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  • Caroline Nijs

The Zoo

All the animals on our farm in Midland, Michigan


I'll go from big to small.


Horses


Our biggest teddy bear is Udo. We adopted him as a companion for Sophie. He was a plow horse his entire life but was discarded when he developed arthritis. He must be going on thirty by now. The vet has discovered a mass in his upper jaw a few months ago. He's too old for surgery so we are keeping him comfortable. I'm sure he will tell us when he's done.


Next is Sophie, she's been with us for about four years. She has a great personality for a mare. Opinionated but sweet as long as you respect her opinion. She has soles that bruise easily so every now and then she is lame. In between she's a dream to work with although she is not suited for intensive riding.

pet photography of cats and dogs, and equine photography

Dogs


Then there's Nestor. He's our third Great Dane and about five years old. I love the breed, they are so gentle. But they seem to always come with issues. Nestor was diagnosed with Wobbler Syndrome a while ago. That's a neurological disease that affects the spine in the neck region. The result is a neurological disability because of spinal cord compression. Surgery is a possibility but the results are debatable. So we opted to make him comfortable with medication as long as possible. He's a huge teddy bear who still finds ways to enjoy life. He was in a lot of pain before they discovered what was wrong with him but he has never as much as lashed out.


UPDATE: since I wrote this, Nestor has decided that he was no longer willing to deal with the whole Wobblers thing and he quietly passed away one sad Sunday.


Nestor was a very special dog and I just was not able to deal with the gap he was leaving. I desperately needed a distraction, and sooner rather than later. Elle is very adept at doing just that. She's a very nice, young German Shepherd but she needs a firm and steady hand.

Choosing a rescue dog is a proces that requires careful consideration but she seemed right for us at that exact moment. And it turns out she indeed fits nicely in our household.


And, ah, our Abbott. He is, well, special. We adopted him from the local Humane Society. He is very sweet but oh so neurotic. It looks like he will never loose the puppy behavior (he's five). He's very attached to me, a bit too much at times. Clingy and pushy, but we love him nevertheless.


On to the cats


Bollie came with us from Belgium, she's the epitome of anti-social. She resides in the master bedroom because she just does not get along with any of the other animals.

We adopted Sky as a barn cat. After one Michigan winter he decided that he wasn't into the whole barn cat thing so he came to our front door and demanded to be let in. Now, he only leaves the house in summer.

Sandy (how come I have NO picture of her???) is our daughter's cat. She was a small kitty when we adopted her. Aryn raised her and did a good job of it too: the cat is a rag doll. A fat one at that.

In the barn, we have three cats, two adopted and a stray. All of them put the name barn cat to shame. They are so lazy that a mouse can stroll in front of them and they will not move a limb. And that's a true story!

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