Archive for May 15th, 2011


Our circle of friends and their animals has been filled with ups and downs this week.

The first sign of trouble appeared in “kitten-land” run by barn cat, Lilly. After a week of nursing a kitten foundling along with her three much-older kittens, she made it clear she was done with the tiny baby.

While feeding the horses one morning , our barn (and Lilly’s) owner, Teresa, noticed the baby was not with the others. Lilly had deposited the little guy in a dark, hard-to-reach corner. He was cold to the touch but alive. Teresa put the baby and Lilly on a warm blanket in a small dog crate, hoping all would be well. Later that morning, when Ella Mae, who boards her horse there, arrived, this was how she found things:

“All three older kittens were in the cage [crate], and the orphan was stretched out sleeping (I thought) near the front of the cage.  Lilly was up on your saddle blanket where I noticed her yesterday for the first time since her babies were born.

“We assume she has decided to wean away from so much nursing and has given up on the weaker orphan. When I checked, he was cold to touch and barely moving.  I tried to warm him and put a drop of water in his mouth.  He was so weak and about dead.  Teresa got special formula, came home and got him and took him back to the bank where she works. She had to go to a meeting, so her coworkers fed the kitten, which took a bit of doing at first.

“Tonight I talked to Teresa and the baby was on her chest. I could hear him mewing.  His body temp is back up: He’s warm and taking nourishment. Teresa named him today:  He will be known as “Will” due to his strong will to live.”

I know Lilly’s behavior is related to Mother Nature and survival of the fittest: It’s still hard not to be mad at her. I feel like revoking her privilege of sleeping on my saddle blankets; but of course I won’t. Thank you Teresa, your colleagues, and Ella Mae for letting this little black baby cat get under your skin and into your hearts!


At the ranch next door, (home of friends and horse trainers Carmen and Norm Bryant, see April 28, 2011 post], a 32-year-old champion Quarter Horse mare had to be put down. That’s a ripe old age in horse years. The cause was colic, a painful intestinal ailment that often claims older horses.

Norm Bryant cutting on Superstar Sierra. This champion mare was nicknamed Little Bunny. Photo courtesy of Norm and Carmen Bryant.

She was known around the place as Little Bunny: Her registered name was fancier, Superstar Sierra. Carmen and Norm cared for and showed both her sire, Docs Superstar Bar, and her dam, Sierra Bunny. Little Bunny was one of the first – and last remaining—offspring of this winning pair.  In fact, her father was quite the sensation four decades back.

In 1977, as agents for R.B. Pamlin Jr., Carmen and Norm orchestrated the purchase of the three-year-old Docs Superstar Bar for $30,000. The young stallion lived up to his name and sired dozens of champions. In 1981, the handsome stud sold for $800,000 – a very large price tag back then.

Bay-colored Little Bunny spent her entire life with Carmen and Norm, as a filly, show horse, brood mare and, most recently, a retired reminder of the good horses, horsemanship, faith and hard work that built their life as successful, well-respected and sought-after cutting horse trainers and breeders. Acknowledging how blessed they were to have had Little Bunny and her dam, Carmen said, “We often admired the class and beauty of those mares.”

I will miss seeing Little Bunny in the band of mares and geldings nibbling away in the green pastures alongside one of my riding paths. May she rest in peace.


Mom Kiwi and her six born-today bearded collie pups. Congratulations Kiwi. Photo by Tish Pollock.

We have six brand new bearded collies bringing cuteness and cheer to our spot on the map. My friend Tish raises these special herding dogs (see Feb. 23, 2011 post): Her bitch Kiwi gave birth this morning.

Here’s what Tish said in a Facebook post, “Puppies are doing really well; two black boys, one brown boy, one brown girl and two fawn girls. All hit the ground strong and active, have had a great lunch, nice sleep, and enjoyed their first exposure to the warm blow dryer when Kiwi was dried after her bath. Kristen (a beardie fan/owner on hand to assist Tish if Kiwi needed widwifery help) has gone home, and we’re going to have another nap around here.”

THIS WEEK’S LESSON FROM THE ANIMALS: This, too, will pass. That’s a hard one to keep in mind; but a welcome ease rides its coattails.

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