Friday, February 28, 2014

The White Void

With a foot of snow and ice on the ground and a supposed twelve more inches coming this weekend, I have planted my garden seeds--all sex flats of them--in anticipation of spring and summer.  They sit, ready and filled with water, waiting to burst forth into seedlings.  Then, when I see the first appearance of cabbage, basil, cilantro, tomatoes, squashes, and red beets I will know there's hope.  .

While the snow looks beautiful as it falls, the after effects are daunting--our footing precarious, driving treacherous, spending unnecessary monies for plowing the driveway, buying way-too-expensive fuel oil, keeping all the animals warm and safe.  As well, my horses haven't ventured out into the far-out pastures: too icy even for four-footed ones that weigh a thousand pounds.  Oh, God: deliver us from this misery, they seem to be thinking as they stand outside in the only ray of warm sunshine--a prelude of spring, wherever she may be hiding.

So, I make this entry with bits of seed soil under my fingernails, and I hope that, somehow, this nasty storm while spare us.  But if it doesn't, I will tend my seeds tucked comfortably into their soil, spray a fine mist over them, talk to them hoping that they can hear and may put extra effort into germinating and giving me a ray of hope in this dismal white world.

Everyone keep warm and safe.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meg


I could wring Death around her shriveled black neck for torturing my friends and me without remorse, without consideration, without reason.  It seems she, or is it a he, randomly takes our human and pet friends, willy-nilly, from us--as though she's entertaining herself or trying to remind us all when we are having a "good run" in life that we shouldn't get too enthusiastic because she's right around the corner ready to spring another attack on us.

Death is the grand spoiler.  She interrupts, spoils, disrupts, and shocks.  She is the ultimate Shock Jock.  And I hate her.  We all hate her.

Recently she stole my Ricky cat, and I can smell her hovering over my two old, arthritic horses.  And, who knows?  She may even have her vacuous eye on me as I drive, as I shop, as I sleep.  One never knows when or where the spoiler will next appear.

Just two days ago she came to my friend, Mare's, house and stole her cat, Meg--Mare's best buddy for 20 years and 4 months.  She came stealthily, leaving little signs for months, like mouse turds in a cabinet, that she had an eye on Meg.  As Meg's appetite grew slimmer and slimmer, Mare knew Death was stalking her friend.  She did all she could do to stave off the rancid devil, but she showed up for an overnight visit the other night.

And that was the end of Meg.

I post Meg's picture here so that not only my friends can appreciate Mare's cat for her loyalty, her affectionate nature, her lust for life, but also so that Death can see it too, if she's on Facebook, Twitter, or reads my blogs.  I want Death to know that she fails in so many ways.  She fails because we all have the ability to remember our loved ones and pass on their memory to others who may remember and pass it on to still others.  She fails because in our various ways, many of us prepare memorials to the one who she's taken from us and, therefore, keep that dead one alive.  She fails because, through science and good medicine, we mortals can often hold her back until she comes at us with a vengeance.  She fails because we eventually triumph over our misery.

Death, you loser, Be Not Proud!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tough Times This Winter

As everyone knows, winter has beaten most of us down with all her snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. I'm not whining--just stating facts sure to show up on a Gallup poll.   The falling snow ceased looking wondrous to me weeks ago. Most of us are about done in after paying excruciatingly high fuel oil prices and paying the guys to plow out our driveway.  And many of us, including myself, have fallen on ice.  My ankle and thigh still sport a lovely oil-slick purple bruise. We are winter-poor and winter-weary these days.

As I sit here trying to fight my way through Twitter and Facebook--I'm of an older generation that has to learn social media by the hit-or-miss method--the deer are gathering outside my window for my meager offering of corn.  Yes, I feed the deer; they've had it rough this winter, too.  Their life is difficult--way more than mine, I guess--having to avoid getting shot by hunters in deer season and now by poachers in non-deer killing season, bedding down in the pouring, freezing rain, and having to nourish themselves when most of their food is under two feet of snow.  And their water sources are frozen-over, forcing them to cross dangerous highways to travel down to the river.  It's not an easy life.  So, I've begun to try to make their lives just a bit easier by putting out corn.

Every evening around this time the herd approaches, stealthily--never at ease, never able to thoroughly enjoy a meal in peace and quiet as I do.  No, the deer are constantly on edge, fidgety--they know to watch for two-leggeds with guns, cars, and bad intentions.

What they don't know is that I do not, or ever will, carry a gun to kill them.  I am their feeder, their nourisher.  I just hope to fill their bellies and make one afternoon a bit easier for them.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Disabling of America

 Forgive me, if you can, for getting on my soapbox about the devolution of my America.  I am upset about the direction this country is going under Obama's autocracy, and I must have my say. Most Americans are suffering these days: fuel oil is over four dollars a gallon; food prices are inflated; jobs are scarcer than a flea on a pig.  A US citizen can hardly stay warm or even eat decently these days, and many of us don't have a pot to piss in because we're scraping to pay taxes that are unreasonable, at best.  It's time the suffering stops for the middle class, for we are the only ones up against it right now.  So here be my cathartic piece, if it's nothing else. Hereafter I will limit myself to goodies about animals.  


The Disabling of America

            I have no physical limitations, yet I am a disabled American.  I have been robbed of my sight, hearing, and my ability to speak.  I am struck numb by Obama’s fundamental transformation of America.

I am nearly blind. 
            My America had become almost unrecognizable: a President consumed by radical ideology, dreamy-eyed by visions of a Euro-America--a socialist nation in which an individual’s instinct to compete and reach for the American Dream is drowned out by cries of “redistribution of wealth.”  What little I can see of this administration is frightening: self-proclaimed Communists and Socialists within the President’s advisory groups, associates of the President with criminal records--co-founders of radical, anti-capitalist terrorist groups of the 1970’s.  I do not see a President proud of his traditional America values, for he apologizes to foreign nations for America’s foibles, as he interprets them..  I do not see a President who loves America and her unique Constitution. 
            I rub my eyes, but all is blurry.  I hardly recognize my fellow Americans either.  Where are those people who cherish competition, higher education, and creative entrepreneurialism?  Where are those Americans who would rather tough it out than receive a hand-out from the government?  Where are the Americans who express their patriotism freely, proudly, and are willing to protect, at great cost, this country from terrorists and enemy nations?  Where are the Americans who stand proud against dissatisfied youth, ingrates, and jealous foreigners?
            I rub my eyes: I vaguely recognize some of these Americans in the distance, but the vision is dimming fast.

I am deaf. 
            I don’t hear our representatives in Washington defending our Constitution.  I don’t hear them opposing Obama, the ideologue, or questioning the legality of his decisions.  Yet within the silence sounds a roar: concerned citizens at town hall meetings--trying to be heard, trying to make sense of a huge deficit and health care bill that is a lie set in stone, one which jeopardizes their very lives.  American citizens everywhere are being silenced by those that have elected them--chastised by Congressmen and women and Ms. Pelosi who has called them “disruptive” and “un-American” because they are speaking freely and protesting according to their Constitutional rights.

I am a mute.
            I open my mouth to protest but fall back in silence—out of fear—fear that no one will listen, fear that I may be Big Brother-listed against the current regime, fear that a radical may retaliate against me and all that is dear to me.  I must be quiet for lurking in a corner hides a lout who has never understood how America came to be free and who does not value individual freedom and who is intent on leveling and fundamentally changing society.  Silent for fear for my life, I have, overnight, become a charge of a totalitarian state.

I am blind; I am deaf; and I am unable to speak, but I am hardly alone.  At this moment, many Americans have been disabled by this President’s shrewd, hidden agenda.  Despite this government’s employment of smoke and mirrors, we have one quality left with which to fight and find hope:


We can still feel.   


            Even while our America is gasping under the murky waters of the Obama administration, I hope and feel that Americans--black, white and Hispanic--will demand to speak and be heard.  Americans united will see that before we are any color, we are first Americans—rugged individualists—who resent being hand-held, regulated, and controlled by any government and who expect elected officials to uphold the Constitution.
            We Americans are NOT European: we don’t WANT to be as Europeans, failing to thrive as individuals under socialist governments.  We Americans are not wired that way.  We are wired to think, question, and judge all criteria against the values of freedom, democracy, and capitalism. 

            What can we, as disabled Americans, do?
            Overcome the disabilities—the outright lies-- and stand firm, as firm as our forefathers did.  Hold our representatives and the President accountable for insuring our individual rights and freedoms, and our RIGHT to pursue happiness.   Protest with vigor and commitment the equalizing and socializing of American society because with the leveling of classes comes a wider class gap and the loss of individual freedom.
            If, after that effort, we find ourselves more blinded, deaf, and more afraid to speak, we must revolt as our ancestors had to and seek freedom afresh.  We must clean house—the White House.  We will demand the resignation, if not, impeachment of this President and his hatchetmen. 

            As this current administration seeks to disable us, we must stand united against it, armed with the Constitution and our stamina as Americans.

By Gay L. Balliet

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Companion Pig

The snow and ice in the Northeast has been a bit more than annoying this winter, but it did help me out.  I became housebound for enough days to finish a book which I have written under a pseudonym and which won't be mentioned much until I get some guidance from my agent and publisher.  Yes, it is that good and that secretive.  It must remain unwhispered until I find out how to deal with some things inside its cover.

I also completed a handbook for potential and current miniature pig companions.  It's working title is THE COMPANION PIG.  I cranked it out in fewer than three months with the help of my friends and contributors Susan Magidson, Jeannie Watson, Dr. Arlen Wilbers, and, of course, my agent Diana Flegal.    Without them the book would have been rather skeletal.  But it is finished now, and it is in Diana's hands.  We shall see how enthusiastic the publishers will be for it, but I know there's a bunch of readers out there who are in desperate need of an all-inclusive book on how to care for piglets and adult pigs.  And I know, too, that lots of pig humans (I cannot call them "owners" because pigs do not allow themselves to be owned as dogs and cats do.) would appreciate a book that guides a reader on how to re-train an aggressive piggy.  THE COMPANION PIG attempts to do it all.

In the meantime I'm heading outside to muck horse stalls and probably fall on the jagged ice for the umpteenth time.  And if I have another creative idea spring into my mind, I will begin authoring another book.  At least that will be a safer journey than the one outside.

The picture posted here is by pet photographer, Dennis Gillette, who photographed my friend, Sheryl's pig, Pee-Wee a few years ago.  Pee-Wee is giving me one of his famous kisses.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Guest Blog: Kimberley Nelson's fundraiser for Fort McMurray animal shelter

 
Here's a guest post from Kimberly Nelson, an animal rescuer and fundraiser.  After she adopted her dog, Rolo from the local shelter in Fort McMurry, she did a Christmas fundraiser.  In 2013 she asked friends, family, and the community to help her out.  Here is her tale of success.


Today is my 26th Birthday and what better way of sharing my special day then sharing the total for Our Christmas FMSPCA Fundraiser of 2013. Why do I love Fort McMurray.. Well look below! First off I want to give a Big Thank YOU to all of the people who contributed to our Christmas Fundraiser by either purchasing an item, donating a wish list item, donating bottles or even just spreading the word about our fundraiser. A Big shout out to my Mom, Auntie Cathy and her dad George for taking time out of their lives to make handmade bone ornaments to sell with proceeds going to the fundraiser AND THEY DONT EVEN LIVE IN FORT MCMURRAY. As well as the lady my mom knows and her daughter in BC who made the fleece tied animal toys from my mom’s scrap fleece and my good friend Nicole Robinson who held a Zumba fundraiser for me with the proceeds going to our total. My goal this year was to collect wish list items and sponsor 3 kennels as last year I only collected wish list items. I thought this was a great goal as sponsoring the  3 dog kennels alone would cost $600.00.
This needs to be written in Caps Locks..WITH ALL OF YOUR HELP WE WERE ABLE TO SPONSOR NOT 3 KENNELS BUT 7 KENNELS AS WELL AS PURCHASE SOME WISH LIST ITEMS WITH THE LEFTOVER MONEY. This truly makes my heart melt knowing how generous the community is. I love Fort McMurray and those who don’t should take a look around at all of the amazing people we have here who give so much to those who need it.
Our 2013 Christmas Kennel Sponsorships include;
Toby
Moose
Chillo
Lexi(now at Edson Animal Rescue Society)
Georgia(Adopted)
Ginger
My favorite Tripod, Triumph(Adopted).

Kimberley NelsonConfessions Of A Rescue Mom
"Blogging About All Things Animal & Adoption"

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rescuemomblog
Blog: www.confessionsofarescuemom.com
Twitter: @RescueMomBlog
 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Service Animals: Helping is Saving

Here is a guest blogger, Cindy Romero, who has written an article on service animals I think you will all enjoy.  Thanks.  Gay



Our pets are hardworking, and willing to do anything to please us, but can they also keep us safe? Besides the Seeing Eye dogs we all know and love, there are many other service animals that keep their masters alive, well, and happy every day.

Mental Health Therapy Dogs
Let’s start with what most people commonly express about their pets: they are therapeutic for their mental health. My pets know when I’m sad, and they do try to cheer me up whether it’s snuggles from my cats or energetic kisses from my dogs (my bunny remains adorably oblivious but that’s okay). Our pets can say so much about us and can also be a very therapeutic part of our lives. Among the different types of animals we keep as pets, dogs seem to be best at helping us when we need them most.  Among those that are so appreciated is the certified psychiatric service dog.
Besides helping autistic children with emotional, social, and communication skills, dogs are also great for people with depression and anxiety disorders, as well as those with developmental disorders. The unconditional love and dependency of a dog can boost a person’s mood more than anyone would think. According to MentalHealthDogs.org, the many benefits of specifically-trained-for-you therapy dogs include the following:
·         Increased sense of security, self-ability, self-esteem, and well-being and purpose
·         Relief from loneliness and isolation
·         Structure and healthy habits
·         Optimism
·         Uncomplicated, dependable, and safe relationship
·         Motivation to exercise and interact socially
Even if someone doesn’t have a trained mental health service dog, snuggling with his or her pet helps lower the hormone, cortisol, a stress hormone urging to engage in either fight or flight.  And lowering one’s cortisol level is always beneficial.

Diabetic Alert Dogs
These therapy dogs can quickly alert diabetics to the severe spikes or drops in their insulin levels, some of which can be life-threatening. The Wall Street Journal suggest that the dog’s acute sense of smell, its accuracy and speed for detecting low blood sugar does a better job of detecting impending a diabetic crisis than do many medical devices.  Scientists don’t know what it is the animal can detect, but these dogs (retrievers, generally) smell it.  Once alerted by his or her canine friend, a diabetic can then take steps to manage their blood glucose levels, which can save a life and prevent serious complications.

Seizure Alert Dogs
Similar to the diabetic alert dogs, these dogs are trained to warn their caretakers of an on-coming seizure. How Stuff Works maintains that animals are highly sensitive to subtle physical and biological signals that humans don’t notice. Assigned to those with epilepsy, a dog can tell when the seizure is on its way and will warn the human by pawing, barking or circling and trying to get the person to lie down in a safe place. The dog will then lie beside or on top of the person to make him or her feel safe and prevent them from injuring themselves. How loving and responsible is that?

Other uses:
Reading therapy dogs and even school counselor assistance cats and dogs are also helpful in the classroom setting, making children more comfortable and less aggressive toward others (for more information on therapy animals, click here).
Animals provide a heartfelt and enthusiastic service to so many appreciative people. 
January 29th is Seeing Eye dog day. Celebrate all service animals on this day, and  let your animals cheer you up a little bit more for an extra treat.


I’m Cindy Romero a writer on all things pets.  I have a high jumping cat (Sebastiana), a beautiful black lab (Shadow), a calming retriever-lab (Teddy) and a feisty Himalayan bunny (Ruby) that all roam around the house.