Sunday, November 23, 2008


Silas. Love of my life as far as my pets go. This cat came into my life in 1979, shortly after a cat that I had was put down suffering from diabetes and kidney failure. Silas was supposed to be dead. Someone had found (what they thought was) a dead cat and scooped up the body and took it to the closest vet clinic to be disposed of. Turns out the little guy was alive, although a bit hypothermic from the cold - it was February in Winnipeg, after all. He had been hit by a car (in the head, judging from the swelling and dried blood and broken teeth). When they warmed him up, he woke up and started purring. I don't think he stopped for the next 18 years. He was so handsome, with his white eye liner, freckled nose and ears and his wonderful personality! This cat loved everyone. He was extremely affectionate and trusting, and not too bright. But considering he had his brain cells scrambled early in life (the vet figured he was about 6 months old when he was supposed to have died), he was an amazing hunter - guess those instincts were not part of the scrambled bits! He never did figure out how to get down a tree, though. There were many times when I had to stand under the tree branch and catch him. He didn't understand that cats are not squirrels and can't climb head first down a tree - so he always got stuck. But would gladly jump into my arms, trusting me to catch him (thank gawd I always did!) and never using his claws. Sweet, sweet Silas. He went deaf in his old age and became very frail, but would never jump if you surprised him or woke him up - he would just blink at you and chirrup a hello.

This young fella is JJ (registered name is Smartest Play Olena - Quarter Horse gelding). In this picture he is two. He is at his first horse show and just won his first ribbon - out of a class of 11, he got 5th! Pretty damn good for a guy who didn't know what the hell he was doing! Very calm and laid back, he is now partnered with a 10 year old boy who is a timid rider. And I know the family so I still get to see him! He's a sweetheart.

This is Sehra (pronounced 'Sarah' - so I like to be different - whatever!). She (and her sister below) were my barn cats when I was still married and living on a hobby farm. Got them as pipsqueak little kittens from a girlfriend's barn and they grew to be huge (14 lbs each trim fighting weight), excellent mousers and really good company. Both of them would go walking with me on the farm, even if it meant slogging through bodies of standing water. (It's pretty funny to see two cats up to their armpits in the water while the 100 lb dog is trying to find a way around it!) Sehra caught this rat one day - the only one I ever saw on the farm - and was very proud to show it to me, but then just walked away and left me with the carcass. So I put it on top of the wishing well in the back yard and let the crows take it for a meal - they loved finding little bodies on there - the take-out restaurant for the birds! Whatever the cats didn't eat ended up on the wishing well for the birds to enjoy. Sehra loved to be carried around and in the winter would climb up the back of my big parka to sit in my hood. From there, she would often walk onto one of the horses' backs to sit perched on a big, warm bum - nice vantage point I am sure!

This is Emmie, Sehra's sister. A lovely brown tabby who could snag anything out of the air. Many times I watched her hunting on the farm, flying through the air after dragonflies or birds. One day, she had captured a rather plump mouse and was having a bit of fun with it. She lay in the grass, with the mouse sitting up on its haunches in front of her. The mouse would gnash its teeth and flail in her direction with its tiny front paws. Emmie would then bat the thing a few feet away, watch it tumble ass over tea kettle, and wander over to do it all over again. The mouse never did try to run away. It became lunch.

This is Sehra and Emmie as babies - I think they were about four months old in this shot. They did everything together. They are still on the farm with my ex. I miss them...

This is Western Zip (aka Zip or Zippy Pony or Zippy Doodle when he's being an airhead), a registered Appendix Quarter Horse (which means he is half Quarter Horse and Half Thoroughbred) gelding. One of the smoothest and most talented horses I ever owned and rode - a sweet guy but too excitable and nervous in the show ring for what I was looking for, so he now lives with a girlfriend who is doing barrel racing with him, which suits him to a T!

Liberty - a little (and I mean almost small enough that I could touch my heels under her when I rode!) grade (meaning unregistered and possibly mixed breed) Quarter Horse mare. She bucked me off one fine fall day, in the throws of one of her early heat cycles as a barely two year old - just as I was swinging my leg up across her back (so I didn't stand a chance, the little witch! and I have the scars to prove it...). She was such a teenager then! But now is a solid, wonderful horse for a teenaged girl - they are absolutely smitten with each other and go everywhere and do everything together - a great match!

Ah... Joe... sweet old guy. He was my ex's first riding horse. He's a registered Shire (breed of draft horse) who weighs one ton (no word of a lie!) but will do absolutely whatever you ask of him. He has the most gorgeous blue eyes, as you can see in the picture below. He slobbers madly when eating apples, so only give the first one by hand! His feet are the size of dinner plates. Check out his fuzzy slippers!

Isn't that a beautiful eye?

Ginger - a registered Paint mare (solid) who had the misfortune of aborting her foal while in her initial under-saddle training - we didn't know she was pregnant - which caused her quite a bit of discomfort. A very solidly built mare who ended up moving to Minnesota.

This is Coal - he is my ex's current riding horse. He's from a PMU farm (google that if you don't know what it is) and is amazing. He is about 16 hands in height (which would make him about 5'4" at the shoulder) but weighs in at about 1700 lbs. He is a mix of Percheron, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Clydesdale. He is solid but not drafty in appearance and is fabulous to ride. Smooth and powerful and extremely sensitive and responsive, all of which are unfortunately wasted as my ex is not a good rider and Coal's talents are beyond him. Coal has the temperament of a Golden Retriever and comes when he is called - at a full out gallop, no less! Quite impressive to see.

My little Barley - he was supposed to be my show horse but he died of colic a couple of weeks before he turned one. You never met a more laid back, quiet and unflappable little guy. He would have been very stout and quite tall, and would have been a wonderful all around horse, if he got anything at all from both of his parents. His death saddened me horribly - such a little trouper through the colic episode, but he twisted his gut and would not survive the trip to Saskatoon for the surgery (which I couldn't afford anyways - not at min. $5K!) so I had to make the decision to have him put down. I wept many tears for my Barley Boy.

Strawberry Daiquri - aka Daq - my very first horse. A lovely, talented, stout little registered Paint mare who has more get up and go than the EverReady Bunny. We learned so much together and shared the same birthday. She loved mini donuts and sweet potatoes, nectarines and apples. She would fall asleep with her nose on the farrier's (guy who shoes and trims horses' feet) back. She now lives in Red Lake, Ontario, with her daughter and the father of that daughter (who is no longer a stallion as he was gelded [neutered] a couple of years ago). She is going to turn 19 in February next year and is still going strong.

This is Jake. He was a rescue from San Diego, California. One day when I was living down there he showed up at the stable where I boarded my horse (Daq), on death's doorstep from starvation. He was half bald - most of the hair on his body had fallen out from untreated allergies and he had worn down most of his front teeth from years of chewing on his itchy skin. He spent 6 years with me (my vet estimated his age at eight when I took him in) and was the absolute best dog ever! He was so happy and would do anything I asked - even getting in the tub on his own for a bath, despite disliking getting wet. As he lost his hearing around the age of 12, I taught him hand signals for all the commands I used. He would frequently turn and look for me to see if I was saying anything to him, to make sure he didn't miss anything. Definitely would have loved to have gotten him as a puppy - I can only imagine how great of a dog he would have been without all the trauma he suffered before he came into my life.

There are a lot of animals who preceded this bunch, but I don't have any pictures on my computer of them. I got my first kitten as a Christmas present when I was seven and have never been without at least one animal in my life since then.

The current ones have all been posted about in previous posts here: Thunder, my horse, Zoe the Bullmastiff, and the two cats, BB (the old man) and Pips (That Damn Cat!). I can guarantee there will be a lot more in the future too. I cannot imagine my life or my house without some furry, four footed creature sharing time and space with me.


  1. Unbelievable. Never could have animals around me, in my living space.
    Except a cat.
    A cat would be allowed in.

  2. Such an awesome post! I luv the pics and the stories. I don't have a pet now, but I do luv animals. Most of the pets we had growing up were either strays that followed us home or we found dumped in the trash!

  3. Mago: I can't imagine my living space without animals....

    Eros: Thanks!

  4. I couldn't live without furfaces, either...

  5. I like animals more than most people. I'm not sure what that says about me...

  6. i had a couple of beautiful horses, a long long time ago, and i don't think i have a single photo of them now :(

    a lovely post.

  7. *agrees with Laurie*

    I was raised in a small agricultural village so had animals in my life from day one and wouldn't want it any other way.

    *goes over to kiss sleeping cat on the head*

  8. Laurie: I feel that way too. The only reason I am a people nurse and not an animal nurse (although I once was years ago) is because of tons more jobs and much better money. Sad but true...

    Carnalis: How sad that you don't have any photos of them! :-(

    MJ: I was not raised on a farm or in a small town, but have had animals since seven and no, I wouldn't have it any other way either. They are the best!

  9. That was a fantastic trot down memory lane! What a great bunch of furry friends. You are so lucky to have had so many wonderful relationships...I can tell that you loved them all. Great stories, especially the happy ending ones.

    Can I borrow Joe or Coal for the new Coppens the Barbarian avatar that I'm working on?

  10. Mr. Po-Tater Head: They have all been very special to me, for sure.

    And yes, you can borrow Joe or Coal for your new avatar. Email about what you want and I will see if I have a pic that will work.

  11. wonderful!

    I must try western riding one of these days!

  12. zIggI: I have ridden both English and Western, a bit of jumping but like Dressage best. Western is a lot of fun because you can do so many different types of classes at a show: trail, showmanship, reining, western pleasure, barrel racing.... many different types all with the same gear. A lot more relaxed than English too.

  13. They were fortunate to have you in their lives - just as you were fortunate to have them in yours.

  14. ah, the gift of rodents. now that's love.

    mine used to leave me hairballs. but she was an orange tabby with the IQ of a flat tire...

  15. Anna: I have always felt a strong connection to the four-legged type of friends and yes, I do feel fortunuate to have had each and every one of their presences grace my life.

    Catnapping: Welcome. I do have a hairball spewer as well. He usually leaves me one after he has eaten some catfood, so as to leave a lovely stain on the carpet.


thoughts floated through the ether...