The Three Stooges

 

I never wanted small dogs. Ever. Always underfoot and needy. Plus, the barking. Oh good heavens the barking. Somehow though, I have three. Not just any three small dogs. Three small chihuahuas. Yes, pit bulls and chihuahuas. These three follow me everywhere, including the bathroom. They cry for me as soon as I walk in the door after work and as soon as I wake up in the morning. I cannot sit on the couch without one laying on me, one right in front of or next to me and the third no more than a foot away. I’m telling you, these dogs can be smothering at times.

Dinkie Doo is my baby. Don’t tell the others, but she’s my favorite. For the first couple years it was just her and Gypsie and the two were always together. She loves to go camping but spends most of the time at camp sitting on my lap or following me around. As a pup we would lose her occasionally in the apartment only to find her curled up at the foot of someone’s bed in their blanket. When she was younger she would have seizures but thankfully she is past those now. She is 10 years old now so we occasionally talk about end of life options.

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Only took 10 attempts to get this picture!

Porky Roo is the typical small dog. He thinks he is way bigger and tougher than what he is. He is our miracle baby. Other than him and one brother, the whole litter froze to death. The people that had them didn’t want them and left them outside in December, taking the mom inside. We took him home at 2 weeks old. This little guy was the size of a hamster; couldn’t stand, no teeth, and his eyes weren’t even open. He didn’t like a bottle or a rag soaked in puppy formula so we mixed that with sausage gravy, put it on a saucer and placed him in the center. He scooted around in it slurping away and somehow managed to survive. We lost him ALL THE TIME! His favorite hiding spot was in the basket of whites in the laundry room where the only thing you could see was his eyes (if they were open) because the rest would be buried. He’s my great protector (in his mind) as he will bark his little fool head off if someone is standing too close to me. He doesn’t normally like small kids but has been letting our granddaughter Alora pet him. So proud of him, that’s a big scary step when the kid is only two.

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Finaly we come to Eclipse. She’s actually a dog that my son bought for $20 outside of Walmart a few Decembers ago. She is my sausage dog (looks like a sausage link) and is more needy than all of the other six dogs combined. She’s a sweet thing that loves to play. Thinks every toy is for her, including our granddaughters. She’s the best with Alora because if you sit still, or look in her direction, she’ll run for your attention the only problem with that is what 2 year old sits still?

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Gypsie Love

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To know her is to love her

 

Our big, beautiful oldest fur baby. How to describe our 10 year old pit bull? Out of our seven dogs, she is the alpha. We got her when we lived in town in an apartment so that my kids would have some protection when she grew up. Pit bulls are a banned breed in our backwards city and we lived in a bad neighborhood (there was a shootout literally in the front yard of our apartment building), so she didn’t get to hang out outside. Luckily, as she was growing up we would spend nearly every weekend camping in the woods during the summer.

She has been a pillow and a heater. A best friend and a fierce protector. She has been a source of comfort to each member of our family during times of sadness and has brought us hours of endless fun and entertainment.

While I know that her time with us is not forever, that someday it will be her turn to cross the rainbow bridge, I dread the day that I will not be able to tell her to move, or to be nice or to watch the house. I see her age setting in. I see her sleep more each day, she is just a tad bit slower to get up, I see the hitch in her step when she goes to get on the couch and her reluctance to go outside when it is too cold.

I know many people fear pit bulls but I could not imagine life without mine. Of our four, I see a range of personalities. Gypsie is highly intelligent and athletic (even as she ages). She is an escape artist and has figured out how to open any kennel or crate that she had been placed in. She loved playing sword fight or hide and seek with the kids. Moving out of town was the best move for her as well as the kids.

The worst part is that she is a bit too protective over my son. Gypsie will still stand between him and anyone else that raises their voice toward him. You cannot rough house with her out because she will snap thinking you are trying to hurt him. She also doesn’t like other dogs. Neither of these are a breed thing. They are a dog thing. She has an under tone that lets you know she is dangerous. Has she bit anyone? Nope. Snapped at a couple people and charged someone who was prowling around our house one night, but that’s it. Has she attacked any animal? Again, the answer is no. She will chase cats or other peoples dogs that come on our property but doesn’t go after our chickens or ducks that freely roam.

Gypsie is my heart. My love.

Pig pen

Everything I have read recommends 25-35 square feet of space per pig. I am a visual person and had no clue what that meant. I know that we chose a Berkshire/Hampshire cross for our hogs since we intend to not only breed but to raise for butcher as well. I also know that the boar they were sired from tips the scale at roughly 750 pounds while the sow was over 500 so a small space wasn’t going to cut it.

I did a bit of research and found that 50 square feet is the measurement of a king size mattress. Can you imagine keeping a 600 pound animal on a king size bed? I can’t but I figured that to start, I can do a smallish pen and then add to it as they grow.

While they have been waiting for their pen to be built (did I mention we got them BEFORE the pen was even a quarter of the way done) they have been staying in one of our 10’ x 10’ dog kennels.

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Three little pigs

Luckily, we have right around half an acre to work with, so I am able to pick the size. To start we used free extra long pallets. For the shelter we actually got a free shipping crate. We have spent less than $150 on fencing and nails to reinforce the pen. The work that was put into it was priceless, I know that if it weren’t for my amazing boyfriend and his cousin I would not be able to fulfill my childhood dream of owning pigs.

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Definitely larger than 3 king sized mattresses 

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Before fencing added

By the end of summer, they will need new shelter but for now, this will do. We also will be getting a boar to breed our female (the white one) while her brothers will be raised for butcher.

Piglets

About three months ago I informed my boyfriend we were buying piglets. I had been telling him we were getting some but in his defense I always want some random animal so he wasn’t sure if I really meant it until the day I told him we were going to put our deposit on them.

Our issue has always been that I am an impulse shopper. Yes, I know that lots of people are, but I do it with animals. I see it, I want it, I buy it. Most of the time that means that Kevin is left scrambling to build a shelter, get fencing in place, get the food and learn everything he can about my latest project all before I bring it home. Basically, he has anywhere between a month and a matter of hours (like when I decided we were going to raise a bull).

We brought our three little pigs home last month. Boy, was the first month we have had them interesting. First, they had never been out of the barn so they screamed (squealed does not cover that God awful racket) the whole way to the car. We packed them all in a small dog crate in the backseat of the car for the half hour ride home. *Important note: use a truck! Stinky and upset babies are NOT fun.

Up until a few days ago, they were spending the nights in the garage and every morning the crate, with them inside, would be carried out to one of the dog kennels for them to spend the day before they were taken back at night. Now, they stay outside in the kennel awaiting the time they can be moved to their pen. This is where I tell you to have your pen or fencing up BEFORE you bring them home. I really shouldn’t have to say it, but I’m sure there is at least on other person like me out there somewhere.

I’m not sure where this all will lead. Ultimately I would like to make a little money off hogs but at least I know that even the worst case scenario means that we will have too much meat for our freezer.