My efforts here are largely an outlet for my own busy imagination. My husband Mark chips in for some parts of it and my children lend a hand here and there but mostly it’s just me and a houseful of pets who hang around to provide inspiration.
Meet Sophie, Lucky, Mick and Ramses (plus Sebi and Ralph who get a mention). Most of these have made cameo appearances in the past and I thought I’d introduce them a little more formally this week.
First on the scene was Sebastian and we had to say goodbye to him this past May. Sebi was with me for just over 25 years and losing him has left a sizable hole. He was my first horse and he had a lot of personality. Sad as it is, his passing has inspired some efforts that I’ll cover a bit later.
Mick joined us in 2003, he’s a Quarter Horse and a retired barrel racer. He’s close to 30 years old and still going strong in retired life as a pasture ornament and occasional trail
mount. His activity is strictly limited to leisurely strolls and neighborhood site seeing. He makes a great source of quiet strength. He doesn’t lose his cool too easily so spending an hour in the barn with him, brushing his coat and combing out his mane can greatly reduce the stresses of a long day. He is a beautiful site, grazing in the pasture.
Then there’s the cat, what does anyone do without a cat? Ramses came along by accident a few years ago, an injured stray I picked
up on the side of the interstate. She (yes, we gave her a kind of boyish name – thinking she was a male cat when she first arrived and by the time we found out different the name was stuck) watches over the place like the pharaoh king she’s named for. Absolutely nothing goes on outside without her approval. When a door opens, another stay cat steps foot on the property, or voices are heard she comes running to see what’s going on. Cats are chased away promptly, food is immediately claimed as hers and companionship is offered freely to anyone who takes a seat somewhere. She used to be Mick’s constant CLOSE companion until she got a little too under his feet one day and got stepped on. She decided it wasn’t worth it to stay in the middle of his business quite so much after that. It was an accident but that didn’t stop her toes from smarting (she wasn’t seriously injured).
The dogs contribute by providing security and moral support. There’s Sophie the Mini-Schnauzer looking after the inside of the house and Lucky the Beagle patrolling outdoors and snuggling with the cat (yes, those two ladies have become quite close and sometimes curl up together inside the dog house or side by side on one of the porches).
Lucky was a rescue. Found lost in the woods and nearly starved to death we thought we were taking her to the vet to have her humanely put down but instead found that in spite of how terrible she looked her problems were pretty minor. She was cured with a treatment for some type of mange and a lot of groceries. In just a few weeks she blossomed into a beautiful dog. A perfect tri-color Beagle. She’s been a member of the family for many years now. She sounds the alarm if someone even looks like they might be coming up to the house.
Sophie joined us as a puppy in 2006. Easy to train and a constant companion when someone is in the house, she will even escort you from one side of the room to the other if no one else is home. She’s a Mini Schnauzer and is the first dog I’ve ever purchased. No hard luck story in her case. We set out to find a dog that doesn’t shed to keep indoors and this breed is a great option. She has a wonderful disposition and has fit right into the family. She keeps an eagle eye on the floor in case a crumb is dropped. It is her personal mission to be sure all dropped food is promptly cleaned up.
This sums up the current crew contributing moral support to my day to day efforts. I don’t think I could enjoy life quite so much without pets. I’ve never been without a pet of some kind. I probably shouldn’t tell this story but when I was about 10 or so I had a fish, a Black Moore. He was a sturdy little guy, I named him Ralph. The notable thing about him (or maybe he was a her, I can’t say I checked or anything) was his stamina. Most little fish like him were most known for how easily they die, but not Ralph. His chief claim to fame was surviving a trip to visit relatives in a jar!
I didn’t have someone who could tend to him while I was away so I took him with me in a mason jar on a trip to visit family in West Virginia. I even took him from one relative’s home to another, dangling from a STRING that I’d tied to the neck of the jar. How he survived that I’ll never know but he made it through the trip and all the way back home to his tank. He managed to survive for quite a long time. I don’t have any photos of Ralph.