Peteyfoozer’s Journey (because journaling’s not enough)

peteyfoozer

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The past several years I’ve been in a wheelchair and Heath has been my only companion. For years I didn’t see anyone from the ranch except my husband who is gone 7 days a week from dawn to dark

Heath was a very gentle, nurturing soul even as a puppy. He brought me a baby meatie with a leg deformity everys morning as if he expected me to fix it. After hearing a strange sound l, I found him in his crate with a kit that fell out of the rabbit colony somehow, and another time with a baby bird. He watched over our bummer lambs

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He loved herding his ducks and at 6 mo old he gently herded all 30 meaties into their shed at night as we free range ours to prevent common leg problems. (My Maremmas also protected them so no raptors would get them. Heath only managed them at feeding time and checked on his forays outside) Heath was trained at 12 weeks to open the back door himself as we have no dogdoors)
He spent most of his time with me. He was an amazing communicator and it was always very clear what he wanted. He seemingly read my mind and know when my pain was too overwhelming, and responded accordingly. He picked up everything I dropped, which happens frequently) he took all the laundry out of the dryer and put them in the basket. He also picked up the dirty clothes off of the floor. He was in charge of my medications as I can never remember if I have taken them or not.
He enjoyed herding sheep although he never learned to do it with any proficiency. The problem was that I know nothing about herding, and two trainers I took him to were unsuccessful because they wanted him inside the pen and me outside and Heath wasn’t having it. The third trainer let me stand inside as out of the way as possible while he taught Heath.
While I could not herd sheep with him I also didnt need to, as our sheep followed our LGDs wherever they went and the dogs always brought them in at night. But when I ventured down our dirt road in the wheelchair and 3 of the girls’ goats followed us, I was able to direct him to go around them and push them where I wanted them to go.
He loved going riding with me, while I was able.
He was a truly amazing dog. We had a connection like nothing I ever experienced before. He was a clown. He made us laugh every day for 7 years. He never did naughty things. He didn’t chew things up like puppies do. I never had to raise my voice or ask him anything twice. From the day we picked him up at 8 weeks, he was our family.
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He never cried. He housebroke faster than any dog I’ve raised. He was a snackie addict. He would decide which treat he wanted and would turn away disgusted if it wasn’t what he had in mind.
And then there was his “crackie”. This was Red Barn dogfood roll which I cut in small pieces and kept in a container.

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“Ah’m hongry!”

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“this one puhleez”

Heath was really special to me. Of all that I have lost, his unexpected death hurt the worst. I almost didn’t recover. If not for the help of my friends online, and his breeder who became my friend, I’m not sure I would have. I am still climbing out of that dark place and fighting to get my life back. Fen is helping, with a firm grip on my heart, dragging me out of the pit.
So, today, I will hope to recover from my efforts to get the chicken pen stripped after years of never being cleaned and get ready for the rabbits that are coming in a couple weeks.
I will feed my starter and make Randy sone of the sourdough cinnamon rolls he likes so much.
This morning Fen discovered that I hid the slippers he steals each morning to trade for treats (he has the heart of an extortionist😝)
So instead he forcibly removed my socks for me and sweetly handed them to me, waited patiently while I was in the bathroom so he could close the door, then insisted in putting Randy’s shirt snd pants from yesterday in the dirty laundry even though I tried to stop him as TheMan had not yet gotten dressed and transferred the stuff from his pockets. Then he managed to find a pair of glasses I lost last week and brought them to me. He went out for his morning constitutional, then came in, jumped in my lap, gave me a kiss and booped his Topl feeder indicating I had forgotten his breakfast. When I opened the refrigerator, I accidentally knocked the top off if the dogfood can and a half full container of yogurt fell out. He handed me both. Considering he’s just over 6 months old, I think he is going to make a great Service Dog, following in Heath’s pawprints.

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The sourdough starter awaits…
 
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SageHill

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It's always the hardest to lost a heart dog. Been there once and revisiting with another now. Huge hugs on your loss of Heath. With the first I "lost" a year missing her. Can't do that again, I learned that the hard way. Sometimes I think those we've lost send another in their place - sounds like Fen may just be that. Hugs.
 

peteyfoozer

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Thinking back, all the years I was breaking colts, I rarely got hurt. Once, when a dingy mare my ex was supposed to be breaking but he had a man-cold so I had to ride her…she spooked at a DUCK, lost her footing and rolled over on me. That part didn’t hurt. It was when she kicked me in the knee trying to get up. The surgery for that wasn’t too bad, and I recovered pretty quickly. And then there was one other time a green hunter pitched me through a jump and I had 6 compression fractures and blew 3 discs. I still feel it, and that was in 1989.

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This is shortly before the wreck…

Two serious injuries in almost 40 years isn’t bad…then we moved here and I started riding broke horses…pretty ironic!!

Several years after we moved here, they had gone through a number of cow bosses. Randy’s sister and her son and husband came to visit. Her son had just gotten out of high school. He enjoyed helping out gathering and branding with everyone. The owner, our boss, has 5 kids. A boy older than my nephew, a set of triplets (2 boys, one girl) and another daughter. There was only a year between each of her pregnancies so she had 5 kids under the age of 5, 4 hours from town. Kinda impressive, but I digress. Our nephew was only a couple years older than the triplets. They went back to California after their visit with good memories. He was two weeks away from starting college when our boss asked Randy if he thought Logan would be interested in being lead-off man. Randy said no, he’s heading to college.
He told me that night and I said he should at least tell his sister, as it was a huge compliment and Logan would be flattered.
2 days later, Logan was our new cowboss.

One early morning we were driving a bunch of cattle to the big corrals. Some pulled a trailer and horses and their riders were dropped off along the way at strategic spots. Logan and I were to ride from the barn to the west side and drive what we found towards everyone else. As we rode and chatted he said “This old horse is the only one that hasn’t dropped me on my head.” and my response was “this colt is the only one here that hasn’t bucked me off. He’s never once bucked, even when he was started.” Well, before we got the cows over where everyone else was, Logan drove his horse down into the gully. The horse put his brakes on halfway down and I cracked up as I watched Logan fall over his neck and land on his head. While I laughed, I’m not sure what happened but as we were headed the other way, I kicked my colt into a lope to get ahead of a couple cows headed the wrong direction when suddenly he broke in two. I made several jumps but he got me off. The long lead to my mecate was stuck in my belt and he dragged me about 15 feet before it came loose, and he just kept bucking til he was completely out of sight.
I got up and checked my rope burns and a guy came over the hill on a 4-wheeler. He asked if I was ok and I said “yeah”. He called and told the boss who was riding with us all that day and he said “I’ll call Randy and let him know she’s not dead in case that son of a &$@!! makes it back home without her. I don’t want him having a heart attack. 😂
(Mind you, every other wreck I’ve been in, I rode back to the barn myself)

Forewarned, Randy went looking for Tuco. He was 2 pastures over, tied to the barbed wire fence by the horsehair mecate reins around his neck. He busted the bridle, the ring bit, the stirrup and saddle fender and went through 2 sets of wire fences and had not a mark on him! A Mexican ranch hand that was fixing fence found him and just grabbed what was left and tied him where he found him. I’m sure he didn’t feel too fondly towards him as he now had MORE fence to fix 😝

Somewhere I have pics of the busted bit and the saddle with the fender torn in half and stirrup ripped through the leather but I can’t find ‘em. 🙄 Oh well. Yammerin’ will have to do

Anyway, I thought it was all kind of ironic too.
 
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peteyfoozer

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It's always the hardest to lost a heart dog. Been there once and revisiting with another now. Huge hugs on your loss of Heath. With the first I "lost" a year missing her. Can't do that again, I learned that the hard way. Sometimes I think those we've lost send another in their place - sounds like Fen may just be that. Hugs.
Thank you, @SageHill
 

Baymule

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I had to post a laughing face at that. Any other kind af wreck is serious stuff. Dunno why, but a horse wreck is funny. Anything you can walk away from is terrific.

A friend of mine’s horse broke in two on her on a narrow trail, and both went rolling down the hill to a ravine. Had to shoot the horse and life flight her out of there, couldn’t get a stretcher or ambulance to her. Her pelvis was broke in 2 places, plus other various injuries. They had a business and her husband built a plywood table so she could prop up in bed and keep up with the paperwork.
 

peteyfoozer

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I had to post a laughing face at that. Any other kind af wreck is serious stuff. Dunno why, but a horse wreck is funny. Anything you can walk away from is terrific.

A friend of mine’s horse broke in two on her on a narrow trail, and both went rolling down the hill to a ravine. Had to shoot the horse and life flight her out of there, couldn’t get a stretcher or ambulance to her. Her pelvis was broke in 2 places, plus other various injuries. They had a business and her husband built a plywood table so she could prop up in bed and keep up with the paperwork.
I’m so sorry about your friend. Sometimes things happen that we just want to ask God “why?”
 

peteyfoozer

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Great story.
Love the hunter pic - 'twas my life a long time ago when I was in the Midwest.
It was a great life. My favorite was training hunters and training colts on obstacles for trail classes. I was lucky to have my training barn and arena at home so I could be with my kids. This particular mare was the ugliest horse I ever rode but she was a beautiful mover and had great natural form in the air. But she could be a squirrel when she wanted 😝
 
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