Life with the Dynamic Trio

Life is never dull around here. We’re enjoying the summer and time with each other. It’s been hard to find the time to write!

First I want to give an update on Rhonda, who I first mentioned on July 7th. She’s the blue Australian Cattle Dog that was dumped at the kill shelter in Gallipolis, Ohio after delivering her second litter of puppies. Great thanks for being a mom! She was running out of time when people came together to help her out. Thanks to Jeff and Cindy, she was pulled from the shelter, her veterinary needs (including spay surgery) were taken care of, and she was delivered to a wonderful foster home in the Dayton area. The original plan was to arrange transport for Rhonda to come to the Minnesota Valley Humane Society. But she was doing so well in her foster home and Sheila was willing to foster her for a while longer. Jeff is the Cattle Dog Coordinator for Howelling Kennels Corgi Rescue in Ohio (, and they offered to sponsor Rhonda. Click here to see Jeff’s photos of Rhonda and another rescued dog, Natasha. Both dogs are also shown on the rescue’s website. Rhonda is listed there as “Ripple”. The Gallia County Animal Shelter is overflowing with homeless animals. If you can help, please contact Jean Daniels, Gallia County Dog Warden/Shelter Manager, 740-441-0207 (Shelter) or 740-339-2986 (Cell). Jean is very willing to work with rescues and would welcome more help.

My own three dogs have been keeping me busy. Cayenne, the 2 year old rescued cattle dog mix, has allergies and has a hard lump under her skin that might have to come out. I’ve been trying all kinds of things to relieve her itching and resorted to prednisone and antibiotics when some patches of her skin became raw. I’m also trying an herbal formula called “Clear Allergies” and oatmeal and tea tree oil shampoo. She’s on a grain-free diet that she digests well, but I may also try another food.

Although Cay has been with us since April 2008, she’s still coming out of her shell. She and her littermates were taken from their mother while very young and were dumped in the wilderness in Tennessee. They were rescued as pups and taken to Deb of the Henderson County Humane Society. Even though Cay was almost a year old when she came here, for many months she went out for walks with us, but while in the house mostly stayed in the back of her crate. I didn’t even know that she has very beautiful dark brown eyes because she never looked me in the eye. After she had more time to get comfortable here, she and I completed three levels of obedience classes. She rode along with us to different dog activities and began to make friends and enjoy the rides. I hesitated to adopt her, keeping her as a foster dog. I always thought that she would be happier in another home with perhaps one other dog to play with. Bandit never liked her strange behavior and has always pushed her around (if I let him). She was uncoordinated and crashed into him. She didn’t seem to understand the corrections he gave her. It got to be a strange dynamic in which she didn’t understand the effects of her behaviors and he began correcting her when he even anticipated that she might crash into him. Plus, she would get crazy with the ball and smack him in the face, once injuring his eye. The last thing I needed was more vet bills. I’m working with Bandit so that he is able to correct her when she really bothers him, but doesn’t get to correct or harass her for no apparent reason. Chase seems concerned that she may move into his #2 dog position in the pack. He has started humping her to maintain dominance, something he never did before. Poor Cay—as a woman who has worked in a male-dominated field for most of my adult life, I can relate!

Cay never got to sit next to me and be my dog—there were two other dogs here already. But she’s still changing, getting bolder about sitting next to me sometimes. She interacts with me and shows her own personality more. It’s fun to see that she’s still coming into her own. When we had some one-on-one time at the vet today, I felt a heart connection with her that was stronger than ever before.

Chase got to travel to the Madison, Wisconsin area with me over the 4th of July weekend. He loves to get a chance to be the only dog and to visit my family. He’s much more relaxed, a totally different dog, when the other dogs aren’t around. I think he also feels like he’s on vacation more when away from our house, like he doesn’t have to be on guard all the time. His annoying habit of often letting loose a collie-like shriek pretty much disappears. He soaked up the attention and had a great time. Yet, he was very happy to re-join the other dogs when we got back to Minnesota.

Bandit has enjoyed more opportunities to herd cattle this year. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to give your dog the opportunity to do what s/he was bred to do. It’s amazing for me to see Bandit’s talent for moving stubborn cattle. His pushiness with the other dogs can sometimes be a challenge, but when I see him apply it to cattle, I appreciate how amazing he is. He is so smart and is good at everything. I am blessed with three wonderful canine companions—each with something different to teach me.

Seems like I’ve been encountering spiritual matters everywhere—from a radio program that I listened to while doing errands, to an undeniable message from a horse, I keep hearing the message to follow my heart. Look for a new and different 8 State Hurricane Kate book and a coaching program in my future. Stay tuned…

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