Archive for April, 2013


TRAVELING WITH A PET

Couple years ago I visited my son in the South East of the United States, traveling by air from Calgary, Alberta Canada. At that time, he worked for a while in Atlanta, Georgia, away from Alabama where he was before. I took little Niki, a black and white cat, with me in a carrying sort of cat taxi. Made sure to also take his litter box with him in the bottom of the cat cage, some old rugs on top for comfort, and a small bowl with water. Advice is to always use a plastic carrier, not cardboard in case it gets soaked. Prior to leaving the house I had given Niki a relaxation pill (from the Vet) to make the flight less stressful. I am not sure where they put the pets on the flights, but assuming that it is a cold area. I was so sorry for the little guy, knowing cats do not like to go away from their home. Arriving Atlanta airport, my son picked me up and told me that he quit his job in Atlanta and was on his way back to Birmingham, Alabama. So we had to spend the night in a motel in Atlanta. They did not mind my cat, being he was in the big carrying cage and we had his litter box. He behaved very well that night. Everything worked out fine. Even during the drive by car back from Atlanta to Birmingham. At my son’s apartment in Birmingham there was a balcony to sit outside. We had bought some chicken wire to string around the top of the surround walls, so the cat could not get out. Other cats in the neighborhood came visiting of course, to check out who had moved in. But all went well, although arriving back in Calgary Niki was slightly disoriented and not too happy. image0041

I like to share a little story I recently read in a magazine, by William Thomas* titled People Prefer Pets to Other People? No!.

A man wrote a letter to a small American motel he planned to stay at for a night: “I have stayed at your lovely motel many times in the past but now I have a dog. I was wondering if he too could stay at your motel. My dog is clean, well-groomed and well-behaved. I like to ask if you let him stay in our room as well.”

The motel owner’s reply: “I have been operating this motel for over 30 years. In all that time I have never had a dog steal towels, linens, silverware or paintings off the walls. I have never had to call the cops for removing dogs off my premises for drunken or disorderly behaviour. I have never had a dog take off without paying the bill. So, yes, indeed your dog is more than welcome to stay at my motel.” [story slightly abbreviated]

* [William Thomas is an author of nine books.]

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The Peruvian Paso or Peruvian Horse is a breed of light pleasure saddle horse known for its smooth ride. It is distinguished by a natural, four-beat, lateral gait called the paso llano. This breed is protected by the Peruvian government through Decree number 25919 of Peru enacted on November 28, 1992, and has been declared a Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the National Institute of Culture (INC).[1] Due to the isolation suffered for about 400 years and the selection made by their breeders, this breed is very particular in their body proportions and a side walk or “paso llano” that is characteristic. It is typical of the northern Peruvian regions of the country from which he originated [Wikipedia].

In 1998 I had acquired a registered Peruvian Paso mare called SIRENITA. Señorita Sirenita was a lovely little dark bay mare, small even for her breed who are smaller horses, very elegant with a nice smooth Paso Llano gait (a distinct inherited, andcompletely natural four beat lateral gait ), eager to please and with Brio (qualities of boldness, exuberance and astute focus in service to the rider). One says, “riding a Peruvian Paso with a glass of Champaign in one’s hand should not spill a drop of it.”

Sirenita when I bought her had been 4 years young only. Trained by a professional Peruvian trainer at the Ranch where she was foaled. I brought her to my Ranch in Alberta NW of Calgary in the Foothills of the Rockies, together with a companion mare, to keep her company. I rode Sirenita her in the forests (my 80-acre Ranch was surrounded by miles of Crown Land, lots of space) and the trails. She was easy to get along. 1999 we had her bred by one of the class stallions at her home Ranch, RDLF DON RODOLFO, also a dark bay stallion, bred as so many Peruvian Pasos in California Rancho de la Florecita.

It is difficult to trace Peruvian Paso’s bloodlines as there have been in the past little recordings. Good sources for more information are http://www.napha.net/DatabaseAppCode/NaphaWebSite/NAPHA.aspx?&height=800 , and http://www.peruvian-pasos.com/horses.html .

Before Sirenita was due with a foal, I had brought the two mares to her home Ranch because with their hundred or so Peruvian Pasos they had the better foaling facilities. My beautiful little SIRENITA had a tiny little foal exactly on Mother’s Day, May 14, in the year 2000. And the other little miracle was that the foal – who was a colt – turned out to be sorrel in color, a beautiful golden bronze color, unlike his parents, who had both been dark in color.

That’s where the real story starts, with training a horse baby. After the night the baby was born I drove down to their ranch, sat in their stall – it was quite an emotional experience for me. I had horses for so many years, but never a foal. He was so little (her first) that he disappeared under her belly. Of course horses are very shy of humans, and when unknown they take flight of anything and anybody. However, it is important to start contact immediately with a tiny foal after they are born. It is part of the process of getting to know each other. In horse parlance this process is known as IMPRINTING. A learning process occurring soon after birth of a foal, the best and only opportunity to establish future behavior patterns in a horse towards people. 

I spent each day inside the stall with the little guy and aided by his mom’s cooperation, to get acquainted, to touch eventually without frightening him. You need a lot of patience for accomplishing this. In four days I could touch him, then within one week put very carefully a tiny baby horse halter on – it was pink, for a little girl, but who cares. And within couple of weeks I was able to pick up his hind legs for some light hoof care. What a guy!

I include two videos of the colt’s progression, one an audio video, made by my son Marc at Sirenita’s home Ranch – me riding the little mare and Buzzy ‘buzzing’ around her. – = Created with Firefox 19 Apr 13/13 –