Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lady & Man at Refuge Farms


In the weeks prior to the annual fundraising Gala, I opened only those emails that were related to the Gala or I knew had a life depending on them. Except when I heard from Karen.

Two street dogs were causing her great concern as winter approached. I read the story of these two dogs hanging out at a clinic and finally finding John & Elaine who loved them but could not keep them. They wanted the two to stay together, if at all possible -- one male and one female. Karen said, "We call them Lady and Man."

Oh, my. How could I not respond? How could I let these two go by when their names brought memories of big brown eyes and the wagging tail of Little Man? And the love and endurance and comic behaviors of Laddee, the Little Belgian Mare? How could I not reach out to these two unwanted creatures? Little creatures with the names of "Lady" and "Man"?

We had been dogless here at Refuge Farms for over six months now. No tail wagging when the children arrived. No one to accompany me down the driveway to the big barn. And no one to sleep by the desk as I worked on this unending pile of paperwork. These two were destined for us.

The rest is history, as they say. Lady and Man appeared during the week thanks to the loving transport (and hundred of miles driven!) of Kristin and her Mom. The two dogs were larger than I had anticipated and much calmer than I had ever dreamed! I had the box stall ready for them - shavings, water, blankets. I was expecting street dogs. But what appeared were loving, sensitive animals who respected humans and wanted nothing but love and the absence of hollering and hitting. So the very first night they came into the house and found kennels with blankets and big bones waiting for them.

And it has been smooth sailing ever since. No accidents in the house at all. Man, the big "Bruiser" as I call him, will howl if he or his little sister need to go outside before I take them. Lady, the little girl, is a spitfire and ready to run into the pastures the second I am not looking. Not to chase the horses any more but to find the choice frozen clump of manure to bring back to her brother so they can dine together!

We have overcome the panic that sets in when they cannot eat the manure of the other. At first, I was totally unprepared for this behavior but soon figured that they had needed to survive and so they fed off of each other. But now, they know there is food twice a day and they no longer need to rely on each other for nutrition. That panic is gone.

The grass eating is significantly diminished, too. But not the horse manure yet. That will take time. I've been here before with Lady, the Dog. It does no good to fight it. When they've had enough, they'll stop. And I cannot convince them to stop before they reach that point. Really simple. Just don't let them kiss you. Not yet, anyhow.

MANThey seem very healthy. Man weighed in at 96 pounds when he arrived and he is weighed in at 112 just before Thanksgiving. He is stocky and strong and appears wise. Almost old in his eyes. I can see where he was the defender and the "big brother" of the two. He had to do the protecting and the guarding. He was the adult to allow his little sister to be the puppy.

LADYAnd Lady is just that. She is a handful of love and energy. And fear. Something about children has her running away from them. But that, too, will change in time. She will learn that the children here will not hurt her. She will learn to trust children again. Poor little Lady has been hurt. She shows enormous gestures of submission and fear if I should holler or reach for her collar. It is at this point that Man steps in and just works his way between us. He is The Protector. Still.

And play!! These two rough-house and play with each other just as puppies should. And don't think for a moment that just because Man outweighs Lady by fifty pounds that he has the upper hand. No way! Lady is quick and agile and she often shows him just how good a wrestler she is! And as I watch them, I think of how he perhaps is allowing her to win. The big brother, even in their playfulness.

So, there are two new kids on Refuge Farm. A little girl named Lady. A little girl with history and bruises on her soul. A little girl who will heal and become relaxed and playful as she learns of the love that grows here. Just like the other Laddee.

And a little boy named Man. With deep eyes and the tale of burden on his shoulders. A dog who has had to grow up well before his time but who holds no grudge toward anyone. Just wanting his back scratched, please. Just like the other Little Man.
It is a good thing we did here. These two do need to stay together. John was very right when he made that stipulation. These two are joined at the hip, most surely.

And by the way, John and Elaine, you did marvelous work with these dogs! They are great companions and fantastic house dogs! Never, ever could you tell that these two lived on the streets! Not once would you guess that as you would now see them in their kennels with their big bones and overturned bowls and bunched up blankets. Nah . . . not these two little puppies!

So now once again, trips to the barn are me and the dogs. Dogs who came here because of their names. Lady and Man. Oh, how sweet it is to call to them! I call loudly and clearly as I say their names! I call to the sky and these two little creatures appear. I call to their namesakes and here they come . . .

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd and Lady & Man

Sandra L. Gilbert
Executive Director
Refuge Farms, Inc.
home of "Horses Helping..."


Anonymous said...

Wow - what an awesome story. Thank you to all involved who saved these two sweet ones and got them where they were meant to be!

Anonymous said...

Yes this story brings tears to my eyes, and so many great people involved in their journey. This is what animal rescue is all about!

mteacup said...

We love you Lady and Man (and Sandra!)

Jo Tallchief said...

Me, too - I had tears in my eyes reading this because I knew these two dogs here in Redby and was afraid for them. I first saw them down at Westbrook's and put down a bag of food for them. They were so scared they wouldn't eat until I had left. We're on Hwy. 1 here and the police blaze through sometimes doing about 90 mph. Sometimes I'd see these 2 black dogs going back and forth across the highway and my hair would stand up. Then they disappeared and I found out that Karen had taken them - whew! Thank you, Sandra, for giving them their forever home. Happy holidays to you and your family! ^_^


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