Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Three Toed Sloth at farm needed some help!

We have been so very busy here at The Toucan Rescue Ranch with our animals, guests, tours and volunteers! That I was in real need of a bit of a break, so I escaped to the farm for the day.

I was excited to see Karla and Lin our farm dogs, and take a nice walk in the forest with them. There were lots of different birds, parrots, oropendulas, 4 different woodpeckers and it was not that hot, so I was enjoying myself. I crossed both streams, and up to the corner of the property line when I came across this young Three Toed Sloth who needed a bit of help! She had climbed up the post of the wire fence and was just realizing she was in trouble when I arrived. I really did not want to touch her and upset her, so I "coached" her from the other side of the fence, I was laying in the mud, getting eaten by mosquitos and talking to her so that she would know that I was there and move away.....ever so slowly.

Once she made it off the wires, and under the fence she took a nice little siesta. You can see her relaxing here. She was so green from all the algae growing on her fur, and she was covered with moths! You can see one on her head in this photo. It was very tempting to start to pick them off, but such is nature. The moths live in the fur and eat the algae.

I had so much fun just sitting with her for quite some time, before she woke up again and decided with my encouragement to get moving and find a tree to climb, ever so slowly she started to walk towards the trees, selected one and climbed up on her way again.

Smiling and happy to be off again after a nice rest. Funny how she just happened to be in that spot the other day right when I was there...it made my day!
In other news...Jorge rescued some baby chicks today from the chicken factory, and a Great Curassow the other day...we had some great volunteers for 10 days, Jou Jou is finally spending her lively nights out on the porch in a large cage, she is doing great, and today we had 3 visiting Collared Aracaris here at our main house...which is very strange...I have a call into my biologist friend to ask him about these birds coming into this area...global warming, weird weather, changing patterns?
So, I will post again soon with some photos!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meet the Dogs!

Rubita, Whitney, Shasta, Gypsy

When I first moved to Costa Rica, 8 years ago, I moved with 10 birds and 3 Shelties, Rubita, Whitney and Shasta. After several months of everyone telling me I needed some large watch dogs, we decided on the Dobermans! Gypsy, the red one in this photo, and Magic, the black one below! Recently we had a girls bath day, so the Shelties were all clean and we all hung out on my bed together...great fun for them, since they are usually outside!!

Gypsy and Magic are both Costa Rican champs, and we are very proud of them! They are the best watch dogs and think they are lap dogs like mini pincher's! The shelties are great because they are also great watchdogs and advise if anything is different in the yard or with the animals. The shelties love playing Frisbee.

Magic having fun!
After so many folks asked us for Doberman babies, we finally had 10 puppies! We sold most of them, but kept two males...(a big mistake) but we love them! Aragon, who is below sleeping, and Ace the black one. Since we now have three males, we had to get the puppies fixed, and this has been better, but they still fight every now and then! Aragon is so full of energy he is tall and thin, and on high energy food still!

Aragon sleeping....finally, he is sooo active! Ace, posing beautifully, he is so handsome!

Now, I just want to tell you a bit of the trials of having dogs in Costa Rica. Anything that has contact with the ground here gets parasites...so heart guard, parasite pills, injections and Frontline for fleas etc are a must every couple of months. For me this was all new coming from Nevada where the weather is so dry we never had fleas or parasites. We have to alter the meds to cover different parasites, so it can be complicated, I have a calendar. The other problem are toads. Up near the rain forest where we live, and actually in most parts of Costa Rica, the toads are poisonous. They hop into the yard, the dogs play with them and get squirted with a liquid. Just two days ago I looked out the kitchen window and Aragon was foaming tons from his mouth, like if someone squirted shaving cream in his mouth and all over the yard....Toad I scream, and go running out. We have the drill down, grab the dog, get help with tons of water for flushing out. Flashlight to check the pupils of the eyes for response...salt to make them vomit if really bad, and in the medicine cabinet an injection of Atropine if they start to go into shock.

Fortunately Aragon cleared up with the tons of flushing that we did :)

Now on to the farm dogs! Meet Lin and Karla. When we bought the farm, the man who sold it to us left behind Karla...of course he did not tell us that he was "giving" her to us...she just appeared at the property and had been sleeping with the cows. About two weeks later Lin showed up and he had marks around his neck from a chain, and they obviously knew each other and were happy to be together again...so Lin also became part of the family. Lin was so shy at first that we could not touch him, now he is a total lap dog! They came to us with tons of parasites, outside and inside. They each had around 15-18 bot fly larvae in their skin, creating ulcers where the worms were embedded.
I took my vet Janet to the farm and we did field surgery on Karla to fix her on top of a rickety old table with a sheet in the back yard of the property. I assisted. Then while she was out we proceeded to get out all the worms. Lin tolerated us helping him and we did not have to put him to sleep for the procedure, he was already castrated. I heard a horrible story of Lin's castration that I will not repeat, just to say that no wonder he hates some of the towns folk.

These dogs are totally free roaming and have never been totally kept inside, so we made the difficult decision to leave them free. We have a neighbor who looks after them and who feeds them for us.

One afternoon, about a year ago, we got a panicked call from our friend at the farm saying that Lin had been hurt and was very bad. Jorge jumped in the pick up, drove an hour over the mountain to the farm to pick him up and came home very upset. We had the vet come up to the house and we were ready to receive Lin. We were told that Lin had a bad habit of chasing motorcycles, and that earlier in the day he chased a guy, and the guy took out a machete and hit Lin with it. His intent was to kill Lin. As you can see from the photo, this is after a couple of weeks of healing. He had a cut from his eye to his nose, had lost tons of blood and was in very bad shape. Fortunately he is a quick healer and we kept everything really clean, and now as you can see in the first photo, he just has a small line down the front of his face. He has several machete marks on him..(he had been abused before we came to us). We have kept him fenced in and tried to do some training with him to not chase people and he is better.

I have a wonderful friend who donates dog food for Karla and Lin!! We always welcome food, and heart guard donations for the 9 dogs in our care!!
The good news is that now in Costa Rica we have an Animal Protection Society!! They have sent us letters that we posted all over town stating that it is a criminal act to abuse dogs or animals and now there are laws protecting the animals...Yeah!!!
When we go to the farm they are our constant companions, they love the cattle, take care of them for us and love to swim in the river and run free. Hopefully they will do so for many years to come!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Whew! We Survived!

We Survived Christmas and New Years! I had a bit of fun on Christmas eve that lasted for about 1 min. before Jou-Jou and Georgie wisely pulled these hats off!!

Every time the holidays come around, I take a huge deep breath and wonder how we will manage without our helpers for a few days, all the company, endless" bombs" and tons of fireworks!!

I am happy to report no casualties and we did just fine. We had folks here in the Bed and Breakfast non-stop and many people in for tours!!! It was exhausting and fun.

Then came the Costa Rican Family Christmas Party.....

40 Relatives (Jorge comes from a family of 10 brothers and sisters) came to visit from 10am to midnight! Fortunately I was up early to care for the animals and the sisters take over the kitchen and do all their food preparations and I did not have to make anything!

So, for those of you that have never experienced this type of affair, here goes:

Pork Chicharrones, Jorge's famous recipe Chef Rodrigo dancing with his spoon!

I am a vegetarian: Pork chicharrones are the highlight of Christmas, huge chunks of pork meat deep fried outside on an open fire. Tons of Tamales (also pork) wrapped in banana leaves, more food than you can imagine, that is all eaten! Music, dancing, Bingo, PiƱata, more dancing, drinking, story telling, crying, more food and it's midnight! Whew!!

Bingo and Dancing!

The outside birds did well with all the fireworks from all over the valley this year, I am happy to report that none of them went flying into the cages with night- frights and all was well.
On a sad note, Christmas eve I had to call the vet in an emergency because Minae showed up at our gate with a juvenile Tamandua, ant eater that had been attacked by a dog...but within the hour she had died of internal injuries. Then a few days later we had reports of a young white faced monkey needing a home, but the people that found her never called back, so we are not sure what happened.

Finally, it has been misty raining here for days, but the good news is that we had some real birders in the Bed and Breakfast from Germany, and they were so happy because in the rain the birds come to the feeders, so they sat for 4 days on my porch with binocs and bird book in hand to see these beautiful Mot Mots that came every day, along with a whole variety. This year the birding in Costa Rica has been great.