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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!

Mud is Good

>> Saturday, September 17, 2011


I know Tango and I look like tiny specs in the composition of this picture but the greenness of the pastures for this time of year is totally amazing. It's been interesting for me. Tango's been off. He's had x-rays and injections and the whole nine-yards. Basically, he's going to be okay but I've not been able to do my usual work with him. In fact, I've only been allowed to ride easily. I should be upset by the interruption in our routine, but I'm not. I had forgotten how calming and joyful it is to ride just for the sake of riding. Sometimes the small things in life are what matter the most. Not the competitions or the deadlines of work that needs to be done to meet a specific goal. Life should always be so easy. Remind me of that when Tango is all well again and I'm stressed out about getting him all clean for a show. Mud is good.

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Spun Tale...Tail!

>> Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sammy's about had it with spring and summer. He's tired of the heat. He's tired of the grass and...he's tired of itching!
The poor little guy doesn't mean to leave hair all over the house but even after I brush out bushels of white and brown fluffy fur he scratches out bushels more. I'm thinking of turning my house into a spinning factory. Why I think we could make the most beautiful sweaters and afghans you've ever seen. The colors would be so neutral they would go with anything.
I could give Christmas presents that would leave people in awe. "Where'd you ever find this cashmere coat?" they would ask. "And who's the designer?" I'd smile and reply, "The designer is Sir Samson of Center Woods."
I could even donate things to my sister-in-law Sandy http://homelessbridge.blogspot.com/ who has a group that knits and crochets for the homeless. "Sandy," I would say, "I've had Sam's fur cleaned and sterilized at least fifty times. My spinner can offer you more scans of yarn than the store in your basement can hold."
Sandy would be happy. I'm not sure what she'd say but I would be willing to bet she'll leave a comment and let us know. And as for my husband Chuck...well, when I give him his pair of Samson-fur-socks he's going to be overwhelmed with joy. "I'll never have to worry about fur on my socks again," he will say. "I've got FUR FOR MY SOCKS! Jan, you are more talented and gifted than I ever knew," he will say to me.
I'll feel a little smug. "Just think," I'll whisper to
Chuck. "All the money I earn from my Samson- designed products will pay for all the steroids and antibiotics that Sam is going to take until well after the first frost. Chuck will be happy. I know he will.

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Join Me to Just Eat

>> Monday, August 29, 2011

I've started a new blog for myself. I'm sick of dieting and I want to just eat. JUST EAT. I've started a blogging journal to try to make it through an entire year of plain old eating. I want to change all the bad habits I have about food and I'm going to need all the help I can get. My goal is to have made a life style change by the end of a year.

If you have ever struggled with dieting or food, please come join me at http://celeryandcarrots.blogspot.com If you've never struggled with eating issues come and share your secrets with me.

Meanwhile I'll be back here with more animal stories soon. I just competed in a fun horse show with my granddaughter and I have pictures to share. And...I'm still in the process of applying for my non-for-profit. Seems I have lots of irons in the fire!

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Unconditional Love

>> Saturday, August 20, 2011

All of the kittens and their mother left on Wednesday. This little girl was the only one left. Annabelle took over.


She let her pretend to nurse.

She played with her.

Then she gave her to Sam to cuddle.

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Ivy and Her Kittens Update

>> Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's been several weeks since I first came to you with sweet Ivy's dilemma. I can't thank you enough for all your wonderful comments and suggestions. Ivy's four beautiful kittens are growing and growing. They are funny and strong and well-loved. Best of all, as soon as they're all weaned they have homes to go to...wonderful homes. My daughter-in-law is going to take Ivy and one of her kittens. I call that kitten Little Dot because she was born with a polka dot on her head. My daughter-in-law said, "I don't care if Ivy has three legs or four...I need her as much as she needs me." Funny how animals bring such comfort to people and how certain people are just made for special animls. Some matches are made in heaven for sure.

Ivy's kittens are magnificent. One kitten WAS as white as snow, but now traces of orange are appearing on his ears too. That kitten was the only male. For some reason, my grandson named him Boots. Then there's the little calico. She was the first born and we named her Gracie. Somehow she just seemed full of grace and the name seemed to fit. The fourth kitten is a pinkish color of orange. My granddauther named her Rosie. The little balls of fluffy kittens are four weeks old now. They roll and tumble and play constanty. It's hard to get any work done in my office because I can't keep my eyes off Ivy and her kittens.

As for Ivy, the question of the amputation is not so certain in my mind now. Her femur has apparently healed (wrong, but healed) and she walks and jumps with a huge limp. Ivy has an appointment at the vet again on Tuesday. Dr. French will let me know what she thinks needs to be done. If you have sent a check to Beechwold Vet Hospital, I will make sure it is returned to you or apply it towards whatever needs to be done. You let me know. We have found a vet in Athens, Ohio who is willing to do any surgery for much less after consulting with Dr. French. Beechwold is a business and Dr. French is not permitted to "give discounts" to rescues in spite of the fact that she would like to do just that.

After this rescue is over and done I've decided to look into starting a non-for-profit organization to raise money for other rescues or for people who have pets that need medical attention and can't afford to get it done. I'm on a mission. From what I understand, it will take about a year to get things up and running but my heart and passion are a driving force. Somehow, I'm going to incorporate my writing into the organization...even if it's only to write press releases. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know.

When I think about the number of rescues I've had over the years it blows my mind. I know many of you rescue too. People who love animals are special people. I'm truly grateful to know so many of you.

I'll keep you posted on Ivy and her kittens. Sammy, Annabelle, and Maddie are adjusting to having my office turned into a "cat room" although I'm sure they'll be happier when they can lay on the floor by my feet again. What's a little inconvenience when five precious lives are going to enrich so many people?! Don't ask Sammy...ask me!

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For the Love of Ivy

>> Friday, July 8, 2011


This is Ivy. I named her myself. Ivy deserved a name. She showed up at the barn where I board my horses in early spring. Someone probably dumped her there. Ivy wasn't like the other barn cats. She was sweet, gentle, and friendly. From the very beginning it was clear that Ivy liked people more than hunting. Her loud purring resonated around the horse-filled stalls. By late spring it was obvious that Ivy was pregnant. A kitten having kittens, I thought to myself. Ivy isn't more than eight months old herself. As sad as I was I turned a blind eye. I already have three dogs and as most of you know, we kept our last foster...an 18-month-old-145 pound Newfoundland.
About a week ago, Ivy disappeared. Everyone assumed she had gone off to have her kittens somewhere. We were wrong. She returned still pregnant and dragging her right back leg behind her.
I couldn't leave her at the barn. I just couldn't. I took Ivy home with me and put her in a large crate in my office. My husband wasn't happy and neither were my three dogs. On Tuesday I took Ivy to my vet, Dr. Kelli French. She took x-rays and came back with the bad news. "Ivy's femur is so badly broken she is going to need to have her leg amputated," Dr. French told me. I asked if there were other options and Dr. French told me yes, but surgery to put in pins and plates would cost thousands of dollars. "Cats do very
well on three legs," she told me.
Dr. French sent me home with Ivy. "Let her have her kittens. In five weeks, we'll take off her leg and she'll be ab
le to walk and stand so much better." I took Ivy home.
Normally I can handle my rescues on my own. This time I can't. I need help. The surgery to amputate Ivy's leg is going to cost around $800 dollars. Dr. French has set up a fund at Beechwold Vet Hospital for Ivy. If you can help me, please send a check to Beechwold Vet Hospital, C/O Dr. Kelli French 4590 Indianola Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43214. Put "For Ivy Mader's surgery" in the memo line. Ivy and I will be eternally grateful. Also, if you could share this post through a link on your blog that would help too. Animal people help animal people.
Ivy delivered her four beautiful kittens on Tuesday night - shattered femur and all. When Ivy is well and her kittens are weaned I'll find wonderful homes for all of them. For now, that's the least of my problems.

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Touching Tulips

>> Friday, April 29, 2011



I had just walked down the little path and back in our yard when Sammy came out to greet me. He walked beyond me and turned back as if to say...you missed something...you didn't stop to smell the flowers. Isn't it interesting how our animals can remind us of the importance of recognizing special moments? Every moment is special to them. Each word each touch. Each sight each sound. I went back down the path with Sammy and bent down to feel the dampness of the dew on the tulip stems. I missed that the first time around. After all, who touches tulips? As of today, I do.



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Happy Easter

>> Saturday, April 23, 2011


Happy Easter


From Tangobunny and Me!

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Trail Ride

>> Tuesday, April 19, 2011




Horses (and good friends) make early spring landscape even more beautiful than it already is.









































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Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, April 13, 2011






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Spring Music on the Farm

>> Monday, April 4, 2011

My granddaughter Alexa, friend Holly, and I decided to take a ride around the farm. The ground was still squishy under our horses' feet, but the squish was a good squish. A chill in the early spring air was soon forgotten as we roamed around the vast acres of pastures. In the summer they would be filled with hay, but now they were wide open for riding. Alexa felt as free as the whistling wind and asked Tantra to gallop. It was not my intention to follow, but Tango wanted to keep up with Tantra, so that's exactly what we did. The sound of Alexa laughing as I begged her to stop (half-heartedly) was music to my ears. Spring music. As we walked up the path towards the barn Chuck was waiting there with his video camera.


video

It was the perfect timing for him to open the gate for us to the outdoor arena so we could ride in a confined area before we called it a day. Just a little more cantering. A little more music from the horses' hooves on the soft ground. And a little more wind to remind us of the melody of the wonderful season that had not quite blossomed enough to burst into an entire orchestra of sound .


Though the video is far from artistically perfect, my guess is you can hear the same spring music that we heard on our lovely ride in the early spring.

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Who's Cold?

>> Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In spite of the fact that I'm ready for spring, one thing I never am...at least for very long...is cold! I can honestly tell you that a three-dog-night (or day) is as good as warm sunshine when it comes to thwarting off the March chill. This photo was taken right after I got home from a long morning of riding. Of course, Tango's body heat keeps me warm when I'm on his back but afterwards when I'm untacking, well, it's cold!!! Three dogs are better than hot tea. They're better than a glass of wine. They might even be better than a hot bath tub! And as I half-sit half-lay on the couch, having the three dogs as close to me as they can get is a great way to drift off while I'm remembering the thrill of my morning ride.

Who could ask for more? Not me!

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Meet Our New Grandson!

>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Luke Michael Mader
6 pounds and 9 ounces
March 18, 2011
1:35 a.m.

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Talk About Luck!

>> Saturday, March 12, 2011



My latest assignment for a magazine I write for was to write an article about how to prepare a pet for a new baby.
Since my son and daughter-in-law are expecting our grandson any second, they made perfect models for the article!




















So did Riley!











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What Kind of a Person Does This?

>> Friday, March 4, 2011

Ivy is so sweet and woud be the perfect family pet. In fact she was. Then HER family gave her up because they were moving. The fall leaves hadn't even begun to change when Ivy was dropped off at the animal shelter. It was September then. Ivy's been in a cage ever since. She went from living the life of a family dog to living in a cage in an institution and in my opinion that sucks.

No one wants to adopt Ivy. Why? Because Ivy is eight-years-old. Age doesn't mean anything though. Ivy is still very playful and probably has five or six more years of life left in her. She's no different than me. Most people my age don't do what I do. Thank God no one took me away from my comfy home and locked me up! They didn't tell me I couldn't gallop my horse across a field either. Poor Ivy.

Ivy is house-trained. She gets along with other dogs and older children. She does well in doggy playgroups and is well behaved. She's not overly nervous either.

Ivy's been at the shelter way too long. She is really in need of a good home. If you live near Columbus, Ohio (or want to transport) or know anyone who would give Ivy a loving home please contact Jen at 614-415-6243. You can also email chaanimalshelter.org

The only thing that makes me feel better about situations like this is to do something. My house is full right now but I can still network with all of you. Thanks for letting me bend your ears.


"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

Clearly Ivy's owners weren't worthy of her devotion.


P.S. I was just reading some of the comments that have been left and someone I consider to be a total dog expert thinks that Ivy could live to be 16 or so!

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There's Always a Way!

>> Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who says only kids can play ring-around-the-rosie? It's a great way to share the arena on a winter night and carry on a lively conversation at the same time. The other half of the arena was being used for lessons so the barn was full of life!


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A Lovely View

>> Thursday, February 3, 2011

I was waiting at the back door and watching for cardinals when I realized I had the best view of all right in front of me. I put on my boots and jacket and joined my crew just to breathe in the frosty air. We stayed out long enough to awaken our senses to the most sincere of all winters that I can remember. I can honestly say that time seemed to stand still, even if only for a moment. Wishing for spring seemed like wasting precious days of our lives.
"To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the snow."

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Patience is a Virtue

>> Saturday, January 29, 2011


In the photo above we have Annabelle and Sammy simultaneously chewing on their own Nyla bones. Maddie is dozing on the couch. Since she has no teeth, she can't chew on bones of any kind!

But this post isn't about Maddie or her lack of teeth. And it's not about Nyla bones either. This post is about patience and how animals have more than I do.

I always want to rush into things and make things happen before it's time. I want my dogs to get along. I want to ride Tango as well as my trainers. I want to write the best story ever in thirty minutes. Then I want the publisher to read it and respond in a week. I don't want much!
If I haven't learned anything else from animals, I've learned that all good things are worth waiting for and that not all things happen overnight. That doesn't mean that I don't do things spontaneously, because that's my personality and I do. What it does mean is the best things in life often take some time, work, and effort to get.

Just look at these two dogs. When Sammy first came I fed them him in a separate room from the girls because he had food aggression issues. Annabelle and Maddie had earned their feeding places and they weren't about to give them up. Slowly but surely Sammy and the girls warmed up to each other. They slowly learned to respect each other's space and with that respect came trust.

The first time I saw Sammy and Annabelle this close together with bones, my instinct was to jump up and move one of them farther away. Instead, I waited and watched. Somehow in the midst of chaos, my own little pack of dogs is helping me to learn some patience of my own.

The usual me would say, "Isn't that amazing?" to end this post. But frankly, anyone who knows animals, knows it's not amazing at all. My dogs and horses teach me something new everyday. I just have to be patient enough to process what I'm learning!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Adapt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
I need to get to know Mother Nature better. Seems that Sammy and Annabelle already know her well.

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The Winter Lighening Riders

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

Linda, Jann, Kathy, and me!

It all started and ended with the green sled you see here. Poor Tango is pooped after two hours of giving us immeasurable fun in the snow. We called ourselves the Winter Riders...at least at first. Then we were the Winter Lightening Riders....I think. Someone suggested the Geriatric Riders and that might have worked for a couple of us.

All I know is that when we gals at the barn have an idea we follow-through with it. It was a month or so ago when we thought about sledding with Tango. Jokes went back and forth and ideas flew too.


So did humorous photos which eventually led Kathy aka Boss, (standing next to me in photo at beginning) to the green sled we used for our winter adventure.


We did a test run with Tango on Thursday night. Our common sense caused us to start trying how to figure things out in the arena. Then one thing led to another and before you knew it we were outside in the snow. Who needs common sense anyway? My husband was supposed to drop me off at the barn and go on to do something else, but he was having so much fun he stayed to make sure things went "smoothly.





Chuck did his test run on his knees and even tried standing up. It worked, but it worked even better when we sat in the middle of the sled and balanced our weight.






Now while this looks quiet easy, just in case my barn friends read this, I have to tell the truth. On my first run of the day Tango had plenty of spunk and somehow he got away from me. Rather than letting go of the reins, I body surfed for a few minutes. If I could get away with leaving those photos off, I would, but I can't get away with it so I won't.





Body surfing can be quite fun. If I had room to add more pictures I would. But I can tell you that flipping from your stomach to your back and then over again is exhilarating. In the far distance I could hear laughter...somehow I didn't hear, "Let's rush over and help her!"



We had thought about having an EMT on hand, but laughing seemed to be a good medicine.





I would also like to tell you that I only slid off the sled once but that wouldn't be the truth either. I slid off the sled so many times that I came to enjoy each dump. The feel of hardened snow next my new rubber pants is something I just can't explain. Thanks to Chuck for buying me my new pants (the rubber ones) I didn't get wet one bit. And I could laugh as hard as I wanted without having to pay the price...if you know what I mean.




The only person who laughed harder than us adults was little Mya, Kathy's granddaughter. She rode with everyone who got on the sled. She didn't even seem to mind when Tango had to take his usual poop and the sled went right over it. Mya's our cowgirl in the making.










Oh yea...one more thing. This is my son Ryan. The animal lover who works in a huge metro park. The boy couldn't sled if his life depended on it. He kept going round and round in circles. He thinks Tango doesn't like him. I know for a fact Tango was just being the good boy that he is. He's a very forgiving horse and since Ryan wasn't steering right, Tango was trying not to step on him. As for Ryan's bare feet....well it was 34 degrees out....a real heat wave!


Ryan's a good sport. He has no choice because he has to put up with me for a mom. Tango's a terrific horse. The Winter Lightening Riders had a great day. Yes we did!


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