This Saturday will be bitter sweet for me. That day will mark one year since Daddy died. His health problems started while I was in 6th or 7th grade. He would develop pneumonia and/or bronchitis every winter those last few years in Ohio. So we moved to Florida. Didn't really help. He eventually developed COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Congestive Heart Failure. Other health issues followed - triple bypass, emphysema (another form of COPD), diabetes, high blood pressure and I don't even know what all.
Another horrible tornado hit the Mid-West this month. Washington, Illinois and surrounding towns were devastated but, luckily, most people were spared. Joplin, Missouri was slammed by an F5 in 2011 and killed around 160 people. I think the death toll for this latest tornado is 30 or less, so far. Even one death is bad.
I am glad to see several facebook pages for lost and found pets in the tornado-hit areas. I know that many pets who survived Hurricane Sandy in 2012 are still not claimed and homeless. I guess it's just how I'm wired but my heart breaks more for the pet survivors than the people survivors. Perhaps it's because they can't tell rescuers where they live, who their owners are and where it hurts. I've always been more of an animal lover than a people lover.
Animals love unconditionally. Animals don't care what you look like, how much you eat, what you wear, if you are pretty or ugly, if you are rich or poor, what car you drive, how big your TV is and whether or not you have the latest smartphone. Feed them, love them, provide them with shelter and attention and they love you. Period. They are loyal, faithful, loving and honest.
Scrolling through my facebook home page, I found a link about a male and female dog and their puppies in a town less than an hour from me. The owner can no longer afford them (no longer wants them) and has said that they will either dump them off in the country somewhere or take them out back and shoot them. I am flabbergasted. What the hell kind of human being does either of these things???
These are the dogs in question. I can barely afford to feed the five dogs I have now, not to mention the cats I have plus a bunny. Come spring, I'll have 3 chickens too. I also don't have enough kennel/fenced off yard space for more dogs. And I doubt my dogs would really welcome more dogs. But how can I just sit here and do nothing but share the posting on facebook when I am so very close to them? Five healthy dogs threatened with abandonment and/or murder....
What to do, what to do....
The county I live in lacks a decent shelter. A local vet runs a "shelter" in his office but his kill rate is probably upwards of 75%. We need a good no-kill shelter that takes all types of animals including livestock. The University of Missouri in Columbia has a top-notch Vet School. I have recurring dreams of a large animals shelter (think hundreds of acres with many structures - a set up like Best Friends in Utah) that helps provide experience for advanced vet students as well as a "home" for stray and unwanted animals.
In my dreams, I've won a sweepstakes or lottery and have purchased around 1,000 acres or so of farm land here in Missouri. I build a small cabin and section off a couple acres for my personal use. Then I have a full-service, highly advanced vet clinic built that can treat pretty much everything and all kinds of animals. Then acreage is sectioned off for various animals and structures are built to house those animals. Cats, dogs, horses, chickens, birds, cows - even wildlife - coyotes, bobcats, possums, foxes, etc.
These animals were here before we were. We stole their habitats (homes) to create our own homes and then strip malls were created. Fast food joints, Wal-Marts, Mall of America. We just keep nibbling away at natural places. We aren't that far from paving all land. We are supposed to be stewards of this world and her creatures. Instead we have become land barons and slave owners. Heartless, ruthless, fat, spoiled, ignorant.
So, tonight we I go to sleep, I'm sure I'm going to dream about these five dogs and ways I might be able to save them. Maybe by saving them, I can save myself. Maybe I can be an inspiration to others to save animals, to save themselves. I know I can't save the world but I'd like to save my little part of it. But how?
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Second cleaning done at my friends house. I thought she said she was leaving at 10 AM for her job but it was 1 PM. Naturally I was surprised to see her when I got there but we had a chance to visit and talk about what she wanted me to work on. I carried some stuff to her garage for her and then carried the 40 lb bag of dog food from the garage to the house. I was fine until I had to go up the steps. Only 4 of them but it wasn't fun. A bit painful to the old back - I had the bag thrown over my left shoulder. It's the only way I can carry bags that heavy. Before I know it I won't be able to carry them at all. Sigh. Old age is a bitch and she knows it!
The first time I did a pretty deep cleaning. I didn't empty out kitchen cabinets and dust/clean there but it was close! I wasn't able to do the one bedroom and the other one had already been cleaned. I moved most of the furniture to vacuum and I mopped the kitchen and bathroom.
This time I didn't need to move the furniture or mop but I was able to get into both bedrooms. The one bedroom has a full/queen size bed for her daughter and son-in-law and lots of blankets and a sleeping bag for their two youngest boys to sleep on the floor. They were down this past weekend so I had a bunch of blankets to fold up and stack in the closet. I was able to dust everything - including the light fixture - and vacuum. Found toys and games under the bed and one lone kid's cowboy boot in the closet. Not sure where the other boot is. Also dug out my friend's winter boots and put them where she could get them. The kitchen just needed dishes washed, surfaces cleaned and floor swept. All that was needed in her bedroom was light dusting and vacuuming.
I started cleaning when she left just before 1 PM and I left around 3:30 PM so 2.5 hours of cleaning. She called tonight to say it looked really good and that her daughter won't recognize the back bedroom next time she comes down. Felt nice, being thanked for my work. I don't hear it very often.
The $20 for my work will go for a bag of dog food as I don't have enough to get me to payday (Friday). Not surprising. I never have enough pet food to last payday to payday. Especially in winter. Everyone is eating more now that it's getting colder. I'll have to get more bags of food on payday and whenever I have extra money.
I'll have to go out to the yard tomorrow after I wake up and find more dandelions for Hippity Hop, the bunny. He really really likes dandelion leaves. When I got him he had been on a diet of nothing but rabbit pellets. Now he gets romaine lettuce, collard greens, dried catnip and dandelions. He gets carrots but not much (too high in fiber). I'm slowly introducing new food to him. He has decided that he likes his water bowl better than the bottle but still drinks out of the bottle. He's almost eaten the entire lid to his shoebox! The piece that's left is tiny!!!! Not sure why he liked that lid so much.....
Going off to dream land soon. Have lots to do tomorrow before a long day at work. Let's hope it's not a cold day at work. High of only 38 to 40 degrees not including wind chill. Brrrrrrr
A friend of mine offered me a "job" in addition to taking care of her two dogs and six cats when she's out of town. She's retired and a widow (her husband died suddenly two years ago) but has taken a part-time job as a home health aide. She has found that she's too tired to keep up with the housework. She lives in a park with dirt/gravel roads and her house gets very dirty from the traffic. She offered me $20 a week to come in once a week and clean her house. I don't need to make her bed, do her laundry or dishes. She just wants me to dust, sweep, mop and vacuum for her.
Today was the first day I went over to work for her. She was in the city which is perfect cause if she were there, we'd end up spending the entire time visiting instead of working. Her dogs helped, of course.
The dogs will be will be 5 years old this month (doesn't seem that long ago that they were itty bitty puppies), they are brothers and are Bernese Mountain Dog mixes. They eventually went outside - the vacuum is scary.
I scrubbed her kitchen including the walls and appliances. She only had a few dirty dishes so I went ahead and washed them. I cleaned the ceiling fan and light fixture. I swept then steam mopped. I cleaned her bathroom (the toilet was yucky but she has two grandsons, age 5 and 3 so......) and mopped it too. I dusted and vacuumed the living room including moving the furniture.
Including two short breaks, I worked for just over 3 hours. I didn't do either bedroom this first time. Her bedroom was just cleaned - she got a new bed and had to empty out the room to get the old bed out. She cleaned her room really well at that time. The other bedroom is sorta "trashed" right now - piles of blankets from the kids, boxes of toys and who knows what. You can just get into the room to get to the pet food and vacuum. Hopefully she'll straighten up that room so I can get in there to dust and vacuum next time - before her daughter and grandkids come to visit again.
Not only am I in the dog house but I've been removed from all Christmas lists and I think a call was made to PETA. Now, what I want to know is who the hell taught my cats how to dial a phone???!!!!
I started this day with a can of "No Hunting" purple spray paint and five "Posted No Trespassing, etc" signs. I planned on walking the perimeter of my property, spray painting and hanging signs. Youth hunting season started yesterday and adult hunting season starts in a week or two. I would walk only if my cats didn't follow me because a good part of my property borders a busy highway. Sure enough, Izzy and Piglet followed me. I turned around and walked to the car then drove off. Didn't matter. I was working on the second tree when Izzy showed up.
She "helped" until I ran out of spray paint and signs. It was time to walk back to my car, parked off the highway but we had to walk across the highway (two lane) to get to it. As we got closer, I ran across and put my stuff in the trunk then ran back and picked her up (no traffic but why risk it). She was fine until we got closer to my car, she tried to get away. We got in and she immediately tried to get out but the windows were all up. We only had to drive like 1/8 or less of a mile to get back home but the noise! After I parked and turned the car off, I left the driver side front door open but she jumped in back. So I opened the back door but she jumped in front. Eye roll. I left both doors open and she ran out, talking the whole time. She called me so many names!!!! She didn't shut up for ages!!!!
Then it was time to collect more walnuts and she flat out refused to supervise. For a while. Eventually she and Ditch showed up and supervised.
Only, instead of supervising me, Ditch complained about the lack of caviar and fresh Alaskan Salmon in his bowl and Izzy ignored me. I informed them that they were both fired and I'm pretty sure they didn't care.
It was dinner time by now so every one was fed (no caviar or fresh Alaskan Salmon). First the bunny's used litter box was taken outside and the unused one was prepared. Tailess wanted in and, when I opened the door, I discovered Ditch curled up in the used litter box. Ewww! So I went ahead and took it out into the yard where I'm sorta starting a compost pile, emptied the box then rinsed it out with water from the garden hose. Back inside to prepare fresh lettuce and celery for the bunny.
Mom got me some diatomaceous earth for flea control, some to mix into the pet food and some to put on the pets and carpets. I started with Bunny. He wouldn't let me get his belly but otherwise he did OK. He did nibble on me three times after that but I decided it wasn't anything personal. I really need to get him fixed then get another rabbit for him to play with and keep him company.
Time to "powder" the kitties. Yeah. That went well. Putting some of the diatomaceous earth on them then try to mix it into their fur so it gets to the skin. Yeah, right. It took forever and made a terrible mess but the inside cats are done plus Tailess and Sunny, who are both indoor/outdoor cats. I put some on their dry food but only in two dishes to see if they would eat it. Nope, won't eat it.
Time to "powder" the doggies. Sigh. Even harder to do than the cats because with the cats I can scruff them and hold them down. Doesn't work with the dogs. The only one who really let me get a good coverage was Honey.
Honey, age 13, is actually allergic to fleas so I wonder if she somehow knew the powder would help. Diatomaceous earth essentially eats through the fleas and kills them. Digested diatomaceous earth will get rid of worms so I put some on their dry food as well. They won't eat it. Damn.
I have an email in to the company to see if I can use diatomaceous earth in home-made pet treats. Let's hope!!!! I know the cats have worms from their fleas so I bet the dogs do too.
After torturing the critters (thus ensuring my life in the dog house), I vacuumed the carpets then used the powder on that as well. Sorta over did it in the bedroom. Way too much. It's a really really really fine powder and I have commercial grade carpeting - basically no pile, no padding at all and light/mid-dirt brown in color. After "sprinkling" the powder, I had to use a broom to mix it in and that sent the powder floating around the room even worse. I had to set up two fans to get the cloud out of the room and I'm going to have to spend the better part of a day to dust the room big time. There's a nice layer of diatomaceous earth all over my black furniture.
Relaxing in the living room now watching TV. Don't get any channels (too expensive) so I have a nice collection of DVDs and VHS tapes. That's what I'm watching now. VHS tapes. Just finished "Murder by Number" and now watching "Paleo-World". an old series from The Learning Channel. Yeah, I'm that kind of nerd.
Apparently my baked potato just finished in the microwave but Sunny is preparing for a nap on me.
I'll let him stay for a little bit but seeing as it's after midnight, I really should eat my dinner soon.