#RanchersRelief

#RanchersRelief and the Atlas Blizzard Rancher Relief Fund.

……………

We were on our way home from Rapid City and Wall last Sunday morning .. and had pulled off quick to put gas in the van and grab the kids a quick bite to eat.

We both heard someone say the Cowboy’s name, approaching us from behind.

It was an old friend from the rodeo circuit and the two spent a few minutes catching up. At some point though, in-between talking about families, jobs, roping and where each had been the past few years, the topic of the loss of livestock West River came up.

“To some extent, these ranchers had warning this was coming. I feel terrible about the loss of life but they had time to get them in. It shouldn’t have been this bad,” this gentleman said.

I was a bit taken back.

There are a lot of opinions being given right now about what could or could not have been done. Regardless of who or what may be at fault for so many deaths, if anyone, the fact exists there is still incredible, unbelievable loss. And that is where we are at. I can’t imagine anyone expected what was coming, especially this early in the year and especially because things never seem quite as bad as they’re forecast for.

Photo Courtesy of www.columbian.com

Photo Courtesy of http://www.columbian.

After working many years in television news, I’ve seen it, I’ve taken the calls from people upset that you’re breaking into their favorite television show (not saying this happened in this situation at all. Just saying, it happens) to tell them about a pending violent storm that often barely ever touches their town with even a few raindrops. For most, the hype that goes into approaching storms rarely ever matches how bad a storm ever is. People get numb to it.

But the forecasters do know, Mother Nature is unpredictable. And when the conditions are just right, sometimes those storms will be what is predicted. And they can only pray you pay attention.

I believe this was one of those storms. And no matter what could have been done before the storm, there is this incredible, devastating aftermath.

I don’t know that I’ll continue to write about this routinely. We don’t live West River. We’re not in the thick of it. I can’t as eloquently put into words what is happening as more storms hit the area, as ranchers wake each day and try to piece their herd, their lives and livelihoods back together. We however know some of these families and communities well. And we’d like to do whatever we can to support them.

Here are just a few other writers/blogs I have come across that seem to be great resources for anyone wanting to stay in touch, know what is happening and do what you can to help. Use the hashtag. Spread the word. Donate. Pray. And if you’re so inclined to read any of the following, grab a kleenex:

thesouthdakotacowgirl.com

A Poem: The Storm Atlas 

Down, Set, Life

Curt Pate Stockmanship

It Takes A Ranch

Help: Looking for (a Good) Home ..

Dogs appear to be the theme of the week.

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For as far back as I can remember, I have always brought home stray animals.  Cats, rabbits, dogs, rats .. whatever I knew had been abandoned or injured made its way home with me as a child.

My dad would always try and console me when I would get home from school and they would be gone, “Oh honey, I don’t know where they went.  They must have gotten out.”

My affection for animals, any/all/lost/hurt/stray/whatever comes my way, continues as an adult ..

Much to the amusement and dismay of those closest to me.

Lost

Lost

For instance ..

As I was driving to an appointment yesterday in a very remote area, I saw cars swerving ahead of me.  Deer, I figured.  I slowed as I approached the area.  Sure enough, I thought as I saw something small and tan alongside the road.

But as I got closer I saw it was actually a dog.

‘Darn dog,’ I thought to myself.  ‘Get off the highway, you’re going to get hit.’

Then a second appeared.  They didn’t seem to care they were wandering out into whatever traffic happened to be coming along.  They were just wandering.  Checking things out.  Not seeming to have a care in the world, even if it did have 18 wheels on it and was headed for them.

I looked around quickly, no ranches, no homes, we were miles from any town.  Nothing seemed to be within wandering off distance for the two.  And still they wandered down the middle of the two lane highway.

Now, I’m pretty sure what I did next is something most rural folks don’t do very often.

Long overdue nap.

Long overdue nap.

I pulled over.  Backed up.  And got out to see if they were ok.

Tails wagging, tongues flapping about and seeming overall healthy, into the back seat they went.  I drove about 4 miles to the nearest town.  It was early and in that town of about 800 I saw no one around. The two businesses I could find weren’t yet open.

I had to get to my appointment.  They went with and crashed in the backseat as though they hadn’t slept in days.  I called everyone I could think to call, the  Sheriff’s Office and filed a report, area Shelters, businesses, residents.  No one seemed to know of or be looking for this pair.

Hours later, I came back through that small town, made a couple more stops into the only places the locals could think they might belong.  Other shelters in surrounding counties weren’t answering calls or were at capacity with no room to take them.  Our local Veterinary Clinic said they would add to the list of dogs they already had that had been abandoned in case anyone called.

“Be prepared for a couple overnight visitors,” I told the Cowboy as I got closer to home.  Not exactly what he wanted to hear, especially after the conversation from the day about our own dogs.

Why Can't We Be Friends

Why Can’t We Be Friends

But they were sweet and stuck close and seemed to appreciate the help.

I hope someone out there is missing them and searching.  I’m trying to make it as easy as possible for them to be found.  But I cried today as I dropped them off at the only shelter that would take them.  Had they been able to get along with our two labs, we would have continued to foster until home or a new home was found.

Or.  I might have kept them.  Had everyone been cool with it.

“Four dogs, on top of everything else we have is just too much,” says the Cowboy.

I’m not sure we’ll ever see eye to eye on that one.  Regardless, I am quite certain there will be others someday finding shelter in the backseat of my car.  If only temporary.

Wishing our girls good luck.  Hope hope home finds its way back to you again, soon.