Monday, November 22, 2010


The Tale of Two Labs

On October 3rd I was not opening emails unless it dealt with The Gala or appeared as though a horse's life was hanging on it. Except if I heard from Karen. I always opened her emails.

It was early on the morning of October 3rd. And Karen, a Sister in Rescue, had sent out an email about two dogs that she was most concerned about. This woman, for those of you who knew Keller, was the woman who made it possible for Keller to survive long enough to make it here. She works diligently for the dogs in her depressed area of the world.

This is what Karen's email said to me that morning:

Dear Friends:

Every day at the August clinic in Redby there were two labs standing outside the fence. These labs were hungry and very scared. Our compassionate volunteers put food out as the labs inched their way from outside the fence into the fence of the warehouse. Everyone was hoping we could catch them, but it never happened. You could get so close to them, then they would back away.

Well, the clinic ended and all the volunteers went their own way, many since have emailed and inquired about the two labs. On several occasions I dumped a bag of dog food at the warehouse, and only saw the two labs two times.

One day I made a visit to John and Elaine L., two familiar faces at the clinic as they have 3 small dogs. They are a retired couple who live near the drive–in restaurant in Redby who love animals. While we visited they told me of two black labs they had been feeding. I was so happy.

Yesterday I visited and left another bag of dog food. There I met the two labs. They love John and Elaine. They follow John wherever he goes. They could hold them, pet them, and they never leave the yard. The dogs get along with the cats and the small dogs too. They are loyal and soft spirited. John and Elaine say they would like to keep them, however, they cannot and are asking that someone take them at the next clinic. John said, ”They love each other and they have to go together”. I assured him we would try and find a place where they could be together. They need to be vetted too.

Does anyone have any ideas about a rescue that might take the dogs when the clinic ends on October 16th? Their transformation is remarkable. It is so great to know that these 2 homeless dogs won’t have to suffer through the winter looking for food. This story has made my day and hope it makes yours too!


As I read the story of these two dogs, I found my eyes overflowing. What was it about this email that touched me more than all of the others that have come to this desk? Why these two dogs and not any of the others?

It was simple. At least in my heart. You see, I left out a part of Karen's email. The part that grabbed my heart and would not let go. The part that explained that the names of these two dogs were "Lady" and "Man".

Oh, my. How could I not respond? How could I let these two go by when their names brought memories of big brown eyes and the wagging tail of Little Man? And the love and endurance and comic behaviors of Laddee, the Little Belgian Mare? How could I not reach out to these two unwanted creatures? Little creatures with the names of "Lady" and "Man"?

I sat for only seconds before I wrote back to Karen and said:

Karen -

Hoping this finds you well. It has been a while since Keller has crossed but this year, his grave manifested him in lilies and alliums and an entire assortment of flowers. His companion, Babee IV, the cat with kidney disease, has also since crossed and, as I promised them both, she is buried right on top of him. Her adoration is a yellow peony plant. It will take 2 - 3 years before the plant blooms, but such was their relationship. It took a while to develop, but once it did, they two were beautiful together.

These two labs - Refuge Farms would be willing to adopt the two of them since we are now "dogless". However, we would need to have them neutered and current on vac's, if at all possible. The world of horse rescue is as bad as I've ever seen it. The need for our services is skyrocketing and the donations are declining. Preaching to the choir, aren't I?

So, if it works out that you have no other options for these two, we will give them a forever home. We will keep them together and they will be showered with tons of love and care.

I'll wait to hear from you. Thanks, Karen.

And keep your eye on the animals.

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,

Not seconds later, Karen shot back a group email that said:

Hi all:

Boy - God is good!! After our two labs stories were put on the email, Sandra Gilbert of Refuge Farms in Wisconsin sent us an email and wishes to adopt THEM BOTH!!! She previously adopted a dog, Keller, german shep from RLRR that had been poisoned and gave the blind dog 6 months of love and care.

The rest is history, as they say. Lady and Man appeared during the week thanks to the loving transport (and hundred of miles driven!) of Kristin R. and her Mom. The two dogs were larger than I had anticipated and much calmer than I had ever dreamed!
I had the box stall ready for them - shavings, water, blankets. I was expecting street dogs. But what appeared were loving, sensitive animals who respected humans and wanted nothing but love and the absence of hollering and hitting. So the very first night they came into the house and found kennels with blankets and big bones waiting for them.

And it has been smooth sailing ever since. No accidents in the house at all. Man, the big "Bruiser" as I call him, will howl if he or his little sister need to go outside before I take them. Lady, the little girl, is a spitfire and ready to run into the pastures the second I am not looking. Not to chase the horses any more but to find the choice frozen clump of manure to bring back to her brother so they can dine together!

We have overcome the panic that sets in when they cannot eat the manure of the other. At first, I was totally unprepared for this behavior but soon figured that they had needed to survive and so they fed off of each other. But now, they know there is food twice a day and they no longer need to rely on each other for nutrition. That panic is gone.

The grass eating is significantly diminished, too. But not the horse manure yet. That will take time. I've been here before with Lady, the Dog. It does no good to fight it. When they've had enough, they'll stop. And I cannot convince them to stop before they reach that point. Really simple. Just don't let them kiss you. Not yet, anyhow.

They seem very healthy and Man weighed in at 96 pounds when he arrived. He is over one hundred by now. He is stocky and strong and appears wise. Almost old in his eyes. I can see where he was the defender and the "big brother" of the two. He had to do the protecting and the guarding. He was the adult to allow his little sister to be the puppy.

And Lady is just that. She is a handful of love and energy. And fear. Something about children has her running away from them. But that, too, will change in time. She will learn that the children here will not hurt her. She will learn to trust children again.

And the little girl has been hurt. She shows enormous gestures of submission and fear if I should holler or reach for her collar. It is at this point that Man steps in and just works his way between us. He is The Protector. Still.

And play!! These two rough-house and play with each other just as puppies should. And don't think for a moment that just because Man outweighs Lady by fifty pounds that he has the upper hand. No way! Lady is quick and agile and she often shows him just how good a wrestler she is! And as I watch them, I think of how he perhaps is allowing her to win. The big brother, even in their playfulness.

So, there are two new kids on THE FARM. A little girl named Lady. A little girl with history and bruises on her soul. A little girl who will heal and become relaxed and playful as she learns of the love that grows here. Just like the other Laddee. And a little boy named Man. With deep eyes and the tale of burden on his shoulders. A dog who has had to grow up well before his time but who holds no grudge toward anyone. Just wanting his back scratched, please. Just like the other Little Man.
It is a good thing we did here. These two do need to stay together. John was very right when he made that stipulation. These two are joined at the hip, most surely. And by the way, John and Elaine, you did marvelous work with these dogs! They are great companions and fantastic house dogs! Never, ever could you tell that these two lived on the streets! Not once would you guess that as you would now see them in their kennels with their big bones and overturned bowls and bunched up blankets. Nah . . . not these two little puppies!

So now once again, trips to the barn are me and the dogs. Dogs who came here because of their names. Lady and Man. Oh, how sweet it is to call to them! I call loudly and clearly as I say their names! I call to the sky and these two little creatures appear. I call to their namesakes and here they come . . .

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd and Lady and Man

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?