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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!

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.


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