Sunday, January 1, 2012

All they want...

One of the two dogs  most loyal to me (in our family of five dogs) is pictured here.  This is Rand McNally a.k.a. as Randy.

Randy is nine years old this year and we've had him since he was about four months old.  His history and his coming to us is quite the story which I won't chronicle here--it'd be too much like a proud parent showing snapshots of their children:  a topic fascinating to the parent and not many others.   Suffice it to say, a lady in Massachusetts gave Randy to me as a thank you for some special treatment of a baby horse I was transporting to her.  Randy traveled across the United States with me on one of my "long routes" which took me through Texas.

About two and a half years ago, Randy, who was extremely overweight (140+ pounds), was diagnosed with a thyroid condition.  After blood tests, he was put on a daily drug to level this out.  It was a success and he's now a  svelte 90-ish pounds (he goes up and down depending on how much food he can steal from my puppy). 

Said puppy joined our household in April, 2011.  This photo was taken in May:

From before Dietre even arrived, I kept talking to Randy about "his baby."  Randy accepted Dietre from the very first minute and they are fast friends now, eight months later.

Early in the summer, I was working and received a call from Maryann, my wife.  Randy was having convulsions!  She was terrified. This gentle giant of a dog was having a full blown epileptic seizure episode and there was absolutely NOTHING she could do.

Needless to say we took Randy to one of our vets and he immediately blew off his condition with "he's epileptic, many middle-aged dogs become that way."   He prescribed phenobarbital to help alleviate the severity of the seizures--another drug Randy will need for the rest of his life.  Since he started on the drug, the frequency and severity of Randy's seizures has been reduced.  He's had a number of minor episodes and a couple of major ones.   As his person, I've been there for most of them and the feeling of helplessness and dread is all-consuming. I've done a lot of research and it's likely Randy will have these seizures for as long as he lives.

All this is leading up to my topic for today.  Pets are important in many of our lives be they dogs, cats, horses, goats, monkeys or whatever.  We adopt these animals and bring them into our lives.  They depend on us for just about everything but demand very little except our attention and our love.  I see Randy or Dietre watching me with big, soulful eyes.  They love without condition and accept no matter what we do or who we are.  I pop Dietre on his butt for doing something bad--it's only a matter of a minute or two before he comes back to me wiggling and begging to be loved.

My wife is very involved in animal rescue.  For those of you who follow her on Facebook, you see or read about animals who have been treated terribly by their keepers.  In most cases, those animals aren't angry at the world or the people who mistreated them--they accept and go on . . .  or not. For animal lovers, this summons up anger and tears.

We are animal nuts here at Miniature Ventures.  Our list of animals goes on and on and on.  We love each and every one of them and  their health and safety is imperative to us.  The thought of mistreating or abusing any one of them is foreign to us and we can't understand the mentality of people who do. But we live in the real world and know this goes on every day.

Our local animal shelter is a non-kill facility.  That means they do their utmost to find homes for all the animals brought to them.   When we first moved here, I brought them eighteen feral cats which we live-trapped.   They were able to rehabilitate the vast majority of them and placed them in adoptive homes.   This is important to us.   We don't live in a huge community but the shelter more often than not is over-flowing with pets of all kinds and ages.  Maryann often posts photos of animals who need homes and has had success fairly often.   We have adopted several cats and an elderly dog from our shelter and will continue to do that as we can.  We love animals and it's not their fault that they are here and perhaps homeless. Generally, except for the horse babies we produce, we are a "forever home" for those creatures both great and small.

I've read case studies and stories about animals who have been able to touch and change autistic children; about animals who can reduce blood pressure for those who have hypertension; about animals who have brought back to life people who they loved; about animals who have rescued whole families from fire; and about animals who have traveled thousands of miles to find the people they loved.  Creatures are a gift to us humans.   Watching tropical fish in a tank is a tremendous stress-reducer.  Seeing a herd of young horses galloping across a field is something that can take one's breath away.  Puppy kisses make more than babies laugh!  Cuddling up with a best friend or two while reading a good book or watching a movie is incredibly satisfying.  Having an animal friend you can talk to or cry to without fear of judgement or recrimination  is remarkable.  They DO talk's in their eyes.  It's in their love.

All our pets ask is for us to love them.  They return that love with loyalty.  They return that love in kind.  Our animals can overwhelm us with their love.  And they want so little in return .

Unless their name is Dietre.  He wants it all (smile).


  1. You and Maryann are exceptional in many ways, your love of animals only one of them. The creatures who find their way into your lives are very, very fortunate souls.

    I understand not wanting pets. What I don't understand is when people bring animals into their homes and lives and then neglect or abuse them. Horrible.

  2. I don't know you, but after reading this, I think I fell in love with your wife and you a little bit. God bless you for all you do. My heart melted when I read that you adopted an old dog because that is my thing. My age (and my husband) keeps me from having a house full of dogs. I only have 2 - both adopted from the pound. I have adopted 4 old dogs so far. I do that because old doesn't make them garbage. I love the old dogs! My story is here: (if you are interested)

    Thank you for all you do for the sweet creatures that you help.

  3. Hi Darlene, thank you. We actually have our second adoptive elderly dog, a 13 year old coon hound. This dog, Lucy, was saved from being put down because she was incontinent. Our first, who was 7 when we got him was a Bernese Mountain Dog ( a dog only supposed to live maybe 10 or 11 years. He was 11 when we needed to put him to sleep. We'll always have an elderly dog with us.... I like what you say, "just because old doesn't make them garbage." Good thing at my age :=) I will come and visit your blog.

  4. Beth, thank've been a part of our virtual lives for many years now. You know who we are and what we do--we won't change!

  5. I know how I found you. I followed my friend, Beth, here. hee hee

    Living with an incontinent pet is a trial. The last two years of Vinnie's life was hard because of his incontinence. But, we made adjustments. I know a doggie diaper would have been the best solution, but he was a nervous biter. I bought him the best "britches" I could find and all the disposable diapers for the britches, but could not get them on him. He was adamant that he would die biting before he let me put them on him. So...we had to limit him to one area of the house that I was able to carpet with pee pee pads. He was quite happy with his space because it was my computer room. He always wanted to be by my side and I do spend a lot of time on the computer. I always wanted to hold him, but he was terrified of anyone picking him up and when I did manage, it was like hugging a board. His last two days of life, he allowed me to hold and cuddle him. I will always treasure that time. When he entered his coma, I laid him in his bed. He was gone before morning @ nearly 18 years old. Even as cranky as he was, I miss him so much. Molly was the lucky pound dog to take Vinnie's place. She is the sweetest dog I could ever have found. She makes us smile every day.

    Thanks for reading my blog. I kind of thought you would like that.

  6. Darlene, we built a "red-neck" doggie door for our old girl in our sliding door. She learned to use it right away. It's not pretty but it works and has the added advantage of us not needing to worry about letting any of the animals out---they do it themselves. Add the fenced back yard and it's almost perfect!

  7. I love your story, Larry. I'm a dog lover, now on my third rescue dog, and it's heartbreaking to see and hear some of the stories of things these poor things go through. You're right in saying all they want is love--and they give so much! Bless you.


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