Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dog Daze by Jim Wilke

Do I have fleas? Not this time. This is how my escape into the world of sleep was rudely interrupted this morning. Even though we trim Pixies’ little grizzly claw paws a couple times a week, they still manage to penetrate the blanket to rake my attention. And this is the good way to wake up.

Usually, after a late night of dealing with doggy dilemma, I like to sprawl out like a fresh train wreck, mouth wide open, sawing logs like an obsessed lumber mill. I do not know if they sit during the quiet of day and plan it but our little coven of German Wire Hair Pointers have taken this as being the fun way to wake me up. I am not sure which one starts it but I am sure one of them says, “Hey look, daddy’s mouth is wide open and it sounds like he is choking on his tongue…lets’ use our tongues to help him out.” I have seen where these tongues have been. Boiling my mouth is a little painful and I have been encouraged to quit drinking the Lysol so I now sleep with my head under the blanket. This too has its draw backs.

For those times when the wife is not here to make me toe the line, she has trained a replacement. Her name is Mickey. She is a spoiled little girl with the expressive eyes of Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch movie. When she does something fun, like chewing up a $300.00 leather coat (which, coincidentally, the wife was wanting a new coat anyway, weird huh?) and I attempt to reprimand her, she will assume this look (I also see it when the wife wants another puppy) that will reach into your chest and tear your heart out by its roots. It makes you feel as though you were responsible for all the evils from the sinking of the Titanic to the rise of beer prices. Okay, I could cover up my head and not have to see her eyes but this is not her only trick. She has a whiny little whine that penetrates the brain like a cross between chewing on a sheet of aluminum foil and fingernails on the chalkboard. She will maintain this whining until dad, in all of his unwisdom, lifts up the blanket and lets her in to snuggle for what should be a good night of sleep.

It never works out this way.

For all of her sweet demeanor, the winds of hell would prove to be a breath of fresh air compared to the foul emissions my little German Wire Hair girl can percolate. I could be passed out, drugged, or dead and one little “poof” from this little girl would have me fighting back tears, gagging as I clawed my way out, around, or through whatever layers of blanket separated my lungs from breathable air and life. On the positive side, I have noticed that my nose hairs quit growing for two or three weeks after one of these episodes.

I learned long ago that a person cannot survive without sleep. I have a firm belief that the Creator, in all his wisdom, saw this coming, and invented coffee. I do survive in this lack of sleep mode…but barely. Coffee is my crutch. If I have had a really late night I will make really strong coffee in the morning and, for the protection of those individuals not acquainted with my coffee, my wife tries to get me to hang a “hazardous materials” sign from the coffee maker. After a couple of cups of this concoction, I could not sleep if I wanted to. Not only do my plate size eyes and zippy body movements emulate a ferret on speed, I also move around like I am hiding a running jack hammer in each pant leg.

So, next time we pass on the street and you say “good morning” I hope you will forgive me when I stare at you through red slitted eyes, growl and paw the air like a wounded badger. I am not really mental… Well, a little maybe, but mostly tired.

P.S. I would appreciate it if anyone could tell me where a person could buy one of those little mask thingys’ that fencers use when they duel and a cheap used scuba tank.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kennel Up by Jim Wilke

As the sun slowly warms the morning, a variety of grunts, growls, and yawns can be heard in the various parts of our yard. Or what used to be our yard. Being an average Joe, when we moved here, I had the various parts of the yard already dedicated to the “guy stuff”. Over there, I would park my boat and camper, to be used at my leisure. Over here, I would have my little shed that would match my little mechanical abilities. And a garden. And maybe a little shed for my fishing bait and supplies.

Yeah…..and maybe the beer fairy will put in a beer fountain in my yard.

When winter hits, ANYTHING with wheels in my yard will be frozen in place. This also applies to my truck. It is rather strange that with acres and acres of trees, rocks and other little animals, they constantly have to pee on MY wheeled things. When I am watching. And they always seem to be smiling.

They may have formed a pee squad so when they take their turns they always have a full bladder.

As far as my idea of having any of my little sheds? Who am I kidding? What used to be kindness applying to a couple of dogs headed for “termination” and a cheap store bought kennel has become frustration and 5 tiltingly constructed chain link kennels. And 2 horse trailers. And my gun room. And my den. And my living room. The tool box from my truck is now “food central”, serving as the one weather proof place to store and dispense the dog food we have in the yard. The other dozen or so bags of dog food are neatly stacked around the kennels in my “den”. My guns and fishing rods are stored in one small closet. Don’t tell the dogs.

My wife does not care to have children. I think the responsibility and the unknown about raising children scares her. I am a father from a previous marriage and I think I know the basic difference between raising children and dogs. When your child barks at you, you pretty much know what that child wants and it usually has to do with either your wallet or your car. When a dog barks at you it is like learning an alien language that varies with each dog. It can be something simple like “I’m hungry” or “I hafta go pee” to the tougher to decipher ones like “My butt itches” or “Hey guys, watch dad take even MORE aspirins when I do this!”.

I cannot say dogs are not a highly intelligent animal and, although they do get humor from the little tricks they pull on me, they do try to be helpful. They have even helped me coin new words.

We burn wood to fight off the winter cold. Our yard is now covered with “pindling”. Pindling is the branches, bark, and wooden handled garden tools that they chew sufficiently to fit in our wood stove. They have offered numerous part of garden hose fit to size but they do not burn all that well.

This summer, to fix a water line, I dug a hole alongside the house. They saw me do this. I fixed the water line and filled in the hole. They did not see this. When running on the loose and near this spot they will drop my missing gloves or whatever they were doing, and stop to dig and growl. They seem upset that the dirt went back into the hole, dad took it out for a reason darn it. When they are in this area they go “grigging”. Grigging is a combination of growling and digging reserved just to help out dear old dad. When the weather cools enough, I am going to fill in this hole and put a tire on top of it. Hopefully it will become one big peecicle that they can’t dig through.

They all have personalities as varied as any crowd you see in a city. The only white puppy we have at present has the unique habit of cleaning the oil and debris from the bottom of my truck daily. When the smallest dog we have has bounced high enough to look a tall man in the eye we know this one has some talents Michael Jordan would have liked to have had. And it does not matter how many knots I have included, we have a young Harry Houdini that can untie any shoelace in mere seconds. We have one very small one that, with a nod to my Native American ancestry, I have affectionately named “Chief Plenty Poops”. I do not think I need to explain that one.

They can be a pushy little bunch. I used to enjoy a candy bar from time to time but now it is rare that I get to. I think I know how a wino in a crowded wino alley would feel trying to pop the top on a new bottle of MD 20/20 when he has the only bottle.

A couple of years ago, after a person who was “supposed” to be my supervisor wrote me up on what an independent panel had concluded were false charges, I challenged his I.Q. Or if he had one. I felt he may have been about as sharp as a marble but working in Law Enforcement is no place to be having to look over your back all the time when there was usually also a threat in front of you. I basically said I was done having to deal with all the crap and resigned my post.

ANOTHER change in plans.

I am so still dealing with a lot of crap…but it isn’t so bad. These “supervisors” at least seem to love me for it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Days at Kennel Vertigo by Jim Wilke

Okay, first of all, since the wife does not like the name it will not last, and before she changes it to something majestic, let me explain the name. We had been doing rescues for some time before we could afford a kennel, which we bought second hand. We would have two or three dogs at a time, place them in good homes and get a few more for rescue.

Somewhere this got out of hand until we had more….many more. We had to move to the country due to the “more.” Until recently we were up to 27 dogs and puppies. We are still around 25. When we saw this coming we located some chain link fencing and metal poles. With me being laid off from my job, the cost of the cement to secure the poles in the ground was more than we could afford. I simply pounded the poles into the ground and wired the fence to it.

I agree, not professional, but it has worked. The only problem is that this ground is soft. As the dogs bounce off the fencing the fence in turn bounces against the poles. The result has been a various direction kennel I have fondly named “Vertigo.”

In the meantime, we have given our dogs to many families throughout Montana and even into other states. Lately, through many interactions with various families, I have occasionally been called “special” for what we have been able to accomplish. If this were to have happened a few years ago the wife would have cocked one eyebrow and, with her steely gaze, would have replied “yah, he’s special all right”. Her condescension knows no bounds. Now I think she may agree with them. In a way, so do I.

I do not know of a decent human being that can look into the trusting, frightened eyes of a dog that is facing certain death and not want to do something for it. With this being said, I do not see my wife and I taking the dogs in as anything special. It is the dark side of kennel life where I believe our “specialness” comes out.

I was raised on a rather large ranch where some things were overlooked. If my father had seen me running around picking up poops he would have had my brain analyzed. If we overlook this at our home we will step in it. Most of the rescues are very good at going out into the bushes to do their business but some aren’t. The kennels still need to be “flushed” a couple of times a day. Our flusher is not an automatic thing. I am very proud (and feel special) to be able to say that, even though I take every precaution up to but not including donning a chemical containment suit, I have become the flusher. I no longer gag when I do this. I no longer turn green. I no longer say “aw poop, more poop”.

Another facet of kennel life is distraction.

When a person lives anywhere in Montana it is considered living in the “boonies”. We live in an area where the people living in the “boonies” make fun of us. On the up-side of this, we have a wonderful diversity of wildlife at our door step. It is a usual scene to look out the window and see deer grazing by where we park our vehicles. The down-side of this is the fact that dogs like animals. I will let one or two out to exercise and to do their business and in the process, they will spot a pheasant. They will begin to chase the pheasant. I will attempt to call them back. They will stop….the heads will slowly turn toward me, and then, just as clearly as if it were etched in stone or a newspaper headline, their eyes will reflect their unique opinion.
“That is a bird, we are dogs…we chase birds…that is what we do…where you been”?
With that, they will be off in a shot to resume doing “what they do” while I stumble after them and try to calculate how many points they have just taken off of my I.Q. and ego.

I also feel special because I no longer pursue the need to have the finer things in life. If, on that rare occasion that we have time, we go to a restaurant or bar, I no longer have to worry about anyone taking my things. If my jacket is on the coat rack it is obviously mine. Since homeless people do not usually have pets, the chew marks and dog hair is as good as a label with my name on it. The chew marking also works for my pens, cigarette lighters and most anything else I am carrying.

I can also now operate my remote control for the t.v. in total darkness just by using the number of tooth holes in the buttons.

I no longer have to tie my shoe laces…..since I usually have none.

I am, thanks to a game we play, in the best shape of my life….its called

I do get gray hair….but it usually combs out. One day I will gather it all together and knit another German Wirehair.

I do not have to prune around the base of our trees.

I do not have to take out all of the trash if I forget the bag outside by the front door.

The staff at the veterinarians’ office considers us family.

I know how many pounds of dog food every shelf in our home can support.

I know how many pounds of dog food I can carry in a day.

I know how many pounds of dog food it takes to make the car scrape the ground.

I finally figured out that green “stuffed animal” stuffing comes out of a puppy neon blue.

Fresh puppy poop has the same qualities as a strong glue.

Old puppy poop has the same qualities as concrete.

Last, but by no means least….I know the love of a rescue dog.

Yes, there are the days when I want to load my aspirins into a Pez dispenser for easier access. Yes, they have eaten numerous remotes, shoes, coats, gloves and assorted belongings. And yes, their care has been expensive and difficult to maintain.

But there is a definite pay back. When we let them out they will race around the yard, sometimes looking for a place to do their business, sometimes chasing objects real and imaginary. Invariably, at some point during this run, they will come to us. They will rest between our legs, body in our arms. They will cuddle. They will look directly into my eyes.

In this one moment I know I am loved and thanked…..unconditionally.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We are a handful of volunteers located in north-central Montana who decided to help the unwanted and abandoned dogs from local communities. Our mission is rescueing dogs in hopes that one day we won't have to anymore.

We always welcome new foster homes. We do not have a facility so the dogs are placed in a network of foster homes. The more foster homes we have, the more dogs we can help. For the dogs, it is means life or death...

Right now we are in a desperate need of dog food! If you can donate even a bag of dog food, that would be huge help! Every day the dogs in our care eat approximately 60-70 lbs of food! That adds up pretty quickly.

All of our foster dogs are available for adoption and are spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccinations and dewormed. Please email us at for an application.

Feel free to contact us at if you are interested in adopting one of our furkids, fostering or donating time or items we need! THANK YOU!