that was big enough for Gingersnap at that time, Mark decided instead to rig up a booby trap in the garden to capture her. We had her eating from the bowls of food we were putting out on a regular basis, so we started putting out multiple bowls and getting them closer and closer into the garden, to eventually lure her into the garden. Mark then ran a rope from the garden gate up through the trees, and into our bedroom window. We went upstairs and staked out our mission, and waited for Gingersnap to come along. The first day, we watched her come all the way into the garden. She got almost close enough for Mark to pull the string, but then she turned and looked at the string, and darted out. This dog is very smart and I don’t know how she ended up in a shelter in the first place. So the next day, we baited all of our bowls again and waited.
Gingersnap had been out for 13 days now, and it was December and almost Christmas. We were having a mild winter, but I still didn’t want any dogs out on their own in weather. And I could tell she wanted to come back in, she had already shown us she did. And I was worried sick about her. So we again baited our bowls and staggered them up to, and into, the garden. We had a mixture of rotisserie chicken and mackerel in the bowls, with a touch of kibble, and just enough to get her interest but not fill her up. She liked to eat early in the day, so we baited the bowls in the morning and ran upstairs to watch. Along came Gingersnap, right on cue, and she ate from one bowl and then the next, and went fully into the garden this time. Mark yanked on the cord as hard as he could, the gate swung shut, and POW, Gingersnap was caught! She immediately turned around, saw she was captured, and just sunk. Mark shouted, “Honey, go get your dog!!!” and I grabbed a leash and ran outside crying and got my baby girl after 13 long days. She just slinked down and let me put the leash on her while I cried, “Come on, Gingersnap, let’s go home baby. That was too much time to be gone. Let’s go home.”
LOOK WHO'S HOME! Caught today, 12/23/12, 12 days after escaping.
After that, Gingersnap was a different girl. She immediately blended into the pack of dogs here, and you could tell she felt like she was at home. She started going in and out of doors with the other dogs, and started going upstairs. She did like to find her quiet out-of-the-way spots to lay, but was happy to play with other dogs and ate in the kitchen with everyone every day. Gingersnap had a chance to see what it feels like to live *out there*, and to live *in here*, and I think indoors wins out. She is a very gentle hearted dog, quiet and mild mannered, and was just happy to have dog friends. She was especially fond of Rocket, and would wiggle up to him trying to get his attention. He acted like he was annoyed by it, but I know he was flattered. They courted like that all the time. No other dog would do—only Rocket. Gingersnap adored Rocket.
12/31/12: So let me tell you about my baby girl Gingersnap. She loves her mommy now. First, you can see that she is sleeping on a fluffy dog bed and not in the floor anymore, and her body is stretched out and loose and not curled up in a ball. She has a little fear on her face in this pic, but it is from the camera and not me. Now when I go to her room, she starts wagging her tail when she sees me, and will lift her leg up and roll over for a tummy rub. She LOVES her tummy rubs. This morning I got her to eat treats out of my hand, and then she was kissing me all over my hand and arm. I had Angel and Bonnie with me, and Gingersnap gets very excited when she sees the other dogs. I called Gingersnap to come to me, and she got up, wiggling from shoulders to tail, and she came out of her safe room into the kitchen to take some treats from me and get petted. She won't do this for very long, and then she goes back into her room, but it's progress. She was almost playing with Bonnie this morning, exchanging face licks and bouncing around a little, and Gingersnap has a total crush on Wylie, oh my goodness does she come unglued when he goes to visit her. I think the next step will be to take her on leash into the living room with us and make her socialize a little more, and put her in the main yard with the other dogs. I'm very pleased with her progress, and she will be a regular pet before you know it.
Gingersnap continued to grow more confident and assured during the next few months. She started playing with toys, playing in water, and generally being a regular dog in every way. She learned how to Sit for a treat, and to sleep in a crate. She walked on a leash, she was housetrained, she was loving, and she had even grown so confident that she would often jump in the bed with us to sleep at night. She was just like every other confident dog we had here, because they showed her how she could be. We knew at this point that Gingersnap was ready to find a forever home of her own.
We got an email from Stephanie Becker in Stamford, CT who saw Gingersnap online and fell in love. Ordinarily, I would have frowned on an out of state adoption for a girl that is so special to me, but Stephanie charmed me into feeling like she would be the perfect home for Gingersnap. Her initial email didn’t just ask if Gingersnap were still available. It was more like a resume. She told me about their family, their other animals, their lifestyle, and how much love they have to give Gingersnap. They didn’t want just any dog, they wanted Gingersnap. And that is the kind of love I want for all of our dogs. She explained that they live on a lovely farm and have chickens, other dogs, and a live-in nanny and sent pictures of her and her beautiful daughter. We talked for weeks, and I felt like this was the perfect home for Gingersnap, a home with loving people who understood Gingersnap’s shyness and would give her everything she needs.
Eventually Gingersnap traveled to her new family in CT by commercial transportation with Pets LLC. I can’t say enough good things about these people. I was a nervous wreck about sending a scared dog who is a known flight risk on a 3-day transport, but they know what they are doing and are very good at it. Gingersnap went on transport 9/4/13 and did not want to get in that big truck. She was so scared they had to pick her up and load her. I, of course, gave the transporters my lecture about what a flight risk Gingersnap is and to never let her get away from them, no matter what. She arrived safely on 9/7/13 and was in good shape! She wasn’t traumatized like I had let myself believe would happen, and she settled in to her new home and family quickly.
Stephanie and her beautiful daughter Hannah knew that Gingersnap would be very scared in her new environment at first, but she has surprised them so far. We continue to get good reports.
I think these pictures prove that Gingersnap is one happy girl. And so, we are very happy too. :)
I love to can food. Not only is it a fun craft to do, and yummy to have things instantly ready to eat, but canned goods are beautiful on display. I have actually canned foods simply for home décor before. I just think it is so artful, especially if you have the opportunity to go to the State Fair of Texas and see the prize winners in the canning entries. The way they pack jars takes a lot of experience and talent, and that is what makes the end product so attractive.
I started canning about 20 years ago, and surprisingly I have not killed a single soul yet. I don’t know why, though. I never studied the USDA food preparation rules like I should have. I was young and would start to read a recipe and then drift off into “Oh I can do that.” Luckily, I have always stuck with water bath canners and acidic products rather than meats, which may be why all my family members survived. My main item to can has always been Salsa, and it always turned out very well without issues. I always add acid, and my jars always ping.
A few weeks ago I joined a canning group on Facebook, and after looking at what everyone else was canning, I got the bug. I wanted to can something. No, that’s not true, I felt like I needed to can. There were pictures to be shared, discussions to be started. I could not be left out. They haven’t even had an opportunity to see how awesome I am yet. But not having gardened this year, I didn’t have anything to can. So I had to buy it. Luckily, I had just recently found a new produce stand in our area, Sugar Acres Produce. The name is cute, the people are good, and the produce is a great quality. The owner happened to be unloading a truck of fresh produce while I was there, so I asked if I could buy a box of tomatoes. He hesitantly told me they were $30 a box. I didn’t care, they were gorgeous, and I said I would take them. Then after I mentioned canning, he said, “You know, If you don’t mind culls that have some nicks in them, I can bring you boxes of those for $11 a box if you let me know in advance.” YES. We will do that, thank you so much. I bought several other things from him, including a 25 pound box of onions, and went home to start my canning weekend.
Of course, the first thing to make was Salsa. I love my salsa. And pretty much everyone who has ever had it does as well. That is one of those things that I have been making for so long that I just know how to make it, and don’t really have a recipe I go by. Which is funny, because as a Virgo I’m not really a “play it by ear” kind of gal. I need firm details. I was always a little frustrated that my Grandma didn’t have a firm recipe for her blackberry cobbler that she could give me, but now I understand. You just sort of, well, see it. You cook by sight, and by smell, and taste. So, there are a few little things I’ve learned through the years to make my salsa fantastic. One is to take some of my tomatoes and roast them before putting them in the food processor. Let them get good & dark, like a East Texas small town girl on spring break. This also makes a bunch of the juice come out of the tomatoes, which will condense the flavor of the remaining product. Scoop the tomatoes out and put them in the food processor. Turn to ON and let the tomatoes turn into a nice dark red sauce.
I take the next half of my tomatoes and run them through the food processor, and add them to my salsa. When I start cooking, I have half roasted tomatoes and half fresh tomatoes. I also roast and chop up several other vegetables and add them to my salsa. Once I get everything together, we start the Pot Of Love. It looks and smells so good. It takes a lot of time but it is so cool watching it come together. I truly enjoy making this, and when I make it I make it in huge batches, as you can see. That is a 12 quart pot.
After the Pot of Love has consummated their flavors, the salsa gives a look and aroma that lets me know it’s ready. We finish with any final seasonings and jar it up. There are not a lot of things that I would jar in quart jars, because there are only two in our household. But we have no problem finishing quarts of my salsa. I really think that I could probably be elected into office here locally with my salsa. It is that good. I jarred up a few pints as well, for those who beg me for salsa and I have to eventually give them some just to shut them up.
I also have a freezer full of blackberries and blueberries from the farms in East Texas. So, I wanted to make something. Jam. Mmmm, jam. I bought some black plums at the produce stand, and cooked them with some blackberries and made Plum-Blackberry Jam. I didn’t use pectin, and it is a little thin but has an amazing flavor.
I also made Honey Bourbon Blueberries, and oh my is that a good sauce. We had it on chicken and pork as suggested, and it is wonderful. A bit tart from vinegar, sweet and fresh from the berries, and just a touch of bourbon flavor. This is a keeper recipe, and will make a very nice gift.
I think my favorite thing to make might be the Golden Pickled Onions. This is by far the easiest recipe, and what I like about them is that they are still crunchy once canned. They have some nice fall spices like allspice and cloves in them and are awesome on a Cuban sandwich.
The Sweet & Sour Peppers were also very easy to make, and like the Onions, they are crispy and tart after being canned. These will be good on a sub sandwich, a Po Boy, a Cuban, or any other kind of sandwich you can make up. Yummy treat of a condiment.
If I were to make two things only, it would be Salsa and this, Hot Pickled Mix. Cauliflower, Onions, Jalapenos, and Carrots. I love this stuff. I like to add okra when I can find it, too. The carrots are so much better in sticks than in round slices, they are just more munchable. The longer you let this sit, the hotter it will become.
This is our canning pantry as of right now. If I can anything else, I have to find somewhere else to keep it. But I sure love seeing it like this.
Ain't nothing like a Texas summer with 100+ degree temperatures to get a dog to decide that being indoors with people is better than being outdoors. Laredo now runs in the front door with me standing right there, and he wanders into the kitchen or upstairs a lot. He doesn't hide in corners anymore. He lays around the house in plain sight enjoying himself, sometimes gets on the couch, and he plays with other dogs a lot. He has even started approaching me for petting, and standing still and letting me pet him. He is doing so well. He will gladly join all the dogs for treats, and eats in the house with the others. He has even started taking treats from Mark, which is pretty incredible. Oh he still barks like crazy at Mark when he's outdoors, but he's getting better. One of these days Laredo is going to find out that we have Memory Foam on our bed, and it will be all over. We'll never get him out of the house again.
Freddy, an 8 month old Blue Merle Border Collie
We rescued 3 new dogs on 7/29/13 from the Christ-Yoder shelter in Buchanan Dam. They must not get much adoption traffic there, because all three of these dogs are outstanding dogs and I can’t imagine why there weren’t adopted, especially Freddy, who was at the shelter for a month. I think his energy probably scared adopters away, but once he got here and got some exercise he settled down into a very nice boy. I put all three dogs into quarantine pens before introducing them to the others, just in case they picked up any germs in the shelter. But I let Freddy out after a few days and introduced him to the pack, thinking that since he had been in the shelter for a month he would have already gotten any illnesses that he was exposed to. And, he was becoming kennel crazy in the pen. He needed to run. We let him into the main yard and introduced him to the pack, and after a few scoldings from the female dogs over his overly-amorous ways, he got along very well with everyone, males and females alike. We have never had one problem out of Freddy with other dogs.
Maria, a 2 yr old Red Bi Aussie
Next I brought Maria into the house. She just seems so….neglected and unloved, and we need to turn that around. Actually, she kind of made the decision for me by jumping the fence of the rescue pen. I saw her walking on the road out back and went out there with a leash. I knew if I tried to chase her she would run, so I just sat down and lowered my head and she came trotting right up to me. I clipped the leash on her and brought her inside, but had to coax her through the doorway. I’m not sure if she’s ever been inside before. She was terrified, especially of the other dogs, even the puppies. She spent the first two days huddled in the corner of the laundry room and would snarl and bare her teeth to any dog that approached her. We determined that she was just afraid of other dogs. She is full of burrs and was probably stray for a long time, and I’m sure she was chased and attacked by other dogs a lot while on the loose. Once I started feeding her in the kitchen with the rest of the dogs, she opened right up and slowly, one by one, started making friends with everyone here. She has now been all through the house, has had a nice bath, sleeps in a crate at night, and is just the sweetest and most loving thing you could ask for. She is a real gem, a wonderful girl with a beautiful soft nature.
Minnie was a bit of a concern, because while in the quarantine pen she would aggressively charge both of the dogs and I had to separate her. I had her with Maria but she was bullying Maria so badly, and Maria is just too shy to defend herself, that I had to separate them. So I was a bit concerned over how she would do with the other dogs, especially since Lil, Angel, and especially Coco can be very dominant. I was thinking Minnie and Coco would be like oil & water. I know it’s a bit early to take Minnie out of quarantine, but I rolled the dice yesterday and let her in the house with us because she needs some seriously socialization if she is to become the great dog that I know she really is. At first, she charges and nips the other dogs and there were a couple of squabbles, mainly between her and Mr. Humpty, Freddy. Girls don't like boys humping their heads, just an FYI, Freddy. We got through yesterday fine, and introduced Coco last and held our breath. A couple of growls, but everything went well. This morning Minnie went into the main yard with everyone for the first time. Minnie did take off after a couple of dogs, but she calls off easily with verbal corrections. She's not hurting them, but she sure wants them to think she will. I think it comes more from a defensive place rather than an aggressive one.
So now we're back in the house, and Minnie has taken to herding the three Border Collie puppies as they play. And she is so typical BC in doing it. She's crouching, she's hiding behind things and creeping, it's pretty funny. She is one step away from playing with them. You can see she wants to. Suddenly, Coco was worried that Minnie was going to hurt the puppies so she ran over and growled Minnie away. I had to call Coco back, but she did make Minnie immediately submit. So maybe Coco's attitude can be useful in all of this after all.
All dogs are inside right now. Stella & Laredo are wrestling on the couch. Rocket, Angel, Tumbleweed, and Gingersnap are lying in the floor around the table napping. Coco is lying in the floor by my side, Maria and Freddy are playing in the dining room, the three BC pups are romping in the living room, and Minnie is dividing her attention between watching the BC pups and watching Maria & Freddy, ready to run in either direction and intervene if needed. Oops, even Minnie could not resist the puppy cuteness—she is now in the floor having a grand romp with Cotton Eyed Joe. J I work from home today, so I'll have all day to monitor their activity and continue to socialize everyone. Maria and Freddy have done great, and Freddy is usually just in the floor beside me when indoors, Not nearly as crazy as I thought he was going to be, he's a really nice boy. Maria is an absolute gem, very sweet and loving and needs someone to spoil her rotten. Minnie has an adoption pending and will be adopted together with Brewski. They have yet to meet because Brewski is still in isolation as he finishes recovering from Parvo, and can be contagious for a while yet. But in the next 1-2 weeks they will be going home to Houston together, and I feel very confident now that they will get along marvelously.
Yay for happy, socialized dogs who all get along together!