Meet Kobe. No, not the basketball star Kobe, the bull terrier. Kobe is believed to have been born in a puppy mill.
      A puppy mill is a breeding facility housing multiple dogs of various breeds in horrendous conditions, subjecting them to horrible lives of over breeding, cross breeding, often not mentioned in the resulting puppies’ pedigree, and in breeding. Confined to small cages without enough food or water, no sanitation to remove waste and little or no veterinary care most puppy mill dogs either die as breeding animals or from illnesses acquired as puppies, never making it to adulthood or the pet shop to be sold. However, those that do make it to a saleable age (six weeks in most states) are cleaned up and shipped off in hot, non-air-conditioned, or cold and non heated trucks for several days on the road, usually without adequate food and water. It’s common, if not routine, to lose some of the puppies during shipping to illness, exposure, hypothermia, heat stroke, thirst or starvation.

      Probably to be bought from a pet store, he survived. Kobe contracted mange or already had it without visible symptoms, prior to being purchased. Mange is a parasitic mite infection of the skin, particularly common in dogs, resulting in hair loss, severe itching and inflammation of the skin.
      The couple that bought Kobe took him to the vet and he was treated with medication he turned out to be allergic to. The allergic reaction combined with the ongoing mange resulted in an explosion of the condition. As a result, the couple decided they didn’t want him around their baby and Kobe was relegated to a kennel out back and left untreated.
      Kobe suffered in silence for two and a half years until John and Lynn took him in as foster parents. Kobe weighed 30 pounds (the standard weight for a bull terrier is fifty to sixty pounds), had little to no hair left on his body, was terrified of everything and everyone due to his confinement and lack of socialization and was so weakened by his condition he could do little more than sleep.
      They began feeding him a raw food diet and slowly he gained weight and muscle. They also sought proper treatment for Kobe’s mange. After two and a half years, Kobe was on the road to recovery and the possibility of a permanent and loving home. He found that home in the form of VHR’s Rain (Ranch #172), when she and her family met him and his foster parents at a Bull Terrier Dog Show. Even then, he was terrified and spent most of his time hiding behind his foster parents and refused to do more at all without being on a leash. A few months later, Kobe went to live with Rain permanently where he continued to gain weight and is now a healthy fifty pounds.
      Today, while Kobe will forever carry the scars of his youthful neglect, he will never have hair on top of his feet, his face and his belly, he now spends his time commandeering the couch as the resident couch sausage, harassing the cats, napping in a choice patch of sunlight, running in circles when someone comes home and professing undying love for them, particularly if that love results in snacks.

      Kobe found his forever home, but the plight of puppy mill dogs grows ever worse. Make sure the next puppy you buy isn’t from a puppy mill. Do the research and discover what puppy mills are all about. Or better yet, adopt an animal from your local shelter Millions of animals end up in shelters ever day, most if not all would make an ideal pet. The pet you save will thank you, and Kobe would too.



      Scary Celebrations Coming Your Way...Or Not.
      Halloween has existed in one form or another for at least two thousand years. Its predecessor was Samhain celebrated by the Celts in ancient Ireland, The United Kingdom and northern France.
      For the Celts, Samhain marked the end of summer, the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Associated with death, Samhain was the time when offerings were made to honor the deceased, livestock were taken into account and decisions were made about which animals to slaughter for food and to maintain the herds during the coming winter. Crops were stored away against need and preparations for the cold were made. Bonfires were set and general merry making ensued, to honor the season, the harvest and their gods.
      When Christianity became the popular religion, Samhain became Hallowmas encompassing All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day from Oct 31 to Nov 2 and is still practiced by Catholics today. Eventually, All Hallow’s Eve became truncated into Halloween.
      Many of the pagan beliefs mixed with the new Christian ones and from this came the idea of costumes during modern Halloween festivities, since costumes were often worn during Celtic celebrations. People would dress as demons and monsters, believing that on All Hallow’s Eve such creatures walked among us and dressed as one of them to protect themselves from becoming their victims, hoping to escape their notice.
      Today Halloween is celebrated as a secular and religious holiday in many places. The United States is probably the best known place that Halloween is celebrated in the most recognized form. Children dress in costumes and “Trick or Treat” from one house to another collecting candy and treats. Parties are held with Halloween themes and games like bobbing for apples, creepy foods are often served. Some examples of those are, eye balls (peeled grapes) brains (Jell-O usually) guts (usually thick pasta noodles covered in pasta sauce and arranged to look disgusting), and worms (the gummy variety or another pasta dish). Candied and caramel apples are also very popular this time of year. Some parties include having your fortune told or haunted houses. Haunted Houses where you pay to enter are also very popular and spring up regularly during the season.
      Pumpkins are carved with gap toothed faces traditionally but you can find many done in very elaboration etchings. The original purpose of these were to scare away evil spirits and are called Jack-o-lanterns. The origin of this practice stems from the legend of Stingy Jack who tricked the devil into several different ventures and eventually into never claiming his soul should he die. When he did, God did not want such a deceitful person in heaven and true to his word the devil wouldn’t claim his soul either. So the devil sent him back to earth to wander forever with nothing but a burning coal to light his way. He hollowed a turnip to carry it in, and the Irish called him Jack Of The Lantern which eventually became jack-o-lantern. They carved their own from turnips or potatoes to scare him away should he come calling. The English make their own from large beets. When English and Irish immigrants came to America they brought the tradition with them, but found that pumpkins were far better suited to the practice.
      El Dia De Los Muertos or The Day of the Dead, which takes the place of Hallowmas, is actually celebrated from Oct 31 to Nov 3, and reflects modern Halloween celebrations in some of its customs. The name denoting it as only a day is a bit of a misnomer. The favorite foods of the dead are set out on an altar for them to partake of, confections in the shape of comical skulls are common place, as is the wearing of skull mask. Wash basins are placed with towels so the dearly departed may wash before eating. Graves are tended to and decorated and picnics are held there to remember the dead. Some of them even include music!
      Britain has it’s own version of Halloween events. Halloween itself isn’t celebrated in Britain, having faded from popularity when the Protestant Reformation began. But Guy Fawkes Day is. Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated on Nov 5 and bonfires with effigies of Guy Fawkes are burned throughout Britain. The celebration commemorates the execution of this nefarious English traitor and so has it’s own macabre origins. Guy Fawkes was a member of a Catholic group that wanted to removal of Protestant King James from power. He was executed as a traitor and the first Guy Fawkes Day directly followed his death. Though for two hundred years it was effigies of the Pope that were burned before the switch to Guy Fawkes. Children are often seen carrying an effigy or “guy” and ask passers by for “a penny for the guy”, much as American children solicit candy. Guy Fawkes Day is also celebrated in New Zealand but is celebrated more like the US’s Fourth Of July, with lots of fireworks.
      In Ireland, the holiday is still celebrated much as it is in the United States. The festivities include trick or treating, bobbing for apples, bonfires, and costume parties. Some of the differences include a game called “snap apple” where an apple is tired from a string on a door frame and participants must try to bite the apple without using their hands. Some parents have candy and/or pastry treasure hunts as opposed to trick or treating, and there is a card game often played where candy or other treats are hidden under cards turned face down on a table. What ever card is chosen the child wins the prize beneath.
      Some traditional foods are also commonly eaten, one being barmbrack, a kind of fruitcake. In the center of the cake is a muslin wrapped surprise alleged to tell the eater’s future. A ring for marriage, or straw for a prosperous year ahead for example. Children also play “knock a dolly” where they knock on a door and run away before the occupant of the home can open it, reminiscent of some of the pranks played in the US.
      Like Britain, Australia doesn’t really celebrate Halloween. Though some immigrants will occasionally hold their own festivities they have never taken hold, the extent of Halloween celebrations mostly consist of costume parties or masquerades, with lots of music and refreshments.
      Halloween and its kin have been celebrated for thousands of years and will probably continue to be, in one form or another for hundreds if not thousands of years to come. So here’s wishing you a Frightfully Fun Halloween (and it’s derivatives)...or not, as the case may be.

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The Stablehand

Legends ... PAGE 1
Kobes Tale
The Legend of Halloween
In Your Community ... PAGE 2
Trick-Or-Treak with an OP
VHR Breed of the Month
SBF Player of the Month
Block Parties & Art Attacks
Werewolves, Bark or Bite?
It's Raining...Paint!
How to Make A Pumpkin Pony
    The Animals ... PAGE 3
Wonder Horse, Away!
Would You Like Some Eggs with that Spam?
Not So Friendly Foods for Pets
Carrot Snatchers!
Black Cat Crossing
Real Life Pumpkin Ponies?
Art and Diversity