Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Year of Ewen

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the skinny, scared black dog showed up in our driveway. I offered him some water in a pink pail at one of the barns, and then he followed me back to our house. We happened to be dog-sitting my mom's dogs at the time so I fed him some of their dog food. The skinny, sad dog wouldn't let me touch him but he followed me all around the farm that day. It was pretty obvious that he had either been on his own for quite some time or he seriously needed an upgrade in life. In addition to being very thin he was covered in fleas and ticks and loaded with worms. 

Ewen the day he first appeared

Ewen was skinny and sunburned

It had been an emotional week for me already. It had been three years since my dad passed, and only two days before my mom, sister and I had closed on the sale of our family farm. Windy Hills Farm had been the hotspot for stray and wayward animals for a long time, so I found it unsurprising that two days after we closed on the sale of Windy Hills Farm a stray dog showed up at our farm. When Jason saw the skinny, wormy, sad black dog following me around his initial comment was "your Dad somehow sent this dog here. I know it." I couldn't disagree with him, the timing was too suspicious. 

Ewen wearing the cone of shame after his "tutoring"



Despite the fact that Jason was less than thrilled about having another mouth to feed - one of his favorite complains is "we have way too many dependents" - he went to the store the next day and purchased a leash, collar, food, bowls, chew toys and a dog bed for the dog he insisted on calling Ewen. I had no vote in the naming of Ewen. We managed to grab him and get the collar on him, and slowly Ewen started letting us pet him. Then it was time to take him to the vet and get him vaccinated, neutered and on a flea, tick and de-worming program.

my ridind buddy on the Kubota

Ewen

Ewen and I on a Christmas Eve hike


Getting Ewen into the car was a rodeo. He was terrified and I had to climb in the car and pull while Jason was behind him lifting and pushing. We finally drug him into the car despite Ewen's valiant efforts to not get into the car. The following week we had to repeat the process when Ewen went back to the vet to be neutered. He came home the next day wearing the cone of shame because he would not leave the stitches alone. Ewen had to be on restricted activity for seven days which meant leash walking only. That was a ton of fun given that Ewen had clearly never been on a leash in his life and was also still insanely hyper at the time. Then Ewen had to wear the cone of shame for another week but he was allowed to run around. No one can forget the reign of terror that gripped the farm as the horses quivered in fear at the alien streaking around the farm. 

Ewen gets along great with our cats Jingle and Joy; he also gets along with our feral cat Oscar

I had no idea how many deer and other wildlife came to the end of their life on our farm until Ewen came around. Every week before we mow the lawn I have to walk around and collect all of the bones that Ewen has found and brought into the yard.

Ewen always has an impressive bone collection


Over time we eventually taught Ewen how to be a house dog. We had to drag him into the house the first time with a great deal of force. He was terrified of the house. Now he thinks being in the house is great. Our greatest challenge was keeping Ewen off the road and from chasing cars. For the first several months he was here Ewen was insanely hyper. So hyper we really questioned if we could live with him long term. He calmed down considerably over a period of several months.  We learned Ewen can easily jump any fence up to six feet, he can jump over stall doors, and he can run fast. Jason finally ended up running a hotwire on the bottom of the fence by the road in addition to the hotwire on the top of the fence, and after a few zaps Ewen finally, reluctantly gave up his hobby of chasing cars. 

I also have to give a HUGE thanks to Convey's mom for some extremely helpful training tips and ongoing words of encouragement as we attempted to transform Ewen from a crazy hyper, half feral, car chasing dog into a family dog.  She gave me a couple of training exercises to work on with Ewen to help address the car chasing and also to help his complete lack of recall. He can still be hard to catch on occasion, but most of the time he is now reasonable about being caught. 

 Much of the time Ewen is now a lazy house dog and he sleeps inside on his dog bed every night, often with our two house cats sleeping on him or next to him. Ewen still has a lot of energy and he still runs miles and miles every day, but he's not the crazy hyper, half feral thing that showed up a year ago. He also loves to ride in cars and trucks. 

Today we took Ewen through the McDonald's drive through and got him a hamburger and french fries to celebrate his one year anniversary as a WebbPet (TM). Ewen would tell you that life is good.

Ewen and Carter on our way to McDonald's for Ewen's one year WebbPet anniversary meal

Ewen and Carter playing with a stick

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Asterik and George


Baby and Trigger

Donovan, Walon and Oskar

Havana and Cino

Rocky and Toledo

River and Rubrico

Cocomo, Gus and Silver

Gibson and Donneur

Wilson and Johnny


6 comments:

Kate said...

Ewan looks like one happy family dog now - kudos to you for the transformation. A good-hearted dog is a real treasure. Love the picture of him with Carter, and the one with the kitties.

RiderWriter said...

He is indeed a lucky animal to be a WebbPet™! :D Such adorable photos, especially of Ewen and Carter. I'm glad for everyone's sake that your dad sent Ewen to live with you.

Lori Skoog said...

I love the story of Ewan! Thanks for sharing....I'm so glad you gave him a chance and such a beautiful home.

Vivian Vetere said...

I always love our stories. I remember your Dad well and the dogs he had when we visited the old farm. I a so glad that Ewen as taken in by you and turned into such a nice dog! And the pics with Carter are so cute!

Ashley S said...

I love this story! Animals come into our lives for a reason. Thanks for sharing that.

Ashley S said...

I love this story! Animals come into our lives for certain reasons. Thank you for sharing this.