Many more stories to follow…

A WALK IN THE BOG (as related by Kathe Jeffries, founder of SANS Animal Sanctuary)

Our first year at our new property was full of discoveries.

On a beautiful spring day, we started out on a walk and happy, totally unaware of the danger we were about to face.   We discovered a beautiful trail in the trees, obviously used by wildlife.   The dogs found several “piles” of what we like to refer to as “hair conditioner” that verified the wildlife usage.   Thankfully, there were also little ponds and creeks along the way to rinse off in.    After we had walked a couple of kilometers, I felt that I should take the old dogs back home.   We turned around to see two bears standing on the back trail, looking none too pleased at our trespassing.    Thankfully, I had my trusty walking stick, although a machete would have been better.
I walked for awhile when I realized that I was totally alone.    I am never alone, as the more insecure dogs always walk on my heels and around my feet, causing me to retie my shoelaces every six or seven steps.   I thought,   “Am I lost?  Are the dogs lost?  Am I being stalked by bears?”    I saw a thinning of the forest jungle ahead so I headed for that.   Suddenly I felt the ground shaking.   I immediately thought “earthquake”, or charging bears.    No, it was worse than that.   There in front of me, the ground was quivering and six of my dogs were imbedded in the bog.  The rest of the pack were on the other side, except for three.    I found a place for us to cross and went to the rescue of my oldest, biggest and crabbiest dogs.  With a great deal of difficulty and danger, I was able to free five of the dogs which only left Mohave imbedded about eight feet from semi-solid ground.    Mohave is 160 pounds, 17 years old and bites.   He was almost up to his neck in the bog.   After watching me drag out his pals, his glare said it all.    I knew I had better be very careful.   I had already tried to find a bottom with my multipurpose walking stick which is six feet long, but could not.   I reached forward, stretched out, trying to  find his tail to pull him out.   Suddenly , Foster who is a Borzoi /Shepard cross and twelve years old , panicked and tried to save me.   In doing so, he knocked me flying into the bog and within range of Mohave’s pique.   I panicked and lunged for his tail to get my face out of the bog and  away from Mohave’s teeth.     Suffice it say, after a ferocious struggle, I was able to free him but by then I was stuck.    I was almost up to my waist in a bottomless bog and could not move.    My boots had formed a suction and I could not move enough to get my feet out and by then I was exhausted.
Such despair!   All the things that went through my mind.   It would be days, if not weeks before anyone looked for us.   I could not have borne it if after dark the dogs had fallen into the bog.   I remembered the articles I had read about people found in bogs 10,000 years later.    That spurred me on!   I did not want a magazine article 10,000 years from now about an unknown woman and the dogs they found with her.    So with great effort, I used my walking stick to break the vacuum in my boots and I basically swam to shore.   Of course,  Foster the Borzoi, in his concern , wanted to die with me and kept plunging in and having to be rescued until I threatened to use my multipurpose stick on him.

After I got out, barefoot but free, I ushered the dear  dogs home two kilometers.    One thing we learned about peat bogs besides giving them a wide berth…. they sure do a good job of washing the “conditioner” out of the dogs’ hair.
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When Dogs Argue
(as described by SANS Animal Sanctuary founder, Kathe Jeffries)

Human Beings can settle arguments by discussion or if angry, they can yell at each other.  Dogs cannot.  They know only to fight if they are angry at another dog.  Taking care of this many dogs requires constant supervision.  Some of the dogs do not get along and if not closely watched, may get into a fight.  Mostly, these few argumentative dogs tend to do “fence fighting.” The term refers to the following at SANS Animal Sanctuary:  when the opposing dogs are let out together, they run out to the fence passing right by the opening where they could be together, and go directly to take up positions on opposite sides of the fence.   There, they bark and run up and down “shouting” at each other and pretending to fight through the fence.  Obviously, it’s a lot safer and they prefer that.  However, when they go on a walk together, they happily explore the world …and never argue.

"Fence Fighting"

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THE HORSES

There are four horses with us at the Sanctuary.

Sam and Velvet arrived during a blizzard.   Their owners  had run out of food and  the horses were going to auction  likely for slaughter.    The previous summer, they had stayed at the Sanctuary during the forest fire evacuations.   Since all  four of the horses  knew each other  from that time and got along well,  we asked if we could keep Sam and Velvet.    Both horses were worked very hard and were not given any luxuries.
Sam and Velvet do not trust people but are learning that we will not force them to work and they now allow us to  approach them.   As a matter of fact, when they  see us coming  with their food, they come running.  Sammy is a 26 year old draft gelding, and the lovely black mare is Velvet, a 26 years old draft horse.

Laine is a 34 year old appaloosa.   He is blind, toothless and cannot eat hay or pasture.   We have been buying him rabbit and guinea  pig food.   About a year and one-half ago , Laine arrived so weak and emaciated that  he practically fell out of the horse van.    We thought that he had come here to die, but did he ever fool us.   He loves SANS Animal Sanctuary   and even though he is blind, he knows every bit of his 20 acre area  and gallops all through his pastures and forest, even jumping logs.   Ststeda, a 23 year old mare is a real beauty.   She came with Laine at the same time and always protects him.

Mike Hawkridge of Hidden Lake Guest Ranch in Quesnel, came by and trimmed the horses hooves.  Originally, the rescues came to us with clipped hooves.  They looked as if they were walking on tippy toes or platform shoes.  They couldn’t run.  Over the past year, their hooves have grown in and now the horses run, gallop and rarely lie down.Our favourite photos are taken during sunset and capture their peaceful existence in their new home.

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Lexie (as described by SANS Animal Sanctuary founder, Kathe Jeffries)

Lexie came to us a few years back as a rescue from a man who could no longer handle her. She had been dumped around to many different owners and was deemed “unadoptable”.  We understood that her issues were serious and related to the human foot.  Once someone would remove their shoes or boots, Lexie would immediately pounce attacking their feet.  Her last owner finally brought her back to a shelter only after sustaining serious foot injuries.

Eventually she found her way to us…

Lexie
Over the years, a few people showed interest in adopting her. However, Lexie could not break her addiction to attacking feet. One woman fell in love with Lexie when she visited the sanctuary and insisted that she was the dog she would take home.  It was our job to ensure that Lexie did not end up back in a shelter facing certain death and felt it was our duty to make this person aware of her foot fixation. Sure enough, when the woman removed her shoes, Lexie attacked her feet, instantly “curing” the women’s desire to adopt her or ever set eyes on her again.

Lexie obviously has issues from abuse as a young dog that cannot be erased. Kathe Jeffries spent an entire year around her before she was able to “hang up” her boots with extreme care.

Lexie is happy, well-cared for and loving life at SANS Animal Sanctuary.

– Kathe Jeffries

More Stories and Photos to Follow…..

Enjoying a Run!

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