June’s Cat

I have always been amazed at how and when friends come into our lives. I met June when I needed a stall quickly for one of my horses. In my emergency situation, I called a friend who managed one of the barns at a fairgrounds with seven boarding barns. I had not seen him in many years, but he was happy to help. After moving my horse to the fairgrounds, I met June and we became friends. She managed another barn at the fairgrounds.

June loved horses the way I did and owned two Arabian horses. Typically, horse ownership is reserved for those with sizable incomes- should we say. June had a small income from house cleaning jobs she took on, but she didn’t let that limit her. Since she managed the barn, she received money from boarders which paid for the care of the boarded horses and the extra covered her expenses. She came every day to feed and care for all the horses in her barn and ride her horses. Not only did she have 2 horses, she lived in a home with her family close the fairgrounds so she could walk to the barn each day. She did not have extravagant things (except 2 horses), but she had all she needed. Looking at her life made me give credit to what I consider Divine orchestration of events in life that appear to be possible for no other reason than that God stepped in and made a way for an essentially poor woman to be cared for and live like a queen – and owning pets such as horses, dogs and cats.

June helped me with things I was not so great at- like cooking. One time I asked her to put together a meatloaf and tell me how long to bake it in the oven. She in turn asked me for help with her veterinary needs. She had many barn cats and sometimes they had kittens. We were all aware of a dog in the neighborhood who did not like kittens and we had to protect them from this particular dog. A mother cat June owned had two kittens, but no one could find them. Thinking they had met the terrible neighborhood dog, June asked me to spay the cat. I took her to my clinic and spayed her and she spent the night with me. When I returned her to June, June told me the mama cat disappeared and in a few minutes, she reappeared with two beautiful little kittens she had hidden for safety. June was convinced the mother cat brought her the kittens to take care of because she knew was no longer able to. We are continually amazed at how the animals communicate with us and trust us. They even trust us with their precious little ones.

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 OKAY short of telepathy this is the best way to talk to babies. We taught my younger brother sign language when he was a baby. We still use some of the signs, usually water and potty, especially in public.

I’ve only known how to speak one language. Everyone knows language is made up of words and words have meaning whether you ‘sound out’ words or your hands create words.

My brother shared how he was once asked to prepare a speech on words. He said he considered this assignment difficult because he couldn’t think of what to say. I thought about this and decided what speech I would have prepared. I would have said words are everything. I can not imagine a world without them. Words convey love, encouragement, sympathy, hope, well wishing, congratulations, comfort, and trust – not only to humans, but animals as well. Words convey information as well as urgency sometimes. We are taught to ‘choose our words wisely.’ Not only the ‘words’ we say are meaningful, but how we say them is meaningful. On many occasions, I have called friends just to hear the sounds of words because it made me feel connected and comforted.

Much of my life revolves around animals, so I consider how words apply to these speechless creatures. When training horses, we use ‘aides’ to train and direct them. Aides include hands on the reins to communicate to the horse, legs on their sides- also to communicate, shifting weight sends messages, and sometimes an artificial aide-such as a crop or spurs is used.

An additional aide I rely on is my voice. Tone and words convey messages to horses as well as most animals. Horses are smart and able to learn words such as trot, canter, walk, and ‘ho’ for stop. This is apparent when instructors ask riders to command the horse, and, at the words of the instructor, the horse obeys before the rider executes the request. Some instructors change the words for basic commands to avoid this, but smart horses learn the new words as well.

One day, my pacer – Mattie – and I were jogging when she kicked up at a fly. When her leg came down, she straddled the shaft. ‘Oh no,” I thought. I asked her to stop on the track. I talked to her as she allowed me to remove her harness, free her from the cart, move her leg over the lowered shaft, put her harness back on, reattach the cart to the harness, and jump back onto the jog cart to continue jogging. She calmly obeyed even though other horses jogged by her. This is amazing trust because racing horses are often excited to race when around other horses. Mattie stood with me quietly and calmly as I talked to her and asked her to stand still. She knew my voice and we safely corrected a potentially disastrous situation.

Words. I make sure I use them to communicate the pets in my life, but also to tell people I love and appreciate how much I do. I want them to hear the words I hold in my heart for them as well as show them every time I am able.

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Image result for images for reputation

Reputation is a everything. Being trusted and thought to be a person of integrity is valuable to me. For the most part, I have a good reputation and enjoy being a ‘good girl.’

One night, however, when employed with the ambulance, we transferred a patient to an emergency room with a parking lane that dipped low to the door and had ramps on both sides of the dip.
After settling the patient in the emergency room, I told my partner I would move the ambulance. There was a car on the up ramp in front of my ambulance, so I decided to back up the ramp. My mirrors were not adjusted properly and, instead of looking to make sure the ramp was clear – like a good driver should do- I put the ambulance in reverse, gunned the gas pedal, and CRASH!!
Oops! I hit a police car with a policeman sitting in the passenger seat. The crash damaged my bumper and rear panel and cracked his windshield across the lower part of the glass.
He looked at me like, “really?”
I leaned in the driver’s window and asked, ‘What are my chances of us pretending this never happened?.’ with my ‘Please feel sorry for me and forgive me’ look.
He thought about it for a moment, shrugged his shoulders, and said, ‘Pretty good.’
He and I both knew the city would repair the vehicles and we didn’t want to fill out any paperwork.
I didn’t want to be in trouble or jeopardize my job or, to be honest, take responsibility for my actions, so I backed the truck into the designated parking spot to hide the damage to the rear panel. I did this in hope that the oncoming crew would not see the damage when they completed their beginning of the shift inspection of the ambulance. And, just as I planned, they didn’t notice the damage.
When the day crew responded to an emergency, they drove to the house called to as usual, parked the ambulance, and evaluated the patient. When they came out for the stretcher to transfer the patient, they noticed the damage. They assumed someone hit the ambulance while they were inside the patient’s home. It never occurred to them to think I had anything to do with the damage. As I listened to them tell the story, I never said a word.
Over the years I think about that time sometimes. I may have ‘gotten away’ with what happened that night and the ambulance was repaired as I am certain so was the police car and no one was hurt. My reputation protected me from accusation, but if I had that day to do over, I would have owned up to my mistake and my reputation of being an honest and trustworthy person. I’d like to think I don’t have events to hide any longer and am true to my reputation.
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"Brother and Sister" You've know each other the longest. You can think of a dozen reasons why someone should date your brother or sister

My brother and I share a special relationship. Through many years of ups and downs, we became friends as well as siblings. I admire him. He is fearless. He shared the stories of his life with me – being in the DMZ in Korea, finding love and new challenges in employment, adventures on the rivers and the ocean, friends in his life, swimming with whales and many, many other stories of a life fully lived.

He and our mother spent years kayaking the springs in Florida where gators lurk on any given part. He was a genius- and I am not just saying that because he was my brother . He played Jeopardy with great success from his seat in the living room and won every game of Trivia. He had a photographic memory and recalled information instantly when things prompted him. If I had a million pages, I could fill them all with all the reasons my brother was the greatest person I knew and how deeply I loved him.  He wanted the best for me.  We walked many years together sharing our memories and making new memories each day. I would bet everyone out there in cyber world has someone they love the way I love my brother. Sometimes our conversation drifted to God. He occasionally quoted John 3.16. He said,  “That’s what it’s all about.” I agreed.

Recently, I experienced the saddest day of my life. We lost my brother after many years of illness. Hearts are broken and his is missed. Knowing his struggles are over and he is happy and well now does not always comfort, however, some comfort did come.  When sorting through his belongings, I found a cross stitch I forgot I sewed for him many years ago. The cross stitch was the Bible verse- John 3.16. I believe the message of the Bible is summed up from cover to cover in this one verse.

I personalized the words n the cross stitch- which were “For God so loved (my brother), He gave His Only Son, so (my brother) would never perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3.16. I may have forgotten sewing and sending this little message to him, but he did not. It comforted my heart that it had touched him so that he quoted it occasionally and now the truth of the words has come to him. He is in heaven and with the God I love and believe to be the Creator of the universe and everyone it in. I know my brother wants to see everyone decide to believe Jesus came so they never perish but have everlasting life. God Bless all of you.

If I never see you here, I pray to see you there.

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An Otterhound, A Microchip and Going Home Again

Otterhound puppy

Recently I heard a darling story about an Otterhound pup. This is a breed of dog I never knew was a breed. I understand it is a rare English breed and there are only 6-800 dogs in existence. They are lovely and bred for scent abilities.

The breeders of this pup live in Florida and had a very long check list for potential new owners. When a single mother with children arrived to consider this little girl, the breeders had decided they did not want to sell  the pup to them until they noticed her one son with the pup.

The boy sat right next to the pup and said, “I am soooo thirsty, you must be thirsty too.” He proceeded to retrieve a bowl of water and let the pup drink first – then -without any apparent adult intervention –  he drank the remaining water from the bowl. The breeders were slightly stunned, but the sight of the boy with the pup was so heartwarming they allowed the mother to purchase the pup.

The family and pup relocated to Maine – of all places- at least it wasn’t Washington State.  When the mother found housing, she and her children settled in and the housing development told her she was not permitted to keep the dog. Instead of calling the breeder in Florida, she took the pup to a local shelter. Luckily, the employees scanned the pet and found the microchip identifying the breeders. When they were contacted, the breeders let the shelter know they would come to get the pup.

The gentleman I met shared how he traveled 2 1/2 days to Maine – in the Spring- through inclement weather – and finally arrived in almost the most north eastern part of the State. He was greeted by a very happy dog- a dog giving kisses, hugs, and jumping and spinning. The shelter was convinced this dog knew him.

The two of them headed back home to Florida. It was another 2 1/2 days of travel and the owner stayed in rest areas to sleep because the pet became so distressed if he tried to leave her in the car alone. Such a sacrifice- everyone is reunited and the pet is happy, cared for, and home.

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The Rules

finished custom monopoly board

When we were young, my friends and I always had great fun playing games like Monopoly. We invented rules that didn’t quite match the rules that came with the game- like  awarding $400.00 for landing on the GO square, getting all the money in the center (the kitty) when landing on free parking , building on personally owned properties when ALL the color was sold- despite not being the one that owned them all, and other home spun rules.

This is probably not a blog that persons committed to following all the rules to a tee will appreciate- fair warning! In my world, rules have been bent.

When I met my step daughter, she was young and her parents divorced when she was even younger – about 5 years old. This was a critical developmental age and she fell behind in her school work -such as learning to read and developing her math skills as well as other educational tasks.

So, to help her, I used the games and story books to catch her up on her schooling. We had fun and she was easily engaged in learning without being aware of my intentions. Since she was unable to read, and loved picture books, we went to library and checked out 35 picture books- the maximum allowed. I read the books  to her each night. She thought she was tricking me into letting her stay up later and I was really tricking her into learning to read. Eventually, she began reading words and pages herself and then advanced to young chapter books. Eventually she excelled at reading.

For spelling, we played Scrabble. I told her all she needed to do was make words. As long as she created a word, she could place it anywhere on the board. I never mentioned the need to attach her word to any other word or letter on the board. At first she had some unusual spellings for words – which I ignored, but as time went on, she became more and more accurate with her spelling.

Monopoly was a great game for learning to count and handle money, building on properties, winning, and more. She loved it and we played by the rules my friends and I played by when I was a little girl. She learned quickly. I must admit I made it easy as she won all the time and learned to count money in a non stressful way. She enjoyed calculating the money for houses and then a hotel on the properties she owned.

Then, a kind of funny thing happened -something I never anticipated. One day she stepped out of our little world and went to her cousin’s home where they decided to play monopoly. She called me hysterical that her cousin did not play the game correctly. She explained all the rules her cousin was trying to make her play by. I thought, ‘oh no, I am not there to protect her.’ I told her some people don’t know the rules and play some other way. I did not mention we were the ones who did not play by the correct rules. I told her not to worry, forgive her cousin, and suggested they play with their dolls. Crisis averted.

I’m not certain if she ever realized I tricked her for her own good and I never anticipated she would encounter someone who would shatter her innocent approach to game playing, but somehow we got through it all.

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Pretty Clothes

Floral Print Random Drawstring Elastic Waist Cami Dress

As a younger girl, I pursued education – which meant I had a meager budget. I usually attended classes in T-shirts and blue jeans but, like most girls, I loved pretty clothes.

I rode the bus from my grandfather’s home to the Square in downtown Cleveland every day for school. When I arrived at the Square, there were department stores like ones in the movies – ones with many floors and counters lined with jewelry and perfumes and gloves and matching scarves that were soft and beautiful. I am convinced I was the best window shopper ever.

I walked around the cases admiring all the new accessories. Then, I rode the escalator to shopper’s heaven- to the floors with rack after rack of shorts and matching tops, skirts, and blouses, and all the pretty clothes one could imagine.

I picked several outfits and spent time in the dressing room trying on these beautiful clothes I knew I would never buy. I modeled them in the mirror and, for a moment, I was wearing something pretty. After a time daydreaming and admiring, I donned my T-shirt and blue jeans and returned the clothes to the rack. The salesladies smiled and nicely asked if I wanted to buy anything. I smiled back and said, “I am going to think about it some more, thanks.” I suspected they knew.

Then I walked 20 blocks, attended class, walked back to the bus, and rode back to my grandfather’s home- remembering my wonderful time window shopping- which I did frequently.

I still love pretty things, but have realized I want the inside of me to be more lovely than the outside and really have no extra money for extravagant things. That’s ok. I have a wonderful country to enjoy that allows me beautiful adventures every day and family and friends that mean everything to me. I have made the choice to make the people in my life my priority and have no regrets. I still see the pretty clothes and think of my days shopping, but more and more the clothes mean less and less and the people mean more and more.

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Willow Way Beth raising her stud foal and an orphaned filly.:
I was called to an Amish farm to treat a large draft horse mare with colic- abdominal pain. She was in the lower area of the bank barn and had a foal with her. My exam included inspecting the horse from head to hoof and then listening to the horse’s abdomen and rectally palpating to determine if there was an impaction, twisted intestines, or gas filled intestines.  After examining her, I decided to pass a tube into her nose that extended to her stomach so I could give her mineral oil. When I realized I forgot to put the pump I used to pump oil and water through the tube, I told the farmer I needed to go to my farm to retrieve the pump.
I was only away a short time since my farm was close, but when I arrived back at the Amish farm, the mare was not alive. I was stunned. She never gave me any indication she was that ill. Since she was too large for men to remove, the Amish man had the mare hooked up to team of draft horses to take her out of the cramped lower barn area. He never seemed upset. Amish are accustomed to loss.
As we discussed the foal, suddenly, without being asked, the team began dragging the mare’s body around the corner and out the back door of the barn. The Amish man ran after them, calling for them to stop. It was a sad scene on one hand, but, on the other hand, a little funny – one sad funny site.
He successfully stopped the team and we continued discussing the foal. I offered my foal milk replacer to help the orphan foal. I was certain she would drink from a bowl. When I returned with the replacer, the Amish man had introduced the orphan foal with another mare nursing a foal of her own. The mare graciously accepted the orphan, allowing her to nurse. Her own foal, however, was not as accepting.
The orphan foal nursed on the mare’s one side and the mare’s baby on the other. I watched the mare’s baby move around the back of the mare and, when he spotted the orphan, he pinned his ears, bucked a little, and moved back to his side of the mare. It seemed if the orphan was ‘out of sight, out of mind’ all was ok. The orphan seemed oblivious and continued to nurse. It must be difficult to share your mother, but it must also be difficult to lose your mother. The mare raised both foals and all ended well.
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I recently accepted employment at a private practice where I met Singe. At first I thought he was some fancy purebred cat – with small ears and different coloring around his eyes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Singe is a mutt- a plain old alley cat. But he has a story.

Singe was a man of the streets. He had to hunt his own food, find shelter in the very hot, humid temperatures of Florida as well as the torrential rains that occur daily in the summer time. He had to hide from others who could hurt him with no one there to help with his medical needs or care about him in any way. All that was about to change.

During a localized fire in the brush of Florida, the responding firemen found a black and white cat under a bush. His little ears were burned and his facial hair singed. The pads of his paws were injured from the fire and he was frightened. The only home he knew in the forest was on fire and he didn’t know what to do.

The firemen knew what to do. They scooped him up and took him to the veterinary clinic he now calls his home. He was nursed to health by the veterinarians and technicians working there. They treated his burns and cared for him until he healed. Now, he no longer has to go farther the next room for a meal, everyone there loves him and meets all his physical and medical needs, massages him with special made tools to do so, and allows him to think he owns the place.

Singe bears all the scars that serve as reminders that there are wonderful and caring people in the world who take time to rescue little animals from danger so they can have a story to tell everyone. Singe is a testament to the spirit of survival and healing and the will and desire to live – even after it looked like everything was lost. His tragedy turned to triumph for this little overweight pampered cat called Singe.

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Black and White Ducks

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A friend brought me a pair of black ducks he said were Muscovy ducks, but I am not certain if that was true. They were lovely and, when the sun shone on their black feathers, the blue, green and purple colors glistened through.

The black male and female ducks were an inseparable couple. One sad day, however, I lost the female. After losing his mate, he tagged along with my white ducks until, one by one, I lost all of them as well.

Occasionally, I spotted him lying next to the dogs and even the cats just to be near someone, something. They tolerated him well. His apparent loneliness broke my heart so, since he was desperate for a friend, I decided he needed a duck pal. A close friend had many ducks and was glad to give me another white duck. He rode in a large cage in the back of my truck and, when I arrived back at the farm, I introduced him to my black duck – who happened to be waiting by the truck. They were instant friends.

Black and White did everything together- including getting into trouble together. When I couldn’t find them, I headed down our 500 foot long driveway, crossed the busy street we lived on, and snuck through the neighbor’s yard to find my two ducks taking a dip in the neighbor’s pond. I herded them back where they belonged- out of the pond, through the neighbor’s yard, waddling across the road, down the driveway, back to the safety of our barn. Thankfully, the neighbors never seemed to mind my coming to their yard to fetch them.

Since we lived in coyote country, I never left the ducks out at night time. Each night I called the boys. They quacked and waddled themselves into the barn into a stall opened for them. I closed them in for safety each night and they knew the routine.

Sadly, the white duck passed. It was so heartbreaking for me to lose another pet I was unable to remove his body from the corner of the stall he was in when he passed. For days the black duck went into the stall, sat next to him, and stared at him. He seemed confused as to why his friend no longer came with him to eat bugs and walk around our farm. He made his soft ‘quacking’ sounds and seemed to say, “Are we going to play? Why aren’t you coming?”

Eventually I removed the white duck’s body and found him anther friend- this time a chicken. The two of them were best friends and each day they came into the apartment in the barn, ate the dogs’ food, and then went back out to roam the yard.

I have such sweet memories of friendship and love between some silly ducks and chickens I had the pleasure of having as pets.

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