Horsin’ Hot Summer, or, it’s too dang hot to horse around

...and on the eighth day, God created the horse in perfect image, it romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

I had such a positive response to this column, I thought I should run it again on behalf of the animals:

Just a short column this week, folks, it’s just too darn hot; my laptop keys are melting, along with my hair-do.

To heck with ya’ll... take a moment to check on your animals, both inside and outside, during this 100 degree heat wave we are experiencing.

Water, that famous kiss of life, is so important to livestock and pets.

Make sure buckets and troughs are full when you leave for work, and make watering the first thing you do upon your return in the evening.

If you can head to the ‘fridge for a beer, then you better head out to the end of the yard to check on outside dogs or horses in the barn.

Pennsylvania Animal Laws dictate that all outside livestock and pets must have adequate shelter, enough to get inside, lay down and turn around, away from the elements, etc, (1)

This is punishable by fine and confiscation.

That sun is very brutal; dogs should have a house under a tree or even inside a shed.

Our Beagle, Judge,* was a hunting dog who belonged to the neighbor.

The old man had a tool shed where he had put a big plastic barrel inside, full of straw.

All water and food for the dog was given inside the tool shed, out of the weather, with the water inside a wire basket, to prevent spillage.

It was an excellent set-up, well away from the elements.

Now that Judge lives with us, his same barrel came with him and we outfitted it with a custom-made tarp roof, placing it inside a kennel, under the trees.

Judge comes out each day and is placed on a line under another tree, so he can be near the people and all the activity.

He has two water bowls, which we fill and monitor throughout the day.

Now, my parents are retired, so the water bowl is watched, and if it rains, Judge goes back inside the kennel area.

People who must go to work each day should have a large pot or bowl, with plenty of water, and fit it inside of a secure object, like a wire basket or small tire.

Animals spill their water, that is a fact.

Do something to insure your animals don’t spill theirs.

My dog, Pumpkinhead Staab,* stays in the house with us.

Her dog bed is behind my easy chair and the big water bowl is around the corner in the laundry room.

She loves to get into the pick-em-up-truck and ride down the highway, taking in all the sights and smells.

Her ears sail back and she pretends she is flying, hopefully catching sight of a crow on our way to town.

These super-hot days can be too much for any dog, and they should be left at home.

It is a sad sight indeed, and I think Pumpkinhead is psychic; I haven’t even reached for my keys and she’s already wagging her tail, looking expectantly at the door.

Her head hangs down and her big, brown eyes look very sad as I put on my boots and head out the door, sans pup.

It is her big moment of the day to go for a ride, and this can be very important to a dog, but I know I am doing the right thing for her when I leave her at home.

Even windows left open partway in a parking lot is too hot; air conditioners can fail, or the engine may quit.

Look what happened in New Castle a year or so ago, and other police departments, with those dogs left inside a running car. Murphy’s Law was in full effect and those dogs died horrible deaths because no one checked on them every so often.

Horses drink a lot of water, so sometimes it is necessary to hang two buckets.

These should be emptied and refilled each day.

Even barn cats need a drink of refreshing moisture; there are no rain puddles in sight, so cool-whip containers placed next to the wall are out of the way and give them a watering hole all their own.

It really bothers me to see horses standing in small dirt corrals, out in the blazing sun, with not even a tree for shade.

Tails switching and skin baking, they have not a moment’s peace.

Why don’t you try that sometime?

It especially bothers me to see big draft horses with docked tails standing in hot, dusty corrals; their only mechanism for fighting flies has literally been cut off; shame on those owners.

Take a moment to think twice about your livestock and pets; care and maintenance are part of the order.

On a lighter note, take a moment now to read over this delicious summer picnic chip dip recipe I found, it goes great with tortillas, crackers or even Doritos:

Spicy Chicken Dip:

3 cups cooked chicken breast, diced

1 jar, 12 oz, Marie’s Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing

1 cup of Frank’s Hot Sauce ( any hot sauce of your choice)

8 ounces shredded cheese, any kind

1 package, 8 oz, cream cheese, at room temp.

Dash of dried bread crumbs

Mix chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and dressing together in a large bowl.

Add half the shredded cheese.

Place in a greased 9 x 12 in. baking pan, sprinkle remaining cheese and bread crumbs over top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with chips of your choice.

Sounds good to me.

So does jumping in the lake with a raft and floating away right about now, it’s hotter than Hades.

I hope you take this week’s column to heart; your animals should be close to yours, too.

Sipping ice-cold lemonade to the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, in front of the AC, “Happy Trails to You.”

1: Pennsylvania Anti-Cruelty Laws, # 5511, Title 18, Chapter 55, Part C (1)

* Judge the Beagle, now in doggie heaven.

*Pumpkinhead Staab, the Pit Bull mix, now in doggie heaven.