Wednesday, March 23, 2011
For those of you, who have been reading for a while... you know what a huge chunk of my heart belongs to America's soldiers. And obviously, I have mad love for dogs and horses. I've written about service dogs for vets... and NOW here is a piece on a therapeutic riding program for soldiers. Oh how amazing and wonderful these empathetic animals continue to prove themselves to be!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Here's a little something that has been on my mind of late.
Why do we (people AKA "two-leggers") sometimes fail to recognize that a horse is a horse and a dog is a dog, and never shall they be parted?
Right here, me, just as guilty as the rest of coddling my animals, (horse and dog.)
But that's not what I'm talking about.
I don't think that baby talk and snuggles with your animals is an attempt to change who they are. But much of what we people do to our pets is at least a failed recognition of who they are. And, how would "we" feel if someone, let's say... our very best friend in the world... consistently failed to recognize who we really are? **Of course animal "feelings" are a discussion best left for another time, (and maybe I'll go there... some of you have already done some outstanding posts that I probably couldn't compete with, on the subject... but maybe I'll go there yet.)** But here's what I'm saying about who we "are" versus what someone might want us to be.
You are a successful airline pilot. You love your job.
You go to a party with your mother (who's always wanted something different for you than to be a pilot,) and your mother introduces you as her, "successful daughter... the lawyer."
Yes, your mother loves you dearly and knows you well. She has cared for you impeccably your whole life and has your best interest at heart. You would never question her love for you BUT... she doesn't know you... doesn't know who you truly are.
I would like to draw this analogy back to our animal friends.
I think some people, good intentioned as they are... don't truly know the animals they love.
Isn't this what Cesar Milan and Monty Roberts have been telling us for years?
Our horses are herd animals, who as such, find security in a group. God made them to run when they are afraid. To congregate as a group for protection. There is an order with horses that sometimes people try to interfere with. No judgments here, because sometimes what we do to our horses is necessary... especially when they are hurt or ill... but often it is for our own human reasons that we subject them to certain things. Why do we isolate horses, tuck them away in stalls, away from the group on a regular basis? Why do we tell ourselves human dramas and tragedies while making the horse the protagonist of our tale? The struggle in a herd for dominance is a necessary part of being a horse. Allowing a horse to go through it, is vital to who that individual is. Giving a horse room to run when afraid is accepting what the horse is. Attributing human characteristics of jealousy, rage, or deceitfulness does no justice to who the magnificent creature truly be.
Same is true of our dogs. Dogs enjoy the security of a pack. Like horses they must run. And where a horse must forage for survival, a dog must follow his predatory instincts and hunt. Granted we don't necessarily need or want our dogs to hunt in the traditional sense... that's why we have dog food right? :) But, in order to acknowledge who a dog "is" we must indulge that desire in him some way. The dog must be given regular, frequent exercise in order to engage that primal part of him. Of who he is. When dogs pee on our floors and chew up our shoes there is only one reason. They need to run. Of course like horses, we can hide them away in cages and there are times when that is necessary. But when a person keeps a dog locked away in a cage for extended hours, without adequate opportunity to work... they are denying who the dog is.
I sometimes feel so frustrated by the incredible numbers of horses and dogs in shelters!
Of course we can implement selective breeding as a means to avoid the abandonment of animals, but that is only a small piece of the puzzle in my mind. The greatest thing we could do is to realize what animals need for survival. Our horses and dogs need more than food, water and shelter. They need for us to acknowledge who they are, and for us to commit to letting them be who they are, for the rest of their lives.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I never even knew them.
Yet, my heart is breaking at the emptiness, in the world, that their deaths have left behind.
The last full measure of TRUE and abiding devotion,
stirs the deepest part of my soul.
I see that there are real life examples of that same selfless love RIGHT here.
The way a dog loves his person is the truest example of real love we will ever know, this side of heaven. And, the devotional love a man returns to his dog is maybe, one of the closest moments to "complete" we people get to have.
Here is an excerpt from the Associated Press story of this extraordinary team and the awesome power of love...
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Jill Lawless, Associated Press – 2 hrs 46 mins ago
LONDON – Liam and Theo were a team, fast friends doing a dangerous job — searching out roadside bombs laid by insurgents in Afghanistan.
The jovial British soldier and his irrepressible dog worked and played together for months, and died on the same day. On Thursday they came home, flown back to Britain in a somber repatriation ceremony for the soldier remembered for his empathy with animals and the companion he loved.
Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker, a dog handler with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was killed in a firefight with insurgents in Helmand Province on March 1 as he searched for explosives with Theo, a bomb-sniffing springer spaniel mix. The dog suffered a fatal seizure hours later at a British army base, likely brought about by stress.
Military officials won't go so far as to say Theo died of a broken heart — but that may not be far from the truth.
"I think we often underestimate the grieving process in dogs," said Elaine Pendlebury, a senior veterinarian with animal charity PDSA. "Some dogs react very severely to their partner's loss."
She said it was not uncommon for pets to respond to an owner's death by refusing food and becoming sick — and the bond between working dogs and their handlers is especially close.
"The bonding that I have seen between soldiers or police and their dogs is fantastic. When you see them working together, it's really one unit."
A military Hercules plane carrying Tasker's body and Theo's ashes touched down Thursday at a Royal Air Force base in southwest England. As the funeral cortege of black vehicles drove slowly away, it was saluted by a long line of military dog handlers, their dogs at their sides. A black Labrador retriever sat quietly beside its handler as the hearse carrying the flag-draped coffin disappeared from view.
Monday, March 7, 2011
When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved all Tasha Tudor books.
Her illustrations were magical and her lifestyle, even more so.
Tasha Tudor lived in my century but as someone in the century before.
Even to this day I pour through Tasha Tudor's "A Time to Keep" and marvel at the intimacy and community of time's gone by.
Sometimes I long to be in those pages taken straight from Tasha's childhood.
I met Tasha Tudor in 1987 and she was delightful!
She told me that her favorite goat shared my name, Rachel....
Every since I was a little girl, I have so wanted to go "Sugaring" like Tasha Tudor did.
So guess what?
We're making maple syrup for the first time.
It doesn't quite look like the pages of "A Time to Keep" but the feeling is still the same.
The trees aren't harmed in this process and will continue to give sap for years to come.
The warmer days and cool nights of March, make the sap run.
2 gallon buckets with a lid to keep out impurities.
We were surprised to find some of these buckets were full the very next morning!
Of course Tasha Tudor would have done this over an open fire.
We opted for the outdoor grill.
Water will be evaporated off until the syrup stage is reached. We monitor with a candy thermometer.
Hopefully, if all turns out as planned, we will be straining the syrup through jelly bags and canning later this afternoon.
I will certainly let you know how it turns out!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
If we ain't trail ridin'...
they ain't carin'.
Instead they took turns cuddling this pillow, with gusto.
Since both my horsey folk were rescues... we don't know their exact birthdays.
We know Clyde was born in 1993 but Rosie... we can only guess.
Because of this we celebrate Clyde's birthday on March 1st and Rosie's on April 1st.
Taking turns is good.
Rosie doesn't see it that way.
Barnmate Penny celebrated with us.
Penny is 28.
Girlfriend still looks good, no?
He did, in fact, blow out all 18 candles.
I'm not positive but I believe he wished for no more vet visits!
And, that he might look as good as Penny when it's his 28th...
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I'll give you a hint...
It starts with a "C"
ends with a "lyde!"
Nothing like a serious bout of colic, on his 18th birthday no less, to cause everyone to run around panicking!
For those of you keeping count, that's one deep penetrating flesh wound with eventual proud flesh, one incidence of choke and now colic... in less than a month.
3 emergency vet farm call bills.
Ferrier bill yesterday and regular farm call tomorrow for vaccinations.
But, if I weren't spending mad $$$ on my horses... what would I spend it on?
Who needs a trip to Tahiti anyway?
Frankly... I'm shocked by my result!
As a 1930s wife, I am