Run A Muck Ranch Newsletter 4/13/14

“Right” No Longer Recognized as a Direction at Run A Muck Ranch

Due to the “All for One and One for All” belief at Run A Muck Ranch,  in solidarity for Hector after the loss of his right eye, the directional definition of the word “Right” will no longer exist.




When referring to the direction opposite left, it shall herein, forever be called ” 180 degree left”, “the other left”, or “that direction that shall not be mentioned”.

Run A Muck Ranch would appreciate it if all world dictionaries would make the appropriate corrections.

Run A Muck Ranch Dogs Prove  Polar Shift is Near!

In the Summer of 2013, a ground breaking study was published in the world-renowned, peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Zoology.  In the study, it was discovered that dogs align to the North/South axis when relieving themselves.  If you click Here, you too can read the 12 page, double columned journal article, complete with graphs, diagrams, statistical analysis and of course, the ever important photo of a dog relieving himself, with over-layed directional axis.    It is unknown how much in funding was secured for this research.

All research is but a stepping stone to yet more research.  On a much smaller budget, as in no budget at all, Run A Muck Ranch set out to do a duplicate study.  Using the Nim Wits at The Ranch, careful observation was made,  and notes taken,  over the course of several months.  During that time, it was only a chance occurrence that any of the dogs aligned along the North/South axis to perform any excretory  duty.

Franky in the background, preparing for a leg lift, facing west.

Franky in the background, preparing for a leg lift, facing west.  Click photo for larger view.


Same place, a few seconds later; OK, Frankie, Show us North!

Same place, a few seconds later; OK, Frankie, Show us North!


Note the sun hitting the mountains.  This photo taken at sunset, Morty facing East.

Note the sun hitting the mountains. This photo taken at sunset, Morty facing East.


Hector facing mostly east, slighly South.

Hector facing mostly east, slightly South.


Walking North, Slugger aligns east.

Walking North, Slugger aligns east.  Per Crabby.  This was the first and only time I had been to this location, so I can’t get my bearings on the cardinal directions.



According to the Frontiers in Zoology study, electromagnetic interference would cause dogs to mis-align during excreting episodes.   That the dogs of Run A Muck Ranch only occasionally align properly can only mean one thing:

The Polar Shift is Nigh!

You heard it here first, and no taxpayer money was needed to provide the proof.


 Sweet William Completely Off His Prozac!

The end of March marked 3 months since William has been weaned from his Fluoxetine, and so closes that chapter of his life.

Since Willy's environment is one of "no stress"

Fortunately, we make sure Willy’s environment is one of “no stress”.

New Readers are directed to read Why Willy is Medicated to learn why Run A Muck Ranch had to break down and use pharmaceutical assistance to help Willy adjust.   Medication was only a last resort, and even then, it was only ever a temporary ‘assist’ while Run A Muck Ranch worked with Willy to help him overcome some of his problems.

The New and Improved Un-Medicated Willy is still grumpy, but grumpiness runs in the family (he gets if from Crabby’s side).  The most important thing now is, Willy is comfortable in his own skin and his surroundings.  Episodes still exist from time to time, but they’re nothing that can’t be worked through.


New Theory as to Vito’s Origins Come to Light

A few months ago, the world was made aware of a horrifying and extremely dangerous scourge that exists in the Maryvale section of South West Phoenix.  That scourge is packs of wild Chihuahuas roaming the streets and striking fear in the hearts of residents.

For those who believe this to be a story of fiction, here’s the proof:  Click on the link to hear the terrifying, and REAL news story.

Packs of Wild Chihuahuas Roam Maryvale Streets

That the Chihuahuas of Maryvale only relatively recently began to take their ruckus activities into the public eye can only mean one thing:

Vito was the last in a line of  powerful Chihuahua Lords, said lineage enforcing, with a heavy paw, order among the rival Chihuahua gangs of Mayvale.  Vito was probably known as El Loco, until the time a two-bit Chihuahua gang turned on him, in the same spirit as The Rogues murdered gang leader, Cyrus, in the movie, The Warriors.  Where murder was the method in the movie,  the Maryvale Gangs set up a parley with El Loco which was clearly a trap and a date with The Dog Catcher.

Once El Loco was removed from Maryvale, there became and remains, chaos among the Chihuahua gangs.

Given El Loco’s, I mean Vito’s, complete fearlessness when he arrived at The Ranch, more particularly, after surveying the dogs in residence at the time, he decided to immediately go for Sarah’s jugular, it is pretty apparent the boy had some street fighting experience about him.

That, in the nearly 2 years Vito has lived at The Ranch, there have been no reports of Chihuahua packs terrorizing the vicinity can only mean  that El Loco still has the power, and is preventing the Chihuahua gangs from staking territory in the Desert Hills/New River area, north of Phoenix.


Can't you just see the fierceness in his eyes?

Can’t you just see the fierceness in his eyes?


After False Start, Crazy Now in Full Study for Canine Nutrition Certification

After having to play the crazy human card, making herself so annoying, giving her her money back was the only way to get rid of her, Crazy was able to get away from a Canine Nutrition certification “Course” offered by a “School”, said course turning out “Canine Nutrition Certifications” of the kind PetMD warns readers about.

That particular course was nothing more than reading a series of off the shelf books and answering questions, in chronological order as presented by the book,  little more than fill in the blanks.  Given the poorly worded,  repetitive questions, where apparently the writer didn’t know how to use spell check, Crazy began to wonder if perhaps a high school student wrote the ‘course’ as a school project.

Crazy then asked pointed questions of other Schools before deciding on a different program.

Assignment one, though causing a slight implosion of the brain from the math involved, seemed easy enough, and much was learned.

The tears began at assignment 2.

Instead of going up against what appeared to be a high schooler who read a few books, Crazy now has to answer to a degree holder with 2 decades of experience in practical and applied canine nutrition.

The current course does not ask the student to finish the sentence or recite lists as written in books, it demands the student be able to discuss intelligently, whatever subject matter is being studied, said studies from University level text books.

As an additional kicker, all further assignments involve independent study essays to show proficiency in what is learned.  Try doing that while working a day job, caring for 12 canines, 2 equines and 1 man!

It had been Crazy’s intention to finish both the Basic and Advanced Nutrition Courses in 6 months or less.  Turns out, there’s a reason each course has an 18 month  time limit – it may very well take that long to finish!

All that whining aside, in just 1 week, in just 1 assignment, and the preliminary reading for the second one, Crazy has only this to say about the course:  “Wow!”.

Fingers crossed that Crazy does well in the Basic course, and is then able to finish the Advanced course in good standing.   There is so much to learn and share.


A Sincere and Heartfelt Thank You to Sisu Beads from Run A Muck Ranch

Several months ago, Run A Muck Ranch did a pretty pathetic Product Review of Sisu Beads Memoral Keepsakes.  At the time the review was written, it had been our hope we would not be in personal contact with Sisu Beads for a very long time.

With the passing of our Forever Loved and Treasured Maude, that tearful contact was made much too soon.

After ordering our Memorial Bead, we received a package with ash collection instructions and a return envelope.   Yes, there were yet more tears, but the process was very easy.


I smile now when I think of Maude.  We are so blessed to have been in her life, and that she will always be a part of ours.

I smile now when I think of Maude. We are so blessed to have been in her life, and that she will always be a part of ours.


Shortly after sending a portion of Maude’s ashes to Sisu Beads, we received the most beautiful memorial bead, made from some of our Maude’s ashes.   The ashes not needed were also returned to us.

We can’t get a picture that does justice for the beautiful bead we received, and I won’t post a bad one.  Just know, it means a lot to us.

The excess ashes were buried with the rest of Maude’s ashes, next to her sister Stella.  The bead is too precious to wear, so it hangs, safely out of reach of The Hoard, in the bedroom, where Maude spent her days ruling over her  minions known as The Bedroom Dogs.

Gina and Julie from Sisu Beads, ‘Thank you’  just doesn’t seem enough to say.

Please visit Sisu Beads Memorial Keepsakes at

A Tirade Against the Irresponsible

I can’t stand people who aren’t responsible enough to maintain (register, check, update, etc.) microchips on their dogs!

All the Run A Muck Ranch dogs are chipped to Home Again.  In order to make sure I don’t forget to renew their subscriptions (we have the premium service for added protection), they are all on Auto Renew.  Every once in a while, the company informs me it takes money from my account.  All is swell.   I don’t even read the e-mails to see which dog they are referring to.

For some reason, this year, Sarah’s chip did not auto renew.  Instead, I received an e-mail saying she was about to expire.  With great haste, I logged on to renew her.  At that time I learned:

Morty, Marcy, Franky and Emmi’s chips are not in my account.  How could that be?  I’m a responsible person!  Then comes the realization:

Marcy was never supposed to stay.  When she was spayed, I’m pretty sure she was chipped, but the chip was registered to her rescue, not us.  We never updated.


If Marcy were lost today, and picked up by animal control, she might never be returned to us.   Not acceptable!

If Marcy were lost today, and picked up by animal control, she might never be returned to us. Not acceptable!


Franky was already neutered when he followed us out of the desert.  His circumstances were such that we knew no one was looking for him,  so we never checked him for a chip.  Honestly, I don’t remember if I chipped him at his rabies shot or not!  If he was, apparently I didn’t add him to my Home Again account.


Anyone finding Franky, then finding out he didn't have a chip, wouldn't even try to return him!

Anyone finding Franky, then finding out he didn’t have a chip, wouldn’t even try to return him!


Morty.. I could have sworn he was one who was chipped not once (at his neuter), but twice (they can migrate, and Morty is pretty active after all), but without the number(s) I can’t be sure.


That Morty, the most travelled of all the Run A Muck Ranch kids, has been going on adventures with no confirmed chip...terrifying!

That Morty, the most traveled of all the Run A Muck Ranch kids, has been going on adventures with no confirmed chip…terrifying!


Emmi was in isolation foster care when she was spayed. I would think, since I was careful enough to get Slugger chipped when he was neutered, I had the same forethought with Emmi.  But then why isn’t she listed on out account?!?!?!


Emmi, scared in a big strange world, with no way to get home.... no words.

Emmi, alone and afraid in a big strange world, with no way to get home…. no words.


Turns out, as I sit here right now, I have no idea if Marcy, Morty, Franky and Emmi have the protection of a microchip.  They may be chipped,  but is our contact information on the chips?  This whole situation is irresponsible, and there is only me, myself and I to blame.  How could I be so careless!

This week, they all go in to be scanned.  If there is no chip, they will get one immediately.  If they are chipped, I bring the numbers home and immediately register them to Home Again.

The moral of the story:  Check your micro-chips people!  Go to the nearest vet or shelter and ask that your dog be scanned.  Confirm the chip is there, and then confirm whatever contact information connected with the chip is correct.

Do it now!

When your dog gets lost – that’s not the time you want to find out you screwed up!


Please Watch Your Dogs Closely! We Almost Lost Vito Today.

It was a brutal day.  By the time it was over, I just wanted to sit down, but there was work to do in the back yard, which had become overrun with weeds.

Hal and Charlie had been moved to their stalls, and the dogs were loose in the yard.

I didn’t realize Vito had gotten into Charlie’s stall, and was precariously close to Charlie’s back feet.   It wasn’t just that Vito was in Charlie’s stall, and close to Charlie’s back feet; he was also pinned in a corner.

I didn’t know.  I was too busy, trying to finish the yard chores so I could, selfishly, sit down.

Then I heard the blood curdling screams. Vito’s screams.


Charlie doesn't have an evil eye.  I'm pretty sure what he did to Vito was an accident.

Charlie doesn’t have an evil eye. I’m pretty sure what he did to Vito was an accident.


I threw down the hula hoe and ran to the sound of the screams.

I was near the horse stalls, so it was only a second or two after the screams started,

and I found,


in Charlie’s stall,

pinned in a corner,

inches from Charlie’s back feet….

covered in fresh pile of horse manure.

Since Charlie is on watered down food, his manure has a tendency to be a little watery too.


Vito, post-bath, after nearly death by smothering under a pile of horse manuer.

Vito, post-bath, attempting to make me promise  I would keep the whole thing just between us.  Sorry Vito!  If I had pictures of you, in the stall,  covered in slightly watery horse manure, I would have posted it for the world to see!  Some things are just too good not to share.


Now before anyone mocks our Brave Vito for screaming like a little girl when the bombs started falling, please keep in mind, a normal Charlie road apple is about 1/3 the size of Vito’s head.  Imagine about 20 of them clocking Vito in various parts of his body, and he can’t get away.

No worries to those who don’t know the mechanics and gravitational properties of a horse turd.  Only Vito’s pride was injured, mostly because I couldn’t stop laughing.

But if it had been an actual life ending event, I think we can all agree, that would be one obituary that would be hard to write.


Happy Belated Trick-a-versary to Marcy!

With the never-ending ‘adventures’ thrown at us by 2014, Marcy’s Trick-a-versary slipped right by, unnoticed.

Why are we calling it her Trick-a-versary you might ask?  Because Marcy is an evil little Sorceress who called upon the Dark Forces to get her a ticket to Run A Muck Ranch, and once here, she morphed into a Chigger, digging so deep into the skin of The Ranch, to remove her would have caused great systemic injury to all residents.

Think I’m exaggerating?

You be the judge:

1.  After Morty planted himself in our driveway and refused to leave, (Memorial Day weekend 2012) we installed safeguards and designed an emergency response plan to prevent any other dog from entering Run A Muck Ranch.  Morty was #12.  That was an INSANE number of dogs!

2.  On February 19, 2013, Run A Muck Ranch agreed to foster Sampson, a stray on the streets of South Phoenix, for Save Our Strays, a segment of Pittie Me Rescue.  Sampson already had a family to adopt him, but he needed to be neutered first.  I was to pick up Sampson on February 20, take him to be neutered on February 22, and sometime the following week, he would be delivered to his forever family.


This is Sampson.  We were supposed to foster him.

This is Sampson. We were supposed to foster him.


3.  On February 20, 2013, I finished work early and was preparing to drive to South Phoenix to pick up Sampson, when suddenly and without warning, Run A Muck Ranch, and the whole of North Phoenix, and parts farther north, were hit with a deluge of sleet and snow.    Though the accumulation was not ‘significant’, neither snow nor sleet is a normal occurrence in these here parts.  Couple that with the fact that Arizona drivers are not known for their rational driving ability on dry roads and are down right imbeciles on wet roads after a simple rain.  Therefore, driving on the freeway was not a good idea.

Neither sleet nor snow fell upon South Phoenix that day.  The following is the ‘evidentiary’ video I posted to show Pittie Me Rescue that I was in fact, ‘snowed in’, and was not playing games with them.



Sampson was placed in a different, emergency foster home.

4.  On February 21, 2013, I received a request from Pittie Me Rescue to foster a 3 month old, very cute puppy, who had wandered into a trap.  With that request, came this photo:


What a cute, little puppy!

What a cute, little puppy!


Run A Muck Ranch couldn’t get a reputation as a welcher, and luckily, the puppy in the photo was so darned cute, he would be easy to place!  Sure, we’ll take him!

Later that day, Larry (puppy was believed to be a boy) was transported to a more northern location where I picked ‘him’ up.


Our first meeting.

Our first meeting.


Fun fact:   Larry turned out to be a Larri, but Crabby decided he didn’t like the name for a girl.  Instead, he chose Marcy because the ‘cute little puppy’ had the eyes of a Bush Baby, Crabby believed Bush Babies were marsupials…Marc-upial, Marcy.  Get it? (Psst.  Don’t tell Crabby about the non-marsupial status of Bush Babies!).

The horrible truth came soon after:

a)  Marcy was not a cute little puppy, she was ‘at least’ 8 months old, per the spaying vet.   Her age was confirmed several times thereafter.

b) From her behavior and postures, it was clear Marcy had no, or very little, human interaction during any of her imprint periods.  Translation:  she was absolutely and completely feral.

c) It took weeks before I could even touch her.  Even then, Marcy made it quite clear to me, and anyone in a 20 mile radius, she was not pleased.

Conclusion:  Oh Crap!  WE REALLY DON’T WANT 13 DOGS!!!!!!

(This video was taken 2 months after Marcy came to us.  We still couldn’t touch her without her screaming.)



Marcy’s contempt for the company of humans, the confinement of a building, and rules in general was offset by the fact she was surrounded by other dogs, more particularly the Stupid Ones and Emmi.  That they (The Stupid Ones and Emmi) found wisdom in keeping humans as pets clearly mystified Marcy.   That didn’t mean she couldn’t still spin her evil web of manipulation.

That Marcy was the ‘baby’ of the pack ticked her pink.   That the other dogs, especially The Stupid Ones and Emmi, had clay to mold in their own images pleased them very much.  As a result, the strong, mutual affection between Marcy and the Run A Muck Ranch dogs was nearly instantaneous.

Uber bad sign:  From the day Franky the Favorite entered the gates of Run A Muck Ranch, he never once played with his siblings – but he played with Marcy, a lot.

Marcy's evil showing when she thought no one was looking.

Marcy’s evil showing when she thought no one was looking.


All the dogs played with Marcy!  Watching the relationships between Marcy and her, sigh, siblings grow, one thought came to mind for Crabby and me:  This is NOT good!

That Marcy showed no interest in human contact other than to demand doors be opened and food to be put down, for months, the human thoughts became thus:  Oh  $#!@@@!!

And now you know the rest of the story.


Not sure how Marcy survived on the streets without a fluffy bed.

Not sure how Marcy survived on the streets without a comfy bed.


Marcy could never be an only dog, it would break her heart.  Though she would always look like a cute, cuddly puppy, a cuddly puppy* she would never be.  If she were to get loose in the City (the probable residence of anyone daring enough to adopt her), the chances of retrieving her – slim to none.  If she was trapped and turned in to the pound, she would be immediately e-listed for fear.  Our options were very limited.

But when push came to shove, of all the homes in the world Marcy could have gone to, she came to us, the one home where we gave up trying to shut bathroom doors long ago lest one of the beasties break it down.  The one home where a dog, any dog, who wasn’t attached to one of our body parts at all times was but a wistful dream.  The one home where Marcy’s very presence gave amusement to the other dogs, the Stupid Ones and Emmi in particular, which actually made it possible for us to walk a straight line from time to time because the dog population at our feet was reduced – said reduced population busy playing with Marcy.




Marcy ended up in probably the only home where her evasive Marcy qualities were actually appreciated by the humans.   Marcy actually fit.

Marcy’s been with us more than a year now.    She still has issues with strangers, even some strange dogs, but we’re working on it.  I’m not so sure it’s fear anymore, though.  Marcy likes things just so and to tell her it has to be any different is met with protest.   If the strange person or strange dog has something Marcy wants, poof!  there goes the previously existing ‘fear’.

Her fear and her reactions were real when she came to us.  Now they appear to be selective, thus, I think we have a brat on our hands.  I tell people when they get a rescue dog that the first couple of months – it’s all on the dog.  After that, it’s all on the people.  If our Marcy is indeed a brat, it’s the doing of Crabby and me and it is our problem to fix.


Macy eventually decided humans were kind of neat to keep as pets.

Macy eventually decided humans were kind of neat to keep as pets.   Is it me or does Angus look like an unmade bed in this pic?


Crabby still can’t walk up to her.  Up until, kid you not, last week, if Crabby was in the kitchen when Marcy’s bowl was down, Marcy would leave the room without eating.   Last week,  Marcy decided Crabby was simply un-trainable.  If he hasn’t learned to stay out of the kitchen when she’s eating by now, he’ll never learn.  She may as well just stay at her bowl and eat.

Despite not being permitted much physical contact at home, Marcy allows Crabby to take her on the trail, and she listens very well.  Crabby is going to try her as a camping dog soon.  The first trip will be close to home just in case they have  parting of the ways and I have to go reel her in.  I think after a few camping trips together, Marcy will follow the tradition of all “M” dogs at Run A Muck Ranch and decide Crabby is her favorite.

Did you happen to notice that asterisk a couple of paragraphs earlier?  The one I put after the phrase “cuddly puppy’?  Well, turns out Marcy is pretty cuddly, to me, at least on the people bed.  Sometimes she’s like a brick, sleeping half on and half off me.  Sometimes she does the ever popular Puppy Cuddle, sleeping with her head on my neck.  More often than not, she tucks herself up as tight as she can in my arm pit.

Doesn’t matter where we are, the yard or on the trail, if I call her, Marcy runs at me as fast as she can, and throws her front legs around my neck in a hug.  She’ll then bury her face in my neck and hold me tight for a little while, then go off on her way.  Marcy is the only dog who has ever done this to me.  I used to think it was an accident.  I now think it is a deliberate and conscious act.   It gives me a new punch in the Mom Card every time.




In the end, Marcy has decided human pets actually have value.

For our part, we’re pretty happy the Marcy conjured a snow storm to prevent us from picking up Sampson.  We’re OK with the fact she portrayed herself as a very young puppy, making us believe she would be easy to re-home, the only reason we agreed to take her.  And we’ve forgiven her for for immediately going for the jugular of Run A Muck Ranch, stealing the hearts of the other dogs almost immediately.  When push comes to shove, Marcy was always one of us, we just took a while to realize it.

Happy belated Trick-a-versary Marcy!  We couldn’t imagine a life without you.  Even though you ARE evil.



A Ride in the Waggin’ Wagon Courtesy of Slugger Cam

Slugger takes control of the Go-Pro to give us a dog’s eye view of riding in the Waggin’ Wagon. Thanks to Slugger’s superior videography skills, we now know how DASH! has conquered the pet gate!

I Could Have Been A Role Model

It’s time to make dog food again!  Yippee! (Not).  The mess in the kitchen, the mountain of dishes, the smells…  not something I really look forward to, but hey, it’s for the kids, and they’re worth it!

With limited refrigerator/freezer space, preparations are a 2 day process.  Yesterday was the meat phase.  Today was the fruit/veggie phase. (Tomorrow is the mixing phase, not part of preparations).

After work, I went to the grocery store.  At the time I was grabbing my cart, a couple was getting theirs.

The Produce Section is just inside the door.

As I was slowly making my way through the produce, I noticed the woman of the couple looking at me several times.  I assumed it was due to my ‘after work’ appearance, today being a particularly grubby one, and didn’t pay her any mind.  Instead,  I continued to study the produce, thumping this, smelling that, and pinching a few of those, inching my way around the Department twice before making my selections.


"I don't wanna eat my vegitals Ma!"

“I don’t wanna eat my veggies Ma!”


I ran into the couple again in the canned vegetable aisle.  As I was carefully reading the labels looking for specific out of season veggies, sans salt, I noticed again, the woman looking at me, this time, quizzically.

By the time we met the third time, in the frozen vegetable aisle, my cart was awash in fresh produce and several canned vegetables.  Noticing the one canned veggie I had with salt, was available without it,  frozen,  I removed the offending cans, and started to make my way back the aisle to put them back .  In doing so, I nearly ran smack into the woman.  All I could think to say was “Frozen has no salt!” as I passed her.   In retrospect, perhaps “excuse me” would have been a better statement.

Our final meeting place was at the check out line.  I had just put my plethora of nature’s bounty on the conveyor when the couple arrived in line, directly behind me, the woman looking righteous, the man looking dejected.

Suddenly getting a serious case of grumbellies, I added a snack bag of potato chips to my purchases.


NEVER come between Marcy and her apple slices!

NEVER come between Marcy and her apple slices!  It’s the only time I’ve ever seen her ready, willing and able to take down a human. 


“Look, she’s getting chips!”, piped the man.

A little shocked that people I don’t know had apparently been talking about me, and clearly without thinking, I replied “Those are for me, the rest is for my dogs.”

The woman assumed a look of shock.

The man a visage of triumph.

The cashier broke out in rather loud laughter.

I lost what might have been my only chance to be a role model.


In my defense, look what I cooked for Crabby once!

In my defense, look what I cooked for Crabby once!



A Chance Encounter in the Tall Grass

Vito and Marcy enjoy one of the many joys of Spring:  Tall grass.





Why Crabby Deserves to Get Bitten

Can we all agree that if Willy were to get snarky at Crabby, Crabby had it coming?



To those who are wondering why I let Crabby torment Willy so:     The evil doing goes both ways.    The winner gets to sleep with me on the people bed.   The loser sleeps on the couch.  Crabby has spent a lot of time on the couch over the last few months.

The bummer about having so many great kids is that we end up taking more pictures than we have time to look through.  Seeing Maudie in this one caused a tear.  But she’s with Stella now. She’s OK.

Run A Muck Ranch Evicts New Residents

Night before last, we found a swarm of bees in a tree, the one closest to the back door where the dogs go in and out, and close to the horses.    They were low enough for Morty to get into if he so desired,  and given my clumsy nature, low enough for me to bump into.

Most excellent close up shot by Crabby!

Most excellent close up shot by Crabby!

It was our hope the critters were just passing through, and they would leave the next morning.  Just in case, I took several telephone numbers of bee re-locators to work with me.

Bee re-locators you might ask?  Yup.  The world’s bee population has significantly reduced in recent years.  Thing about bees, we need them, you know, to pollinate crops so that we have food.  The day we hand over pollination to the Monsanto machine (my little soap box dig) is the day we should all pack it in.  So we need live bees.

There has been an increasing number of Africanized bees found in Arizona, and for that reason, when one thinks bees in these here parts, the first word that come to mind is ‘Exterminator’.  We didn’t know if The Swarm was Africanized or native, but we do know a bee is a bee and a bee is a pollinator, ergo, we didn’t want the Big Guns, we wanted the Butterfly Nets.

As the day progressed, it became increasingly apparent The Swarm intended to stay.  Had they taken up residence in ANY OTHER TREE on the property, we would have just let them be, no pun intended.  But if they were Africanized, and therefore more aggressive than native bees, we couldn’t have a future hive so close to the most major traffic thoroughfare at The Ranch.

The Swarm.

The Swarm.


None of the bee re-locators called me back, so it was left to Crabby to politely ask the bees to move to a different location.

Armed with a very long piece of rebar, Crabby disturbed the nest and fled back into the house (the door being only a few feet away), several times, before exposing what appeared to be the start of The Hive under construction.  It wasn’t until Crabby knocked The Hive out of the tree that The Swarm decided to move on.   I only wish I was home to video the procedure, I bet it was hysterical.


They were certainly a neat and orderly Swarm, weren't they?

They were certainly a neat and orderly Swarm, weren’t they?


No bees were harmed and no resident of Run A Muck Ranch was stung, though I did worry about the Scout Bees who came back to the hive location later in the day.  If I knew where the rest of the bees went, you can be rest assured I would have caught the stragglers and taken them back to their family.

Despite what we may think of other creatures, every last one of them was put on this Earth for a reason.   If we keep on with our “Kill It” mentality, our world will be in a world of hurting.  Profound words from The Crazy Dog Lady, friend to all things on earth, even those that scare the crap out of me.

Be safe former Swarm of Run A Muck Ranch!  We do love, need and appreciate you!

Book Review: Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats



You know how sometimes when you eat something nasty, you have to rinse out your mouth to get rid of the horrid taste?  Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats  has that very same effect, when compared to the Book Review presented to you yesterday. When I say you should buy this book, I mean it sincerely.

Dr. Pitcairn is veterinarian with decades of experience. He was instrumental in bringing holistic methods of treatment to the veterinary field. Indeed, Dr. Pitcairn himself trains other licensed veterinarians in these methods. It should come as no surprise he was also instrumental in the creation of the Academy of  Veterinary Homeopathy, which remains one of the top guiding organizations for training and (emphasis added) research in homeopathic treatments for companion animals.

When I personally judge a book for its value, I look for certain things:

1.  Is the author actually experienced in the topic he or she is writing about, or has the information published simply been selectively pilfered from other sources to promote a personal view?  Dr. Pitcairn’s veterinary practice has been completely holistic  since 1985. I think he’s qualified  in the field and can be considered an expert.

2.  Is the author’s work cited in the work of other authors writing on similar topics? I only found Dr. Pitcairn’s book (s) because he was commonly cited in other books on companion animal homeopathy  and nutrition.  If other authors have that much faith in Dr. Pitcairn, it seems only reasonable that the reader can trust at least most of what he published himself.

3.  Is the author a one-hit wonder or does he or she publish on a regular basis?  Additionally, is the author so engaged in the subject matter that he or she will update prior editions with new editions, removing antiquated information for new, proven facts? Though not all of Dr. Pitcairn’s books have been updated, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, was at third edition, 10 years after publication of the first. Chances are, provided Dr. Pitcairn isn’t leaning heavily towards retirement, a fourth edition will be forthcoming.  A resume of many published articles and books,  and the belief that the information provided is important enough to update when necessary, at least to me, means the author is someone who truly cares about the subject matter and his or her books are worthy of taking a look at.

Dr. Pitcairn puts a lot of emphasis on the total well-being of the animal. Lifestyle, environment, the human-animal bond, and of course nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, are the building blocks to maintaining a healthy and happy dog or cat.  Yes, homeopathic remedies are covered in this book, but sprinkled in with the remedies and their uses is the repeated statement, (paraphrased) if your dog ( or cat) is being fed properly, you will encounter less need to use the remedies.

As far as nutritional section, I find this particular book much easier to read and understand than the multitude of tomes, some more technical, some less, that I have in my library.  Specific nutritional requirements for both dogs and cats are covered briefly, yet more in-depth than the average reader would find in any other off the shelf book.  The reader not only learns the what, but the why.  Personally, I think if I had read this one first, much of my earlier studies on the subject of nutrition would have made more sense.

I especially like that Dr. Pitcairn has provided recipes and supplements you can prepare at home, and with them provides nutritional analysis of both the recipes and components.  I found this information was easily transferred to my further understanding of commercial pet food labels.

For those who want to convert to a fully homemade or raw diet, this book gives you a starting point.  What you learn can then help you with your personal research to improve. For those not wanting to convert to an entirely homemade or raw diet, but want to feed your dog (or cat) better,  this book shows you how to boost the nutritional value of your current commercial food with homemade additives. Either way, the reader who follows the guidelines will see great improvement in their dog or cat in a relatively short time.

The presentation of the natural remedies section really appealed to me in that at no time was this book claiming to be a replacement for your veterinarian. Neither did it imply that only a holistic vet could properly care for your pet.  Sprinkled in the remedies for certain conditions was a statement that a remedy could be used until you get to your vet, or gave observations that you should be reporting to your vet. There were even a few sections where Dr. Pitcairn said simply, go to the vet (with no specification that the vet had to be holistic).  That this book was not written so that pet owners could self diagnose and treat, at least in my opinion, gives a lot more credibility than some of the others I’ve read, and I found myself more willing to try some of the remedies for less severe conditions with my own dogs.

It is understandable, given some of the books published on homeopathic remedies, that there are those who still believe it’s all mumbo-jumbo. Fact the matter is, many, probably most, actually do work. Whenever we have a sudden acute condition here at The Ranch that we have no experience with, our first action is to go to the regular vet. After the crisis is over, our next move is to start researching homeopathic remedies should the condition ever occur again.  It is possible for conventional and homeopathic to exist in the same world and I think the growing number of veterinarians who use both approaches is proof of that.  Point being; don’t write off alternative methods of healing based on presentation. Find sources such as Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats to at least get you thinking.

I don’t consider this book to be a know all tell-all on pet nutrition and holistic remedies,  but I do think it is one of the best introductions to the topics for any reader interested.  While I don’t believe this is the only, or even the best, book you should purchase on the subjects, I do believe it should the first.





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