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Happy Tail - Why do I do this?

Despite the fact that I sometimes wonder why I do this it's the happy endings that keep me going. It's the dogs that have been abandoned that are given a second chance at a furever homes that remind me - I don't do it for me - I do it for the dogs.
The next earlier Column: Happy Tail: Gertie - 'Aggressive, No Small Children' Indeed!> Posted March 2, 2014.

By Peg Schaeffer
Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

Friday morning I got up to snow all over the kitchen. It wasn't actually snow - the dogs got into a box of Kleenex and shredded them all over the place. I picked up the mess and went into the bathroom. I guess they were really bored because they did the same thing to the toilet paper. It was everywhere. I picked that up. I went outside to feed the horses. The gate hadn't been latched properly and a bunch of the dogs decided to help me feed, except their idea of help is to chase the horses all over the pasture. I'd chase them from one group of horses and they'd go chase some others. I spent most of the time feeding yelling at them. Our ponies are at the bottom of the hill. With the snow melting it made the hill very slippery. So slippery, in fact, that I slid the whole way down. After feeding the ponies I had to climb back up it. Not an easy feat. After that fiasco I went back to the house.

I opened the door to more chaos. They had gotten one of the pillows and had torn it up. I had stuffing all over the living room and into the bedroom. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had the whiffle ball bat in my hand and threw it across the room. It bounced off the kitchen table and broke the front window. If you heard an explosion on Friday and thought another pipeline had busted - it was me. Then the ranting and raving begins. Why do I do this? I'm retired, I supposed to be relaxing. Nobody else lives like this. Poor, poor, pitiful me. I took several deep breaths, made a bowl of Cheerios and sat down. Ruger, our three legged Cattle Dog, retrieved the bat and shook it furiously as if to punish it for breaking the window. Thumbelina jumped up on my lap and gave me kisses to make me feel better. Darryl lay down under my chair. They all knew I was upset and felt it best to be quiet.

As I sat at the table eating I watched the dogs playing outside. They were racing across the melting snow. Lucy was running as fast as she could on her chubby legs with her floppy Beagle ears billowing behind her. Rambo was sitting on the top of the slide watching their antics. Trout and Tyson were having a tug of war with the Kong. They were having a ball. As I watched and cooled down I thought of several reasons why I do this:

DIABLO - A few weeks ago I got a phone call. The woman didn't identify herself and asked if I would be at home. I told her "yes" and a little while later a truck pulled up at the gate. Two men got out with a huge cardboard box. As I walked towards them I tried to imagine what could be in the box. My guess was probably kittens or puppies. They lifted the flap of the box and inside was a Chihuahua that looked like a football with legs. It glared at me snapping and growling. They said it belonged to a friend and that she couldn't handle the dog. She had asked them to catch it for her and bring it to me.

I carried the box inside with the terrified little dog carrying on inside. I tried to talk to him but he was so scared he just kept snapping at me. I tried to put him in a crate but he tried to bite me whenever I reached in. So I lifted the box and literally had to dump him into the crate. When I removed the box he was straddling the door, scared to death as to what fate awaited him. I finally got him into the crate and left him alone. The other dogs were curious to see what kind of beast was in the crate. They saw this little dog and realized he couldn't be much of a threat and lost interest.

I named him "Diablo". He definitely had the devil in him. As things quieted down I gave him a bowl of water. He went to the back of the crate and stared at me. Later I gave him a bowl of food. He still just sat there watching me but made no attempt to bite me. I left him there overnight and in the morning checked on him. As I was talking to him his little tail began to wag and he relaxed. I opened the door and he quietly crawled onto my lap. I carefully reached down to pet him. He made no attempt to snap and seemed to realize that I was the one who would protect him from these big dogs.

I held him for several minutes and then let him on the floor. He began checking out the scenery and made himself at home. That night I put him back in the crate but the next night I took him to bed with me and some of my other dogs. At first he stayed at the foot of the bed, afraid to move, but during the night made his way to my pillow and snuggled next to me. He sleeps with me at night now and is waiting at the side of the bed for a lift when he sees me getting ready for bed.

He's become my little shadow. I put a collar with a bell on it on him because he's so quiet and little I don't want to step on him. When he barks it sounds like someone trying to clear their throat. If people come he follows me out and I have to pick him up so he doesn't get lost in the shuffle. The little devil has become an angel.

CHICO - I got a call from someone looking for a little dog for his two year old daughter. I suggested Angel or Cracker, two small dogs with good personalities. When they came and saw the two dogs they said they wanted something smaller. Diablo had followed me to the fence and they immediately fell in love with him. I told them he hadn't been here long and I really didn't know how he'd be with small children. He leaned in to the little girl but when she tried to pet him he backed away. It was obvious he was wary of small children. Then I thought of "Chico". Chico was a black and white Chihuahua. He was the sweetest little guy. He was adopted but then his owners moved and brought him back to us. He was playful and another one who slept in the bed with me. So I went in the house and got him. He and Kiersten hit it off immediately and off he went to his new home making a little girl very happy.

DODGER - A gentleman called and said he and his wife wanted a dog. It was just the two of them. He was retired and would be alone during the day while she went to work. They were looking for a quiet companion for him. We talked for a while and he said that he and his wife would come in a few weeks. They called back a little while later and said they had seen a picture of "Dodger" and could they come out today? Dodger was a senior Red Heeler that I had saved from a kill shelter when he was 8. His owner had surrendered him because he was "too old". Now two years later someone wanted to adopt him.

When Vaughn Ferrell and his wife saw Dodger it was love at first sight. I told them how he loved to ride in the truck and that made them like him even more. They took him home and have called to tell me how good he's doing. He was just the dog they were looking for - quiet and well behaved. The fact that he was 10 years old didn't sway them at all. So the senior dog that was "too old" went off to a new home.

GERTIE & WALDO - Doyle Curry and his wife came to visit. They brought Gertie and Waldo, two Basset Hounds they adopted from us, with them. Gertie was an owner surrender and was in good shape when she came to us, but Waldo was a stray. He was skin and bones and loaded with worms. You'd never know that to look at him now. He's filling out and loving life. It doesn't take long to figure out that he and Gertie have found the best home ever. The hounds gave us dog treats and 2 bags of dog food. Now those are good dogs. (I think the owners are pretty special too.)

So despite the fact that I sometimes wonder why I do this it's the happy endings that keep me going. It's the dogs that have been abandoned that are given a second chance at a furever homes that remind me - I don't do it for me - I do it for the dogs.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY 42728 Telephone: home 270-378-4521 or cell 270-634-4675 email:

This story was posted on 2014-03-09 04:49:49
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Happy Tail: Kiersten Brewster with Chico

2014-03-09 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Wesley Brewster.

Kiersten Brewster with Chico. The picture was taken by her father, Wesley Brewster. - Peg Schaeffer

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One of many reasons Peg Schaeffer does what she does: Dodger

2014-03-09 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer.

This picture is of Dodger, a 10 year old Red Heeler,
that was in a kill shelter and has now found a forever home. - Peg Schaeffer

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