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Animal Snippets (Volume 114 - again - October 30, 2012 - January 28, 2013)

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

(November of 2012 was a really sad month. Two of our beloved cats disappeared within two days of each other, most likely the victims of coyotes, attracted to our property by our young neighbor’s sheep and goats. We let him graze his herd on our land for several weeks in late fall, not realizing that we were endangering our own animals. For sixteen years we never lost a single pet to predation.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This is Rabbit’s 13th anniversary. I can still see that darling little colt coming off the trailer, whites of his eyes showing, blue belly rope dangling behind his front legs.

To honor the day, and because it is such a lovely, mild morning (with potentially record-breaking afternoon highs expected), we took Rabbit and Dewey for a walk/grazing expedition by the sheep and goat herd and along the length of the hayfield. I purposely left the gate open so Rocky could come along.

Dewey was so revved up Ellis could barely manage him. We switched horses for the more dangerous walk back along the narrow creek path.

Rocky is so funny. He went into the open sheep/goat fencing next to the area currently containing Ben’s herd. I had to herd him back out.

He waited until Rabbit, Dewey, Ellis and I were at the extreme far end of the hayfield. Then he let out a large whinny, sounding like Fury, and ran to us, switching back and forth from a fast canter to a gait used only by gaited horses, which from the front makes his feet look like clappers in a large, ringing bell.

God, is he cute! Who would have dreamed, when he wearily shuffled over to our house from next door, head down, stumbling with every step and laboring mightily to put one hoof in front of the other, that he would be flying down the hayfield three and a half years later, looking like the lead equine star in an old-fashioned western?

It has now been a week since I saw Scout; nine days since I saw Ozzie. It has been a period of intense soul-searching. I look into my soul and my soul says’ “What the fuck are you looking in here for?” And then it says, “To quote from Jeff Probst, ‘I got nothing for you.’ “

(Black) Friday, November 23, 2012

It was so awful driving into Madison last Saturday. We passed a beautiful buck with large antlers standing in the middle of a cornfield which parallels Highway 14. You could tell he was just out of ideas. I’m sure hunters were driving him into the open from wooded areas on three sides of the cornfield. His choices were to run into the highway or stay where he was. I was heartsick. We probably witnessed his last moments of life. I sent out a prayer for him and an apology. Humans just suck - I hate being one. Oh, I read that hunters killed a record number of bears this year - 4,400 just in Wisconsin. That shocked me. How can there even be that many alive to kill?

Yesterday I started letting the horses graze on the fourth, last section of pasture. Rocky was so excited he galloped/gaited all the way down there from the barn. Then he roared around in the new pasture, bucking and looking like a three year old colt. He scares me. What if he’s a vampire horse and has achieved immortality but you can’t tell because most of his teeth have fallen out?

Saturday night, 10:40 pm, December 15, 2012

Slogging through the holiday season, one exhausting, stressed out day at a time…

Last night Katie’s leg-licking kept us up all night. (Labrador retrievers are notoriously obsessive-compulsive.) Because of it, Ellis is sleeping in the other room tonight.

Since he’s vacated, Katie is sleeping on the bed with me instead of on her bed in the corner. I think she’s cold at night. The floor is drafty, but she’s too insecure to sleep elsewhere, as Boomer does. Boomer is independent and hedonistic — he would never choose companionship with us over his own personal comfort!

She’ll be warmer up here, and hopefully, comfortable enough that she won’t keep waking me up. Her default mode, when stressed, is to obsessively lick her front leg. If she does start licking, I can bump her body until she stops.

What if I did that when I was stressed out? Can you see that? I’m at the library with three people in line, on a day when we’re short-staffed, all the worse patrons show up, and my boss is being her most invasive, over-controlling self.

So I stop searching on the computer, prop my right leg up on the circulation desk, lean over and start licking myself, over and over and over, right above my right knee. What would people do, after they’ve exchanged incredulous glances?

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