Category Archives: Sanctuary Animals


I long to feel the saddle beneath me again. To ride the familiar trails of my childhood. To smell the hay and straw and scent of horses on my farm again. It’s like nothing else in this world.

However, I am a pragmatic woman today. I know the costs – both financially and emotionally. I refuse to make this decision on emotion. It makes no sense. The horse will provide no monetary value, but I feel I owe it to Autumn.

Divorce is ugly. It’s painful and even when done reasonably amicably you lose so many precious things. One of the things I lost was Autumn. I could tell you it was cost, but maybe I wanted to punish myself for failing in my relationship. I could say I couldn’t cope with the workload, but perhaps my emotions were to too frail. Maybe I wasn’t strong enough at the time to hold on, make room and find a place.

It left me feeling guilty, but I’d found her a good home with a friend of a friend and for three years they cared for her, loved her and kept her safe. Thank you.

At the beginning of the summer I got a call from Autumn’s family stating they’d like to give her back. She wasn’t very sound anymore and she didn’t suit their needs. She was getting old and the family was filled with young kids. This was right before the engagement party and three months before the wedding.

I told Brent and the wheels started spinning. I could smell the smoke. I was afraid, but didn’t I owe it to Autumn?

I asked the family to wait until fall, until autumn to see if we could make something happen. It gave me time to think and time to talk to Brent, family and friends. Should we get a horse?

It was not an easy decision, but we decided yes and started planning as soon as we returned from our honeymoon we started building. We put up fence and repaired the shelter. We built well into the dark hours and had a few fights because we were tired. For something that was going to bring joy the building was stressful. I think I was nervous. I was afraid I wasn’t strong enough to be soft and I knew having Autumn home would leave me open and vulnerable.

It was Thursday, November 4, 2010 when the family came by and asked if she could bring Autumn back on Saturday. Brent and I were in the middle of insulating the shelter. At least the fencing was done.

It was nearly 4pm on Saturday, November 6, 2010 that Autumn stepped off the trailer and landed her hooves on Beaver Creek Farm. I held my breath and couldn’t wait to cuddle and feed her carrots. My baby had come home.

It was like the return of a long lost lover. It was the sun shining brighter bringing life to the dull leafless trees. It was like going from black and white to high definition. A switch flipped and I felt whole.

Welcome home Big Girl.

Poco Update

Our sweet Poco seems to be taking a bit of turn. It’s not so bad that we’re horribly worried, we’re starting to notice changes.

It seemed only a few weeks ago that Poco was a champion cookie catcher. It didn’t matter where you threw it, he’d manage to catch the cookie in his mouth. Now it could hit him in the nose and he wouldn’t catch it. He can’t seem to follow the ball when we throw it and he seems to go by sounds.

We’re worried that our little Poco is going blind.

He’s nervous and fearful. He tends to bite more and is easily startled.

When we got Poco we knew he was badly damaged physically from the years of abuse he sustained at the hands of his previous family. We knew his life expectancy would be shortened by malnutrition. The vet has a hard time getting blood from our little guy because his cardiovascular system is not the best.

When Brent and I decided to adopt Poco from our rescue group we talked at length about the medical attention he may need in the future. After much though and a few sleepless nights we decided we’d make Poco’s life as happy and wonderful as possible without putting him through the trauma of excessive medical tests or procedures. This is our choice.

Modern medicine can’t fix the damage done by five years of starvation and physical abuse. Nothing can and that’s the saddest thing.

Our little Poco is still spunky and I think he’ll adjust to his blindness. He’s relying on Gizmo and Taz to help guide him in the right direction. He’s still eating well and sleeping lots, even if he’s started to pee in the upstair hallway at night.

We make sure that Poco is safe. We’ll keep him warm and love him until the time when his life has more downs than ups. Poco hates the rain, we already know that today will not be a good day, but tomorrow is full of sunshine.

Taz Verses Mr. Smith

I love my ducks. I was watching them tonight flapping their wings and running around all excited. I crouch down beside them and they immediately started grooming me for all sorts of bugs and dirt. I must have been very dirty because they were very vigorous with their bills.

It feels so good to be welcomed by my winged friends. They ran over fully extended and their excitement at my return was palpable. I felt so loved. Their gently feathery touches turned slightly painful and I retreated to find some stale bread to distract them from my painted toes and shorts in need of laundering.

I returned with the bread and the brawl began. Taz and Mr. Smith began fighting over the bread. He nibbled her back until she snarled and then she snapped at his duck bill. He turned and snapped back, but she quickly withdrew and pounced towards his tail feathers. This dance continued for several minutes, or at least until Mrs. Smith had the rare opportunity to eat all the bread. With nothing left to fight over Taz wandered back to the house and Mr. Smith herded his Mrs. back towards the ponds.

Much like children, they only want what the other wants.

Ear Infections

Ear infections. Yuck.

It was in 1996 that Misiu entered and immediately enriched my life.  He was a golden retriever with the temperment of a God. He brought years of love, kindness, devotion and compassion to my life. Misiu died in 2008 and left me floating in a great abyss. He left an emptiness in my heart that took years to heal. I still get misty-eyed thinking of his great brown eyes staring at me with love while he rested his large square head on my thigh. He would sit quietly with me while I cried and would snore gently while I suffered with insomnia.

Misiu taught me so much and this next bit of information is something that might help save a few trips to the vet and many battles with ear infections.

Floppy eared dogs tend to have ear problems due to air flow constrictions, add a warm environment and you have the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth. The golden’s love of water and pre-disposition to allergies and you have a recipe for chronic ear infections. Allergies in dogs present with ear infections, paw chewing and hot spots.

Misiu was four and we’d been battling ear infections his whole life. We’d just returned from the vet and they’d done a swab to determine what type of bacterial was growing in his ears. We’d been fighting this particular ear infection for two months with different solutions and nothing was working, so the did a swab and create a special formula to battle the specific bacteria growing in Misiu’s ears.

The swab came back over three plus (three is the worst infection) for three different bacteria, one was ecoli. For two hundred dollars the vet mixed up a special solution that caused Misiu to cringe as I massaged his raw infected ears. Three weeks later there was no improvement and I was reading information on the internet about ear infections invading the brain causing meningitis and how dogs shook their heads so hard they caused aneurysms from ear infections.

Misiu was only four years old.

One day I got an email from a friend who breeds water loving springer spaniels in England and he gave me a recipe for an ear treatment. There were only three affordable ingredients, but the first one made me cringe: seventy percent isopropyl alcohol. I was suppose to pour alcohol into his red, raw ears? Really?

Boric acid and gentian violet make up the other two ingredients. Boric acid is an astringent and it soothes the pain, while gentian violet battles the yeast and bacteria that has made the ear it’s warm damp home. The alcohol dries it all out creating an uninhabitable environment for the bacteria.

I was able to purchase the necessary materials from Shopper’s Drug Mart for less than $10 and headed home with my squeeze bottle to try out the new ear treatment. I mixed up 750 ml of 70% isopropyl alcohol + 4 tablepoons of boric acid + 10 drops of gentian violet = Blue Powder Ear Treatment

Since Misiu’s ears where so horribly infected I was told to flood the ears with solution (don’t massage) and leave the dog alone. DO THIS OUTSIDE. The gentian violet dyes everything purple. Your dog’s ears will be purple as well as anything else that the solution touches. Your skin, furniture, concrete, floor and I mean everything.

After only three days of flooding his ears twice a day I noticed they looked less angry. Less red and much less stinky. On the fourth day I flooded his ears and then used a paper towel to gently wipe out some of the gook.

After a week his ears looked a healthy pink (and purple!). I used Q-tips dipped in solution to clean out the bottom of his ears. I continued the treatment for another week to make sure the infection was gone. For the first time in months my boy was finally comfortable.

I used the Blue Powder Ear Treatment once a month as preventative therapy and would give him a squirt whenever he spent a day in the water or if I smelled a hint of infection.

After the first few days Misiu didn’t seem to mind the solution. He cried with the vet solution, but the blue solution was soothing.

Misiu doesn’t realize it, but he has helped so many dogs with this experience. Thanks to Misiu (his mini-me) Gizmo gets quick treatment for his chronic ear infections. Misiu and Gizmo share many traits: the love of food, napping, cuddling, allergies and chronic ear infections.

I’m sure Gizmo would give Misiu a big cuddle of thanks for finding the cure to any ear infection.