Blog posts

Animals: True Art for the Heart!

Just recently, I was humbled to have a wonderful artist graciously do a portrait of me and my dog, Maui.  It got me thinking about how animals are true “art for the heart”.  I absolutely consider the face of a beautiful horse to be true art, as are a group of puppies and kittens, or pictures of you playing and being incrediblyhappy with your pets. It is amazing all the different mediums and choices an artist can use to give you such emotion from what you see on the canvas, or the sculpture.  The amazing feeling that they give you in your heart, forever, is priceless.

For the portrait I was given, it was the wonderful color and expression through the simplicity of the line that got me immediately. I remember that day and time like it was yesterday and the happiness this enduring art has given me is priceless. The artist’s name is Nittaya Namrung (Nittra, for short) She is from Thailand (the wonder of the internet, bringing animals lovers together!) and she is actually in school for Molecular Biology, but she apparently is great at art, too. Her online site is:  http://paintmyphoto.online/. She uses watercolor and digital portraits for her mediums and I have to say, I LOVE what she gave me. Thanks, Nittra!

Interested in some other animal art that you might want to get done for yourself, or art you can fin of animals in general?  There are literally thousands of websites and options out there to get your fill of animal art.  Getting a sculpture done, or getting a commissioned portrait of you, your family and your pets is just as easy.  Simply surfing the web, you can come up with endless options to get exactly the medium, size, etc. you desire.

If you want to get your custom pet portrait painting” from Nittra, check out these sites to learn more about her and how you can get one of your own beautiful designs:  http://paintmyphoto.online/index.php/2019/07/24/custom-pet-portrait-from-photo/ and at Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PaintMyPhotos?ref=seller-platform-mcnav.

EACH time you look at that painting, graphic art, or sculpture, your eyes will fill with tears because of the priceless treasure that you now have.  Animals are true “Art for the Heart”…

DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF!

Humans can be so silly sometimes.

We get so worried about making a fool of ourselves, or what others might think, that sometimes we miss out on having a truly great time.  This is something I LOVE about kids.  Before they grow up and are “taught” to stop being so foolish, kids can have so much fun doing the simplest and silliest things.  It is true happiness and a wonderful gift which we are all born with, but somehow lose as we age.  Animals have the gift that they NEVER lose this wonderful quality.

I had a very bad horse accident twenty years ago that put me in a coma.  I know it sounds horrible, but fortunately, I made a fantastic recovery.  (Although many would say I am crazy, as I have been riding again for many, many years, minus my recovery time. LOL).  It can be fairly common for people to become depressed, or aggravated from a head injury and from the following recovery, but for me, it was one of the happiest and most simple times of my life.  Part of that was because I had no sense of “embarrassment, so there was no, “Do I look funny? Should I have said that?  Does this outfit make me look weird?” I was just happy to be alive, happy to feel the sun on my back.  Just happy…  I look at my animals now and realize that they have that gift every day.   It was one of the greatest lessons I ever learned and one that my animals constantly remind me of when I forget.

One of my cats, Frack, is the best at reminding me to not worry about making a fool of myself. He is very clumsy, which is weird for a cat, but he doesn’t care.  I’ll see him, lying on the bed, or the steps, legs spread-wide open with his belly up like a hog, totally shameless and completely unbothered by the fact that he WILL fall.  He will land in a heap, making an utter fool of himself.  Still, he’s just so happy and comfortable that he can’t be bothered to realize that, although he is a cat, he has essentially NO ability to be “cat like” and agile! LOL

Every new event and situation is a potentially positive and a spectacular moment not to miss…

His total lack of awareness about his silliness allows him to be super comfy, relaxed and one of the most “chilled out and cool” creatures, people or humans, that I have ever known.  Because of this, every new event and situation is a potentially positive and a spectacular moment he will not miss.  True, we laugh at him lots because he does so much silly stuff.  However, he is also the happiest of us all, adapting to all situations. Truly, he will probably lead the most fulfilling life of us all!

So, here is to animals (and kids) and their loss of personal “worries”.

So, here is to animals and their loss of personal “worries” that keep the rest of us from truly enjoying things.  Each day we should all stop worrying or being embarrassed and just be more child-like.  Live life, adapt, have more fun and just ENJOY!

 

 

Have a Pet – Stay Healthy!

Woof woof! Meow! Tweet tweet!  Do these sounds make you feel happy, comfortable and good inside?  Dogs, cats, horses and other animal species can be not only our best friends, but they can also benefit us emotionally, psychologically and physically.  For years, the medical community has reported tremendous health benefits brought to us by animals and that can also hold true even if they are not in our own family.

Perhaps one of the most studied and obvious health benefit pets provide is cardiovascular improvement.  Certainly, Fido needs regular walks, runs and playtime.  An added benefit to this physical activity is that pets tend also to make us walk faster, for longer periods of time and they help to keep the physical exercise on a regular schedule.  Think of a dog as a personal trainer!

Concerning heart-health, one NIH News in Health-funded study even found that of 421 heart-attack suffering patients examined, those with pets had a more significant chance of being alive one year later, as opposed to patients without pets.   The results of this study showed that this benefit remained true regardless of the severity of the heart attack.1   Pets have also been noted to drop blood pressure, which is an another benefit for the heart.

Other benefits stemming from pets, according to The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are reported decreases in cholesterol levels and feelings of lonliness.2  Pet ownership is an ideal and instant icebreaker because they can easily help a person start up a conversation.   Everyone loves to pet a dog or play with cat-what better way to start a friendly chat with someone and the four-legged friend can help do the talking.

Other benefits stemming from pets, according to The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are reported decreases in cholesterol levels and feelings of lonliness.2  Pet ownership is an ideal and instant icebreaker because they can easily help a person start up a conversation.   Everyone loves to pet a dog or play with cat-what better way to start a friendly chat with someone and the four-legged friend can help do the talking.

Although some people definitely suffer from pet dander allergies, there is research indicating that growing up around pets can even help curb allergies. A pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. James E. Gern, has done studies showing up to a 33 percent decrease in developing allergies when pets are present in a home. Children who are exposed to animals early in development also tend to develop stronger overall immune systems. While this won’t help adults already struggling with allergies, it can be great news for families without an existing allergy problem.

Winston Churchill once said, ”There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  Based on research, no more true words have been spoken.  So go get the saddle, Frisbee, ball or better yet some running shoes and get much needed exercise with your newest and best personal trainer!

1 NIH News In Health, newsinhealthnih.gov , Features section, February 2009
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC 24/7: Saving Lives, protecting People   ”Healthy Pets Healthy People”, cdc.gov, page last updated April 30, 2014

Celebrate Mother Earth and ALL her Creatures!

As today is Earth Day, it is especially important to be grateful for all the AMAZING beauty, bounty and incredible creatures and plants that we are unreasonably lucky to be able to enjoy.  Nature has given us beautiful sunsets, incredible oceans, lakes and mountains, deserts, rainforests and more.  Included in all of that unbelievable backdrop are some of the most outrageous, weird and wonderful creatures that we can’t even pretend to have come up with ourselves.

The cool thing about all of this is that it is just here for our enjoyment, frustration (if you have ever owned a pet, you understand me, LOL) and amazement.  In addition to the importance of being good stewards to a planet we share with everything and everyone, we also need to take this day to appreciate how much animals, fish, lizards (and every other creature out there) truly enrich and improve our lives.     BTW, today is a PERFECT day to adopt an animal and give it the love and caring it deserves so we can help them AND help ourselves.  Just sayin…

If nothing else, please take a moment to truly “get” how lucky we all really are to have this planet, these creatures and all the beauty, fun and love that the whole thing brings us…just because.  Happy Earth Day to all, PLEASE adopt and appreciate how much better your life is because of Mother Nature’s critters!

 

 

ANIMALS: They Break Barriers

 

Have you ever noticed that all animals can bring on friendships and make even the most introverted people more open?  All animals, pretty much regardless of species, can bring that out in a human.

This is one of my favorite qualities of animals.  All animals enable you to open up yourself to others and to open up yourself to animals in a way that many people just CAN’T with other people.  They simply make things better.  I mean, dogs are used as service animals to comfort as one of their tasks.  They use dogs because other people simply can’t bring that out in another human…but dogs can!

This is how they break barriers.  Even the shiest kid, or adult can open up and become more socialized when there are animals around.  I used the picture of me competing years ago on Cocoa, the Wonder Pony.  I was waiting for my turn to start and hanging out in the shade and the young girls just couldn’t resist.  Soon enough, Cocoa and I had ourselves some new friends!  When humans see something cute and furry, their world suddenly opens up, which allows for people to do the same.

What is it about animals that does this for us?  Is it because they are furry and comfy looking?  Perhaps it is that they DON’T speak, making us feel at ease about not having to start a conversation.  Maybe it is the way they look at us, really LOOK AT US in a comfortable, “I see you” kind of way, making us feel like everything is going to be ok.   I mean, just petting cats and dogs is supposed to lower blood pressure because they DO calm people and reassure.  How cool is that?

Modern medicine should be writing prescriptions for “animal petting as medications” to cure our problems instead of taking all these freaky, major side-effect medications that the world seems to be addicted to anymore!! Think about it, even though animals are addictive, it’s a “good” addiction that won’t cause you to sell everything you own and live on the streets, trying to score a “petting fix”! LOL I don’t know what it is about all animals that gives us even better feelings than any drug, but I certainly am such a better person with such an unbelievably enriched life because of what all animals give me that I can’t think them enough.

If you have an animal, any animal, or know someone who does, be sure to thank the animal today for how they have opened us up to so many more people, friends and great moments than we ever could have on our own. Something about that fur (or feathers, or scales…) that folks simply can’t resist.  I think animals should be considered to be, “People Ambassadors” because they have done so much good for society.

 

 

 

 

CATS and DOGS: TAKE NEW PATHS

“You never know if you don’t go.”  Isn’t that the truth?

All animals roam.  In herds, the tendency is to go the way of the crowd.  Certainly, this has some benefits.  Still, sometimes, you have to just “take the back streets” and explore.  This is a skill I learned most from dogs and cats.  I don’t know which species goes on little explorations more (since they are both always looking to find new and exciting trouble! LOL), but they each have taught me that wonderful skill.

Sometimes you just HAVE to get off the beaten path and find a new route.  Animals have helped teach me to always be open to the “other” forks in the road, the little dirt path, or even the road that isn’t even there yet…  Certainly, there have been some tough, rocky and unpleasant roads I have taken, but if I hadn’t taken those, thanks to my animals helping me to look that way, I would have missed out on the beautiful and amazing things that have come to me on the other side. The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, said it best:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. ”

Thanks to my dogs and cats for teaching me this lesson. It sure has been fun so far…:-)

SENIORS: Still Play and Enjoy!

There are several, very wonderful web sites set up specifically to get older dogs (and other animals) adopted and I think that it is truly fantastic, and very much needed. Since I have quite a bit of experience working with older horses (and dogs and cats and birds…), I wanted to share what amazing experiences that the older generation has given me. Honestly, some of these most enriching, funny and heart-warming times I ever had were with my years of taking care of the “older generation.”

Many years ago, I managed a farm that had many retired horses that we cared for on the farm.  Although it was not specifically a “retiree” farm, the large bulk of the horses we boarded were either completely retired, or only in light work.  Several of these horses had been national champions in their day and quite frankly, in their late teens and twenties, still looked great (I routinely kept them groomed, trimmed and looking sharp) and felt great.  It was their amazing attitudes that taught me things daily.

All older animals have a certain amount of “slowing down”, due to arthritis and other common aging problems. Still, they all managed to get themselves into trouble enough, meaning that even in their increased age, they all still managed to act like a bunch of kids on the playground.  I used really enjoy cleaning and treating all the scrapes, cuts and abrasions they would have because I always thought, “Good for you!” 

As humans, we have a LOT to learn about getting older gracefully and still enjoying life.  We spend soo much time complaining about, “My bones creak, I’ve got too much arthritis, I can’t do that anymore…”  Then, we sit in our homes, not going anywhere, or doing anything.  Those sedentary lives and attitudes are like a slow suicide, I think.  The one thing I will say that I learned for sure from older animals is, “move it or lose it!”

Animals come at it at a completely different angle.  They used to make me laugh so hard, watching those foolish horses act like little foals sometimes.  The great thing about age is the patience and appreciation they would also have to then lay full-out on a sunny day to bask in the glory of the sun, or to just SIT STILL when I was cleaning up all their little “war wounds” from enjoying each other (again, like kids).

We used to have three separate herds of fully retirees and “living out” horses, but I’d watch them gallop up and down the hills, kick out and “fight” each other and just enjoy each day like it was the most important day of their life.  Because of them (and all the times they put me in the hospital! LOL) I have definitely learned to keep moving, keep loving life and just try to live each day like it might be your last.

Horse Business Card Holder