Archive for the ‘Rescue Horses, Rescue Dogs’ Category

House Appropriations Committee Votes To Defund USDA Inspections of Horse Slaughter Plants.
May 31, 2011

From the range, to the slaughter chute: our nation's mustangs.

Today’s good news and photographs, courtesy of: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

UPDATE (5/31/11, p.m.): Your calls did it, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted 24 to 21 in favor of Congressman Moran’s amendment which continues the defunding of horse slaughter plant inspections.  The defunding of slaughter plant inspections is the reason horses are currently not slaughtered in the U.S.

Your calls made it happen!  This evening, Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 6 p.m. the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted in favor (24-21) of Congressman Jim Moran’s amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill to prohibit federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants. The final Appropriations bill will still need to pass the full House and Senate before becoming law, but today’s Committee vote is an important first step in the fight to prevent the re-establishment of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. 

Without federal funding for USDA inspections, horse slaughter plants producing horse meat for human consumption cannot operate in the U.S.!

A BIG thank you to advocates across the country who stepped up to make calls today to voice opposition to the resumption of horse slaughter in the U.S.

As you know, the threat of commercial slaughter always looms large over the heads of the tens of thousands of mustangs who have been removed from the range and are stockpiled in government holding pens and pastures. Today’s victory is important in the battle to protect horses – both wild and domestic – from the unspeakably cruel fate of being sold for slaughter to become horsemeat to supply foreign markets.

For more information about this situation and Congressman Moran’s amendment, please click here.

Our deep appreciation goes to Congressman Moran who has been a longtime champion of wild horses and burros and who fights many tough battles for what is fair and just.

You Made The Difference!! THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION TO PROTECT AMERICA’S HORSES.

Thank you, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, for all YOU do.

Horses tagged for slaughter.

A Prayer For More Cloudy Days.
April 1, 2009

On Cloud Nine.

Riding Cloudy.

From last week:

I’m not just a writer, today, but a very worried Mommy. My twenty-something year old Arabian horse, White Cloud, has been colicky since yesterday afternoon.

Us horse owners shudder at the spectre of colic. Statistically known to kill one out of every four horses, this sneaky malady is infamous as the leading cause of death in equines.

It was colic that took my twenty-one year old Arabian horse, Takoda, in the summer of 2007.

Often, colic can strike out of nowhere; even something as innocuous as a change in the weather can cause the symptoms of colic — pawing, nipping at the stomach or sides, restlessness and sweating, constipation, diarrhea, refusal of food and drink, rolling, or rolling violently, in the worst cases — according to wise, leathery cowboys and scientific studies, even. Outside the window, I watch the new winds blow madly. (I’d rate them a ten on the obnoxious meter. If only there were a remote for that.)

Since Cloud is fed only the best hay and is floated and wormed like clockwork, I’m left even more concerned by his gastrointestinal distress.

I await a return call from our vet. As I wait, my mind and heart race. Forget the scary query in-box — I can’t help but remember Takoda’s last night on earth, my beautiful old Arab lying on the ground with his head in my lap, his usually fresh, green breath turned dark and forboding.

There was nothing the vet could do for him except end his misery.     

UPDATE:

I stayed up with Cloudy two nights straight. It was like a throwback to the night he arrived here at Morning Star Ranch, colicky then, too, and overloaded with worms from the feedlot, where he waited to be shipped to slaughter.

The morning I first saw colic symptoms in Cloud, I’d separated him from the herd and immediately called the vet. Settled in his own corral, I could more accurately monitor his water intake and manure, which happened to be explosive diarrhea. Like a horsier version of Nancy Drew, I gathered clues to clue in the vet, who made an emergency visit to the ranch after hearing the symptoms over the phone.

(This is why, if you own horses, it’s vital to have a medical emergency fund.)  

After the vet checked his vitals, Cloud was sedated; a long, clear tube was threaded down one nostril to his stomach, delivering water, psyllium and some red stuff straight into his gut. A few hours later, we administered two tubes of Biosponge (like a miracle for equine digestive issues). We also had blood drawn; it’s something I like to do yearly, especially with elderly horses.

Tonight, (or today, since it’s after 4 in the morning), Cloud is doing much better. The diarrhea is gone; the green mounds of manure he’s yielding are actually beautiful, indicative of the normal functioning of a healthy body. I hold myself back from getting my camera.

As a horse owner, I read manure like tea leaves. 

Last night, I even bargained with the Universe, Kubler-Ross style. I said, Universe, you can take away all the agent requests I’ve received, and if Destiny has scheduled me to win the lottery, you can have that, too — as long as you pull White Cloud through this ordeal. 

There’s nothing worse than when one of your babies is sick or hurting.

Today:

Beautiful Boy.

There’s an old saying. “If there’s trouble, a horse will find it.”

Cloud is doing GREAT. Since his colicky bout, our draft horse, Mr. Bean, came down with a more mild case of colic. Cloudy’s tests came back showing the presence of creosote, a compound found in our Mesquite trees.

I’ve had the poisonous plants handbook for this area ever since we put up the horse facilities, and we’re diligent about keeping the desert trimmed back from the fenceline. The only scenarios I can think of for the poisoning are:

A) Mesquite tree branches blown into the corral due to the crazy winds, which the two horses chewed.

B) Neighborhood kids feeding the horses clippings or twigs without us knowing it.    

Such are the times I wish I could shrink the horses into Breyer models and set my horsey gentlemen on the knick-knack shelf overnight, while I’m sleeping.  

When all is said and done, I do try to remain realistic. I have a soft spot for the older geldings headed to slaughter, and often, due to a history of neglect, or the neglect horses experience on the feedlot, (horses destined for human consumption can’t be wormed or treated, as the chemicals taint the meat), they’re also not the most likely candidates to live to be thirty years or older (a horse’s general lifespan).

I remind myself that when it’s Cloudy’s turn to gallop across the Rainbow Bridge, he’ll do so as a valued, cherished being. Many of his kind aren’t as fortunate.

Of course, the time is never right to say goodbye to the animals we love. Or at least, I haven’t come close to mastering this ability. It’s quite a dichotomy —  everything contains its opposite, and for life, that’s death. We can’t have the love and joy we receive from our four-legged family members without one day facing that dreaded goodbye.

As a writer and in a spiritual sense, you might say I’m fascinated with death. All writers, including the greats, have a handful of themes that run through their work. Mine is death. It’s another dichotomy when you consider the fact that:

A) I’m the opposite of dark.

B) Having fun with or exploring the death theme in my writing is night-and-day different from facing it in real life. 

Every evening, after I bleach-mop the sanctuary room before bringing the dogs in for the night, I put down layers of newspaper in the corner in case anyone can’t hold it. And in the Universe’s strange way, often I end up stopping in my tracks because the sheet in front of me happens to be the Obituaries. I’m jolted by the faces of children and teenagers, regularly present, but even more so, I’m jolted by the view of life’s great fragility. 

There’s some luck in it: those newspaper pages make it impossible to forget how lucky I am for another day, another sun, even another fake-out air-nip from a grumpy old horse. I’ve been thrilled this week to have Cloudy pin his ears at me and snake his neck per usual; good old Mr. Grumpy-Pants, back to his old, ornery self.

There’s also a gift: appreciate what you have right now — it’s all you have for certain, if even that.

But, enough lessons already.

Life’s a-waiting.

Arabian Cloud and Mustang Peanut. 

Cloud and Peanut, saved from slaughter.

(P.S.  Thank you, Universe! I did mean what I said last week, and Cloud is still doing great. But, if you could see it clear, can I keep the agents, too? I’d be much obliged.)

Wearing: NaNoWriMo 2008 WINNER t shirt

Listening to: Praise You, by Fatboy Slim

Mood: Happy, pure and simple.

Photos by Emily Murdoch (except for the one I’m in, of course).

The I Love Your Blog Award!
October 21, 2008

 

I’m excited to announce that Lefty In My Write Mind has won the I Love Your Blog Award for horse rescue work and the anti-slaughter advocacy in my post:

Click here: All The Pretty Rescue Horses.

I’m just so thrilled!

I was nominated by fellow horsewoman, I Love Your Blog Award winner and Lefty reader Cheryl Ann. You can read more about it on her wonderful blog, Desert Horses, in her post Blog award! 

Cheryl Ann has three rescue horses and two BLM mustangs. Her blog is a feast for the eyes and heart.

Click here: Desert Horses and get a wonderful peek into Cheryl Ann’s life with horses.

Through women like Cheryl sharing their horse knowledge on online groups and blogs, my own humble rescue efforts have been made possible.

Thank you for all you do for horses, Cheryl Ann!   

I, in turn, would like to nominate these five blogs for the I Love Your Blog Award:

1)  Click here: From Hell to Heaven: Saving Argus 

I have been following Argus’ journey and Katie’s blog for almost a year now, and it’s an incredible account that not only lifts the spirits, but oftentimes leads to a search for tissues to blot happy tears. Katie’s writing is wonderful; if you’re looking for evidence of a kinder world, you’ll find it at Katie’s farm. 

Katie, your blog never fails to do the heart good. Thank you for your big heart, hard work, and service in the name of horses.

2) Click here: Gypsyscarlett’s Weblog

Another wonderful writer, Tasha and her Victorian blog take you away to another era that is not only interesting and entertaining, but important to our history as human beings. I love to learn new things, and especially the history of our technology and inventions. Cast off the present and slip through the door of a former world. You’ll love every minute of it.

And, if you are a writer, too, you’ll be amongst friends.

3) Click here: In Other Words

Steph is on a hopeful journey through life and her blogwriting makes it so that you, too, can come along. Reading her blog is like hanging out with a dear friend, reminiscing. Both a wonderful editor and writer herself, her take on the world makes it a warmer place.

Pull up a chair and a cup of something, and you’ll wonder how you got through the day without her blog!

4) Click here: Curry Pan

Aarabi amazes me with her old soul, her observant eye, her awesome writing and her depictions of life in far away lands I can only dream of visiting. I always look forward to learning about different cultures and catching up on her adventures.

5) Click here: Art Calling

I find this highly creative blog both soothing and smart. Not only is Sarah a gifted painter, she shares her awareness of how art connects us all — art heals — from her art-filled life in Holland.

Congratulations, ladies! To accept your award, please right click on the award badge above, save it to your computer, post it on your blog and link it back in thanks to Lefty In My Write Mind.

Next, please choose five blogs you believe deserve this award, post them on your blog, notify the winners, have them link the badge back to your blog, and the cycle continues! 

Please email me at EMurdoch@wildblue.net with any questions.

(I myself need to figure out how to post the badge on my blog, so I’ll be no help there!)  

A big thank you to all of you who share your lives and loves through your blogs!

The Little Things.
October 10, 2008

Elizardbeth (one of the resident “little things”.)

One of the things I love about being a writer is the intensity that comes with the writing mind. Always ticking, turning, whirring, we deconstruct life in order to recreate life in our work. You could say we study life itself, and then report back to the page. We tell the things we need to tell, most likely always aware of a need to tell, to capture, to record, bending time and space to create our new worlds of words.

I find this writing and creative life, on the flip side, also requires a lot of alone time, time thinking and reflecting, daydreaming, even. That’s when the little things really come into focus, the small details that add joy and texture to our days (and our writing), along with the people, places and things that make life sweet and worthwhile.

It’s especially why I love the weekends. The weekends are all about the little things — not so much writing, unless inspiration strikes, but the little moments in life, in my life, that happen off the page.

Like how, last weekend, when I began the usual afternoon ritual of hoof-picking Cloud, he unexpectedly lifted his foot for me and held it in the air. He then proceeded to do the same with the remaining three.

Coming from Cloud, a slaughter-bound horse who came to the ranch underweight, grumpy, and distrustful after so many broken bonds, I was floored.

I can’t quite put the feeling into words; I’ve been trying all morning, yet I come up woefully short. It’s the feeling of a wary, distrustful animal handing over its heart for safekeeping. You almost expect to hear a sigh of relief follow, as the horse’s muscles visibly relax. After almost a year of patient reassurances, good old Cloudy was finally home.

I get a lot of dog play-time in on weekends, which means I’ll do a lot of laughing. On weekend mornings, the sun is peach-colored and slow to rise, and often a cool breeze blows through the desert like an apology for summer.

The songbirds are beginning to arrive in flocks from places grown colder, singing into the evening. Also, the butterflies are back, as they are every year, and I stand still next to where they land, willing them to land on me. Supposedly, when you’re still enough inside, they will.

Saturday and Sunday mornings are the only days I don’t need to jump out of bed immediately, hurrying off to feed hungry horses and dogs, each a hair-covered alarm clock set for early breakfast. Therefore, my favorite part of the weekend has to be the carefree, lazy mornings sipping coffee in bed and reading blogs in my pajamas.

I hope your weekend is filled with all the little things that make you laugh and smile. Sometimes it can be hard to shift gears after whirring through the work week, and other times things are tough in so many ways that it’s hard to let go and enjoy the moment. Yet when we don’t, especially during the tough times, we end up feeling worse.

So, slow down. Do something fun. Laugh hard, and make it a weekend to remember. 

 

Cloud and Mr. Bean

(Two horses saved from slaughter.)

Photos by Emily Murdoch

Dogs In The Moonlight.
September 30, 2008

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Dogs in the moonlight … except in the desert it can be dangerous. The wild animals come out at night — coyotes, bobcats, javelina, wild dogs — and the moonlight belongs to them.

Christmas

My husband brings the rescue dogs outside each morning and safely locks them in their large kennels before he leaves for work. However, because Christmas has had knee issues, she’s become the temporary queen of the front porch, (which is fenced in), where she can’t play too hard or reinjure her knee.

When I woke up this morning and went outside, Christmas was gone.

For all of twenty minutes.

But what a long, long twenty minutes it was.

Christmas became so excited when the dumpster was being picked up that she undid the gate — a freak happening — because the gate is locked. Once she was loose, my best guess is that she took off after a rabbit or a butterfly.

Needless to say, a new lock was installed this afternoon so it can’t happen again, and I’m so grateful for a happy ending. After pulling a few pieces of jumping cholla off her legs, Chrissy was as good as new.

Sadly, dogs are lost all the time, and not all of them are found. I can’t imagine Chrissy being out there in the world and not knowing where she is, or if she’s okay, let alone having her lost in the desert at night.

If you’ve lost your dog, there are two great sites to aid you in your search: DogDetective.com and FidoFinder.com. Each site has tips on what to do when your pet is lost, an ability to register your dog proactively, along with a system of red alerts sent out to shelters, vets and even groomers in your area.    

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

The first thought I had after a panting Christmas materialized in the driveway and my world righted itself again, was thank God for answered prayers. And so quickly, too!

Universe, I owe you one!

Click here: Dog Detective® – Lost Dogs & Found Dogs – the first and largest pet recovery network on the Internet

Click here: Fido Finder® – Where Lost Dogs Are Found