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Thread: Willow Oak

  1. #1

    Willow Oak

    I have a journal on my personal website, and I write to it three or four times a week. I realize that seemingly everyone these days has a blog, but if you will indulge me I should like to share with you some of the daily experiences and activities of my home place, Willow Oak.

    I shall begin with a view of my front yard. There are the two large willow oak trees after which I have named my place. Dogs visible in the yard are (l to r) Cathy, Scamp, Oscar, Fred, and Sam. If you can see him, Thumper the cat is lying down on one of the concrete benches of the concrete settee. Living with me and sharing my home at present are 9 dogs and 12 cats (I think). Over time I should like to share with you how we all came to be together, and to share with you some of the stories involved in the day-to-day life of those who share Willow Oak.

    I live on 16 acres in a very rural part of Mississippi. The front yard is, as you can see, completely fenced in. Even in the country accidents can happen, and I want the animals to be safe.

    I have enjoyed reading the stories and viewing the pictures at Pet Talk. I hope you enjoy reading and seeing mine. I shall post to this thread several times a week.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio USA
    Very nice set up there, Willow Oak! Welcome and looking forward to more posts.

  3. #3
    Here is a picture I posted elsewhere on this forum of my most recent waistrel, Taz:

    He arrived on this past Sunday.

    When I left for work on Monday I left Taz at home behind one of those child gates that I placed in the back hallway. I figured that even if he got out of that he would only have to contend with Bonnie and Clyde who are "teeth-challenged," and Lu Lu. Well, it did happen that he got out. When I arrived home I found him behind a chair in the living room. I could tell there had been some activity, but he came crawling out and appeared to be none the worse for his experience. I couldn't tell what all had taken place, but there is no doubt that if the larger dogs had been in the room, Taz would be no more. I did find what appeared to be a bite mark on his hind leg, and he definitely had suffered some sort of psychological Trauma. He was all over wet, evidently from the other dogs saliva, and he cried for a long time even after I arrived home. Even then he cried and whimpered in my arms for the longest time.

    Tuesday I left him locked in the bathroom. I worried all day that he would get out of that, but when I arrived home he was still locked up. Nonetheless, he still cried and whimpered for a long time after I arrived home. So maybe separation anxiety had contributed to his trauma of the day before. I bought another dog crate yesterday on my way home from work and locked him in that when I left this morning. My mind is much more at ease now, although he did not like being locked up that way. At least I know he will be well and whole when I arrive home.

    I still grieve much when I think of Yella Fella and Goldie and how I failed to protect them. Those bad memories are flooding back to me now that Taz has arrived. Poor Yella Fella. Poor Goldie.

    What a mess I had to clean up when I arrived home from work yesterday! And then I had to endure about 20 minutes of nonstop whining and crying and yelling from little Taz. He followed me all around, trying to crawl up my pants leg. I had to sit down and hold him for a few minutes with him still whining and crying and yelling all the time. He did eventually settle down, but I do not know what kind of trauma the poor guy is enduring while I am away. He was safely locked away in his cage when I arrived home. His problem must be some extreme form of separation anxiety.

    All the other animals appear to be doing fine. Cathy still doesn't like being shut away in her cage, but I still dare not leave her loose. The dogs do go nuts when I arrive home. I let them out of their kennels and into the big fenced-in front yard where they can run and jump and play. The cats are all fine. It is good to see Cougar doing so well after having all of this teeth extracted.

    [I shall fill in the gaps regarding Yella Fella, Goldie, and Cougar, and all the others as time goes on.]

  4. #4
    When I arrive home from work today he will run around and cry and whimper and yell and scream until I pick him up and hold him for 10 minutes or so. Only then will he calm down and realize that everything is okay.

  5. #5


    Taz' behavior when I arrived home yesterday wasn't as bad as it was the day before. He did cut up for a few minutes, but he calmed down much more quickly yesterday that he had the day before.

    Today I shall continue the story of how I came to have all of these animals by introducing you to Oscar. Below is a birds-eye view of my property taken from Yahoo Maps:

    I've made a rough outline of my place in black, and as you can see I am in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods. You can see the two willow oak trees in the yard in front of my house.

    Over the past few years I have found several litters of puppies in the woods, and how they got there who can tell? One of those puppies I found by himself, and he is the only one of those that I have found who is still with me. The rest I delivered safely to our local shelter.

    I knew from the beginning that Oscar would not be a good candidate for adoption at the local shelter: he is a large breed dog and he is black. For some reason, that kind of dog doesn't get adopted as readily. Oscar had another problem: he was all over eaten up with mange. I treat dogs for mange by giving them about a half cc of Ivomec (Ivermectin) each day for up to two weeks. That will do it (ivermectin is toxic to a collie).

    In the beginning, Oscar was in a bad way, and I actually contracted the mange from him. He and I both were in quarantine for several days while we recovered. I can testify personally to the extreme discomfort of having mange. I would bathe Oscar in the kitchen sink, dry him off, and sprinkle him with Gold Bond powder to lessen the itch (I did the same for myself). He did suffer so those first few days!

    Eventually, Oscar recovered from his bout of the mange (as did I, thankfully), and today Oscar is a big, healthy, vibrant, and happy boy. See for yourself:

    This is one of my favorite pictures of Oscar, running with his pals, Fred and Sam. I love to see that smile on his face:

    Oscar is a gentle soul, as you can see from this picture of him with Thumper the cat:

    Before I erected the fence in the front yard I let the dogs run free. After all, I live in the country. Even so, I still would have a dog come up missing now and then, and there is a road in front of my house. Then one day I stepped out my front door to find Oscar lying at the door all covered in blood. He had been shot with a shot gun. He survived that one okay, but I knew then that even in the country it is not a good idea to let your dogs run loose. So up the fence went, and now running around outside is safe for all of my animals.

    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-02-2008 at 09:15 AM. Reason: spelling again

  6. #6


    "Mister! Mister! Help me, mister! I am all alone in this world, and I don't have nobody to help me, mister, and I'm afraid, mister! Please help me, mister!"

    I had stopped at a convenience store in the country to get directions, and here he was, begging me to help him. Inside the store I inquired about the kitty. No, he didn't belong to any of them, and no they didn't know from whence he came; but the owner of the store hd gone home to retrieve his gun, because the kitty was bothering the patrons and scratching their cars, etc., etc.

    So, on my way back to my vehicle I scooped him up. My intention was to deliver him to the shelter. I have a policy of delivering all animals I find away from home that I deem adoptable to the shelter. This one would be no different. Except that it would be a few days before I would be able to get over that way. In the meantime he would have to reside at my house.

    That is almost always a mistake, because most of the time the critter ends up staying permanently. So this is how Cougar came to live with me. A sweeter, kindler, gentler kitty has not existed. If any have ever shown their appreciation for being rescued Cougar certainly has. In time he would be found to have a gum disease and have all his teeth extracted. But it would take me a time to realize his pain.

    Cougar is a laid-back kitty:

    Cougar began to show signs of bad teeth, but it took me a time to realize it:

    This picture is one of those that really opened my eyes to the problem of Cougar's teeth:

    I spent a lot of money on Cougar, but it was worth every penny. Here he is after one of his three visits to have his teeth extracted. As you can see, he is much more perky:

    Cougar is one of 12 (or so) cats who have taken up residence at Willow Oak. I'm so glad he did.

  7. #7
    I am enjoying your writing. I hope you will keep going!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Awww! Not many would have gone to the expense of all that fencing, but I am glad you did, I am sure you sleep more soundly at night now!
    I've Been Frosted

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Allentown, PA
    I'm really enjoying your writing and your pictures. Can't wait to read more!

    Big hugs to all your guys!
    Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History
    -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  10. #10

    A Bonnie Smile

    Thanks for the complementary responses.

    Before I moved to where I am living now, about seven years ago, I never cared about or cared for an animal. Yes, I had the occasional pet when I was a child. Our family had our share of dogs and cats, but after I grew up I never got involved with animals.

    Things for me got started when I observed a neighbor-relative of mine not doing a proper job of caring for her animals. She is what is referred to as a "horder." She has probably had as many as a hundred dogs and cats at one time. For years I observed from a distance, all the time thinking what a wonderful thing she was doing. It is only now, after I have had a few years experience that I realize how what she was doing, though done with good intentions, was really not a good thing at all. Most of those animals would have been better off left alone. Even if they had died in the wilderness, they would have died with more dignity than they eventually did. She kept them alive with food and water, but many of them suffered horrible diseases, and would have died and been put out of their misery much sooner, had they just been left alone.

    She would not take them to the animals shelter, because she felt that they would have been euthanized, and to her that would be a bad thing. Of course, I do not like the idea of euthanization, but in the face of long-term suffering, being put to sleep is not such a bad thing.

    In the end, I managed to rescue nearly all of the animals from her. Most of them are in heaven now, but I still have a few with me. I took Bonnie from her about seven years ago. Bonnie was the first dog I took. She was all matted and had a bloody ear. About three years ago she began to develop a mild seizure. Today Bonnie takes phenobarbital twice a day. Bonnie is a very happy and well-adjusted puppy. What do you think?

    A few years after Bonnie came to live with me, her brother, Clyde, came on board. Clyde is afraid of "funders":

    Although he isn't the alpha male on the premises, Clyde thinks he is. Here he is growling at Fred, who is a chow mix. As you can see, Fred is a bit intimidated:

  11. #11
    Taking a break from talking about the animals I have now, take a look at the following couple:

    They aren't mine. They live down the road from me, and their owenrs don't keep a good job of keeping them up. Here they are after I gathered them in from wandering around on the road where I live. One of these days I am going to find one or both of them run over. Occasionally, I have to chase them down and confine them until I can get in touch with their owners and get them delivered home. One of these days I may decide not to return them.

    Anyways, the minipin is very sweet and affectionate. The Jack Russell follows the other one around wherever he goes, and they are inseparable. It's a site to see, but as I've said, their owners can't seem to keep them confined to the place where they live. We do live on a busy country road, with lots of "racers."

    Anybody here want a minipin/Jack Russell pair?

  12. #12

    Sheba and her crew

    It all began with Sheba. I did not have an animal, and I did not want one, but there was one hanging around. I lived with my mother at the time, and my sister who lived next door had a couple dozen cats and a couple dozen dogs, and I presumed this cat was hers. After a few days of this cat bothering me and begging from me I inquired of my sister and she said that no, she did not know the cat and it was not one of hers.

    As fate would have it, I put some food down for the cat one morning as I was leaving for work, and the rest is history. Within a day or two another cat was waiting for a handout as I left for work, but this was a much bigger cat and an uglier cat I had not ever seen before.

    The first cat was sleek and beautiful and jet black. The second cat was fat and ugly and dirty and smelled bad and was gray. In time both cats would grab hold of my heart in a way that my poor old heart had never been grabbed before.

    Sheba, the black female, would go on to produce a litter of four males, fathered by "Old Man," the fat, old, gray cat. At the time I did not claim ownership of the cats since they were on my mother's property, but in the end I would acquire ownership since no one else wanted the responsibility. I would have all cats neutered and/or spayed. This was my first crew: Old Man, Sheba, Curiosity, Smokey, Shadow, and Socks. Of this group only Smokey is still with me. It is to my great sorrow that since this was my first experience with animals I did not do a good job of taking care of them. I learned the hard way, and the animals I have now benefit from my hard-learned lessons.

    It is difficult for me to talk about them, but these are my first love. I think about all of them from time to time. Each one had his own personality, and with each one in turn I had a special relationship.


    Sheba just recently passed away. She was a good kitty with a very pleasant disposition. It grieved me forever to think that for those first few days I ignored her when she begged me for food. For the past 6 or 7 years, however, I saw to it that she never had to beg for anything.

    Old Man:

    It took a while, but Old Man and I became very close buddies. Never a more easy-going cat has there been. Old Man would wait patiently to be let into the yard and then wait patiently to be let back in again. I spent a lot of money on this cat. He had been a bruiser in his day and had plenty of scars to prove it. In his final days I saw to it that he never had to go scrounging for anything he needed.


    Smokey is the only one still with me. He is a very sweet and loving cat, and he loves to snuggle. He has long, gorgeous, shiny silver hair.


    Shadow was a very sweet and loving kitty. He would sit in my lap and massage my chest. I shall miss him.


    Socks was the most laid-back of everyone here. Nearly from birth he would crawl into my lap and stay there for as long as I would allow. He was a "lounger" -- never getting into trouble. I think about him often.


    Curiosity was the runt of the litter, but he was the most vivacious. He was the first one to wander away from the nest, and until the day he passed away he was a "wanderer." He was very independent, but he was also a very affectionate kitty. He shall be missed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Just want you to know Willow Oak, I am enjoying all of these 'tails' about your furkids, past and present. Will be watching for your next post.
    Forever in my heart...

  14. #14


    Thanks for the feedback. That's a nice-looking group of hound dogs you have there, chocolatepuppy.

    In the begninning I only had cats. I had always considered myself a "dog" person, but to my surprise I became very attached to the cats I started collecting. Old Man, the fat, gray, ugly "Tom" broke my heart. How I did love that guy!

    In the mean time, Bonnie came to live with me. She is a diminutive cavalier spaniel, and is a well-behaved pup. After a while I noticed another dog hanging about (this was about four or five years ago), a very pretty and furry, red-colored dog, which I found out later to be of the chow variety. This dog would greet us at the door of our house as we came and went. In time we would leave him some food -- what else could we do?

    This new one arrived during winter, and it was very cold outside. I figured with all that fur, this guy surely wasn't going to get cold. Nonetheless, I awoke one morning to find the guy in the living room as I exited my bedroom. Mother said she felt sorry for him being outside in the cold like that. Anyways, he was anxious to go outside, so I opened the door and out he ran. Such a vivacious guy! Bouncing around and chasing birds and the cats that were outside. But if he ever caught anything he wouldn't hurt it -- he'd let it escape, then settle down to sniff the air and feel proud of his "accomplishment."

    One evening, as we were preparing for bed I asked my mom if she were going to let her "friend" in the house. She did, and it looked like he was going to be boarding with us for a while. A few days later, mother asked me if I had seen "Fred."

    "Fred?" I asked.

    "Yes. Fred. That's what you called him."

    "No," I said, "I called him your 'friend.'"

    "Oh," she said. "I thought you said, 'Fred.'"

    And that's how Fred got his name.

    So Fred has lived with me now for these four or five years. He's the overseer, the alpha male, the ruler of the crew. Fred sees to it that nothing comes to harm while I am away. Fred is my true friend.

    Fred sniffs the air for any sign of trouble:

    Fred nonchalantly lounges in "his" chair:

    Clyde forgets who he is and tries to intimidate Fred. Fred plays along:

    This is my favorite picture of Oscar (I've shown this one before). I love to see that smile on his face. But I love to see Fred enjoying himself this way, too. He gives Oscar and Sam and the other dogs a good chase for their money:

    Fred loves to be bowled over. Even though he is on his back, he is in complete control of this situation:

    Fred. A true friend:
    Last edited by Willow Oak; 08-06-2008 at 12:39 PM. Reason: spelling; grammar

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North East Ohio
    I'm enjoying all of your posts!!

    Please keep them coming!
    ~Angie, Sierra & Buddy
    **Don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!**

    I suffer from multiple Shepherd syndrome

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