Saturday, August 30, 2008

How I got into rescuing squirrels and some cute stories and pics of squirrels we have had. Story of poor little Lazarus-

The pics above are- me with Fay after a feeding- Soleil sat on my shoulder the whole time and watched but never had any intent on hurting or even coming near the squirrels. Fay was the smallest squirrel we got. The next picture is of Gabriel eating. The next is either Lucky or Sadie, I can't remember which. The last picture is Lazarus before he died. :(

April and August are squirrel nesting and "hatching time" in Florida. April is a very stormy month with high winds and August is of course, hurricane season. So we get a lot of squirrels who fall out of their nests in these two months. Fay was particularly brutal for the babies this August. I called some local vets and gave them my name and cell phone number for rescuing baby squirrels. I am not a licenced wildlife rehabber, but I certainly have done my share of rescuing baby squirrels and raccoons over the years and have known how to do it since the age of nine, when I found a baby flying squirrel in my yard.

My folks were in Mexico and I was in the care of our dear black maid, Naomi. Now, Naomi did not care for critters of any sort, so I knew when I found that squirrel that I was on my own. I thought in my nine year old mind, "Who would know what to do?" So I called the zoo- looked up the number and asked for someone who knew about baby mammals. This dear person told me exactly what to feed and how often and that baby flying squirrel, whom I named Skitterray, thrived for a week. He would glide from my shoulder onto a hanging rug in my sister's room and scamper all around- he ate well and was very healthy. He was fond of sleeping with me and being nine and loving all animals, I let him. One morning I awoke to him under my knee, dead. I was devastated. I looked him over for any signs of respiratory infection, blood, etc. I knew that he had suffocated and I was just crushed. I went outside to bury him and on my way back I heard a squeaking, and there on the ground was another baby squirrel- a regular grey one. Even at that age, I thought surely God had placed him there just for me, to ease my pain, so I picked him up and proceeded into the house with him, much to Naomi's dismay. He then bit me very hard and ran off. I decided that he was NOT in any danger, and needed to be outside. So I freed him and he was fine- wet and angry, but fine. So from that day on, I have rescued squirrels. People who know me know I know a bit about wildlife, so over the years we have gotten calls from folks with baby raccoons in their garage, squirrels on their grass, etc. Jon and I have nursed many mammals back to life in our bathrooms. It's such a joy.

This year, we were inundated with squirrels. I have two friends that help me with the squirrels- one is Becca, my dear dear bird friend and the other is a new squirrel friend named Alana. One woman had kept the baby squirrel she had found, bathed him, and fed him for two days. She described him as "healthy and running all around and eating great." When she got here, and I took the squirrel out, Jules immediately said, " Oh gosh, Mama, he's SICK and he smells WRONG!" The lady looked at her like she was out of her mind. I said, " Yes he is, baby." " I just changed that bedding though." I explained that the smell was not urine but necrotic tissue- rotting skin. I asked if she had seen any wounds when her DOG BROUGHT IT TO HER. She answered no. I turned this precious baby over and there were three gaping wounds, one on his stomach and one under each armpit. I told her we would do the best we could and I would get back to her. Upon further inspection, we discovered (don't gag) that this baby had maggots in all three wounds. So we immediately went into action- Emily held the flashlight, Jon held Lazaurus still and I picked out the maggots with tweezers. It was AWFUL. I called a friend who is equipped with antibiotics (Alana) and she came immediately. We worked on him for 40 minutes. He had over 50 maggots under his skin. She said, " He needs to be euthanized." I agreed but it was Sunday afternoon and all the vets were closed. He lived for two more days. No one could have saved this squirrel- his wounds were just too bad and he was too weak to endure SURGERY and you don't sew up puncture wounds anyway. It was just an example of how people think they are doing good and they don't realize that there is more to it than just feeding the squirrel.

On the other hand we have had great success with the rest of the squirrels- they have all lived and are now with Alana and will be released into the wild when they are ready. Here are some pics of them - they are so small and frail and precious. Thanks to Becca who took them from me one night when I had a sinus infection and a migraine and was throwing up and kept them alive until Alana could take them. I LOVE YOU BECCA!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The little things people say................... judgemental or not??

Today was an ordinary day. I went shopping and when they asked, "Plastic or paper?" I answered, "Paper, because I use it once for my bird cages and then use it again as mulch." The girl doing my groceries whom I know, said, " You are just a joy to be around!" I looked at her and said, " Is that a joke?" She said, " No, Anne, you are truly a joy to be around- you are always smiling and you do so much good in your little part of the world." I am telling you I almost hugged her. Life lately has been filled with some people saying some pretty ugly things to me, thinking I am off kilter, and picking me apart about truly STUPID THINGS. So when Patti said that today, I thought, " Thank you God for that nice compliment." You see, alot of people like to judge me without being here or without knowing my situation. If there is one personality aspect I HATE, it when people are judgmental. Jesus hated people judging others as well. The Pharisees were Jewish leaders of high standing in the Jewish community and they despised Jesus as they didn't believe He was the son of God. They tried to trap him in mind games, word games, and judged him unmercifally. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke to this many times-

Matthew 7
1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Luke 6:36-38 (New International Version)
36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

In Psalms and Proverbs, mention is made hundreds of times of the fact that God alone is the judge of the entire earth and all that inhabit it. Go read any Psalm and almost without fail, God as judge is mentioned.

This leads me to believe that when we judge others, especially without knowing the specifics of THEIR SITUATION, we are not pleasing God. It doesn't matter how often we go to church or how often we teach Sunday school and it doesn't matter how good we look on the outside. If we judge others, God will use that same measure (kind or not kind) to judge OUR ACTIONS.

It is not difficult for me to not judge others. My mother and father, while not perfect did drill one important thing into my head. "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins." I think of that ALL THE TIME. I am not perfect, and I know I am NOT GOD. So when others make a judgement call about me or my life based on my blog, the fact that I have depression, or the way I dress or the number of animals I have, they are missing out on ME. That's sad. I tell my kids on a daily basis if they mention that someone is weird or scary or whatever, to remember that they don't know THE FIRST THING about that person's situation. That makes them stop and think, " Hmmm, maybe she dresses that way because she is depressed." or "Maybe his mom isn't home to wash his clothes and that's why he smells bad." In such a sad and miserable world, wouldn't it be nice if we could all just stop for a minute and put ourselves in other people's moccasins?? I am sure God would be pleased.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No blog entries for a while

Hi friends,
Life here has gotten real busy with school starting and I am swamped. So I am taking a 2 week break from the blog to get myself together and keep the world turning here. I'll be back.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More post Fay pics................

The first picture is the road between us and our neighbor, Doug. If you look carefully, you will see a blue heron on the left. Doug got a great shot of him catching a fish this morning and printed it and brought it to me as a thank you for being the FPL lady of the night, so to speak. ;)
Next we have our missing top board of the fence- no big deal- no dogs can escape, just a minor pain in the tush. The next picture is our hibiscus bush- again, not a huge loss, just a pain. The last picture is the generator in it's final resting spot on the pool porch. It's not going anywhere for a WHILE. I want to see 2 good days of sun and no wind before I put that sucker away.

Post Fay pics.................

Here are some post Fay pics- first these are pictures of Sadie, the little squirrel that we've had for three weeks- she is with a rehabber, scheduled for weaning and release pretty soon- she was an ANGEL. We all miss her and love her very much. The next picture is of the "cat station" in the garage- Izzy and Cookie are hanging out, trying to ignore the loud generator- they have a litter box nearby so they wouldn't have to go in the rain. The next photo is a picture of the tree that fell on the power line BEFORE FAY. We lost power for eight hours that day but Lee the magnificent restored it by nightime. Dang big tree.

FPL, smell, and hell. (Rated G) Not to be believed, but every word is true!

PS. I was going to add pictures to this post, but my kids used it during the storm to take pictures of all kind of things and AMAZINGLY they didn't put it back where it goes- big shock, eh? I'll post pics of this lovely event later, after I sift through the extension cords and flashlights and find the dang DANG camera. (Using all my self control here.)

Well, I cannot even begin to relay the events of the last 48 hours. But I will try. Our power goes out when the wind blows or when the rain falls on a good day. FPL is our service provider. They came out two days before the storm (we lost power for eight hours before Fay even came near us) and trimmed back some trees hoping that it would keep our power on. No such luck. I was in full disaster preparedness action- filling up water jugs, filling up old flashlights with new batteries, buying a family sized camping lantern, bleach, etc. Thank God for a dear FPL employee named Lee- he was our knight in shining armor twice. Well, we didn't have power for 12 hours- I call my sister and beg her to let the girls sleep at her house- she happily says, " Sure!"- during this time I got 2 calls from people with baby squirrels. Bridges were being closed and all hell was breaking loose outside. One couple came here and the other gal I met. So I had 5 baby squirrels that needed power for their heating pad. Easy- I'll go to Mama's- she's got power. But no air conditioning and it's 83 in her house. So Jon stayed here with no power and hooked up the generator and took care of the rest of the zoo and I slept at Mama's with no air (window open and Fay winds blowing through- it was fine) and got up every 3 hours to feed squirrels. (If you are feeling bad for Jon for being left here, don't- he got the better end of the deal.) It is MY CHOICE and I AM GLAD I AM SAVING THESE TINY LIVES, but I was SOOOO TIRED.
I call Lee on his cell phone ( long story, but I did not flirt with the man, I swear!) and beg him to come. So then dear Lee restored our power at 9:30 am- we cleaned, washed clothes and flushed toilets- BAD IDEA. You see, we are on a septic tank- and our drain field was flooded from the FIFTEEN inches of rain we got. If you are not familiar with the system, basically you have a huge tank in your yard that holds all the solid waste from your home- shower, sinks, toilets- the works. When the water level outside of the tank gets too high, the solids mix with the rain water and back up into your toilets or your yard. Now, this doesn't mean we had solid waste in the yard or the toilets, but it smelled like we did. So all toilets were off limits- we had to close them, close the doors to the bathrooms and not use sinks, showers or washing machines, lest we add MORE water to the already flooded field. So, now we are going to the bathroom, showering and doing laundry at my mom's . THANK GOD SHE HAD POWER. My girls are still at Aunt Susan's from the night before to sleep in a cool house. Thank God for sisters with power and patience. So our house is hot, the dogs are not happy to go out in the POURING RAIN and there is this vague methane odor in the house from the septic system. NICE. JUST LOVELY. Now mind you, during this I am totally focused on the POSITIVE and saying, " Thank you Lord that the kids are safe and comfortable, thank you Lord for Mama and Daddy's house having power, thank you that we have a generator- etc. I am not complaining and whining. I am getting a TAD stressed out, but I am a grateful girl for everything that we DO HAVE.
So when the power comes on, we clean and clean and vacuum and do everything we can because I KNOW IT"S GOING OUT AGAIN. Sure enough at 3:30 that day, the power goes out. But this time the house is at 75 degrees and it's clean- I WAS READY. Lug out the generator again (Jon is at work) and take the girls to ANOTHER friend's house to spend the night. (My dear sister called to let me know we were under a tornado warning and I didn't want the kids here under 150 foot, 100 year old oak trees.) I call Randy and Donna and say, " Can you keep my kids until our power comes back on? We're under a tornado warning and I do not want them here under these huge trees!!! (Keep in mind I am still going to my mom's every two hours to feed the five (six including Sadie) baby squirrels who are thriving and completely unaware of any stress. (I have to insert here- I am still having my intestinal problems and I am having my monthly blessing that tells me I am still capable of populating the earth. I am so so hot, I have cramps, and I have to run to Mama's every time I have to go to the bathroom. Are you getting the full picture here?) Then there's a tornado warning. I take the girls QUICKLY to Donna and Randy's and tell them, "Keep them safe for me, I'll be back when there is power." It is 7:30 pm. Thank God for friends with power who take pity on us. On the way home, I see an FPL truck. I think, " Now, there is a tornado warning, but there is your power saviour." Easy choice, I turn around (it's POURING), get out of my van and knock on his window. Scared the poor man to death. He rolls down his window and I tell my story of woe, very clearly and without emotion. ( I am soaking wet and am clearly no threat to him.) He looks on his computer and THERE WE ARE. He chooses BLESS HIS HEART to come do us now (seven houses are without power in our little area) and without going into the agonizing detail that I could (it was hell and involved calling 4 different neighbors, my husband, etc) I find out where the problem is and he flips a switch and WE HAVE POWER AGAIN. At this point, I tell him which Walgreen's my hubby works at and that if he EVER NEEDS ANYTHING medicinal to call me and that Jon will fill his gout medicine in record time if he ever needs a favor. It is 9:30 by now and it is still POURING. I am soaked and I haven't been home in over 3 hours. (By the way, sometime in all this mess, I called a squirrel rehabber and said, " PLEASE TAKE THESE SIX SQUIRRELS!!!! She met me at Walgreens and took them- thank you Alanna. I was so relieved- I had kept Sadie alive for three weeks and the little ones for almost 48 hours- and I was SO DONE. I walk in the door to LIGHT, AIR and lots of dogs who have either waited frantically for me to come home, or lost their patience and their bladder on the floor. NO BIG DEAL- I AM A HAPPY GIRL. Nothing can make me sad now, because KENT FROM FPL has restored our power. Praise the Lord. My neighbor has moved his car to our driveway because the road from our house to his house is under 20 inches of water. YES, 20 inches. There are fish swimming across our road and a huge gorgeous heron standing there looking regal. Em got pics on her phone. My brother and sister in law saved our kayak from being washed away as Mama and Daddy's little dock was completely under water and the big dock was about to be. So, here I am now, in a cool, clean house, with my dear little computer and a cup of coffee. We will be using Daddy's house for toilets and showers for a while and a septic company comes Tuesday- it's just the rain though, I know the tank doesn't need to be pumped out. The dogs are calm, fed and can now go outside because the RAIN HAS STOPPED. Now, if a certain branch leans on the power line, our power will go out again, but my thermostat is on 73 (mind you we keep our thermostat on 78 or 79 ALWAYS) and I am READY for the power to go out again. I think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New arrivals at the zoo- one is an old new addition! Tips if you find a baby animal in your yard after a storm!!!!

Here are the new arrivals at the zoo! First we have Janie- Janie is about 7 years old, is very very tiny and frail and is a SWEETHEART. She belonged to a woman who used to be "into" Chihuahuas and IGs and then got "into" blue heelers and was going to take Janie and her other two small dogs to Animal Care and Control. Someone who is a mom to one of Jules' friends told her, " Don't take Janie- I will take her to someone who I know will take her in." So here she is, so happy to be an inside dog and grateful for a quiet spot to sleep and food to eat. She is so little but she loves to eat. The next arrival is a baby squirrel named Sadie. She was brought to us by someone who found her on the ground in her yard. In these pictures, I had just woken her up so her eyes look sick, but she's NOT- she's just tired. She came about 2 weeks ago, after the pinkies died :( and she is doing great. She is eating 8 cc's of formula at each feeding and is close to being weaned to solid foods, and then we will release her in stages at my mom's house, as we have too many cats and dogs here for her to be safe in our yard. FYI- if you should ever find a baby bird or squirrel- look for the nest FIRST and put the baby back if you can- if not, keep it QUIET and WARM and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED IT. Then call your nearest vet or zoo and ask them who is a rehabber in your area. Most baby animals die from shock. You can prevent that by putting them in a box with a heating pad on LOW with lots of towels to keep it from being overheated. Baby animals have to be warm for 2- 3 hours before you feed them or they will die. Don't handle it unless you have no other way to keep it warm- I have been known to put baby birds under my shirt and lie down or sit there for 2 hours, if I don't have access to a box or heating pad. Keep your energy QUIET. Breathe slowly and don't freak out- that alone can cause an already stressed out little one to stress so badly that they die. I know for a fact that my holding one little bird on my heart for an hour is what kept it from dying. It was in major shock and it needed the comfort of a beating heart and warmth. The last picture is of course,Berkley. He was going to a friend from a vet, but she rapidly discovered that trying to keep up with a 10 week old puppy while working is IMPOSSIBLE. Since she worked at a vet and I know her well, she was a great option, but it was just too much. So he is here, and he is like our consolation prize since Max and Willow went to my friend in Cape Coral to be adopted out, which KILLED US. We hated to bust up that little family after everything they had been through. We don't keep young dogs EVER, but we just feel he belongs here and we easily have 3 dogs that will be gone before December. :( ( I mean die from old age or be put to sleep.) That sounds so morbid, but you can just tell when they get to a certain stage that things aren't going to get any better. Anyway, we're thrilled with our new zoo members and they are adjusting REALLY WELL. With Fay coming or not coming? we may get in more squirrels, so we are prepared- we have a box all ready with syringes, milk, heating pads, etc. The girls love this!!! They don't have school until Monday due to the storm, so we're going to have a nice long weekend. YAY!!!!!

Finally back on and here comes Fay!

Well, we were without power for eight hours and without phones and internet for six days due to a huge tree falling. I thought I would lose my mind without the computer. So now we are back and Fay is coming. I hope we don't lose them both again. Things here are just "weird". It's raining, we don't know whether school (the girls are supposed to start Friday) is cancelled or not, I am still sick with diarrhea, and it's forcasted to rain for the next SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT. Owning 15 dogs with that forecast is NOT FUN. Am I complaining? No, because it's not a big deal- I just feel kind of "off". I don't know where my kids will be, don't know when to let the dogs out, have a baby squirrel who needs to wean but won't and I feel tired and blah. I can't even write coherently today- dang. I will post pics of Sadie on the next post- she's a new baby squirrel that came about a week ago, right after the pinkies died. She's doing great and very healthy. Berkley stayed here- we had someone who was interested in him but realized that he is too much work for them with their work schedule. So we got a consolation prize named Berkley. Here he is, so cute and smart. He is half poodle (the smart part) and half Ig- the cute part.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

HOW DO YOU DO THIS????????????????

Most people are very complimentary of what we do here. I get the following comments all the time-

"You are surely doing God's work." (Well if I was a missionary I'd be CLOSER to doing God's work, but this is where He put me for right now and I do talk about God with almost everyone I talk to so it is God's work.)

"I am in awe and amazed at what you do."

"How do you do this? I can't keep up with one dog."

"Thank God you and Jon do this."

"How do you do this, it's unbelievable"

"I am so proud of the work you do."

So for the most part, I get positive marks for my work. Occasionally I get some angry and bitter person who thinks I am a nut, or that I am wasting my life. That doesn't bother me, though. I am really in touch with what is right, good and what God wants me to do. We don't live in filth, our kids are well taken care of, and the animals have the best care available. So, it's our work and we are happy doing it. The only job I remember loving more than this one was taking care of my infant and toddler girls and working with crack babies. ( I know, that sounds horrid, but taking care of innocent babies of all kinds has always been WHAT I DO BEST.) I loved holding those tiny black (most of them) babies and helping soothe them through withdrawals, feeding them, changing them- all of it. I LOVED IT. I would love to do that again one day. The work is the same - you are loving, nurturing, calming, stroking, feeding, murmuring to, and holding a tiny defenseless creature- whether human or animal. It's exactly the same work. It's gentle and loving work. (Of course, there is a larger responsibility when raising human babies, of course, but the actual motions are identical.).

Now as for the actual, " HOW DO YOU DO THIS?", I think people want to know- how do you schedule all of it and how do you have time for your kids or yourself. That's easy most of the time, with the only difficulty being when new animals arrive - and then that takes about 48 hours to find the "new rythym". So I thought I would let you see the schedule here- now granted, it changes if a child is sick, a dog is sick, or if we have a brand new zoo member who requires extra TLC. Surgery throws everything to heck and back. (Pica's surgery threw us off for a good three weeks.)

5-6:00 am- I awake or Jon awakes- whoever wakes up first does the morning shift or one of us wakes the other if we are running behind or not feeling well or just plain tired. The greyhounds get let out first, then let back in and given two dog biscuits. Then the porch dogs are let out and let back in. Porch dogs are fed breakfast. Greyhounds and inside dogs are fed breakfast. Then someone takes Pica out on a leash to do her business, as she is still on restriction. The cats are fed. The baby squirrel is fed. (Somewhere in here, for me is a piece of Ezekiel toast and coffee and my ADD meds- the sooner I have that, the better I feel to do all of this.) The girls wake at any given time and I make their breakfast or they make it themselves, depending on what they want- we do stress independence in our kids and we think that it is a GOOD AND HEALTHY thing for them not to think they have a waitress, maid and butler working for them. The kitchen looks like holy you know what in the mornings- it just does and I know that once the girls are at school it will all get cleaned up. So I just ignore it until the girls are gone.

7:30-9- roughly, the girls are taken to school and I uncover all the birds' cages and take out all the bowls and give fresh food and water. The girls are required to take care of their own personal birds before they leave for school. No tv in the morning unless you are ready to leave and your animals are fed and watered.

9:00- all dogs who are on meds get their meds, all dogs go out if it is sunny- they run and play and have a great time. I vacuum every day and clean the kitchen, start a load of laundry. From 9:00- 12:00 is when I am inside, doing my wifely and motherly duties.

12:00-3:00-Dogs are crated on porch with AC if it is hot. If weather is nice, they may stay outside. On rainy days, obviously this schedule is a joke- I am constantly running back and forth putting dogs out and letting them in, to avoid 13 wet dogs. It's no big deal- a pain in the tush, but we're all used to it. During this time I catch up on phone calls, laundry, scheduling, or nap (rare, but it happens).

2:00- 3:00- varies by day but I always try to feed all the zoo BEFORE MY KIDS GET HOME. That way I am open to JUST MY KIDS from 3-5 or 6. When the kids get home, I am mom, not zookeeper. I make a snack, they sit and tell me about their day and I ask questions, help with homework, etc. When the kids are done with homework, they have afternoon chores and then they can play or get on the computer etc. Their afternoon chores are easy like "feed the cats" or walking the greyhounds, or taking out the trash. Nothing too stressful. Dogs are out from 3-6 pm.

5:00- this is when I always feel like exploding or losing my mind. I don't know WHAT IT IS about 5:00 but I am tired, hungry, and it seems that EVERYONE WANTS TO CALL OR COME OVER. I HATE IT. I take the phone off the hook, I tell people not to come over between 5-7 and I am much calmer that way. There is some frantic energy in the air between 5-7 if I don't take the phone off the hook and allow people to come over. So I have learned to work with that. I have also learned to snack with the girls at 3:00 so I don't get low blood sugar at 5:00. The birds are vocalizing- they get some special treat to shut them up- like a piece of fruit or a small cracker- that solves THAT problem. I fix dinner and wait for Daddy to get home, or if Daddy is working late, we have easy suppers. I long ago quit beating myself up for my kids not getting five fruits and veggies a day- I don't, Jon doesn't, they don't, it's ok. IT"S OK. :) The do get fruit at least twice a day so if veggies are 3 times a week, that's fine.

6:00- zoo is closed. Birds are covered, dogs are porched for night and lights in house go off. (Encourages birds to rest.) This is a nice time of day here- the girls watch TV quietly or read or get on the computer or sometimes we play a family game. It's peaceful. On rough days, I may go to sleep at 7, or stay up until 9. Everyone is in bed by 9:30.

10-12:30 pm- Jon comes home if he has worked late, lets all animals out for final rest stop and then all are back in crates or house for the night. Jon is a night owl, so he doesn't mind doing the last let out and let back in of the day. Thank God for that. I am still asleep unless a squirrel needs to be fed or someone gets sick- then I am up feeding or cleaning up. Then the next day we start all over. As Kate says in Jon and Kate plus 8 (I hate her attitude and I don't endorse the show) "It's a crazy life, but it's OUR life!!!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Willow and the pups off to new home sweet homes!!!

Saturday I am meeting my dear friend Christa, who runs RocketAngel Italian Greyhound Rescue in Cape Coral- her website is listed on my sidebar. She will take Willow and the puppies and Daisy and find great homes for them and get them all sterilized. She is a pro at this and has successfully placed over 130 dogs in the last four years. She has alot more time at her discretion than I, and has an application and screening process. We are meeting in Orlando and I hope to see my brother and sister in law while I am there. It has been great watching them bloom and play- My bathroom floor will be free of "pee pee pads" and pee pee. Heavens, puppies pee ALL THE TIME. It will be hard to see Berkley and Willow go- we have all gotten attached to them- Max is a bulldozer- you get the feeling from watching him that he will be FINE no matter where he goes- Willow and Berkely are a bit more tender and vulnerable acting to me. But I am grateful for the help placing them. Have fun in your new homes, little ones.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sisterly love

Here are my girls yesterday after a long day of pinky duty. :) (They watched, I fed.) Emily had been thrown in a pool and landed on someone else's head with HER HEAD, so she's had a headache for a couple of days. THANKS UNCLE RANDY!!!! :) Anyway, Em wanted to sleep THERE with her sister and Jules was quick to let everyone know to BE QUIET, EM IS SLEEPING!!! (That should have quotes but I am tired.) These girls have their moments of anger and arguments but I have to say that they love each other deeply and would defend each other to the death. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU TWO!!! They truly understand the love of God. I want to say a huge thank you to Randy and Donna Clark, some of our dear dear friends from church who watched the girls all day Sunday so I could rest and get over this bug. They took them to church and kept them until 9pm. What love that is. Thanks guys- we love you. Randy and Donna are the ones who adopted Lainey from China this spring. They are great folks.

PINKY SQUIRRELS!!!!!!!!!!!! My kids are young wildlife rehabbers!!! YAY GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update on Tuesday- Charlotte the little girl is doing great!!!!

Well we never know what God is going to surprise us with on any given day. Today was extra special. While I was in the shower, Jules ran to me, " Mom, I checked the messages and someone called about three baby squirrels!!!" I am in mid shower which becomes end shower VERY QUICKLY. I yell to the girls- "Call her back and tell her I am coming." They were too shy. I called her and basically she had three pinkie squirrels that had fallen out of a nest that was so high up that we would need a cherry picker to put them back.Putting baby squirrels BACK is always the first priority. But that wasn't happening. So, I said, "Keep them next to your body and stay calm- don't let anyone hold them and stay in a quiet place away from loud kids." :( So 15 minutes later, me and my very trusted helpers were at her house, getting the squirrels and rushing to my vets for syringes and Ebsilac. We got home and waited for 30 minutes to make sure they were warm and then fed them. You have no idea what a PRECARIOUS job it is to feed pinkie squirrels- one wrong move and they aspirate the formula, get pneumonia, and die. My girls benefit in so many ways from our rescue work. They gain self confidence, compassion and responsibility. They also gain knowledge that might help them in future life if they ever take care of animals. Here are the pics of the 2 little boy squirrels and the little sister squirrel with my children. You can tell how tiny they are by the size- my friend who is in wildlife rehab guesses 10 days at the most. They will go to her soon And my kids know that they are CAPABLE and TRUSTWORTHY WITH A TINY LIFE. Good stuff. PS. Update- the two boys died- we got to them too late- they had fallen 30 feet out of a tree and both had injuries. I am in charge of the little girl and seem to be doing better.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our purposes in life..............


A recent disturbing phone call prompted me to write today. It made me think about what people's purpose in life is. As a Christian I believe that my purpose is to love God with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself. I also believe that whatever I do should help other people and not hurt them. My free time should even be proof of this. In other words, everything I do should be helping, loving, and good. I am not always successful at this, but I am careful not to say things to people that are mean or untrue or hurtful. Now, I have to admit that if I have been off my medication for depression for any length of time, I can say ugly things, but I am careful to quickly apologize and explain that I am truly a different person when I have not had my medicine.

Our purpose is to help other people, to love them, to treat them as we would like to be treated. My kids have grown up around this and just this morning Emily and Julianna were apologizing to each other for their short tempers as we ran late for church. I was so proud and I told them why. Kids need to know that apologies are God's pride. We all can be grumpy and say things we don't mean. The important thing is to recognize that and humble ourselves and say "I am sorry." My kids are the joy of my life and I could not be prouder of the fine young ladies they are turning out to be. They have grown up in love, constancy, and forgiveness. I know one day when I stand before God, I will not hang my head in shame over my parenting of those two.

What we spend our money on and what we spend our time doing tells the world what is important to us. If we watch sports all the time, that is important to us. If we read, that is important to us, if we nurture kids and animals, that is important to us. I believe that at the end of my life I want to know that I spent my time well on things that matter. I don't want to think that I wasted my life on things that have no value. When I die, noone will care that I didn't miss one hour of the Olympics, but they will care that I saved 100 animals from being killed. When I die, noone will care how much money I earned in the stock market, but they will remember that I loved my kids well. When I die, noone will care that I had the biggest or best house, boat, car, etc. But they will care that I told the truth and was willing to be a four in the morning friend. I am always thinking of how I can do better- how can I please God? What is my purpose? It's a good question to ask. This post was not so much to praise myself but to allow all of us to think, " What do we do with our time and how will that matter when we are gone?" I have a long way to go, but I hope God honors the efforts I make now.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nasty bug!

Well I wish the bug I've had was as lovely to look at as these, but it ISN'T. Wednesday while Mike and Sari were here, my stomach started hurting. I thought it was the Motrin I took. Then Thursday after putting Bianca down I had the big D. I thought, " Well, stress can cause the big D." Then I kept having it- and it was getting worse- I started seeing blood and I got so weak I could not stand except for going to the bathroom- over and over. Finally on Friday, I told Jon, " I have got to get this cultured and see a doctor- I have NEVER been sick like this before. So we went to the Urgent Care Center (with my cup of bugs), I laid down the whole time, and he gave me Flagyl (antibiotic for nasty stomach bugs) and some Donnatal for the horrible pain in my stomach and cramping. 24 hours later, I could stand. 48 hours later I can help out around here a little. For those first two days, I honestly felt like I was in hell. I was sweating, freezing, sweating, soaking wet, and too weak to change clothes, so I just put more covers on. I was so weak that the only way I could get Jon or the girls to bring me food or meds was to dial the house phone from my cell phone. (I was upstairs away from the general population and common bathroom so noone else would get it.) Thank God Jon was off and my kids can fend for themselves as everyone was somewhere else doing fun things. I also forgot to take my antidepressants for three days which added to the depression I always get while being sick made me a raving LUNATIC. I wanted to die, I wanted all the animals to die, I wanted someone to kill me. I lay in bed and wished for Bianca's fate. ( I am serious- I wanted someone to put me to sleep- I thought about calling my vet, but I was pretty sure they wouldn't do it, even if I paid them. It was really really bad. Any little thing that someone said to me made me cry- I was a mess. But the good news is that I am feeling better- almost want to eat real food and haven't visited the bathroom in six hours. Jon and the kids did a great job taking care of the zoo. Thank you guys. Note to self- if you are going to be sick, make sure Jon crams the Lexapro down your throat!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bianca- 1998?-2008

Today was a sad first for us. Even sadder, it will be taking place over and over as we take care of senior citizens. It is part of a job that we love,(taking care of seniors) but it is the part of the job that we dread. I took Bianca to be euthanized. Bianca came to us three years ago from Animal Care and Control with her sister, Tigger. She was a quiet, calm, peaceful dog who loved to be held like a baby and loved to lick me behind my ear. A year ago she was diagnosed with Pemphigus which is an auto immune disorder where the body attacks itself- her skin would break open with sores and the pads of her feet would seperate from the muscle of the pads. It was awful. My wonderful vet, Dr. Bouchelle diagnosed her and told me that it wasn't a war we would ever win but we could give her time with steroids. So she has been on Prednisone and Azothiaprine for almost a year which caused her to gain a tremendous amount of weight, take on fluid, and be voraciously hungry 24 hours a day. She has been uncomfortable and stays sleeping when she is not eating. So I decided today after praying about it for two weeks- it was the day. I cried so hard I thought I was going to throw up but when it was over, I felt such a weight off my shoulders. I held her and stroked her and told her to tell God hi for me. She went peacefully under the loving care of Dr. Rockefeller while I stroked her and told her what a wonderful dog she had been. She will be cremated. I usually bring our animals home but I didn't want to bury this dog. I wanted her to be returned to dust so her sad overweight body can be shed and she will have her new body in heaven. (Don't even start with me about animals, their souls, and whether they go to heaven.) The kids are sad but understand that euthanasia is the final act of love an owner can give an old or sick dog. Pray for Tigger- that her grief will be not too hard to bear and that she will eat. We love you, Bonki- Boogers. We love you so very much, Bonk Bonk. I will post her picture as soon as I can find a good one that shows her before she became so swollen and tired. :)

Thank you to some really special people, Mike and Sari!

In life there are friends, and then there are FRIENDS. I am so grateful for two of our friends, Mike and Sari- Mike works at Walgreens with Jon as a pharmacy tech, and Sari is his girlfriend/gonna get married to girl who studies psychology at college. Where do I start with these two? First of all, they are family to us. They come here often to hang out and eat with us and our kids consider them like an aunt and uncle. They are a joy to be with. I could hang out with Sari ALL DAY LONG. She is super bright, intuitive, compassionate, honest, loving, and a real friend to me and I thank God for her. Jon and Mike have a great friendship and often kill people on tv or the computer together. That's real friendship between men, you know.

Yesterday Sari called me with a semi- desperate sound to her voice- "Hey Annie, what are you doing today?" I replied, " Cleaning, organizing, cleaning, organizing, cleaning puppy poop and helping Jon get the house ready to shampoo the carpets, why?" "I HAVE GOT TO GET OUT OF THIS APARTMENT, CAN I PLEASE COME OVER?" "ABSOLUTELY- I'll be happy to see you!". So in about an hour, Sari and Mike walk in our house and I thought, " Oh, thank God, I need some help!" So they LITERALLY SPENT 12 HOURS with us- they folded clothes, they vacuumed carpets, they adored puppies and new mommas, Sari helped me go through my jewelry box (nightmare) and get my bedroom into shape. They let dogs out, they walked dogs, they let dogs in, they cleaned up after dogs, swam with my kids, they did it ALL. Now, that is a real friend. And I cannot tell you without crying how much it meant to me. We hadn't been able to get on top of things since the last five dogs came in- our children are first, the animals come second, and then the house comes last. So guess what was falling apart? Not my kids and not my animals. THE HOUSE. And Sari is a pro at organizing things- it's HER GOD given gift. So today I thank God again for Sari and Mike and tell them, " WE LOVE YOU!" "THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!" They know that if they call us at four in the am with flooded carpet they have a place to stay- for as long as they need to. I would post pictures of them, but we were ENTIRELY TOO BUSY yesterday to take pictures. I will get some from Sari and add them later.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Em's new middle school look!!!

Hey everyone- we wanted you to see Emily's new haircut for middle school. She got it layered all over and today is day 2 so it doesn't look EXACTLY like it will but you can get a general idea- very polished and styled- we love it and so does Em. It was my gift to her for middle school- she's not a fru fru girl, so nails or clothes weren't needed- but a new haircut was a big ego boost for her. WE LOVE YOU EMILY BEMILY BOO!!!!!

Pharaoh's Haven two step- don't ya wanna join in???

There's a new dance craze sweeping our house, called the Pharaoh's Haven two step. I know you will want to join in after you read how much fun it is. It is neccesary to have puppies to do this dance so if you don't, you'll have to come here to do it. You need bare feet or tennishoes- either will work-
Step one- step in poop
Step two- lift foot in air and scream or moan (depends on your age and tolerance for poop)
Step three- Hop to bathroom, sink, or outside hose
Step four- mumble or scream about how much puppies poop
Step five- clean up feet or tennishoes
Step six- look at pup's faces and think, "Gosh it's good that they're so dang cute or I would kill them." SEE ABOVE PICS FOR PROOF OF CUTENESS. :)
Alternate two step- we do this dance more often than dance #1
Step one- watch pup poop or pee on floor
Step two- moan or scream as above
Step three- clean it up
Step four- ask yourself and God, " Now why am I doing this again, Lord?"
Now, we thought that by limiting the pups and their mom to the master bathroom we could avoid the Haven Two Step, but it hasn't worked out in theory. For instance, when Jules decides to take the pups out front with their mother, one will stop and do their business FAST on the wood floor- thank God they haven't hit the carpet yet- everyone else has. In fact, today is shampoo the carpets day. Honestly we need to rip it all up forever, but we can't afford more wood floors. So, we will do our best to clean filth (that's an oxymoron) and keep looking to God for guidance. The good news is I am setting up my own Petfinder site to get these guys homes SOON, and then life will be back to some sort of quasi- normal. Today I wrote the mom of the house we got the pups and Willow from a long heart felt letter about God, hope, and the way God can help her get order and loving discipline in her home- Pray that it goes over well.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New fosters here at the zoo! VERY SAD SITUATION- PRAYER NEEDED!

Lately things around here have picked
up a notch. My friend Christa called me
about Daisy, the little black dog- she is
a purebred IG, one and a half years old
and very very frightened of most things. She was living in a nice clean trailer with a very wonderful man who just couldn't handle her constant peeing in the house. I totally understand. It's an IG- they are so hard to housebreak. She is doing well here and will be adopted out soon.
The picture above is Max, ( I think- I never know where the pics will wind up.) His mom is Willow- a 5- 6 year old, fawn female IG. She is the mother of Max and Berkley- two IG/poodle pups that are eight weeks old. Berkley is the one with shaved hair, that has speckles. My friend Michelle and I went to get the three of them last night. The people we got them from had probably 14 dogs of all breeds- a great dane, some Samoyeds, dachshunds, poodles, then snakes, - the house was very very dirty and this family has some definite issues and it was a definite rescue. The woman who contacted me is the responsible one in the family and I am so glad that she made the choice to allow us to take the dogs. She is spaying and neutering the rest of the dogs and that makes me very happy. This family could truly use prayer. Pray for baby A, her mother, and just the whole family. I intend on contacting the mom at a later time and discussing the treatment of her children by the father. That's all I will say, but you can fill in the blanks. It was BAD. One of the individuals is studying to be a wiccan (a modern day witch). I absolutely told them about Jesus and told them that the only way to change their life was through Christ. As always, God had me there for the dogs, but more for the people who needed to hear that Jesus offers hope. They told me that the mother (Willow) was "Schizo" and would not come to me. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was in a loud and chaotic house and IGs do not do well in that kind of environment. She is very happy here and very very concerned if her puppies leave her sight. We will make a decision about them after the pups are old enough to be away from their mom- they are weaned, but emotionally the mother and the pups are NOT READY to be seperated, especially given the recent change in their lives. As always, God showed me AGAIN that my work for HIM is through his animals- that is how I reach the people. Amazing. I never cease to be amazed at how SPECIFIC GOD IS. He is so beyond explanation. I am in awe. I have no contempt for this family, I just so want those children, that one week old baby, and that entire family to know what peace, love, and order looks like with God.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Why I won't change!

I was prompted to write today based on my friend's blog entry about the heat. This girl is so funny, she should do stand up comedy. I was her roomate in college. I don't envy her life and she doesn't envy mine, but we sure are good friends. Anyway, her blog about hell made me think about life in Florida doing rescue. When I say I won't change, it has to do with clothing, not bad habits or my thoughts about things- God is always at work on my heart telling me things that need to change. I was comforted the other day when we visited Shirley's place- she was dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, tennishoes, and a hand towel. A hand towel? Yep, across one shoulder, a white one, that stayed there the whole time we visited. For what purpose you wonder? To wipe sweat out of her eyes and forehead every five minutes. I thought, " Oh thank God, I am not the only one!" You see, when you live in Florida, you have two options. Only two. Stay inside ALL DAY or get wet. When you walk outside, it takes maybe 5 minutes for your delicate underthings to get SOAKING WET with sweat. Then it soaks through to your shirt and shorts. So when you live in Florida, you have several ways you can deal with it. If you are a clean freak, don't live here. You will change clothes every time you go outside- not good for your energy bill, not good for your washing machine and certainly not good for your work load. Your other option is to DEAL WITH IT. This means putting on antipersperant several times a day, buying stock in Shower to Shower powder and using it liberally and getting used to feeling damp all the time. In my business, you are going to stay pretty damp all day and your clothes are going to get dirty- dog paws, bird poop, cat hair, you name it, it's on your clothes. So, my motto is "change when you have to". I change shirts about three or four times a day and I take a shower at the end of the day when all the dirty jobs are done- not don't get me wrong- when I LEAVE MY PROPERTY, I am always showered, clean, makeup is on and I look like a real person. But around here, it's strictly trying to keep up. And five showers a day I don't have time for. I love short hair and I love shorts. Don't worry, my hubby is the same way- so he's not horrified to see cat hair or dog paw prints on my shorts. It's life around here. In fact, Jon said, " Anne, let's make a deal- you check my shirt for bird poop when we leave the house and I'll check yours, ok?" "That's a great idea, babe!" Not romantic, but it works. Horse people have the same experience- you are soaking wet by the time you groom, much less by the time you ride- and if you are going to stay at home and muck the stalls, you are not showering in between. When the chores are DONE, (never around here) then you luxuriate in a warm shower and lots of soap. And wait for the next time you have to walk outside. So I look at the clean people (the really clean ones with the high maintenance hair and face) and wonder, " Don't they get soaking wet too?" They do a good job of disguising it, but I bet their face is sliding off on their way to the car from Target. The only difference is my face, although sliding off, doesn't WIPE OFF- it's strictly my skin. Thank God.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Very very cool place- wonderful woman!

Today we went to Fallin Pines Critter Rescue in Christmas Florida. The owner, Shirley Canaan, is a treasure of a woman. She has four acres of the most tastefully done cages and enclosures you can imagine. I don't know the exact count of exotic animals at her place but I would guess at LEAST 75. Some are permanent residents and some are adoptable. She has kangaroos, wallabies, prevost squirrels- our personal favorites, African Grey Parrots, Macaws, Lovebirds, ground squirrels, chickens, ducks, baby calves, bunnies, tortoises, a Nile Monitor (her personal favorite - NOT) and a horse, LORD, I can't remember everything. And above all, lots of baby squirrels that she hand feeds every four hours around the clock. She has a contract with Orange County and when an exotic animal is brought to them, it goes straight to Shirley. Once she had 69 baby squirrels at ONE TIME. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW IMPOSSIBLE THAT WOULD BE???????????????? Amazing woman. And that 69 may be another number- I am awful with numbers, but it was HUGE. I have hand fed baby squirrels and let me tell you, it is a HUGE TIME COMMITMENT and very very wearying. She was gracious, friendly and best of all, has the best sense of humor and we loved her. She is not open to the public- but we were buying a cage from her for our outdoor sunning time and so she let us see the place- what a treasure she is. I highly recommend donating to Shirley's rescue work- she does what few people are willing to do and she has not gone on vacation even for ONE DAY since 1988. She has few volunteers- really only a great couple that come each weekend to help her- and she is always gracious and cheerful on the phone which she has attached to her hip at all times, as Orange County calls at all hours, even two in the morning. Here are some pics from her website as my DANG CAMERA died there- I WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MAD. We're going to go back and donate a day to her- we don't have any money but we do have time and since we're a rescue we know what needs to be done and she makes a list. She thinks we won't come back (she gets a lot of empty promises) but she doesn't know the Trinkles. :) WE LOVE YOU SHIRLEY!!!!!!!!! Here is the link to Shirley's place-