A Synopsis of Gertie’s Hugging Expedition Today

Work, Emmi, an incident with Gracie (don’t worry John, she’s fine) were already enough to keep me in non-regular-blog mode. The Cutest Pet Contest we entered Gertie in sucked up the rest of the time.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to keep up with sharing contest entries on social media?  I even took a foray into Craig’s List, Backpage and a few other less than desirable sites on this!  Thank goodness it’s only a 10 day contest!

The result:  We’re in the lead by 100, contest ends tomorrow.   Gertie just may grace the cover of the May issue of 85086 Magazine and gain publicity for 1,000 Hugs for Gertie yet!

A truly awesome result:  The publicity Gertie is getting for her campaign is incredible!  Though they don’t count toward Gert’s goal of 1,000 physical hugs, she has received virtual hugs from as far away as Italy, Russia, Spain, and Japan, to name a few.  Many of these virtual hugs being accompanied by photos of elder dog family members of the hugger.  If Gertie’s mission accomplishes nothing else, it has provided a forum for people to strut their senior dogs.  That’s a pretty good accomplishment if you ask me!

Anyway, this week is Arizona Bike Week.  Gertie had great luck collecting hugs from bikers in the past, so we decided to try again.  It was going to be less than 80 degrees outside, and Cave Creek, a biker hot spot, is very close.

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Heather, hug #16, introduced Gertie to several of her friends in the Desert Souls Brotherhood at the Roadrunner back in December.  I should have realized then that bikers are the best huggers.

So off we went, at 11:30 am this morning:

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Gertie knows when she’s loaded up and her vest is near, good things are on the horizon!

 

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You’re never too old to hang your head out the window!  Sorry about the water spots on the mirror.
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First parking location.  Can you hear the crickets?  The place looked completely abandoned.

Cave Creek is not known for it’s reasonable parking accommodations on a good day.  On a day with hundreds, possibly thousands of bikes, we knew it would be especially problematic.  The original plan was to park at the Post Office after it closed, then walk to the festivities.    The Barkista Mobile was as big a flag as we could wave to Facebook people who went to Cave Creek to hug Gertie.  See the car, know we’re here.  Want to find us?  My phone number is on the front corner panel.  Just call me and we’ll find each other. Also, the Waggin’ Wagon isn’t as nimble as the Barkista Mobile.  If parking was at a premium we needed nimble!

2 problems with this original plan:

1)  Despite living here for 20 years, AND at one time being the Assistant to the Town Engineer of Cave Creek, I was clueless as to the distance from point A to B.  It was too far for Gertie to walk.

and, even if Gertie could go the distance

2) There was a sheriff deputy posted nearby to make sure no one interloped on the Post Office Parking lot.

So we went right into the belly of the beast, parking in Gateway Park, with a relatively short walk to the festivities.

And then were were there:

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This was just the eastern edge of motorcycle parking.  They went forever!

Gertie got her first hug within seconds of walking into the vendor area, then her second, then her 3rd.

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Gertie made a canine friend, the beautiful …  I’d tell you her name if I could read my own writing!  It starts with an M and ends with an “a” or a “u”.  My bad!

By hug 6, minutes after arriving, we realized we had a problem:  Too much heat was radiating from the pavement and it was quickly taking it’s toll on Gertie.

So she lay down in the shade of one of the trailers, and the hugs kept coming

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Hug # 50, Vonda at Bike Week, 4/9/16

In the shade of another trailer came more hugs.  Under the shade of a booth, yet more!

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Group Hug!  Ashley (r) was hug # 55.  This is hug # 55.5 and 56, with Small  Block.  Is this not a great pic?

At this point only 15 to 20 minutes had passed, and I don’t think we had made it 100 feet since entering the vendor area, but we had to call it quits.

Gertie had no problem with the crowd.  Actually, I honestly think she would have preferred we took the leash off so she could mingle more freely.

The motorcycle and other loud noises were not an issue either – keep in mind, Gertie is completely deaf!

The problem was, despite it being less than 80 degrees, so much heat was bouncing off the pavement, Gertie was uncomfortable and not having fun.  Remember, the most important part of these expeditions is that Gertie have fun.

So we had to turn around, which is when we met Eric, Hug #60.

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We ran out of water within 5 minutes due to the heat effect.  Eric gave Gertie a bottle on the way out.
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Which lead to a great wet spot to lay in!

The exit was just on the other side of this trailer.  We found a tree to sit under for a few minutes to help Gertie cool down a little more, then we did the only rational next move.

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A stop at Dairy Queen for a little more cooling therapy

Where we met

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Linda, Hug #61 at Dairy Queen.

All told, Gertie collected 19 hugs in, at most, a 1/2 hour at the Bike Week Vendor area.  If the heat hadn’t gotten to her so bad and so quickly, I have no doubt we could have collected 100 easily, probably more.  But Gertie’s comfort is more important than hug count.

Weather permitting (there’s a storm coming in), I may try to see if I can take her back tomorrow morning when it’s cooler.  I don’t have to work, so I can get there earlier.

Both from the experience at The Roadrunner back in December, and the hug collecting expedition of this morning, I can honestly say, bikers by far are the most open and welcoming huggers. Bike week only comes once a year, and it would be very disappointing to lose so many hugging opportunities.  Cross fingers conditions tomorrow allow for more hugs.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who hugged Gertie this morning.  You made an old lady very happy.

My personal favorite:

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Duchess, hug # 58.  She kept on hugging Gertie long after the camera was put away.  Gertie would have stayed in her arms all day, if not for the heat.
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I’ll be ready for more hugs after a nap, Ma!  Can we go again?  Huh?  Can we?

To see all of Gertie’s collected hugs, go to The Photo Album on her Facebook page.  I’ve set it to public so non-Facebook users should be able to see them.

 

 

Facebook Anyone? Gertie Needs Your Vote

I apologize to those of you sane enough NOT to have a Facebook account since you can’t participate, but for those who do:

Gertie has been entered in the 85086 Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest.  Is it because she is a cute pet?  Nay I say!

Gertie has her own facebook page, 1,000 Hugs for Gertie, where she is trying to get 1,000 hugs before she dies.

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Gertie, all decked out to receive hugs. 

Gertie absolutely loves meeting new people, and believe it or not, loves getting a little too cozy with them.  It kind of came to me in a dream that we should see how many hugs she can get from unique huggers.   1,000 Hugs for Gertie sounded so much better than 75 Hugs for Gertie or 128 Hugs for Gertie.  Ergo, the campaign 1,000 Hugs for Gertie was born.

That was the easy part.  I swear I could find more participation if I were begging for money!  At least then I’d be normal!   But I’m not asking for money, I’m asking for hugs for Gertie.  That makes me one of the reasons people carry pepper spray!   I guess people aren’t used to Crazy Dog Ladies asking people to hug giant, geriatric dogs.

In 4 months we’ve amassed a whopping 38 hugs (see them Here.  Unfortunately, I don’t think you can see them unless you have Facebook.)

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As promised, we removed the people bed since jumping on or off of it was a danger to Emmi. Problem is, the mattress remained just long enough for Gertie to think all of her dreams had come true:  A people bed she could get on.  So, while the people are relegated to the floor on camping mats,  Gertie and siblings now enjoy the luxury of  a pillow top mattress, with free linen service.  We didn’t have the heart to take the mattress away from Gertie. 

Back to the Contest:

85086 Magazine is a magazine with a target area of those residents in zip code, you guessed it, 85086.  It is distributed, free, to all residents and businesses in that zip code – a number exceeding 50,000.

What zip code does Gertie live in?  85086.

A win would get Gertie the cover of the May 2016 issue as well as a feature story.  That feature story couldn’t be written without mentioning Gertie’s goal of 1,000 hugs.

A feature story about a furry old lady looking for hugs would connect Gertie with a hundred or 2 huggers close to home and make other people less likely to call the white suits on me, pan handling for hugs.

So, can we get your vote?

Like 85086 Magazine (click here to go there) on Facebook, then click the “85086 Cutest Pet Contest” tab (to the right of the photos tab).  Find Gertie’s photo

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This is the one they are using for the contest

And vote for her.

You can vote once a day.

Blessedly this is only a 10 day contest, so voting ends on April 10.

A vote today could mean many hugs for Gertie in the near future.

The lengths we go to here at Run A Muck Ranch to keep The Horde happy.

 

217 Days

Vito had a seizure last night at 10:14 pm.

There was evidence on the office floor that he had one, maybe 2 more while we were at work today.

At 5:31 pm this evening, he had another one.  Crabby had to handle Vito alone during that particular seizure while I got the other dogs out of the way.

Crabby still tears up when it happens.

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Vito, post 5:30 seizure.  He just looks like his head hurts 😦

Vito’s last seizure was on June 8, 2015.  217 days ago.   Yes, that’s good news.  No it doesn’t make it any easier.

Poor Vito 😦

Mom and Dad would gladly have the seizure for you if we could Big Guy.

 

 

Seriously, We Have More Beds

Run A Muck Ranch is awash in dog beds. Actually, the dog beds are more for people use since the dogs don’t let the people on the couches.  And lest we forget, there is the coveted people bed where sometimes people are allowed.

If we have so many comforts for our creatures, why do our creatures do this?

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Anyone seeing Gracie and Emmi like this would swear we’re neglecting them.

Bringing On The Crazy

People like to think that when a wrong is occurring, their internal moral compass will direct them to do the right thing, despite the possible ramifications.

Though I always thought I would step up in circumstances where others would run, my belief in myself was never put to the test – until today.

People do horrible things.  Since we’ve lived at The Ranch (1996), we’ve stumbled upon far too many examples. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to.  I’ll just leave it with saying not all animals abandoned on the desert are left alive.  Gracy, Franky and Morty were some of the fortunate ones who were.

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Franky was dumped.  We’re ashamed to say we don’t know how long ago.  Maybe 5 years?
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Gracie was dumped 8 years ago.
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Morty the day he wandered into The Ranch in 2012.  Who knows how long he had to fend for himself after he was dumped.

Morty, Willy, Franky and Slugger were my 1st group out for Sunday Desert Walk.  Crabby was still in bed. Toward the end of the walk I watched a man in a pickup park on a trail in an area off limits to motor vehicles.  He pulled a rifle out of  his cab, and then wrestled a bag out of his truck bed.  He was too far away to tell if the bag was moving or not.

The man kept looking over his shoulder at me as he went down a trail.

Morty and Willy originally ran in his direction to greet him, but stopped short and ran back to my side, before I even had a chance to call them. That’s not normal.

The bells went off in my head – but I could not confront a man with a gun when I had the boys with me.  I rushed them home and returned to the scene, deliberately driving onto the desert parking behind the man’s truck.

I began walking in the direction the man had walked.  I went maybe a few hundred yards when I heard the scream – the scream of a dog in agony.  My walk became a sprint, leaving the trail and charging in what I could best determine was a straight line towards the source of the scream.

When I heard the second scream, still running,  I dialed 911.

I continued running, falling often on the rocky, uneven desert while alternating between screaming into the phone at the 911 operator and shrieking to the top of my lungs, that I had called the police, hoping the man would release the dog and run.

I crested 1 more ridge.  I fell again, dropping my phone, cutting off the 911 operator.  I looked around desperately for the dog being tortured.

Instead, I saw a very befuddled looking man peeking from behind the protection of a boulder.

“Is there a problem lady?” he asked with a shaky voice.

“You let that dog go!” I shouted, “I’ve called the police!”.

“Umm…  look behind you” he said.

And when I did, the sound of the tortured dog was nearly at my feet – coming from a speaker.

{This is NOT the same sound I heard earlier today, but I post the video  link to give you an idea of the type and loudness of the sound I heard.  You may want to turn your volume down before listening:

A variation of a coyote bait call

Now tell me, can you really blame me for my reaction?!?!?!}

Apparently, someone in their infinite wisdom decided that blaring the sounds of wounded animals from speakers was a nifty way to lure coyotes during coyote hunting season.  This unfortunate hunter in HIS infinite wisdom decided to use the sounds of wounded dogs as his sound of choice – in the very same area where locals, including this Crazy Dog Lady, walk their dogs regularly.

Seeing an upper middle aged woman barreling over the ridge, hair sticking out in all directions, entangled with various debris picked up from many falls,  body covered in cholla, while screaming up a storm apparently alarmed the hunter a wee bit because he then, with great desperation in his voice, informed me that he loves dogs, has 2 of his own and asked if I wanted to see their pictures.

When the armed man was convinced the unarmed crazy lady wasn’t going to hurt him, he quickly packed up his hunting gear and with great haste made his way back to his truck, I think we can all assume, never to return.

I learned something about myself today:

Apparently I WILL run head long, alone and unarmed, at a psyco with a loaded gun to help a dog.

While that may be all well and good, Crabby has requested that I refrain from doing so again in the future.

I can’t make any promises.

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Go ahead!  Try and harm a hair on my head! My Mommy will DROP you!

 

 

It’s Not Raining

Though the weather forecast called for a chance of showers today, Crabby insisted that wouldn’t be the case.

The usual after dinner ritual is such that as each group finishes eating, they are escorted outside.  This evening they were reluctant to do so.  Though Crabby said it wouldn’t rain, The Horde was pretty sure they saw rain falling from the sky.  Every dog knows, even dogs who love to splash in rancid desert water holes, rain has the ability to completely dissolve any member of the species Canis familiaris. Once dissolved, said dog will be blinked out of existence, never to return.

When the last group was punted out the door escorted outside, I set about the after dinner ritual of washing dog bowls and setting tomorrow’s food to thaw.  I wasn’t concerned about The Horde because it wasn’t raining.

I wish I had the camera with me when I first went to the back door, or that when I did take the camera I had the memory card installed, because if I did, you would have seen a photo of 14 of the most pathetic dogs you have ever seen.  Instead, since I went to the door twice before actually being able to take the photo, 5 braved Satan’s Tears and made a dash for the back door.  Pablo was in the process of making run for it, and the rest went from vestiges of the neglected to faces of hope.

Still, I think you can get the gist.  Where Crabby is adamant that it isn’t raining, The Beasts of Run A Muck Ranch clearly disagree.

C'mon Ma! Let us in!  We don't care what Pa says, it IS raining!
C’mon Ma! Let us in! We don’t care what Pa says, it IS raining!

Pathetic

Yesterday, it rained on and off all day.  Of course I had to work outside in it.  Let me tell you:  Cold (we were in the low 70’s) temperatures + arthritis in a manual labor job does not = a good day.  I ended up running the hot water heater empty in the shower trying to get my joints functional to partake in my at-home manual labor work.

I know, I’m whining when I shouldn’t be.  After all, there are many who have it worse.

Take, for example Franky and Pablo.

While yesterday the windows were closed, and the respirations of 14 dogs were enough to keep the house bearably warm, today I deliberately opened the windows before I left for work.

How cruel of me!  I don’t think we even reached 70 today, and with the windows open there was no way The Horde could properly ‘self heat’ the house!

I came home to the pitiful sight of Franky and Pablo, shivering uncontrollably.  Franky was near death, crying from the cold.  (For the record, that was a couple hours ago, and as of the writing of this, the outside temperature is 60 as the sun is going down).

So what if Mom has to work in unholy weather conditions ranging from 100+ degrees in the blazing sun in the summer to barely 32 degrees with occasional misty rain in the winter, what is MORE important is that the boys are comfortable!

Looks like we'll need to take Pablo clothes shopping to get something that fits him better.
How could you leave the windows open Mom!  We almost froze to death!