A Eulogy for a horse.

 

SCARLET NATION
2 FEB 1989 – 4 AUG 2017

Scarlet’s doctor and I have decided to let her go across the bridge to Summer-land this Friday. Her old injury has caught up and she’s only on three legs now. She won’t even let me touch her right rear leg to brush it. I will go out early and she will gorge on baby carrots. I will groom her and talk to her and love on her.

How do you say goodbye to your best friend of 28 years? But she’s in pain and losing weight. She has never starved, never been overworked, never been beaten and never done a mean thing. We’ve laughed together and I’ve cried on her neck through the death of others I’ve been entrusted with.

I will get another horse, but not another colt, an older settled one. At 64, I don’t want to leave any orphans in my wake. And of course, she will leave very large hoof-prints on this earth to fill and in my heart. She is irreplaceable.

Some people say I rescued her. She was born solid red in a spotted Appaloosa world. She is bred to the purple, being a Great Granddaughter of Prince Plaudit and a Granddaughter of Colida. Her half brother, Impressive Powder won both World and National Reining Championships, Her half sister Powder Puff, won Texas Junior Reining horse and probably more I don’t know of. There were more, but I lost track of them when we moved to a boarding stable. But I think, she rescued me.

Scarlet was primarily raised to be my trail horse as the Appaloosa Horse Club didn’t allow showing of solid colored horses back in the 90s. We did a lot of trail riding and even a little endurance racing for fun. But her real job was to take care of me when I returned from Desert Storm with pulmonary problems and other issues. The joke around the stable was she cough broke, cane broke, crutch broke and cast broke.

At one point, we went a whole year without riding. When I did manage a saddle again, it was like we’d never stopped except of course I was heavier and slower. Since she was reining/cutting bred I occasionally left the saddle but she never left me behind. Scarlet would always wait for me to get up and get back on. She would stop, turn and berate me for embarrassing her in front of other horses. She also was sharp at chasing dogs who thought horses should run away. A true warrior in every way, she always carried the Appaloosa spirit whether chasing a dog, standing up to a running herd of cows or facing down a llama.

After abandoning the Appy people (who wouldn’t let us play with them), We turned to the welcoming arms of the American Indian Horse Registry. We never made a show or trail-ride with them because by now we were both a little to old to haul for hours to go to a function. But Scarlet and I excelled at Counting Coup and Trail-riding ultimately winning the Hall of Fame Award for their group. Not bad for a filly who was a misfit in her own bloodlines.

But three years ago, after a wonderful fall ride, she got cast in her stall and tore muscles in her right hind leg. I could tell she wasn’t ready to leave yet. After her initial recovery while she could trot out and even canter a bit but she was never stable enough to carry a rider. So I found her two places with two lovely ladies one after the other. Stacy Kirgen and her kids patted her and praised her while I took care of my Mom who passed in 2015. And when they moved their farm to another state, she introduced me to Kristen Brewer of Skull Crossing Ranch. There Scarlet has spent her last year standing under the beautiful Live Oak trees in her ½ acre pen.

But the time has come, my beauty, for you to cross the bridge leaving behind your old, aching body. You can run and play in green grass meeting my other horses who have passed before you. Say hello to Mike, Shadow, Charro, Flash, and Chili. You may even see your mother Spur’s Carrie Nation, your sire R Plaudit’s Bingo and your big brother Impressive Powder. You can tell them of our adventures at Bandera, Perdenales Falls and the many other trail adventures. May you all run free and happy in the tall grass. Play in the sweet water lakes and stand under the shade of the tree of knowledge.

Wait for me my darling. We will meet again.

You never hurt me until you left me.

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Why NOT to breed your dog

My statement for the day.

 

Just because you have a ‘registered’ dog does not mean you should allow it to reproduce. Breeding a common type animal of any bloodline doesn’t assure that you will accomplish anything or make any money. A registered black Lab who doesn’t hunt or meet the standards of the breed is just another black dog.

 

A cute little doggie is not a standard to go by. Lots of people say they ‘love’ their breed of choice. Pit Bulls, Labradors and Chihuahuas all have fans, but they are the most euthanized breeds because there are just too many of them. There are more dogs and cats than people who want them.

 

If you have a champion or otherwise titled dog you should also take the time to have them certified by a vet. There are some insidious health issues that should not be passed on into the gene pool. Hip Dysplasia is the most well known among many large breeds. Eye and Sinus problems are common place in the bulldog type dogs that often require expensive surgery. Golden Retrievers have very high cancer rates. Terriers have luxating patellas and eye issues. And some dogs only live to be 7 years old.

 

If your champion whatever breed it is, has these issues they should not be bred to reproduce them in the next generation. Follow the form of the breed description, not the fashion of the day. Be kind to your breed and keep it healthy.

 

And be responsible for the dogs, and cats, that you bring into this world. Know where they are and that they are safe. Be willing to to take that puppy back back so it doesn’t wind up in a pound. It’s the right thing to do.


A Little Common Sense about Heat.

This is long but please read it to the end. It’s getting to be summer and looks like a hot one. Why did I bother to write this. Cause you are my friends or at least friendly acquaintances and I want to get Christmas cards from you.
I’m a born and bred 6th generation Texican, 64 years old. In the AF I was in Korea and froze my ass off. In Saudi Arabia I was happy with the 135 degrees. Of course, I wasn’t humping a 60 lb pack either, but I could do everything I was supposed to.

 

The point of my story? You have to be very careful in high heat. Stay hydrated, wear protection of sunscreen, long sleeves and a hat with a brim that’s not touching the top of your head. And stay out of the sun in midday. Siesta is a way of life to us old timers. It’s not a cute custom, its necessary. Did I say drink lots of Water! Coke, beer and coffee don’t do it. Remember, once you get Heat Exhaustion its like malaria, it never quite goes away and you have to be extra careful. My German farmer ancestors would get up at daybreak, do whatever needed to be done, come in at noon, eat a good meal of protein, carbs and veggies, then take a long nap. Then they’d work in the house or barn until 4 PM or so and go out to work to dark. No A/C at all cause it didn’t exist back then.
As a 911 operator I saw two heat-related deaths. Both AF guys in great condition. A pilot and a high ranking officer. Both went out in the midday heat wearing skimpy clothes and ran for exercise. The pilot was literally found in a ditch, no ID so it took fingerprints to tell us who he was. The other gent was running around perimeter road. But they knew him cause of who he was. But his rank didn’t save him.
So, here’s the third tip. When you do decide it’s safe to run, at the very least carry your identification and a list of your medications. That way if they do find you alive its easier to help you.

 

And last but not least, if you run at night, please run in a well-lit area, and wear reflective clothing (or at least white). I was driving out to our old barn along a dark road, no lights whatsoever. All I saw was little flashy things close to the ground but I pulled over as to not hit the bunny. As I passed by I saw it was a young lady in a dark sweat suit running beside the road and in a large grassy field. I went on out to do the horse thing and noticed a very large tractor mowing the grass. This Scared me stupid. On the way back, I passed the gal again. This time I stopped and made her get in the car and took her back to her car. Why? She was running in the dark in a place that had rattlesnakes, coyotes and stray dog packs. But what really scared me was if she had fallen, been bitten by one of the above or passed out, that big ole tractor would not have seen her. She would have been found by someone in the morning all shredded. I still get the shivers.

 
So, here you go. Please, please think of the worst thing possible and move to prevent it. I’m not that smart, but my grandparents and their parents taught me some common sense and self-preservation. I can only hope this tirade of mine might, just maybe prevent some unnecessary injuries or save a life.
I’m through now. Thanks.


For new and prospective Terrier Owners.

Dear people who want a terrier. I see a lot of lost terriers on facebook. I know many of them get out of yards and go a hunting on their own. But bad things can happen to the babies in the big bad world. Here are a few suggestions from me and maybe some other terrier moms can pitch in their words too.

1. Lock the gate. If someone comes in, chances are the Jacks will get out. They are fast little stinkers. No one can successfully grab a terrorist on the fly.
2. Be sure your fence has good footing. A new fence with soft dirt is nothing to a digging dog. Pour concrete, lay big rocks or attach something as simple as chicken wire at the base of your fence an cover it with grass or gravel.
3. Don’t leave your dog outside alone for long periods of time. People will steal them, hawks and owls can take them and coyotes will kill them. Just don’t. ESPECIALLY in a storm. They will panic and if that fence goes so will the dog.
4. The underground electric fences are a joke. These little guys laugh at electricity. They see a cat or a squirrel and they go right through the zap. Also, other animals can come and go as they please. That chain link is a whole lot better.
5. If you have a wooden fence, be sure to check it regularly. If they can force their heads through an opening one day, the next day they will be gone. Be sure to check your fences after a bad storm. Lots of pets get run over when they get out.
6. Don’t leave them alone in a yard with an underground pool. As smart as they are, they may not swim or know how to climb out of the pool.
7. Keep them on a leash. Forests, parks, wilderness areas, lakes and oceans are also dangerous. Things live in them that can bite, poison or eat a little dog. Alligators, boa constrictors, (yeah, you read that right), sharks, bears, lions and the ubiquitous coyotes. Your little warrior will see prey and head for the wild open spaces. There, he will be the prey.
8. Be sure their leash, harness or haltee fits properly before you leave the yard or house. A terrier who can get loose WILL get loose.
I never put ID tags on a leash thing. I like a separate plain collar to carry their ID with my phone number and address. I use a martingale collar for the leash so the tag stays With the dog if he slips away. This is important. If you do lose a dog, a nice neighbor can call you if they find your dog or even a police officer may do it. If all you have is a city or vet office tags no one can help as the offices are all closed after 5 PM or weekends.
9. Carry a stick, a cane, golf club, etc in case you are attacked by loose or wild animals.
10. Microchip your pets. They work to help return or Identify your pets. Even if the worst happens it’s better to know.
11. Get your dog a job! Obedience, agility, flyball, hiking or just walking together. A Tired Terrier is a happy dog. And you’ll be in better shape too.

If someone has other suggestions, please feel free to add on. This is important enough for a village.

A friend wrote in and advised she has her Driver’s License Number tattooed on her dogs. She said it helped her to get her dogs back from a ‘neighbor’ who wanted to keep them.


Self Publishing your Novel (from my pov)

When you are a self published author there are a few things you need to know.  First question from most people is ‘we love your book but why don’t you sell it to a big publishing house?’.  Well, I’ve been told (and I believe it) that there are thousands of people writing manuscripts for various reasons.  They want to prove they can, they have a need to try to help people and the old ‘I need to make some money and it seems easy’.

I wrote mine for the ‘I’d like to make a little extra retirement money’ reason, but I also noticed a void in the market.  There are lots of stories about men going off to wars, coming home with issues and rebuilding their lives from various complications.  But there are none about women.  Women are seeing more and more battle action in our various services.  Most often in the Marines and the Army. So I decided I’d write one for us.

I was in the Air Force.  My job as an NCO was to insure our mission got done.  I was in Transportation, the Chief Dispatcher.  So I ran the shuttles, the taxies, and the supply trucks.  My drivers went out and picked up broke-down, abandoned vehicles and basically kept the wheels turning. But even I, though not in actual combat during Desert Storm, suffered repercussions.  Due to exposure to oil well smoke and who knows what else from the battle vehicles I developed Gulf War Syndrome which is a catch-all phrase.  For me it is asthma, sinusitis, COPD, sleep apnea and various and sundry other problems.  But enough about that.

My Book, The Homestead, is about a woman Marine combat veteran who was wounded and lost her fiance to an IED when they were en route to their assignment.  She spends time in a medical facility and winds up inheriting the old family farm, discovering a 50-year-old cold case murder mystery.

I sent it to several big name publishing companies and received a series of very polite rejections.  I seems that they were wanting something of a more supernatural bend like Vampires or Zombies in south Texas.  Or a torrid sex scene.  Or, while we liked the book we are not presently publishing this genre.  Really?

So, I went in search of a Self-Publishing house that I could get along with.  This is what I found out.

First you must find a publishing house to suit your needs: financially, responsibility, and work wise.  I didn’t have $4,000. in my hip pocket, so that knocked a lot of them out.  I had also heard stories of people who paid up front and got forgotten as time went on.  I actually found one who takes monthly payments. And I kept 100 % of all rights to my book. I have a fantasy of that movie contract.  LOL!

Second, you must find one where you have a real live contact person who will pick up the phone, give you good answers, make suggestions, and (at least seem) to care about you and your book.

Thirdly, find one who will do the basic sales deal.  They will post your book on various venues.  Amazon.com,  Createspace, BarnesandNobles.com, the Apple Store, K0bo, the Google Play, etc.

And you must have one that fulfills your needs.  Mine has a cafeteria plan.  They have a long list of services and you can choose which one you wanted.  I did’t want it edited, just proof read, got a nice cover design, print on demand, and a webpage.  There were more options but that was all I wanted.  Build a relationship with your customer account manager.  Remember names of people who you WANT to deal with.

Now, actually selling the book is up to you.  Go beat the bushes, get out to venues like bookstores, expos, conventions and things that are a part of your books.  Mine has dogs in it so I advertise in Jack Russell Dog Show Flyers when I can find them.  I also have horses so I went to the open house of my horse’s breed, American Indian Horse and I advertise in their magazine. Go on your FaceBook Page.  And to the Group pages you belong to, (Ask Permission First, some have rules about this.)  I know people through a Writers Guild, my husband’s bass club, and whenever I talk about the book, I hand out flyers with info on how to order it. Talk!  You’re proud of your book, show it.  Most of my doctors have flyers from me too.   And donate to your local library, VFW, fund-raisers for your groups and anything else you are involved with. Oh! And Blog.  Here we are, talking about the adventures and knowledge I’ve enjoyed since writing the book.  So people say Twitter, but that’s too ‘right now’ for me.  I like to write my blog and then re-read it before I post.  It’s too easy to blurt stuff out I’ll regret later.

I’m sure you’ll think of lots else to do with your book, you just have to think about it.  Good luck to you all.

By the way, the Publishing House I’m talking about is BookFuel.  Google it and talk to the nice people there.  Good luck.

 


Jacks and Rats in the house Pt 4

I’m back, trying to catch up with writing.  So here’s another chapter in the series so far.

So, what’s with the Rats?  Are they victims or characters. This is the story of my Rat Terriers.  I love Ratties.  They are the sweetest little dogs.  Same size as Jack Russells but a bit more delicate, and less carousing in their nature. My grandparents raised them so I knew more what I was getting with them.

After Bridget passed so unexpectedly, I was flummoxed.  She was my darling and to lose her so unexpectedly was soul breaking. She had been a true Warrior Princess  There was a hole in my heart and next to me in my bed.  For me to heal, it had to be filled.

Now, I’m not a person who sits and moans for months.  As a rescuer I knew there was little darling who needed saved…maybe today.  So a week after losing Bridget, I was deep in Pet Finder.  As I scrolled through the pictures, one in particular stopped me.  She was a black and white terrier mix, her photo was a profile and strongly resembled Bridget.  As I examined the picture, the video activated, and she turned to look at me. She was crying out to me for help. I showed her to my husband but the vid wouldn’t work again.  He gently pointed out ‘it wasn’t a video, just a picture’.

I called the number listed for the pound and through the machinations of Russell Rescue of Texas and a credit card, I was able to secure her freedom.  I purchased her on line, a wonderful lady went and picked her up from the pound, another drove her from Garland TX to New Braunfels TX where I met them.  We got her on Friday.  Saturday, she had been scheduled for euthanasia.  The RR ladies had also secured 3 other terrier mixes at the pound saving them as well.

The little black and white girl crawled into my arms and tucked up under my hair.  She was very thin, about 7 pounds for her 9 inches of height. Her age was judged to be about 7 months old. I named her Katie, after the character in my book.

But this was no happy puppy.  This was a very needy, sad, broken little dog.  Abbott and Jessie accepted her with no qualms, and she was house broken so we just let her follow us around and crawl in out laps whenever she wanted.

When looking at her paperwork, it showed she and another dog were picked up off the streets of Garland on the 16 of Oct, We took her on the 3 of Nov. Due to her poor condition, I wanted to wait a month for the spay so she would be stronger.  So she was scheduled for a well dog visit on 1 Dec, and to get her appointment for neutering.

To make a long story shorter, my vet informed me my baby dog of 9 months was pregnant.  Merry Christmas.  No spay for her.  Mother hood loomed large, even though she was still very thin.  (I thought her belly bump was worms.) and she a mere pup herself.

So on 17 Dec, we returned home from dinner to find her in the middle of our king-sized bed having her babies.  3 males, 2 brown spotted, one solid brown.  Poor Katie looked  embarrassed and afraid.  But we welcomed everyone, put them in the nest she was supposed to have had them in, and closed the door.

My husband looked at me and said. ‘No, we can’t keep them all.’

I, of course, agreed.

 

(to be continued)

 

 

 


Knowing Horses

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.