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Animals

Donald Trump in Ottumwa, Iowa

Photo by evan.guest is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump and the Trump family are being lambasted amid reports that he and daughter-in law Lara have taken about $2 million from an animal rescue charity, donations that were made presumably to help the group rescue dogs, not to improve the former president's finances.

At an event for the same charity this past weekend, hosted at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Trump told donors to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue that he's a big supporter of helping dogs.

"What you're doing is so important. It's so great and so important. And I'm with you 100 percent," says Trump in the video below.

"And we had many meetings in the White House, in the Oval Office, having to do with saving and helping dogs. And that's what we wanted to do."

That's a lie.

"And tremendous progress has been made," he continued. "We've had many meetings actually on it and things that I never even would think is possible in terms of some of the cruelty and the horrible things that happen. And we've turned them around and made them great things."

Our search of the archives of the Trump White House found many references to dogs, few positive, and none involving meetings about helping to save them.

The Washington Post agrees with our fnidings.

"A review of Trump's calendar as president reveals no other events or meetings focused on dogs or pets," the Post's Philip Bump reports. "It is certainly the case that Trump's days were often filled with informal conversations in person and on the phone, some of which may have included discussion of the subject."

HuffPost reported this weekend, that a "dog rescue charity with links to Lara Trump has spent as much as $1.9 million at former President Donald Trump's properties over the last seven years and will drop an additional quarter-million at his Mar-a-Lago country club this weekend."

Here are a few of the items about dogs we found in the archives of the Trump White House.

January 10, 2018: "The drugs, for a lot of reasons, are far more dangerous than they've ever been. Even the dogs can't track them down. If they track them, they die. The dogs die just from the scent. Nobody's ever seen anything like it. So you imagine what it does to people," Trump said at a bill signing.

August 13, 2020: "And then you look at what happened in Virginia, where they have 500,000 applications sent out at random to people that have no idea what happened. And they admitted they made a mistake. And many were sent to dead people and many were sent to — a number was sent — I guess, two — that at least two, three, four were sent to dogs. One was sent to a cat," Trump said in a briefing published that day.

August 18, 2020: "You have to get voting — voting right. You can't have millions and millions of ballots sent all over the place — sent to people that are dead; sent to dogs, cats; sent to everyone. I mean, this is a serious situation. This isn't games," Trump said at the signing of a Proclamation on the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The Post adds, "People who failed or whom Trump wanted to depict as impotent had 'choked like dogs' or were 'fired like dogs' or couldn't be elected dogcatcher. The dogs he liked were ones that caught drug dealers (far better than drug detection technologies, Trump would often say, crediting anonymous law enforcement officials) or the military dog that was credited with trapping the leader of the Islamic State before he killed himself."

"In fact, I love dogs," Trump said at an event celebrating Conan, the dog credited with taking out an Islamic State leader, "but they gave the dog full credit."

"They didn't give me any credit," he added, "but that's okay."

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OK, so you've got to shovel the car out and keep the water faucets dripping. You may need jumper cables to get the fool thing running. Not that you really need to go anywhere.

At least you're not a cattle rancher. Because your country cousins aren't getting much sleep this week. Stubborn beasts that they are, a million cows out in the boondocks are deciding that conditions are just right for giving birth. Ten below, thirty mph winds and driving snow? Perfect.

Of course, it's not really a decision. Back last spring when they were bred, winter seemed far away. Even so, there's nothing like a blizzard to send a cow into labor. Lovely Suzanne, the sweetheart of my small herd, chose just such a February night to deliver her first calf on windswept high ground near the hay ring. I feared that the little heifer, wet from afterbirth, would freeze to death before morning.

Fortunately, the pasture gate was close. So I picked her up, backed out the gate, and kicked it shut. Then I carried her to the barn about 50 yards away. Suzanne anticipated my intentions, ran clear around the barn and was waiting in a stall before we got there. I don't know which surprised me more: her intelligence or her trust. We named calf Violet, and she grew to be the image of her mother, sweet-natured and lovely.

Along with blizzard conditions and the coldest temperatures in 20 years, what got me thinking about Suzanne and Violet was a Facebook post a friend sent me depicting an old boy on the frozen steppes of Oklahoma, wallowing in a hot tub with an Angus calf he'd saved.

Posted by Lacie Lowry, an Oklahoma City TV journalist, at last reading it had drawn 1153 comments, mainly photos of rescued calves in unusual places: laundry rooms, kitchens, snuggling by fireplaces with children and dogs, even the occasional cat. Calves in pickup cabs, calves under hair-dryers, calves wrapped in comforters and blankets, even one calf wearing pajamas. Calves saved by farmers and ranchers all across the blizzard-battered Great Plains.

Trump voters most of them, it's worth remembering if you're an animal-loving Democrat prone to holding grudges. Decent folks, doing their best.

"The thing about cows," my Perry County neighbor Micky Hill once told me, "is they're always planning something." He'd been recounting the saga of the Milk Bandits, half-grown twin heifers who'd taken to stealing their younger siblings' milk.

"Daddy seen them calves was poorly," he said. "They just wasn't growing up right. Then one evening right around dusk, he seen them full-grown heifers sucking on mama cows. Not their own mamas. Other cows."

"So we took and put them in a borrowed pasture by themselves for a few weeks. Sure enough, the calves started thriving. Then come hay-feeding time, so we put them all back in together. Everything was fine for a little bit, but then the calves started looking sickly again."

"So one night Daddy slipped out to the barn after dark. Turned out them two heifers were chasing the Mama cows around until they'd get one cornered. Then they'd each take a side, grab an udder and lift the cow clean off the ground to where she couldn't kick or run away. They'd flat suck her dry in maybe half a minute, and then start in to chasing another one."

"And the thing is," he said "they knew to wait until dark."

The Milk Bandits had earned themselves a one-way trip to the sale barn. Likely somebody wanted them for breeding purposes, but there are no guarantees.

Like all mammals, cows definitely have minds of their own, and complex social lives. Researchers at Sydney University in Australia are just now discovering how complex. Doctoral candidate Alexandra Green has been recording and studying bovine vocalizations. She's catalogued some 333 separate sounds. She can identify individual voices without having to look.

"Ali's research is truly inspired," says her professor. "It is like she is building a Google translate for cows."

So what was I thinking when I sold Violet and her younger brother to a fellow from the next county? Well, that I couldn't let her breed with her father Bernie. She rode off down the road crying out, as they do.

However, by spring, Bernie had worn out his welcome. Trampling fences, fighting other bulls, breeding the neighbor's cows — the usual bull stuff.

Violet's new owner offered to return her as part of Bernie's sale price. Deal! If I live to be 100, I'll never forget Suzanne and Violet's reunion. Mother and daughter spotted each other from a distance as Violet stepped off the trailer. They galloped together, crying out with joy, and remained inseparable for days, nuzzling and licking each other.

I like to cried, as country people say, clearly not tough enough to be a real rancher.