Soldier is a red doberman, one who was bred in Europe for his size. He is approximately 8 years old. He is a war veteran and was one of the lucky canine that were actually brought home after their service ended.He was extremely depressed and nervous when we picked him up. He walked slowly and like he was depressed, and there was absolutely no bounce to his step.
We were attending a canine training class in So. Cal. Matt's sister and brother-in-law run canine cadaver and "live-find", bomb dogs, and drug dogs for the FBI and other authorities. However, also at that training session was a beautiful red doberman. I asked about him and this was the answer I received.
"He is is a military war dog, and his handler/soldier was killed in action. Since then he has been bounced around from home to home, as he has a severe case of PTSD and is hard to handle."
It took about 5 seconds and a quick phone call to Matt and we loaded him up to bring him home. He was extremely depressed and nervous when we picked him up. He walked slowly and like he was depressed, and there was absolutely no bounce to his step.
This dog is a WAR VETERAN, through no choice of his own, and not only has he seen action, but most likely WATCHED HIS SOLDIER DIE. We need to honor each and every soldier that comes home, and mourn those who don't. So not only to honor "Soldier" aka Soldier Scooby, but to honor his handler and one of our own, Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang has taken in our very own soldier.
Soldier had the saddest eyes I have ever seen, and
he seemed totally lost. When his leash was placed in my hand, he
looked at me with eyes so empty that it brought tears to mine. He
walked quietly and sedately beside us, did what we asked him to, and was
simply "there". There was no life to him, no spark of energy or
anticipation. When he ate, it was with hesitation and he had to be by
himself. He doesn't come "off leash", but is very obedient and well
trained overall. We were thinking there might be a reason for him not
to "come when he was loose", especially in a war zone. We cannot seem
to get any more information on him, what his commands were, or any other
info. So we handle him with extreme care and love, and are always
patient when he gets scared. He is extremely fearful if you throw
Since the first week we brought Soldier home, he has slept beside our bed.
He has become a member of the family and has gradually lost the haunted
and empty look in his eyes. They are bright and shiny and he plays and
bounces around when we take him out. He has made friends with the other
pups and loves to play. He is extremely protective, but will still
only come to Matt if he is sitting down.
There are times when he will come in the kitchen, and others when he is so
nervous he won't take one step in. If you carry any type of object he
tends to panic, like a computer, a purse or a package. Things that
panic him are extremely random and it is truly hard to tell what will
trigger the bad memories.
Soldier was in the Nevada Day Parade and afterwards we attended the Military
Celebration where they had the traveling Memorial Wall.
While we were at the wall, it was as if Soldier was searching for his fallen
comrade. He would go up to many of the young men in uniform as if to
say “have I finally found you”? Many of the veterans had tears in
their eyes as they reached down to pet them and I started to cry when
one of the veterans reached into his pocket so he could buy “Soldier
Scooby” a hamburger. One woman started sobbing as she told us about her
wonderful son who came back so traumatized by what had happened that he
had snapped and was now in prison. She told us of how her son would
not let her get rid of his best friend, buddy and soldier’s bloody boots
and clothes. It was all he had left of his fallen friend and it simply
broke her heart. She said that her son came back a different man and
she wept in my arms. My heart breaks for her and we need to never ever
forget that just because a soldier makes it home, it is still not
over. We heard that he came back through Camp Pendleton, but are still
unable to get any solid or definitive information on what he went
through. As far as we know, we believe he was in Afghanistan and
possibly a bomb dog, but will never know for sure. All we know is that
it is an honor, (and a huge responsibility) to provide a safe and loving
home for this amazing animal. It seems as if he was taught “not to
come” if he is loose. Whether this is so the enemy could not obtain his
services we do not know. However, little by little this amazing
Soldier is starting to heal.
His soldier gave his life for our country and he not only deserves to be
honored, (along with all the other soldiers who give up their time and
lives for us), but Soldier Scooby deserves to be honored for the rest of
his life also. He went through horrors unknown and watched his Soldier
and best friend die, only to be shipped home (PTL for that) and bounced
around from place to place, again through no choice of his own. He
cannot help what happened to him, or how he reacts to life back here.
So many times people forget that these amazing men and women are often
put through living hell, seeing things so horrific that we could not
possibly (or even want to) imagine.
Today, Soldier still sleeps with me every night. He actually got on the bed
the other night, which for him is a huge step forward. He loves to play
and although he is still extremely nervous and easily stressed, he is
settling in well. If you throw a bone or a snack into the pen, he
still runs away, but will quickly come back for it. His PTSD still
seems to be with him most of the time, but hopefully with love and
patience, he will someday be able to relax. One thing for certain, he
has found his forever home and will continue to be honored for the
soldier that he is.
We look forward to bringing Soldier to the parade where he can be honored and
also honor his brothers and sisters in the service. God bless and thank
you for all your support.
We would appreciate any help with the finances of getting Soldier to the Parade in Virginia City that will take place on the 25th of May. You can Donate via Paypal using the link below, please put FOR SOLDIER in the "Add special instructions to recipient" so that we know that your donation has been made specially for our Soldier.
Wow - this is one I thought I'd never be writing about. Chilly Pepper has moved to her new forever home. She is now living on a beautiful piece of property that consists of about 400 acres, her new boyfriend "Jack", and a number of ponds and a large lake. Chilly Pepper is a water girl, and you simply could not ask for a better place for her to spend her life. She would literally spend hours, turning and rotating slowly, being hosed down. She plays in the water and just loves getting wet. So there couldn't be a better place for her. As always, it was heartbreaking, especially since we have had her for so long. However, for us to continue to do what we do, we have to move horses when we can, or we would not be able to help more. Also, when there is such an amazing place for them where their life will be pretty close to perfect, you have to think about their welfare and what is best for them.
It is always hard to place your babies, and it was doubly hard to move Chilly Pepper, as she was the inspiration for our specialized focus on the critical, injured/neonatal babies and for doing what we do. She showed us how much of a need there actually was as most places are not set up for critical foal care, do not have the man power or supplies and are unwilling or unable to commit the funds needed, thus making it impossible for them to take care of them. A single bag of Foal Lac runs about $190 in California, and Collins is already on the end of his 4th or 5th bag. This can also be a deciding factor when people choose to try and save a foal. It is an extremely costly venture, both financially and time wise.
While we were taking care of Chilly Pepper, a nearby rescue had an orphan foal in a similar situation. They had to put down the mom because of complications with the birth and they had no one who could get close enough to the mare to help her. They tried to take care of the baby, but unfortunately it was left outside in the heat for 3 days, alone and scared. It is extremely important for them to not be left alone, especially if they are weak or newly born. There were many people trying to save the little filly, but without the correct equipment, and knowledge, they were unable to provide the proper care. Their mothers would never leave them alone for hours on end in the wild, and they are scared and often depressed and need to be "pulled" back to life. Also, a new foal cannot regulate it's body temperature for some time after being born. I received a phone call from one of the girls who had been trying to save this little baby, and she was sobbing and said that the baby was having convulsions and died in her arms. This poor filly was dehydrated from the heat and her inability to drink the life saving formula.
After that heartbreaking incident we decided that this was where God wanted our focus. We have an amazing support system, mainly my mentor and "sissy" Shirley Allen, who has spent many hours, often all night long, helping us provide whatever care we could to the babies we have had with us. But we also have such an awesome "community support group", who as y'all know, (since it is you guys), who will step up with whatever we need to save these little ones. Whether it is emergency funds, funds for feed, fuel or medicine, y'all have never ever let one of these precious little souls down. I thank God for y'all and for being lucky enough to be involved in such an amazing community. I know there are many babies who die in the wild, and that it is part of nature, but if you are breeding on a sanctuary or private land, you then are responsible for every little one that comes along. When the babies are found in the wild, and God puts them in front of you, you also have the responsibility to help the ones you know about. We are extremely grateful that this is where God wants us to be.
The other exciting news is that Collins is now hanging out in the same corral as Romeo, (our very sweet black yearling mustang that needs a home). Both of them are pretty even on the "don't hurt me score", except for the fact that Romeo is still the boss. He is extremely gentle when he lets Collins know what is or isn't acceptable, and for the most part it has been an almost boring introduction. (That is always good though!!) They are mostly "co-habitating", and not really inseparable yet, but every day they spend more time closer together. Woohoo. That is so awesome for a baby to be able to hang out with a real horse.
Placing Chilly Pepper should be a celebration of sorts, because she was truly a miracle and inspired so many more miracles, and she deserves to live in such a pristine environment.
We are looking forward to more successful adoptions and to helping more critters. It is beautiful up here this time of year and we are enjoying lots of visitors. Please don't be shy if you want to come and spend a day in the mountains out of the heat. Call us at 530 474 5197.
God bless and stay safe!
p.s. If anyone has any old water tubs they aren't using, we could really use them. :)
Well it has been pretty busy here. We got home from the trip to Carson, (Earth Day Celebration with Rocky and Robin), the long road down to Las Vegas to drop off the Rock Star, back to Carson to the prison to pick up 2 mares and foals and deliver them to a beautiful ranch near Sacramento, and finally arrived home, safe but tired.
Collins has about 1600 miles under his belt and will hop in the trailer all by himself. (I am SO PROUD!) After spending one (and only one) night in the trailer, he had quit jumping in on his own. But now he is back to my little man and just "loads up" by himself. WOOHOOO!! (This is also a really good indicator of how much he is NOT bothered by travelling or spending time in the trailer.) His wounds are nearly healed and he is still friends with the dobermans. So that is really great news that he isn't terrified of dogs, per say. However, if he hears one in fighting mode, he can definitely show some signs of worry.
We will soon be introducing him (again) to Romeo and DaBubbles. I am looking forward to pairing him up with DaBubbles, our miniature, as he is much smaller than Collins. Dabubbles will teach him that although Collins is much bigger than DaBubbles, he will still not be able to boss DaBubbles around, even if he is the 'biggest". Since he will soon be bigger than me, I want him to know that respect has nothing to do with size. We have waited a little bit longer than normal to introduce him to his "horsey brothers", due to his injuries from the dogs. We didn't want to take a chance of a wound being re opened or Collins getting "hit where it hurts". But it is imperative that he learns respect from the horses as soon as possible. Where his natural mama would smack him or bite him when he is out of line, as much as we try to make sure that we are right on top of correcting his bad habits, there is nothing on this earth as good as his real mama, or other members of the herd to teach them about respect. This will keep us safe when we are around him when he weighs 1000 pounds, and save him a lot of heartbreak and stress while he learns his manners and what he needs to know in life. Since he already spends about a quarter of his time on his hind feet, striking and playing, it will be even more important that he respects our space and doesn't accidentally hurt anyone.
It is quiet here with out our beloved girls, and my heart is still breaking. However, I am glad that I posted what happened, even though it was so difficult to do. I am amazed at the number of people who have contacted me and said the same thing or something similar had happened to them. I was told that there was even a young mom in Nevada whose toddler had went outside through a doggie door, only to be killed by the family pets. Please pray for the family. Although I don't know the exact details, I do know that this young mom will always have to live with this and she only needs love and prayers, not prosecution. It was a horrible accident and I think that we need to remember that although we love and trust our animals implicitly, there is always a tiny chance that there could be a tragedy we weren't expecting. We cannot always predict how they are going to react.
Thank you for all your support and for being part of our rescue. If any of you are good at fund raising ideas, please call me. I could seriously use some help in that area. Would love any ideas for a fun event. God bless, stay safe and give your loved ones big hugs and kisses while you can!
p.s. Please remember that now that Rocky is safe in his new home in Las Vegas, and yes, I am still crying a little bit, we need to concentrate on finding Romeo a forever home! He is a beautiful yearling and as sweet as can be!