Tag: Melinda Roth

A village called Rescue.

Never a day where there isn’t something new to learn; and an opportunity to make a difference.

What prompted the heading and sub-heading of today’s post?

Well, I’ll tell you (you knew I was going to, didn’t you!)

I have mentioned Melinda Roth before on Learning from Dogs, most recently on February, 20th in a post called Oregon wolves, and book writing.

I have also previously mentioned Strawberry Mountain Mustangs back on the 18th February, in a post called The lone Ranger. That was where we spoke of visiting Darla and Troy who own Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, near Roseburg in Oregon and coming to the decision, the very happy decision, to adopt Ranger; whom we hope to welcome to our home in Merlin in about 10 days time.


Anyway, Darla was made aware of Melinda’s blog, Anyone Seen My (BLEEP)ing Horse? and left the following comment to one of Melinda’s posts, that comment from Darla being reproduced in full.  Please read and absorb Darla’s comments because of the power of her words in relation to saving horses.  Plus, later on there’s a plea from me for a competent web-programmer who could help Darla.  But, please read on:

Hello Melinda!

What a wonderful blog… there are no words, but sometimes I guess when a mutual passion is shared, you don’t necessarily need them, do you? Thank you for sharing this.

It’s been a great honor to meet Paul & Jean, and we are working toward getting Ranger delivered to them in the coming weeks. While he is not a “mustang” in the common sense of the word, he is a rescue, once abandoned in the Ochoco National Forest, brought here for rehabilitation and care. He’s a sweet, kind gentle soul whose eyes will sometimes give you the hint of the abuse he suffered some time during his past. Now, more often than not, he lets his guard down and will melt into you for the treats and scratches that used to be so foreign to him.

By adopting Ranger, Paul & Jean open up a space for a more critical rescue to come in. Maybe a wild one, they seem to find their way here – often after being abused or mishandled by their first adopter – as you have seen. Those animals are not the clean slate that comes from the desert and they have often learned what it takes to survive against the humans who don’t understand them. Other times, we will get a wild one who’s heart will always be wild, who was never meant to survive in captivity, and we work hard to find a suitable sanctuary for those animals to live out there days. And… we also get those amazing beings who seem to forgive us all for our actions, and seem to meld into what we expect of them – and except for that glimmer in the eye – they seem to forget the wide open spaces. My boy Buddy was that way. (Read about him on our sadly outdated website… http://www.strawberrymountainmustangs.com;)

If it’s not a wild one, it will surely then be a starving creature at death’s door, sent to us by one of the law enforcement agencies we work with. Regardless of breed, we’ll take them in. Make them well, learn “who” they are, and try to find them their human. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes years. We’re in no rush.

I look forward to some day meeting you. I sent Paul some links to information about the Sheldon wild herds, a group that is very near and dear to me. Maybe he can share them with you? Sadly, Fish & Wildlife plans to have them completely eliminated this year I believe.

Take care,


Melinda replied:

What an honor to have you comment here. And what beautiful words. I wish I could do what you do… I will visiting your site and hope to speak with you soon.

That reply from Melinda prompting this further comment from Darla (my emphasis, by the way).

I get the feeling you DO, do what I do. It takes a village. You may not be “hands on” – but you know horses. You spread the word. You encourage rescue. All of that IS what rescue IS. Don’t discount a bit of it just because you aren’t hanging out your shingle as a rescue organization. I appreciate the thought, but we’re all in this together.

Hope you found Buddy’s story – The Reason – and enjoyed it. The rest of the website is out of date since our web designer became ill. I’m not tech savvy, and prefer to be in the barn anyway…so there it sits. :)

That short sentence from Darla inspired me to write today’s post – hence the post title.

So with no further ado, here is Buddy’s Story.


Buddy’s Story


Because not all mustangs are created equal…


On August 28, 2007, we lost a legend.

Born in the Nevada desert with a pedigree written in the sands, he was as pure as the air he breathed.

From the inside out, he was pure gold; soft and gentle, yet tough enough to survive the brutality that would have faced him in the wild. He belonged to Mother Nature & no one else, but he CHOSE me.

His amber eyes shone and melted the toughest of souls. If the eyes didn’t do the trick, a persistant lick would. He won over the heart of even the toughest cowboy.

Towering at 16.2 hands, some would call him a giant. I called him my friend.

He won no races, no ribbons, no trophies. Instead he won hearts. He never competed in a halter class. Instead he spent his time visiting elderly at assisted living centers. That was where he chose to stand at attention, perfectly still, for those in the wheelchairs to judge him.

He wasn’t a reining champion. He did no fancy rollbacks, sliding stops or quick turn arounds. Instead he chose to move carefully, cautiously and slowly so that he didn’t dislodge the rider from his back. Whether they were 2, or 62, Buddy took care of them. I think he earned more high points this way than any national champion ever could have.

Saddles and bridles didn’t fit. Maybe they were never meant to? After all, he had much more important things to do with his short life. Instead we went bareback and with a halter and lead. We didn’t need anything more. We had each other.

Buddy was a wild horse from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. His heritage was cavalry, old stock run by ranchers for our military. It was in his blood to serve, to protect. He did just that.

The lives he saved are countless. Mine was just the first. He showed me what true passion is, that there was more to life than a paycheck and that even a small town girl could make a difference.

Buddy went on to save hundreds of equine lives as well, many of them the wild horses on Sheldon. Lawmakers and the media have learned about the inadequacies of a poorly run adoption program there and the danger our wild horses are in. He also brought us the quiet survivors of abuse and neglect cases. The malnourished, the broken, the beaten and the forgotten. He stood back and watched them all come in, for us to care for and mend, and he waited patiently for his turn to shine.

Webster’s dictionary defines legend as: a person or thing that inspires. I struggled with the term I wanted to use when writing this. Was Buddy an icon? An idol? A legend? After reading the definition, it became clear. He was my dream, my hope, my love, my reason and my inspiration. He is, and will forever be, my legend.

Darla Clark September 8th, 2007

Buddy: The legacy

 Buddy’s legacy lives on at Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, the rescue founded because of him and so many like him. Wild horses who roam on Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, National Park or reservation lands have no federal protection under the Wild Horse and Burro act of 1971. Please help us save a part of American History. These are OUR living legends. Now we must honor them, and Buddy, by protecting them.

In Buddy’s memory, we are erecting a much needed hay storage barn. We’ve lost several ton of hay to mold already this year. The hay barn will protect the hay and keep our rescue horses safe from any illness caused by hay affected by inclimate weather. Will you help continue Buddy’s work? Please, give whatever you can to help carry on Buddy’s legacy. Buddy made a difference; you can, too.


So here’s another great way you can really help.

Did you pick up what Darla wrote in her subsequent reply to Melinda?  Here it is again:

The rest of the website is out of date since our web designer became ill. I’m not tech savvy, and prefer to be in the barn anyway…so there it sits. :)

The Strawberry Mountain website is not a complex one. Darla deserves support in so many ways.  OK, are you a web programmer or do you know one?  If not, could you share this post as widely as you can. Because there must be someone out there who could offer Darla some pro-bono help so that her website is updated.  The many horses under Darla’s care deserve the best ‘voice’ in the universe.

So please help in any way possible. Thank you.

A short story – The Kiss.

The power of the short story.

Funny how things run at times!

Back on the 20th, just six days ago, I published a post under the title of Oregon wolves, and book writing!  Frankly, it was a bit of a hotch-potch of a post but it did include a reference to Melinda Roth’s book Mestengo, that Jean adored and I was finding delightful before ‘circumstances’ caused me to put the book to one side.  For ‘circumstances’ read an email from the said Melinda.  That, in turn, was the result of a comment that Melinda left on that post, namely:

Just read and re-read your draft of Chapter 23. Extraordinary. I hope you’re not going to leave us hanging… (sending you a private email to further make my point).The draft of Chapter 23 is good, good stuff. I found myself totally caught up without even knowing what came before.

It would be wrong for me to share the whole of that email without Melinda’s prior permission but I am comfortable in revealing this:

Another book you might consider (not that you have time if you’re going to get this book finished) is “Writing for Story” by Jon Franklin:

This a a very quick read, and I highly recommend it. There are a million books out there about writing, but this one gets straight to the point in a business-like manner and gives THE best advice about how to structure a non-fiction (or fiction) book. The author has won two Pulitzer prizes and uses his two winning pieces as examples – line by line – of how he structures a story.

This book is my bible.  One day I was a ho-hum journalist writing mediocre stories. Then I read this book and the first story I wrote afterwards – following his guidelines – became a finalist for the Penn/Faulkner award. I don’t credit myself for this: I credit Jon Franklin and his book.


Jon Franklin’s book arrived last Monday and I’m already half-way through reading it.  Wow, what a fantastic book.  Because it sets out the power of the art of the short story, or more accurately, the power of the narrative non-fiction story.  From page 23:

Then, in the ’60s, Truman Capote, a novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, performed a literary experiment that opened the way for a new kind of literature. Capote recognized and accepted the public’s growing interest in nonfiction but objected to the genre’s traditional dry style.  What would happen, he asked, if a true story were told in the form of a novel.

If you go to Jon’s website, there’s a link to one of his short stories, Mrs. Kelly’s Monster, that is in the book.  Do read it.  Trust me, you will be impressed, enthralled and inspired.

So the logic and power of Jon’s argument slammed me full in the face. And, if you will forgive me, offered some comfort to this tyro author struggling with his first book; a nonfictional book.  Because this approach of nonfiction drama resonated with me.  For way back in the late 60s I had worked as a freelance journalist for a Finnish magazine, KotiPosti, writing about Finns all across Australia (long story in itself!) and much more by luck than anything else, had written stories in the style of a ‘true story told in the form of a novel.’

Moving on over 40 years, to when Jean and I were living in Payson, Arizona, we both attended a creative writing class held at the local college.  One of my stories that came out of that class was published not so long ago on Learning from Dogs: Messages from the Night.

Which is all a long preamble to say that one of the many, many things that Jean and I share includes ‘putting pen to paper’ – story writing.

The following short story was also written by Jean when we were attending that writing course in Payson. Enjoy. I know you will.


The Kiss


Jean Handover

She sat at the end of the bar.  Her misery was palpable.  An invisible shroud that hunched her shoulders and bent her head over the glass of wine.  She peered into the pale liquid like it were a pool to drown in.

She was pretty in a faded way.  Trying hard; skirt a little too short, blouse a little too low and blood red lipstick.  Dark for a pinched mouth.  A slim body the way I liked it!  All around were drunken revellers whilst she remained in a bubble.  I wanted to take her in my arms and crush her to my body and burst that bubble.

Hoisting my beer, I ambled to the stool beside her.  She didn’t stir.  Seemed unaware of my presence.  I looked at our reflections in the mirror opposite.  Then at Rose the barmaid.  Rose of the buzzcut and tattoos.  The tattoo on her neck.  Then a small voice, “Why would anyone have lips tattooed on their neck?”

“Guess that’s where Rose likes to be kissed,” I said, taking a gulp of my beer and casting a glance in her direction.

“Yeah, that is a nice place for a kiss.”

She turned and a small smile twitched her lips.  “I shouldn’t have come here.  I’m not used to this scene,” she said.

“How long have you been divorced?” I asked.

“How can you tell I’m divorced?” she replied.

“Your ring finger has a wide indent.”

She fanned her fingers and looked.  “Dead giveaway, isn’t it,” she wanely replied.

“What happened?” I asked.

“He came home one night and said he’d found someone else!”

“Younger woman?” I asked.

“No worse, a younger man!”

“Oops!” I said.

She swivelled in the stool and faced the crowd.  The shroud was slipping perceptively.  I finished my beer and beckoned for Rose to bring us another round.  The divorcee was prettier that I thought at first.  Her hand pushed a lock of hair behind an ear and trailed down her neck, then smoothing her skirt rested on a rounded knee.  A fluid sensuous motion.  I wanted to touch that hand.

“Oh God, no,” she gasped.  Eyes large and face suddenly flushed.  “It’s him with the boyfriend.  They’ve just come in.”

“Don’t worry, Babe.  Let’s just walk right past and get out of here.”

I took her hand and as we strolled past the two men I gently leaned over and kissed her on the neck.  On the same place as Rose’s tattoo.

My lips lingered and with my arm around her waist, we drifted out into the night.

“That felt so good, what’s your name?” I asked.

“Elizabeth.  What’s yours?” she asked.


Copyright © 2012, 2014 Jean Susan Handover


Oregon wolves, and book writing!

Just wanted to share some good news with you. Well, regarding Oregon’s wolves!

My so-called book has rather ground to a halt.  Sturdy followers of this blog will recall that in November last year, I sat down and wrote the first draft of a book, under the umbrella of NaNoWriMo = write a minimum of a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.  That I did write in excess of 50,000 words (53,704) in under thirty days felt a wonderful achievement.

But then reality set in!

I subscribed to a NaNoWriMo webinar on editing hosted by David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut of The Book Doctors. To my horror, half-way through the webinar came the realisation that what I had written wasn’t even a fictional novel: It was a personal story on the theme of what dogs have taught me over a life of approaching 70 years.

So those 53,000 words had to be rewritten as non-fiction book!

The next boulder to cause me to fall was the issue of tense.  The book had been written in the 3rd-person, as you can see from the draft of Chapter Twenty-Three.  But the more that I thought about the story the more that it felt that it should be in the 1st-person; namely this first person!  Reinforced by feedback from Jeannie and from reading Melinda Roth’s latest book Mestengo clearly written in the first-person.

Mestengo book cover.
Mestengo book cover.

Chapter One

I first smelled the smoke as I stood in the driveway of the farmhouse on the top of a hill in McHenry County in Northern Illinois that was, according to the man who leased it to me one month before, the highest point in all of Northern Illinois.

Damn, damn, damn!  Now the rewrite not only has to go from fiction to non-fiction, it also has to change the tense from ‘Philip’ to ‘Paul’; from him to me!  The words from The Book Doctors seminar rang louder and louder, “You write the first draft for yourself; you edit it for your readers!” (Smart arses!)

Then along came hope in the form of Kami Garcia, the author.  It was a NaNoWriMo pep talk.

So you made it through NaNoWriMo, and you have 50,000 words… Now what? It’s the same question a lot of writers face when they finish a first draft. The good news is you finished the hard part: you have a draft.

I can hear some of you cursing me now: “But Kami, my first draft is totally crappy and worthless. It’s terrible. I wasted an entire month of my life, and all I have 50,000 terrible words to show for it.”

My answer: It doesn’t matter if you wrote the crappiest first draft in the history of all first drafts. You have something to work with, which means you can fix it, mold it, and bang it into whatever shape you want. Here are a few tips to get started:

Read Your First Draft (and Possibly Cry a Little)

After you put away the pint of ice cream and the tissues, take an objective look at your draft. What are the strongest points? The parts that kept you reading? Whether you print out your draft to make notes or use software (I love Scrivener), mark the best bits—circle, highlight, whatever works for you. These are the parts you’ll re-read whenever you start to lose hope (which will be often).

All of which is a long-winded way of me saying that I shouldn’t be spending time writing blog posts but have my head down in the big edit.

But, hey, already come this far so going to leave you with this wonderful news.


Hello Paul,

Good news: For the first time since 2009, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has confirmed wolves south of the Eagle Cap Wilderness!

Based on recent evidence, it’s clear that at least five wolves are frequenting an area in Northern Baker County. It may not be a story as epic as Journey’s, but it’s another good sign wolves are continuing to retake their rightful place on the Oregon landscape.

Those of you who have been tracking wolf issues for a long time, may remember the iconic photo of a scraggly Oregon wolf in sagebrush. The young wolf and his partner frequented an area near the Keating Valley in Baker County.

Sadly, the “Keating Wolves”, as they came to be known, were killed in 2009. Despite some tantalizing reports, since that time, only one Oregon wolf is known south of the Wallowas.

Later today, we’ll revisit the story of the Keating Wolves on the Oregon Wild Blog and post it on the Oregon Wolves Facebook page. Wolf recovery still has a long ways to go. But today’s news is significant.

Since 2009 – with your help – we’ve stopped round after round of wolf kill bills in Salem. We’ve stood up for wolves in court. We’ve worked with responsible ranchers. We’ve educated the public, highlighted the positive impacts of having wolves back on the landscape, and shared news – good and bad – of wolf recovery.

Things are far from perfect. Old prejudices die hard and wolves continue to be at the center of a campaign of misinformation and fear. The Obama administration is stubbornly pushing a scheme to strip wolves of important protections, and the state can still kill wolves on behalf of the livestock industry.

But today’s news is a sign that we’re headed in the right direction here in Oregon. And there should be more on the horizon. Wolves are mating, pups should be on their way, and Oregon will announce an updated wolf population estimate soon. That’s more news we look forward to sharing.

For wolves and wildlife,
Rob Klavins
Wildlife Advocate, Oregon Wild



Wild horses won’t stop me …

From alerting you to the potential catastrophe of the Mustangs in Nevada.

Relationships across the internet, especially across the world of blogging are, oh, I don’t know, different! (OK, I hear some saying I could have chosen a more apt word; such as weird, self-indulgent, vain, and so on.)

Melinda Roth is an author. Her ‘goodreads’ page is here; her Amazon Books page is here; her website is here.  Melinda has started reading posts on Learning from Dogs and, likewise, I have read posts over at Anyone Seen My Horse?

Seven days ago, Melinda published a post under the title of Oh, yum.  This is the opening paragraph.

I ran across this recipe while doing a little research on horse slaughter (the Nevada Farm Bureau is suing the Bureau of Land Management because they want the federal agency to round up what’s left of America’s wild horses and send them to slaughter) so… thought I’d share:

When I read that I felt a mixture of anger, confusion, puzzlement; surely this can’t be the case?  Then I read on, skipping the recipes that Melinda included in her post.

Now, you might have to go to Canada or Mexico to get the horse meat, but we ship those countries about 150,000 of our unwanted equines for slaughter anyway, so your meat will probably be home grown in the USA. No worries.

That is, as long as you’re not too concerned about the unregulated administration of numerous chemical substances to horses before slaughter, which according to official reports “are known to be dangerous to humans, untested on humans, or specifically prohibited for use in animals raised for human consumption.”

If travel is out of the question, however, you can always buy imported horse meat online.

Check out My Brittle Pony, which is horse meat jerky seasoned with “Guinness, onions, garlic, fresh herbs and Soy Sauce and is guaranteed to contain no horse substitute such as beef.”

It costs £3.50… and you can pay with Pay Pal.

But if the Nevada Farm Bureau has its way, we won’t have to travel or use currency converters to buy horse meat. A majority of the country’s last wild horses live in Nevada, and that state seems ready to cash in on one of its most popular natural resources.

Anyone who knows anything about Jean and me knows that we love animals and we adore our own animals. Thus as I read Melinda’s post the pain and anguish building in me was indescribable; and I’m only half-way through the post. Yes, there’s worse to come.

According to reports published in the last week, the Nevada Farm Bureau and the Nevada Association of Counties want the BLM to round up just about as many remaining wild horses as they can. The BLM argues that it’s already housing about 50,000 wild horses it’s already captured and can’t afford to take in many more.

The Nevada Farm Bureau has an answer, however: The BLM should “destroy” horses that are deemed unadoptable.

I shall include one more paragraph from her post:

The Nevada Farm Bureau argues that there are too many wild horses on public lands. But there are only about 30,000 wild horses left, and since public lands seem perfectly able to support 1.75 million head of livestock (that belong to private ranchers), what exactly is the problem?

There’s more you should read so please do so.  Especially not forgetting to communicate your feelings to NVFB via the address listed on their web site – nvfarmbureau@nvfb.org

I wrote a comment to Melinda’s post endeavouring to explain what I was feeling. Melinda then pointed me to an essay by Andrew Cohen.  It was beautiful and it seemed in order to share it with you.  So here is Andrew Cohen writing about horses.


Cohen horses

Why I Write About Wild Horses

 By Andrew Cohen 

29 January 2014

I write about wild horses. I write an awful lot about wild horses. And it’s not just because I cherish the animals or admire all that they have done through the centuries to ease our burden here in North America. I sometimes get grief about my focus upon the nation’s herds, and I know that many people who don’t “get” horses, or who have never been near a horse, cannot fathom the depth of passion the animals engender among their human supporters. What can I say? I can’t help it and I won’t stop.

I write about wild horses for many of the same reasons that I write about mentally ill prisoners who are abused in their cells or about indigent defendants who cannot afford a lawyer or anyone else who has a voice, and rights, but who cannot be properly heard or who cannot have those rights acknowledged. Mordecai Richler, the late, great Canadian writer, long ago captured the essence of what I try to do with all my writing: “The novelist’s primary moral responsibility is to be the loser’s advocate,” he said. The actor Ricky Gervais said pretty much the same thing the other day, without the literary flair, when he said: “Animals don’t have a voice. But I do.”

I have a voice and I’ve chosen to speak out for these horses, which are being rounded up by the tens of thousands from our public and private lands and sent to holding pens in the Midwest — or sold into slaughter even though that is against the law. The government and the ranchers say these roundups must happen because there is no room for the herds, or because they graze too heavily upon the land, but ample evidence exists suggesting that this simply isn’t so. The truth is that there is plenty of room out West for these horses and there are plenty of ways in which the herds may be properly managed to ensure their survival without forcing them into cruel conditions or slaughter.

Why that isn’t happening is a story everyone ought to care about. So I write about wild horses because I think their treatment over the past four decades, since the passage of the federal law designed to protect them, reveals a great deal about American politics and the nature of the bureaucratic state. The Interior Department, which has stewardship over the herds, is little more than a straw man for the industries it is supposed to regulate. And those industries, which receive enormous federal benefits in the form of welfare ranching, and which in turn send millions of dollars and boatloads of lobbyists to Washington, want the horses off the public lands no matter what anyone else says.

I write about wild horses because last year the National Academies of Science issued a report scathing in its criticism of the Bureau of Land Management’s scientific approach to the herds. Before the report was issued, federal officials assured advocates that its conclusions would be respected (or at least publicly discussed). But it’s been seven months now since the report was issued and federal officials have done almost nothing about it. That’s just not unjust to the horses, and unfair to their human advocates, and perhaps a violation of federal law, it’s also terrible policy, as a general rule, for bureaucrats to ignore the findings of a report they themselves commissioned and paid for.

I write about wild horses because the last Secretary of the Interior was a rancher who did not even try to conceal his disdain for federal obligations to the horses and because the current Secretary of the Interior, herself a former engineer, has shown no interest in the herds or in addressing the concerns raised by the NAS report. Only the Interior Department, the backwater of all Washington beats, could engender so little muckracking when so much money, and so much else, is on the line. I write about wild horses because their story is the story of every other small interest without political power in Washington or the statehouses of this nation.

They are persecuted. They have rights but no remedies. And their fate isn’t going to get better unless more people come to understand the injustice of what’s happening to them — and how far the gulf is between the noble image we have given them in our national psyche and the reality of their perilous existence. That’s why I write about wild horses and it’s why I am grateful when anyone happens to read what I’ve written.


Now I don’t know one end of a horse from the other.  But Jean does.  In previous years, Jean was a keen horse-woman.  But me not speaking horse doesn’t mean that I am not passionate about doing something to help these poor wild horses. Even if what we do is only something tiny, as the old saying goes, by the inch it’s a cinch.  Jean is just as passionate about wanting to help as I.

Not only do we have two miniature horses here in Oregon, we have sufficient pasture to accommodate two of these Mustangs.  We want to adopt two horses or burros that, otherwise, would be slaughtered.

Tomorrow I will share how we are researching how one goes about adopting a mustang or a burro.  Because if only one extra horse is adopted as a result of the Melinda Roth – Andrew Cohen – Learning from Dogs sequence then that’s one less horse destined for slaughter.

Lovely what comes out of relationships!

Please help a pig’s feet! Seriously!

A genuine cry for help for a pig that needs its toenails cut!

Regulars will be tempted to conclude that this old Brit has really lost the plot!  After all, in this fifth year of writing Learning from Dogs, representing a total approaching 2,000 posts, there has been not one mention of the pig; the animal that is!  Until now!

Let me explain.

One of the consequences of the NaNoWriMo experience is that I have become aware of a number of other writers, all of them far more competent than yours truly, I’m bound to say.  I was also encouraged to join the writers social media website, WattPad.  (for those interested, my WattPad user name is LearningFromDogs – yes, I know, it wasn’t very original!)

One of those authors is Melinda Roth and I have been reading her Blog: Anyone Seen My Horse. A recent blog post concerned one of Melinda’s pigs that, as a result of being unable to use its rear legs, can’t naturally wear down its ‘toe nails’.

While the post contains a strong humorous thread, nonetheless the issue is far from funny for the pig.

So, please, if you know what to do for this poor pig, or you know someone who does know, please make the connection, or leave a comment to this post. So with Melinda’s kind permission here is the republication of her recent post.


My Pig’s Toenails


The publicists says I should be plugging the book, but I have a more immediate concern: the fact that I received no good advice from my last post about how to cut my pig’s toenails.

One person did suggest that I use my pigs for “sustenance.”  Which crossed my mind. But I can’t eat anything that I’ve had to clean up after. Which means I am now a vegetarian and still have a partially paralyzed pig who needs her toenails cut.

Besides, this is what they looked like when they first arrived:


And who could eat that?

Unlike the other animals on the farm (back story >), the pigs were a gift . My kids gave them to me for my birthday, and how do you tell your children – who think they’ve just given you the best present ever – that you have too many (bleep)ing animals already? They bought them from  a breeder who called them “teacup” pigs and promised they’d never weigh more than 30 pounds.

Right. And I’m Lady Godiva riding gloriously naked across the horizon on my well-behaved steed.

Are there any attorneys out there who can, in the name of civil justice, do anything about this…


(See that fake smile on my son-in-law’s face? He was part of the best-birthday-present-ever conspiracy, and whenever he comes to the farm, he pets the pigs and smiles and tries to pretend like they’re still cute in an effort to cover up his culpability. He thinks I’m stupid).

At first, when the pigs were still under 30 pounds, I let them live in the house. I dressed them in pink sweaters and painted their toenails. I gave them cute names, which I’ve long forgotten, because once they started expanding (75 pounds in six months) and ramming the kitchen table whenever they got hungry and pooping things that looked like meatloaves out of their butts, I started calling them “those things” which is the only name they go by now. More specifically: Thing 1 and Thing 2.

As soon as the weather warmed up, I decided they should be free-roaming things and relocated them outside. I put them in a small barn with the chickens where they had their own separate apartment with a dog house big enough for both of them and all of their blankets and toys. They roamed the property at will and thrived: 125 pound by age one; 150 pounds by age two; 200 pounds currently and still counting.

They got so fat that after a while, you couldn’t see their legs anymore. Then they got fatter and their eyes disappeared under rolls of eyebrow blubber. They got so fat that when one of them meandered out to the road, she blocked traffic (two pick-ups and the mail delivery car) for 20 minutes until I finally coaxed her back into the yard with crescent roll dough.

The last straw was when one of them got stuck in the dog house door. She panicked and squeal/screamed so loudly, the neighbors half a mile down the road called 911, because they thought someone was being murdered (they later told me they didn’t know what the horrible sound was but seemed like something to call 911 about). By the time the sheriff arrived, the pig had dragged herself out of the barn and into the yard, still screaming, dog house still attached to her body.

The sheriff’s first reaction was to reach for his gun (and I must admit, I didn’t do much to stop him). But then his SWAT training must have kicked in: He whipped off his jacket; ran down the dog house; and, then leaped onto its roof, which weighed it down just enough for the screaming pig to pull her body the rest of the way out.

After that, the pigs went on a diet. Nothing but water and lettuce for a week. That, however, didn’t go over well, and they decided to run away from home, which meant the sheriff’s next visit happened after another neighbor called 911 to report “big, black things” attacking her garbage cans.

By the time the pigs were two-and-a-half years old, they were no longer pigs: They were humongous, hairy, black cows with no legs or eyes. Because they couldn’t see so well, they ran into things a lot, and when one of them ran into a small hole in the ground, she threw out her back, which paralyzed her hind legs.

The veterinarian’s suggested that she be “put down.”

Had the sheriff shot her or the mail delivery truck run her over, I wouldn’t have lost too much sleep. But to actually cause the death of something… well, I figure almost anything is better than being dead. Even if you have to drag yourself around by your front legs like a beached walrus it’s probably better than not being. So I let her live.

And now… her toenails have grown to be about seven inches long, because she can’t move around enough to wear them down. I tried to cut them back when they started a life of their own, but she weighs 250 pounds now and does not want anyone messing with her toes.

Thus, this post. Is there ANYONE out there who knows about this stuff?

First plausible response gets a free pig.


So please help Melinda’s pig!