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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!

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.


What a Night....

>> Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk

I had to share this story with you. You've all heard me talk about my youngest son, Ryan and his wife (my daughter-in-law) Heather...right?

I couldn't have been prouder of Heather than I was last night. She lost her beloved grandmother, Charlotte, to a form of blood cancer in the spring. Heather and her grandmother were more than close, they were soul mates.

I could go on and on about their relationship, but I won't. Instead I want to
tell you how Heather turned her grief and sadness into something
extraordinarily positive

Heather got busy. Somehow, as young as she is, Heather realized that when you do something

to help someone else, no matter how big or small the act, you feel
better too.

She recruited lots of her family and friends to participate in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk-A-Thon. Heather called her team, "TEAM CHAR."

The walk was a mile long and the darkness of the night was lit with well over 6,000 red balloons and flashing necklaces. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

What a tribute to Heather's grandmother. What an honor to walk with Heather. All in all, over $440,000 was raised last night.

And, yes, next year we'll walk again. Maddie and Annabelle will be carrying balloons too. The memories of those loved ones lost will once again light the night. Heather's goal is to double the money we raised this year. My guess is that we will.


Maddie's Not a Ditz...I Take It Back!

>> Friday, October 2, 2009

What's that, Maddie? Say it one more time..the air conditioning is humming in my ear and you're mumbling.

I said, Annabelle, that there's something wrong with her. She's outside taking our picture and we're sitting in this stupid car like this is a normal thing to do.
Okay, Mad Mad, cut her a little slack. She's just figuring out how to take pictures and download them on the thing she calls a blog. She likes to talk about us, you know.
Oh yay. Woohoo for her. She says nice things about you. She tells people I'm a ditz or I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree. How'd you like that little Belle Belle?
Keep it in perspective BFF. She thinks you're cute and cuddly. She gives you treats every time you look at her cross eyed. You've got her wrapped around your little pitsy paw.

I suppose you're right, Annabelle. Move to your left just a little, would you?
Okay, Maddie, I moved to my left. What you want me to do that for?
To tell you the truth Belle, I just wanna see who she thinks the real ditz is while she's looking for her SPARE SET OF KEYS!


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