I’m taking a break from one heart passion, my terriers, to my soul passion, the Horse.
First, I would like to take this chance to thank Vicki Ives and her daughters at KARMA FARMS for doing this thing I’m so madly ranting about.
We wonder why the world is so unconcerned about wild horses, the mystical antique breeds or just horses in general. I hope KARMA FARMS with their summer programs for children and adults continues to educate and impress our youth with the love and appreciation of these magical creatures. Not enough people know horses today, even in a little way. They watch them on video or read about them in books but they don’t know the truth of them.
Those of us who have touched, brushed, sweated, stroked, ridden or driven them know of their beauty, their strength and their gentleness. The modern person only sees them in two dimensions. We, the horsemen of the world, need to unlock the secrets of the horse to the children and the dreamers. The Passionate ones need to be awakened.
If you own a horse, open your world to others and show them the magic. Bring others into the world of the sight of their beauty, the touch of their noses and coats, the smell of their bodies and their sweat, the sense of their power as they bend to our asking. Put a child on a gentle horse. Take your friend to the barn. Let their fear pass into our love of this Magnificent Creature who comes to us so trustingly and willingly. If we don’t introduce people to our world, they won’t know anything but ignorance, fear and false lies told by others who fear our spirit animal.
Lies like they are only animals, they are stupid, they don’t care for their families and they don’t have fear or pain when they are taken from us. That they don’t feel pain when wounded. That they don’t mourn for their dead. We must educate the children behind the computers and in front of the televisions. Without the support of these people we will lose our miracle that is the horse. They will pass into history and leave us alone in the cold harsh world. So take a friend to your horse, or a barn or a farm and introduce them to the wonderous creature we call our friend and partner.
If you don’t know someone with horses, take a riding lesson or go to a rescue and volunteer to help. Learn their smell, their touch, and their spirit. You will be amazed at what you learn not only about horses but about yourself.
This will be a happier one, I promise.
I was at home when I got the call. Robyn from Russell Rescue was on the phone and was asking for a doggy favor.
While I do mostly transport of dogs from one place to another, this was a little bit special. I had the two dogs, Abbott and Bridget, at this point. We had discussed adding another dog, but these two were perfectly balanced for each other. Having Jacks can be a challenging thing if they don’t get along and these two did beautifully. The only fights were when they were defending each other against other critters. But every once in a while, we’d keep a dog for a weekend or several days. This was one of those special times.
There had been a little mama dog picked up by San Antonio ACO. RR had waited the period of time hoping she’d be adopted but no one had stepped forward and she was in her last hours. So, one of ‘our’ rescued dogs was being adopted and it was decided to go and get her. I live close so I was asked to go and pick her up.
Jessie,as she was dubbed, was about 6 years old. This is not old for JRT as they normally live 15 years or more. But this little girl was in sad shape. The theory was she had been used as a breeder dog, one whose lot in life is to produce puppies year after year. I was told she’d been picked up off the street in the south side of San Antonio. There were no puppies, but she was lactating. SA ACO will only adopt a dog after its been neutered, so I knew she would still have stitches.
I got there to pick her up at 6 PM. The lady was nice enough but obviously very busy. I had a crate with a pillow in the back of the car all ready for her. Then they carry her out and she’s still unconscious, stitches in her tummy and milk running out of her nipples.
Since no one had seen her, I was supposed to report on her size, her build and if she had a long tail. As an aside, a true good Jack Russell should be between 10 to 15 inches tall, have tipped ears and a docked tail of about 4 inches long. As I took her and put her in the crate, I realized that she did not fit this description.
If you remember my Abbott dog, Jessie looked like a pup of his. They are both only 8 inch shorty jacks aka puddin Jacks, with Queen Anne legs (bowed like the furniture) with long tails, and in her case, one prick ear and one tipped. So, I had to tell Robyn that she was not the beauty we were hoping for. She also didn’t eat or drink for a day or two. I was very concerned that the vet had over sedated her as sometimes happened with small dogs but in true terrier fashion she came out of it in a few days.
I had put her in a vacant bedroom and pulled the door closed when I went to work the next day. But evidently Abbott and Bridgett wanted to see the new dog and had pushed the door open. My husband had also been curious and had been in there talking to her and trying to get her to eat and drink. So after a few days she was released and began to perk up.
Jessie went from depressed, to scared, to even a little aggressive. But this wasn’t surprising because her hormones were, to say the least, all fouled up. From a mama, to a throw away, to captured, to frightened, to hurt(spayed), to given over to us she barely had a chance to know what was happening to her.
We’d kept her for two weeks, longer than expected. Then I got the word to bring her to her foster home. But hubby had fallen for the new girl in the house and we happily failed fostering 101. She and Abbott are two peas in a pod.
Taking a dog in that has had no socialization is not always easy. She had to be house broken, she didn’t know how to walk on a leash, she was fearful of everything. But the pack helped a lot. She was the sweet little sister and the two dominants just took her along with them. She loves her Papa, she loves her sibs and she is nice to me. That’s okay, the others are ‘my’ dogs, and hubby needed his own darling.
We’ve had her for 4 years now. She’s a bit fat, a little lazy, actually had to learn to run after being a breeding female most of her life and accompanies hubby on his walks. She’s perfect for her position in our little pack. And she is the HAPPIEST dog I’ve ever known. It’s fun just to watch her hop around the backyard. She just wiggles around and asks for her rubs and scratches. After an hour or so, she’ll go and find her box or corner of the bed and go back to sleep.
Adopting is a wonderful thing. Jacks are so smart and loving if you accept them for what they are. They are active, bouncy and a handful. They also need a job and to be shown what it is. Don’t put them in the house, or the yard and ignore them. Make them part of your family. All they want is to love you. Let them.
part 2 is about love and loss.
After Race died at the ripe of age of 15, we determined that we should get another dog sooner than later. Abbott was definitely missing a companion and he sadly moped around the house.
I started checking all my local sources for a female pup to keep him company and brighten up the house. Russell Rescue didn’t have any little girls so I turned to Petfinder.com. After a week or two a picture popped up on my computer.
Bridget was in Fredericksburg, TX. several hours away. But it was Thanksgiving friday, a quiet drive for Abbott and I (my hubby had gone to visit his family). When we got to the very nice Humane society I brought Abbott in and we were introduced to Bridget, a beautiful Jack Russell female. We all went to the meet and greet room. She totally ignored us, running around the room looking for a non-existent exit. Meanwhile Abbot was having an unexpected meltdown. He was either afraid of being left or worried about the other dog being taken away. So I took him back to the car and left him in his crate.
When I went back in they had taken the little girl back to her kennel, thinking that I didn’t want such an unsocialized dog. It seems that Bridget had been caught in a humane trap in a chicken coop two months earlier. The nice farmer had brought her to them instead of killing a chicken thief. She’d been adopted to a single lady with a little daughter and they left Bridget loose in the apartment. When they returned, she had murdered all the Barbie dolls by ripping their heads off. Poor Bridget had been spanked and brought back. No wonder she was so petrified. I knew if I didn’t take her, she’d never be adopted. I did take her, leaving a check that they said they would hold in case I changed my mind. I never did.
I can go on and on about Bridget and tell hundreds of stories about her. Way too many for this blog. I’m sure I can come back and tell them properly in the future. The moral of her story is She was the best terrier I’ve ever owned. A true Jack Russell. Life was something to be lived in the fullest. Never a bad day, always an adventure. She loved walking out on leash, fighting other dogs (not her pack, others), killing critters in her yard, chasing squirrels and running running running running.
Her way too short life came to an end at age 8 was at a Terrier Trial. She was running the flat race when she simply dropped dead. She ran right out of her little body. The vet on scene told me it could have been a heart attack or even a brain aneurism. I could have found her in the yard or on my pillow. I even talked to her and called her for several hours in my little hole of sorrow. But she’d gone on to other adventures chasing celestial possums and heavenly squirrels.
The nice people at the trial made me eat a little and then I drove her home to put her next to Race. Abbott helped of course, as he did with Race, watching my back and kissing my tears away. We did have another female (a foster failure from San Antonio Pound) but this girl, Jessie, smelled death and hid in her box for days. But, my little man did his duty, supporting me and mourning his partner as long as we did and I think we still do.
Life and death are part of owning (or being owned by pets. I’ve heard several homilies about why dogs don’t live longer. I believe they are with us to teach us things. Like the joy of chasing squirrels, the patience to train a puppy who had no skills, kindness for another dog who was scared and hurt. They are all good things but the next dog, and there should always be a next dog, will continue to teach you something else of value.
Yes, it hurts. But would I give up 7 years of joy to prevent a time of tears. No, I wouldn’t. There is too much value in those happy, laughing times. Times when a feral dog curled up in my lap, and licked me awake in the morning. I know there is some other little one out there who needs a safe place. Neither Race or Bridget would begrudge their kin or me another love.
I write a great deal about dogs. They usually hanging around in both my fan fiction and in my novels. I have even been known to write poems and articles about dogs. They color my view of the world and society. So when you find one in my writing, don’t be surprised.
I determined that for you to understand where my characters come from, you should know a little about me and my dogs. You can skip this and catch up later, but if you hear barking in the background, look for a wagging tail to show up.
A few days ago, I wrote about my Pits. They were precious dogs, rare and irreplaceable, but I know wherein my heart lives.
The picture here is myself in childhood with our Rat Terriers. The two in my arms are Sissy (prick eared) and Spotty (tip-eared). The one next to us is Tiger, these are all offspring from Mitsey, the one in the back from different litters. These were dogs of my childhood, my companions in exploration and my guardians in my follys. Tiger was mortally injured by a car, Spot died of a heart attack, but Mitsey lived for about 18 years and Sissy well into her 20s.
When my husband took work as a fishing guide on Falcon Lake after his retirement from the USAF, I determined I needed a dog. We had previously decided that we wanted a long-lived breed, either a terrier or a dachshund. Well he was not there and I was so when I found a Jack Russell Terrier at a flea market I immediately brought her home. Her great and enthusiastic speed earned her the name Racer or Race. She was my darling and protector while hubby was gone. When I suffered a broken ankle she protected me from Pizza delivery men, postmen, my mother and mice.
Race also took on an orphan Pit Bull puppy to raise as her own. She loved that baby beyond all expectation. As a humorous none, one of the neighbors complained that my ‘vicious’ Pit Bull would kill my cute little white dog. Later, she apologized when she evidently saw Race ‘savagely attacking’ my other dog. Of course, no blood was ever spilt so when i explained their relationship the lady was more comfortable when she heard the play. In fact, the only blood let on the ground was that of possums, snakes, squirrels, some feral cats and unfortunately a 5 foot king snake.
When Bonny died unexpectedly, Race had a nervous breakdown and a possible stroke. We tried to get another terrier puppy but I swear I couldn’t find one. Finally, I heard of a wonderful organization called Russell Rescue. http://www.russellrescue.com/ Two very nice ladies, sisters Sandra and Robyn, are the heart and soul of this organization. I was advised to get a male and an adult who wouldn’t bother Race too much but would be company to her. So we got Abbott.
Little Abbott is an interesting dog. He was very respectful of the aging lady Race. She was only 13 but she had never recovered from the loss of Bonny. Mostly blind now, she didn’t really like him, but she accepted him and he was more or less her seeing eye dog. But they were very different. She’d been raised by us from a puppy. Abbott was 2 or 3 years old already and had suffered abuse at the hands of a man. It took he and my husband a while to declare a truce, but they did, and finally became fast friends.
The best way I can describe the two dogs relationship came about from the final squirrel hunt.I was lucky enough to witness it from the kitchen window so I assure you it is true. Since Race had gone blind, she didn’t hunt the squirrels any more. Abbott didn’t really know how. He could handle mice but not squirrels who were almost as big as him. Well, one day a huge male squirrel came to earth and was generally ignoring my two terriers who were asleep on the porch. Abbott saw him took a run at him and somehow actually managed to grab the squirrel by the tail. The squirrel, outraged, turned on him and bit Abbott on the foot, causing him to squeal. Before I could get to the door, Race leaped up from her chaise lounge and ran towards the combatants. She couldn’t see the squirrel, but I guess she could see the white form of Abbott. By the time I got outside, Race had shown Abbott how it is done. The huge squirrel was at least a foot and a half long with tail and was fighting so never saw her coming. Race grabbed it and slung it in true terrier style. Then she carried it around the yard, proud of her success and basking in her glory. I took Abbott inside to give him first aide for the bitten paw. Then I took a hot dog out to trade Race for the squirrel.
Race made it to 15 years. A decent enough age, but far short of what we had hoped for her. I know the difficulty she had with Bonny’s loss cost her several years. She suffered a grand mal seizure and we let her go while holding her in our arms. I brought her home and buried her in the back, with Abbott in attendance. When I put the stone down on her grave, he lifted his leg on it. No one would bother her sleep, by his signature and pledge.
end of part 1. to be continued.
I love dogs. I basically love all kinds of dogs, though I admit I do have my favorites that I gravitate too. My childhood was filled with dogs of all kinds. Rat Terriers, spaniels, collies, a German Shepherd and a passel of mongrels. One of our neighbors had a Pit Bull chained to a dog house. He was the sweetest dog (to me a five year old child). I would go over and visit him, hiding in the house. One day my Grandfather showed up and just about had a heart attack. Evidently, my pal was a champion fighting dog. I was not allowed to go there again, and finally, the dog disappeared. I was told he was sold. I dearly hope so.
Many dogs later, as a married adult, my husband and I got an American Staffordshire Terrier. They are the AKC version of a Pit Bull. Tiger, so named because she was a beautiful Red Brindle. A lovelier, sweeter animal never existed, well until our little mouse, Bonnie showed up. But I’m ahead of myself. We did discover the drawback to these lovely dogs, they don’t usually live very long. Tiger left us after a hard, short bout of intestinal cancer. It was heartbreaking.
We were without a dog for years (7? I think) when our life changed. My husband retired from the military and took a job away from home. So I was actually alone 4 or 5 days a week, so I needed a dog. I decided I wanted a Rat Terrier and was called by a friend about some puppies at a flea market. Not Ratties, but Jack Russells. So for $25.00 my first pup in over 10 years came home with me. This was great. She was great. Smart, quick, loving, and a homicidal maniac. Yes, a hunter. No squirrel, lizard, mouse or snake survived her.
Then came Bonny. A friend showed up at our front door with a tiny little golden pup. She was the last of the litter to survive and needed special care. Hubby was smitten, though I was concerned that Racer would think she was rodent not canine. But the six year old maiden dog took the mite and raised her as her own pup. Bonny out grew her ‘mom’ but never challenged or even reacted to her little mama’s temper. She just rolled over and took her play and and her fiery temper. Yes, the Jack was much tougher than the Pit.
But it took that darling daughter to break her mother’s stalwart heart. Bonny left us at only six years due to kidney failure. Race was devastated. Bonny passed at the vets and we didn’t bring the body home, something I regret bitterly. Race looked and looked for her daughter, she tore up doors, pulled up carpets, and cried for her. I believe she actually had a stroke she was so upset. I finally told hubby in no uncertain terms we needed a new dog. He agreed but, to my surprise, he wanted another terrier. No more Pit Bulls. They didn’t live long enough and we were getting to the point where a 60 pound dog could be a handful. So we agreed on another Jack Russell and got our Lil Abbott, a shorty Jack.
One thing about Jacks, they are tough little stinkers. For the fishermen out there, they are the black bass of the dog world. I’ll explain that in yet another blog.
But here’s my final word on Pit Bulls.
Pit Bulls are athletes. They are tough, honest, loyal, loving, faithful and wonderful dogs. If there’s a but to them, it is they are too good for mankind. A Pit Bull will do whatever you, their boss, will want them to do. In our case, we wanted them to be loving lap dogs and they were. Some people want them to be their sport dogs, chasing frisbees, tennis balls and become agility dogs, some want them to be Search And Rescue dogs, drug dogs, what ever. But the dark side of this is if you want them guard your stash of drugs, fight other dogs, be attack dogs or just be mean dogs they will excel in those things also.
Pit Bulls love their owners, even the evil ones, and ultimately those dogs are betrayed by human kind, specifically their masters. They are punished for being the very best at what they are asked to be, a mean dog.
I wish I had a cute quip to end this but I don’t. I can only pity these dogs, dogs that give their all for human kind and are ultimately betrayed. Now, all dogs are different. There are dogs with issues certainly, poorly bred dogs are always around and aren’t the best representatives of their breed whatever it may be.
I love Pit Bulls. They are probably the truest of the true and in some cases, the sadest of the sad.
Later, we’ll talk about Jack Russells and Rat Terriers. But for now, I’ve said my piece.
Oh and yeah there are lots of dogs in my book too. All kinds.
And if you want a dog, check with your local shelter, your vet, and of course Rescues.
Hug your dog tonight.
Once a week I meet with a great group of people to discuss, read and critique our work.
It works like this. We meet at a friendly location (last night it was at a Barnes and Nobles bookstore) and we circle around a table in a quiet corner. There is a moderator who is in charge but not invasive. She holds the reading list, calls time, and generally keeps us on track. A timekeeper is appointed.
After we all have our drinks from the store’s interior Starbucks, we settle in. Moderator starts calling name from the reading list. The first one on the list with a poem, short story, or even a chapter from their in progress book identifies themselves. 10 to 15 copies of a no more than 10 page script is handed out to the other members and then SOMEONE ELSE volunteers to read the thing. After it is read aloud, we go around the circle and EVERYONE gets 10 minutes to give their critiques.
Now, this critique should not be cruel, a downer or malicious. It is meant to be helpful. It shouldn’t be on grammar or sentence structure. I should be about plot, characters, scenery and feel of the piece. You should start with good and end with good.
The first time this happens to YOUR work its teeth chattering and bone aching. It hurts a little and scares you a LOT. So why put yourself out there?
I’m working on a novel. Its long, sometimes tedious and often frustrating. I know when its not right but sometimes I cannot put my finger on why. These 15 people stepped right in the middle of it and told me the reasons. I’m going to leave the notes they wrote on my pages for a day or two, then look at them and remember the comments. But now, I think I know what to do and where I failed. They all liked the story but I confused them with too much stuff and too many words. What I wanted to be descriptive was miring the story down.
These people are my pals. They aren’t my sister, my best friend or my fan. They are expecting me to succeed but if I don’t they will tell me, starkly and without pity, why I don’t. They give me a gift of truth.
So if you’re a writer seek out your peers. Ask at a bookstore or a library, look on the Internet or even in a newspaper. Find a friendly group of like minded people.Some will have more experience than you. Some will just be starting out. Some will have a book already in print. But they have this in common, they will tell you the truth…and the truth will set you free to learn your craft and improve your work.
Thanks y’all. You were great.
Dedicated to the San Antonio Writer’s Guild.
Oh and here’s advertisement for my existing novel. It’s not SciFi or even fantasy. But a book I believed needed to be written. The sequel is about 1/2 done and hopefully will be out by next summer.
So, you have a self-published book. It’s pretty, not too expensive you need to sell it to recoup your money. Most self-publish contracts will post in Amazon.com, CreateSpace, The Apple Store, Kodo and other venues for you to sell through. But how do you sell it hand to hand.
I don’t have any real firm answers, I can only tell you what I do right, wrong or indifferent.
Here’s what I have done.
FaceBook the heck out of it. Let people know you’re writing. Let them know what you’re writing. And, when the writing will be ready. Maybe post a snippet or 10 to get them interested.
Tell all your friends and relatives. They will usually read it and tell people about it.
But, where do you sell it?
Initially, I went to the local military base (We’re retired AF) and talked to the manager of the Base or Post Exchange. This is particularly helpful if the subject matter touches on the Military. I was able to ‘rent’ a table space and took 20 copies with me. Over three days, I sold 12 books. It cost a small fee but it was worth it for the profit margin. Okay, not a landslide, but sales none the less.
I found out our community library was having an event. I went and signed up. It was a bust but I did meet another self-published author. And we determined to join forces after it was over.
I then found a local bookstore. Not a chain, but a store that sells new and used books and antiques. They agreed to let my new found friend and I have a book signing. I was lots of fun and great customer relations. Over all, I sold 17 books. 14 that day and 3 more were on hold for their customers. YEAH US!
The final and best thing I did was I went to a Multi Media Convention. I didn’t buy a table this time, but I was able to leave some copies of the book and some old fanzines that I was willing to sell at the Orphan Zine Table. These great ladies took care of everything for me AND they sold 8 books. They also asked when the sequel was coming out. Evidently they had bought a copy and read it while they sat at their table. Next time, I’m planning on running a table with some other friends who have their own books to sell. I think it will be successful and I know it will be fun.
So I can only tell you use your imagination. Don’t be afraid to ask. Things that seem impossible will sometimes be the best thing you do.
The last thing I’ll tell you is always, always carry copies of your book. Carry business cards, carry a printed paper with the back of your book information on it and where they can buy it be it Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc. Someone will ask to see it, someone may want to buy it right there. Always smile, and ask if they want it personalized. It may only be a few dollars but, more important, the book is now out there. Someone else is seeing it, holding it, buying it, reading it and they’ll spread the word.
I was told that money will not come with the first book, but your sequel or second book should do better. But I’m happiest selling to people who like my book and appreciate my work.
So, there it is. If you have something that I haven’t mentioned be sure to write me and share the knowledge.