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Go ahead.  Spot the vicious Pitbull. She could be sporting a homemade wool sweater I made for her.

This photo, taken yesterday, features the newest addition to our family, as well as Amadeus’ behind and Mark, half hidden in the trees.  Amadeus is barely able to walk these days, and I think he slipped in the mud or ice and pulled something in one of his front legs.

I’m taking a wait and see attitude with him,

as he seems cautious in his activity, checking himself and resting quite often.

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Muriel, somewhere between three and five years old, was once known as Ariel, and before that, Aryan.  Muriel, or Muireall of Irish or Gaelic origin, means ‘shining sea’ or ‘sparkling.’ She does. She is.

She spent nearly 18 months of her short life in a 3 x 5 cage, complete with a grate in front which acted exactly like a cheese grater on her face.  She was raw, sore, and the end of her tail, bloody, from wagging.  The volunteers at the pound call it “happy tail.”

She showed her “time” there and is recovering visibly every day.

We met her after Mark began as a volunteer dog walker at the pound.  Del Norte is the smallest county in California –  there are few options for any animal.  In the not too distant past, all dogs were euthanized every Thursday, no matter what.  Now, it’s a rare occurrence.

To be euthanized here, a dog’s got to have some serious issues.  There is a $4000.00 per year allowance for emergencies for these dogs.  Resources are scarce and to say we’re no-kill is pretty darn close to the truth. This, due to the efforts of one man, to make it so.

Each month (I hear)  he must justify keeping the pound open, keeping the dogs alive.

  One of the key factors is the thousands of hours a small number of volunteers dedicate to the dogs.

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Just last week, one of the dogs was in the outside pen, quite a bit larger than the 3 x 5 foot cage.  He escaped and stayed hidden in the grass and woods.  Suddenly, the escapee surprised a dog walker and her charge. She blew the whistle, but was far along the pathway. The dog on the leash, Kane, was injured terribly on one of his legs.  The other, Pirate, got hurt, but not as seriously.

Pirate is an unaltered male.

There is no free spay or neuter in this county.  The volunteers work every month at raising funds to have one or two dogs spayed or neutered.  Our Muriel came in to the pound already spayed, those 18 months ago.

If you’d like to see Kane, you may find him on http://www.petfinder.com in my zip code, 95531.  My daughter, who you see kissing Muriel, would like to take him, as he, too, is a loving, sweet, intelligent dog. My girl lives here with us, and we are wall to wall to wall pets.  Feel free to call us the Sardine family…

We chose Muriel, despite her cage aggression because we saw something special in her,

and we figured she’d suffered enough.  She’s been with us a week, and she is an amazing dog.


She seems to do fine with the horses, isn’t interested in chasing birds, ignores other dogs’ barking.  She obeys our every command, or quickly learns to.  She is, however, a bit too interested in the rabbits.

  As I prepare to bring them in to their living spaces from a play day in outside pens,  she follows me, and cocks her head, looks in their hiding places and moves from pen to pen, not understanding where they are!  She does, however, stand at the French doors and watch their activities.

  I suppose she finds them as amusing as I do.


I plan to raffle off a quilt made just for this purpose, to raise funds for the dogs at the pound.  Having them spayed, neutered and inoculated makes them much more adoptable.  Though we have no non-profit status, 100% of the funds raised will go to the dogs!  I hope some of you will participate when the time comes.


Every day she heals a little more, trusts a little more, plays a little more.

Since she’s been here, she has not had one accident, nor has she barked once,

nor has she shown one iota of aggression.  SHE HAS NOT BARKED ONCE.

Every day, we share our lives and resources with yet another needy animal.


Wondering about QueeQuee?  She is being spoiled and loved immensely.  I’m so happy for her.

I’ll bet she doesn’t miss me at all.