Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month! Why Adopt a Cat?

Why Adopt a Cat?
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June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month, and here in the Denver area, the Dumb Friends League has a wonderful list of reasons why a cat is an excellent choice as a companion. Check out their adoptable cats at http://www.ddfl.org/services/adoption-process.

EASY TO PLEASE: Cats are happy living indoors, whether watching out the window or napping in your lap.

ENTERTAINING: Cats love to play – with you or by themselves – and are guaranteed to make you laugh!
CAT-PLAYING
SOCIABLE: Cats can live happily with kids, other cats, and even dogs. Our cats have the two dogs pretty much under control.

NEAT AND CLEAN: Cats spend one-third of their waking hours grooming themselves.

PEST HUNTERS: Cats have incredibly sensitive hearing, even while sleeping, which helps them rid your home of mice, moths, and other unwanted visitors. It’s Miller Moth season in Colorado – you should see the fun our cats are having!

TIDY AS CAN BE: Cats do not need to be litter box trained. It’s a natural habit continued from their ancestors.

SMART: Cats can be clicker trained to sit, come, roll over and do “high fives.”ThrowOnAnotherCat

GREAT COMPANY: Cats will keep you company, comfort you when you’re blue and keep you warm on cold nights.

GOOD ROOMMATES: Cats make great urban dwellers and are popular among people who live in the city, apartments or smaller homes because cats don’t require much space or a backyard.

GOOD FOR YOU: Owning a cat can make you healthier and happier by lowering your blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and improving your mood, according to WebMD.

Cats are fantastic, magical creatures, and are sure to add warmth and fun to any home. Consider adopting a cat.

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I Channelled Grandma (or Maybe I’m Just Growing Up)

It’s Memorial Day, and along with the solemn reflection on those lost in our nation’s battles, we also celebrate with family rituals around the barbecue grill.

When I was growing up, we always had german style potato salad at the family gatherings, because that’s where we hail from – the countries of middle to northern Europe. Germany, Austria, Bavaria, that’s us. Nobody could make that potato salad better than Grandma, who was born here in the USA but raised by those who arrived on these shores via Ellis Island, and then scampered out to Wisconsin. I love german potato salad, and I’ve been trying to make a decent batch for most of my adult life.

Usually the potatoes are too done – throw them into the pot, high heat, hurry, hurry, hurry, and then to peel the dang things is a major undertaking. The dressing?  Pretty good, when the bacon isn’t burnt, and who can be bothered to cut up celery?

So today, for some reason, the world slowed down. I got out the potatoes and set them in the pot after the water had a chance to get nice and warm. Fried up the bacon, love that smell, and chopped a couple stalks of celery into bite-sized crunchy bits. Then to wait on those potatoes.

SaladInTheMakingThe potatoes were talking to me today. “Take care of us”, they said, “monitor our progress. Make sure we’re firm enough but not too firm. And not too mushy. You’ve got nowhere to go and nothing to do except watch us potatoes.” So I did, even though I had plenty to do and could have come up with a dozen places to go.

Eventually, they were firm enough, but not too firm. Into the sink, running cold water over them to loosen the skin, and to keep my fingers from burning off while I peeled them. And then they got even more interesting.

“Look at us,” they murmured from beneath the water. “See how we are all the same, but so very different? Different shapes, different sizes, some of us with many scars, some with but a few. Some of us don’t want to shed our outer shell, that skin that keeps those scars from showing too much. Some of us are more willing. Underneath, though, we’re all the same. Tasty potato. It takes patience to get to the tasty part of us.”

Whoa. Potatoes waxiFinishedPotatoSaladng metaphorical. But the more I looked, the more patience I used in removing that outer layer, the more interesting they got. I put a lot of love into those potatoes, even the one that just didn’t want to give up its skin. I had to understand that potato to get to its heart, finding the points of resistance and using a gentle touch, sensing what was needed to release the outer covering, just so. Scarred, pitted, with many more dings than the others, it revealed itself, underneath, as a very tasty potato.

Once they were all peeled, sliced, and tossed with the bacon dressing, I reveled in their transformation. From a bunch of potatoes to potato salad. Grandma’s potato salad. The taste test confirmed it. The ingredients that had been missing in my recipe were patience, and love. Grandma knew. And I know she was smiling down at me as I finally, finally, listened to those potatoes.

Ready to Transform?

I recently attended a five-day Transformational Presence Coaching and Leadership training, presented by Alan Seale. Alan’s work in Transformational Presence has been, for me, a life-changing experience. It has expanded my capability as a coach exponentially.

The tools are a wonderful complement to those I learned in the Touched By A Horse (TBAH) EGCMethod(r) program, and many of them translate well in partnering with horses. Whether you are on the phone or in the round pen, there is movement. The client gets up and moves, working through an experiment that has been designed just for them. On the phone, you move with them, and it gives the experiment impact, both of you moving around the room. In the round pen, it is the horse who moves with the client (or not, if the client isn’t quite in the right place in their body – horses like authenticity and groundedness, and are great teachers of being here now). The tools are simple, but have a profound impact on the client. It’s forward movement, a way of touching into our wholeness and resurrecting it from where it may have been languishing within ourselves. It’s about the present moment and beyond, and it’s really good stuff. 

My understanding of what it means to know that my client is whole has deepened. The client is not a problem to be solved; there is no solutioning here. It is all about going on a journey of discovery, asking questions, allowing the client to find the clarity within that has been there all along, but perhaps hidden. We were taught the same thing in TBAH, and while I knew it in my head, I didn’t really feel it until I took Alan’s training.  As a result, my coaching is richer, more joyful, with more curiosity about the wisdom the client carries, and which moves us both toward the transformation of a situation into one full of choice and opportunity. Have I mentioned how this is really good stuff?

You can find more information about Alan Seale and the Center for Transformational Presence at http://www.transformationalpresence.org. Learn more about Harmony’s Heart Coaching at http://www.harmonysheartcoaching.com.

Princess Torbie

We have a number of cats, and all of them are extraordinary and unique. Torbie is our only girl kitty, and she definitely knows it.

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The look that launched an adoption process.

How she came to us is kind of fun. Somewhat like Harry Potter under the stairs, she was abandoned under a front porch and got sustenance through the kindness of neighbors. She didn’t really want that kind of life, though, and eventually allowed herself to be “captured” and then sent into a situation where she could lay in wait for the person she knew was hers and hers alone.

Glenn went into the local pet store to pick up some food for the four-legged kids. The store is great; they work with pet rescues, being a sort of retail foster home, and employing a stringent and lengthy process to make sure a prospective adopter is right for the animal. So in pops Glenn, thinking he’ll be there maybe three minutes, when he feels eyes on him. Glancing to the right, what does he spy but a small ball of fluff. Staring at him. Hard. “About time you got here, dude. Do have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for you? Fill out the paperwork, and let’s get this going.”

Most animals don’t do that to Glenn. It’s not that he’s a scary guy, it’s just that he makes sure any animal looking for a home knows that his home is not going to be it. According to him, we have plenty of animals. Torbie disagreed.

There was something about Torbie. The tilt of her head, the come hither look in her eye. More likely it was the imperious command he felt in his brain, that this scrap of a kitten had been waiting especially for him, and would not take no for an answer. He drifted over to say hello, and that pretty much sealed the deal. Torbie wrapped him around her little paw without ever letting him touch her, paperwork was summarily filled out, and she came home to our nest.

Practicing her hunting skills. "How quickly can I make this stop?"
Practicing her hunting skills. “How quickly can I make this stop?”

It took her a long time to decide it was okay to be petted. Now when she deigns to have fingers on her fur, she will bend her head as if to say “you may stroke me there.”

She is a lethal hunter, all six pounds of her, the best of our bunch. She started with butterflies (slow, lazy movements and easy to snag with a well-aimed claw), and quickly worked her way up through grasshoppers and then birds, her favorite prey. She thinks squirrels just aren’t worth the effort – too sneaky. I think she also hates being laughed at, and you know how squirrels love a good joke. Being straightforward herself, she prefers the direct approach, zipping across the grass to grab an unsuspecting bird or, in the case of a hummingbird, snatching it right out of the sky.

If you get the opportunity to meet Torbie, don’t touch until she responds to your invitation with a head bend. Then, you may pet her – there.

Dry Food? Yecccch

One of our beloved cats, who spends a lot of time indoors but has a barn patrol designation, recently had a urinary problem. It’s so rare that our animals are sick, it was quite the event for us. We took Morpheus to the vet, and many dollars later brought him home with several kinds of medication and a healthy curiosity about better ways to solve the problem.

A huge reason cats can end up with urinary problems: Water. They don’t typically drink enough water, because their natural diet, tasty mice and moles, rabbits, all have lots of moisture in them (over 70%, according to what I read). So the kibble that makes it easy to care for our feline friends is really not friendly at all. Cats do not go out and make themselves toast; they don’t nibble on cobs of corn. Foods that have corn, wheat, soy, MorpheusJune2014are not good for them at all. There are grain free kibbles available, but those don’t have the moisture content that the need so very much.

Wet canned food is better, but make sure you feed a high-quality canned food, not the stuff with leftover pieces parts and grains. The best solution, once you can get your cats to eat it, is a raw or make-it-yourself diet. We are going to experiment with the Crock Pot Diet for animals, and will keep you posted on the outcome. It may take a while for us to convince our feline family (and Baby-the-dog, because it’s good for her too) that the Crock Pot Diet is just what they want to eat, because they love their dry food. So we’ll have to be sneaky. We found a guide for transitioning from kibble to wet food, and we listed it below.

So give the Crock Pot Diet a try. If your cat and dog don’t care for it, you can eat it yourself.

https://mypersonalchef.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/dr-ruths-basic-crock-pot-diet-for-pets/

Wean your cats from their current dry diet:

http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_

Queen of the Herd

Humans are not the only beings that evolve during their lifetime. Our Friesian mare, Wilma, is certainly an example of a being with four legs who has changed and grown over the years.

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One of many rides around the reserve.

Of course, being Friesian, she has always had an excellent sense of who she is. She is the Queen, and fortunately a benevolent one. She was born in the Pacific Northwest 23 years ago, one of the first Friesian horses born in this country, and was instrumental in providing quality offspring to Friesian enthusiasts throughout the United States for many years. She stayed on the farm, had babies, went to one yearly kuering (judging) and lived a quiet life.

When she was pregnant with her 9th foal, her caretakers needed to cut back on the size of their herd and because Wilma was older, she was put on the market. That was our lucky day! We bought Wilma, welcomed her son Patric into the world, and then off Wilma went for the next part of her journey – to become a riding horse.

Wilma has a great work ethic and it was no time at all before she was ready to carry riders. The story of how she helped me get over my fear of riding is on our website, and for many years she and I enjoyed trail rides throughout the forest reserve where we lived.

WilmaMe2009
Wilma the Wise

Wilma still packs me around periodically, although we tend to ramble now rather than rumble. Her latest role is that of coach extraordinaire. There is something about her calm, loving presence that inspires people to new heights of understanding. She tells it like it is, and she loves everyone while she’s doing it. Her many years of experience serve her, and her clients, well. We are so very blessed to have this magnificent Queen in our herd, keeping the peace among the mares and spreading her unique brand of L-O-V-E with every interaction. What a girl.

Tribe Tale

Darren Hardy, the editor of Success Magazine, recently posted a story of two tribes. It really resonated with us, so we wanted to share it with you here.

“There were these two tribes that inhabited the Andes Mountains.
There was a low lander tribe, and there had been a tribe who had lived up in the high mountains as well.

So one day the highlanders came down and plundered the village of the lowlanders. And they kidnapped one of the lowlanders’ babies and took it up into the highlands.

Well the lowlanders organized a group of the bravest and strongest men to go recover and rescue the baby. These men were determined to climb to the top.

But the mountain was very steep, and it was rocky.
And being from the lowlands, theyAndes didn’t know how to climb very well.

Well after weeks of very little progress, they were exhausted and defeated.
One of the men said, “Is it necessary for us to risk our lives just to rescue one child? Our village has other children. We do not need to climb this mountain.” The rest of the men agreed and gathered their belongings for the trek home.

Now it isn’t that these men didn’t want to rescue the baby. They did. But after having tried and coming up short several times, they determined that the journey was too difficult. It was unnecessary.

See, it’s easy to concentrate on what’s necessary instead of what’s possible.
Most people live like this.
Most people do just fine.

They pay their bills. They feed their families, and they have a steady income.
They live a get by kind of life.

And this isn’t just me making judgement one way or the other.
It’s just a simple fact.

But I don’t believe that any of you in this audience today are average.
You’re not here to be like most people.
You’re not here because you want to get by in your life.

And it’s what sets you apart from everybody outside of this room.”

We believe this, too, or you wouldn’t want to be inspired. Do you live a life of necessity, or possibility? And do you want to change that? If you don’t, that’s fine too. But if you do……how do you get out of your own way? Stay tuned.

Inspiration, Humor, Heart