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Thread: Willow Oak

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    1,333
    Neat thread! What a beautiful property you have and your animals are so blessed to be able to call it home.
    I've really enjoyed reading your posts and learning about your pets (past and present). I'm particularily fond of Fred! And the 'Old Man' also really got my attention!
    Look forward to more stories about the Willow Oak family.

  2. #17

    Lu Lu

    I met Lu Lu one day when I heard her and her brother barking. I was on the back side of my mother's property (she lives on 5 acres next to me), and two of the dogs over there were making a big fuss at my being in their vicinity. Such barking I hadn't heard, so I walked over to take a look. In a pen behind my sister's house were a couple of dogs: one was about twice the size of the other. Big ears and lots of barking: that was their hallmark. However, as soon as I approached the fence and bent over to give a pat it was all over. I had to cross over the fence and go inside, but when I did Lu Lu and her brother Skip were all over me. Such loving and sweet dogs have hardly every existed. But otherwise they could make a racket: barking and barking all the time. Bark, bark, bark!!!

    Everyday I would go over and give them some attention and a pat on the head. At this time I had also begun to help my sister with her animals, buying food and checking on water. I would go in the pen and Skip would go straight for the food, but Lu lu was more interesting in getting into my lap as I sat on the back porch. Lu Lu would stick her nose inside my shirt or inside my shirt pocket as if she were looking for a place to hide. In time I would come to realize that at her size she was very vulnerable to her much larger sibling. Skip, for some reason, had to be separated from any other dogs. I don't know what it was, but if Skip was allowed to be with any dogs of his size or larger he would do anything he could to kill that dog. We had to learn this almost the hard way -- he attacked other dogs and drew a lot of blood, but fortunately no permanent damage. He would not attack smaller dogs. And he and Lu Lu kept up their barking seemingly night and day: bark, bark, bark!!!

    Eventually, I moved Skip and Lu Lu to my place where I could keep a closer eye on them. One day I went to feed them; Lu Lu came running and jumped into my lap, ignoring the food as long as I was there, but Skip, instead of going for his food, just lay around and had a lethargic look on this face. This was one of those times where I had to learn a lesson the hard way. No one had ever told me, and I had no way of knowing otherwise. Skip would be dead within 24 hours from Parvo. During the next several days I would keep a close eye on Lu Lu, picking her up and holding her close, whispering in her ear: "Don't you go and get sick on me now."

    I had taken the dogs to the vet that day. Parvo was diagnosed in Skip, and Lu Lu had received a shot. Now Skip was dead, and I was holding Lu Lu and whispering in her ear each day and constantly imploring, "Don't you get sick on me now."

    Lu Lu did not get sick. Oh no, she did not get sick. And she still barks and barks and barks. Just like always:

    Bark, bark, bark!!!

  3. #18

    Sam

    I have delivered way more animals to our local animal shelter than I have kept. The ones that usually end up staying with me are those that I deem to be not as "adoptable" as those that do end up at the shelter. Of course, you can't save them all. I have delivered animals to the shelter with the full knowledge that they would be euthanized.

    I hate euthanization, but I don't believe it is a bad thing. One must do what is best for the animal, and with limited space and resources euthanasia is sometimes what is best for a particular animal.

    I was quite sure that's where Sam was headed the first time I saw him, only I wasn't going to let the shelter do the deed. I was determined to do it myself. He had shown up at my place from out of the blue. He appeared menacing. He looked like a pit bull, and what's more, he had long saliva hanging from his jaws. He looked sick, and I said to myself, "I've got a mad dog on my hands."

    I scurried about, gathering up my own animals and pulled them into the house with me, and went and got my gun. In the mean time this mad dog had moved around to the back of my house. I was scared and confused. I did not want to kill the dog right away so I called the shelter. No, they wouldn't be able to come out right away, so I called the Sheriff's department. No, that's not our job, they said. Well, great! What to do now? So I positioned myself behind an open window, took aim, let off the safety, and placed the beed squarely between his eyes. Then he lifted his head and looked at me. All I had to do was pull the trigger, and everything would be A-okay. Except that I couldn't do it. I just could not pull that trigger.

    So, I went outside and placed some food on the ground. I would have to think this through.

    Since then I have learned that any new acquiree should be quarantined and looked at by the vet before it gets introduced to the rest of my animals. But I didn't know better back then. I decided to take a chance and assume that the dog was not "mad." He was sick though. But some good grub and a chance to have someone look after him, plus a couple of visits to the vet, some antibiotics and some vitamins, and within a couple of weeks he was looking much better. I did not pull the trigger, and man am I glad. Sam has turned out to be the gentlest, most easy-going dog I've ever had. He is full of energy and loves to play. He is one of the prime reasons I put up the fence. He loves to chase cars and if he can get in front of them he will. I know. He got run over by a very large SUV. Lucky for Sam, the truck merely "straddled" him or he would be dead.

    Sam parks himself on the concrete settee:


    I know it's not a "nice" picture, but this is typically the way Sam sleeps:


    Sometimes Sam just stands and looks off in the distance:


    Sam is very gentle with the other animals -- even the cats:


    Sam, a man's best friend:
    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-12-2008 at 12:15 PM. Reason: spelling; more spelling; grammar

  4. #19

    My Heart Belongs to Them

    I guess now would be as good a time as any to relate the following. On June 23, 2008, just five weeks ago today (I think), I suffered a near-fatal heart attack. I know, I know. From looking at my photos I look like I'm in my 20's or 30's at most, but believe it or not (and I know it's hard to believe), I am at the time of this writing 54 years of age!

    Anyways, my boss had talked me into doing all of the post-50th birthday checkups, so I've been going to the doctor, getting poked and prodded and having needles stuck in me and X-rays and all those nice things. A few weeks ago my back began to bother me a little bit. I complained to the doctor and he agreed with me that it was probably just muscle spasms, but let's use this as an excuse to get a Thallium heart stress test. The insurance company might not pay for it (it's expensive), without some indication of heart problems.

    I scheduled the test for June 23. I was required to fast for 24 hours prior to the surgery and arrive at the hospital no later than 8:00 am. Well, the day arrived, I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't have my usual morning cup of coffee, and I drove myself to the hospital. Now listen to this: I was in the cardiac center of th hospital, hooked up to a bank of heart monitors, wires out the wazoo, surrounded by a bevy of heart specialists when BANG! They grabbed me and threw me on a gurney and had me in surgery within minutes. Turns out they only had to insert a stent, but I was discovered to have 99% blockage of the LAD, an artery in the heart that has the nickname of "the widow maker."

    Doctors said that I was within mere minutes of being dead. Had I not been where I was when I was it is most unlikely that I would have survived. I had the same kind of heart attack that killed Tim Russert. I was already at the hospital, and he wasn't. I am alive and he is dead.

    Well, after it was all over, I went back to visit the cardiac center personnel. They were all excited to see me. They appreciate it when one of their patients returns for a visit -- especially after scaring them the way I did. Needless to say they saved my life. But here is the interesting part: Every person there, including doctors and nurses said that while they were prepping me and asking me questions the only thing I could talk about was my animals. They said that I insisted that they call a friend of mine and make arrangements and inform me that my animals were okay. Bonnie would need to be boarded at the vet since she takes phenobarbital twice a day. The other animals would have to be checked on, and above all, if I did not make it, I needed to know that someone would look after them.

    The people in the hospital told me that I would not let them operate or do anything until my orders were carried out.

    Hey, I got through the surgery okay. Subsequent tests indicated that there was no serious, discernable damage to my heart. Good thing. When I arrived home and saw all my babies, were they happy to see me! And was I happy to see them! My heart was okay then.
    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-11-2008 at 10:37 AM. Reason: clarity and grammar

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Never has the Last word.
    Posts
    14,287
    wow!
    I read this completely thru first to last post but first let me say - THANK GOD YOU WERE WHERE YOU WERE!!! holy crap! I hope you are feeling better now.
    I have enjoyed your 'tails' of your furkids.
    It seems to me that you have had some hard lessons and a lot of heartache, over the years with learning the importance vet care, for that I'm sorry you had to learn those lessons. But in the same respect you had a pretty scary lesson with your own health recently as well! Please take care and keep the stories coming!
    Keeganhttp://www.dogster.com/dogs/256612 9/28/2001 to June 9, 2012
    Kylie http://www.catster.com/cats/256617 (June 2000 to 5/19/2012)
    Kloe http://www.catster.com/cats/256619
    "we as American's have forgotten we can agree to disagree"
    Kylie the Queen, Keegan the Princess, entertained by Kloe the court Jester
    Godspeed Phred you will be missed more than you ever know..

  6. #21

    Lola Belle: The Ugliest Dog I Ever Saw

    Thanks for that last response. For the life of me I do not feel that I had a heart attack. Since there was no heart damage, and since I was practically already prepped and ready when the thing came down, I guess you could say that the heart attack didn't actually occur. The paperwork used the term "MI." I asked what that meant, and the response was "myocardial infarction." That would be a heart attack. Anyways, I truly feel fortunate to have survived that ordeal and to have survived in such a complete and whole way.

    Now, back to my story. I have a neighbor relative, of whom I have spoken previously and about whom I would prefer not to say too much. I'm sure that she has meant well, but if you had witnessed what I have witnessed in regards to her animals you might not agree with me.

    Lola Belle was a dog who lived with her for several years. Lola Belle was truly a very ugly mutt. The entire time I knew her, while she lived over there, she was always dirty and matted. She never appeared to display any personality or humour. She didn't have a lot of fur. Most of the time I saw her she was curled up on the front porch, looking forlone and forgotten. She had wisps of fur, not much hair really, and upon enquiry I would always be told, "Well, she has some sort of skin condition."

    As is the practice with my neighbor relative, she would keep an animal until it died of whatever, and when it would get old and unable to control itself, she would put it out behind her house in a pen, and there it would live out its days until it expired. She pretty much did this with all of her animals. Some pitiful stories I could tell you.

    So it was with Lola Belle. Lola Belle was I believe something like a Peek-a-Poo, all white (what fur she had); she was blind in one eye, and the other eyeball was missing. She appeared to be buck-tooth. She was ugly. I never observed her playing or even moving about much for that matter. I could never recall hearing her bark. It was a sad situation.

    One day I visited; the temperature was in the 30's; Lola Belle was curled up on the front porch, and as I entered I mentioned that the dog was freezing, and shouldn't she be brough inside? The response was negative, and not wanting to be too intrusive I left it at that.

    Time went on. I lived nearby, and was enjoying an early morning cup of coffee on my own back porch when I heard the most awful noise. Somewhere in the distance I could hear the anguished wailing of an animal in distress. I had to listen carefully to determine the direction from whence the noise came, and it appeared to be emanating from my neighbor relative's place of residence. I hurried over to see if one of her dogs was in some sort of trouble. I heard the intermittent wailing and looked about to see. The noise was coming from behind her house, so I went back there. She was home but evidently could not hear or was ignoring the noise. I looked in the pen where I thought Lola Belle should be, but all I saw there was an old towel or rug that had been tossed on the ground.

    Then I heard the noise again. Such an awful wailing of anguish -- enough to make the skin crawl. I looked and listen. It was coming from ..., it was coming from that old rug that lay in the backyard. I looked very closely, this is strange, I said to myself. The old rug seemed to move, and I crossed into the pen to have a closer look. That was no rug! It was Lola Belle! Poor, awful, neglected, sick Lola Belle. Gosh, my heart stopped beating. And without missing a beat I scooped the creature up and headed back to my house.

    When I arrived back at my place I found a large box and placed her in it. Then I drove to the veterinarian I regularly use. I asked that they come to my car to see, and when the vet arrived he asked, "What you got there? Looks like a possum."

    "Take a closer look," I said.

    Well, we took Lola Belle inside where we cold have a better look. Lola Belle was all over covered with black, moldey sores. Some were oozing fluid. She was crawling with fleas and ticks, and the bones stood out clearly through her skin. There was very little fur, and she had srapes and scratches all over her body. She was covered with mange.

    "Put her out of her misery now, please." I figured it was time for Lola Belle to be relieved of the torture she had endured for so long. I asked them to euthanize her, and they agreed that it was the proper and the only thing to do. I paid the bill at the front desk and hurried out of that place. Would I ever get that image out of my mind?

    In the parking lot, I paused as I reached for the door of my car. It is a hard thing to take the life of any living creature. My neighbor relative was totally unaware of what I had done -- of what I was doing. I decided to go back in. I decided that the least I could do was afford Lola Belle the dignity of having some human being other than a veterinarian present as she passed on. When I returned to the examination room, the vet and his assistant were examing the dog. The assistant was holding the syringe, and the vet told me that he was just about to do the deed.

    "Wait," I said. I inquired as to the actual condition of the dog. Surely if ever there were a candidate for euthanasia, here was one, but let's give it some thought.

    Well, to shorten what has already become a long story, I decided to not put Lola Belle down. Instead, I had them clean her up and giver her whatever shots and/or antibiotics she needed. She would return to the vet numerous times over the next few months, receiving shots and pills and baths. She would have surgery. She would have skin removed where it had died and turned gangrenous. She would recieve treatment for mange and ticks and fleas. At my place she would recieve food -- lots of it. for the next year I would get up in the middle of the night and carry her outside to use the bathroom. I would put Gold Bond powder on her to relieve her itching. I would watch her and care for her and bather her and comb her hair.

    Lola Belle. Lola Belle. I would fall in love with her. I would fall very hard in love with her. I watched as the miraculous happened. That little fluff of hair that she had blossomed into a full and luxuriant coat of thick, golden blond furry, hairy ..., long and full and soft would her hair become. Fat and healthy would her body become. And eventually she would began to bark. Bark and bark she would, oh yes! Barking and eating and sleeping and using the bathroom.

    Eventually I would have to make the dreaded decision, but when that time came she would go in high fashion. Instead of the scrawny, sickly, neglected waif she had been back then, she would part this earth a healthy, happy, beautiful golden girl.

    Lola Belle. Lola Belle was truly the most gorgeous dog I have ever known!

    Lola Belle. I love you. I miss you. I shall see you again some day.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    12,031
    What an outstanding new Pet Talk member you are! I too, have read your posts from beginning to end and I can hardly wait for the next "chapter".

    I think God put you in the place you were when you had your heart attack, so that you would be saved to care for your beloved animals.

    I think all of us need to think about who would care for our animals in case something happened to us - myself included!!

    Uh, also, you need to know that I am having a slight love affair....well, it might not be slight - but head over heels................

    WITH SAM!!

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by gini View Post
    What an outstanding new Pet Talk member you are! I too, have read your posts from beginning to end and I can hardly wait for the next "chapter".

    I think God put you in the place you were when you had your heart attack, so that you would be saved to care for your beloved animals.

    I think all of us need to think about who would care for our animals in case something happened to us - myself included!!

    Uh, also, you need to know that I am having a slight love affair....well, it might not be slight - but head over heels................

    WITH SAM!!
    You want him?


  9. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    My life is God filtered :)
    Posts
    14,046
    WO:
    I used to have a lot more time on PT but at work now I share an office with 2 others. It's only after they go home that I sneak a peak some days....well more than a peak.

    For the past couple of days I have been mesmerized by your stories and your caring and loving heart. The one that ripped me apart the most is Lola Belle. I mistakenly read that one this morning before getting ready for work and I cried in the shower and cried all the way to work. I know there was a happy outcome but to think of that poor girl all rolled up in the back.....oh dear, here comes the LES again (good thing I'm alone now...)

    It truly amazes me how animals can go through so much abuse then turn around and love someone so unconditionally the next day. Bless you for taking in these foresaken and lost souls......yes, I believe that pets have souls but that's for a Dog House discussion which I won't get into.

    I'm in love with every one of your furbabies, here and at the RB!!! If only they knew how many of us around the world are sharing your stories and our emotions.

    Finally, I'm convinced that things happen for a reason and you were meant to be in that hospital at that time. I'm so happy that you are with us today. Going through something like that makes you "think" and sometimes it changes your outlook on life and your priorities. I know......I have lung cancer but I'm doing good after my surgery.

    Thank you so much sharing your world with us. Like the others, I await the next chapter.
    Last edited by slick; 08-12-2008 at 08:03 PM.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand and strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!
    --unknown

    Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see
    --Polar Express

    Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.




  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Allentown, PA
    Posts
    6,095
    I am loving this thread, and also crying my eyes out with the stories. I think it is wonderful that you are giving these poor souls a chance at love and life. There is definitely a special place in heaven for people like you.

    Please give all your pets some hugs and kisses for me. I'd love to be able to meet them and do it myself, lol, but having you do it will have to suffice. It just feels like from your stories that we're getting to know them all so personally. It's really wonderful.

    Keep the stories coming, please!
    Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History
    -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    22,547
    Quote Originally Posted by gini View Post
    I think God put you in the place you were when you had your heart attack, so that you would be saved to care for your beloved animals.
    I agree. How sad about Lola Belle. What 'human' could leave an animal like that? What a lucky day for her when you saved her.

    Forever in my heart...Lacey,Sassy,Mandy,Corey,Ginger,Casey

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Santa Clara, CA
    Posts
    27,644
    I just read through this entire thread and I'm enjoying your stories very much. I'm so glad that you're still with us. God knew that you were still very much needed here. You should really consider writing a book about all of your rescues. I know that I'd buy a copy of it.
    Owned by Sky, Pearl, Ziggy Stardust, Alani, Blaze, Colby, Finnegan, and Summer.


    My Rainbow Bridge Babies:
    RB Pepper 3/17/97- 2/3/03 RIP Sweet Pepper
    RB Starr 3/22/05- 7/1/09 RIP Sweet Starr
    RB Sunny 8/25/00- 2/28/10 RIP Sweet Sunny
    RB Storm 1/11/96- 8/2/12 RIP Sweet Storm

  13. #28

    Some plain talk

    Quote Originally Posted by jenn_librarian View Post
    There is definitely a special place in heaven for people like you.
    I do appreciate all of the feedback, but I guess it's time for some honest talk. Yes, I have in recent times found myself sacrificing time, money, and energy to save the lives and dignity of some of God's defenseless creatures. But it wasn't always that way. Although I never went out of my way to be cruel to an animal there was a time when I wasn't nearly so considerate. Truth is, I do have some black spots on my record.

    Fortunately, only a few black spots. I saw an ad in the paper for free puppies. I picked one up and delivered it to a relative as a gift, but she didn't want it. I was in my early 20's, and what did I know? So I found a friend who would take the puppy off my hands. In time he and his family found that they couldn't care for it either, so it ended up back with me. She was a precious little thing. My friend and his family had named her "Precious." That has been years ago, and I can barely recall much about the situation, but eventually she got very sick. I recall a neighbor sending one of her children to my house to tell me about the "sick" puppy hanging out in her yard. I went to retrieve it, and as I lifted little Princess into my arms she licked me. She was so sick she couldn't walk and could barely lift her head. All I did was place her in the garage with a bowl of water, then ..., I left her there. She was dead by the next morning.

    Even though it has been around 30 years since that incident, I still can not get the image out of my mind. My Pet Talk friends, I am a sorry, no-good animal neglecter. No matter how many animals I rescue and care for now I shall never make up for that one incident of cruelty and neglect.

    The only other such incident that I can recall came around the same time. A co-worker asked me if I would take a puppy off his hands. I did. I do not recall the puppy's name, but he was a gorgeous little German Shephard mix. In time I found that he was too much for me, so I drove around until I found a pack of dogs roaming the neighborhood. Then I did the unthinkable: I let the pup out the car and drove off. I have no idea what became of him.

    These images haunt me. These thoughts of mine, that I should be so cruel and neglectful grieve me constantly. No matter how much money I spend on vet bills; no matter how much money I spend on dog food and cat food; no matter what I do I can never make up for these past indiscretions.

    I am a regular guy. I like to curse, smoke cigars, eat steak, watch football, chase women, show off. Of course, at my age and in my health I no longer smoke cigars or eat steaks or chase women (it wouldn't do me any good anyway), but I am a regular, normal man. In other words, I don't think about much, except myself. I recall back when I was less considerate of others. I was a bully among my peers. I think of a young man to whom I was inconsiderate -- no I was a downright bully. I did, however, have an opportunity to see him a few years later, and when I did I apologized for my previous disposition toward him. "Gee, I don't remember," came his reply. He either genuinely did not recall, or he was being far more considerate to me than I had been to him. Either way, among God's creatures he proved himself to be much better and much bigger than I.

    I hope that someday I do stand before God. And above all else I want God to give me exactly what's coming to me. I don't want mercy. I want to pay for my crimes. I hope God does not consign me to burn for eternity, but I do want to do some sort of penance. I want something else. I want an opportunity to see and apologize to Princess and the other puppy. I want to tell them that I am sorry for what I did. I imagine in my mind that if that opportunity presents itself that I shall hear something like, "Gee, I don't remember." And if and when I do, then among God's creatures, those two precious ones will have proved themselves to be bigger and better than I.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    My life is God filtered :)
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    Let's see now how does that saying go?

    Let he without sin.......

    Stop being so hard on yourself. I believe that you could line all of us up and none of us would be able to cast the first stone. We all do things in our youth that we are not proud of. We both grew up in the same era and back then animal activists weren't all over the media the way they are today. You could always tell "women of wealth" because they wore fur coats.

    With maturity comes wisdom and now you have the wisdom to know and make a difference. What matters is now and how you treat your fellow humans (trying to be politically correct here ) and animals and from what I read in this thread, you have a heart filled with passion and compassion.
    I am a regular guy. I like to curse, smoke cigars, eat steak, watch football, chase women, show off. Of course, at my age and in my health I no longer smoke cigars or eat steaks or chase women (it wouldn't do me any good anyway), but I am a regular, normal man.
    Forgive me, I had to giggle at this comment for in my time I've known more than my fair share of men like this.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand and strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!
    --unknown

    Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see
    --Polar Express

    Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.




  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    Off to the races....
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    11,250
    What a great thread. You writing is excellent and the stories amazing. I had not been able to read through the thread previously, as our computer at home is down, and I am uncomfortable being logged in here too long at work, but once I started, I had to read the whole thing! You really should considering writing a book...or several! I'm sure there is much detail that could be added to all these stories!

    I like to curse, smoke cigars, eat steak, watch football, chase women, show off.
    And who doesn't? Okay..so I'm not a guy and don't cahse women, but I think the rest applies!!!

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