Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trouble in Tiny Packages

I have blogged before about how we regularly foster kittens for animal rescues in our area.  This summer, we've had a few come through our home for foster.  Usually they need meds for an upper respiratory infection and socialization for a few weeks, and then they are on their way.

Our current foster kitten, Dune Bug, came to us because she was very feral and had a terrible lung infection.  In addition to antibiotics, she was also on breathing treatments each day (which we were able to give using Cort's nebulizer).  When we first got her, her whole body shuddered when she tried to breathe.  I wasn't sure she'd make it.  She would only eat when I fed her by putting canned cat food (so gross) on my finger and letting her lick it off. 

She turned around quickly.  But then two weeks later, I noticed a black rough patch on her ear.  There had been a ringworm outbreak at the shelter when we picked her up, and I was pretty sure this was ringworm.  I took her in for a check and she tested positive.  So then she started on more meds, plus daily cage disinfections with bleach, plus baths with a special shampoo (she had to actually sit and let the shampoo soak in for 10 minutes at a time) followed by a spray down with a dip that reeks of rotten egg smell.  And weekly rechecks at the vet.  Poor kitty!

Lo and behold, two weeks after Dune Bug got ringworm, Pierce got ringworm, even though I had cut off all kitty handling by the boys.  So I took Pierce to the pediatrician and he started meds.  While the kitten continued improving, Pierce did not.  Two weeks later, he had to go back.  The doctor felt like his ringworm had turned into a staph infection.  So he started on antibiotics and a new antifungal med. 

Well, then Dune Bug's lungs started sounding all rattled again.  I mentioned it to the vet at one of her ringworm rechecks, but they couldn't hear it.  A week later, though, they could.  She had bronchitis.  So she had to continue the ringworm treatment, but also start a new antibiotic. 

The good news?  Well, Dune Bug has grown a lot!  She is no longer feral and seeks out human interaction.  And hopefully, one day soon, she will be completely well and be able to be adopted by a loving family. 

I know there are foster families that take in even more needy animals then Dune Bug.  As many times as we've adopted animals from shelters, we've never really considered all the effort that might have gone into getting the pet to a healthy place where he/she was ready to be adopted.  Sometimes, there is a lot of time and love that goes into it!  But when the pet finds a new, loving home, it makes it all worthwhile. 

Readers, did any of your pets come from shelters?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

In Search of the Geocache

When we find ourselves with a free day, we enjoying hunting for geocaches.  You use a GPS to find hidden containers which house trinkets the boys like to trade.  You can find them in the woods and in the city - they are all over! We prefer hunting down the ones in the woods.




Somehow, when you're out in the woods looking for treasure, time just flies by.  We've easily lost track of several hours at a time.  But we end up finding hidden pieces of the forest we would never see otherwise.


Below?  This is actually a geocache.  It quite alarmed Paul when he found this rat hidden amongst the rocks.  The belly of him was hollowed out, and inside was a teeny tiny geocache.  Just big enough to sign your name on a slip of paper to mark that you'd found him.  Of course the rat is now a favorite of ours.

A long lost ruin, deep in the woods in the mountains.  This used to be part of a radio tower I think.

The mysterious car that is on the side of a mountain just off the hiking trail.  No road nearby.  Who knows how it wound up there.

Painted rocks seem to be all the rage right now, and we found our first on top of a trail sign.  It's a little Yoshi.  We rehid it. 

An interesting caterpillar.  Look at those colors!  I was fearful to touch him with all those spikes. 

Sorting through the trinkets, looking for things to trade.  This cache was under the faux rock formation to the left. 
What a fun time we had!  And there are many more geocaches out there to find.  Readers, have you ever looked for a geocache?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sometimes I Can't Believe It - Francie Update

I've been riding Francie a lot this summer, and asked Paul to take some pictures of me.  I don't have a trainer so I like to self-criticize my position and such, always trying to make little improvements (my hand positioning needs some work, for example). 

After looking through the pictures, I kept thinking about how much Francie has changed since I rescued her around November 30, 2013.  So I dug up some of her first pictures.  When she was infested with the worst case of parasites my vet had ever seen.  When her growth was so stunted she looked like a miniature pony.  When her legs were so covered in foul, smelly muck from standing in a foot of manure that I couldn't brush it out, no matter how hard I tried, and ended up having to do multiple scrubbings in winter to get her clean. 

Francie couldn't be caught.  She had never had her feet trimmed.  She didn't know how to lead with a halter.  No one had ever messed with her.  She was in a mud/manure lot with no grass and no food, and a black brackish pond for water.  In fact, she didn't even have a name.


If I hadn't been there for every step of her transformation, I wouldn't believe these pictures.  She doesn't even look like the same horse!  I had to teach her everything, from the ground up.  There is still much work to be done under saddle.  She can be high strung most days, and something as small as a horse fly can cause extreme drama (I have never ridden a horse that despised horse flies as much as this mare).  Especially at the canter, Francie needs to work on balance, but we are also working on transitions and suppleness in other gaits.  As you can see, though, Francie is completely healthy and thriving.  I'm so thankful to have her.  She has been a huge comfort to me now that I can no longer ride Phoenix due to his debilitating arthritis.  On most days after we finish a ride, I feel like Francie is giving me more than I have ever given her.  I never would've guessed on the day I couldn't watch her suffer any more, and I stepped in to negotiate her rescue, that I was creating a bond with this little mare that would bring me so much happiness on down the road.  Sometimes, those impulse decisions really can be the best decisions.