RANGER AGAINST WAR: Animal Refugees <

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Animal Refugees

--Hobo sign for kindhearted woman

She's a good-hearted woman
in love with a good timin' man

She loves him in spite of his

ways she don't understand

--Good-Hearted Woman
Waylon Jennings

It's a hard world for little things

--Night of the Hunter

I'm a Mekong crocodile from Vietnam
When the napalm scorched each tree
I swam to Laos at dead of night
I'm an animal refugee
--Animal Refugee,
Sheena Blackhall


My neighbor Chris came over this morning to ask about the latest cat seeking succor on our little corner of the planet. "What's the line on this tortoise-shell? Is it a he or she . . . well, she's been sleeping on our porch and the dogs don't attack her." "Probably abandoned -- she drinks water here but is very skittish," says I.

It's becoming an old story: Owners move or drop the animals off due to lack of finances or interest, and the poor animals must fend for themselves. To those not inclined to being kind-hearted, they are now officially "nuisances".

My last cat had this ignoble pedigree -- found as a kitten at a construction site, she was passed through two owners before I inherited her with the rental. Ranger was also found by a beautiful and sweet American Pit Bulldog this August who obviously escaped from being fought as he had multiple wounds. Just washed up on his back porch one morning, and he has earned the name "Tyke" from Buster Brown commercials.

He must find a home as Ranger's dog is terribly aggressive towards him
(the Pit is properly deferential and has no aggression.) So this is an advert, as well:

If anyone would love a sweet and tender small (50 lb.) Pit Bulldog
anywhere near the North Florida area, please contact us; we will transport him.

This sad state of affairs seem to be increasing in this poor economic milieu. Seeing the film,
Night of the Hunter this Friday dovetailed with the dog's and cat's plight and drove the point home hard what life was once like and can be again: Among other things, it is the story of orphan children during The Depression taken in by a kindly older woman (played by Lillian Gish). During the Depression, hobos would leave signs by the roadside to let newcomers know what they might expect at each house, kindness or a brushoff.

Of course, the animals have no signposts and may just as well be flayed as fed. I fear the abandonment will occur more often as people lose their means of support, and also become meaner, enjoying "sports" like dog fighting as a means to express anger. It was just yesterday we enjoyed our blood lust at colisseum fights; bullfighting is still the rage, and safaris are still fun for those with the bucks. Perhaps sometimes, war is
The Most Dangerous Game.

I don't know what else to say. Be kind
. Be responsible, even if others are not. Try and dilute the misery in the world by taking constructive steps to improve someone's lot, even if that someone is an animal.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent Lisa, your last paragraph "IS" the answer to many of the world's ills,Doc

Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 11:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I read a minister once explain Jesus's mindset simply, "He GAVE a damnn". Maybe it's as simple as that.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 10:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to back up a few paragraphs to the subject of 'Tyke'.

My jaw dropped after reading the proclamation, "(the Pit is properly deferential and has no aggression.)". I believe that the above statement should be qualified to: 'Tyke seems to knows his place in a Ranger run household'.

I can assure you that the lamb has the wolfs nature and a few behavioral wild cards, as well. Place Tyke in the wrong household and the Ranger might be shocked to see the flip side of a 'properly deferential' pit. I'd err on the side of caution in this matter, as failure is not an option.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh.....I am unfortunately all too familiar with this societal phenom., living as I do (and know Ranger does as well) on the edge of a rural town.

I'm not a dog person, in fact I generally don't like them, but the best dog I ever met showed up on the farm one day several years ago on the coldest day of that winter. All ribs and with some kind of collar rub around her neck. A yellow lab. I put her in the barn in an empty stall and gave her a ham bone, thinking an owner would soon come forth and a happy reunion was imminent. Couple hours later I started feeling guilty with it being minus 0 outside. So I brought her in. She was so grateful and so well mannered. To make a long story short, we put up fliers, called vets, called the pound - everyone and anyone we could think of - in an effort to find the owner that surely must have been missing this wonderful companion. After about a month I was actually glad no one claimed her. For the next few years, she lived a happy life on the farm. She was allowed to roam unfettered, but never left the property unless following the horses on a trail ride. Boy, she loved to go out on those trail rides. We would gallop the horses and she'd be right there running along behind and eventually catching up. She would follow us out to the stables and she knew which chaps and which boots and which horses indicated a trail ride as opposed to arena work or jogging around the property perimeter.

Saddly, two years ago, she succumbed to conditions associated with advanced age (according to the vet).

We get our share of cats too. These we leave to more Darwinian forces. They are welcome to hang out in the barn, where they serve the farm by eliminating grain pilfering rodents. We supplement that diet with just enough cat food to keep them healthy, yet still lean and mean enough to be merciless on the mice. A few of these cats - the smartest and toughest - have been around for several years. Others, fall prey to coyotes and automobiles. We do spay/neuter when there is free campaign for this. So we give them a chance.

The biggst impact of the economy has been on the horses themselves. It used to be that a sound retired race horse could be converted into a hunter/jumper or dressage performer, or maybe just a good riding horse, in a summer and someone would be happy to pay a couple large for it. Or, there was always someone who would pick up a nice reasonably successful mare as breeding stock. Now, it is a major effort to simply give them away for free. Worse, there are actually people looking for free horses for food. I caught on when someone called about a free horse and asked me how much the horse weighed. It wasn't the last time I was asked that question. There has been an increasing trend in that direction over the past two years. Needless to say, I tell those people to take a hike.


Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE Avedis's post on "free" horses and assessing the horse's weight...

The prospective recipient of "free" horse is often headed directly to selling the horse for pet food and is primarily interested in determining if the horse's weight will yield enough profit to justify the gas to get it to it's end. :(

Jay in N.C.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 12:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay That is true re pet food. However, there are also peole - esp. French Canadians - that enjoy horse meat.


Monday, October 31, 2011 at 12:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you for sharing your animal stories. Those in the country have a special perspective on the abandonment issue as those heartless enough to abandon must feel out of sight, out of mind, and often drop the animals off in the country.

Per Avedis: Slate just featured an article on eating horse meat.

To anon re . the animal's temperament: Any animal can be a killer, just as any car can be a missile, when mishandled.

The Pits get a bad rap as they are often trained for fighting, but their history is as "mother" dogs, i.e., caretaker for children. They are happy, sweet and utterly devoted. This particular dog esp. so. He is well-adjusted as he defers to the Alpha; it is Jim's dog which is old (14) and cannot learn to socialize, as he has never had to in the past.

It is fascinating watching them, as Buddy (Jim's dog), does not play, and does not fetch, where the new dog does. If Tyke is lying in the field chewing something, Buddy will attack him to get it, and then walk away from it. He is like a selfish child, which is to say, like a child.

Sadly, Tyke must be re-homed quickly, or a new foster family found.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 1:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Besides my misspelling of "damn" in the previous quotation, I also like this one from Thoreau, who is one of my favorites:

Be Not Simply Good, Be Good for Something

We are fortunate to know several people via this blog who personify that aphorism.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 1:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


p.s. -- The dogs on Jim's property have rec'd no special training. It is just the native temperaments of these dogs do not mesh.

Buddy (14) is high-strung, anxious, aggressive towards submissives and possessive of his territory.

The Pit appears more properly socialized in that he defers. In the grotesque "sport" of dogfighting, one must be used as the "loser" -- the ones the others train against. It appears that Tyke was the submissive. Does he know how to fight? Yes, but he only fights in defense; he has never aggressed.

His only problem is, he tries to get Buddy to play, and this Buddy does not like.

He would be an excellent dog for a one-owner household or one with property and other well-adjusted animals.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 2:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia, subject Pit Bulls:

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in 2000 a study on dog bite-related fatalities (DBRF) that covered the years 1979–1998. The study found reports of 238 people killed by dogs over the 24-year period, of which "pit bull terrier" or mixes thereof were reportedly responsible for killing 76, or about 32 percent, of the people killed by dogs in the attacks identified in the study. The breed with the next-highest number of attributed fatalities was the Rottweiler and mixes thereof, with 44 fatalities or about 18 percent of the study-identified fatalities."

Pit bulls and Rotties constitute about 5-7% of the dogs in the US, yet are implicated in 50% of human fatalities.

I have working dogs, that do tracking, obedience, and protection on the field and at home. They very carefully bred for their job, genetic and tempermental soundness is everything. I have seen one unprovoked attack on a trainer and judge, it was a pretty horrifying attack, as the dog went for her face and she is disfigured for life.

The club went thru the field video's of that day. The experts could see by the dogs body language that it snapped without provocation. The dog had been working in the same club for years with no problems.

From what I can glean this pit-dog was bred for fighting and it didn't cut the mustard, so it was likely abandoned, fight injured, wounds untreated. It appears to have accepted it's role at the Ranger ranch as less than top dog. That's good, but I caution that in a different command structure Tyler might become a radically different animal.

No matter how much we want Tyke to find a happy home, my experience tells me to exercise caution. Do not place him in a home with kids or someone that just wants a 'happy' dog. Many may see my reply as rather heartless. I assure you it is not. I'm trying to be kind, really.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 5:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thanks. It seems likely that he did not pass muster, and hence was abandoned. The high injury #'s you cite are largely due to this vicious training.

In past years, the American pit bull was known as a tender of children and an excellent family-type dog (source material widely avail.) People will dispute the breed's temperaments til the cows come home.

Thoroughly agreed, however, that the new owner must be familiar with dealing with dogs from this unfortunate background.

When I was a child, my father was given a K-9 German Shepherd that failed the academy, as well. He was the sweetest dog, and would lie in my lap, his head as big as a pumpkin. Rebel was orange and black and furious-looking, but a teddy bear.

Until one day his training kicked in (not against us), so I know what you're saying.

Monday, October 31, 2011 at 7:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

thanks for your input and concern, but i ALWAYS err on the side of prudence.
I would never put Tyke in a family with children.NEVER. It's the kids i mistrust b/c they don't know of what you so appropriately describe. Being on eye level with any dog can trigger aggression- as it does with Rangers.
Tyke needs an environment similar to that provided by Avedis.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:16:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

All my cats were wash up strays and i just carried them along, AFTER SPAY AND NEUTER.Since i no longer do horses, all the cats are gone.
i've seen dogs so desperate and hungry that they take brutal ass beatings from my dogs JUST TO GET SOME FOOD. I free choice my dogs. It's so weird b/c my dogs ain't under fed. The vet yesterday commented on Tykes improved weight status.
I've seen and killed packed up feral dogs that attacked Buddy as if they were a trained fire team. If i hadn't been there i think they would've eaten my dog.
I once saved a Catahoula male and he later turned on me and i had to put him down. My general policy is to only own dogs that i've raised from pups.
Good for you by saving the Labrador. They like Leopard dogs are good around horses. I've never understood why horsemen have Jack Russells.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I've risked a brutal ass beating just to get some.... too. Maybe my general dislike of dogs is a form of self loathing?

More seriously, sometimes it occurs to me that being in the race horse biz, albeit in a relatively lite way, is just another exploitation of our four legged bro.s and sisters. The thought weighs more heavily given the current post race career outlook. On the other hand, those thoroughbreds love to run. It's in their blood. And it's natural beauty defined when they do it well.

My brother and I have agreed to sell our land holdings; including the farm. My back is teatering on the brink of the point of no return and my wife is no longer the spry daring Saratoga/Belmont gallop girl she used to be. Our hard riding/hard working/hard playing days are over. We are lucky to have survived the way we do as long as we have.

My wife and I, as a team, used to go out to break and train laughing al the way at the dangers and abuse we would likely endure. Now we approach with trepidation and shared words of caution.

We are thinking we don't want to go out with our boots on.

We contemplate how grand life will be in an apartment with no animals to tend to, no fences to mend or stalls to muck in the dead of winter or wild colts to break. But then what? Socialize with civilized humans?

I waaay digress. Delete? Nah, maybe you can relate. Or not. F'it.

Feral dogs: bad news. We have them here too. Not right where I live, but down the road a ways where my uncle is, those things are a problem. Truly vicious predators. Agreed, they are very well organized with excellent command structure. They are said to attack humans and I believe it. They certainly kill sheep and calfs. My uncle can't shoot for sh!t. Mister direct commission USAF 1950 pops off at them with a (RUSTY!!!) .22 mag. He has put more holes in his outbuildings than he has dogs. It's been a while, but I used to go down there I knock them off with a Springfield '03A3.

Good luck with Tyke.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The irony is that i won't kill coyotes , but have been forced to shoot vicious attacking dogs.
You can call me BUCKSHOT.
Buy a condo here in FL. They are reasonably priced these days.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 10:48:00 AM GMT-5  

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