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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!

A Work in Progress - Our Sammy

>> Saturday, December 4, 2010

As many of you know, Sammy came to us in late spring. He was big, doppy, and totally incorrigible. I loved him from the very beginning. So did my youngest son, Ryan. Chuck wasn't so sure. After all, our other dogs knew what they were supposed to do and Sammy didn't. On top of not knowing what he should do, Sammy did anything he wanted to do which included going into the living room (sacred area for my husband's comfort) and unloading the dishwasher, cupboards, and counters on a regular basis.

Sammy was a third wheel. He didn't know how big he was and even though Maddie and Annabelle weren't threatened by him, they had their own little niche in life. The girls more or less ignored him for most of the time. Occasionally Sammy would run over one of them and that wasn't a happy time. Spring led to summer. We took Sammy to an introductory obedience class and worked and worked with him at home. By mid-summer he was housebroken and had an inkling of what was a good idea and what was not. Chuck even began to develop a fondness for Sammy. He began to play big dog games with him and seemed to really soften up towards our gentle giant.
Now that fall has arrived (in full force) and Chuck is getting ready to retire, Sammy is included in all family events. He loves to go for walks in the park and stays right by our sides. In fact, just like Annabelle and Maddie, wherever I am, Sammy is. Yes he takes up more space but I certainly don't care. As for Maddie and Annabelle, they've taken Sammy into their little pack. Annabelle's still head honcho and puts Sammy in his place from time to time but Sammy's okay with that. After our last Newfie died I swore I'd never get another because I couldn't go through the pain. Well, I guess I will someday because Sammy's worth it. The joy he brings to my life is immeasurable
And the humor he and Chuck both bring to me just can't be said in words. Our Sammy can't always be called a "good boy" yet, but he can be called amazing...simply amazing. I sure do love him.
Sammy's a work in progress and a good retirement project for Chuck...don't you think?


Can You Guess What It Is?

>> Friday, October 29, 2010

Are you wondering what this is on my shoulder?

Can you tell yet?

It's my summer rescue! My sister Julie and I rescued a teeny tiny toothless raccoon this summer. It was just released back into its natural habitat.
A wildlife center raised it after 30 touch-and-go hours
with Julie and me. Nothing could be better than a successful rescue and a sister to share it with!



>> Friday, October 8, 2010

I made a mistake. As I was downloading my very lovely photo of Annabelle, Maddie, and Sammy playing in the backyard I accidentally clicked on this one. When I looked at it I thought I might as well use it!

This photo is the very reason that my back needed to get well quickly. In fact, my bones were probably scared into healing. This is me raking Sammy in early summer to get rid of his shedding hair. The task took at least 30 minutes three times a day.

I must really love Sammy. Chuck only rakes leaves!


Six Week Post-Op Check-Up

>> Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I went to the surgeon yesterday for my six-week check up and a miracle occurred. The doctor said, "Every once in a while we have a shining star who recovers really quickly. You are one of those stars. You can get on your horse and walk...just walk...until December 6th when we'll do final x-rays."

The doctor didn't tell me it would take me 30 minutes to get to the top of the mounting block.

He didn't tell me it would take me another 30 minutes to get on poor Tango.

He didn't need to tell me how good I would feel once I was in the saddle again.

And he sure didn't need to tell me how happy I would be! Praise God!!!!!!! Life is sure looking good today. I won't even miss the lovely display of fall colors on the trees that line the farm . I'lll be seeing them from atop myTango!


In Memory and Respect

>> Sunday, September 12, 2010

I was going to tell you all about a horse show that I took my grandaughter Alexa to. She did very well and we took lots of pictures. In the end, one photo stood out. Why? Because the date was September 11th and the picture seemed more than significant. I hope you think so too.


Surgery Update

>> Monday, August 30, 2010

This back surgery thing hasn't been so bad even though it was more extensive that we thought. I ended up with two rods, two plates. numerous screws, lost- count- at- 39 staples and who knows how many sutures. I feel pretty good. I've been able to enjoy the company of good friends who drop by so I'm not ever bored. The flowers in my family room make me feel like I'm on a tropical vacation...well almost. All and all, I couldn't ask for more

My sons and their families have been here to exercise Sammy almost everyday. My husband went back to work for the first day today and he was a great help. He even gives me my shots to thin my blood. Now who would have thought!

And, as you can see from the photo above, even when I'm sleeping my three guys

don't go far from my side.


Talk to You Soon!

>> Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just a quick note to let you know I'll be missing for a couple weeks. Sadly my computer crashed and I'm writing from a friend's computer. I'm having surgery on Thursday and my computer won't be fixed by then. I'll be back in touch as soon as I can.

Until then, have a wonderful last few weeks of summer.

Jan, Maddie, Annabelle, Sammy, Tango, and Tantra


It's Hot!

>> Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A fan sits in front of your air conditioning vent just to blow out more cool air.
One dog lays in front of the fan while another WATCHES a flitting chipmunk through the back door window.
Your dog sprawls on the floor to eat his dinner just so he can still catch the low blown air from the miracle fan!


No Such Thing As a Bad Day at the Farm!

>> Sunday, August 1, 2010

People keep asking me if I'm worried about my upcoming surgery and for the most part, the answer is "no"! I'm surrounding myself with the people and animals I love.

This is my granddaughter Alexa going out for a ride on Tantra. I was right behind her taking pictures!

My dear friend Nancy stopped by the farm that very same day with her little dog, Nellie.
Nancy put Nellie on Tantra and Tantra couldn't care less. What a great horse and what an adorable dog. We had so much fun that day!
Nancy and I put up lawn chairs and watched Alexa ride while we gulped down bottled water. Alexa hand grazed Tantra some more and then she got out a little horse who is her heart. Alexa loves Candy Cane and the barn cats too.
Just watching this threesome makes me happy. My granddaughter is such a gentle soul. It makes me tear up just to think about the person that she's growing up to be.
This shot was taken by none other than me at arm's length. You'd never know that I'm going to have major back surgery by the position I'm in would you? My sister taught me this photo technique but she does it better than me. If I look happy, it's because I am. Life is good. God has blessed me with all I need and then some.


P E A C E in the Kitchen!

>> Friday, July 16, 2010

I know this picture doesn't have the best color quality in the world but I had to share it anyway. We have peace in the kitchen again.
P E A C E - What a nice word that is when it comes to dinnertime. Up until a few weeks ago we had the crazy dog scramble around 6:00 every evening while I got the dog food ready. Sam didn't know what the word SIT meant and Maddie and Annabelle were caught up in Sammy's enthusiasm for food. Now all three of my babies sit quietly and wait for their bowls to be placed in their appropriate position. Now how about that?
I'm happy. The three kids are happy. Life is good...mostly.
On another note, I thought I'd let you know that I'm having back surgery on August 19th. I'll be in the hospital for three to five days. The doctor says by next year at this time I'll be back to my regular riding schedule. I hope he's right. I've decided to try one dressage show before surgery. Tango pony and I are going to a little show on July 25th. I figure what the heck...they've got to fix my back anyway, so one more hurrah is just what I need.
Life is never boring and I guess like everyone else, I have to take the good with the bad. You've all been so encouraging and your inspirational words help me keep everything in perspective. I can't thank you enough.


Humbled by Sammy

>> Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Animals have a way of humbling me and Sammy is no exception. Last night was his first night at obedience class. Sam was the biggest, loudest, strongest, most distracted dog there. So much for my"I've trained an 1800 pound horse and Sammy will be a piece of cake," philosophy. HA!
My first thought was, "Geeze, I wish I hadn't told the instructor (Amy) that my goal is to show Sammy in obedience classes in the future!"
My second thought was lost in Sammy pulling me across the room like a kite on a breezy day. I'm not kidding. The only good thing was that Sammy made me feel weightless. It was a quick successful diet for me.
Amy saved my dignity when she brought over a gentle leader. The hour in class began to get easier. A gentle leader is soon to become my new best and out of class!
Before I get distracted with the gentle leader, let me go on and tell you about the rest of the class! We did the traditional sit fairly easily when Sammy and I were in sinc (about 2% of the time). The part that was really important evaded us for the entire night.
WATCH ME is the basis of me getting Sammy's attention. All the boy had to do was look at me. I could click my clicker and give him a treat while saying WATCH ME at the same time. Do you think the boy would look at me?
Of course not.
He looked at the dog beside him. He looked at Amy. He looked at Chuck when he walked in. Sammy smelled my pockets. He tripped on his water dish. Sammy's mind wandered more in one hour than mine does on a normal day! Sammy might have looked at me once, but I missed it and didn't click in time. In short, I was humbled.
I'm pretty good with animals of all sizes and usually feel confident and skillful. Sammy knocked me down a notch or two...or twenty! It didn't help any when he got in the jeep and drooled down my neck.
Actually, truth be told, I enjoy challenges. If Sammy was too easy, his training wouldn't be nearly so exciting. Today is a new day. I think I'm going to start out by clicking myself for tenacity, then treating myself to extra cream in my coffee. Look out Sammy...the day is early and I'm on a mission!!
Annabelle and Maddie, you're on my agenda too!


Party Animal

>> Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We've talked until we're blue in the face. Yes indeed. We've told her that Sam the a party animal. She doesn't believe us. Not until she gets home that is.

The minute she walks out the door Sammy heads over to the counter. No matter what she leaves in the sink, Sammy gets it out for his own personal party. You'd think by now she'd have it figured out. But no, not her.

She comes home to find her sweet Sammy sound asleep on her cutting board. It took him most of the time she was gone to carry over the three mugs, two spoons, and the dish brush. That's not to mention the plate he broke before he could get it over to his favorite spot. Of course we didn't help Sammy lick of the cutting board, spoons, or mugs. We don't even like coffee. In fact we never moved from the stairs in the first picture. Do you believe us?


Doing the Best I Can....

>> Saturday, June 12, 2010

Frankly, when the doctor told me I couldn't ride anymore until I had surgery I went into a place I don't usually go. I was so depressed I didn't even want to talk to people. That's not the normal me. All I could think about was how much time and work Tango and I have done and the upcoming summer show season. I tried to keep it all in perspective and remember I'm not seriously ill, I just have a back that is falling apart. I felt guilty for feeling so sad and sorry for myself. A good friend told me, "You don't need to feel guilty. Your pain belongs to you. Your whole routine has been interrupted."
She was right. Not only can I not ride, I can't work or exercise. For a couple weeks I just sat around waiting to gain weight. Then two wonderful things happened.

Number 1. This is my friend Emilee on Tango. She's going to ride him, train him, and show him this summer for me. Next year when I'm better, we can do it together...Emilee and me. Em needed a horse and Tango needed a rider.

Number 2.
Sammy is still here and it looks like he's going to stay. I figure if I can clicker train Tango to do tricks, I can clicker train Sammy. The more I thought about it the more I thought about Sammy's past. The boy didn't have it so good, that's for sure. Since I can't ride Tango pony I can spend extra time with Sammy boy. In fact, if I want to, I can compete with him. Who says rescue dogs can't show? Rescue horse sure can!

So the long and short of it is that I'm smiling more now. In a minute I'm heading to the barn with my granddaughter and her friend. I'm going to watch them ride. Maybe I'll sit on Tango for a minute or two. Maybe I'll just groom him. I just needed time to figure things out. Luckily I don't stress out. I just get sad and move on to do other things. I'll keep you updated about when the surgery is scheduled. Meanwhile, prepare to see more photos of Em. I told her she was going to be the star of my blog this summer...right along with Maddie, Annabelle, and Sammy boy.


The Best Spa Day the Girls Ever Had!

>> Friday, May 28, 2010

Maddie saw it first.

Then Annabelle took a peek. The girls couldn't quite figure out the new truck in front of our house. It didn't look like the normal delivery truck.

And it wasn't! It was the Aussie Pet Mobile with professional groomer Lori inside. The girls were in for a treat. They didn't have to go to the usual groomer and be put into cages with all sorts of scary sounds around them. They didn't have to wait for hours to get into the dreaded bath then onto the worse than dreaded grooming table.
Lori was awesome. It took her less than one hour per dog to bathe, groom, and clip nails. The girls were happy as clams. In fact they were so happy they asked me to never take them to the old groomer again. They want Lori to come to them.
Lori promised to be back later in the summer. The girls actually didn't want her to leave. Imagine that! What a relief. Groomed dogs and no chaos at all! Why didn't I think of this before? The girls have never looked or felt better before!
Wait until Lori meets Sammy!


I Was Right!

>> Monday, May 17, 2010

Remember last week when I told you our walks were never going to be the same again? Well I was right. Mom holds Annabelle and me in one hand and Sammy (that's his name) in the other. Annabelle and I usually walk out in front and Sammy usually walks right beside Mom.

The picture above was our first walk together. We almost run out of sidewalk because Sammy's so big. Annabelle always likes to stop and sniff everything. I like to tinkle at the corner of everyone's driveway.

Not Sammy. He walks like he's on a mission. Mom even walks him close to fire hydrants and most of the time Sammy doesn't even stop. What's wrong with the boy? Any good strong boy needs to lift his leg now and then. He's going to give Belle and I a bad reputation.

I tried to talk to Sammy while we were walking. "Slow down there big guy," I said to him. I glanced up to see if Sammy was listening to me and he wasn't. Mom says it's a guy thing and that they don't listen very well. Maybe she's right.

Oh well. We feel pretty safe when Mom takes us on our midnight walks now. Who's gonna mess with us when we're with Sammy boy? Yep...our walks are not the same anymore. Maybe someday I'll think they're even better. Give me a month or so!


Sammy Sammy Sammy

>> Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meet Sammy! He's our foster Newfoundland. If you look very closely you'll see little tiny Annabelle on the couch behind him. The girls are adjusting just fine. I'll have them tell you about Sammy with their own words later this week.

Sammy Newfoundland Sammy came to us on Friday. He'd been a couple places before he got here. One place had called him Mongo. The other Sampson. I tried both names on him and he didn't respond much to either. Since I preferred Sampson we stuck closely with that.

Why did we agree to foster such an enormous dog? Because we love Newfoundlands and frankly, I signed up with a Newfoundland rescue group to do what I love...have a Newfoundland in my life. I've told you all about Bud, our last Newfie. He lived to be 11-years-old and was just about the greatest dog on earth. Sammy isn't a traditional color. In fact he isn't recognized by the AKC. But Sammy is a traditional Newfoundland. Gentle, kind, clumsy, messy, and funny. Sammy's already won our hearts...all 100 * pounds of him.

Does he have any issues? Yes a few. He's really young (a year) so he came with no manners. He's already doing better. Sammy doesn't like it much when we leave. I have a feeling he's been left once too many times. We're going to work with Sammy to make him as confident as he can be. Then we're going to work hard to make ourselves let him go when the time comes.

By the way, my sister-in-law just visited a wonderful winery where she was greeted by MIRA, a Newfoundland. Go see her post and photos!


Our Walks Might Never Be the Same....

>> Sunday, May 9, 2010

We're making the photos small so we don't shock you too much.
But we have one thing to say:

She wants us to be all hugs and kisses on Mother's Day but EEEEEGADS! Look who's moving in with us for an undetermined amount of time! She's gone and lost her mind!


Divine Intervention?

>> Monday, May 3, 2010

I honestly believe that sometimes things happen for a reason. About a month ago, my sister Julia, lost her beloved Georgia. Georgia was a beautiful Great Pyrenees with a heart as big as Texas...where my sister lives.

Julia was devastated, as we all are when we lose one of our family members. "I probably won't get another dog," Julia said to me. "There will never be another Georgia and cats are easier to take care of anyway."

Julia's cats are terrific. Each of them as their own distinct personality. And honestly Julia was/is right. There will NEVER be another Georgia. Never.

I wanted to help Julia through her grief but I know from my own experiences that you never really get over losing a dog (or cat) that is in your life. Somehow, you resume your normal life but it seems empty for awhile, no matter how full your house is with people or other pets.

After Georgia's death, Julia went to work as usual. I'm not certain of the timeline on this, but it wasn't long after Georgia's death that Julia began to notice a dog that would come into the parking bays where she worked. Julia took Georgia's food to work with her and began to feed and water the stray on a daily basis.

She even went back on weekends and when she couldn't go, she asked someone who worked weekends to cover for her.

It gets better. Julia noticed that the dog was flea infested. She took in the proper medication and applied it to the dog that now greeted her on a daily basis. "She's an odd looking girl," Julia said to me. "Her one ear flops down kind of funny."

"Are you taking her home?" I asked Julia.

"I'm gong to try to find her a home," was Julia's response on a Monday. "Well, maybe I'll take her home on Friday when I get the fleas under control," she went on to say.

On Thursday her story was different when she called. "I brought the dog home with me tonight," Julia said matter of factly.

"Why'd you do that?" I asked. "I thought you weren't going to take her home until you got the fleas under control?"

"She ran after my car when I started to leave last night," Julia said, "What could I do? I brought her home and put her in the tub and gave her a really good flea bath. She's a nice distraction," Julia told me.

I smiled to myself. My sister's nice distraction was not a dog she would have chosen. It was a dog that chose her. Sometimes life's simple that way.

Meet Isabella! She's a happy girl. Isabella is smiling with me!

My sister is terrific, don't you think?


Hey There!

>> Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our friend Tweedles just emailed me to ask me if I was tired of blogging. The answer to the question is a big NO! I told Tweedles that I feel guilty putting up a new post before I've commented on each and every one of your blogs...even though I DO read them. I would post everyday if I thought you wouldn't get sick of me!


Your blogs are all so beautiful and I love looking at all your wonderful photos and reading about your stories. When I first started this blog it was to connect with people like you and that's exactly what I've done.
As most of you know, I have two dogs now. Maddie and Annabelle. I lost my third dog last year...Kelly. Maddie is the only dog I have that isn't a rescue. She's a King Charles Spaniel. As most of you know, I have a horse named Tango. What you probably don't know is that I now have another horse named Tantra.

I'm very involved in animal rescue. I was supposed to get in another Newfoundland this week, but it turned out the dog was an outdoor dog, so he went to another foster home. If you click on the google ads from my page, any money I earn goes towards my animal amounts to just a few dollars, but it helps pay for food.


Oh! Here's something I just found out: Starting April 30th you can buy stamps at the post office that help to buy food for shelter pets. You can pre-order them online. I think this would be a great thing to spread around.
That's about it from me today. Now I'm going to go read your blogs! I'm going to get better at the photo thing really soon..I promise!


An Email I Had to Share....

>> Friday, April 16, 2010


I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety. My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair. When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel. When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there. I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I wanted, with out taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable. I would have money, and no guilt to go on a real vacation. I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I put their yet unborn grandkids through college.
The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave it ALONE. My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers. I would not talk 'baby talk'. 'Eat your din din'. 'Yummy yummy for the tummy'...My house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere. My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L,, W-A-L-K,, T-R-E-A-T,, O-U-T,, G-O,, R-I-D-E,, C-O-O-K-I-E

I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside. I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog or cat ties them down too much. I'd look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of dreading 'mud' season. I would not have to answer the question 'Why do you have so many animals?' from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel as they will ever get.
How EMPTY my life would be!!!


Compare Walks!

>> Saturday, April 10, 2010

She puts us to sleep just talking about it. Imagine that! Our mom talking!!!
We've been on plenty of walks lately because the weather's finally settled down. In fact, the sun's been shining for a few days in a row.
We've walked around the block. We've walked in the park. We've taken walks during the day and we've taken them at night.
In fact, just a few nights ago Christian and Alexa stayed all night. Christian was the great night leader. He carried a flashlight and we followed him and his bright light. The kid's pretty darn cute. Yes, we get to go on walks...but they're just walks.

Now, compare our walks to Tango's! Who do you think gets to have the most excitement.
We think we deserve a trip to Disneyland at the very least! Or better than that, if she'd just stop singing HAPPY TRAILS before she goes for a ride that would help. Her trail riding stories are getting old too!
It's our turn for something better...wouldn't you agree? The dog days of summer are just around the corner. We need to have a plan of action! Help!!!


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