Pablo and Gertie, Continued

A year ago, almost to the day, Crabby brought Gertie and Pablo home, after they had spent the day abandoned at a McDonalds, tied to a tree, with no water. It was 107 degrees.   There had been Facebook chatter about them all day, but other than the original poster taking water to them, no one stepped up to help.  Crabby took the long way home from work and brought them to The Ranch.

The FB photo posted last year of Gertie and Pablo tied to the tree.
The FB photo posted last year of Gertie and Pablo where they were abandoned.  An employee of a neighboring business took them water and checked on them throughout the day.

A sign was left at the tree the kids were tied to, in case their person had been in an accident or something.  A few days later, we got a call from a man claiming they were his dogs.  We were supposed to meet that evening, but he didn’t call me back.  So began a few weeks of him sending texts I told him I couldn’t receive, calls with changing stories, and the inclusion of an outside person with more experience than I in these situations.

First night at The Ranch.  Gertie was exhausted and very dehydrated.
First night at The Ranch. Gertie was exhausted and very dehydrated.

Mention was made of an ex-wife, so I posted several Craig’s List ads, just in case Pablo and Gertie were pawns in a domestic dispute. No responses, at least none that produced pictures or descriptions coming close to Gertie and/or Pablo.  Gertie didn’t have a micro chip, but Pablo did.  Unfortunately, his chip was never registered.

Time passed, Pablo’s appetite for the taste of human flesh made him un-adoptable, and we had a chunky vet bill to get his teeth fixed, so he was given his promise that Run A Muck Ranch was his forever home.  Gertie didn’t receive her promise until a vet recommended putting her down in October.

Gertie with her new BFF, Sarah.
Gertie with her BFF, Sarah.

Time continued to pass, Pablo became a huma-tarian (lost his taste for human flesh), Gertie proved the vet wrong by not only living, but thriving, and life went on at Run A Muck Ranch.

Last weekend I received a telephone call from the Mom of Pablo and Gertie, when they were Tuko and Cheyenne, before they were left at the McDonalds last year.

I’m going to keep the details vague because I don’t want to give false information, but according to the Mom, she found herself in dire circumstances and had to leave the state suddenly, causing her to make the heartbreaking decision to surrender Pablo and Gertie to The Humane Society.

The love of Pablo's life:  Marcy.  He likes his women wild.
The love of Pablo’s life: Marcy. He likes his women wild.

The man who abandoned the kids at the McDonalds was either a current or previous husband, got Pablo and Gertie out of the shelter at some point, and at some point later, abandoned them at the McDonalds.

For whatever reason, the man still had my phone number a year later, he and Mom re-connected in some form, he gave her my number, and she called me.

Gertie looooves furniture.
Gertie looooves furniture.

Life throws curve balls at people sometimes, and sometimes people have to make gut wrenching decisions.  In this case, Mom surrendering Gertie and Pablo to The Humane Society. The not knowing whether or not they made it out of the shelter alive, and if they did, were they OK…  from the sound of Mom’s voice, it was horrible.  She had been told many lies about the kids last year by the man who abandoned them.  She didn’t know what to think.

For her part, Mom informed me that, yes, Gertie lived with her for 10 years, but she was 2 when she was adopted, making her not 11 now, but 13.  From the sounds of it, Pablo was a velcro hound, constantly needing human contact, not the independent, “I’m too busy to cuddle right now” party animal he is now.  Most surprisingly, she said both Pablo and Gertie knew basic obedience commands.  When we attempted to get them to sit, Gertie couldn’t stop laughing and Pablo gave a look that was pretty clear in it’s meaning:  “I give the commands around here, not you!”.

When Pablo sits still, he likes to sit still on a person.
When Pablo sits still, he likes to sit still on a person.

The happy ending to all of this is that Mom now knows Gertie and Pablo are happy, healthy and most importantly, loved.

The sad ending is that since Mom now lives on the East Coast, she can only see them in photos, videos and stories posted here and to the Run A Muck Ranch Facebook page.  For that reason, I may post a little heavier about Gertie and Pablo.  Bear with me on that.  Getting Pablo to sit still long enough to get pictures that are more than blurs – that will be a trick.

Stanley, Now Known As Max, Is Back!

Time for my annual visit with Stanley, now known as Max!


Though his name is Max now, and has been for several years, he refuses to respond to that name at Run A Muck Ranch.  Once he passes through the gates, he reverts to answering only to Stanley.  If I say “Max” he totally ignores me.

I was at MCACC west many moons ago to pick up a random ‘Long Timer’ to foster.  I never made it to the counter to check animal numbers for the intended dogs.  Before I could, I saw Stanley, in a glass viewing room, in the crowded counter area, bite the volunteer who was trying to take him out for a walk.  That bite was Stanley’s death warrant.  New Hope only existed for the cute dogs back then so there were no second chances.  Biting dogs died.

I guess you can figure out what happened next…

Stanley’s taste for human flesh continued, and re-homing just wasn’t in the cards.  There was no point in giving Stanley his promise.  He was too ornery for anyone else to want him.  But he was OK where he was.

Can you believe this creature could be such a menace???
Can you believe this creature could be such a menace???

About 2 years after Stanley came to live with us and long after we stopped trying to rehome him, we happened to take him and some of the other kids to dog park.  It was an innocent visit, but it was one that proved there was such a thing as fate.

Out of the blue, a strange woman appeared next to us and proclaimed that Stanley was the most beautiful dog she had ever seen.  Before we could stop her, and to our horror, she picked him up so his face was right against hers.

Stanley didn’t bite her.  Instead, he licked her face.

And now you know the rest of the story….

Stanley never had the sense of humor the other dogs did.  Indeed, no fun was allowed in his presence. Laps and people beds were for Stanley only.  Crabby and I were Stanley’s property and no attention could be given to any other dog without Stanley’s wrath being unleashed…. on the other dog.   That he had a chance to live in a lesser human to dog ratio home, under more civilized circumstances, with a rare someone he liked, was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.  Though I shed a few tears when Stanley left us, I don’t think he ever looked back.

Stanley has lived with his mom and dad, his true mom and dad, since then and every time they go away Stanley and his super adorable sister Bergie come to stay with us.  Stanley and Bergie are the only ‘outside’ dogs permitted to stay with us with our insane number of resident beasties.

Bergie is quite malleable, unlike the Run A Muck Ranch dogs, so Stanley immediately took to her, in a non-menacing way.  Other people, however, well, let’s just say I’m pretty honored to be one of the few he greets with a kiss rather than a snarl.  Some things never change.

Bergie is the definition of adorable.
Bergie is the definition of adorable.

Every time he comes back, Max transforms into Stanley, and it’s like he never left.  Gertie and Pablo weren’t here last year and Stanley knew they were new.  That we allowed them in without consulting with Stanley first, well, we’ve already apologized and he’s already schooled them on the law of the land.  We really should be pleased with Stanley’s tolerance with the newbies, especially considering Stanley was #7 of 7 back in the day.  Some have passed away and several have moved in since Stanley left and we didn’t get his permission for any of the changes.

We may be ‘uncivilized’ by Stanley’s standards, but I think he enjoys letting his hair down once in while, especially because he is the alter ego of  Max who lives in the Normal World. Also, Bergie is only a minion.  The Run A Muck Ranch bunch are minions.  That they all submit to the dictatorship of Stanley, he really gets a kick out of it!

Bergie LOVES the fish pond!
Bergie LOVES the fish pond!
Unfortunately, she's gained quite a bit of weight since last year so she can't jump out anymore.  To make matters worse, with Hal and Charlie gone, she doesn't have horse manuer to roll in when she gets out :(  Bergie really loves being green,
Unfortunately, she’s gained quite a bit of weight since last year so she can’t jump out anymore. To make matters worse, with Hal and Charlie gone, she doesn’t have horse manure to roll in when she gets out :( Bergie really loves being green.
So a cat a dog and a hamster walked into a bar....
So a cat, a dog, and a hamster walked into a bar….

I’ve watched Stanley grow from a snarky young adult to a happy old man.  I really believe he loves his life in a stable home, while occasionally being given the opportunity to walk on the wild side.   There is always doubt in the heart of a foster mom as to whether or not she did right by her dogs. Stanley was, is and will always be, my biggest sucess story.

Run A Muck Ranch Newsletter: Morty, Hal and Charlie Edition

Apologies From Run A Muck Ranch

It’s been a rough few months here at The Ranch and I haven’t been writing.  Seems the best way to get everyone caught up is to do a series of newsletters to get the whole stories straight without losing people in all the events.  So, without further adeiu, let’s get started with the first topic of woe, Morty, Hal and Charlie.  There aren’t any pictures, but it gets you up to speed:

Mortimer Attacks Horses Again, Vet Threatens to Shoot Him

When Hal’s ear was found torn, it was believed Charlie did it to him, though the two have no history of arguments.  When Charlie’s ear was found torn even worse, there was no doubt, it was caused by a dog.

A 2 foot gap, 4 feet from the ground, and just to the right of the horse feeder in the center stall proved opportunity enough for Morty to practice on Hal, but perfect the technique on Charlie.  Unlike his prior attacks, Morty learned to do this newest maneuver silently.

We thought walling the stalls would be enough...
Morty bit the horses through the gap between the top of the plywood and the top stall bar when the horses had their heads in their feeders.

Despite  walling up the stalls, despite always putting the horses in their stalls before letting the dogs out, and despite never letting Morty out into the back yard without supervision, it became apparent there was no way to keep the 3 separated, and heartbreaking decisions would have to be made, especially in light of the fact that the horses’ veterinarian threatened to shoot Morty if she was ever called out over a bite again.  Old dog/livestock laws still on the books would mean if she did, (though I sincerely don’t think she really would) there would be no legal recourse.   Still, why take the chance.

Mortimer Leaves Run A Muck Ranch

It is with great heartbreak that we have to report that Morty left Run A Muck Ranch.  Living at the end of a chain whenever he went outside was no life for Morty, but that was our only option given he refused to leave the horses alone. That he was able to sneak in a few good bites when we were in the yard with him says 99% supervision on our part when he’s loose wasn’t good enough to keep Hal and Charlie safe.

Morty was rehomed to one of Crabby’s camping buddies, a person Morty knew well.  His dog had passed away 2 years ago and, knowing Morty, he didn’t hesitate to say yes when Crabby asked if he could take him.

No dog receiving the promise that Run A Muck Ranch was his or her permanent home has ever been asked to leave and letting Morty go hurt not just emotionally, but physically.  That said, at least he didn’t go to a stranger, and if the arrangement didn’t work out, he could be immediately returned to The Ranch, an assurance most rehomed dogs don’t get.

When push came to shove, Hal and Charlie have lived at The Ranch longer than any of the current resident dogs, and not before Morty have there been any problems.

Mortimer Returned to Run A Muck Ranch

It only took 4 days before Morty’s inability to adapt to being an only dog and a city dog earned him a ride back to The Ranch.  Morty is pretty emotional and those emotions, clearly missing home, didn’t decrease as the days went by, they increased and it became too much for his new Dad.

All that said, when Morty returned home, he didn’t so much as squeak with joy, rather he acted as if it was no big deal.  Men are all the same.

Hal and Charlie Leave Run A Muck Ranch

Charlie has been family for 20 years, Hal for 10.

When dogs get old and need a home, if they’re lucky, they get picked up by a senior dog rescue and possibly rehomed. If they’re not lucky, they get euthanized in a shelter. But that is still kinder than what happens to an unwanted senior horse.  In their case, buyers pay by the pound, then ship them to Mexico for slaughter.  This being the primary reason few horses in these parts die of natural causes.  It’s just easier to sell them to a killer than keep up with the harder maintenance as a horse ages.

This possibility would be very real for Hal and Charlie, both older, both special needs if Run A Muck Ranch could not keep them.

Through the network of local Morty friends, however, a couple was found who happened to be looking for a horse simply to decorate their yard . They agreed to take both Charlie and Hal so they could stay together.  As a significant safety net, the fabric of friends surrounding the Morty network is so strong that for the new home to try to sell the boys by the pound would cause wide spread damage in relationships  Conversely, that same fabric also prevents The Crazy Dog Lady from becoming a nuisance, constantly checking up on the boys.  It also insures that contact will never be lost, even if a decade passes.

Charlie and Hal are now living in a grass pasture, free from harm from a dog attack, and if ever there comes a day when their new home can no longer keep them, they will return to The Ranch.  Hopefully, that won’t be until Morty is too old to attack.

Unlike Morty who only lasted 4 days away from The Ranch, Hal and Charlie are approaching 2 months with no issues.  Crazy hasn’t emotionally worked up to visit them yet, but others visiting the people of the property have reported back that Hal and Charlie are healthy, happy and seriously digging having live grass to graze on.

Coming Soon: Run A Muck Ranch Newsletter: Vito Edition

Air, It’s What’s for Dinner

Run A Muck Ranch:

What marketing gimick will they think of next?

Originally posted on The Science Dog:

Every once in a while, I read a paper that makes me scratch my head. Last week was just such a moment. The paper really needs no introduction. The title says it all: “Increasing volume of food by incorporating air reduces energy intake” [in dogs].


Let’s talk about obesity (again): If you read “Do you think I look fat in this collar?” you will remember that obesity is the most prevalent nutritional disorder in pet dogs today. Moreover, there is evidence that a substantial number of owners do not recognize overweight conditions in their dogs and even when they do, are unwilling or unable to comply with weight loss recommendations.


In their search to identify new approaches to weight control (preferably approaches that can be marketed into a new brand of dog food), some pet food companies have looked at the effects of diluting food calories. An example is increasing dietary fiber. This…

View original 1,253 more words

A Homework Video

I’m having a blast with the fitness phase of the latest nutrition certification!  Instead of brain exploding studying and memorization to regurgitate on tests and quizzes, we have to do videos.

“Fitness” is more than being in shape.  It’s the definition of wellness, body and mind.  And of course, exercise is part of the equation.

The final exam for the first course will be to design a 2 week fitness plan for a dog, and then video it being implemented.  I initially chose Willy for 2 reasons:  First, he’s put on a little weight – much like his mom.  Second, research has shown that work can steady the troubled mind of a dog.

When Willy tried to bite me during the very first sit lesson, I decided to use Vito for my final instead…  but that doesn’t mean I gave up on Willy!

Look what we’ve accomplished in 6 days!  {Edit:  Reports are the video plays blurry when accessing from WordPress.  View it on You Tube for a clearer version.}

{Here’s hoping You Tube doesn’t delete my channel again!}

A little trivia for you:   The left heel position was set so that a hunter could control the dog with the left hand while handling his gun with the right.  I personally feel more comfortable, and can react faster, with the dog heeling on my right, much to the chagrin of, well, everyone :)

What Do You Do When Your Dog Becomes Inconvenient

Gertie’s ‘leaking’ has gotten worse.

It’s not a housebreaking issue.  When Gertie needs to go outside, she’ll bark.

It’s more a constant drip.

Can the situation BE anymore inconvenient?????

There is no treatment for an old lady with Gertie’s condition.

And it’s only going to get worse.

We only have one option available.

You really can’t judge us….

I mean, really, what would you do to if you were forced to live with a dog who constantly drips urine?

We really need to find a more fashionable diaper option....
We really need to find a more fashionable diaper option….

No worries about Gertie.  It doesn’t matter how old she was when she became one of us.  Family is family no matter what ‘inconveniences’ they cause.