Our week in Wisconsin was wonderful. Laura's first plane trip wasn't exactly a disappointment as much as ninety minutes of nothing, each way. We departed in dense fog, we returned in dense snow. Our trip home was delayed so long by two de-iceings and concurrent closure of the Milwaukee airport for runway plowing I was afraid the flight would be cancelled. It was merely late. Pilots want to be home as much as passengers.
If you've been here a while, you know Pat and Ann. They help people and rescue dogs. The former is their nature; the latter came their way their first winter in Wisconsin, twenty years ago. Pat realized half a dozen huskies kenneled behind a barn he passed going to work actually were abandoned, no humans left.
A veterinary friend helped him free the dogs and move them to a kennel erected at Pat and Ann's old farm. The huskies had several more good years, though never socialized. The last year they presented their saviors a litter of pups, one of whom survived. Fluke became a house dog, and has been gone only a few years now.
All the dogs in the house learn their place in the pack. Some go to the outdoor kennel, which has become an eight pack unit with insulated dog houses and heated water bowls. Let's just say they failed at living in the house, though some Malmutes, huskies and Samoyeds only came in to say hello and gratefully return to Wisconsin winters outdoors.
Probably my best group portrait of some house residents. Back left, Shotzy, back right, Chica. Front left, Sawyer, front right, Freija. Shotz and Chica are border collie mix. Sawyer is a shaved to the scalp golden, Freija is a husky mix.
For the last ten years Pat and Ann own a commercial kennel and grooming business. Shotz was boarded there, and abandoned by her owner. Freija was found along a road several years ago, injured and pregnant. She was rescued by the ASPCA, but failed several adoption attempts. Saved by Pat and Ann.
Sawyer is a golden retriever with textbook ADHAD to an elevated degree. He has flunked out of three aide dog schools. According to Pat, he is brilliant and unfocused. The last school that sent him back was Cadaver Dog school. He could find them, call for assistance, then leave to chase a butterfly.
Chica is an ASPCA reject. Pat and Ann occasionally fostered for them. Chica was returned from her adoptions. Ann says "she's a border collie; what do they expect?" Of course she herds anything that moves.
Here we have Henry, Sawyer and Freija. Henry is a full bore Springer. Another "what did they expect?" story. An old couple owned a Springer from their younger days. He grew old and sedentary; they thought they'd get him a companion. They forgot their old guy was strong and on the go in his younger days. They couldn't handle the new pup. Henry is probably five or six now, and I make sure I am fastened to something when he comes by.
Here are Chica, who you're already met, and Shikera, a Yorkipoo. She's likable, but I've never grasped the attraction. Shikera also was not reclaimed from boarding. All these dogs are in constant re-training, through no fault of their own. In the picture with Henry, Pat is giving a hand signal to one or the other of the dogs.
The dogs earn their place in the home and the pack through good behavior. It is their misfortune the original owners acquired them for the wrong reason. It is their great good fortune Pat and Ann will see them through to the end, or find them a suitable adoptive family.
Pat and Ann used to say to the dogs, five hundred dollars and you're gone. Do you remember the beautiful silver husky, maybe five years ago? He had osteoarthritis at a young age, broke a hind leg that did not knit well. Eventually it was amputated. Pat or Ann helped him up and down the steps for another year or two. The ledger pages apparently disintegrate at five hundred dollars.
If you take in an animal, the responsibility is until death do you part.
Shikera spent the week with Laura, on the sofa, while Laura and Pat watched (or re-watched) Pat's extensive collection of everything cinema.
Miscellaneous left over dog pictures. I never had a head on opportunity with Henry; always in motion unless commanded to sit. I never got in front of him. He is fifty pounds of muscle and steel, waiting to be sent on a job.