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Rescue Stories




If you remember back in the August newsletter there was a story about a small baby owl that Sharon Soldi had rescued on the ranch where she has her horse.  So it got bigger and stronger with some TLC and it came time to say goodbye.  So we returned to the aforementioned ranch one recent evening and met with the owner, Jackie.


Now she had taken quite a liking to the baby owl so it was only natural that she get to set her free.  Something she had been looking forward to ever since we arranged the release.   So the time had finally come and Jan gave Jackie a quick little lesson in raptor handling and release.


And, with a great big smile on her face, Jackie  took control of Lil' Sharon with every expectation that she would hold it for a mere second and then watch as it soared off to freedom.  What a surprise when this little creature sat on her gloved hand for over a minute, exchanging glances at everyone (taking pictures as if she was a rock star) and feeling quire content and connected with Jackie.  But all good things must pass and Lil' Sharon, feeling the need, took off into the sunset soaked sky.


Several days later, we got word of a small conversation that took place between a chittering Lil' Sharon and Jackie, something she had done many times with Jan during feedings and just passing by her flight cage.  A friendly sort of girl.  But she'll do well out at Jackie's ranch.




As any auto mechanic well knows, you can find pretty much whatever you need at a NAPA auto parts store.  But what you don't expect to find is a Coopers hawk flying between the structural ceiling and the acoustic hanging ceiling.  Well that was the call we got on a Thursday morning.  Jan sent her son Randy to scout it out only to find that it wasn't going to be a one person rescue.  Seems this hawk had the run of the store, above the ceiling.  There is only about 6 feet of space between the structural ceiling of the building and the acoustic hanging ceiling.  But, as anyone who has seen how these acoustic ceilings are hung knows that there are hundreds of support wires that hinder the rescue attempts.  So Jan contacted recently acquired Jae Marciano to assist in the rescue.  

Using step ladders to access the ceiling space they spent the better part of a morning chasing the hawk with nets.  Knowing that the hawk had been up there a while and hadn't had any food in which to get strength or fluids (hawks don't drink but get their fluids through their food).  Well, taking advantage of these circumstances, they flew  the hawk until he could fly no more and then reluctantly He is currently receiving food (with fluids) and will be released in a couple of days once his strength returns.  p.s. There was another supposed raptor "expert" that had been called but refused to give the rescue the credence it deserves.  That's not our style.  We leave no animal un-rescued.  

      "Cooper"   Has Left The Building

In this follow up on Cooper, the Coopers hawk that was rescued from the NAPA auto parts store in Ramona,  I'm here to tell you that s/he is back where s/he belongs ( and it isn't in an auto parts store).  He was released about 3 blocks from where he was rescued by Emergency Animal Rescue members Jae Marciano and Jan Pickton.  Collier Park is a nice quiet park where families have picnics and athletes play tennis couples sit quietly and talk.  It's also a place of great eucalyptus trees.  This was the perfect place for Cooper to start the rest of it's life.  Jan and Jae released Cooper on a bright, sunny late afternoon day.


The release went as most all of them do; perfect.   Cooper sat on the gloved hand for mere moments, said a quick Thank You", and flew off to freedom.  There was one thing that we witnessed that was very uplifting.  His initial landing spot was in a nearby tree where he immediately made his way into the foliage to get a quick assessment of the new surroundings.  He was quickly noticed by a murder of ravens that had been protecting their property.   Ravens are very protective of the trees they claim to be theirs and will do whatever they have to to keep it that way.  Even to the point of attacking unwanted trespassers.   Cooper, apparently, was considered one of those unwanted trespassers.  Cooper, apparently, was considered one of those unwanted trespassers.  So in watching him quickly take cover in the leafy section of the tree was a good sign that he understood his immediate circumstances.  He sat in his space for probably half an hour.  There was another hawk probably a few hundred yards away in a eucalyptus tree.  The ravens would make passes at Cooper and, in what I'm assuming is bird talk, was trying to convince him that he was not wanted in that tree.  As the ravens went back and forth between Cooper's hideout and their main eucalyptus tree, Cooper made a covert move when none of the ravens were watching.  Flying low and expertly dodging external branches, he got into a different tree outside of the ravens claim and was home free.  I'm not sure but I think he did that "Neiner, niener" dance to them.


       Just Hanging Out In The Jacuzzi

Usually when there's a Jacuzzi involved and it's 2:00 a.m. in the morning, you're not  thinking about a horse.  Champagne and amorous feelings are more the norm.  But on this particular occasion, love was there but not in that sense.  We got a call from Animal Control saying they had received a call about a horse tht had fallen into the Jacuzzi down on Mussey Grade Road in Ramona.  My first instinct was to have them start draining the spa as they'd have to do it anyway in order to clean it.  Well we got there, and there was an entirely different scenario.  This poor horse, the love of the owners life, had only one eye, her right.  So while wandering around at night she inadvertently stepped on the wood that the owners had used to cover the Jacuzzi (to keep the nieces rear left leg in the bottom smaller portion of the spa with her head hanging over the ledge on the deck.  The vet at first had anticipated a broken back left leg considering her position and basically was trying to convince the owner to euthanize her.  Well they weren't having any of that, not without at least trying to save her.  She was a 25 year old horse they had rescued from a neglecting neighbor.  they were trying to get weight on her to give her a better quality of life.  Very nice people.  So, without any further adieu, the vet sedated her and we proceeded to cut away about 15 feet of fence, wake up the neighbor and have him bring over his forklift over, wrap the horse with 1.5 inch fire hose using techniques learned in our last LAR training and got her out of the Jacuzzi.  Once we got her out, we dried her off and threw a blanket over her to reduce the effects of  hypothermia.  She had, after all, been laying in the water for some time.  The effects of the sedative had started to wear off and she was trying to get to her feet.   She stumbled a bit at first but with the four of us (myself, the two owners, and the Animal Control officer) steadying her she got her head clear.  Jan's suggestion of a hot mash snack helped to get her core body temperature up which eventually got rid of her shivers.  The owners didn't have an extra pen to contain her so she joined the two cows they had in the corral.  She immediately went for the food bowl but, unfortunately, it was empty.  She was steady on her feet so we decided to leave the owners with their new miracle horse.  Her name was "Mamacita". We got home just in time for the morning feed at 5:00 a.m.       


A couple of weeks ago we got a call from the Department of Animal Services about a Falcon that was tangled in the razor (Concertina) wire on top of the border fence between Mexico and the United States.  It was night time, of course.  we were to meet the ACO officer at the border and she would then escort us to the scene of the crime.  When we got there, in addition to the ACO officer there were also Border Patrol officers as they were the ones who had spotted the bird.  So we followed the ACO officer for about a mile down the road directly next to the border fence.  The fence is about 25 feet tall with razor wire on top of it in an effort to keep those who would enter our country illegally, out.  Once we finally arrived at the bird, we noticed that there was quite a raucous coming from the Mexican side.  Tijuana was having a party.  There were Border Patrol trucks zooming up and down the road chasing illegal immigrants trying to get into the country all the while we are attempting to get the ladder up against the fence.  It was a very surreal scenario. The "falcon" had, as falcons that are used for the ancient art of Falconry will have, tethers attached to their talons.  These long leather straps let the handler assume better control over the bird as they perch on their arm.  Unfortunately, this particular bird of prey landed on top of the razor wire fence and the tether had become entangled inn the fence causing the bird to also get tangled in the razor wire.  As I climbed the ladder, which was just leaning against the razor wire and not the actual fence, it started to lean into the razor wire.  A small amount of adrenaline started coursing through me for a second until the ladder stopped.  Then I continued to climb until I was level with the bird.  Unfortunately  being level with the bird doesn't mean it was within reach.  So armed with thick gloves, I reached through the wire and attempted to grab the bird.  Well it wasn't  having any of that and started to get hyped up.   Not wanting it to get more entangled in the razor wire and injure itself I backed off for a second and re-thought my approach Just that bit of waiting allowed the bird to right itself on top of the fence and it was sitting pretty on its talons.   A couple of attempts to grab the talons and finally I had it, sort of.  Now I had to cut the tethers from the wire.  Unfortunately (again), my knife isn't as sharp as it use to be and this took a bit of doing but finally it was free of the tether, but still somewhat entangled in the wire.  It spread its wings only to have them get tangled in the wire so I had to maneuver it for a few more minutes until I finally got it completely free of the fence.  I climbed down the ladder and handed the bird to Jan who was keeping the ladder steady along with the ACO officer and the Border Patrol agent.  We put in the kennel, and said our goodbyes and headed home.  It was, after all, after midnight by now.  Due to the proximity, it earned the nickname"Chewy".  The next day we took it over to Fund For Animals to have them take a look at it and see if there were any injuries that we may have missed.  They held on to it for a bit over a week to make sure it was okay for release.  As it turns out (and as we sort of thought) it wasn't a falcon but a hawk.   A very large strong hawk.   And due to it's strength and demeanor (emphasis on "mean"), they determined it was a female.  so now it's ready to be released.  It was agreed upon that we wouldn't take it back to the border for fear it would get captured again and they would turn it back into a "pet".  That's not what hawks are.  So now it is flying free in Poway near the lake.  There is plenty of open space and food for its survival and hopefully, no one will ever lay a hand on it again.




On A Side Note .........
This is just something that happened that many may not have known about.  After the Poker Ride, one of the horses was tied up to its trailer.  Lisa Taylor seeing this horse, noticed that it looked very much  like a horse she had when she was younger, and started talking to the owner about it.  What a small world,  As it turns out, the horse was from the same bloodlines as the one Lisa had owned earlier.  Well, being that horse people are some of the kindest around, Lisa was afforded the opportunity to have a little ride.  It looks like they've known each other all their lives.


Not Bad For A Rookie (Ricky)

Jules Neuweiller has been a member of EAR for over a year but her significant other, Rick, has not.  But she says he's interested in joining so we thought we'd find out just how badly he wanted to be involved.  A few weeks ago we got a call from a lady in the south bay area that had taken in a kitten for a friend.  Shortly after the kitten fell through a hole in the floor near a heater and was out of her reach.  Being as Jules is our only south bay member, I gave her a call.  Unfortunately   she was at work and apparently our military doesn't seem to think it's fitting to give her time off to attend to a kitty in distress.  So, a quick phone call to Rick and he's off and running to the kitty's rescue.  Once there, he finds out that its not just a matter of reaching in and grabbing this poor unfortunate kitten.  No ......he has to crawl underneath the  house, and make his way to a smaller crawl space and then find the baby feline trapped there.  But he is successful and the kitty has 8 more lives to go.  But that's not the end of his day.  No siree.  This time both Rich and Jules respond as well as me showing up with the ladder.  Ladders are a must with these Cypress trees.  Jules gets up on the roof of the house next to the tree with a pole trying to figure out just where this cat is.  Poking around and finally gets some noise out of it and Rick hones in on it.  Cypress trees are very thick and sticking your head in doesn't necessarily mean you'll see anything.  So several minutes go by and even a ladder adjustment.  But finally, a quiet little "meow" gives it away and Rick is able to locate and capture the missing feline.  Once down from the ladder, Rick and Jules have the cat in a carrier and mention that they may take him home and see how  it gets along with their other animals, the dog, the cat and the fish.  No word yet from them but I would think that it's probably curled up on a pillow as we read this story.

.Mustang Roundup


Those of you who have been with the group for some time probably know who Shirley Puga is.  She has been with the group since June of 2005 and has assisted in some of our biggest rescue efforts.  She was instrumental in getting needed supplies delivered to us during the Witch fire even though she was in Texas at the time.  Her alter personality (Equine Angel) and passion, is rescuing one of America's most iconic symbols, the wild Mustangs.  Through years of persistence she has developed a network of rescue organizations who take in the Mustangs she rescues from the feedlots.  Feedlots are, as you guessed from the name, the last  stop before the slaughter houses in Canada or Mexico.  Her connections with these feedlots has allowed her to be notified of those Mustangs that end up there and then Shirley sets up the logistics to get them out and to the rescue organizations who will foster them until a permanent home can be found.  Well, she received such a notification.  Initially, and through a proxy (Life-Savers Wild Horse Rescue), 48 mare/foal pairs were bought.  Shirley then went and bought an additional 22 foals.  She had found homes for them all but transporting them from Austin, California (in the Sacramento area) to their respective homes was still in the works.  There were 12 left to transport to 4 different sanctuaries in California between Sacramento and Temecula.


Three would go to the High Sierra Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lake Isabella; three would go to Under the Angels Wing in Phalen; two would  go to Serenity Center at Xenophon Ranch in Morongo Valley and the last four would go to Villa Chardonnay-Horses with Wings in Temecula.  So, being as Shirley and Emergency Animal Rescue are connected, we offered to transport these horses for her.  A few emails and phone calls back and forth and we had a plan in place.  Early Sunday morning, December 26th, Cheyenne Brugh and I hooked up the stock trailer and headed north to Austin.  The initial trip was about 550 miles and 10 hours of driving plus gas, food and bathroom stops (usually all grouped into one at the Flying J Truck Stops).  We arrived in the night which enabled us to get a couple hours sleep and then met up with Shirley early the next morning at, where else, Denny's for coffee and breakfast.  We then followed her to the Shiloh Foundation where all the 12 foals were being held.  Shiloh's barn had a thoroughfare which we used to chute the foals into the trailer that was backed up into the exit of the thoroughfare.  No place to go but in the trailer.  Remember, these are wild mustangs.  You don't just walk up to them and put a halter on them and lead them into the trailer.  Using their natural instincts as a herd animal, once you get one going, the rest follow.  So they all crammed themselves into the trailer and settled into their respective spots.  We said our good-byes and headed south towards Bakersfield where we were to meet up with the two rescues from Lake Isabella and Phalen.  Shirley had set this up to help save time and distance as well as wear and tear on the animals being in the trailer for so long.


Meeting at the Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital (Large Animal Facility) we  had to unload all the foals into a makeshift corral so we could cut the three foals for the High Sierra Horse Sanctuary and three for Under the Angels Wings.  This took some doing as these foals didn't want to be separated from their herd so each time you tried to get a couple into the smaller pen, they all wanted to go.  So after about 2 hours of this, we finally had them all separated.  We then had to load the remaining 6 back into the EAR trailer.  Again, we bid everyone farewell and safe travels and back on the road again.  It was now getting to be Monday evening so we decided to get something to eat before heading back out on the roads towards Morongo Valley in the high desert.  Luckily for us, there was a Wal-Mart shopping center just down the road so we had plenty of space to park the truck and trailer and found us a couple of restaurants to get something to eat before heading to the next destination.  So we drove a few more hours until we came to the Serenity Center at Xenophon Ranch.  Of course, along the way we had to come down the Grapevine.  Now for those of you who have driven the Grapevine you know that it's a long slow uphill trek. But  coming down is fast paced 18-wheeled coaster.  This makes for a white knuckled trip with a trailer full of horses and tractor trailers zipping past you. But we made it down and on to easier highway driving.  So finally, very late at night, we arrive at the Xenophon Ranch.  The residents are still awake and have a round pen set so I can back the  trailer up and, again unload all the horses out into the ring.  She had a smaller pen with an entrance and she was willing to take the first two who went in.   That happened relatively quick so we had some time to walk around their ranch and see the various animals that called this place home including the ostrich and the buffalo.  So now we're on our final trip heading to Villa Chardonnay-Horses with Wings in Temecula.  We arrive near sunrise.  The final four foals are weary of the adventure as are we.  The gateway to this rescue is very narrow and the location of the pasture takes a bit of maneuvering to get the trailer set up to unload our tired travelers.  But they are all finally home.  So we embark on our last leg of this journey, getting ourselves home.  We're tired of being in the truck, we're tired of being chased by a trailer, and we're tired of being tired.  But within an hour or so, Cheyenne will be home as will I and though it was a long hard ride; we got these foals a new lease on life which is, after all  what we do.



We started doing "rescue transporting" a couple of months back.  There was the story in the January newsletter about our trip up to the Sacramento area to pick up the 12 foals.  Well, we made another trip this past weekend.  Teri Teuscher had volunteered to go and left after preparing breakfast and lunch at a horse show this past Sunday.  This trip entailed driving to Fallon, NV and picking up 5 pregnant mares that had been rescued from the feedlot by our Equine Angel (again).  The trip began at around 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon and then arriving in Fallon about 3:30 a.m. Monday morning.  A couple of hours of sleep in the front of the truck and the mares were loaded by 7:30 and the return trip began.  The mares were to be delivered to 4 different sanctuaries in the Southern California area.  The trip took us through some very different weather then we are used to here in Southern California.  The winds were blowing fiercly and causing snow to whip across the freeway effecting the handling of the trailer and the vision of our driver Teri.


But she handled it like a pro.                                                                             

The first stop was Morongo Valley where two were dropped off.  It was dark when we arrived and 3 had to be unloaded and then cut one from that group and get her back in the trailer.  That one was then transported to the second sanctuary in San Jacinto where it went into a wonderful family environment.  The next stop was in Anza where one more was adopted into an obvious animal loving group of women.  At this timem it's very late at night and some of the logistics are starting to be discussed.  Teri needed to be at work at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.  The last stop had been changed from Temecula to Orange.  So with these factors in mind, a decision was made for Shirley to take Teri back to Ramona to get her car and I would stay in the bunkhouse at the ranch and take the last one to Orange first thing the next morning.  Well, plan B worked out best for all and the last horse was delivered at 11:00 a.m. the next morning to a very well to do area.  So now these mares who were destined for the end of their lives are all ready to start a fresh new start.  There are some very lucky horses with some very lucky new companions, thanks to Teri and the Equine Angel.