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.

Poor Slugger….

I’m pretty technologically deficient, to say the least.  I had no clue WordPress kept drafts!  Turns out, I’ve got 102 of them.  Who knew?

Anyway, from the annals of Tales of Run A Muck Ranch, stories written but never published, I give you this from June, 2014:

Cue flashback music……



Crabby took Morty and Slugger for a Boys’ Weekend in the cool pines in Northern Arizona.

I had to work today, so I wasn’t home when the menfolk and Slugger (he’ll never grow up) returned.

When I did get home, I found Slugger, in a condition I had never seen him in before, not even when he was plucked from the pound, mange and all.

His face, it was downcast.  His movement, slow.  His tail, not wagging.  I swear he lost weight.

Turns out,  the terrain in and around the campsite Crabby picked out was a wee bit more harsh than anticipated.  Morty can scale vertical walls all day without a break.  Slugger, he prefers soft ground, on no more than a 1% grade, with frequent stops.

Three of Crabby’s friends  also camped with the boys.  Unfortunately, when it came time to explore, none would stick to soft ground, on no more than a 1% grade, with frequent stops.

The result:

One exhausted Slugger.


What you are looking at is one pretty tired Slugger, so tired, he can't even eat the french fry placed in front of his nose.   For the record, Crabby has been grilled and chastised at length over the scrathes I found on Slug's groin area.  Crabby said the undergowth, like the terrain, was a little harsher than anticipated.  If you asked me, Crabby should have carried Slugger.
What you are looking at is one pretty tired Slugger, so tired, he can’t even eat the french fry placed in front of his nose.

Crabby has been chastised at length over Slugger’s condition, including the scratches on his (Slugger’s, not Crabby’s) groin area.  Crabby said the undergrowth, like the terrain, was harsher than anticipated.  If you ask me, Crabby should have carried poor Slug!

Since returning home, and under the care of his Mom, Slugger has been rehabilitated with lap time, fresh home made food, and a nap with mom.  Though still not moving very fast, and more prone to sleeping rather than playing, the tail is wagging again.

In the future, I think it best if Morty and Crabby leave Slugger behind.  He’s a Momma’s Boy not a Mountain Man.



Cue return to present music…..

Slugger has gone camping since that traumatic experience, but his participation has been limited to those excursions that involve fishing and other stationary activities, more to Slugger’s mental and physical abilities, and his liking :)



Happy Belated You’re Still Alive Day, Sarah!

In January, 2012, after a lengthy, year-long diagnostic process which started almost immediately after I scooped her up from the Westgate Mall parking lot and brought her home, Sarah was declared a hospice dog.

Sweet Sarah.
Sweet Sare Bear doesn’t deserve the problems she has.

At that vet visit, we discussed a treatment plan to keep Sarah as comfortable as possible for as long as we could.  The medications prescribed had multiple side effects.  If Sarah’s condition didn’t take her from us, those side effects would.

In that treatment plan discussion, the point of when to say when was brought up.  In order to keep her comfortable, the dosages of her medications would have to be incrementally increased from their already high starting point. Once we passed a certain dosage threshold, it would be time to say good-bye.  By that time, Sarah would be suffering from multiple health problems, none curable.  In January 2012, the vet said it would be 2 years or less.

Too much to live for!
Sare Bear has too much to live for!

It is now February 2015.  1 year past Sarah’s life expectancy, and she’s better than she ever was! Sarah has been off all of her meds since January 2014.  I can remember only 2 times in the last year when she’s needed Tramadol.  She still has her gimp, but she is able to walk longer, and over rougher terrain without pain, though we still stick to mainly level, non-rocky surfaces. In the last 6 or so months, she has even taken to playing with Slugger.

Butt scratches in Heaven couldn't possibly be as good as the ones Sarah gets from her Dad.  One more reason to stick around.
Butt scratches in Heaven couldn’t possibly be as good as the ones Sarah gets from her Dad. One more reason to stick around.

Getting Sarah off processed food, and designing her diet to her specific nutritional needs has been the key to making her new and improved, but it hasn’t cured her.  It’s only bought us more time by making Sarah healthier and better able to combat her physiological problems without pharmacological assistance.  There will come a day when Sarah will have to go back on her meds – of that there is no doubt – and the thresholds discussed 3 years ago will apply, but that’s a long way off now. That she is currently off of, and her system is healing, or has healed from the side effects of the drugs, says that we have reset the clock in a big way.

Sarah, January 2, 2015, 1 year past her life expectancy.  I LOVE this picture!
Sarah, January 2, 2015, 1 year past her life expectancy. I LOVE this picture!

Every day with Sarah is a treasure and we are the luckiest people in the world to call her family.

I sincerely feel bad for all of you who will never get to meet her in person. Just know, though she has never met you, she loves you!  She’s that kind of girl.

Heaven will just have to wait.  We need Sare Bear more.
Heaven will just have to wait. We need Sare Bear more.


Happy Homecoming Marcy!

Remember back when Marcy came to live with us?  She was delivered to me, as a foster kid (oh, the irony), in a live trap.  While it was believed she was only a couple of months old, she turned out to be at least 8 months.

Marcy, just before she was trapped.
Marcy, just before she was trapped.

Given she hasn’t grown a bit, other than her sense of entitlement, I think it safe to assume she was at least a year old.

Marcy and me, after we removed her from the trap.  We had to do it in a closed garage lest she escape.
Marcy and me, after we removed her from the trap. We had to do it in a closed garage lest she escape.

A year old, having grown up wild, without human intervention.  In other words, feral like a coyote.  At the time, we didn’t think she could be domesticated.

It seems like just yesterday, but it’s actually been 2 years, this month.  Golly time flies!

Life without the people bed....  to terrible a thought to even consider!
Life without the people bed…. too terrible a thought to even consider!

Marcy has come a long way since she was trapped.  She still has feral tendencies and is easily scared around ‘outsiders’, but I can honestly say she, more than any of the other kids, except for maybe Pablo, wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but Run A Muck Ranch.  If Crabby and I were hit by a truck and the kids had to find other homes, the rest, they’d be OK.  Heck, Slugger wouldn’t even notice the change!  Marcy wouldn’t be able to cope.  That’s not pride on my part talking, it’s reality.

Feeling better about life in captivity.
Feeling better about life in captivity.

It isn’t one thing about The Ranch that Marcy loves, it’s the sum of all the parts.  She would be fine without me, or Morty, or the Waggin’ Wagon, or her coyote beau who comes to visit her,  or anything else, assuming only one part was missing. But take away a few things, and Marcy would be significantly damaged.

Marcy at a play date, not of her choosing.
Marcy at a play date, not of her choosing.  She doesn’t like surprises.

This was her home since before she was born, it just took a while to for her to get here.  Sometimes, when I watch Marcy loving her life I wonder if everything in our lives up to February 2013 happened just to prepare for Marcy’s homecoming.

Marcy hating life.
Marcy hating life as a ‘domestic’ dog.

We love you Marcy, even if you did eat a pretty large chunk of the salad that I painstakingly prepared for my dinner tonight.

Thanks again to the folks at Pittie Me Rescue for doing what you do, and making it possible that Marcy could come home, even if I still believe someone did some serious Voodoo conjuring to make us put ourselves in the position to agree to ‘foster’ her.