Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snapshot Saturday: Fosters' First Snow

Jasmine and Cole were puppies when they were seized almost one year ago.

As a throwaway unsold pup out in the infamous "J-pen," Jasmine's baby experience of winter and snow does not bear contemplation. Cole, who was found in a hole under a trailer, experienced less of winter, but more than any month-old puppy ever should.

Barry White is perhaps five or six years old. He has known Winter.

Some of the older dogs have shown some behavior regression as snow and ice take over the landscape of their new homes.

Though Jasmine and Barry White are now sleeping indoors and spending part of each day in the house as well as their time in the well-sheltered kennel and their walks and playtime, they are now eating twice as much food as a month ago. Winter is hungry for calories. The Snow Queen will take those animals who can't get enough.

Barry White is not comfortable in the confines of the house -- he's still nervous about tight spaces, narrow doorways, and traps of all kinds. But when I go out to bring him in on the coldest nights, he pulls me towards the front door and the promise of warmth. I put the dogs out in the morning while I layer up and fill water buckets for morning chores. While the youngsters romp, Barry White stays on the porch staring at the front door, waiting for me to appear. He doesn't want to come back inside -- he wants me to come out. Once I reappear, he will trot off to scombre and even join the frolic for a moment.

This morning was our first real snow, and our first snowy frolic. The fosters' lesson for this day is that the Snow Queen does not reign here.


  1. Damn, you made me cry. Blessing upon everyone who has ever rescued a needy animal and made its life wonderful.

  2. Our beloved NESR dog Kipper spent the first few years of his life chained to a tractor. He is not a fan of the outdoors, even in the summer. The first flakes of snow find him curled up in front of the woodstove, snoozing comfortably. We make sure his soft and comfy bed is pulled up close to the warmth, too.

    So glad the ONB dogs can experience winter without the Snow Queen.

  3. I cried when I read your last line. Beautifully written. Thank you for caring for the animals, and to others who have done, and will do, likewise.

  4. Winter has arrived in Montana, also Heather. I'm happy to report that my Abby is sitting next to me as I write this - Tom and Lilly are outside, at 1030 at night, playing with my the snow....after which, they will curl up on their beds in the house. I can't tell you how much I love these dogs...all are content, happy members of our family. We wish you a very Merry Christmas!
    Diane Guy

  5. Everytime it is unbearably cold out I look at Skye sleeping comfortably by the fire and think of where she was sleeping one year ago. She looks younger every day because the worry of the previous life is slowly fading away. She plays happily in the snow because she knows she doesn't have to survive in it. Every day she makes progress and gives me joy.

    Rachael Roper - ONB

  6. Rachael -- I think similar thoughts, knowing Maddy will never know snow with us here.

  7. Those faces ... wow. Those dogs just rock, and so do you.

    I had a dream that I got my rural property just about the time you were done with Barry White. In the dream, he and Woody became BFFs immediately and went swimming in the pond. And then, I woke up.

    Weird, huh?

  8. In the period where our farm was evolving from lifelong pipe dream to omigodarewereallydoingthis plan of action, my dreams were fertile and vivid and similar in nature.

    Mel and Lilly featured prominently in these narratives. It was as if, by passing from this world, they opened the way for us to transform it. (They feel very present to me here, as well.)

    The farms of friends -- Donald and Ann's Yucatec, Erin and Dan's Red Bank, Sandy and Al's place in the Oregon high desert, Maryna's rented ranch in Arizona, Jan's new place in New Mexico, Rachel and Stan's here in PA, Carol and Bruce's in CA -- all appeared as characters rather than backdrop.

    The defining feature of every one of these places, which are as different from one another as any places could be, is that they all feel like Home.

    You will find the one that feels like Home to you, and will know it, and it will know you.

    Barry White is also on that quest for Home, and so resonates with you now.

  9. Gina --

    I keep telling my husband it's a race between Charlie finding his forever home and us finding our forever farm. I'm kind of rooting for Charlie, Jasmine and Barry White to get their homes first becuase their lives have definately been worse, but I agree with Heather that we're all trying to find our Homes.


  10. Every time that Piper runs and plays in the snow, I am so grateful that she didn't have to experience winter in an awful way since she was only a few weeks old when she became an ONB dog. However, every time that I am out playing with her in the snow and cold weather, I remember that many, many of the dogs don't see winter the same way that Piper does as a fun time! In some ways, I can hardly believe a year has already passed since the dogs were rescued from hell. I love every post and every photo of each one of them both here and on the ONB site. Thank you again everyone for all you do for rescue!

    Trish Kellinger

  11. How much snow did you get?

    We got 14-15 inches.

    The trees surrounding our power lines could take 14 inches, but 15 was just too much.

    I'm in the dark (literally and figuratively) for the next couple of days.

    But the feeders are drawing in all sorts of interesting birds. I've got a hermit thrush that is busy eating all the holly berries off of our Christmas decorations. I've seen only one other hermit thrush in my life. He's quite tame. He'll just stop and look at you if you look at him.

    I thought he was some kind of mutant robin (or a wren on steroids) until I got a good look at him.

  12. I'm coming late to the party, and not to sound a dissonant note -- but let's take a moment to reflect on those Other Relatives: the more distant kin who, 10,000 some years ago, may have given us the gift of long-term survival.

    Wolves and coyotes survive these winters, though sometimes at terrible pain and price, and it is to their profound honor that they do it as courtiers of the Snow Queen, not her victims.

    My point being: don't forget that it was not really the Snow Queen who caused all the pain and suffering in Montana. Any of these dogs, including the vast majority of those who didn't survive, could have weathered winter outdoors, given enough water, food, and maybe the freedom to find a little shelter.

    We all know who was to blame for them not having these things -- and who enabled, abetted, and encouraged the suffering. The fight goes on.


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