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As way of explanation: Our family adopted Ladybird, a boxer/mastiff mix from Circle L Ranch which is a rescue and sanctuary, on January 2, 2017.  Our goal was ‘to do a good deed.’ It wasn’t as though we needed another dog, we had three. I had been looking at dogs from various Arizona rescue groups, the Yavapai Humane Shelter and asking friends to ‘keep an ear out’ for a dog who needed us.

Circle L posted a dog on their facebook page which sounded interesting so we went to look at her. She had a couple of adopters ahead of us, so our son, Bob, and I looked at the other dog which was living in one of the ‘old people’s home.’ Ladybird was 10-12 years old they thought, had been a stray picked up in San Luis, AZ, taken to the Yuma shelter and made her way up to Prescott Valley and the Circle L Ranch rescue via a very special lady, Dr. Deborah Wilson.

Dr. Wilson is the founder and benefactor of Circle L Ranch, and is an ardent animal advocate. She keeps her eyes open for dogs she can help from Yuma as it dogs-ladybird-2has a very small animal shelter.

Ladybird really had nothing going for her in the way of making anyone want to adopt her. She was quiet, gave off the feeling of being very tired. She surely was a dog who could use some love and attention. She was someone ‘who needed us.’

So it was that we decided to adopt Ladybird and as we were walking back to the car we saw some puppies cavorting in another pen. I asked what they were and was told they were Miniature Schnauzer/Brussels Griffon. Well, I had to look. One of my special dog loves was Little Miss Muffitt a Miniature Schnauzer that I wrote extensively about in my Dogs, Dogs and More Dogs book. Long story short, we ended up with Sir Winston and Ladybird.

We brought them home together. Ladybird had been a breeding dog as witnessed by her enlarged nipples. How, where and why wasn’t known. In fact nothing much was known about the sad looking elderly Ladybird. Her eyesight was diminished, but she was not blind. Of course one of the first things I wanted to do was talk to her via my animal communicator whom I have known for about 20 years.

You either are open minded about animal communication, or you aren’t, but I have seen too many things happen to ever doubt it. Mary said that Ladybird was smart and had a fighting spirit which had kept her alive. She said that this part would be hard to hear, but Ladybird’s puppies had been used for dog fighting. Ladybird said that they took away her fat wiggly puppies and she never saw them again. Of course, now tears are forming in my eyes.

Then she said she was dumped. She was so tired, she didn’t care. Dying wouldn’t be worse than she had experienced. She had shelter, it was a garage or a barn, it wasn’t terrible but it was not a house. She was just part of the business. When she was roaming, she said she was so thirsty and so tired. She was so glad to be picked up and rescued but she was not hopeful but she was not crushed. Her Mastiff breeding made her strong.

Mary said Ladybird had been born with a great deal of integrity; she was not bitter, cynical or mean. Her motto for each day was, ‘I will survive and it will be a good day.’ Furthermore, she is loyal, not crafty, is honest and courteous.

I told Mary that Ladybird had no idea of being led, and could she show her like she had helped me with a baby colt I had been trying to teach to lead. I bred horses, had many foals and NEVER had one like this little colt. That was my first experience with talking to Mary and my animals. She explained to the colt that a tug on the rope meant to follow. Next day when I tried it, he was nearly perfect!

Mary said she would tell Ladybird to talk to the equines in the barn to explain ‘leading.’ She said she imagined that many places Ladybird was made to go were not good. She was the picture of a dog being pulled to its death or some other awful experience. She is now better at leading. I use small tugs; a strong pull causes her to ‘shutdown.’

One of the reasons we adopted Ladybird was she seemed very mild tempered and could get along with Buttercup our 2 year old Doberman who is bossy, but not very smart. Ladybird called her a scrappy hooligan, and that fits! Finding other dogs for our household would be interesting because of her. One of the first encounters over a house gate was Buttercup acting full of herself and Ladybird calmly turning her head to the side. I mentioned this to Mary and she said it was a ‘calming gesture’ meant to deescalate any problem.

Mary also said that Ladybird said Buttercup is immature, but she can learn. She also knew that even though Buttercup acted like she was hot stuff, she ‘could deck her.’ Thus she really didn’t have anything to prove, and could turn her head. She had learned how to live and survive.  She was an alpha dog with Zen qualities. I found this to be true as the days went on. She somehow did have a calming influence on the other dogs. Of Lady Blue, our Giant Schnauzer who is 12, she said, “You know nothing of the world; you are just old and crotchy.” That is pretty true. Our well loved pet dogs do know nothing of what the world can be like, and we are happy for that, but for the many like Ladybird, we must do what we can to help!

Of Sir Winston, Mary said she was impressed with him; he had no issues, he was a blank slate.  He said he had no tragic tales to tell. He was a happy pup and ready for his life to unfold.

This is why so many of us love puppies, we can mold and teach them in our way of life. But please always remember the “Ones who need us.” And, you can do both!


Just a comment about Ladybird. I know she doesn’t seem to fit the description of alpha dog, but somehow she is. Maybe because she has had many puppies and taught them how to be dogs in a dog family, or because she knows her self-worth even though life had been hard, she exudes a quiet self reliant demeanor. Whatever, alpha or not, I think she is a very special dog to come into a new family and quietly and thankfully take her place. She is a wonderful pseudo mother to Sir Winston who has been the easiest puppy ever to add to the family, and a puppy that no one will ever take away from her!




How we started out our New Year

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Winston and Ladybird

It seemed the Universe was calling and I heard “Her.” She was saying, “You need to get another dog. A dog that needs you.” Well, that was interesting. Once that seed had been planted it sort of sprouted, but months later no dog showed up ‘that needed us.’ I called different rescue groups and told them we didn’t need another dog, but we wanted to do a good thing and would give a home to one. I talked to friends, looked on line at rescue groups and dogs that were available, and stopped in and visited the Yavapai Humane Shelter. Nothing ‘rang my bell.’

But in the back of my mind and in my heart I longed for another Miniature Schnauzer. I had loved Little Miss Muffitt for seventeen years and adopted little Maggie, a puppy mill mother. She lived with us for four years, enjoying a lovely life after ‘who knows what’ happed to her. Another one would be lovely—but whatever the Universe had in mind would be ok.

A couple days ago I was looking at Facebook and saw a post from Circle L Ranch Rescue and Sanctuary about an elderly Basset Hound whose owners had taken her to the vet’s to be put down—because she peed on the carpets. The vet tried to tell them she might just have a UTI, but giving medicine would be too difficult they said, so the vet called the rescue and arrangements were made for Dottie to go there instead of being euthanized.

Well, I thought, this sounds interesting, so I called Circle L, got a message, left a message, told Bob, our son, that I doubted I would hear soon and why don’t we just go to Costco instead. Just a few miles down the road I got a call, it was Ann from Circle L, and yes we could come see the dogs, Dottie already had a couple possible homes, but if I wanted to see other older dogs or the rest of the animals, we could.

First Universe sign:  I got the call from Circle L and we were already on our way. We arrived, met Ann and she took us to see the older dogs including Dottie. There were two dogs in the room, Dottie and an older Boxer/Mastiff mix. I barely gave Ladybird a second look; she had a Boxer’s face, her tongue stuck out on the side a little because of missing teeth. A little on the thin side, certainly not pretty. She wasn’t outgoing at all, not shy or frightened, just reserved—very reserved. She had been a stray, picked up in Yuma and because they have a very small shelter, she made her way up north to Prescott and Circle L.  She hadn’t been previously neutered, obviously had had puppies, perhaps another puppy mill dog.

Bob petted her more, and I could tell he felt sorry for her, but I had eyes only for Dottie—who was absolutely adorable. She kept following me around, sitting down in front of me and looking straight at me. There was no doubt in her mind that she was going home with someone, quite possible me—and I was actually hooked. Those eyes, oh my goodness, those eyes!

However, it did not appear likely Dottie would become ours; she had other chances for a forever home. So I looked at Ladybird again. The Universe was poking me. Something was wrong with her eyes. Ann said she could see, but not real well. She was very mellow, she was good with a puppy that was with her and Dottie now and then; she offered her paw. She stood quietly while Ann opened her mouth and looked at her teeth, yes she had some to chew with, but others were missing. There just was nothing in the world to make Ladybird stand out or make someone want to take her. I don’t know that she had given up, but when I looked at her again she had poked her head in the corner of the window and just stood there while we talked. “I know I am nothing special, who would want me? I know Dottie is adorable, ” she seemed to say.

Little did Ladybird know that this was going to be her lucky day.  She was about to get her forever home. As we were walking back to the car with Ann, I saw some puppies running about in a pen farther away. “What are those?” I asked?

“Miniature Schnauzer puppies,” She said.

Be still my heart! “May I see them?”

We went through gate. Ann said that the puppies were recently weaned and were a mix of Miniature Schnauzer and Brussels Griffon but she said they looked mostly Schnauzer, which was true except they had long  tails.  Two were spoken for but one little guy who was the largest was quite a mellow fellow, Ann said, and absolutely endearing. I picked him up and called out to Bob, “Hey, how about two?” Bob is my partner in crime where dogs are concerned. I don’t know what I would do without him. “You do whatever you want,” was his answer.

The other problem that the Universe had to take into consideration: We have other dogs. A female twelve year old Giant Schnauzer, an eight year old Rat Terrier female and the ‘terror,’ a two year old female Doberman. Buttercup has her own issues, some anxiety, but protective of her family and especially if other dogs are involved. We knew it would take just that special dog to live with her. Someone very submissive and tolerant. I knew a puppy would work because Buttercup could easily be the boss of a puppy, but an older dog would be more difficult.

This day the Universe found a Schnauzer puppy for me and a home for a gentle old lady who would not give a hoot about an obnoxious Doberman who thought very highly of herself.

Truly, I had just been going to ‘take a look’


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Well, darn I overdid it the other day and now I am paying for it. I felt so good that Karen and I went on a long walk. (Karen walked too) It was so great to be out and checking out the new surroundings. Next day my stifle was swollen again and I was lame. So no more walks. More laser treatments and some Bute and liniment. Oh well. And since I cannot go for walks, I might as well tell more stories. Thanks to those of you who said they enjoyed my viewpoint on life. Someone said: Hearing from the ‘mule side of the fence was very entertaining and thought provoking.’ I like that. Might even be the title of my new children’s book! LOTTIE: Stories from the Mule Side of Fence the Fence.

On a brighter side, Rose hands out treats. She keeps saying she has to ask Karen if it is ok that I have them, but she forgets. I think it will be ok with Karen because she brought a whole plastic bag of carrots out one day.  Giving treats to equines is a big controversy I hear. Either it is great or a bad thing. Rose said she always uses treats for dogs and horses. Susie told me that everyone always get treats whenever any mule is saddled up for a ride and also when they get back home, and she whispered, “On the ride too!” Susie has Rose wrapped around her little mule hooves. I am the same with my Karen.

Susie has this plan that Rose allows: There are certain stopping places where treats are doled out. Daisy comes up to Rose’s leg because Bob is riding her behind Susie, and Rose pops one in her mouth, then reaches down and sticks one in Susie’s.  Every now and then Susie tries to add more stops, but usually Rose won’t listen. I think this is a fabulous plan. Like I said, we mules are smart.

The other thing is though, Rose says they all have to have good manners getting their treats, no biting, foot stomping or pushing. And all are good. (Well, Ruth Ann paws and does the mule whinny, but that is expected from her). Sunday has more of a problem with being nice. Rose tells everyone who visits and is allowed to give treats, to watch out for Sunday as she might actually “Bite the hand that feeds her.” She really isn’t mean about it, just loves food. We mules are very polite and dainty, however. We take treats with our lips ever so gently, even a little child can do it.

I sometimes miss out on the treats because I haven’t quite figured out when they are passed out, and I am outside in my pen, but I am catching on. One thing I have figured out is: The rustle of a plastic bag means yummies: Corn husks, apples or maybe carrots. I am right there on that one. Now if I can just get better again, I will be happy and take shorter walks. I hear stifle injuries take a long time to heal, so I guess there will be lots of time for telling stories…

P.S. Rose tells me that writing and telling true animal stories is lots of fun, but telling people about them is hard. I do not want to be impolite, but if you would please share my blog stories and Rose’s mule book with your friends, we would be really pleased!   MULES, MULES AND MORE MULES and of course, she does have this book about horses too: THE HORSE THAT WOULDN’T TROT.




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I have to say I was impressed with Sunday. She remembered how to get to the barn the next day all on her own. Just maybe horses are not as dumb as I thought. Of course, my mother was one of the smartest horses I have ever known, but then, I might be prejudiced.  So all is well with the closed fence, and I do not feel guilty. I enjoy my little pen a lot, but sure wish the trees were not behind an electric fence. My favorite spot is standing under the overhang outside my stall. I feel lucky because I am the only one who can get under it during the day; the rest are turned out in a big pen.

I wondered about going out with all of them, but I think Rose will not let me. She says I am doing very well and we should not tempt fate. I come out now and stand straight in the barn for my treatments. Today I had a different kind. It was a sort of massage tool that her husband who was a chiropractor had used an ‘adjuster.’  It sounds sort of  like a machine gun and feels like a vibrator. I was rather shocked when I heard it, but because I am very well behaved, I just stood there.

The treatment was wonderful and Rose sure found some sore spots, now in my shoulders. Karen had said that riding in Northern California was rather severe as the mountain paths are really very steep. Again I was careful not to lick and chew or blow my nose. I kept my feelings hidden, but when she was finished and put me back, I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I think I did that stuff for a full two minutes straight. Wonder why we equines do that? It really seems rather silly.

I heard some fantastic news the last time Karen was out. She and Rose were visiting and Rose said I could stay here as long as Karen needed me to. She said I was no trouble at all. I was so happy! Rose said that her very special horse, Praise Hallelujah, had passed over the Rainbow Bridge in February, and she had that empty stall that just seemed to need another occupant.  She laughed with Karen and said, “You know how it is in a barn with an empty stall!”

Rose said she thought about adopting a rescue horse but nothing seemed to “click.” So she just put it out into the Universe and waited. Well, I think she was just waiting for me! Maybe her special Praise Hallelujah who was a Tennessee Walking Horse, had something to do with it all. Read about him and the other horses in Rose’s life in “The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot.” It is a horse book, but still worth reading. Karen is reading that one now. I will tell you how she likes it later.

I am very happy now and am signing off from the blog news. Rose says she might make it into a children’s book and let me tell stories about her other mules. I think that might be a super idea. Do you?

PS If you would enjoy my telling you about more stuff, please let Rose know in the comments or email.









LOTTIE continued



Karen came out again. I really enjoy her visits. She grooms, fusses over me and then takes me out to eat grass. AND I get to scratch myself on the juniper trees if I want to. Karen told Rose that I have always done that, but that I really respect electric fences, so if she wanted to fence me away from those little Pinyons, I wouldn’t bother it. Later Bob fixed that up and now I have my own little pen where they think I cannot get into trouble.

By making my fence, it closed part of the other large pen off, so those other mules have to backtrack to get to the barn. Well, it was so funny last night at feeding time. Daisy had figured it out and was standing by the barn door. I think she maybe the smartest, at least when it comes to food. Ruth and Susie and Sunday were standing by the closed gate, thinking Rose would come and open it for them because that is closer to the barn.

Rose thought they should figure out how to get to the barn themselves since apparently I am going to be here awhile. She went to that gate, shook a rope and yelled, “Shoo!” Susie and Ruth immediately galloped down the fence, made the abrupt left turn and ran to the barn. Not Sunday. Sometimes I wonder how horses survive. She just made little half circles and kept coming back to the gate. Rose gave up and led her to the left turn. I am curious whether she has learned how to do it, or how many times it will take to figure it out. Glad we have that donkey blood—we are thinkers!

Also when Karen came, I showed her the mule trick of being very lame. She was impressed. Rose told her that when Ruth Ann was very lame with high ringbone in the right front ankle, she did that lame trick by putting her leg way out from her body. Rose did know she was lame, but Ruth was not going to let her forget. Now Ruth is ok. Rose gives her turmeric capsules every day and that worked as well as Bute. I am on turmeric now too. I hope it helps me.  Also Ruth does not do the lame thing anymore. I guess we have to be sure and only use that lame trick when we really need it.

We animals can communicate, our humans just need to listen. Rose told Karen the story of her feral barn kitties. They are fairly tame, but not like house cats. The little black female showed up one day with really bad runny eyes. Rose put medicine in but the very interesting part of the story is that Lucy, the cat, showed up like clockwork twice a day for her treatments. That went on for about ten days! Now anyone who knows cats knows they don’t like stuff put in their eyes, or anywhere else probably, but Lucy knew she needed help. Then one morning, no Lucy. Next time Rose saw her, her eyes were just fine. Every now and then Lucy needs help for a day or two and she lets Rose know. I never really thought that cats were very smart, but maybe they are!

If you like animal stories, all Rose’s books are superb, but my favorite will always be MULES, MULES AND MORE MULES because Karen said it was wonderful and read it two times back to back! She said it reminded her of her mule adventures with me!lottie-1

Both Karen and I were younger here



More Lottie






Karen had told me she couldn’t come today because she had to go to Phoenix to see the doctor. Poor Karen. She had a really awful accident a few weeks ago. We had been riding at Granite Mountain, got back to the trailer and Karen fell off her  step stool, landed on her outstretched hand, and broke both the bones in her lower left arm. Her cell phone didn’t have service, so she had to walk up to the road for help. A nice man from Zebrascapes landscaping stopped and called the ambulance. I felt so awful, but glad that I hadn’t caused it. She had to go to Phoenix for her surgery. Nice friends took me home and cared for me, but I was sure worried.

Today when Rose got me out of my stall I was suspicious. I was feeling better; maybe she might want to ride me? Karen had let another person ride me when she broke her arm, and Rose had just gotten back from riding Susie. I didn’t want to do that, so I did the “mule fake.’

As soon as she tied me up, I leaned into the cross tie and buckled my right front leg. It looks funky because I have a knot on that knee, but it really doesn’t hurt. Then I took all the weight off my bad hind leg. Believe me it was a little hard standing up with two legs pretending to hurt.

Rose just laughed. “Oh Lottie,” she said, “I am on to those tricks. Ruth Ann does them all the time. Besides I do not want to ride you. You are a funny girl.” Then I moved over and stood up straight. Well, it was worth a try. Maybe this person does know a little about mules. After all she did write that book about us!  

After my laser and liniment treatment, some fly spray and my fly mask put on, she put me back in my stall, but today was different because she opened my gate and let me out in a larger pen. I walked around it, looking at the scenery. It sure is pretty here. My leg was doing really well. I wondered what mischief I might find for myself just to brighten up my day. After all, I am only thirty, not dead.

Rose was tacking up Ruth Ann to ride. I moseyed over to a small Pinyon pine tree in my enclosure. It was about five feet tall.  Humm, wonder if it would make a good scratcher?  What I did not know is that Rose really loves her Pinyons. She sprays them with something that makes them taste funny and no one wants to eat them. I see that the other mules have really demolished the junipers in that area.

When Rose came out to mount Ruth she saw me and yelled. Well, I totally ignored that. My friends do not yell at me. Maybe she was yelling at someone else. She tied up Ruth and came over and shooed me away from the tree. Dang, I was just getting the hang of this. I had stepped over the tree and was moving back and forth scratching my belly. Rose wasn’t laughing now. I moved away and waited until she got out of the gate and started to get on Ruth, then walked over the tree again. Paradise. It felt sooo good to have a belly scratcher.

This time Rose was rather irate, but nice about it. She put her hand under my muzzle and I let her lead me back into my stall area. Bummer.

Later when she let all the horses out in their large enclosure, she let me out again. I have to admire her willingness to give me a second chance, but really, what was she thinking? I had found a good thing. I walked around some and acted like I didn’t even see the little tree, so she left, but told one of the workers who was helping Bob to call if I did the tree scratch again. Another bummer. I did, he did and Rose did. This time I got put back in my stall. Sigh. It sure was fun while it lasted…

And remember if you want to read a super fun book about living with mules, give Mules, Mules and More Mules, a try!

This is me and Karen when I was much younger

lottie 2.jpg


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Karen came to see me today. That made me really happy. We animals can read minds, you know, but sometimes we are not sure we have it right. I was 99% sure Karen had not sold me to Rose. Rose is nice, but she will never be my Karen. So I was glad to see her again.

Rose and Karen talked about the high sill from my stall to outside. The first day I could hardly raise my bad left hind leg over it and Rose was worried that might make my leg worse. She talked to her son, Bob, and he said he could make a small ramp, but by the next day after my laser treatments, I could do the sill just fine. Karen thought we should leave it for my ‘therapy.’

Rose asked Karen if she wanted me to have a haircut. My mane had been growing out. If you don’t know about mule manes, well they are not usually pretty like a horse’s. They mostly stand up straight and if longer, fall over, but in a strange way. Karen said, “Yes, do it!” So I got a beauty treatment. Also got my eye hairs trimmed because they were sort of in my eyes. Rose left the muzzle hairs so I could find my hay and obstacles better.

Next Karen took me out on a rope to eat some Arizona monsoon grass. Boy was that a treat! All the other mules were jealous, I know they were. Poor Sunday, she really was because she loves to eat. Rose took pity on them and since it was close to feeding time, she let them inside the barn. Things are looking up for me. My leg feels better, Karen is still my heartmate, and the food is good. What more can an older mule want?

KAREN AND ME in Northern California where we used to livelottie (4)

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