Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Stony Knolls Farm has a new farm dog! This adventure has been so exciting that I can't help but share it. First a little background. Farming is not always just about chickens, pigs, cows, and goats, there are many more aspects to farming then just the common place livestock that you associate with a farm! Dogs and even cats have a pivotal role to play, often times behind the scenes.
Way back in 2000 we adopted a two year old, Flat Coated Retriever named Gabriel. Gabe was a rescue who came to us from a vet tech, in Massachusetts. He had been surrendered at the vet's office because the owners children had wrapped pea stones in treats and fed them to the dog. His intestines and stomach were damaged and he needed not only extensive surgery, but a new loving home where he could recuperate and be loved like he deserved to be. Gabe was the best dog in the whole wide world. He loved our goats, kept wild critters away from our farm, thought Goat School was created just for him, and in general kept us all entertained. But, unfortunately, dogs get old. We don't want them to, but we can't stop it from happening. In August of 2010 our precious Gabriel died. We were broken hearted to say the least, our buddy was gone. I'm sure that he's in heaven, probably driving everyone crazy playing fetch the ball and Frisbee.
It took a long time before we were ready to replace our beloved Gabe, but finally a few weeks ago we felt it was time. When you live on 28 acres consisting primarily of woodland, the varmints are difficult to keep at bay. We have never felt it necessary to keep a livestock dog within our goat fencing, but it certainly is nice to have not only a walking buddy, but a pooch who can keep the wildlife away from gardens, away from the goat fencing and keep the place a little safer in general. This past fall we trapped 8 or 9 woodchucks, 2 very smelly skunks (one of which left a distinct odor in our truck thanks to stepping in the scent), we've seen fox after fox around the property, and every time it snows, so many tracks that we always have our “Scat and Track Guide” out trying to identify yet another visitor.
Several weeks ago, we began our search online, looking for another black dog. We have a penchant for black animals, so a black dog needed to live here. We scoured rescue site after rescue site, most wanted ridiculous amounts of information before they would even answer a few simple questions. Because of the large amount of dogs available and our wanting to choose the right dog for us, we wanted to know three things before filling out long applications with lots of personal information. Was the animal housebroken, was it people friendly, and did they know if it got car sick? Not difficult questions; they just required a simple yes or no answer!
My husband, Ken, spent hours looking at dog after dog, but kept coming back to this one dog named JackMack. Jack was on www.petfinder.com . Just as an aside, as of Sunday, February 19, 2012, there were 132,615 cats and 169,522 dogs available for adoption just on Petfinder.com!
Finally, Ken called about Jack. A wonderful woman at Crossing Paths Animal Rescue actually answered the phone and was happy to answer our questions! Amazingly Jack was still available. He had been at a foster home in Alabama since April of 2011. Not one single person had even called about him. Our guess is that God was waiting for just the right home for him.
Crossing Paths Animal Rescue, in Locust Fork, Alabama was begun in 2006 by some folks in Blount County, who were distressed over the high amount of homeless and abandoned animals in their county. Their local shelter was a “high kill” shelter, meaning the animals are given a seven day limit. If a home is not found in seven days, they are killed to make room for other animals.
Back to Jack. We found him, we wanted him, now, how do we get him home? The foster home offered to get him as far as Pennsylvania for no charge. This was great! Maine to the spot in PA was about 8 hours. It would break down to 2 days on the road, gas, food, motel room, and a farm sitter (don't forget we have a farm!) We were ready to do it, when one of the ladies we were working with at the rescue mentioned a transport that might be able to get the dog up into the northeast! Yahoo!
Ken got on the phone again and called Rescue Riders Transport, home based in New Hampshire. I cannot say enough good things about these wonderful people! Bo and Melissa were ready, willing, and able to bring our new dog up to NH for us. A four hour drive for us instead of 2 days! Arranging the transport was simple and quick, but, I never imagined what a moving experience was awaiting us.
We arrived at the designated pick up spot about an hour ahead of time, and lo and behold there were several cars there already with people sitting in them. We wondered if they were waiting for the truck too? A few minutes passed and car after car pulled into the lot. Soon people were getting out and introducing themselves, it was like a giant tail gate party!
At almost exactly 10 a.m. (the scheduled delivery time) the Rescue Rider truck rolled in. People were clapping, and cheering, it was wonderful. All we could think of is, our dog is on that truck. We couldn't wait to meet him! So exciting!!
One after another, dogs and a few cats (yes, people rescue cats as well) were unloaded and given to their new owners. So many happy tears, joy and excitement, wagging tails, snuggles, hugs, licks and kisses!
Finally, it was our Jack's turn. We were in love immediately! He's now at his forever home, and is being loved and cherished! Jack is well behaved, gentle and loving. He's already met the goats and kissed them, and has already attended a farmers' market with us and shmoozed with some of the customers. Being from Alabama, though, he's not too sure about this snow and ice thing.
So, that is the story of our new buddy, JackMack. If just one dog is rescued from a shelter because of this blog, Ken, myself, and Jack will be thrilled!