Hoofbeats of the apocalypse

feral horse appalachian

Feral horses run in the wiry grass of Don Blankenship’s prairies. Once real mountains stood here, all crowned in ash and oak and hickory, but beneath them was a black rock. Over the centuries, men came and dug at the earth and sweated and died and then the bulldozers came and the mountains were gone. The state demanded that the coal operators do something to reclaim the land, so they planted some cheap grass and a couple of pine trees.  But the land was forever changed.

Over the years, the jobs all went away, and those who had a few pleasure horses took them to the new grasslands and set them free. Better to be “wild horses” on the range than dog food was the simple logic.

And the stallions round their mares in this new steppeland.  They nicker and fight the wars of that ancient Equus lambei, which a few romantics like to hope gives some sort of license to the native status of the modern horse on this continent.

At the same time, the state of West Virginia is trying its hand at restoring elk to these very same prairie lands. The elk were natives of the Eastern forests, and the ones being turned out onto these ranges are from Kentucky and Arizona. And those of Kentucky are still of the Rocky Mountain form of elk, not the long gone Eastern kind, which may now exist only in the muddled genetics of some New Zealand ranched herds.

The elk need the grass too, and worries are the horses will make the range too bare. And the elk will not make a comeback.

But the truth of the matter is neither species is native to land that never existed before. The glaciers never made it this far south, and the steepness of the terrain before the dozers came is testament to the antiquity of these mountains. They once stood like the Rockies or the Himalayas, but the millennia of erosion wore them down until the coal operators showed up to cut down their remnant. The glaciers never smoothed out the mountains, but human greed certainly did.

Meanwhile, Don Blankenship is back in politics. He is a former coal operator, a greedy, nasty one at that, the kind that was once excoriated in all those old union songs, but now as the mines employ fewer and fewer workers and UMWA is all broken and busted, he plays the working class victim.  All railroaded by “union bosses” and Obama, he didn’t do anything wrong, he tells the gullible.

He’s thrown his hat into the US Senate race. His ads call all his opponents liberals and abortion lovers. He plays up his conspiracy theory about Obama having it out for him. He feigns tears about Indiana bats that are being killed by windmills.

He says he’ll drain the swamp. Maybe, he will, but I have the idea that he might just fill it up with coal slurry. That’s what happened to poor Martin County, Kentucky.  Blankenship was CEO when his company’s slurry impoundment overflowed and filled up the Tug Fork River.

He sells the false hope that if you just get rid of a few more environmental and labor regulations, the coal industry will come roaring back.  He also says that if we just build Old Man Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, we won’t have any more problems with drugs. After all, the drug problem must surely come from brown foreigners, and not the pharmaceutical industry and those totally unscrupulous doctors who prescribed opioids for every little discomfort.

The politics he offers are the politics of the apocalypse. In land where no real hope can be found, a little false hope will do.

And the miners lose their jobs and their homes and their pleasure horses join the ranks of the feral bands.

The Bible talks about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but in West Virginia, the hoofbeats of that sound the impending doom have no riders at all.

They are the roving bands of the abandoned, left out to sort out a new existence on Don Blankeship’s prairies.

The snakeoil of politicians rings out on the airwaves, and every year, new horses get turned out, and the mares drop their feral foals.

The coal company’s rangeland gets denuded a little bit more, and the elk might not stand much of a chance.

In this apocalypse, death will come.  Sooner or later, the horses will starve on those pastures. A few good souls might get some of them adopted, but most will either starve or wind up shot.

Perhaps, this election will be the final burlesque of Blankenship, but he’s not the only coal country caudillo in West Virginia. The current governor is a more successful sort of politico of this stripe, and the legislature if full of people like him. The long suffering of the people will go on and on, and the horses will continue to be turned out into the wild,

Already, coal towns are advertising their “wild horses” as an attraction draw tourism. It’s a more benign falsehood than the one Blankenship is offering.

But it is not so benign for the horses or the coming elk. For them, the apocalypse is coming. They cannot know it, for if they did, they would run.

And their hoofbeats would ring out the warning of our impending doom.

Natural History

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Can You Break In to Take a Dog Out of a Hot Car?

From the Animal Legal Defense Fund: Only 12 states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Vermont, Oregon and Tennessee — allow “good Samaritans” to break a car window to save an animal. Almost all of those states require “good Samaritans” to contact law enforcement before breaking into the car. In 14 […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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RSVP for the #PlushPawsPremium Twitter Party!

Plush Paws Products has sponsored this post and the upcoming party, but all opinions are my own. Summer is synonymous with dog travel, whether that means swimming fun at the lake or beach, a dream…



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DogTipper

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Just a Military Man and His Dog

A feel-good story from the Cincinnati Enquirer. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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An Fun End of School Year Interview for Kids

An Fun End of School Year Interview for Kids

Some of you might remember at the beginning of this school year when I shared a fun “interview” I put together with questions for Essley, with intentions of asking her the same questions on the last day of school (which was last week). The post received a lot of traffic and was pinned quite a bit on Pinterest, so I decided to share the questions and answers here again. (And if you want to see the original post and her answers on the first day, you can do that right here.) Some of her responses were exactly the same, and others had changed. And once again, they were a combination of funny and endearing. It’s just amazing to me how much she’s grown since the beginning of the year. I can’t wait for all of our adventures together over summer break.

1. What is your name? Essley.
2. What grade are you in? Threes Preschool and next year I’m in Pre-K because I’m big.
3. How old are you? 4.
4. What is your favorite color? Pink.
5. What is your favorite thing to do at school? Play with the building blocks and play with my friends.
6. What is your favorite activity outside of school? Ballet, Tap, soccer, gymnastics, theatre and all activities but not swimming lessons.
7. What do you want to be when you grow up? A dance teacher.
8. What is your favorite food? Pizza.
9. How old is your mommy? 30. 16.
10. What is her job? Working on blog posts.
11. What is mommy’s favorite food? Salad and beer. You like beer mommy.
12. How old is your daddy? 19.
13. What is his job? He’s a Stage Manager.
14. What is daddy’s favorite food? Sandwiches. Sometimes he eats hotdogs.
15. What do mommy and daddy like to do? Go to movies and IKEA and to daddy’s work.
16. If you have brothers or sisters, what are their names? Crispy. (His name is Emmett.)
17. How old is your brother(s) (and/or sisters)? 2.
18. What is your brother(s) (and/or sisters) favorite food? Mac and cheese. He’s a little piggy.
19. What is your favorite toy My dolls and Owly. (Her favorite owl toy since she was a babe.)
20. Where do you live? By Chicago.
21. What is your favorite thing to do? Playing with my mommy.
22. What is your favorite place you’ve ever been? The Children’s museum and California.
23. Who is your best friend? Mommy and Livie and Kinsley and Madison and Harper and Sophie and Peyton and all my friends.
24. What is your favorite animal? Zebras and tigers and dogs.
25. If you could have anything you wished for, what would it be? To have tons of animals that I can take care of.

If any of you use these question to interview your preschoolers or grade schoolers, I’d love to hear some of their replies!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Woman Adopts Her Childhood Best Friend

Nicole and Chloe

Nicole Renae is married with one child. She and her husband wanted to adopt a dog to make their family complete. Nicole had loved a dog named Chloe when she was a child, but the family had been forced by her father’s job to give Chloe up when she was still young. This time, Nicole was going to keep her adopted dog for good.

Halo loves helping shelter animals find their best chance at a forever home. Through #HaloFeedItForward, and our partnership with Freekibble.com, for every purchase made we donate a bowl of dog food or cat food to shelters to help shelter pets have their best chance at finding forever best friends. For one senior dog, she managed to catch the eye of the woman who had been her best friend when they were merely a puppy and a child.

Nicole meant to adopt a puppy, but a Facebook post showing a senior dog who needed a home changed her plans. The dog was gray and looked like an older version of the Chloe she remembered. What sealed the deal? The dog’s name was already Chloe! Nicole told The Dodo, “I thought that was such a coincidence,” and she decided to adopt the dog and give her a forever home.

When the two met, the coincidences piled up. When Nicole was a child, her Chloe loved to run up to her and lick her face in greeting. The moment that Nicole met this Chloe was magical. “She just ran up to me and started licking my face,” she said. That wasn’t all. “As the day went on, all these characteristics just reminded me of my old dog,” Nicole added. Soon, “I just knew in my heart that it was her,” Nicole told reporters. Even though it seemed impossible, this dog she was adopting as an adult was the childhood dog she had been forced to say goodbye to all those years ago.

At first, Nicole’s family didn’t take her seriously. “My whole family thought I was nuts,” as Nicole bluntly put it. However, it was Nicole’s mom who came up with a way to prove that Chloe was in fact, the original Chloe. Nicole’s childhood dog had been microchipped and their old veterinarian still had the ID number. When Chloe’s microchip was scanned, the numbers were a match. It was the same microchip in the same dog.

“I literally felt like I’d won the lottery. It was just the best feeling,” Nicole said about learning that her adult adoption was actually her childhood dog.

After leaving Nicole’s family eight years ago, Chloe was quickly adopted by an older couple and lived a happy life with them until they passed away. Then she was adopted by another family, but that family had to make the same call as Nicole’s parents and surrender Chloe to a shelter. It turned out to be for the best – otherwise Chloe would never have found her way back to Nicole. “Chloe is happy,” said Nicole. “I think she knows now that she’ll be with me forever.” Now that’s a true best friendship to celebrate!

Halo Pets

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National Police Week

National Police Week is May 13th – 19th. Have you hugged a K-9 today? To all police officers, but especially the K-9 handlers: have a safe week! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Finding Money to Pay for Pet Cancer Treatment #FightPetCancer

If your dog has been given a diagnosis of cancer, you are certainly not alone. With about half the dog population developing cancer at some point in their lifetime, it’s a disease that is…



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DogTipper

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Pet Food Recall: OC Raw Dog, LLC RECALLS one lot of Chicken, Fish & Produce

The FDA reports on a possible health risk:

OC Raw Dog, LLC of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, is recalling approximately 1,560 lbs of Chicken, Fish & Produce Raw Frozen Canine Formulation which was manufactured on 10/11/2017 with a lot number 3652 and a use by date of 10/11/18. We are voluntarily recalling because of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause severe and potentially fatal infection in animals consuming the pet food, and the humans that handle the pet food and surfaces exposed to the product. Pets can be carriers of the bacteria and infect humans, even if the pets do not appear to be ill. Short-term symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to Listeria monocytogenes infections, which can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves and their pets for symptoms.

Lot # 3652 of OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce was shipped to the following states with the following associated volume with the intent to sell to Independent Specialty Retailers and in turn sold to Consumers. California – 356 lbs., Colorado – 153 lbs., Florida – 195 lbs., Maryland – 320 lbs., Minnesota – 429 lbs., Pennsylvania – 78 lbs. and Vermont – 30 lbs.

This lot of OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce was made into 3 lb. Meaty Rox Bags, 4 lb. Slider Bags, 6.5 lb. Doggie Dozen Patty Bags and 7 lb. Meaty Rox Bags. All of which have been marked with a lot number of 3652 and a USE BY DATE of 10/11/18. Each bag has this information on a sticker located on the back lower left corner of the bag.

Product Package Nt. Wt. UPC No. Bar Code
OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce Meaty Rox 3 lb. 022099069171 Barcode--1
OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce Doggie Sliders 4 lb. 095225852640 Barcode--2
OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce Doggie Dozen Patty Bag 6.5 lb. 022099069225 Barcode--3
OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce Meaty Rox 7 lb. 095225852756 Barcode--4

To date there have been no reported illnesses of dogs, cats or persons in any connection with this product. The contamination is still under investigation.

OC Raw was notified by the FDA of the contamination after it was reported that New Jersey Department of Food and Agriculture tested the product and found it to be positive.

The same lab who conducted the tests for Listeria also tested for Salmonella on our 3 lb. bag of Chicken, Fish & Produce Meaty Rox and the test was negative. In addition to the OC Raw Dog Chicken, Fish & Produce tests the lab conducted tests for OC Raw Dog Pumpkin Rox for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella and the results were negative.

OC Raw Dog is a family owned and managed by passionate dog enthusiasts who take very seriously the safety and wellbeing of its consumers and clients. We are dedicated to producing a quality product that is safe. We are taking this contamination very seriously and have sent multiple samples of machines, utensils, packaging equipment and freezers to insure there is no contamination at our facility. We have also sent several individual ingredients to insure we are using safe ingredients and the food we produce is done so in a safe environment. All samples have returned negative for listeria.

There was product at two of the seven distribution locations. The product has been pulled from inventory and destroyed. It is possible there might be a few bags at retailers or at home with consumers. We strongly urge anyone who has purchased OC Raw Dog’s Chicken, Fish & Produce to check the lot number.

Consumers who have purchased product with lot 3652 are urged to return it to the Retailer where it was purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-844-215-DOGS Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm PST.


PetsitUSA Blog

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Best Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

Almost 75 million dogs have been adopted into homes that already owned at least one dog. Multi-dog homes are often good for families with kids. There are other dogs to play with so a dog is not expecting constant attention from your children, or you, all the time, and there is always another dog to play with when the family …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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