Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where Was Deanna

On Tuesday, November 30th 2010, Easter Seals Superior California HTR program went on our monthly excursion to A Chance for Bliss. It’s an animal sanctuary, in Penryn California. Anthony drove the bus while Jasmine rode shotgun. Jasmine made the trip fun for everyone, by keeping our spirits up with a sing-along and trivia. When we arrived at the sanctuary we were greeted by Woody, but Deanna was nowhere to be seen. Rachel arrived a short time later; she promptly joined Woody and put us to work. Rik and Joe, our “manure valets,” went to work immediately; they must have picked up tons of odoriferous horse poop. Jim and Jill were inseparable and that was just fine. Anthony and Ron V. promptly commenced bathing a virtual plethora of Boston Terriers. I kept Kevin and Tom busy by helping me grind flax. I think everybody did a stellar job, you see we were kind of shorthanded this trip. I guess the weather must have kept some clients home. Deanna showed up a little later, she had been meeting with the photographer, in order to get the A Chance for Bliss calendar ready. By the way Easter Seals, at 3205 Hurley in Sacramento, is holding its annual Holiday Shoppe. All the proceeds will benefit A Chance for Bliss. So, don't forget to do your affordable Christmas shopping here at Easter Seals. You will be supporting a non-profit animal sanctuary. Remember take a tip from the dogs don't judge us by our walkers or our canes. Sniff our feet maybe, and then you can judge us by what's in our heart.


Friday, November 5, 2010

BowTie and Gem ~ Deanna

Boston Terriers are susceptible to various forms of canine eye disease due to the prominence of their eyes. Over the last decade, we have experienced many and have become adept at identifying most.

Wednesday at 12:30, I took BowTie to Animal Eye Center, aware that she had developed an ulcer in her left eye. Dr. Thomasay said the ulcer was deep, 80% through the cornea, and she was in danger of rupturing her eye. Bow was a surgery candidate for a skin graft to repair the hole. We were given a protocol of autogenous serum and ofloxacin drops, to be given hourly ten minutes apart, with a recheck in the morning. BoBo was to be ready for surgery, just in case. There is already scarring from a previous ulcer in her right eye, which is somewhat opaque and inhibits vision.

Diligence paid off! Epithelial tissue has covered the entire ulcer, adding strength. Her eye is red as blood is imperative in the healing process. The protocol is reduced to six times daily with a revisit in a week. What a relief to avoid surgery, which would have been necessary one way or the other ~ to repair the eye or remove it. Even with a generous discount, the surgery would have been expensive.

Ulcers are quite painful, so she is given two pain meds.

We are so thrilled that such healing is taking place. It should only be a few more days.

Drowsy from the Pain Meds

On October 30, a sweet four year old Appaloosa mare arrived as per an agreement made back in April with Pregnant Mare Rescue in Aptos. We couldn't bring her home until her foal was weaned. Here is what Founder Lynn Hummer shared about Gem:

Originally pulled off a feedlot waiting to go to slaughter in Yakima Washington at approximate age of two, perfectly sound. Brought to California and sold. This person caused injury to her leg and then bred her. Broke his own leg and didn't want to deal with her. Brought her to me in September 2009. She was vet checked immediately. Pregnancy was confirmed and x-rays were taken of her leg. Our vet consulted with Steinbeck Equine Hospital. A volunteer dug around a bit & discovered she had been cowboyed up harshly in a deep sanded round pen. Seems no vet was called to examine.

Steinbeck recommended a brace, which didn't work, or surgery to fuse the bone. She appears to move without pain when her hooves are trimmed and kept in good condition. My farrier came out and put an extended shoe on her hoof and we began the task of watching her weight. She really only has three good legs. She is blessed with a long back and I think that helped her carry her foal successfully. She foaled on April 4, 2010 (Easter morning) without incident. After the birth, I had an equine chiropractor come out and do an adjustment, then an equine acupressure specialist, and I have had Reiki healers out four times.

Knowing her background, I was still shaken when I met Gem. Not only was she nervous about being hauled to a new place, watching her move made me cringe. All I could think about was the mindset of the man who bred this horse.

The following morning, Lydia came out and gave Gem some Reiki. Here is a video clip that clearly shows Gem relaxing and enjoying the attention. We watched her move all around the pasture. After all, she's been dealing with this gait (video clip) for at least 15 months ~ 11 months pregnant and four nursing her foal, Este.

I have not heard back yet from Lynn as to what type of brace they tried, but we have one in mind. In 2002, I learned about a company in Manteca that designs custom orthopedic leg braces for dogs and horses. They purchase supplies from Interstate Plastics where I worked for two years. I'm glad I remembered the company name because their site is not active. I called Monday night around 9pm expecting to leave a message. To my surprise, Tim Niswonger answered the phone and we had a lengthy conversation.

The dog brace website is up, but some unsavory experiences coupled with sporadic interest caused Tim to close the equine site.

Tim's been manufacturing orthodics for people for 30 years and began applying his knowledge to dogs and horses, working with Serenity Equine Hospital, Oregon State University, Pioneer Equine Hospital(Oakdale California), Littleton Large Animal Hospital, and Kesmarc of Kentucky. Every brace is 100% custom. Tim e-mailed a photo of a leg that looked just like Gem's, belonging to a horse that they experienced great success with. We're hoping to have a cast made by our vet sometime next week.

{Aside: Tim manufactured a leg brace for Gene Ovnicek who is recognized as a pioneer in the study of wild horse hoof form and function.}

Gem also needs to see a dentist. Biomechanically, the feet and the teeth are closely related. The muscles in Gem's forehead are highly developed, there is swelling in her left jaw.

This little mare has been through a lot and we look forward to giving her some relief. We expect the combined costs to eclipse $1,000 ~ any donation you might like to make for Gem will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


On Tuesday October 26th 2010, Easter Seals Superior California HTR program went on our monthly visit to A Chance For Bliss, an animal sanctuary in Penryn California. It was a great trip with everyone singing and laughing. Anthony drove the bus and Jasmine rode shotgun. When we arrived at the sanctuary there was mystery in the air. Deanna had somebody filming us as we dis-embarked. We had arrived in the middle of a shoot by Emmy award winning cinematographer Ken Day and Emmy award winning Producer Joyce Mitchell. Mary Gale was doing a documentary for PBS and we walked in on it. We were treated to the inner-workings of a real life production company. I was very impressed by the members of the production company, especially the cinematographer Ken Day, he was very down to earth and personable. He had not gone “Hollywood” on us. The “crew” filmed members of HTR doing the volunteer work we do. The “crew” filmed Kim doing his magic with the horses, Ron and Steven cleaning saddles, while John and Anthony bathed dogs. Jim and Jillie could not be separated. Jill spent the entire day on Jim’s lap that was perfect for both of them. The “crew” even filmed Al, Rik, and I grinding flax seed. Rik was even interviewed by Mary Gale, I think the PBS “crew” actually liked us. So thanks to Woody and Deanna for letting us be a part of this very memorable and awe-inspiring event. Take a tip from the dogs don't judge us by our wheelchairs, dogs don't see our wheelchairs as being menacing, they just sniff us a little and jump on our lap. Then everything is okay.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Homer Steps Up

We are pleased to officially announce Homer Le Porc as our spokespig. Homer's role is an important one as we expand to share the Wellness Institute aspect of our work.

If you are a fan of Facebook or Twitter, we encourage you to check him out there. He posts photos and stories as only he can. After all, Homer is his own pig.

Homer's eighth birthday is in November and will be celebrated at our Open House on Saturday, the 13th, from Noon until 5pm. Join us for treats and to celebrate all things Homie.

Here is the Special Edition newsletter.

I'm off to help him clean the mud off of his laptop ~

Monday, October 4, 2010

Al Gets Cake

On Tuesday September 28th, 2010 Easter Seals Superior California HTR program took its monthly trip to A Chance For Bliss. Anthony drove the bus while Jasmine led the clients in a singing and sit-dance marathon. Everyone was laughing, participating, and having a great time. What I remember most about the ride was Jasmine laughing at the phrase, “who does that”, go figure. We sang happy birthday to Al on the bus, we might have been a little off key. When we arrived we were greeted by Deanna, Rachel, and the sight of a new gate. John and Ron V. got busy bathing dogs, Anthony helped them bathe dogs later but first he had to cut cheese. You see medication for the dogs is hidden in small pieces of cheese. Rik and Marcellos were brush cleaners while Al got to supervise because it was his birthday. Jim got to work outside; you see he was polishing saddles. Jill was on his lap the whole time. Steven, Tom and I got to grind flax seed. You should have seen us grinding flax seed. We had three grinders working; it was a regular assembly line. Flax is mixed into all animal food; it is supposed to be good for their coats as well as keeping them regular. So that is why Vince’s manure valet service is in such high demand. Vince is our best valet. Al got to supervise because it was his birthday. The best part of all, there was a birthday cake for Al it was both decadent and delicious. Before we got to eat the cake Deanna had to drive Paddington to the Veterinarian. I think the dog hurt a tooth, I hope he is okay. Remember take a tip from the dogs; do not pre-judge us by the color of our skin. Dogs do not care what color our skin may be. Dogs can just sniff our feet and know if they like us.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fragile Circle ~ Deanna

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

Irving Townsend

I took a great horse for his final trailer ride yesterday.

Colic. I had no Banamine, so I gave him Bute, which roused him to his feet. Then I remembered a magic bullet. With great hope of providing a glowing testimonial, I administered the appropriate doses of a product that had come highly recommended ~ We Stop Colic.

Big Cloud was a high-strung Thoroughbred who normally danced when the hose came out, but he stood quietly as I rinsed his sweaty body. I wish I had found him sooner. The boys didn't recognize the signs.

We went for a walk at Traylor Ranch as we waited for the magic potion to kick in. He whinnied and whinnied as he hated to be alone. Stop, listen ~ no gut sounds. Return home and call the vet to say we're coming. He loaded into the trailer with minimal resistance, as well. Not himself.

Dr. Jill Higgins of Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center performed an ultrasound that revealed intestinal impaction, most likely caused by pedunculated lipomas, a condition common in older horses that requires surgery. I had never heard of this until July when Rachel lost her 30 year old Breezy. Surgery was out of the question for several reasons, not the least of which was his age of 35. Thankfully, this disorder comes on quickly so his discomfort was minimal. Dr. Higgins was warm, compassionate and understanding of my decison not to subject him to further procedures. Big Cloud was clearly uncomfortable and my primary concern was to ease this. This was "Goodbye."

Cloud had been given a sedative to facilitate the ultrasound and readily laid his head into my chest. I stroked his beautiful grey face as the technicians prepared braids of his mane and tail for me. How I have always loved that unusual face. I kissed his muzzle and spoke softly to him. He peacefully and easily walked to the designated area. Help at last. The Greek meaning of euthanasia is "goodly or easy death." He certainly deserved that.

I spent a fair amount of time researching the disorder and average lifespan of horses. In general, life expectancy is defined as 20-30 and a horse is deemed geriatric as early as 16. The median age for horses with this disorder is 19.

Cloud was with us for almost three years. During that time, he clearly thrived, especially after quality dental care. For nearly half of his residency, Daisy was his love. Cloud stood by as Daisy was euthanized in April 2009. Because this happened late in the day, rendering could not pick her up for 36 hours. He never left her. He nervously watched as her body was loaded and looked for her after the truck was gone. I was certain that he would grieve himself to death.

Cloud never took another girlfriend, but instead became tight with Prince, another mid-thirties TB. I spoke with Prince tonight as he stood alone by the gate.

I threw myself into physical work when I returned, raking six muck buckets of mess from alongside our drive. It helps.

Intellectually, I know that Cloud's life ended as well as it could have and that the end will always arrive. Reasoning does little for my heart. Cloud was never an affectionate horse, but his enduring spirit and revitalization captivated me. He was always the first to bang the gate as mealtime approached. I adored him from afar. Just Wednesday night, I attempted to put a fly mask on him. He took cookies from me, but as soon as he saw the rope, he began RUNNING around the pasture. I marveled at how easily and well he moved. Okay, no mask.

He never slowed down.

Arrival Day, November 9, 2007

Four Months Later

June 2008, Beginning to Amaze Me

With His Beloved Daisy

Spring Sheath Cleaning Hit Itchy Spots

Just Last Week

I don't want to end on a sad note and there has simply been inadequate blog activity. So, on a lighter note, I'll tell you about Angel.

She has required her bladder to be manually expressed since her abandonment. Often, this was not an easy task and I never felt as if we emptied her bladder completely. I was aware of a slightly unusual odor, which we hoped would clear up once she had a good dental. It did not. We tried a few prescription drugs, but there seemed to be little if any improvement.

A few weeks ago, we were bewildered by an awful odor in the house. I easily determined that the dog beds were getting soiled, but it took a little bit to realize that it was Angel. I put one of Izzy's diapers on her. Shortly thereafter, the diaper was filled with the most awful smelling bloody urine. She filled three diapers before we got her to Animal Medical Center in Auburn.

Dr. Brockman went above and beyond for the sweet girl. Angel had a raging infection in her bladder and we nearly lost her. She spent a week in the hospital and will be on antibiotics for the rest of her life. Angel's bladder is stretched and has lost some nerve function. A catheter is used to keep the bladder small while the new medication works to restore function. We were so grateful to bring her home with a catheter that we were to use to drain her bladder several times a day. Somehow, before we even left the parking lot, it was out. This particular catheter had a bubble on the end to keep it in place. She didn't make a sound as that pulled through. Crying, I took her back inside and Dr. Brockman put it back and assured me that there is so much scar tissue in her urethra that it isn't painful.

The catheter was made for humans and designed to last up to 90 days. This was so much easier than expressing her. Once home, we pinned the end of the catheter to a t-shirt and put a diaper on her to contain it, away from the other dogs. We tried to keep her quiet, secluding her, but she felt better than she had in a long time and wouldn't stop. Two days later, out again. Even after passing another bubble, urine would not pass when we tried to express her. This part baffles the vets, too.

This time, they added stitches to help keep it in place and used a shorter length. Even with a diaper, this lasted just about four days. The bubble was twice as big.

At this point, we are simply inserting a cather, draining her bladder, then removing it. I'm getting good at this and she is so incredibly patient. Through experimentation, I have learned that once the flow stops (and this is abrupt and solid), if I continue to apply light pressure to the plunger of the syringe as I slowly remove the catheter, I find one or two more 'pockets' of urine. Doesn't make sense to me, but...

This may possibly be our routine for the rest of Angel's life. I am cautiously hopeful for returned bladder function. Regardless, she seems to feel better than ever and it is comforting to know that her bladder is being fully emptied. The odor is gone.

All in all, this is very good progress. Angel has been through a lot and it is great to see her feeling really good.

So Patient and Good

I will end on a very high note, an example of what drives us.

Grace was picked up from a kill shelter near Houston, Texas on May 7. Her Petfinder page read:

"Dear, sweet Grace came to us from a kill shelter, where she was picked up as a stray. Not only is Grace blind and deaf, she has also been diagnosed with having cancer cells and what appears to be a prolapsed rectum. Grace also has a medium-sized tumor on her side, but due to her advanced age and compromised medical condition, she will not be a candidate for surgery. Instead, we will keep Grace as happy and comfortable as possible for as long as she is here on this earth. And shower her with love!"

The sweet girl also turned out to be heartworm positive.

As luck would have it, friend and Boston supporter Jana Whiteside was coming to California on business and offered to transport Grace. I was doubly excited as I was fortunate enough to meet Jana in 2005 when I traveled to Houston to pick up Ebenezer. On June 15, the ladies arrived at our door.

Dr. Rich Jackson of Animal Medical Center in Auburn said that he doubted Grace was as old as we thought and removed her polyps, gave her a good dental and removed some excess skin just above her tail. She recovered quickly. Then it was time to address her eyes.

Since she could not see, anyway, and the eyes were likely painful, we opted for enucleation to prevent further painful injury. Dr. Jackson was more than happy to handle the procedure, but we also got an e-mail from Dr. Lauren LaRue of UC Davis and Dr. Danielle (Paglia) Connor expressed interest, as well. Dr. Paglia was with Animal Eye Center in Rocklin, but was moving to Austin. She adores Boston Terriers and together we agreed that Grace's procedure would be the last thing she did before she left. Lucky Grace. Unfortunately, Grace had a reaction to the sutures and her eyes took a bit longer to heal.

Now, however, she is one fesity chick! She tries desparately to get the other dogs to engage her and sometimes Joy will. Grace seems to have a special affinity for Joshua and, increasingly, Paddington. Usually very reserved, I see Paddington beginning to open up to her. Paddy has also had both eyes removed.

She requires usually two serious rounds of "blanket monster" each day and you've got to make sure your hands are padded ~ she can be TOUGH! We adore her girlie bark. She climbs like a brave little monkey on the sectional and has the house and yard all laid out, coming and going as she pleases.

We're both, admittedly, wrapped and hope she stays for a good, long time. Here's a poor quality video of Amazing Grace.

Big Cloud left having known love, companionship, above average food and, incredible for his age, at the top of the pecking order. Grace is stepping into a renewed body with a sense of permanence and belonging. And so our fragile circle goes round and round (and somehow, Odie is still here.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From Our Friend, Albert, in Colorado

You may recall that on Sunday, August 29, ACFB received a very special visitor who literally drove from Denver to see this place for himself. Not knowing exactly which day he might arrive, chores were in full swing when Albert pulled up, slightly flustered because we had offered inconsistent directions which had him doubting he would find us. We hoped to enjoy dinner with Albert, so there was little time to slow down and show him around as the chore list is long. I feared that, having driven 1,300 miles, Albert might feel a little put out.

While visiting, he often said that he didn't know what to expect. Shortly after his return, I gathered the courage to ask him what he thought of his visit. I was deeply interested in his observations as it is difficult for me to have perspective on what has grown slowly over the past decade. It feels pretty natural to us, but I wondered what Albert made of this circus. His reply:

Dear Friends, Deanna and Woody,

How can I put into words what I experienced, first reading about you guys and the wonderful work you were doing in the USA Today article. Something came over me, as I never met people like yourselves, who had such amazing compassion for God's Creatures who cannot help themselves. Then that picture of Stevie, the blind, beautiful horse, just did it for me. I had to visit and see for myself, and I had to meet you. It was my way of saying thanks for doing what us mere mortals cannot, will not, or do not have the same compassion to do. The trip was cake compared to all the love I witnessed around me. I mean, doting on blind animals, cooking meals for 21 dogs, nurturing horses, dogs, pigs, cats, rabbits, birds, etc., and literally putting yourself last, as our 9pm dinner will attest to. I did not articulate a lot of this to you, because I was amazed at the whole personal experience.

Your sanctuary is not a "circus" ~ As Shoeless Joe Jackson asked Kevin Costner in the movie, 'Field Of Dreams' ~ “Is This Heaven? No, it is Penryn, California."

God Bless You,
Nu Yawk Albert

Once more, Albert, your sentiments have brought me to tears. I've counted myself lucky to have so many animals in my life, not babies spoiled from the start, but broken hearts and bodies that are such a joy to see reborn. They don't hold grudges and are happy with the simplest things. NEVER IN MY LIFE would I have imagined that someone would make such an effort to come see what we love. We think you're some kind of special yourself and we're so honored. I do hope you'll return next year.

This sentimentality makes me long for so many that we've lost. Brave souls who endured much, I wish I could share them all with you. Their stories are barely told as sharing is relatively new to us. I wish I could devote long days to capturing each of their spirits for you in writing ~ Glory, Winston, Magik, DeeDee, Ebbie, Spike, Tank, Ruth... They are what drives this. They are the only thing that makes sense. For now, here is an incomplete album that contains so much love and many tears.

Albert, I don't think you'll ever understand how much you've touched us. Thank you is inadequate.

With deep gratitude,

Friday, September 10, 2010

So Long, Sophie ~ Deanna

The sweetest old Suffolk Sheep passed away today on her own, but not until after the vet was on her way to help. I am not surprised and it isn't the first time that the call to the vet prompted either a recovery or a passing. I'm convinced that the animals wish to pass on their own terms and we try to allow them that dignity as often as possible. Dogs have died in my arms at the vet as the room is being prepared.

Odie, our 34 year old Tennessee Walking Horse is our most laughable case. He is OLD and many times he has appeared to be unable to rise after lying down. A horse's gut can only take so much down time. We get up to three people pushing and pulling, trying to assist him and sometimes it just doesn't happen. I can't tell you how many times I've told people "Odie's really getting close this time." We know the time will ultimately come, but for now we laugh. Twice I've called the vet to come administer "pink compassion" only to have him immediately rise. Once he had been down for nearly 24 hours and the second time, he laid in the pond with his nostrils just out of the water. All in his good time. I think he feins as he has realized his frailty scores him special priveledges, such as unmonitored time at the feed cans and free roam of the front yard. For those who have been around a while, you know he would sometimes come to the front door, as if asking to be let in. Now we tell him, "Odie, I'm going to call the vet!"

Without looking, I'd estimate that Woody and I have experienced close to 60 passings since Chance and Bliss called us to this work. It's been an interesting journey.

I lost my Father in 2003 at the age of 59 to cancer. It was the only time I had been present when a person passed and the feeling in the room immediately lifted. It was palpable and my Mom and brother felt it, as well. Surreal. It caused me to really contemplate death and do some reading, such as "On Death and Dying" by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I came to understand that death is an important metamorphosis for our soul and that it can be quite beautiful. What a gift to be with Pop at that moment.

Euthanasia is such a unique and difficult issue. I've long held appreciation for the ability to administer such relief to a suffering animal friend, but now I see that it can often be a mere convenience. The dying process can be difficult to witness and we almost always utilize the talents of our animal communicator for insight. Only TWICE have animals asked or agreed to that end. They want to do it in their time, their way.

There are circumstances that call for intervention, of course, but it is such an individual and minute by minute decision. We are BLESSED to be seven minutes from a 24 hour clinic. Another reason our location is so important to us.

The insight from Sophie Wednesday afternoon via Jane St. Croix was that she was FIGHTING to stay here. We honored her. We got her up, fed her, spent time with her. At midnight last night, I fed Sophie a banana and grapes and she literally drank from a 16 oz water bottle, using her lips and tongue to manipulate the water flow. Amazing. But I knew she wasn't getting up again.

The seizures are a clear marker for me. Maybe its a convenience to prevent me from bearing witness, but that's my bottom line. There are people in our circle committed to hospice work who hold firmly that there is no such thing as a humane euthanasia as it relates to the larger picture for the being, but I disagree.

Team Bliss, as I like to refer to us, doesn't always agree about details (imagine that!), and another case, Windsong, has tested my beliefs. Windsong is a mare in her late teens who has inoperable cancer growing in her left eye. It was removed by UC Davis in 2008 and came back mid-2009. For a while, it was an ugly pink mass protruding and Rachel and I argued to call the vet on several occasions. But lo and behold, it somehow changed directions and is completely contained behind her lid. Her eye waters and itches, but doesn't appear painful by the head rubs I get. What's more is that her body condition and attitude are excellent. Jane's insights reveal that it does take energy to maintain and that she is sometimes tired, but it doesn't show. She has friends in the herd that she clearly adores. And she enjoys being adored by Atlas, just recently gelded. Obviously, this isn't indefinite, but her quality of life for the time is clearly good. I'm glad we didn't make the call.

So Sophie's choice to pass in the 30 minutes between the call and the vet's arrival was not surprising at all (if we need help sooner, we go to the clinic as opposed to a ranch call). I tried to coach Sophie last night that it was okay to let go of her failing body. Why did she want to stay? She'd already lost her two lifelong pasture mates, Abby and Nina. That's not mine to answer and Sophie may not have been able to stay as she desired, but Sophie certainly made a point about the way she chose to go.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September Newsletter Available

The September newsletter, available here, includes a short introduction to Sam, upon which I'd like to expand.

Sam-I-Am is a ten year old Boston Terrier who belonged to a woman who once had six at one time and adored them all. She lost three over time, leaving Sam and his biological parents. Sam's guardian was diagnosed with cancer in early June and died in late June. Somehow, Sam and his folks ended up in the drop box at the Martinez shelter until Linda from Wonder Dog Rescue saved them. Sam's parents were adopted right away, but Sam is a special boy.

Sammy was born with defective plumbing. All of the basic parts are there, but they're not properly connected and all waste is produced through one hole. I'll risk being graphic to give you an understanding: Today as Sam urinated after holding it for a while, the urine shot out straight behind him.

Because he is prone to accidents, I've begun diapering him like Izzy, but it makes him completely freeze! He gets so forlorn... but I trust that, in time, he'll figure it out and fly around the house like his younger sister. I'm convinced that the diaper is the reason he held it so long! I've also discovered that pull-ups are great! Not having children, diaper shopping is new to me and I'm learning. They are a bit more expensive, but the stretchy waistbands means not cutting into their legs while trying to keep the waist tight enough.

A 'Dora the Explorer' Diaper Isn't the Coolest Outfit for a Guy

Sad Sam

Thankfully, Sam is devoted to his new Mother, (me), so any time I'm outside, he follows right along, blissfully diaper-free. When he is happy, Sam sometimes smiles. Today, a photographer came to shoot photos for a story that will run in Women's World the first week of November, so we spent some time taking pictures with the animals in the back pasture. Sam soon began playfully pouncing on his shadow like a kitten (and I got no photos!) He also loves to dig and with the issues he's got, we'll let him. :o)

Sam can be a bit cranky with strangers, especially men, and we're working on this. A guy like Sam doesn't have many roommate options, so we'll work hard to address his personality issues.

We did manage to get some blue 'Diego' diapers today, so at least Sam won't be forced to wear pink.

When you come to visit, please give Sammy his space for a while and assure him his outfit is stylish. He might even smile.

~ Deanna

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Special Visit ~ Deanna

On June 2, the USA Today article was published and cards, letters and e-mail began to pour in. One of the first people that I corresponded with was New Yawk Albert, now in living near Denver, Colorado. I shared a photo of Stevie with him and Albert was intrigued. This past Sunday afternoon, Albert drove up Willow Brook Lane, having followed a persistent calling to see our special blind horse. Yes, Albert drove over 1,300 miles to meet Stevie the Wonder Horse. We shared dinner that night, had a fantastic visit, Albert stayed here at the ranch, took photos in the morning then left for St. Louis. I've learned that one never knows what lies around the corner and I am so happy to have another good friend in Denver. Thank you, Albert. We will never forget our time with you.

On Tuesday, after our monthly visit with Easter Seals, we began assembling sponsorship packages. This is quite a process! Woody and I were assisted by Volunteers Extraordinaire Kathy Leon and Jordan Bartley and we worked for hours. You'll notice a key on your mailing label - DHPM = Dogs, Horses, Pals and Mates; we each took a category, then moved to combinations. It wasn't until Wednesday that we finished applying postage and delivered to the post office - August mailers went out on September 1.

Well, most ~ I'm working on loose ends, correcting addresses and clarifying points. I think we have a good system devised now and a custom database is in the works, donated by Chris Hans and Steve Cooper of OmniCreek.

We learned that using a bulk mail permit no longer entails sorted mail by the zip code, so we will use that next month, reducing costs greatly. Many people have requested no updates or e-mail updates only, but we enjoy preparing the packages and continue to cut costs. We like to imagine Manny's picture on refrigerators across America!

I will close with photos from ESHTR. Gettin' better every day, you guys! We love you.