New Mexico's Pet Resource FALL 2007


By Richard Fagerlund

Holly and I got involved with animal rescue quite accidentally. Our first dog was an Australian shepherd we adopted at a rescue seminar. Soon our rescue efforts kicked into high gear. We leased a farm with a barn, corral and a couple of sheds in Moriarity. We moved there with Wea and Cheppi, two Australian shepherds we adopted, Dakota, a Dalmatian condemned to death, and Tuki, our little old, blind dachshund someone dumped in the desert.

One day Holly went out to feed her horses, Daisy and Abner. Daisy is a 25+-year-old blind horse who was destined for the slaughterhouse and Abner, six years old, who had battery acid splashed on him by some lowlife in Pennsylvania. As Holly was feeding Daisy and Abner, she heard a dog crying. In the pasture behind the barn she found a large, brown dog tied to a bush by the barbed wire around its throat. Of course she freed him, took him to the house and dressed his wounds. This dog, who we named Wally, is well trained and completely protective of Holly.

Shortly after we moved in two Akitas found their way into our yard. They had tags so we called their owner. She said she would come pick them up, as they were wanderers. A couple of days later we called her again. This time she said her husband wouldn’t let her have them back. We told the Akitas, Ralphie and Buttercup, that we would feed them if they wanted to hang around and watch the place. Or they could leave if they wanted. A year later they are still here and we haven’t had a coyote in the yard in all that time. Now we have three guard “dogs”. The third is a goat named Fifi. Fifi was going to be someone’s dinner when our neighbor found out about it and rescued her. She asked us if we could take care of the goat as we already had several. Fifi doesn’t hang around with the other goats, but is inseparable from Ralphie and Buttercup.

Holly went to check at one of the Akitas barking at the gate. She found a dog hiding in a bush with her six-week old puppy, who was crying. She brought the dogs in. The adult female had one eye gouged out and the other was destroyed. She was totally blind. Her pup was also blind and deaf. They are Catahoulas, a breed of dog that some soulless humans use in hog/dog fights. Pepper, and her pup, Penelope, are still with us and doing very well considering their handicaps.

The day after Pepper and Penelope found their way to our gate, another little white puppy turned up outside. We thought he was another little Catahoula,possibly Penelope’s brother, but he (Harley) turned out to be a beautiful little pit bull. Harley is deaf, but he is a hyperactive dog who loves to play.

Someone asked Holly if she would take a box of puppies who were only about two weeks old. Their eyes were still closed and they needed to be bottle-fed. Holly said we were full and couldn’t take them. The person came back and left the puppies at the gate any way.

Freddie, a German shepherd, wandered into the yard after being scalded with boiling water and burned with cigarettes. He was so scared when I first met him, he would roll over on his back and start urinating. After several months, Freddie got his confidence back and we were able to find him a good home.

Trooper, a three-legged dog still recovering from surgery, wandered into our yard. There was no way he could have walked to our house. Someone dumped him off. We put him in the laundry room, which has dog-door access to a small fenced in part of the yard. Several days later as I drove up to the gate, a little dog was in the yard barking at me. I put a plate of food by the gate, but the pup ignored it and came into the yard. It wouldn’t approach us and when I approached him, he ran from the yard. Finally Holly and I went to the front porch to play with the Akitas. The little dog came to the porch, crawled up very submissively and let me pet him. He then crawled over to Holly and then went to the front door where he sat staring at it. It was evident he wanted to go inside. Holly brought him in and placed him in the laundry room with Trooper. To our astonishment, these two dogs, except for color, were identical. It was clear they were both dumped off. Trooper found us first and then along came his little brother who we named Shiloh. Now Trooper and Shiloh are inseparable and if we find them homes, they will have to be adopted together.

There are others, including several cats, a few more goats, three more horses and a donkey, but their stories aren’t as dramatic as the ones above. We have no idea what motivates people to dump animals in front of our house or any place else for that matter. It could be worse if they dumped them in the desert to die, but it is still hard to understand. I guess as long as people throw away these little folks, we will continue to take care of them if we can. All of the animals mentioned in this story can be seen on our webpage,

Richard Fagerlund, a.k.a. The Bugman, writes a weekly column “Ask the Bugman” for the Albuquerque Journal.

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