Sometimes Love Isn’t Enough

We have a visitor right now. She weighs about 10lbs, isn’t very steady on her feet and spends a lot of time shaking. She’s from the same puppy mill Winnie was taken out of and clearly they are related. So here I go again, trying to help a mill dog become a good pet for someone.

As we get to know her I’ll be making a list of things she will need to know before going to a permanent home. I want her more steady on her feet. She lacks muscle and coordination. She needs to learn how to get up and down stairs. She needs to be able to go off leash in an fenced yard. She needs to be able to get herself out a door to go potty.

These things a pretty normal for our normal pets, but they are hard work for a mill dog. You’d think going through a door would be no big deal. But, this can be a major phobia for these dogs. It took Winnie months to learn to step over a threshold and go through a doorway.

We are starting out a little further into the journey than with Winnie. She’s already been fostered for just over a year, and then was adopted. So she’s basically potty trained and doesn’t try to hide in her crate. She doesn’t run if she hears loud noises although she certainly does react.

The adoption did not work out, the owner describing her as a ‘shell’. But, we’ve already seen some sparks of a personality, most of this thanks to Sammy Sam, who is exactly the type of well adjusted pet dogs like this need to learn from. In some many things I’ve read about mill dogs, a well adjusted dog to be a role model is described as the number one thing that can bring them around. Sammy Sam will soon have an honourary degree in doggy therapy. For mill dogs, who basically have a canine form of PTSD love isn’t really enough.


Backyard visitor–Red Bellied Woodpecker

I admit the title “Birder” sounds a little strange to me, as it suggests something more participatory than watching birds. And although I may be a birder, I’m certainly not a twitcher (someone who travels long distances to see birds). I prefer to let them come to me. I am a list maker however, and keeping a list of birds in my special list book is something I enjoy. My bird list contains few rarities–these are just the birds that inhabit the same environs I do. I’ve been keeping a life list for several years now, but throughout 2019 I kept a list of all the birds I saw. Today I sat down and took a final count–there were 75. A few birds that I didn’t quite identify didn’t make it on my list–like the black duck I thought I saw just before Christmas. I figure confirming it over the next few days will give me a jump on the 2020 list.

January 1Black Capped Chickadees
January 1Northern Cardinal
January 1Wild Turkey
January 1Dark Eyed Junco
January 1American Gold Finch
January 2Red Breasted Nuthatch
January 2White Breasted Nuthatch
January 2Mourning Dove
January 3Ringbill Gulls
January 11Raven
January 14American Crow
January 14Red Tail Hawk
January 17Purple Finch
January 19Hairy Woodpecker
January 20Redpoll
January 20Sharp Shinned Hawk
January 28Rock Doves
January 29Pileated Woodpecker
February 7Blue Jay
February 6Snowbirds
February 24European Starlings
February 6Snowy Owl
March 4Canada Goose
March 12Brown Creeper
March 14Common Grackle
March 17American Robin
March 17Red Wind Blackbird
March 18Turkey Vulture
March 20Blue Heron
March 20American Kestrel
March 20Common Merganzer
March 21Killdeer
March 23Mute Swan
May 5Bald Eagle
May 6Eastern Bluebird
April 17Red Headed Woodpecker
April 17Double Crested Cormorant
April 21Common Loon
April 21Osprey
April 21Yellow Shafted Flicker
April 21Eastern Phoebe
April 21Northern Meganzer
April 29Belted King Fisher
May 6House Finch
May 11Tree Swallow
May 14Cowbird
May 17Catbird
May 17Field Sparrow
May 20Baltimore Oriel
May 19House Sparrow
May 24Brown Thrasher
May 26Bobolink
May 27Barn Swallow
May 24Mallard Duck
July 26Green Heron
June 27House Wren
June 27Ruby Throated Hummingbird
July 5Cedar Waxwings
August 18Herring Gull
August 18Yellow Warbler
August 18Lesser Yellowlegs
August 18Caspian Tern
August 18Common Tern
August 18Dowitcher
August 18Least Sandpiper
August 18Semipalmated Sandpiper
August 18Egret
August 18Downey Woodpecker
August 19ā€ˇGallinula
August 19Willet
August 19Bairds Sandpiper
August 19Black Bellied Sandpiper
August 27Phoebe
October 10Song Sparrow
October 12Red Bellied Woodpecker