MORE STORIES BY LOTTIE

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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.

RUTH ANN AND ALEXIS

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A FEW DAYS LATER…

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.

mule-lottie-and-sunday-hanging-out-enjoying-the-am-sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOTTIE continued

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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

 

 

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DAY THREE TUESDAY

 

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

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DAY TWO, MONDAY

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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Karen and LottieMISS LOTTIE AND KAREN

DAY ONE

My name is Lottie. I am a mule. I belong to Karen who I love very much. We have been together for thirty years because I am thirty and I was born on her farm. A few weeks ago I hurt my stifle and back. Yes, I know, mules are supposed to be accident free because we are very smart and take care of ourselves, but what can I say.? Maybe that I am old and forgot something. Karen was very upset, I don’t think with me, hopefully just that I got hurt somehow.

She met a new friend named Rose. Rose has mules too, and wrote a book about them. I bet it is a good one. (MULES, MULES AND MORE MULES ) Karen asked Rose to come visit me and see if she knew what my problem was. Rose told Karen that on a whim, she put her treatment laser in the car. Not sure it was a whim, I think I told her and because she tries to listen to her animals talk to her, she heard me. People wonder how we animals know these things; I cannot explain it either, but suggest you humans just accept we are very special creatures.

I know Rose was sad to see me. My back was humped and my left foot was off the ground. It really hurt somewhere. I had to walk a distance to an electric outlet for my laser treatment. It was hard, but I hoped this laser thing would help so I put on my big girl mule panties and ‘ponied up.’

I didn’t really feel anything as she held the laser on my back along the spine and then the stifle, but when she was done, I felt my tummy gurgle. I hadn’t felt like eating my breakfast hay and left a lot of it in the feeder. Rose was impressed. She told Karen that was a good thing. She also said that mules are pretty stoic and hers didn’t show that the treatments had helped by blowing their noses, licking and chewing or shaking their heads like horses do. Yes, we mules are funny that way. Keep the people guessing is our motto. But I couldn’t control my tummy, so Rose figured it had helped.

Well, let me tell you: I could sure walk back to the stall better. Karen and Rose were happy. Rose said she had never seen a laser treatment work that fast. I just smiled. When I got back to my hay feeder, I dove in and started eating. I did feel better!

Rose told Karen that if it helped and she wanted to take me to her Little Bit of Heaven Ranch, she would treat me more.  It did help and I felt better and could stand a little on the bad left leg. Karen called the vet too. I really like Dr. Killistrom. He was kind and gentle and sad that I was hurt. He told her he thought I had pulled the stifle and my back and butt when I tried to get up after rolling. Maybe that did it. If so, then I am not to blame. Those things just happen especially when you get older. He gave her some medicine and thought the laser thing would be great.

Karen’s friend Charlie said he would trailer me, but it rained and rained and rained and Chino Valley had flood warnings posted. We had to wait, but on Sunday I loaded in the trailer and I was off to a new adventure. Since mules (and maybe horses) can read minds, I was getting an impression of my new herd mates from Rose. I knew she would keep me safe and I would do my mule girl part to stay out of more trouble. I was a little worried about Sunday Praise, the only horse on the ranch. I had heard she was a real bitch. Oops, can I say that?

The other three equines were mules, and I was sure I could get along with them. Karen gave me some medicine to make the trip more comfortable, but really, I was feeling much better. I loaded and unloaded and traveled well.  The mule, Daisy Mae, was calling when the trailer pulled up. She sounded ok. I had heard that she and Sunday had a feud going on. Sunday is boss but Daisy wants to be, so that could be interesting. However, I have no intention of being a boss, so we should be friends.

The barn was nice, clean and quiet and still cool at late morning. The other mules and Sunday looked at me as I walked in. I bet they didn’t see many white mules! But they were okay with my color. I am an Appaloosa mule and at one time I was beautiful with many spots—a leopard, but I lost them as I aged; now I am just white. Karen doesn’t care; she loves me no matter what color I turned out to be.

I was put in a stall which was pleasant. It had a small turn out area and Rose told Karen I would stay there to be safe, but the other mules and of course, Sunday, could come up to the fence. She asked Karen if I would mind my own business because she said the others would be “in my face” over the fence. Hey, I am old and wise. I know how to handle that problem: keep away from the fence. No worries here.

Karen brought some hay and my grain and supplements, but to be honest, I liked Rose’s hay better. She said it was from a neighbor’s hay field. Yumm. I got some as a treat. The others were turned outside to eat hay, but I stayed in my nice safe stall area. I could see them and they could come up and touch my nose if I wanted, over the stall, but I kept to myself.

Actually so far Daisy seems the friendliest. I hope she knows I will cause her no problem. She can be boss over me. Susie had her ears back. I thought she was the sweetest, according to Rose. Maybe she has that wrong. Ruth Ann ignored me. She is older too and has arthritis. Maybe she thought it not worth her time to bother with me. We shall see, I guess. Sunday came up to my stall front and stuck her nose out, but she had her ears up, so I guess she was being friendly. Then she spun around and chased Daisy. Glad I am in my stall!

 

 

 

A Friend’s Dilemma

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This is a shared post from a friend on her Facebook page. She is an ardent animal lover and defender. She has rescued many different ones: dogs, cats, horses  and more. Those of us who rescue always have this argument with ourselves: Is it OK to buy a purebred puppy?TOFFEE I have been there. My opinion at least for myself is: I can do both…And I believe in those “meant to be” moments.

“Everyone, meet Toffee. Toffee, this is everyone.

Scott and I have been discussing Miracle, my black cat, at length. I truly do believe she will not make it to the end of the year. She is having lots of problems that are beyond her regular problems of being The Spawn of Satan. Socks also isn’t doing well physically, although her only problem is arthritis that she refuses to take medication for. Otherwise, she’s fine. We also have run across a lot of stray kittens that need homes lately. So we talked about adopting two kittens.

Instead, a good friend here on FB  told me about this: a 14-week-old collie puppy who needs a home. She is one of two pups left from the litter that Lynne got her pup from. The cost is minimal and she will be delivered to me from Arkansas next week rather than having to fly her in. She is fully vaccinated, so all I have to do is get her spayed. And well, it was so easy to do this that I believe that this was Meant To Be.

So now for the inevitable: we all know I’m anti-breeding when there are so many dogs out there that need homes. Yes, I got a puppy. Yes, I got her from a breeder. Look, I know I’m being a hypocrite. But I have to say that many of your stories, particularly from  three friends has got me thinking. And a BIG THANKS to you three and other friends of mine for this.

Triss and Treve came with baggage from being tossed around so much and not getting a stable start to life. Both have separation anxiety issues. Triss particularly does not like riding in cars, and she has developed a severe fear of traffic since her accident. Treve has always been afraid of cars. They have NEVER tried to get out of the yard since their “adventure”, and I have decided that I’m going to say that is a healthy fear and am going to keep it. So no more walkies for them–if I take them anywhere, it will be a dog park or to walk park trails.

The one dog that we had that didn’t have baggage was Bliss, a collie we took in who was a former show dog. She was a steady eddy who could handle anything. But she was the dog I could take anywhere any time I wanted. She was quiet and easy-going and got along with every person and animal she met. In short, she was my sidekick. We lost her too soon to cancer.

I have wanted a sidekick pet since I was a kid. That one animal that went with me everywhere. Well, after all of these rescues and one rescue not working out at all, I have learned that rescuing an animal is great and I won’t stop doing it. It also means that you have to deal with baggage with rescue animals, and sometimes that baggage can never be overcome without paying for a lot of training and taking a lot of time to do it.

While I could go to a trainer and work with Triss, honestly, it’s going to take a lot more work than I am willing to give time to with my jobs being so random. So I can now start with a fresh mind, so to speak. A dog with no baggage and that has started life in the same kind of environment that I have my dogs in. This lovely lady comes from a ranch-type home where the owners do not breed for show. These are pet dogs that are very healthy and have tons of exposure to other animals and children. I would like to try agility or even get her certified for service in going to children’s hospitals or nursing homes. I am too afraid of getting hurt with horses to work with them on showing or anything like that anymore, and Arcus is just a great trail horse and driving horse for light riding. That’s all I need now.

The other thing is I hated the idea of taking Triss to events but leaving Treve at home. I know he’d deal with it, but he was a dog who had separation anxiety when I got him, so why potentially spark that again? Now two dogs will be at home while I can take the new pup everywhere. I won’t worry about either Triss or Treve being alone.

Triss and Treve are my awesome ranch dogs and alert dogs. I will continue to rescue collies for that reason as the breed is perfect for me and Scott’s lifestyle overall.

Perhaps this is me justifying my own NEVERS and ALWAYSES. But I need to be honest with myself and with my friends who know me well when it comes to animals. I have had to make major changes since my broken wrist that has limited my abilities, both physical and mental. Horse activities just aren’t something I’m doing much of anymore by myself. A puppy will give me the fresh mind I need and the companion that can help me with my health as well so I will get out and DO stuff. Plus dogs are a lot easier to take places than horses are!

Soooooo, meet Toffee! So named because of her coat color. Her right eye is partially blue. Mom is a sable; daddy is a blue merle. She was born on St. Patrick’s Day of this year, so her registered name will have “Irish Toffee” in it somewhere…..”

Thanks Friend for sharing your heartfelt angst at the possibility of having the doggie of your dreams. I am glad you are doing it. And thanks for allowing me to share you story.

 

Read more non fiction dog stories  here: Little Miss Muffitt: Guardian of My Heart  Stories of my own dogs, some fostered, some adopted and yes, some bred and gotten as puppies.Also K9 stories about the brave four-legged cops, who were partners with two family members.

 

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