Hilarious Hashtag Explodes as Animal-Lovers #rateaspecies

What if animals got Yelp/Amazon reviews?  Animal people everywhere pounced on the idea, and the results made me laugh out loud!

It’s called #rateaspecies.  It was started at the end of last week, on Friday the 9th by the Oregon Zoo (@OregonZoo).  Since then, the hashtag has rocketed into fame and even gone viral.

#rateaspecies is still a popular tweet to this day, so it’s not to late to join in.  But perhaps you would like to see how it’s done first?

At any rate, here are 12 of the best tweets I could find on the topic.  Swallow any food you’re chewing, because you’re about to laugh!






As Bored Panda author Allana Rose said so aptly: “Just don’t prematurely bury it!”



Bored Panda user Jiří Schindler summed it up perfectly when he commented: “Jabba wants his kid back!”  (http://bit.ly/2FQmBZG)



I’m sure it’s just misunderstood…  …Right?



This creepy creature is actually named Claude.  He is albino and thus lacks any melanin (pigmentation) in his scales; this unusual condition also makes his eyesight very poor.  (http://bit.ly/2DAc4zS)



I used to own frogs as a pet when I was a kid, but none of them looked like this!



This review makes the baby turtle sound like the cutest cellphone in existence.



Comes in small, medium, and kraken.


turkish van

This perfectly describes my cat Autumn!



Sorry that the gif isn’t available, dear reader.  It shows the fox face-planting into the snow.  Hilarious!



This one seems a bit dangerous, but I suppose as a professional employee of an animal Sanctuary, she knows what she’s doing.  Still, it’s probably a good thing wolves aren’t used this way.  Otherwise, pillows would be out of a job.



There, I hope you enjoyed the list.  Which one was your favorite?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Personally, the tweet I liked the most was the baby turtle one.  It’s just too cute!

On a side note, special thanks to Giedrė from the boredpanda.com for writing a great article which brought this phenomenon to my attention.  (https://www.boredpanda.com/zoos-amazon-animal-reviews-rateaspecies/)

And until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!


6 Crazy Things No One Ever Told You About Cats


1. House Cats Will Eat Your Houseplants.  It’s true; I’ve seen it myself.  If you don’t provide another source of roughage, your cat will eat your plants, which is rather dangerous, as many houseplants are poisonous to cats.  I would recommend moving your plants to a safe location, and then growing some cat grass for kitty.

2. Hairballs Can Be Prevented.  Brushing Mittens and feeding her cat grass usually stops hairballs from forming.  Hurrah!  No more disgusting messes on your floor.


3. Cats Won’t Play By Themselves.  Admittedly, most cats will have a moment during the day of “the zoomies”.  They race around the house, pouncing on anything that moves!  But such bursts of energy only last a few seconds, and the average cat needs about 15 minutes of exercise.  You can provide this exercise by buying cat toys and playing with your feline.  Remember, your cat is a hunter at heart, so act like prey; move the stuffed mouse like it’s actually a mouse.  If you do this, your cat will love you.  If you don’t do this, then kitty will have too much pent-up energy and will go stir-crazy.  Cat expert Jackson Galaxy has proven this time and time again on his show My Cat from Hell.  Most of the cats that Jackson is called in to “fix” are acting out because they are bored.  Felines with excess energy may climb the curtains, knock things off shelves, or attack humans, dogs, or other cats, all in an effort to blow off some steam.


4. Cats Fear the Most Random Things.  As everyone knows, cats despise water.  But you may not know that cats also fear/hate vacuum cleaners.  This isn’t quite so crazy as it sounds.  Imagine how you would react if something twice your size rolled up.  Then, with an awful roar, it starts to consume everything in its path.  Suddenly it doesn’t sound like such a crazy fear, does it?  Crazy or not, cats also are afraid of cords.  Perhaps cords remind them of snakes?  Whatever the reason is, the fact remains that kitties don’t care for many, everyday things.

5. Love Means Pain.  Unfortunately, cats express their affection in several, painful ways.  Kneading you or “making biscuits” is a sign that your cat loves you.  Another sign is when Mittens tries to lick you.  Yes, her sandpaper-like tongue hurts, but it means she really trusts and cares about you.  Cats who have bonded together perform these acts of affection on each other; my guess is that their thick coat of fur protects them, so they don’t feel any pain.  But humans don’t have that, and ouch! it hurts!  However, if you scold your cat or shove her away, she may thing you don’t love her.   My best advice is just grin and bear it — and wear a thick sweater.


6. Even though love is pain, It’s Worth It.  Cats Are Extraordinarily Sweet, Loving Creatures.  The stereotype of cats being cold, heartless creatures is just plain wrong, and cat owners everywhere know it.  I read a story about one kitty in a shelter who couldn’t bear to be apart from humans, so the shelter staff made a baby sling so that they could hold him and work at the same time.  I have a friend whose cat likes to spend hours with him at a time, and cries whenever he leaves.  Some cats are showier in their affection than others.  My Autumn isn’t very showy, but I can tell she loves me.

In short, although all the feline faults that I have mentioned are true, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, because it is worth it.  Cats are a one-of-a-kind experience.

If you are interested in seeing more cat myths debunked, consider reading my post “7 Lies You’ve Been Told About Cats” (https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/7-lies-youve-been-told-about-cats/).

See you next weekend!

Why James Herriot’s Cat Stories Is a Must-Read

james herriot

These famous words were written by James Herriot, veterinarian and cat-lover extraordinaire, in his book Cat Stories.

If you love kitties, then you should read James Herriot’s Cat Stories.  It will make you laugh; it will make you cry; and it will warm your heart with the love of cats.  It is the quintessential book for a cat person, by a cat person.

This novel, which celebrates the bond between human and feline, was written back in 1981, in the days before cats conquered the world through the Internet.  In fact, cats were even looked down upon back then.

Fortunately, times have changed, and it seems safe to say that James Herriot was ahead of his day.  Tons of readers have enjoyed his work over the years, and I am one of them.

So why is this book so good?

Well, for starters, Herriot’s love for the little furry things just drips from the page.  Although I could quote dozens of examples, let one instance suffice.  “…[I]n the bitter days of winter the warm bonnet of my car was an irresistible attraction [to cats].  No sooner had I drawn up in a farmyard than a cat or two was perched just beyond my windscreen.  Some farmers are real cat lovers… …and in these places I might find a score of the little creatures enjoying this unexpected bonus of warmth.  When I drove away I had a pattern of muddy paw-marks covering every inch of the heated metal.  This soon dried on, …[and] they remained as a semi-permanent decoration.”

How cute!  This excerpt is from the introduction, and things only get better from here.  There are ten stories in all, and each one stars a unique cat.  One by one, Herriot describes each new cat, employing his characteristic ability to capture the core of a character.  He talks about their feline foibles and their strengths until I felt like the kitty he described was alive; like it could step out from the page and demand to be petted, and that I would have to obey.

The cat characters are excellent, yet the stories and scenarios are even better.  Each tale is memorable and news-worthy.  Like that one time Herriot met a cat who played fetch like a dog!

But I won’t spoil anymore of it for you.  Read it for yourself, and let me know what you think!

And until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!

Keep Your Outdoor Dog Warm this Winter in 4 Easy Steps

Photo Credit: Pezibear (https://pixabay.com/en/dog-maltese-white-sweet-cute-1133316/)

As I write this, I can hear the wind howling outside my house.  This winter has been unusually cold; even places like Florida are feeling the chill.

This means that your outdoor-only dog needs you now more than ever to help him stay warm.  And from past experience with my own dogs, I know 4 ways to help you do that.

Of course, these tips are for owners of outside dogs, but some of them can help anyone who wants his dog to be comfortable in the snow.

1. Maintain Food and Water.  This may seem like it goes without saying, but sometimes in our busy lives, our dogs get short-changed a little.  But it is especially important to keep Fido’s dishes full in the winter.  When you are hungry, it’s harder to regulate your body temperature; the same goes for your dog.  As for your pup’s water, try to find a nice, heated dish for it.  Surprisingly, water is important in the winter as well as the summer.  Plenty of liquids makes the blood flowing freely, which helps to keep your dog warm.  Plus, eating snow would just cool him down more; clearly, that’s not what he needs.

2. Buy a Nice Dog Jacket.  No, dog coats aren’t just used by those people who dress their dogs up like pumpkins on Halloween.  Dog jackets are a helpful tool that can keep your canine warm.  The side that goes on the dogs fur should be soft and comfortable, while the other side should be slick and waterproof.  After you’ve purchased a coat and are ready to put it on, don’t approach head-on or bend over your dog; those are dominating moves in the animal kingdom, and they might scare your dog.  Come from the side or back and secure the jacket snugly, yet comfortably.  If you are having trouble, watch this video.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVCT7lcEaEk)

3. Create a Winter-Worthy Doghouse.  First, place the doghouse in a nice, protected area, and check to see if the entrance is facing away from the wind.  Naturally, dog owners also need to ensure that the doghouse isn’t leaking.  But what you might not know is that you should also check the dog bed, to make sure it’s dry.  After all, being both cold and wet is worse than just being cold.  Consider using something that typically stays dry, like straw.  Or if you do use a dog bed, maybe it should have a blanket on top that you change periodically.  The exact method is up to you; just keep in mind the goal: warm and dry.

4. Keep an Eye on the Paws.  According to dog trainer Sarah Hodgson, ice-cut paws are the number one reason that dogs end up at the vet (or even the animal hospital) during the winter.  Jagged pieces of ice, concealed by an innocent-looking layer of snow, can cut like a blade.  Furthermore, just like humans, dogs can get dry, cracked skin.  Unlike humans, however, it usually happens on the paws.  Road salt can irritate these cuts, and then the dog will lick his paws, ingesting sodium and who-knows-what other dangerous chemicals.  To solve this problem, either wash his feet in warm water after walks, or buy some dog boots for him to wear.  Those same two solutions will work well to stop painful ice balls which forming between Fido’s paw pads.  This problem is especially common with long-haired dogs.  Whatever you do, don’t pull the ice balls out; that hurts!


I hope these suggestions helped.  Of course, it’s possible that I overlooked something.  Do you have any methods you use to keep your beloved dogs warm?  Talk to me in the comments, because I would love to learn more!

Next week, I will be sharing my thoughts on James Herriot’s classic Cat Stories book.  See you then!



7 Reasons Why Horse Ownership Is Great

While it’s true that keeping your own horse is expensive and hinders traveling, the pros outweigh the cons.  If you make the commitment to buy a horse, you won’t regret it.

Admittedly, you can enjoy many of these benefits listed below by simply leasing/borrowing a horse, or taking riding lessons.  You can have a lot of fun that way; I would know.  But it’s not quite the same as having a horse to call your all own.


1. A Unique Bond.  The bond between horses and humans is different from the connection between pet and owner.  Equine expert and blogger Anne Leueen put it best when she wrote: “The great thing about riding a horse is it is the only sport where your partner is a member of another species.  And a species that is not a natural partner with a human[, at that].  Dogs and cats are predator animals just like humans.  Horses are prey and we are their natural enemies yet they choose to work with us.  This is such a special and unique opportunity. ”  In theory, horses and humans should never get along.  One is a prey, the other is a predator; furthermore, we don’t speak a common language.  Yet it does work, and it is beautiful.


2. Happiness.  This is sort of hard to describe if you have never felt it in connection with a horse before.  It’s something about that feeling of freedom as you gallop through a field, the wind whipping through your hair, that feeling of accomplishment as you soar over a jump you never could before, that feeling of warmth in your heart when your horse comes running towards you after you called his name, like he couldn’t wait to be with you again.  For us equestrians, horses = happiness.


3. Growing Together.  This is one of the benefits that you can really only experience with your own, personal horse.  Anne Leueen provides multiple examples of this.  “When I was a teenager I used to do eventing.  One day, while on a cross country course, I realized my horse was not having his best day.  …  I knew my own horse well enough to know he was having an off day, not because there was something wrong or because he was behaving badly, but [just] because I knew him that well.  You cannot get to know a lesson horse that well.”  Leueen also mentioned a more recent example with her current horse, Baisini.  “[When I first got him,] Biasini was a nervous horse and often spooked.  After I had him for a year he began to trust me and became less and less nervous.  He will still startle at things from time to time but it is over much faster.  He needed his own personal owner.”  So you can help your horse improve, but it actually works both ways.  If you are a nervous rider, having a horse that you know and trust will help you gain the confidence that you previously lacked (http://bit.ly/2GmE1Ne).



4. Helping the Socially Awkward.  I owe a thank you to the 3 Wild Horse blog for helping me realize this (http://bit.ly/2GmE1Ne).  Horses can help you make friends.  Think about it.  Introverts usually have a hard time connecting with others because they don’t know what to say.  Yet if they meet someone at a barn, they can know exactly what to talk about: horses!  Instantly, you both have something in common.  Or, if both of you are introverts who hate talking, then don’t; you can bond over just doing things together.  Just ride down a trail, side by side, silently enjoying the scenery.


5. Physical Fitness.  I can personally vouch that this is true.  Back when I was taking riding lessons, I think I was in the best shape of my life.  I got stronger through lifting heavy hale bales, convincing stubborn horses to lift their legs (so I could clean their hooves), and, obviously, through riding.  Horseback riding is a workout, but it doesn’t feel that way, which is why it’s the perfect way to keep that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.


6. Improving Your Mind.  It sounds like something cheesy one’s parents might say, but owning a horse truly does sharpen your mind/character.  Having a horse automatically turns you into a hard worker.  Every day, you have to feed your horse, muck out his stall, groom him, exercise him, turn him out to pasture, or bring him in from turnout if the weather is bad, and more.  Having an animal who depends on you can (hopefully) make you into a more responsible person.  If your equine develops a bad habit, you can work on your creative problem-solving skills.  Furthermore, riding a horse might make you more independent and confident.  The list could go on; the benefits are as various as the situations that cause them.


7. Having a Buddy.  Finally, it’s important to remember that the bond between you and your horse is special.  When the horse is your own, “you can spend time with the horse that is not just riding the horse: taking the horse and hand grazing him, grooming, and just observing.  The horse will learn to trust you and you will learn to trust the horse.  There is nothing to replace this.” (Leueen)  Like snowflakes, no two bonds are alike; it’s shaped by what you bring to the table and your horse brings.  The wonderful part starts when you begin to build memories together.  Now, horses aren’t humans, and they aren’t just big dogs or cats either.  The horse-human relationship is one-of-a-kind, and you can only truly experience it by trying it for yourself.



And that’s the list!  Special thanks to Anne Leueen for helping me with this post.  If you enjoyed it, you should go check out Anne’s blog, the Horse Addict (https://horseaddict.net/).  It’s a high-quality blog which includes interviews with professional equestrians, historical horse tidbits, articles “written” by Anne’s horse, and much more.  I genuinely like it, and if you love horses, I think you will too.

See you next week!


How to Free Your Cat from a Tree


First of all, DON’T call the fire department.  In most cases, they won’t help.  They can’t divert resources to help animals when there might be humans in danger.  An off-duty firefighter might be able to assist you, but officially, they can’t help.

Here’s a better alternative:

  1. Call in a Pro Tree Climber.  Try searching the yellow pages, or calling your local Humane Society, Animal Control, or vet to get ideas.  Naturally, professional climbers will cost you, but the safety of your sweet kitty is well worth it, right?
  2. Bucket Truck.  If you call a tree cutting service, then they might bring out their bucket truck to help — for a price, of course.  Back in December, this very method saved a cat in Long Island who had been trapped in a tree for almost a week.  (https://nwsdy.li/2H803V4)  However, this way should be more of a last resort, as the noise and movement of a bucket truck could scare the cat and cause it to climb up higher to get away.  This would make it even harder to rescue.

    Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to calling in the professionals.

  3. Ladder.  Actually, the ladder is for the cat, not you.  I’ve seen my own cat often run up and down ladders when I walk away from them for a few minutes.  Just remember that it helps to have the ladder placed at a gentle angle.
  4. Carpet-Coated Ramp.  If you are a person who’s handy with tools, you can make a wooden ramp for your cat to walk down.  Yet the slope must be even more gentle than it was for the ladder.  Also, the ramp must be wrapped with carpet that won’t come off; otherwise, your cat will have nothing to dig their claws into and brace themselves on the way down.
  5. Motivational Meal.   Sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement.  Sometimes (but not always) kitty is too scared to come down, and some tasty tuna might be just the deciding factor that she needs.   You should try calling the cat also.
  6.  Climbing Up Yourself.  If the tree, the weather, and your health is stable, then it might work to bring Fluffy down yourself.  Before you go up, get a helper and something to put the cat in, like a cat carrier or a pillowcase.  The scared feline might claw you or squirm, which makes this route safer than trying to hold the cat in your arms.  Tie a rope around the container securely.  Put on gloves, jeans, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the rough bark and the panicked cat.  Climb up to the kitty or use a ladder.  Once you reach her, place her gently but firmly into the container.  If the cat is safely inside, lower it down to your helper.  Phew!  Made it!

If none of these ideas are appropriate for your situation, then search the Internet — it’s full of creative ideas, and I may have missed some.  (Just be careful, as some of the suggestions are bad ones.)

I hope this helps.  Good luck!

And remember: this is not how to get your cat down, but it’s still hilarious.  Enjoy!



Cat Stuck in a Tree: Should You Worry or Not?


“Ever see a cat skeleton in a tree?”

This sentence implies that the treed cat will simply come down when he wants to, that cats always find a way.

It’s a lie.

Those who repeat this myth haven’t taken the time to seriously consider the issue.

Admittedly, no, I have never seen a cat skeleton in a tree.  Then again, squirrels and birds live in trees, and I have never seen one of their skeletons up among the leaves either.  And they are in trees much more often than cats.

That is because of gravity.

When an animal is dying, they become too weak to hold on any longer, and their bodies fall to the ground.  Or, in the very rare event of the body becoming wedged in the tree, it will be eaten and removed by vultures or other wild animals.

Yet most cats won’t die in a tree.  After waiting a while, most will jump or fall if they are not rescued first.  Before that happens, they may stay in the branches for several days; there have even been cases where the poor kitty was trapped for weeks.

And the longer they are up there, the more they are suffering.  The feline has no food, no water, no safe place to sleep without fear of falling.  If the weather is overly hot or cold, they can suffer or even die from exposure.

No, it’s not a lack of motivation to come down; they simply can’t, or are too afraid.

You see, kitty claws curve backwards.  This is great for climbing up trees, but bad for coming down.  The only secure way for a cat to come down on its own is for it to climb down butt-first.  This method is scary for the cat, and many won’t do it.  Others do eventually figure it out, but are too weak by that time to come down safely.

I must admit, some cats do save themselves, and some have fallen from up to a hundred feet and lived.

But the danger is very real.

Yes, you should be worried about your cat.  Don’t panic, keep a level head — but be worried.

Next week I will post a practical guide to bringing a treed feline back to safety.

Unless, of course, your cat is trapped in a tree right now.  If that’s the case, then you must act, pronto!  Save him!

Read One of These If Your Cat Is Stuck in a Tree

13 Beautiful Dog Photos That Belong in a Museum

1.  What a pretty puppy!  He has such a unique coat, with all of its colors and patterns.  I wish I could see more of it.  And what an interesting position, too.  It’s rare to find our fun-loving pups looking so serious; he appears to be contemplating the meaning of life.

epicantus (https://pixabay.com/en/animal-dog-window-home-looking-272473/)

2.  You’ve seen this face before.  It’s when Fido is trying to be obedient and sit still, but what he really wants to do is jump up and eat that treat you’re holding.  What makes this picture unique is the background and the unusual arrangement.  The background of the stone walkway is almost the same color as the dog, yet the photographer cleverly manages to make him stand out.  Furthermore, the photographer obviously resisted the typical urge to center the subject, and so the result is much more interesting.

George Hodan (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=222559&picture=dog)

3.  Again, what a lovely dog, and what a soulful position!  Props to the person behind the camera for catching this high-energy Husky while he was in this pose.  The mood feels sad, as if his owner had just left for work.  Who says animals don’t have feelings?

PensiveYumi (https://pixabay.com/en/dog-husky-beautiful-pet-animal-2224169/)

4.  For starters, I have two questions.  a. What kind of house backs right up next to the beach?  and b. When can I come visit?  All joking aside, however, I liked this one because of how the tile colors match the beagle’s coat.  Plus, the paw-prints in the sand are cute.

riosfernando60 (https://pixabay.com/en/dog-lines-beagle-eyes-beautiful-2209295/)

5.  This photo is simple, yet striking.  Everything is black, except for the yellow and blue in the canine’s eye.  As all good photos should, this one tells a story.  I can just imagine the scenario: a child hid in a closet, and his curious dog is dying to know what’s going on in there, so he shoves his nose in.  The child laughs before letting him inside.

Aline_vieira (https://pixabay.com/en/dog-eyes-friend-animal-canine-2663810/)

6.  To me, the fog feels mysterious, but the presence of the cute Skye Terrier prevents it from being creepy.  I feel like this dog is saying: “Well, what are you waiting for?!  Let’s go exploring!”

gypsyschnecke (https://pixabay.com/en/dogs-animal-pet-yorkshire-terrier-2270032/)

7.  If the previous picture was taken at the start of an adventure, this one is right smack in the middle of one.  Yes, sled dogs running through the snow is always dramatic and beautiful, but this photo is especially so with its sparkling tree and just a hint of the mountains in the background.

cocoparisienne from Pixabay.com (https://pixabay.com/en/dogs-huskies-animal-dog-racing-2921382/)

8.  The gorgeous picture you see below was taken by @karen_kipp, and we follow each other on Instagram.  This collie belongs to Karen’s neighbor, whom she dog-sits for sometimes.  Collies are such beauties…

snow collie.PNG
@karen_kipp on Instagram

9.  Here is another great one from Instagram.  The dog is called Henry, the cat’s name is Baloo, and they are good friends.  The human couple who owns them traveled to Colorado to take these amazing pictures.  It has make them Instagram-famous at 274 thousand followers, and the fame is deserved, in my opinion.  Not only are the photos splendid, but who ever heard of a cat and a dog who loved each other as much as these two do?

sleeping bag
@henrythecoloradodog on Instagram

10.  Another perfect shot from @henrythecoloradodog.  It’s like a painting…

@henrythecoloradodog on Instagram

11.  Unlike most of the previous photos, this one is both beautiful and cute.  The photographer who took this is Alicja Zmyslowska, from, not surprisingly, Instagram.  This is her most popular post; everyone loves it, myself included.

gold leaf dog.PNG
@alicjazmyslowska on Instagram

12.  Another still from Alicja Zmyslowska.  This time it’s her own border collie, Cirilla, posing in a field of lavender.

pink flower dog.PNG
@alicjazmyslowska on Instagram

13.  Can you guess where this is from?  Yup.  It’s Instagram.  The Italian photographer Claudio Piccoli specializes in action shots of dogs.  That’s his job, and he’s pretty amazing at it.  This dog is leaping over his human’s back to catch a Frisbe, and Piccoli caught it at just the right moment.  It’s crystal clear, too, which is very hard to achieve with fast movement like this.

jumping dog.PNG
@claudiopiccoliphotographer on Instagram

It would seem that dogs look good from almost any angle!

So, did you agree with my picks?  Which one was your favorite?  Let me know in the comments, and I will see you next weekend.

Until then: stay fuzzy, my friends!

Low-Income Preacher Fulfills the Dreams of His Horse-Loving Girls


When I was growing up, I was horse-crazy.  One Christmas, when I was eight or nine, I was writing my Christmas list.  After scribbling down requests for books, doll clothes, and Breyer horses, I calmly added to the list: “a pony”.  Those were my exact words.  I didn’t care what color or age it was, I just wanted a pony — any pony.

Sadly, I never got one.

After all, we lived in the suburbs; you weren’t allowed to raise chickens, let alone have a pony in your backyard.  And to my parents’ credit, they did pay for expensive riding lessons for many, many years, so I am not in any way blaming them.

Be that as it may, I still feel a little sad knowing that I can never say: “I had my own pony as a kid”.

That is why I was delighted to read this article from Reader’s Digest.

Two girls, Brenda and Jacy, wanted a pony.  But their father was the pastor of a small-town church, and couldn’t afford such a thing.

Yet, since they had their hearts set on it, he decided to look around and see what he could do.

One day, he revealed to his daughters that their neighbor, Mr. Dubbs, was getting a pony for his granddaughter, and was willing to let them ride it.

The two were ecstatic!  They had a pony!  So what that it wasn’t technically theirs?  So what that they didn’t know how to ride?  So what that the pony would try everything in his power to throw them off?  They had a pony, and that’s all that mattered!

The pony, whose name was Blackie, slowly taught them how to ride.

A few years later, they were becoming too big for Blackie.  So, secretly, Mr. Dubbs bought them each a horse.  He didn’t ride, and his granddaughter had lost the horse-fever long ago.  He merely bought the horses out of the kindness of his heart.

Brenda and Jacy didn’t know any of this, but nevertheless, they were over-joyed to each have a horse to call their own.  Brenda took the palomino, whom she called Maize, while Jacy rode the sorrel.  The sorrel’s name was Rex.  “To say we were in heaven is an understatement”, Brenda writes.

Tragically, after two blissful years, Mr. Dubbs passed away and the horses were sold off.

“We were heartbroken.”

But that was not the end.

Their father, the pastor, found a way, yet again.  Another kind-hearted neighbor lent them his two horses — Dolly, another palomino, and Sparky, a paint.  Brenda and Jacy had lots of adventures with these horses, including one time when Brenda’s horse got scared and galloped away.  Brenda had to walk 3 miles to find it again.

That was many years ago, but the equine enthusiasm lives on to this day.  Nowadays, Brenda still rides, and she is even passing the love of horses on to her own granddaughter, who is herself learning to ride.

Despite now owning two quarter horses and competing professionally, Brenda still often pauses to remember how she got here.  “[W]ithout the generosity of others, this unlikely cowgirl would still just be dreaming….”

So I propose a toast — to kind people.  To dreams.  And most of all, to horses.




10 Weird Facts about Dogs


NOTE: I meant to publish this post last week, but due to some kind of glitch, it was not, and I only realized the mistake today.  So enjoy a double serving this week, and things will be back to normal next Saturday.  Happy reading!

  1. Floppy Ears Make It Harder To Hear.  According to How to Speak Dog, it’s like the dog is wearing earmuffs!
  2. Rear Leg Extension.  I owned a black Lab/Chow Chow mix when I was growing up, and she had the strangest reflex.  She would roll over for me to rub her stomach, and whenever I would scratch the top of her back leg, she would extend it, stiff as a board.  I’ve done a little research on this odd behavior, and it seems that no one really knows for sure why dogs do this.  It’s just a reflex they have, like a human kicking when the doctor taps their knee with a mallet.
  3. Lassie Was Always Played By Male Dogs. The iconic collie – Lassie – her very name means “girl”.  Yet, strangely enough, she was always played by male dogs in all of her live action appearances to date.
  4. Butt Sniffing.  This action is not only weird, but it’s gross and embarrassing.  Yet it’s perfectly normal in your dog’s mind.  A dog’s sense of smell is far stronger than a humans, so that is the world they live in – the world of smells.  Every dog has glands in his rear which contain his own, personal scent.  So dogs greet each other by sniffing that area.  Unfortunately, there is no way around this behavior, so just grin and bear it.
  5. Eating Grass. Grass acts as roughage, clearing a dog’s system out.
  6. German Shepherds Are Born With Bent Ears That Stand Up As They Mature.
  7. Tail Chasing. Why do dogs do this?  Well, it’s rarely because they want to.  A dog who does this probably has excess energy, and is looking for a way to vent it.  A canine in that situation often resorts to destructive behaviors – like tail-chasing.  It can become an obsession; he may even bite his own tail.  If your dog chases his tail frequently, you should probably give him more exercise.  If that doesn’t work, visit the vet.
  8. A Labrador Retriever’s Webbed Feet. That’s right, Labs have webbed feet.  The breed originated from Canada, around the Labrador Sea, where the dogs were trained to leap off boats to collect nets for fishermen.  The webbing helped them swim better, as did their thick, otter tail.
  9. The world’s tallest dog is a Great Dane named Zeus, who was the size of an donkey.
  10. Avoid Tug-of-War.  Some say tug-of-war is a classic game of bonding between a dog and his owner.  Or is it?  Dog trainer Sarah Hodgson disagrees.  In her book Dog-Perfect: The User-Friendly Guide to a Well-Behaved Dog, she writes about how most dogs take tug-of-war as a struggle for dominance.  If you lose, your pup will think that he is now leader of the pack.  He may start to disobey your commands.  Of course, some dogs don’t take it so seriously; they take it as a game.  In any case, owners just need to be aware, and to think before they tug.

Which fact did you think was the craziest?  Do you have any more to add to the list?

And if you are in the mood for more animal tidbits, consider reading my other posts from the Weird Fact series.

Fun fact: A horse’s teeth take up more room than their brain does.  Yes, it’s true.  Read more here: https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/10-weird-facts-about-horses/

As for cats, did you know that many are lactose-intolerant?  So a saucer of milk could lead to — er — the runs.  More surprising facts found here: https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/11-weird-cat-facts/

See you next Saturday!