Pork the puppy that is. Yes we added another farm dog to the family. I suppose I can consider myself the ringleader of this menagerie of animals that I have collected. Growing up in the city we were tight on space and never had a dog. Owning one was a lifelong dream but something I was just never able to do because of where I lived. Once I moved to the farm I suppose I went a little pet crazy! Taking care of animals is something that I believe to be my calling in life. With this comes great responsibility not only for me, but also for my growing boys and that is the real bonus of it all. Giving them something to chore for, feed, let out, clean up after, and above all respect is something that I value highly. As tiring as is it I love the feeling of the after school rush. I feed dinner, help with homework, give baths, get PJ's on and tuck them in bed. It is only after all of that do I start my furry kid chores! It’s those cold winter nights when the wind is howling do I drag myself out all bundled up to haul water buckets and clean stalls for my horses. Once I get out there, turn on the radio, start shoveling and get the blood flowing to I get an overwhelming sense of pride and fulfillment for taking care of all of these animals. I suppose it is safe to say that I am an animal lover of all kinds. I am mother to my two sons, my thousands of pigs, my (now) three farm dogs, and my five horses and I exhaust myself and love every moment fulfilling my obligation to care for and love them all the same. So without further adieu let me introduce you to my funny farm family!
The newest edition to our Brenneman Zoo! Named by TJ, Pork is a 7 week old yellow Labrador that just joined us yesterday! Cute as a button and already a little mischievous it is great to have another lab join us again! ( He is the little one in the picture in case you were wondering...)
Most of my animals names pay tribute to the fact that I am a huge film buff. Downey is named after one of my all time favorites, Robert Downey Jr.. He weighs just over 200 lbs and loves to lay in the grass and sleep, in the same spot, every time, until the "grass bed" dies and he must move on to another section. Downey is the reason that FedEx or UPS will not deliver to our house anymore. Would you want to chance getting a package slipped into the door with this mammoth barking? I don't blame them I guess...
Named after Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes series (another serious love of mine) he is Downey's half brother. He would be considered the "smaller" of the two if there is such a thing. When we got Downey I was already talking about how I wanted another dog in addition to him. Tim said if we ever get another dog after this beast it will be a Labrador. Boy was Tim so excited the day I went out and got another St. Bernard instead! Can you really tell me you can resist that face when the people say they have another litter of puppies? Apparently I didn't have that kind of self control...
Walter WhiteIf you don't understand his name, then you need to get on NetFlix and watch Breaking Bad because it is amazing. Walter is my 10 year old paint horse that is super pretty and super nervous! He needs to be constantly reassured that the boogey man is not sitting on his back when I get up there, just me. But man if looks could kill...he is just gorgeous.
WrigleyI am from Chicago so it only seems natural that I name one of my animals in homage to my sweet home town. Wrigley is an off the track thoroughbred (OTTB for the horsey people out there) who, like the Cubs, didn't have the best track record. So he finds himself retired here on my farm serving as a great companion to whatever horse he lives with. Apparently he is an awesome friend because everyone has a case of the freak outs when they have to leave out of sight of Wrigley, Wrigley himself being the worst. I cut him some slack as he must have had some lonely days at the track so I am happy just to have this pretty, silly boy with us.
My newest horse Boots came all the way up to me from the great state of Texas. This will be his first Midwest winter so I hope he is ready with the fur growth! Boots is a full of life spunky little horsethat I love to just hop on and ride around when the weather and the kids schedule allows! He reminds me of a mini-Clydesdale with his markings and long dark mane. He is currently Wrigley's bestie and it sometimes gets in the way of actual work time, but we love him all the same!
Sam is just named Sam. Nothing symbolic, no super hero Sam, just Sam. He is a 9 year old minihorse that is smaller than my largest dog. He is completely afraid of "adult sized" people but will let my 3 year old drag him around at the end of a lead line all day. He is a sweet little pony and the little kids just can't get enough of him.
Yes, you guessed it, named after Tony Stark. Stark is your typical "naughty pony" that nips and pushes you around. Afraid of nothing and will go through anything if there is grass on the other side. He has a wild little personality and is best friends with Walter and Sam. He also has some of the wildest hair you have ever seen...
Gone but not forgotten, the original Brenneman Funny Farm...
Death is a part of life. It never makes anyone happy or excited and we are hurt by every animal that we lose whether it be a pet or a part of our livestock. Animals are why we are here doing what we do everyday and our efforts are put towards raising them the best way that we know how. Death is a big, hard lesson to learn on the farm and something that we must deal with respectfully being animal caretakers. Growing up on the farm around all the animals I feel that my kids have a unique sense of what death is and a little more understanding of it at a younger age. For this I am grateful for it is never an easy subject to discuss.
Spook had been my horse for just over 25 years and was a fine old age of 32 when we had to put him down just this past March. One of the first horses I ever rode when I was 8, Spook was there through it all with me. High school, college, marriage, kids, he was my only constant during this wild ride! How fortunate I am to have the horse that taught me to ride be the first horse my own children got to ride! Love him and miss him dearly.
Then there is Gixxer. Gixxer was a chocolate lab that I got as a puppy the year Tim and I were engaged. Our "first child" Gixxer was an absolutely amazing dog that loved the farm and loved his family. We had to put Gixxer down 4 years ago when he developed an extremely rare heart infection that spread to his lungs. Downey was meant to be Gixxers buddy and the timing was almost uncanny that we were scheduled to pick him up just 2 short days after Gixxer had passed. It eased the loss on our oldest son and helped him have a new buddy that he could play with and care for.
They were the best pets anyone could ask for and they help set the stage for me becoming the
"lady with all the animals".
|Spook and Gixxer shortly after we moved to the farm|
It is an honor and a joy caring for all of these guys everyday! It makes every day that much more important knowing that I make a difference for so many!