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June 25, 2012

Along came Penny

I was driving to school each day during the next couple of Winter months when I spotted a horse standing under the same lone tree at the top of a hill in the distance. She was what seemed to be, at least a half mile away, and I couldn't see her very well, but she was there every day, morning and night. There was no grass on the property she shared with several hundred head of cattle. One evening my curiosity got the better of me and driven by some invisible force I made a point of circling that pasture by turning up a remote two track, dirt road for a closer look. I was horrified to discovered from a side view, that this mare was starving to death. Her head looked as though it was disproportional to the rest of her body because she was so thin. Her hip bones protruded profusely giving outline to a skeleton. I immediately turned around and drove up the drive past the home, directly towards the barns, where I spotted a rancher headed towards several long troughs designed to hold hay in the top and grain in the bottoms. He was filling them and the cattle were gathered for a feast. The mare slowly approached the feed trough’s and barely secured a nibble of the hay before she was forced away by the huge numbers and strength of the cattle.
At this time in my life I am 16 years old, and reflecting back on all of the animals I have raised, is far from my mind, I see a starving animal that needs immediate care. Sun a 21 year old Horse I was raised with, has been gone for about 3 months now, and while he is still on my mind, I don't care that I have more pets than any one boy should be allowed, all I see is an Animal in need. The mare approached the troughs first as quickly as her frail frame could carry her as the Rancher poured the feed. He then proceeded to blast the horn on the pick-up truck which is a familiar dinner bell for cattle. Within minutes there were several hundred head of cattle filling the area fighting there way to the troughs. The mare barely got two of three bites of the cotton seed hull mix down before the cattle utilizing there horns, started prying their way in closer and tighter to the trough. Within seconds the cattle had her backed away. They were on that feeding trough like fly's on a dead carcass.
A dead carcass is what I thought of as I stood there in awe looking at the mare. Her eyes were glazed over and streaks stained her face from the discharges. Every bone in her body tried to protrude through her skin, she was scared and her coat was dull and she was coated in mud from the knees down. Her hoofs were dry and splitting with chunks chiped away leaving gaps. As the Rancher approached me I contained my self enough to give a proper introduction and inquire about the possibility of buying the mare. (He apparently had no use for her). He promptly replied that “The mare is of no us because she threw his daughter the day he brought her home after being assured (by the seller) that the mare was "green broke".
He went on to explain to me how he had found her at the local horse auction, how much he paid, and that the mare was registered with papers; but that he saved several hundred dollars by not buying the papers. ( A common practice in horse trading at the time)
He replied that he returned to the horse auction barn where he had purchased the mare on the next Friday night, only to find that the seller wasn't there to give him his money back. The only reason he kept the mare was in the hopes that this daughter would change her attitude since her first riding attempt, and begin working with the mare again. I explained that by the looks of the mare, it didn't appear to be likely that anyone here was going to care for the animal. I moved the conversation forward and asked if he would sell the horse. His answer came as no surprise to me, when he asked for the $800.00 he had given for the mare at the auction. I responded that I could give him $800.00 for the mare if she were in the same condition as she was the day he bought her at auction, but in her present condition, she wasn't worth a plug nickel. I offered $175.00 for the mare. After 10 or so minutes of haggling I finally got down to brass tactics and assured him that I would not pay more than $250.00 today since I knew I could surely buy her for $175.00 tomorrow from the Humane society. What he didn't know, was that I had spent many Friday evenings in that same auction barn, with my dad, riding and demonstrating the reigning and handling characteristics of horses, for many sellers and buyers, both inside and outside of the "North Fort Worth Horse and Cattle Auction" where he had bought her, just a few months back. Probably around the same week-end as I was burying and mourning Sun's death. Sun was an American Standard the I had learned to ride on and enjoyed the pleasure of horsemanship and a special bond of friendship for the past 12 years.
In the mean time, the rancher refused my generous offer, resented my suggestions of reporting him to the authorities, and I was promptly dismissed from the property.
It was a hard thing to do, to leave there that day, without the mare, but I knew that while time was not on her side, it was on mine. I retreated to my uncles ranch a few miles away where by now I am assisting him with his daily milking chores each morning and evening to earn extra money and to pay for my room and board. Later that evening he could see that something was troubling me and I explained the mares dilemma. Due to the small world of Ranchers and Dairymen, my uncle new the gentleman. We picked up the mare the next day. I named her Penny since for all obvious reasons, she wasn't worth a nickel. It took almost an hour to coax her into the horse trailer even with feed, but it was well worth the wait. I drove her directly to the veterinarian and had her quarantined for two weeks to get her strength up before bring her home to the ranch.
Over a period of the next 6 months I kept her stabled but took her for stroll’s around the pasture daily so the other horses could see her closely and  become familiar with her on the property. I only haltered her and rubbed her down daily with small rags at first and eventually could approach her with items as large as a blanket. I began bringing a saddle to the scene and placing it near her but never on her. I rode another Horse and led her on occasion just so she could see the cooperation up close of the saddling and riding process. I walked her leading her in the barrel racing pattern in an arena setting several times a day letting her stop to smell the obstacles and reducing her fear. I even went so far as to kick the barrel’s so she could her the ringing and learn that there was nothing to fear. I always comforted her if she spooked and repeated the process each day testing her on many different obstacles as time passed.
By the 9th month her health improved tremendously and she gained back most of her lost weight. She now allowed me to saddle her and putting weight on her from a stirrup was no problem. Our first rides were limited to walking and as her strength improved we began to trot and lope without argument. The barrel pattern was always the last thing of the day, sometimes with saddle and sometimes on her cool down walk. Penny had never attempted to buck or display any argument at this point in her training and was released to the pasture to graze with the other horses after the morning feeding. She was always there at the fence waiting for me each evening and ready for a ride anytime I asked.
By now she was approximately 3 years old and had regained 100% of her weight and strength. She could not be recognized from the day she was brought home. she became the envy of everyone at the Playday’s and Penny participated in 10 of 10 event’s each week-end, placing first in 8 out of 10 consistently. She set new records in the arena and seemed to strive for a better record each time she entered the arena.
 Many horses argued at the gate and had to be led into the arena on foot, but Penny always entered through the narrow gate willingly and remained calm and confident until our name's were called. She was a full blooded Quarter horse and her take off was like a bolt of lightening and would leave the best of rider’s sitting on the ground if they weren’t totally prepared. She was in full stride by the third step and didn’t let off until told to do so. I sometimes feared that she would run herself to death if you let her. I never found a distance that exhausted her, or one that she wasn’t willing to go for me!

In Loving memory of “Penny” 1974-1997

January 27, 2012

How To Dump Your Dog!

When is it ok to dump a dog?

       An astronomical number of dogs are Dumped throughout this country, and every other country in the world. I think it's impossible to get any kind of an accurate count. Rescue shelters along with City Animal Control offices report the numbers to the ASPCA here in the US, and to the RSPCA in the United Kingdom.
       In the UK alone the RSPCA is contacted and given information about an abandoned dog on average of one every hour.  Between January and April of 2010, (just 4 months) 4,966 dogs were abandoned, an increase of 10.3 per cent from 2009. That's over 1000 a month! Last year authorities in Swindon and east London, picked up around 345 stray dogs, and 20 every day, had to be "put down", because they went unclaimed or could not be re-homed. The Dogs Trust, UK's largest dog welfare charity, revealed that the number of abandoned pets has reached an 11 year high - up by four per cent over the previous year.

Now let's take a close look at Abandoned dog's in the US! 

According to, IN Defense of Animals USA (IDAUSA), it is estimated that between six and eight million cats and dogs enter animal shelters every year! 
        Do you want to Know how many make it out alive?
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that approximately three to four million pets are killed yearly in shelters across the United States.

       Many dogs escape and wander off to the point of being lost, while others are deliberately being dropped off on the side of a county road. In past post I have discussed the need for Micro-chipping in order to locate a lost dog; but, here I discuss intentional Dog Dumping and the consequences if caught!
As a child who grew up on the edge of town on a small farm. I remember when there were as many as 6-10 dogs a month being dropped off on the side of the road in the woods across the street. I eye witnessed many of the drop off's and sometimes people barely slowed down as they tossed a single dog, or a box, of unwanted puppies or kitten's. If they weren't killed by passing motorist, we (my sister and brother included) would always take them home to the farm, and pass them on to friends or relatives. Our parent's made repeated trips to the local vet to drop off others.  The Veterinarian would then contact Animal control to come and get them. As children our parents would shied us from the painful truth, and assure us, that they would find good homes through the Vet clinic, for which we would learn the truth, later on.

With the current economic downturn's choking consumer budgets, people are beginning to realize that they can't feed or provide medical care for their pets. What many people don't realize is, that there is a right way of Dumping off an unwanted pet.

In Texas (Section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code), abandoning an animal is punishable by a minimum of 180 days in jail, or up to a maximum of 2 years. There can also be a fine up to $10,000.

In Georgia it's illegal, except in the case that the dog is dead, then it must be dumped properly...§ 4-8-2. Dumping dead dog on public property or public right-of-way! "No person shall abandon a dead dog on any public property or public right of way unless the place in which the dog is being left is a public dump or other facility designed for receiving such and has been designated by the local governmental authorities as a public facility for receiving trash or refuse and the provisions of Code Section 4-5-3 are complied with in full."

In Wisconsin during May of 2011-A new law was Passed and "Dog Dumping" became an epidemic as the result of a new law passed affecting dog breeder's, often referred to as "Puppy Mill's"
"According to the new law, breeders who sell 25 or more dogs a year from more than three litters must apply for a license, and it’s quickly becoming apparent that a large number of them are not willing to subject to regulation as area shelters buckle under the weight of incoming abandoned purebreds.
 One week before the new law took effect regulating the number of dogs they are allowed to possess, breeders in Wisconsin were dumping dogs in record numbers – setting them loose to fend for themselves."

 Penalties for operating without a license included a fine up to $10,000 or nine months in jail, or both, while the penalty for abandoning animals starts at $500 but goes up, plus nine months in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
      A local newspaper quoted one breeder as saying "There is an awful lot of what we call dumping going on, and that’s just pulling along the side of the road and dumping them off, or throwing them over the wall at the local humane society.” A local shelter was trying to get the word out, saying " They don’t have to do that,” adding that, anyone can surrender an animal to the shelter, free of charge. “We want people to be comfortable bringing us a dog. We’re not going to judge you.”

 A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said the new law gave breeders time to sell their dogs and shut down their businesses.  “They didn't have to just set the dogs free, they had ample time to sell the dog's"

The bottom line here is that there are always humane options for the disposal of an unwanted pet!

Here at Pampered Pet's and Pal's we are not a 501c non profitable organization!  

We are a small group of concerned citizen's who saw a need and took action to correct an ongoing issue with the abandonment of pet's immediately following hurricane Katrina. It began with the simple act of dropping off food and shelter supplies to connecting potential adopter's with adoptee's to secure Forever homes. We work mainly with Dog's since it is our field of expertise. Through this task we are asked to assist with Cat's for the same service's, and have no issue's, "whenever possible", with the handling and transport of them as well. But; as one can assume, not all Dog's get along well with Cat's, and vise verse. However we do provide services for both species.
At Pampered Pet's and Pal's (since 2008), we have and will continue to rely solely upon private fund's and profits from our on-line store, and aggressive on line marketing campaign to cover all cost's associated with, and for, the purpose of improving the adoption chance's of abandoned pet's! 

     Through our network of  No-Kill shelters, Trucking company's, and other Established Non-profit organization's, in and around Texas (and, through the convenience of the web) our goal is to increase our Pet's voices, by providing solution's for educating and empowering the public toward's a solution to an ongoing problem. As one can imagine, this requires an enormous workforce and a larger budget than we can provide.  Pet shelter overpopulation and the unnecessary slaughter can be greatly reduced through Re-distribution, Education, and Proper Legislation!
Someone out there is a perfect fit for an Abandoned Pet. So the next time you hear of someone needing to get rid of that Critter, Contact us. We are just an email away!