Drinking Out of the Trough is the Title of My First Book!

Yes, campers, I have finally taken the plunge and written a book. It’s undergoing editing by the wonderful Judy Fort Brenneman of Greenfire Creative, LLC.

After eight years, I have a new puppy, a delightful Goldendoodle named Ivy. She is six months old. Her breeder, Cathie Crosby of Placer Goldendoodles picked her out for me as a good match. Ivy is a delightful little soul.

I gave the pup Ivy for a name because my beloved Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016. Ivy covers the outfield walls at Wrigley Field. I got Ivy 6 days after the series, and today we celebrate four months together. She’s been through two puppy classes, and will take the Canine Good Citizen class to become a therapy dog when she turns one year old.

More later.

Happy birthday, Scootsritealong!

Happy birthday, Scooter! My little black and white gelding is fourteen today. Of course, being a horse, he’s been officially fourteen since New Year’s Day. That’s when all horses turn one year older. My precious boy was born, however, on May 11, 1996 in South Dakota.

Scoot, I’m so happy you are enjoying Arizona, and that your Auntie Margo is taking such good care of you while I transition my life. It’s a joy to come ride you and the Baby, even though it’s a tough drive to get to you. Had you stayed in Colorado at your old home, you would have been standing in cold mud and snow for the last seven months.

How well I remember that Sunday in March 1999 when your Dad and I decided to go to the CSU Equine Center to see a horse auction. We had no intention of getting another horse, especially at an auction, the worst place to buy one. Then Earl said, “Mare, look at that one.” I set my eyes on you and was stunned by your beauty. I was enthralled by that shiny black and white coat, your pleasant demeanor and willingness to be examined. I never thought I’d win you, but I did, and we had a new member of the family.

Getting you home was another thing. We couldn’t load you, and when you finally got in, you threw a fit. You had only been in stock trailers until then. We had to get your former human, a cowboy, to ride on the outside fender of the trailer, holding your broken lead while your head was facing out the back of the trailer.

We put you across the street in the little corral. You ran around with a look on your face of, “What’s happening to me! Where am I?” We treated your scrapes and bumps, fed you and left you to calm down, visiting often.

When time, you joined Marcie and Aria in the corral. You soon learned that Marcie was the Diva, and then you fell in love with her. You delighted us with your antics and your sweetness. While Earl and his dad built you a new stall, I saddled you up. Your brochure said you had been ‘rode on the ranch.’ I climbed on your back, asked you to go, and nothing! You stood like a rock.

Later, you went to our dear friend, the late Steve Bowers, who with his twin, Mike, had trained Franny and Marcie. Steve liked you from day one. He also told you you had it made for life.

From there on, you have been a wonderful friend, a partner and a confidant. I miss you every day, but know that you are being well cared for. I’ll visit as much as I can to groom you, hug you and ride. Horses live in the moment, so you don’t miss me when I go. Unfortunately, people don’t. I miss you so much, the daily routine we had in Colorado with you and Hannah and your Dad. We don’t have that any more. In time, perhaps we will again.

In the meantime, my beautiful friend, happy birthday, and health and happiness to you, Scootsritealong.

Ain’t nothin’ but a (publicity) hound dog

Today I went with a friend to see one animal shelter she works with, and to a park where a group was holding an event to raise awareness for creating a much-needed dog park.

I handed out my business cards. The shelter needs vets. I can’t believe the tick infestations that dogs have here. We Coloradans are pretty lucky not to have such a heavy load of fleas and ticks. I better study up on tick-borne illnesses.

I used to do some writing for the local paper. Op-eds, letters to the editor and other commentary. People would ask me when I was going to write something again. But Earl died, and I moved away. The last thing I had in the paper was the memorial to Tipper the Wonder Husky that is in this section of DrinkingOutOfTheTrough. Look at the June entries.

The local news was there, doing on-camera interviews. I had talked to the organizers of the park. I told them I had just moved to town, spent 12 years on the Fort Fun parks and recreation board, and we had discussed and planned several dog parks, and gave them a card. The reporter, fresh out of college and in her first gig in a small market, wanted an on-camera interview with me. I’d let you know if I get on the news, but I think it’s the same time as the Kentucky Derby.

Scoot and Hannah are doing well!

Here I am in Tucson to visit my horses. After an 11 hour drive mostly not on interstates, and through monsoons in Texas, I arrived in Tucson about 4 pm yesterday. I hugged my dear ones and cried my eyes. out.

They look so good. They are in good flesh, were wearing their fly masks, as it was daytime, and they were the same, friendly ponies I last saw 5 months ago. Hannah even gave me her special kiss.

I am off now to work the horses. My sister and I will ride later this afternoon. Because of the heat, Arizona does not go on daylight savings time. It’s light and warm enough to ride in the evenings. More later.

Angel Dog reporting for duty

People and pets I love who have passed on almost always come back to me to give me a sign that they are all right, usually within 48 hours.

Two days after Keli was put to sleep, I played a Sunday round of golf with my golf buddy, Diane. I later napped on the couch with baby Tipper alongside on the floor. Keli used to poke me with her nose. She was a ‘face dog;’ and I used to wrap my arm around her head and put my face against hers.

During this post-golf nap, I felt a nose poking my arm. In my sleep, I wrapped my arm around the beautiful black and white neck and pressed my face against Keli’s. Tipper was still lying on the floor snoozing. Keli had come back to say everything was OK.

Earl was released from the hospital the day before yesterday, and insisted on feeding the horses Friday morning. Later in the morning, he was in agony such that we had to call an ambulance for the second time this week. He was admitted for pain control, observation and tests, including a CT scan with contrast.

After our doctor left and before the CT, I came home to feed the horses supper. Horses have a finely tuned stomach clock you know. Scooter was just as filthy as a few weeks before, as the rain pond had returned. Not touching you, Buddy. Ick. As I left the barn it was tough looking at an empty dog pen. I still feel the need to bring the dog in when I come home.

While fumbling around with my stuff preparing to return to the hospital with supper for my mother-in-law and myself, I accidentally touched Tipper’s collar. It fell to the ground. This in itself is no big deal; things go to ground. But I had a feeling that the Wonder Husky was there in spirit, and had helped the collar go to the floor to alert me of this. I felt she was telling me she had crossed over, and was ready for duty as Angel Dog First Class.

After her death Tuesday, I took that collar to Earl’s hospital room, where it hung on his IV pole until he got out Thursday night. Last night, after the collar incident, we both agreed that Earl had an Angel Dog watching over him. The test results were good news, and it’s a matter now of Mother Nature and Father Time, plus some good pharmaceuticals and nursing, until Earl gets back on his feet.

From Wonder Husky to Angel Dog. We should all have one.

Today in Ask Frank

Franklin touches on the dignity and honor in taking care of a dying friend.

We memorialize Steve Bowers, our horse trainer, on the second anniversary of his untimely and shocking death of a brain aneurism at 52, and think of his family. We also remember our mare, Liberty Sunshine, our Marcie, on the 34th anniversary of her birth. She lived until 30 to help me rehabilitate my hip after a year of orthopaedic misery. Steve trained Marcie, Franny, Scooter and Hannah over a span of 30 years.

Winter is a great time to enjoy horses

Winter can be a fun time with horses. We do not have an indoor arena, so our riding is limited by weather. I see lots of people up at the state park who ride no matter what the weather. I however, am not one to ride in strong wind. The horses are fine, they live in wind, but I prefer to use the health club when it is really windy.

The last few weeks, we have been able to enjoy our horses both on the trail and at home. We have had a few good days of riding, and when it isn’t wonderful weather to take a horse out, I have ridden Hannah in the corral.

Pretty Hannah gets so excited to ride! At the park, she dances around like a racehorse, and would love to run full blast. This is dangerous, not only to the rider, but also to the horse who is not in top shape in the winter. Hannah, in fact, IS part racehorse. Her great-great-grandsire was Shecky Greene, who ran 6 th in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, won by Secretariat. This genealogy definitely shows in Hannah’s Thoroughbred looks, and in her sensitive Thoroughbred feet.

Earl gets his walking in by leading Scooter around the corral. Scoot is so funny, a regular comedian. Horses, when you really know them, have such charming personalities.

On an otherwise gloomy day, it is relaxing and enjoyable to hang out with the horses. Both get a good grooming, which is important in winter, and we all get mutual companionship. The horses get to stay in shape, and we keep our riding muscles ready for action.

Colorado has no spring like that of my childhood in Chicagoland. There is a late winter with a little warm weather, but summer really follows late winter. It once snowed three feet in May 1978. The Great Blizzard of 2003 came after the first day back at school from spring break, and the town shut down. We were snowbound. School didn’t reopen until the following Monday.

I also think at this time about how ill the horses were last year. Hannah finished a bout of pneumonia that included a week of hospitalization, and then Scooter was found to have a massive abscess in his abdomen. He went to surgery, was hospitalized for twelve days, then finished his treatments at a rehabilitation stable up in mountains. We are so thankful that they are with us today.

Have fun with horses during winter. Cure those winter blues with some fresh air, sunshine, and the company of wonderful equine friends.