Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

Puppy

Puppy was poisoned. If you’ve never seen an animal die from poisoning, you should know that it’s a horrible way to go. Here’s what happened.

You know we’ve been trying to retrain our dogs. Their freedom has been curtailed drastically. We’ve been working on obedience training intensively. We were tired of people deliberately provoking them, especially Puppy, by hitting them with sticks, kicking them from the motorcycle, and throwing stones at them. 

All of our dogs bark. That’s what dogs do. Puppy liked to chase two-wheeled vehicles down the road. He never caused an accident. He never bit anyone. He just barked. One time, the Puppers also had a free-for-all with the neighbor’s sheep. They chased them around the house and back again. No sheep were injured. The Puppers had fun, the sheep not so much. These chasing behaviors were we were in the process of trying to eliminate. But in the end, it didn’t matter.

Buddy was the first dog in La Yacata to be poisoned. It’s possible that since Buddy looked so much like Puppy the perpetrators poisoned him by mistake. It’s also possible that since Buddy was often out, having been abandoned, and our dogs were corralled most of the day and all night, Buddy just found the pile of poisoned bones first. Buddy was the most mild-mannered dog ever. He just wanted affection. When you talked to him, he wagged his whole body in joy.

The second dog to be poisoned in La Yacata was Blackie. She was a sick and mistreated stray pit bull that found her way to La Yacata several months ago. She took a shine to the neighbors down below and set herself up at the corner as their self-appointed guardian. The neighbors fed her and gave her water. The 5-year-old granddaughter even set up a pillow for Blackie to sleep on. Blackie was looking healthy and certainly was happier. She growled at passers-by that ventured too close to “her” corner but never hurt anyone. 

And then Puppy was poisoned. Chicken bones were left next to our front door. We should have been more suspicious of Puppy’s crunching while we were out with the animals that afternoon. We weren’t and Puppy died later that evening, a most horrible death. We made sure no vomit or excrement was left where any of the other animals could get at it. 

We know who left the poison. The Borrega guy saw him. We also heard him discussing poison on the next road over one day. The acoustics in La Yacata are odd. We can hear people on the other road clear as day, but not so much when someone is beside the house. 

This guy had poisoned my father-in-law’s dog, the mother of our Puppers, several months ago too. So this isn’t a one-time incident. We have two surviving dogs, chickens, goats and horses that could be affected by poison strewn about, especially at our doorstep. However, my husband didn’t want to confront him. He said it would make the situation worse.

I asked around and learned it was a crime, punishable by a fine or two years in jail, to poison someone’s animals on their own property. I played with the idea of reporting this to Ministerio Publico despite the poor experiences I’ve had in the past with the justice system in Mexico. The problem was we’d have to PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that he did it. Although we had eye-witness testimony and our own evidence, the dead dog, the remaining chicken bones and the overheard conversation, that probably wouldn’t be enough. Plus, the poison was technically outside our property line. 

Instead, when we went to the market, I asked the man’s daughter, who runs the market, to tell her father to stop leaving poison in La Yacata. I was firm and courteous. She didn’t deny that her father had done it. I also mentioned that it was a crime to poison animals, that any children who accidentally picked up the bones or sticks or stones that had been dosed with poison could be injured, and that we had other animals that we didn’t want to be poisoned. She seemed angry but was polite as well. 

My intention wasn’t to threaten or cause her discomfort, but to let the guy know that we knew it was him. My husband wasn’t happy that I’d said anything. However, I believe my actions prompted him to have a chat with the guy when he ran into him later. Of course, the man denied all knowledge, as if he’d admit it. But he received the message, loud and clear. We know he did it and now he knows we know. 

Of course, with the way things are in the world today, we could have just made the situation worse. Although someone is at our house 24-hours a day, it would only take a minute for someone to drop poison by our door again in passing. This isn’t the first animal we’ve lost to poison. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

After this incident, when we took the Puppers for a walk, we found an entire chicken, still feathered, in a plastic bag by the side of the road next to a house that has no chickens. That house does have dogs that bark, however. 

About five years ago, all the dogs in La Yacata, including our own, were poisoned. That was followed by a rash of burglaries. We lost some goats, the neighbor had a sheep stolen. My brother-in-law’s house was broken into and tools went missing. So we’ve been on edge since Puppy’s death.

We buried Puppy in the backyard under the cherimoya tree. We miss Puppy when we come home. He isn’t there anymore to greet us wagging his tail so hard he looked like a helicopter ready for lift-off. 

My son tried to pick up all the bones scattered up and down our road. It’s a nearly impossible task but he felt like he had to do something preventative. He would be devastated if one of his Puppers was poisoned too. They are like his children.  He’s paranoid on the walks with the dogs, not letting them even sniff grasshoppers or shrubs, in case there is something poisoned there. 

But we go on, as best we can. What else is there to do?

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Sometimes I feel like a motherless colt—

In order to bring the vehicles and licenses up to speed, we needed more cash. So one of the horses had to go. It was a toss-up between Lady and Cookie but my husband was leaning more towards Cookie because Red and Lady are best buddies. 

The chicken feather guy made an offer for Cookie. As soon as I heard that, I vetoed the idea. Absolutely not. I’ve seen how malnourished his animals were. My husband said that no matter whom we sold Cookie to, she might be mistreated. I pointed out that with the chicken feather guy is was 100% sure. So no deal. 

I think the chicken feather guy wanted Cookie because there is a distinct possibility she is pregnant with his stallion’s colt. Odds are Lady is also pregnant, which means if we didn’t sell one or both of the mares, we’d have 5 horses next summer. We don’t have space for the animals we have now, let alone FIVE horses. 

Then an interested party in the next village over offered 5 goats in exchange for Cookie. I again vetoed that deal. We don’t have room for the 10 goats we have now, much less 5 more. And we need cash for the vehicle permits. Did my husband think we could just take a goat down to the office and settle up? No, not happening.

Finally, one of La Yacata guys offered $300 USD for Cookie. We knew the guy, we knew where Cookie would be stabled, and we knew she’d be fine. Since my husband paid $10,000 pesos for a pregnant Cookie earlier in the year, it was a substantial loss. Of course, we kept Red who in a year or so will be valued quite a bit, so it might work out in the end. Maybe. 

I also vetoed the payment being in U.S. dollars since then we’d have to run around and try to get the best exchange rate, wasting valuable time. So, the guy went and had his money exchanged himself. At 18 pesos per dollar, my husband received $5,400 pesos. A fabulous deal on a perfectly good mare for the other guy. Not so much for us. 

The money was surely burning a hole in my husband’s pocket because he went immediately to the Honda distributor to order some parts for his motorcycle. They ought to be here next week. 

We also went to ask about the cost of all the paperwork we need to do for my new Kymco, his Honda and Butch the truck. It’s going to cost a pretty penny. But first, I need to renew my license to have the Kymco put in my name. 

So back to Red. The first night he was extremely upset. He couldn’t be put in with Lady because he’d try to nurse and she wasn’t having any of that. So being all alone in his stall upset him. When we opened the door the next morning, he ran over to Lady’s stall. She reassured him with nose kisses and gentle mane grooming. He calmed right down.

But when the herd went out for the morning foraging, he became agitated again and ran around for a while. He eventually gave up the search for his mother and settled by Lady to graze.

The second night was easier. Papa Chivo went out several times in the night to make sure he had enough feed, which kept his agitation to a minimal. 

That afternoon, however, there was the rooster incident. When my son went out to check the water supply for the animals, the rooster, FuzzyFoot was lying on the ground in Red’s stall dying. He had me come out and as we watched FuzzyFoot died. 

Certain that my husband would blame the dogs, we tried to figure out what had happened. It’s possible Red kicked the rooster or maybe laid down on him by accident. We were sure that it hadn’t been any of the dogs since there were no bite marks, scattered feathers or blood.

When my husband got home just a few minutes later, we gave him the news. He thinks the rooster may have eaten a scorpion and thankfully agreed it wasn’t the dogs. Of course, now we need a new rooster to greet the morn’ and encourage the egg-laying.

Our dogs really disliked FuzzyFoot. When he would crow, all three dogs would set about howling in perfect harmony or at least what they believed to be harmony. So now that he’s gone, the mornings are quite peaceful.

Red carried on for another two nights, but then seemed resigned to his fate. As long as he can check in with Lady and has a full barrica (barrel) of feed, he’s ok. We’ll just have to wait and see if Lady presents with a foal next year, which will again put a strain on our animal living quarters. By then, Red will be a young stallion. 

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Would you like more fun animal stories?

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Herbal Academy’s Herbs for Animals

I have a few information tidbits from Herbal Academy that I wanted to pass along. First, they are giving away a free Cold and Flu Ebook that I’m sure you’ll enjoy whether you use these herbal remedies to keep healthy or to treat the bug that has you down. I know I’ve been loving my copy! Garlic honey, natural cough drops, and fever tea are just some of the recipes you’ll find in this little gem.

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Many of these recipes were taken from The Herbarium monograph database. The Herbarium has a collection of articles, plant monographs, podcasts, videos, charts and tutorials and Short Course Intensives that are only available to members. And right now, Until October 31st, you can use the code COLDANDFLU for a one time discount of $10 off a membership to The Herbarium and get access to all that herb knowledge.  

Support your pet's wellbeing with herbs, only through The Herbarium

The newest intensive is Herbs for Animals. Those of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that we often use herbal treatments with our animals when they are ill or injured. And while you might not have the same animal variety that we do on our homestead, there may be a fur-baby in your life that would benefit from herbs.

The Herbs for Animals Intensive covers common ailments, dietary considerations, and appropriate herbs to help you support your pet’s well-being naturally. Is your dog terrified during thunderstorms? Is your cat skittish or moody? Wouldn’t you like to know more about flower essences used for emotional support to treat these problems? Then the short intensive course Herbs for Animals is for you!
The Herbarium Membership for Herbalists

So don’t wait, and get your membership for The Herbarium and access to Herbs to Animals along with the Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive I talked about a few months ago. Use the code COLDANDFLU for $10 off and start increasing your herbal know-how today!

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Puppy Love

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Still resting up after all the romance.

 

The chicken feather guy’s female went into heat the other week and oh what a week it’s been. Every dog within three miles came to pay their respects, including Puppy. 

Now, Puppy isn’t a large dog, he’s a healthy mid-size, but he THINKS he’s the biggest dog around. He was in the closest proximity and got there first and set up camp since the other fellas had to make a trek to see the star attraction. 

Every night the howling serenades sounded for about two weeks. Every evening, the guys gathered around to show their prowess in the hopes of winning the favor of this fair damsel. 

So as not to lose his space in the competition, Puppy didn’t come home at night. We worried every night as we listened to the dogs fight up the hill. Some jerks on motorcycles came one night and were shooting at the dogs that had gathered. 

The Puppers, although already bigger than Puppy, aren’t old enough to quite understand what’s going on. But they did put up a fuss when Puppy didn’t come home, adding to the cacophony at night. 

All’s well that ends well and Puppy came home this past weekend, rather worse for wear.  He’s resting and eating, although he still seems a bit touchy where the Puppers exuberant antics are concerned. 

Since it’s apparent Puppy can’t control his hormones and the Puppers will be mature dogs before too long, we think that a little snipping is in order. Moroleon sponsors free spay and neuter campaigns periodically and we’ll keep an ear to the ground for the next one. 

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Enjoy more animal antics!

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