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I'm a children's author. Animals are a constant source of writing material for me. They are also my heart!

We Love Visitors!

>> Friday, July 31, 2009

I love it when I can get a signal on my cell phone at the barn...because often I can't.

When I can, I'm always thrilled to answer a call and have someone say, "Are you at the barn? We want to drop by."
This particular photo was taken when my friends Jeff and Rae were out for a drive with one of their dogs, Erin. Erin had never met horses before and Jeff and Rae felt like she was up for an adventure. The three horses in the picture happen to be very young Friesians. They were really curious about Erin.
Erin sniffed. The three horses lowered their heads and snorted a bit. I'm pretty sure Erin yawned and said, "You guys may be big, but you're amazingly boring. Snorting does not impress me in the least!"
And I'm fairly certain at least one of the Friesians said, "Whatcha doing on that side of the fence? If you wanna play, you gotta come in! Snort. Snort."
Erin has manners and good sense. She politely stayed right where she was. It was fun to watch the interaction between four animals who had never met before. It was even more fun to have company.
If you're ever out and about, drop by! I don't know where Tango was in this photo, but I'm sure he'd come out to see you. He might even do a trick or two!
Jeff and Rae are coming out again tomorrow with more dogs. Tango wrote it on his calendar so he won't forget!


A Different Kind of Rescue

>> Thursday, July 30, 2009

If you think this doesn't look like Tango and me, you're right. This horse was among one of 200 that competed in the New Vocations Charity Horse Show - along with me and Tango - this weekend. I told you that this show was really special. I didn't tell you why.

The show was all about raising funds and showcasing successful confident horses. The money raised helps to provide a peaceful environment to rehabilitate and train thoroughbred and standardbred race horses that are injured or retired from the racetrack. The goal is to eventually place these animals in loving homes. These horses have already given their hearts and souls. If it weren't for New Vocations, and other groups like them across the country, many of these horses would be slaughtered.

The lovely horse shown jumping above is one of many rescue horse who competed in the show. Does he look like he's ready to be slaughterd? I don't think so. To me, this horse looks like he's having a blast. Some horses really like to jump and I think this horse is one of them. New Vocations saved this horse's life.

The show was highly competitive and lots of fun. Thanks to sponsors and riders, this year over $40,000 was raised to help save more lives. More than thirty volunteers worked hard to make the show a success. Tango and I were privileged to be a part of the show and honored to do so well! If you'd like to know more about this amazing rescue program go to

And no, Tango's not a thoroughbred or a standardbred. He's my very own rescue story though. Finishing 1st in our last class was truly icing on the cake.
July 26, 2009


Cats and Computers

>> Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This post was written by my sister-in-law, Sandy. She thought I'd be tired after my long horse show so she surprised me with this scheduled guest post while I was gone.

Hello, my name is Brewster. I got my name from a little town my parents visited in New England. Did you know that cats like computers? Some people might not know that; let me explain. Here I'm doing what I can to help him out. See, he's on the phone and I'm sniffing out the problem we were reviewing on the computer screen. The picture had to be taken in such a manner you couldn't see our private information. He and I are working on the family bills. I was vacationing here for awhile since the folks went away. I kept quite busy because they have 2 computers in two different rooms and often needed my help. I traveled around alot, from computer to computer, to the basement with all kinds of new places to explore.

My favorite thing though was looking outside. They have nice big windows with wide window ledges for me to lay on, this big glass door where I can really keep an eye on things. I don't have those at my house. I've already booked myself a 2nd vacation here. Can you blame me? Do you get to go on your "own" special vacation?

Sometimes I need to take a nap, after all, I am on vacation.

** I am Jan's sister-in-law, Sandy. I have 3 blogs and invite you all to visit:
Sandy's Space where you can Brewster napping, and lots of other items
Traveling Suitcase where you can lots of virtual vacations
Bridge and Beyond where you can read about how homeless benefit from homemade knitting and crocheting and the goodness that comes from many caring hearts.


What a Boy That Tango of Mine!

>> Sunday, July 26, 2009

After a long fun weekend at the horse show, Tango and I are home. I'm going to tell you all about it when I get my pictures downloaded, but I'll give you a quick summary now.

Friday night was a practice night. Tango was full of energy and great fun to ride. He wanted to explore the whole fairground, so explore we did! There were 200 entries in this show so Tango made lots of new friends - people, dogs, and horses.

Saturday was challenging. It rained (more accurately poured) off and on all day. Tango and I showed in two huge classes and placed 6th in both. I was thrilled because I hadn't planned on placing at all. Just as I was ready to dismount (after my last class) it started to pour rain again. Good old Tango remembered his herd mentality and turned his back towards the storm. I think he thought he was benefiting us both!

Today was sunny and awesome. I showed Tango in two more classes. We came in 3rd in our first class and the judge offered some really good advice on my comment sheet.

"He needs more impulsion at the walk and trot," she said. "Don't hold back."

We had about forty minutes between classes so I had a little time to think about what to do. I decided to go for it since it was our last class of the show. I know Tango likes to move and I decided to just lean back and ride. "If he breaks into a canter when he's not supposed to, at least we'll have tried to follow the judge's advice," I thought to myself.

We had the same judge for the next class. Tango and I made adjustments. After what seemed like forever to get our scores, they were finally posted. Tango and I came in 1st place with a score of 70! If you know dressage, you know that's a really good score.

I'm still smiling. Tango got home and rolled in the mud. I'm positive it was a victory roll!

Maybe I'll come down off cloud nine tomorrow. Maybe not. What a great boy Tango is!

I really do have more to tell you about this special horse show. It benefited more than just Tango pony and me. Stay tuned!


Tango's Almost Ready - Almost!

>> Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just a quick post to let you know that Tango and I are leaving for another horse show tomorrow afternoon. I'll give him his bath tomorrow morning. Then I'm going to splurge and have someone who is much better than me braid his mane. After that, it's on the trailer and off to the show.

I don't know who's more excited, Tango or me! Wish us luck. I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday night when we get home.

By the way, this is a very special show. I'll tell you more about it on Sunday!

Also, thank you for all the nice comments on this blog. It's so nice to connect with other animal lovers. I look forward to hearing from all of you and I'm anxious to get to your blogs when I get back. You have such good ideas and information and FUN!


The Test

>> Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This is my niece, Janet. She’s a testament to how to tell a real animal lover from a person who tolerates animals. Notice Annabelle in Janet’s lap and Maddie right beside her?
Well, Janet was visiting us (straight from Switzerland) and she had work to do on her computer...real work. I watched as Annabelle squirmed her way onto Janet’s lap. Then I watched as Janet inched her computer out a little more to make room for Annabelle. Annabelle got more and more comfortable. Janet inched out her computer until it actually left her lap and was on her legs.
My niece truly loves my dogs and every other animal she comes into contact with. Janet didn’t push Annabelle away or tell her “bad dog.” In fact, Janet went out of her way to accommodate Annabelle and make sure she was comfy and cozy. She allowed Maddie to snuggle against her.
It’s little things like this that clearly illustrate REAL animal people. We know each other. We pick up on subtle actions like this that demonstrate respect, compassion, and love.
In my family, we come by this honestly. My parents were this way...from adopting stray animals to rescuing orphaned raccoons. Animals are so much a part of our lives that we cannot imagine living without them. Can you?

P.S. Annabelle finally warmed up and moved off Janet's lap but as you will notice, she didn't move too far away!


Where'd It Go?????????

>> Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Where did what go?" you ask.

My mind, that's what!

Tango pony and I are competing in another horse show a week from today. It's a big deal for me. I love to show off my boy. I love for my friends and family to come watch! It's just so much fun.

So, I filled out the registration papers. I checked the classes we planned to compete in and I made sure to check that we would compete for two days. Not one day, mind you, two. I made sure to put that information in bold print.

Then I put my registration papers in an envelope. I carefully addressed it and made sure to include my return address. I took my sealed and addressed envelope to the post office and made sure to put it in what looked like a lucky mail box.

Then I came home. "I'll get my ride times in a week or so," I thought.

One week went by. Then two. I'm pretty much busy all the time so I didn't think much about how much time had passed until..............

I checked my phone messages last night. "Hello," said the voice on the answering machine. "We have registration papers for a horse named TANGO. We have this phone number. What we don't have is the name of the rider."

Imagine that. I forgot to put my name on the registration form. I thought about calling the nice lady back and telling her Tango would do fine on his own. Then I thought about calling back and saying that I have multiple personalities and couldn't decide which one of me planned to ride. But in the end, I just left a message with my name.

Now I'd like to say that this loss of memory is a one time occurrence. However, it seems to be a way of life with me. I forget everything.

I'd also like to say that this forgetfulness is just part of the aging process, but I've been forgetful for as long as I can remember.

That's funny. For as long as I can remember...I can't even remember how long it's been that I've been forgetting everything!


She Knows What Being a Mother is All About

>> Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The dog in the photo is Maggie. She belongs to Jeff and Rae. Remember? I told you all about her when I shared our rescue puppy story. Maggie is the mother dog who so bravely took care of her litter of puppies under the deck of the abandoned house. She's the mother who will be in all the photos at our puppy reunion!
The kittens in the photo are from a litter that I rescued last summer.
Rae knows how time consuming and difficult having a litter of newborn kittens can be. Every weekend last summer, Rae took the kittens to her house to give me a break. Guess who helped Rae? You've got it, Mother Maggie.

No, Maggie didn't have any milk. What she did have was a huge heart and the natural instinct to be a mother. We named the kittens Luke and Ruth. They suckled and nuzzled and cuddled with Maggie every weekend.

All the rescue stories I share with you involve so many people. My childhood friend, Joan came over every morning at 6:00 AM to help me feed and potty our little babies. These kittens were the only kittens I have ever had that were constipated...yes constipated. We tried everything and eventually had to take them to the vet where they received FREE vet enemas. I know that sounds horrible, but it was necessary.

My son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren took the babies when we left for a week's vacation.

Yes, rescuing is challenging but it is also rewarding. The two babies in the photo above went to a good home...together. It was hard (as usual) to give them up. It was glorious that they have known (and will continue to know) so much love.

I'm just waiting for another litter this summer. This year, I know where the babies will go. Can you guess?


Tango Kiss

>> Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did I tell you that I taught Tango to give kisses?
Well, he does. Tango is always happy to share affection.
His affection is just a little sloppier than the normal kiss and hug!

I was going to post about the puppy reunion, but unfortunately it had to be rescheduled because of torrential rain. Tango kisses are the next best thing for now. My friends visited the barn with their dogs awhile back. I'll share those photos with you tomorrow or the next day. For now, Tango's kisses make me smile...hope they make you smile too!


I Have the Remedy for the Blues....

>> Thursday, July 9, 2009

Have you ever had a day when you feel like you just lost your best friend? For whatever reason, today was one of those days for me. I'll snap out of it, but not without a little help. Maybe I'm just on overdrive. Maybe I'm thinking a little too much about Kelly. I'm just sad today.

When I'm feeling a little blue...or a lot blue....I rely on my guys. They understand without asking questions. They offer unconditonal love and let me cry all I want. I can hold Maddie and stroke her soft fur until my mind wanders off into a happier place. I can blow my nose as loud as I want and she doesn't move an inch.

I can play with Annabelle until she gets tired of playing with me. Then she can jump up on my lap and squirm, turn in circles, and eventually make me smile.

I can go ride Tango until I'm so distracted that I can't think of anything else but what I'm doing. After I'm done riding Tango, I can hose him off, dry him, feed him peppermints and offer pony (pony ha!) rides to anyone who wants them. A wonderful little guy named, Kyle, rode Tango today. So did his sister, cousin, mother and uncle. It was terrific.

And if I'm still feeling blue, I can wander around the farm and visit with the other horses. Candy Cane is the little miniature horse in the photo above. How could anyone feel sad when they're visiting Candy Cane? The little red cart belongs to Candy Cane. She's really something.

If I'm still feeling blue tomorrow, I'll treat myself with more of my own medicine. I'll get a really good dose of my animals morning, noon, and night. Can you think of a better treatment?


Young Heroines

>> Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You've been reading about Tango, Annabelle, and Maddie. I want to switch gears and share a rescue story that my childhood friend, Linda, left in the comment section a few weeks ago. She titled her comment, "Young Heroines," and rightly so.

We'll get back to my guys later. On Saturday, I'm attending the rescue puppies reunion and you can be sure I'll have some handsome dog photos and a heartwarming story to share then! For now, read Linda's story and share the joy that Linda felt when she witnessed a wonderful rescue.

Linda wrote:

Today I witnessed a wonderful rescue of a mother duck and 3 baby ducklings. I was taking my usual evening walk near an apartment complex that has a stream running by. This year I've seen several mother ducks and their babies living near the stream. As I was walking by, I saw two young ladies with a big pool looked like they were trying to catch baby I asked them what was going on. It turns out the mother duck had a broken wing! They had a big plastic bin with a lid and had rescued the mother duck...their mother was going to take them to the Wildlife Center. Now they were trying to catch all eight baby ducklings to take with the mother. The plan was to return the mother and babies to the stream, once the mother was healed. The girls were using the pool net to guide the ducklings toward a wire cage they had propped between two rocks in the stream. One girl explained that they couldn't use the net to catch the ducklings because it would injure them. The girls were cousins and they worked together as a team. I was so impressed by their determination and inventiveness in trying to carefully trap the ducklings. They worked for at least an hour or more...jumping on rocks and getting into the stream at times. In the end, they caught three ducklings. It was getting late and their mother wanted them to stop because she wanted to get the mother duck to the Wildlife Center before it closed. A friend of mine who lives there, told us he thought the rest of the ducklings would be OK because they are about three weeks old. In previous years, he's seen ducklings left alone when their mother was killed...and he said they're usually able to manage. The cousins reminded me so much of Jan, my sister, our friend Ronnie, and myself when we were girls...and how much we cared about animals. It was wonderful to see young people who were learning about the natural world and doing their best to make the world a better place!

It is indeed wonderful to see young people learn about the natural world, Linda. Hopefully the cousins can share a friendship like ours. What a great childhood we had together. Loving relationships make for caring poeple who do make the world a better place.

Do you have a follow up to this rescue story? I'm sure we'd all like to know more!


Tango Tricks!

>> Monday, July 6, 2009

Tango Tricks

Tango makes me happy. All of my animals make me happy, but you know that. I have to remind myself on a routine basis that Tango is NOT A DOG. He is a horse.

Reminding myself of that is important, because as big as Tango is, he could accidentally hurt me when we're playing.

"Playing?" you ask.

"Yes playing!"

A couple years ago, Tango was off for about six weeks. I couldn't ride him or do any ground work with him. I wanted to spend worthwhile time with Tango and so with the help of a friend, we came up with a plan.

"We can teach Tango tricks," I told my friend.

My friend didn't hesitate. She's the best clicker trainer I know. "I'm all in," she said.

The first thing we did was to hang a plastic pop bottle by from Tango's stall. Of course, Tango was curious. Every time he reached out and touched the bottle, we'd click the clicker and give the boy a treat. Oh! One more thing. We always said the word push at the same time we clicked the clicker.

That activity led to Tango pushing a beach ball around the arena every time we asked him to give it a shove.

After that, we taught Tango the word pick. Since Tango's a very mouthy horse, he often tastes everything in sight. We used it to our advantage. Every time he remotely used his mouth on a jolly ball (a ball with a handle) we'd click the clicker and say THE word.

Within a few weeks, Tango was picking up the jolly ball and depositing into a muck bucket. I could have taken him on the road. We could have had a one horse basketball game!

There was more. We taught Tango to bow. We taught Tango to kiss. We taught Tango to back all the way across the arena until we asked him to stop. It was/is so much fun I can't even tell you.

Then we made the mistake of asking Tango to count. His cue to stop would be when we would click the clicker. Somehow, that just didn't work out. Tango kept pawing and pawing the ground. I swear that horse could count to 903! Anyway, we filed that trick away for future use.

Week before last, my sister-in-law came to the barn to take photos of Tango doing tricks that we could put into a slide show (thank you, Sandy). Unfortunately, I couldn't find Tango's jolly ball and the beach ball's long gone. Someone took Tango's balls! Oh well, not to worry. We used cones instead. Tango will pick up anything I ask him to pick up.

That brings me to another point. Tango uses the tricks I taught him for his convenience. He will pick and push and pull and back even when I'm not around. He can open his stall. He can open pasture gates. He can push down fence posts that he shouldn't be pushing.

Tango's the only horse on the farm that has to come in at night. While I feel badly that he can't stay out all night, I understand and want him to be safe. I truly appreciate the extra security they've put on Tango's stall door.

That horse!


July 4th is Not Maddie's Favorite Holiday

>> Saturday, July 4, 2009

Look at this face. Would you leave it home alone if you knew that it was terrified of thunder and fireworks? Not me.

Who knows what makes dogs afraid of things, but for as long as I can remember, Maddie's been afraid of anything that goes KABOOM! That noise can't be avoided on July 4th....3rd....5th.....anytime around this noisy holiday weekend.

I try not to feed into any of my animals anxieties. I act as though nothing is wrong and go about whatever I'm doing. But, if it's at all possible, I do whatever I'm doing so that Maddie knows I'm nearby.

Last night some high school friends came over. For old time's sake, we built a bomb fire in the backyard. Around midnight, it got chilly but I wasn't cold. Why? Because of course Maddie was warming my lap. We could hear fireworks in the distance, but they weren't so bad.

I wish there was something I could do to help Maddie through storms and the 4th of July celebrations. I don't really want to use medication so I just stay close after 10:00 at night. I figure it's the least I can do for her...especially right now. She seems even more vulnerable since Kelly's gone.

Happy 4th of July to all of you!


Sandra's Famous Quote about Horses and Granddaughters

>> Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'm a sucker when it comes to quotes about animals, kids, and love. I savor them and can usually recite my favorite ones at any given time. Some quotes stay in our hearts and minds forever. I was reading the comments you left after I wrote about my granddaughter and Tango.

Sandra left a quote (that is now famous as far as I'm concerned) that touched my heart. She said: A great horse is a treasure. A granddaughter to share him with is even better.

Alexa stayed all night with us last night. This morning, bright and early, Alexa and I headed for the barn. I saddled up Tango while she saddled up Tantra. First we warmed up in the indoor arena. Then we went to the outdoor arena and trotted around for awhile.

After about twenty minutes Alexa said, "Let's go on a trail ride Nan."

I hesitated.

There was a slight problem. One of us had to get off our horse to open the gate (since everyone else had left and we were alone). I thought for a minute and then said what any responsible grandparent would say:

"Okay Lex, if I get off Tango, gravity is going to keep me on the ground. There's no mounting block out here. You get off and open the gate and then YOU get back on.

Now it was Alexa's turn to hesitate, but not for long. She hopped off Tantra, opened the gate, and allowed me to pass.

"I knew you could do it," I told Lex. "Now get back on!"

Just so you know, Alexa and I ride in English saddles. We don't have saddle horns or an easy way to hoist ourselves up. What I knew was that Alexa was young and had the coordination to do just about anything she wanted to do. She just needed the confidence to try something she had never done before.

I was her cheerleader from atop Tango while Alexa gave it a few good shots. Of course by now we were both laughing. It's a good thing Tango and Tantra are both calm. Luckily, Mary (a wonderful woman who works at the barn and loves the horses) came around the corner.

"I'll give her a leg up," she said. And she did.

With that, Alexa and I were off. A gentle breeze cooled us. The day was about as perfect as it could get.

Alexa and I rode down the lane where the trees form shaded umbrellas. We rode in the fields where butterflies and bothersome flies were everywhere. We rode by the edge of the woods where birds were singing like they were serenading us. We rode around the paddock where Tango and Tantra graze. We rode and rode and rode. Alexa and I.

All the while we were riding, Sandra's quote kept going through my mind. A great horse is a treasure. A granddaughter to share him with is even better.

What a glorious day we had. What a gift to be able to share the fresh air and peacefulness with my granddaughter. No matter what obstacles or challenges I will face in my life, I will always remember today and the comment Sandra left on my blog.

**photo's from the day SIL traveled with me to the barn


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