Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Legend of 9 Dogs Howling

It’s not just a legend. 9 Dogs Howling is a real place, located in the countryside of west Tennessee, where Jean and Mr. P. run an unfunded animal rescue ranch. It’s a free, all-love, no-kill, home-based shelter for the many unwanted animals discarded in rural ditches by people who are cruel, careless, or fool themselves into thinking that small puppies and kittens (often unweaned) can survive even one day of hunger, thirst, injury, disease, coyotes and birds of prey.

Here’s the story of how it all began.

Once upon a time we had one small, pure-bred dog: a fawn French bulldog, Georgie. Then a co-worker of Mr. P’s sold us a 9-month-old black pug his family didn’t want any more. They’d been keeping her caged 24 hours a day. We named her Polly. Those two spoiled dogs had a small, fenced-in yard beside our house, which sits on a 4.5 acre plot in the middle of farm country. Our neighbors grow soybeans, corn, milo, winter wheat, and cotton; some of them keep cattle or goats. In our early days here, as transplanted Yankees, we thought we had arrived in heaven. We enjoyed watching deer stealing fruit from our orchard, foxes playing on the hillside, bunnies hopping through our strawberry patch. Mr. P. planted a big vegetable garden, more fruit trees, berry bushes, wildflowers in our meadow, and two asparagus patches.

Then the critters began to arrive, and we began to joke that neighborhood “pee-mail” was promoting our home as an animal refuge. A week after adopting Patch we learned she was pregnant. When her 4 pups arrived, we couldn’t bring ourselves to part with them. Later Blackie arrived and delivered a litter of 11 puppies under our storage shed. Another neighborhood dog brought us one of her puppies. At the same time, kittens appeared, liked what they saw here, and stayed. Possum was pregnant when she arrived; we still have one of her kittens, Licorice. We’ve found homes for some of the critters; others have disappeared or perished from injuries (fights with wild animals, collision with cars and trucks); and some have found a permanent home here. At one time we had 21 dogs and 12 cats. At the moment we have 10 dogs and 3 cats.

Every newcomer gets a veterinary check-up, treatment for any disease or injury they bring with them, and spaying or neutering. The cats and any very large dogs (what we call Outdoor Dogs) have crates and blankets in our garage. Large dogs have crates, food & water bowls in an insulated 8x10 shed with access to the enlarged fenced-in yard, and also spend time with us indoors; medium and small dogs sleep indoors and also spend time in the fenced-in yard. All but the outdoor dogs get heartworm and flea medication, annual checkups and treatment for any illness or injury at a nearby animal hospital. New dogs who behave aggressively with the others indoors get reassigned to the garage, but most of the time, it’s one big happy family (or in canine terms, a pack).

I’m giving it to you straight when I say we didn’t take in all those abandoned critters because we’re high-minded animal philanthropists. We did it because we love animals and just can’t say no to them. The only animal shelter in our area has a troubled history, with reports of animal neglect, so until a better public facility is established, we’ll go on doing our best to take care of the dogs and cats who show up on our property looking for love and care.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Doggy Day Care

Sometimes a house is not just a home.

Sometimes it's a doggy day care center.

Patch waits her turn

Alicia's biggest fan is Patch. Here she's seen waiting for Alicia to get tired of Sadie and return to hugging the Best Dog.

Our honored guest

This weekend, my friend Alicia was a dinner guest here at the 9 Dogs Howling ranch. Not many people are willing to tackle this gang unless they're being paid for it. I suppose we paid Alicia with a tasty dinner, but it looks like she got some love and joy out of it too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

We've hired an intern

We've hired an intern here at 9 Dogs Howling. Her name is Sadie and she is possibly the smallest, youngest canine applicant we've ever hired. If you hear about a murder in west TN, it's probably because Mr. P. caught the creep who dropped her off out here. She's covered with ticks and fleas and represents another big financial investment, but she's eager to learn and we expect great things of her.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teddy's Armchair

Of course my arm is on the chair's arm. That's what armchairs are for. And I have kind of an overflow problem if I try to fit my whole body into the seat of this chair.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Today at Sunday School

Jesus loves us

even though

we shed hair

where 'er we go

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Your are my sunshine

Dear Georgie,

You are my sunshine,

my only sunshine

you make me happy

when skies are grey.

You'll never know dear

how much I love you

please don't take

my sunshine away...



Canine symmetry

Symmetry is good, is it not? Meg and Teddy seem to agree with that, and at the same time remain on duty protecting the 9 Dogs Howling Ranch.

Inquiring minds want to know...

What's in the garbage can?

The 9 Dogs Howling Garbage Investigation Team did a thorough check of the kitchen garbage today, and had mixed feelings about their findings:

Empty mushroom package (are mushrooms even food? for who?)

Empty plastic bag that had contained onions (huh?)

Wrapper from brie cheese (very stinky and very intriguing)

3 mail order catalogs (of no interest because not related to dogs or food)

Yesterday's newspaper (a slight whiff of neighborhood dog saliva on it)

One empty egg shell (why, pray tell, was this egg not cooked and served to the dogs with English muffins, Canadian bacon, and Hollandaise sauce?)

4 urine-soaked paper towels (we know nothingk! nothingk!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who Dunnit?

Is Reiki guilty or innocent?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guard Duty

Meg & Teddy are on guard duty up on the deck while Patch patrols the perimeter. Keeping everyone safe at 9 Dogs Howling is a big job, but they're not afraid of hard work.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Who's the cutest puppy?

Babe says: VOTE FOR ME, BABE! I'm the cutest puppy in the world, and you know it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Step by step

We no longer have a couch, so I shoved the coffee table against the wall. Some of the dogs like to lie underneath it (like a little clubhouse) but yesterday Georgie decided to explore the top of it. Since he's way too short and chubby to jump directly onto it, he first hopped up in the littlest dog chair (on the right in this pic), then onto the coffee table, then on the throw pillow that happened to be on it. By the time I got the camera out, he'd already moved on, intent on checking out the sewing machine cabinet.

It's cold outside!

But we're nice and warm and cuddled up inside.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

He's doing it again!

It just isn't fair. Babe does it over and over again, being adorable, being irresistable, smiling, tucking those big Bassett paws in against his little body, exuding cuteness and softness and pet-ability until I can't bear it another minute and have to bury my face in his neck and kiss him and whisper to him in baby talk.

Queen Patch Reigns Supreme

When Patch first arrived, she was a ditch dog and although we liked her, we didn't give her our hearts immediately, thinking she would wander off as so many dogs do out here in the country. But she stayed, and she played her cards right. Always polite, never demanding, sweetly appreciative for every little friendly gesture and every cup of kibble we gave. Little did we know that she was secretly a slut who'd been sleeping around the neighborhood and was knocked up with pups from two (count 'em, two) daddies. We're now convinced that she got pregnant on purpose, to play on our heartstrings and earn her way inside the house. She slept in a crate in the garage without complaint, but when she went into labor on the coldest December day we'd seen down here, we brought her inside. She had her pups, and she stayed. And although she is still grateful, she also knows she's got it made, and she's proud of her status as the #3 Indoor Dog (Georgie being #1 and Polly #2). All hail Queen Patch!

Another busy day

In front: Teddy is giving serious consideration to turning over on his other side. We can't be hasty in making important decisions like that, you know.
At the rear: Babe is saying, "I'm the cutest pup. You know I'm the cutest. Admit it."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interspecies Friendship

Hi, my name is Blondie. What's your name?
(gurgle) My name is Goldie. Wanna swim?

Still Life with Cat

Lisa's kitty Pashmina is usually too shy to pose for a picture, but here she shows that she

knows she's gorgeous.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The orchard

We're not sure if our orchard is for us, or the deer!

Our neighbor's cows

Friday, January 13, 2012

Monday night at the movies

Georgie's waiting for a re-run of ET to start while Meg & Babe look out the front window, saying, "Hey, is that Steven Speildog coming down the driveway?"

Friday morning staff meeting

Here are the Dunderheads waiting for the Friday morning staff meeting. CMO (Chief Medical Officer) Polly will give a lecture and demonstration of proper ear hygiene, but Meg's more interested in her twat than her ears.