Monday, April 16, 2012

Improving My View

Last week was awful. The easiest thing to handle was Vet2Be having his impacted wisdom teeth removed.

Really, that was the easiest.

The next easiest was me taking a bad fall in the barn on Wednesday. Vet2Be asked, "Are you okay?" My reply, "Nope, not okay!" I ended up bruised and banged up along my right side from head to foot. No guitar playing the rest of this week.

We also found out our [unofficial] foster son is going to Afghanistan for a year. He volunteered for duty. They need medics over there. It's the right thing to do, and we're very proud of him, but it doesn't give us 'warm-fuzzies'.

Add to that all the trials with animals over the week, and we've had a pretty difficult Spring Break vacation.

But it would be unfair of me to leave you with the idea that we have nasty neighbors, and that there was no good that came from this week. We think some of the complaints filed against us and our friends who live two blocks away were made by one or two people who have their "undies in a bunch" and are generally unhappy people.

So, here's a brief report of what happened this week and the blessings that we have received.

The Trials

Not only did someone in our neighborhood complain to the city about us for having too many animals, but someone has also been opening gates and letting animals out in our 3 block area. Our gates all have padlocks on them now, which is frustrating if we want to get to the garden from inside the backyard or the barnyard, but it keeps the animals safe.

The animal control officer in our town is fair and kind. She asked about our animals and even gave us until the end of the month instead of the two weeks I asked for.

One of the questions the animal control officer asked was if our dogs were licensed. One was, one wasn't. The one that wasn't licensed gets a tumor every time he gets a rabies shot. But considering what has been going on lately, I decided to get him a rabies shot and get him licensed anyway. We would have to figure out the tumor thing when it develops again. At least the dogs would be safe if they were picked up. Not that they run off, but if someone is letting dogs out of gates, then I want to make sure our dogs jingle (they have ALL their tags on them!)

Since I couldn't find the licensed dogs tags and paperwork, I decided to get them both rabies shots to be on the safe side, especially because someone is opening gates.

The clinic I took the dogs to refused to give the dog that gets tumors a shot. Yep! They wouldn't give him one!
If I bring him in disguise, I wonder if they would give him a rabies shot?
 Luckily for us we have a phenomenal vet clinic that Vet2Be volunteers at. So instead of making a donation to the low-cost clinic, I made arrangements to take him to our vet.

Instead of giving him a rabies shot in the usual place (back of the neck where there is lots of loose skin) they gave him a shot in his lower leg. The tech treated the area as if it was a surgical site by shaving the injection site, wiping it down with chlorhexadine and alcohol twice, and using a smaller needle to administer the shot. She's got good records of the shot and the procedure.

If you are in our area I highly recommend Timpanogos Animal Hospital. I usually try to keep things anonymous here because my goal for the blog was to help others and to document our successes, failures, and learning experiences. But if you need a good vet, it's nice to know where to find one.

The animal control officer found out that we couldn't get a waiver if the dogs get a tumor from a rabies shot, BUT if we can document it this time with our current vet, if he does get a tumor then she can help us change the ordinance. She said she's pretty sure there are other dogs that aren't licensed for the same reason.

Someone also reported another friend about 2 blocks away for having 4 horses and 4 dogs. Her property really is big enough for 4 horses, but apparently the 'concerned citizen' didn't realize that. Four dogs are not allowed in our town unless you have a breeders license. This family has had four horses and four dogs for 27 years. There are a few of us who think it is one of the new people in the area that is the anonymous 'concerned citizen'. Probably the same one that is baiting and trapping neighbors' house cats.

We found out that on Monday night someone opened all the gates at our friend's house down the road. Someone intended that her dogs and goats all get out. Thankfully one of the dogs was noisy (not unusual, really) but she got up and was able to take care of all the gates and the animals before anyone got off the property.

On Tuesday morning I got a call from a friend who was looking for her daughter. Just before she hung up she asked if we knew who owned two big, fluffy white dogs because the animal control officer had them and they were still on the street.

We have some other friends who live two blocks away. Vet2Be has been taking care of their two Great Pyrenees and their ducks while they were gone on vacation for two weeks. Someone came by and let them out, too. There is no way that the dogs could have opened the gate. The latch is too high and these dogs, because of their size, can't even jump a 2 foot fence.

We ran out the door and jumped in the car (me without shoes) to try to do something about the situation.

Thankfully, the animal control officer knew us from the day before, knew we took good care of our animals and asked us to take the dogs to our house for the rest of the week while the family was gone. Really! She didn't want to take them to the shelter, she asked us to take care of them.

On Thursday, after all the rabies shot problems, and letting the officer know about locking all our gates AND putting locks on the vacationing neighbor's gates, the animal control officer also told us that we could take the dogs back to their place. She knew that it was harder on large guard dogs to be away from their flock than it was for them to be away from their people. We told her we would keep them here anyway, just to be on the safe side.

I've not been as good as I should be about keeping a good attitude about everything.

I've been pretty miffed about everything that's happened. I've been sore physically, and emotionally.

The Blessings

So, where is the good and what are the blessings?

Yes, we have too many animals. However, our neighbors (north, south, and east) all like the animals. One family rented their home BECAUSE the animals were right there for her to look at. Another neighbor is a retired dairy farmer and she loves watching the goat kids from her window every spring. And she loves bringing her grandchildren to the back fence to pet the animals.

The neighbors know and are grateful that we take good care of the animals. A number of the animals are rescued, but well behaved and good with people. We have 3 of the 5 neighbors that share fence lines tell us that they WANT our animals here, they never want us to get rid of the llamas or the sheep or the goats (and goat kids).

We have not one, but three neighbors, as well as Sheepy, who volunteered to house the extra animals in their pastures. One neighbor was so upset that we would get rid of the llama, huarizo (llama x alpaca), and sheep that she talked to me for 20 minutes trying to figure out a way to 'storm city hall' and 'make them let us keep the extra animals!' And this lady is usually a meek, mild woman!

We had lots of people who thought it was ridiculous that someone would count sheep and goats in the same way as you would count a horse, as far as upkeep, housing, mess, and pasture maintenance.

The support of good friends and generous neighbors is uplifting, strengthening, and sustaining. And I need to pay more attention to them than to the 'undies-in-a-bunch-concerned-citizen'.

Another blessing was that if the animal control officer hadn't been to our place on Monday, it's doubtful that she would have let us take the neighbor's dogs to our place.

And the fact that we are now on good terms and friendly with the animal control officer will also be a nice thing. Not that we would ever take advantage of her, that's not our way, but she knows us, knows our concerns, knows that we are trying to keep within the law, knows we take good care of our animals, and she knows that we care for other people's animals and aren't vindictive (although there have been a few times this week I would have liked to...... rain on someone else's parade..... with buck urine!)

The animal control officer gave us to the end of the month, instead of the two weeks I asked for, to remove the extra animals. That turned out great since the rest of this week was spent with other animal problems to deal with.

I told the officer about the dog we found and returned to it's owners, she said that's how she would hope and expect neighbors to be. She's not vindictive and she won't act unless there is a formal, filed complaint.

She also said that there has been alot of 'activity' in our area and she has no idea why.

I don't either.

But I'm going to do a better job seeing the blessings and the hand of God in between the trials we, and others, have been had during the last week.
"We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord's way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive." —Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I haven't forgiven as quickly as I should or let things go as soon as I should this week. My fault is greater than our 'concerned citizen' who is picking on her neighbors.

Vet2Be took this photo this week. If I could learn from the flock to be accepting, understanding, and forgiving, that would be a good thing.

Guardians of the herd: the two on the left. On the right is Vet2Be's gentle ewe who is letting the goat kids jump all over her.
Good Karma was born this week, too. The last of the does kidded a healthy, strong, and very large buckling.


Monday's Child said...

You're a much nicer person than I. For someone to be letting people's animals out isn't merely annoying, it's criminal. And since it's coming with complaints to animal control, it isn't likely to be just mischievous kids.

Forgive? That's up to you. But I'd also make a serious effort to figure out who it is and report them. Next time it might be poison instead of opened gates. This is a person with no respect for any of you, nor concern for the safety of these animals. They just want them gone.

TJ said...

You're right, it is criminal. And we were advised by the local police department to report any gates that are opened so that when they find out who it is, they can have a list of opened gates they can add to the charge.

When I mean forgive, I means I won't be vindictive, it doesn't mean that we will blindly allow the behavior to go on. I'm not going to pick on them for any code or covenant violation I can to make their life miserable. That will only bring the neighborhood down a notch, not build back the 'we're a family here' feel that we've had for so many years. That's what I want back. That's what many of our fence neighbors want, too.

You are right, whoever it is has no concern for the safety and well being of the animals. I'm sure they would be horrified to know that the sheep would probably be put into someone's freezer :)

Monday's Child said...

Ah. Yes, petty revenge is pointless and... well... petty. No, it never occurred to me that you would do anything like that!

TJ said...

Thanks. I'm glad that I don't come across that way.

And thanks very much for visiting so often and leaving heartfelt comments. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to have a dialog!

Laurel said...

They should be counting AUMs for how many animals you can have. Unless you have a HOA most counties give you a number of horses you can have per acre. 1 horse is equal to 4 sheep. So I can have 16 sheep because I can have 4 horses. But one llama counts as one horse, sadly. Also, we use our neighbor's pasture. They have signed a waiver that our animals have access to it, so the county accepted that so we could keep our animals. We to have been called in by a nosy neighbor. Of course if he steps foot on my property again to count my animals he's either going to get a warning shot fired over his head or a doberman turned loose on him. It was 3 years ago and I"m still fuming mad about it.

TJ said...

No HOA. We never wanted to move into a neighborhood where we had to police our neighbors!

Someone recently tried to change our city ordinance to a point system similar to the AUM system. 1 chicken was 1 point as a baseline.

Unfortunately the planning commission thought that was too difficult and didn't do it. It surprised me because I thought a point system would would have been soooooo easy! If I have 115 points for 60,000 square feet, all I would have to do would be go out to the yard and count the points that were running around!