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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!

Happy New Year, Friends!

>> Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Annabelle would like to wish you a Happy New Year, but as you can see, she's chilling out from all the Christmas activities. In this photo, she's sitting with...or rather on...her Aunt Dee. The girl is plumb tuckered out!

And Maddie's beyond tuckered out she's pretty much unconscious! I know she's dreaming about all the stories we'll have to tell you in 2010 and all the stories that you'll share with us.

Getting to know all of you has been so much fun and we can't wait to get back to our regular blogging routine. We've laughed with you, we've cried with you, and we've become friends with you. Thank you so much.

Tango probably would like to say Happy New Year too but he's in deep doo doo. On Christmas day he took his girlfriend Tantra and went on a jaunt off the farm and down some country roads. I'll let Tango share that as the first story of the New Year. For now, he's in time-out!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us!!!


Merry Christmas to All Our Friends

>> Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Maddie and Annabelle went to visit Santa. It was quick, easy, and fun. The worst thing that happened was that Annabelle exposed Santa's hairy leg. No big deal. I'm sure Santa's going to treat them well!

Then it came time for Tango's Christmas photo. First, a barn cat caught his attention and he wanted to follow her. I'm sure he thought she knew where the food was hiding out.

Of course as the barn cat walked away Tango couldn't focus on any
place but behind him. I'm sure he was lamenting on how the friendly cats get to roam free and he's always
contained one way or least hopefully!

Then Tango decided it was time to kiss and cuddle. Now usually that's just fine with me, but since my sister visiting from Texas was taking the photo (and freezing) we needed to move things along.

As usual, Tango found it hard to take "no" for an answer so he decided to show me who was head of the herd for a minute or two.

But we finally got his attention by rattling a box of Craker Jacks...which he sniffed quite attractively by lifting his lower lip to get a better smell...horses do that. All in all, we got lots of festive photos but just not the perfect shot.
Nonetheless, all of us would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


Jan, Chuck, Annabelle, Maddie, and Tango


The Christmas Story As Read to Bru and Captain Jack

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

I couldn't believe my luck last night. I was at a camera store (buying a Christmas present) and right in front of me in line was the lady you see in the photo. Her name is Wendy. I came to find out that she was picking up photos taken the day she read...or tried to read...The Christmas Story to her dog, Bru and her Shetland pony, Captain Jack. One thing led to another and of course, we started talking about our dogs and horses. Wendy pulled out her package of photos and began to share.

I asked the obvious question: "Could I scan these and put them on my blog for my friends to see?" I asked.

Wendy hesitated for a minute...but just a minute...and answered, "Of course! I was just having a little fun...Captain Jack isn't always in the house, but I brought him to get pictures to show my friends!"
I understood completely! Like most of the rest of us, Captain Jack and Bru aren't just animals, they are Wendy's heart.

It took awhile for Wendy to get things started what with Bru and Captain Jack being the curious fellows that they are. Clearly Wendy has the patience of Job and her animals are beyond adorable.
I noticed the foot...err I mean hoof...prints on the carpet and asked what they were. "Oh Captain Jack just tracked in a little water," she answered.

Good enough for me!

In the end, Wendy read the special story to her wonderful little (big) guys. And the beauty of Wendy reading The Christmas Story to Bru and Captain Jack is that I got lucky enough to share these special Christmas photos with you!



>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you for all your kind words and prayers. I began to take the medication that the doctor prescribed on Monday and today is the very first day that I feel like myself. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

I was concerned about taking a prescription because any narcotic makes me sick...literally. Thankfully the medication for a syrinx is not a narcotic to kill pain. It's a medication that interrupts the signals that my nerve endings send to my brain. I haven't had any side effects and the doctor was took 48 hours to get into my system.

Meanwhile, little Boomer found another home so I'm not fostering him. I did find great comfort with my girls and of course my family (who doesn't know quite what to make of me when I'm not my usual happy self!).

Maddie and Annabelle would actually sense when it was time for me to lay down and make it to the bed before me! What good girls!


The Human Animal - ME!

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

Please forgive me for taking so long to post (as well as comment on your blogs). As most of you know, I've been having some really bad back pain between my shoulder blades. It hurts to sit. It hurts to stand. It doesn't hurt to ride Tango...much!

At any rate, I had my MRI last Wednesday. On Friday the doctor called me back into his office to show me what was wrong. I have a cyst INSIDE my spinal chord called a syrinx. When I first got the diagnosis I was dumbfounded. I had never heard of anything like this before.

Then I came home and started to read....wrong thing to do. I spent a weekend in pain and scared. I'm calmed down now because I think what I read doesn't necessarily relate to me but I was wondering how many (if any) of you have heard of this before? It's knocked me off my game a bit!

Meanwhile, since this is a blog about our favorite kind of animals...the furry ones....I was distracted from over-thinking about my condition today. You want to know how? Well I'll tell you! I got an email from one of my rescue friends asking if I'd foster a dog from the prison system for awhile. Just the idea makes me happy. See what dogs can do even when they're not with you? Just thinking about Boomer the basset hound distracted me from my problems.

Thank God for dogs...and horses....and of course cats too!


Hmmph! Annabelle and Her New BFF!

>> Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Okay. It's time to get things off my chest again. The reason I'm not hogging this picture on Thanksgiving day is because I was sleeping under Mom's hand. I was being quiet and calm...not trying to steal the show. Wish I could say the same about Annabelle! Just look at her. She's making goo goo eyes to Mom's friend Sherry. If I would have done that, I feel pretty sure Mom would have told me to settle down. Humph! Annabelle gets away with murder.

Annabelle decided she needed a new best friend and Sherry was it. She forgot all about Mom and me. They thought I was sound asleep, but I could hear the ooohhhss and ahhh's. And just when I thought it was about all over.....

Annabelle gave Sherry's face a gentle pat. There was no point in me even moving. Sherry was in love. Oh well. It was Thanksgiving. I guess I should be grateful that I was even in the living room...we never go there except holidays.

I better be thinking of some cute things to do before Christmas. Any ideas? more thing. Mom says to tell you she's sorry she hasn't been posting and commenting much lately. She's been having some serious pain in her back and it hurts her to sit. She's going for an MRI today, so hopefully she'll be back in the seat for much longer really soon!


Regardless of How You Feel About Coyotees.....

>> Saturday, November 28, 2009

The following story came to me by email and I had to share......

Meet the wiliest of all coyotes: Hit by a car at 75mph, embedded in the fender, road for 600 miles - and SURVIVED!
When a brother and sister struck a coyote at 75mph they assumed they had killed the animal and drove on. They didn't realize this was the toughest creature ever to survive a hit-and-run. Eight hours, two fuel stops, and 600 miles later they found the wild animal embedded in their front fender - and very much alive. Daniel and Tevyn East were driving at night along Interstate 80 near the Nevada-Utah border when they noticed a pack of coyotes near the roadside on October 12. When one of the animals ran in front of the car, the impact sounded fatal so the siblings thought there no point in stopping. 'Right off the bat, we knew it was bad,' Daniel explained. 'We thought the story was over.' After the incident around 1am, they continued their 600 mile drive to North San Juan - even stopping for fuel at least twice. But it was only when they finally reached their destination at 9am did they take time to examine what damage they may have sustained. At first it looked as though it was going to be quite gruesome. '[Daniel] saw fur and the body inside the grill,' Tevyn East said. 'I was trying to keep some distance. Our assumption was it was part of the coyote - it didn't register it was the whole animal.' Daniel East got a broom to try and pry the remains out of the bumper and got the shock of his life. 'It flinched,' Tevyn East said. 'It was a huge surprise - he got a little freaked out.' 'We knew it was bad': Tevyn East, who was in the car when it hit the coyote, bends down to take a look at the fur poking through the fender

The owner of the car inspected the damage to his car and the body of the coyote was poking out through the radiator

The animal's head can be seen as rescuers took apart the front fender to save it after it was struck by the car at 75mph

As the animal struggled, wildlife protection officials put a loop around its neck to prevent it from further injuring itself The front of the car is completely taken apart as the coyote begins to wriggle free.

The coyote rests in a cage after its ordeal - which it survived with just some scrapes to its paw.


To All Our Blogging Friends!

>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Mom, Dad, Tango and Us!
Love, Maddie and Annabelle


The Girls' Poetic Walk and Our 100th Post!

>> Sunday, November 22, 2009

Annabelle's Poem

Out for a walk
Just Maddie and me
I tossed out a bet
She'd be first one to pee
Maddie marched on
all happy and smug
She only stopped once
to just sniff a bug
I waited and watched
and walked on quite proud
when all of a sudden
Mom said something out loud
"We have to go home"
she said to our dad
"I've gotta go fast
and I've gotta go bad"
How could Mom do this
I barked loud and clear
It just wasn't fair
and our house wasn't near
So needless to say
I lost the big bet
But Mom got home
Before she got wet!

Maddie's Poem

Annabelle's bark
is worse than her bite
Yep she lost her bet
and there wasn't a fight

She didn't try hard
to continue our stroll
cause when we got home
she spotted a hole
Belle knew that to dig
was far better yet
than what she could win
from her ridiculous bet!

And the hole that she dug
was behind a fine stone
and I knew it was best
to just leave her alone.


Bella's Story

>> Saturday, November 21, 2009

I had so much fun the past few days learning more about your guys and how they were named. Every comment I read was like an "ah ha" moment for me. Thanks so much for sharing more about the loves of your lives.

Today I want to let a guest author tell you a story about a cat who changed her life. I've introduced you to Jaydee before. It's an honor to know Jaydee and the work she is doing.

Scraggly Bella at Her First Week With Us!

Bella’s Story 
This is the story of how one special kitten named Bella changed our home.
Jim and I moved into our house in east/central Cincinnati in February 2008.  It wasn’t long before we noticed our front porch chairs had become sleeping spots for a pair of homeless cats.  I would often watch them snatch food from trash bins and dart into a neighbor’s shed in the cold.  After a heavy snow that winter, only one of the cats emerged.  How terribly sad.  I took notice, and occasionally saw other cats around the street, but didn’t know what to do to help them. 
In June that year I was taking a walk in the neighborhood with my husband, my sister, her husband, and a puppy they had found.  And there she sat – tiny little scrawny mess of a stray kitten – practically waiting for death to come.  My brother in law said "well, hello…" and we scooped her up.  My sister and I laughed and cried at the same time watching her dive into a dish of food.  Bella was only 5 weeks old, starving, dirty, spotted from ringworm, covered in fleas, and happy as ever to have a bed and food and someone to play with.  We kept the little grey and white kitty in her own room until she grew healthy, and although we were crazy about her, our two older cats were not thrilled at all.  In spite of them she still made her way into our home and hearts, teaching us about the joy of seeing a sick helpless creature recover and thrive.  She found her forever home in September when she was adopted by a family member. I was really sad to see her go.
Around the same time that Bella was adopted, the black and white cat that had survived the previous winter presented 5 scrawny little kittens.  I discovered them playing under the neighbor’s bushes and started to sneak food dishes over to them.  I wanted to catch them but had no idea how to do that.  They ran away every time I brought food.  I spent days on the phone, calling shelters and vet offices and pet stores, and no one could help me.  I had coaxed the mom with food and often found her nursing the babies in the backyard, but they were all still so skinny.  I don’t think that poor mom had much to give them.  Some days she’d show up with a leftover chicken piece to share with them and they would all fight over it.  I wish I had known how to help them.  The day after the big wind storm last fall was the last time I saw the kittens.  After that the mom sat in our driveway and cried loudly for about two weeks.  It broke my heart.  Then we never saw her again.  I have no idea what happened to those scrawny kittens and their mom.  
But I was determined to not let that happen again.
Sure enough, 3 grey kittens and their friendly stray mom made their way to our back porch.  I made a bed in a box and planned to just carry the box in with the kittens inside, but the day I was ready to do that they disappeared.  Eventually I saw them again, playing across the street.  I did some research and found out that kittens could be trapped….so Jim and I set out one evening with a borrowed trap and some twine to pull the door shut from a distance.  It was cold and drizzly and we hid behind a tree while the sweet mom hung around our feet.  With her so close to us, the kittens soon got brave and came out to check out the canned food treats we left in the trap.  One ventured in, and Jim pulled the door shut.  We had one!  I felt so bad taking it away from the mom but what a good feeling knowing we were saving that kitten from such an awful life.  The next week we got another, and we thought the last one was gone until a few weeks later.  He was snuggled up in the early winter snow one evening with his mom on our front porch chair.  I knew my husband was supportive of all of this when he said "that’s not right"…and snuck out to the chair and grabbed the baby.
I looked up how to tame feral kittens and by Christmas had found homes for all three grey kittens.  We found a home for the sweet friendly mom, too.  By then we had caught another starving little one, whom we decided to keep.  He is a beautiful and affectionate russian blue who happens to be terrified of everyone but us.  Yet while he is terrified of most people he happily greets each shy cat or kitten that comes into our home and helps them to adjust.
All winter long there were cats that showed up near our house, since by this time I just left food dishes by the porch all the time.  Most of them were feral and most of them had bite marks and frost bitten ears.  Such harsh lives.  And I still didn’t know how I was going to stop the kittens from coming in the spring.  I just knew I couldn’t handle seeing so much suffering.  I had found cats hit by cars, and a few of the cats never came around after the winter.  It was heart-breaking to think about them dying alone in the cold.
In January of  '09 I finally got in touch with a local cat rescue and learned that I was not alone.  I got connected with a woman doing some trapping on the west side, and she told me about SCOOP’s voucher program.  It is a program designed to assist people like me.  Just in time, since spring was right around the corner!  One of the cats we had seen for awhile, a grey bobtail, showed up with a bad limp.  I was so happy when I caught him on the first try.  I felt so hopeful that things on our street could change for the cats.
I continued to use SCOOP vouchers and OAR’s low cost spay/neuter clinic, and could never have done this without the support and encouragement that I found in Barb Wehman of SCOOP and the volunteer staff at OAR.  One of them would often have just the right idea or tip to keep me going. 
There were still kittens this summer, and some didn’t survive.  But I was able to trap or find homes for over 40 cats over the last year.  10 of them were kittens who got a fresh start as family pets.  Some were friendly strays that found great new homes, and some were ferals that are now fixed, vaccinated and returned.  A couple of them are part of our family now because we couldn’t let them go.  ALL are special and beautiful and have their own stories. 
Things are different on our street now.  Last summer I was literally checking under my car for kittens each time I left the driveway.  Now, there are only three feral cats that feed by my house every day.  They are healthy and have warm beds and best of all they won’t re-populate the street.  It’s sad to think about the ones that suffered but such a good feeling knowing the ones that have better lives now.  I always knew that one person could make a difference….but the real difference is made when we work together toward a common goal.  I have since found others in the neighborhood that care enough to provide food and have needed help and encouragement to start TNR.  I love being a part of the compassionate solution and knowing that we can stop the suffering, one cat at a time.
I still miss little Bella squealing around our house…..but what a difference she made

when she taught us that change was possible for the cats in the neighborhood.

Bella Settled In!

Please visit two of Jaydee's favorite rescue groups!



>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I was just emailing back and forth with Georgie (Tweedles mom) talking about some of our pets. I was telling her about Bud my Newfoundland. We were talking about Maddie and Annabelle. And of course we were talking about Tweedles.

It occurred to me, that I named all my dogs and cats people names. I think it's because as hard as I try, I can't think of my animals as animals. They're my family. I think of them as people.

Except for Annabelle, all of my animals have two syllable names. Annabelle is the exception because as a rescue, she came with a name. With all the abuse she'd already been through I figured she should at least have the comfort of her own name.

Tango is the only animal I have that doesn't have a people name. He got the name Tango because he was the movingest horse I'd ever seen. I had to dance with him just to get him groomed. Tango's name still suits him.

So, I'm just wondering...with all the cute dogs and cats I've met in the past few'd you name your animal? Just curious about how their names came to be. From the photos I've seen, the names you've given your guys seem to be just right!

Oh! Before I forget it again...if you haven't already left your pet's photo in the guestbook at the very bottom of this page, please do! I'd love to see pets represented from sea to shining sea...we're getting there. Go look for yourself!


We're Clean and More!

>> Sunday, November 15, 2009

I thought she might forget about me if I hid under a chair but no such luck. Mom was bound and determined I was going to the groomer with Maddie. Do I look like I need a bath? Of course not. Guess I look like a Maddiesitter though. Hmmph! I decided I might as well get into the car and go willingly. There was no way to get out of the inevitable.

All in all our baths weren't so bad but when we got home Maddie and I were both tired pups. After all, we didn't sleep a wink in those stupid cages. Wouldn't you think Mom would let us rest a little before she started in on something else? No! Of course not.

She wanted us to pose us in a chair to get a picture of our sparkling clean little bodies. I tried to ignore Mom but she wouldn't give up. Maddie actually had to give me a lecture. "Quit chewing your toes and cooperate," Maddie told me.
"Hmmph!" I said again.

Finally, out of desperation, I threw in the towel and sat next to Maddie just to get the picture taking over with. What's a dog to do when her mother is obsessive compulsive? Not a darn thing except what I did. We do look sort of cute, don't we? Don't tell Maddie, but she's a little balder than usual. The girl's going to need a hat on her little clipped head!

But the best thing of all about that whole day was that Mom got the Heartfelt Award from Oklahoma Granny. She received it because of how much she loves animals. I guess it's okay to be obsessive compulsive about somethings...right?

Mom will be sharing this award soon!


The Life of Freedom

>> Friday, November 13, 2009

Many of you wrote me to ask about how Freedom is doing now (story from my last post). I emailed the Farm Sanctuary and got the response below. Please watch the slideshow and read the rest of Freedom's story. Cry with me as you celebrate Freedom's amazing life and the wonderful people who loved her.

Hi Jan,

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, we lost Freedom earlier this year to spinal cancer. We memorialized her passing in the story and slideshow below.

You are welcome to reference this memorial in your blog. Many people loved and admired her, and she is greatly missed at our sanctuary.

Thank you for writing about her rescue and for all that you do for animals.


Tricia Barry
Communications Director
Farm Sanctuary
P.O. Box 150, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Office: 607-583-2225 ext. 233

Learn about our shelter residents and take action on their behalf -- sign up for our alerts and online newsletter today!

Farm Sanctuary
Rescue, Education, Advocacy
A compassionate world begins with you.


One of My Animal Stories!

>> Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As a writer, I've written a lot of stories about all kinds of animals. Last night I was looking through my files and came upon the one I'm going to share with you. I've changed a few of the words since it's already been published. As animal lovers, I hope you enjoy it. If you live anywhere near Ohio, you probably know the story already!
The Cow That Got Away!

Freedom is smarter that your average cow. She knew better than to hang around the slaughterhouse and await her fate! On February 15, 2002 she made her dash for freedom. Her escape is worthy of a book or at least a story!

It all began when the light-colored bovine taken for slaughter escaped. At age seven, she must have decided she needed to live longer. Could hamburger have been on her mind when she jumped a six-foot fence? It's hard to know what cows think. Whatever was on her mind made her run.

The escaped cow hid out for days. The townspeople were fascinated. They joked about her on the radio. TV stations set up "Cow Cams." For over a week the people of the city watched. They waited. Most people did not want the animal to be killed. They wanted her to have a happy life.
Offers poured in from everywhere. The former owner of the town's baseball team offered to give the beloved cow a home. A fast food restaurant offered 100 free chicken sandwiches for her safe return.

The police knew the cow was hiding in a park. They thought she was in thick underbrush and were worried she would get into the street and be hit by a car. The city closed the park to people. Joggers couldn't jog. Dogs couldn't be walked. Twelve days had passed and the cow needed to be captured.

City officials came up with a plan. They trucked in four other cows. They put the cows in an area where they thought the escapee was hidden. A fence was put up. Water and food was put inside the fence. It looked like a cow party at the park! Finally the cow was flushed out. She joined the cow party long enough to be shot by a tranquilizer gun. Most cows would have dropped. Most cows would have given up. Not this determined bovine. She ran some more!
The runaway cow ended up in a backyard. City officials shot her one more time. This time the sleepy cow fell down. Officials were able to load the drowsy cow onto a trailer. At times she was calm. At other times she butted her head against the trailer. She wanted her freedom back!

Some people who captured the cow called her belligerent. Others called her cantankerous. Most just called her brave. No one wanted this special cow to become meat. Everyone wanted a happy ending for this feisty female.

That's what they got. The cow girl was moved to the Farm Sanctuary in New York. Now she lives in a place like Disney Land for cows. It's also where she got her name -- Freedom. It's a name she deserved and certainly earned!


Oh Brother!

>> Sunday, November 8, 2009

I heard her. What a bag of wind that girl is! Maddie needs to go to the groomer because she's a mess! She rolls in the leaves. She digs in the mud. She pulls tulip bulbs out of the garden. She really is a walking dust mop...full of dust!
As for me, I'm clean. My hair is short. My feet aren't slippers. I don't roll. I don't dig...much. And I've never had a tulip bulb in my mouth. But guess what? I have to go to the dang groomer too!
Because Maddie's a scaredy cat that's why! Mom thinks if I don't go along, Maddie will freak out! So I have to go through the washer and drier right along with her. Is that fair I ask you? No it's not!
Besides that, I have to sit in the stupid cage and wait...and wait...and wait. Maddie takes twice as long as I do. It's all about Maddie. Poor Maddie pish shaw! Poor me!
Give my mom and earful. I do believe she's enabling Maddie and we all know that's not good!


Maddie's Turn

>> Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You know, it seems like it should be my turn to talk. No Annabelle. No Tango.
I just heard my mom saying that it's time that Annabelle and I go to the groomer. Frankly, I like myself just the way I am. I was admiring myself in the mirror this morning. I looked adorable if I do say so myself.
If my mom had any sense, she'd like me that way too. In fact, if she gave it much thought, she could get rid of her dust mop and broom. Shoot...I have so much fur on the pads of my feet I could do the job they do in a heartbeat.
And I know how much Mom hates to clean. You should see her. She starts in the kitchen loading the dishwasher but before she gets to the floors she runs upstairs to get something she forgot. The next thing you know she disappears into her office and sits down at the computer.
Then the phone rings. Then she finds her riding boots and cleans the zippers. Then she comes back downstairs and opens the back door to shoo out a wasp. The woman can't stay focused!
Yep! In the time my mom wastes, I could do all the floors in the house. Besides that, it's getting colder outside. If I go to the groomer they're going to cut away all the nice warm fur off my feet. No slippers for me! What's a girl supposed to do?
Would you please try to talk some sense into my mom? She might listen to you!


There Are No Words...

>> Saturday, October 31, 2009

You know, there really are no words to explain how we all feel about our animals. They are so much a part of who we are that if you are reading this blog, I don't even have to explain what I mean.

Last night I went to the barn late (about 10:30) to deliver a cake that needed to be at the annual potluck and trail ride today. I couldn't be there because I had to work. Anyway, after I had the cake safely tucked away, I went into Tango's barn to say goodnight to him and give him an apple.

The boy was sound asleep. If horses could curl up in a ball, I would tell you that's how Tango was. Since they really can't curl up in balls, he was about as close as you can get. On top of that, he was snoring. He was so adorable I can't even tell you. I blew him a kiss and tiptoed out of the barn and.....

back to the car where Annabelle and Maddie had their little faces pressed to the window waiting for me. On the way home, I couldn't help but think how lucky I lucky WE are. All of us have a special bond with our animals.

How can you explain that bond to a person who doesn't know the love that goes beyond just owning a pet? I don't think you can.

Anyway, I got way off track here. The video below is of a girl by the name of Stacy Westfall. She is riding her horse without a saddle or reins or even a halter. She is riding in a show where tensions run high. She is riding less than a month after the death of her father. She IS riding.

The bond between this girl and her horse is so evident, I had to share. You may need tissues...I did.


Houdini Is Lonely Again or One Word Wednesday

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009



Tango Will Never Be Lonely Again!

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

Okay. I know my picture taking isn't the finest but take a look at Tango. He's in the middle of a herd. Now that in and of itself isn't huge for most horses, but it is for Tango. Why? Because for the entire time we've been at our barn, Tango's had to be in a field with just one horse to keep him company. Tango's name should have been Houdini! He is able to get out of most places without much effort.

I truly do appreciate the fact that there has always been one horse with Tango. But I always knew Tango wanted to play and play rough. Hey...that's where the word horseplay must have come from!

He used to get out of everything.
He got out of his stall. He got out of a pasture and onto the highway. He got out of anything that he set his mind to! Vince, the owner of the barn, didn't want to take the chance that Tango would let all the other horses out and I don't blame him.

But guess what? All the fences got reinforced and now TANGO'S out with the herd of geldings! Best of all...HE CAN'T GET OUT!

Tango can still have alone time if he wants but Tango will never be lonely again. YIPPEE!!!!

By the way, Tango's getting his winter coat which reminds me of something. My sister-in-law has a blog called The Bridge. She is busy crocheting scarves, hat, and mittens for our city's homeless people. Lots of others have joined her cause...go take a look!


Birds on a Wire

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

It only took a minute to make my heart sing.

See if your heart sings with mine!

Animals and wildlife inspire us even when we’re not aware of it.


The Difference in Dogs

>> Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have always known this to be true, but yesterday it struck me again. Dogs are as different in personalities as people.

I was in Texas visiting my sister for a long weekend. Maddie and Annabelle were well cared for by my husband Chuck, but they missed me nonetheless and were exuberant when I got home. I missed them too, but being at my sister's is the next best thing to home because she has a dog and four cats!

Anyway, back to what I was starting to say...Chuck opened the door from the garage to our house and Annabelle bolted out to see me. Chuck was frantically calling Annabelle back inside. I wasn't. Why? Because I know that Annabelle won't take off. She won't go anywhere that I'm not. She'll be calm and focused.

I opened up the car door to get out more luggage and Annabelle jumped in the driver's seat and waited patiently for me. Then she followed me into the house.

Maddie on the other hand would have jumped up to greet me, run down the street, and chase after whatever it was that attracted her attention. Then she would have become slightly confused and spatially challenged looking this way and that. Maddie's a lot like me.

For me, the key to respecting my girls (or any of the dogs I've had) is understanding that they are just like us with different personalities and challenges.

The only difference between dogs and us was best said by Josh Billings: "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
Too bad most people can't learn from dogs!


Come On Maddie...Snuggle With Alexa!

>> Friday, October 16, 2009

Hey Maddie, don't be shy! Come on over here. Alexa's just like her nan....she loves us!

And...Alexa's as warm as toast. When you snuggle with the girl you feel as good as a cup of hot chocolate on a blustry winter day!

Come on Maddie! You can do it. What's that? You want to keep flitting all over the house? What for? There's no mice in here and we terrorized all the moles that are left in the backyard!

Seal it with a kiss Maddie. You'll get treats forever and you won't have to even give those moles and chipmunks outside another thought until spring. A little love goes a long me I know.


Smiling Saturday Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photos taken by good friend and great photographer, Jeff Boneventure.


You Brought Us Luck!

>> Monday, October 12, 2009

First of all, thank you for all your good wishes. You brought us luck! On Saturday we took two seconds and a FIRST. On Sunday we took a third and two FIRSTS!!!! Good old Tango pony!

Well, almost good old Tango pony. We arrived at the fairgrounds on Friday evening during the pouring rain. The trip over had been start and stop and Tango is not a patient boy. He was ancy in the trailer and ready to roll before I got him off.

Once I got him off the trailer, he didn't roll he RAN! Somehow or other he yanked the lead rope out of my hand and went galloping across the fairgrounds. I was screaming to my friend Nancy to come and help me but knew if I ran after Tango he was going to run faster. Frankly, there's no way I can outrun a horse...duh!

I can, however, outsmart the boy. I know Tango. Tango loves to eat. I knew as soon as Tango came to a lush patch of grass he was going to stop and that's exactly what he did. Nancy walked slowly up on one side of him crackling a peppermint wrapper while I tiptoed up on the other side. AH HA! We got him.

That was as bad as it got. Except for the MUD!

My philosophy is that if you love something enough, a little mud won't kill you. As long as it's not dangerous to Tango, I go for it and I'm glad I did. I truly appreciate all the people who came to support Tango and me considering the conditions.

There are some really beautiful photos of Tango that were taken by the husband of a friend of mine that I don't have yet. Tango is standing under a beautiful fall tree with Saturday's ribbons attached to his halter. As soon as I receive the photos, I'll show you.

The show wasn't all mud. It was colorful fun. I had a terrific time complaining to Terri (my friend who was there giving me advice and support) that an awesome trainer shouldn't be riding in the same classes as me. I obsessed about it all weekend until Terri suggested she might have to beat me if I didn't shut up. Emily and Nancy offered to help her!

I'm not I'm not!
In the end, we had fun and that's what it's all about. When we got back to the barn, I hung Tango's ribbons on his stall door. I decided to go back today to take out his braids because I was exhausted when we got home.

When I got to our barn today, all the ribbons were on the ground. Tango took each and every one of them off his stall before he went outside. He showed me! I may have caught him at the fairgrounds, but Tango had the last word.


Show Time!

>> Friday, October 9, 2009

By the time you read this it will be Friday. Tango and I will be on our way to the last show of the season. I seriously hope that talk I had with Tango about his manners will carry over to the show.
I really need the boy to cooperate. The show will be challenging for a couple reasons. First of all, Tango and I are fairly new to this dressage stuff. We have to think every step of the way. A lot of the responsibility falls on me. I have to give Tango the right signals in order for him to do what he needs to do.
When the weather is dry and sunny I can think more clearly. We're supposed to have between two and four inches of rain tonight and tomorrow. That means that Tango and I will be riding in less that desirable circumstances. In fact, it will be a little scary for me because the arenas will be slippery. I've never seen them cancel a show, so ride we will.
Tango's a sure-footed boy so I just need to stay calm. The good thing about the mud is that the judges won't be too critical of the dirt that Tango just can't stay out of even on a good day. I don't have to spit shine him as much as usual.
We're riding at 2:00, 2:25, and 4:00 on Saturday. On Sunday we're riding at 9:45, 3:30, and 4:24. It's going to be a long fun weekend. Wish us luck! We'll let you know how things go when we get back!


She Saves Lives

>> Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I received the email below from a lifelong friend's daughter. I wanted to share it with you in hopes that you can can help in some small way, even if it's only to share advice or words of encouragement . Jayde has neutered, spayed, and released 47 feral cats on her own this year She makes my heart sing!

Dear Jan,
My mom sent me a link to your animal blog and I read through it a few weeks ago and it made me cry!!I think we share a kindred spirit for animals. I remember your Mandy fondly and the cat that was always on your dining chair asleep.... :) I have been fostering and rescuing cats and kittens and one dog over the last year....and it just keeps growing. I am wondering if you would be interested in posting cats and kittens in need of homes on your site? It would not be a lot, only a couple really, but I am finding I need all the support I can get to find homes for these little guys. If you don't want to post them for adoption, maybe a link to me or something for cat adoption?? Right now I have a very cute little orange buff girl, and I am taking in a 2 month old shy little Siamese. Anyway, I have wanted to get in touch with you for awhile and would love to hear your thoughts on this! I was about to contact you when we had a foster dog recently but some good friends adopted him before I got to you. Thanks Jan! And you look amazing and so happy in what you are doing now! Jayde
Here are some photos of kittens that Jayde needs to place:

Tigger is a sweet, curious, snugly older kitten who needs a loving home! he likes to meow hello and gets along with other pets just fine! please let me know if you can offer a permanent home to this homeless little guy! he is about 7 months old, playful, and loving.

This sweet little girl is the only survivor of her homeless mom's litter and warmed up to belly rubs and treats in one day. She has an amazingly gentle and happy disposition. We call her "O-ee". She loves to play with her toy feathers and wrestle with her best pal Sable, a one-year-old cat. She is about 3 months old, has been vet checked and spayed, and would love to snuggle up in her new home soon! She is a very rare little girl, as most cats of her coloring are males. She has a sweet little squeaky noise that she makes when she is happy to see her people and especially when she smells treats. She will need a little patience as she is a bit shy with new people, but will come around quickly with lots of love and kindness.


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