Tag Archives: pets

Teaching Children Compassion


Welcome to Marianne, a new contributor to our blog!!!
Hello, I am a mom to an incredibly compassionate nine year old. I had my daughter at 44 years old. She is the love of my life!  I love to write, paint, and bake vegan treats. But my true love lies in animal rescue and teaching compassion for animals to children.

Compassion is not the same as sympathy, empathy or altruism, although each plays a part. The compassionate person feels the suffering of another and takes positive steps to alleviate that suffering.  During his talks, the Dalai Lama emphasizes how important it is for children to experience compassion from their parents or caregivers, from birth. 
True compassion is being highly attuned to your children’s needs and accepting them for the unique people they are.  From birth, compassion is something that can be taught and developed. And the earlier, the better!

Model Compassion:
 Show compassion towards your child and towards others. 
 From the start, every child needs to feel loved and secure in order to thrive. Their needs have to be respected, if we expect them to respect others.  Security comes from knowing that they can count on their parents or caregivers. It comes from knowing that they will be listened to, taken seriously and protected. We must love our children unconditionally and recognize them as the unique beings they are.

Children must also learn to be responsible for their own actions. However, parents and caregivers are very influential in determining how a child acts. Children watch carefully how their parents and other adults treat each other. By modeling compassion towards others, you are teaching them what you value.

This is also true with how we treat our pets and other animals. Your children have watched you closely from birth and are so attuned to your feelings, that they can look at your face and know instantly what you are feeling!  Never yell at your pets, call them names or hit them. Most people who have pets know this and love them and treat them as part of the family.   Your children will learn how to treat your family’s pets with compassion and love, if you model that behavior for them. Show them the correct way to speak to a pet, gently pet them and care for their needs. Show them by doing.

All animal lovers know how to treat a pet, most likely because they grew up in a loving home, with parents who modeled compassionate behavior towards animals. Teaching kindness and respect for animals is the first step in teaching children compassion.

My nine year old daughter with our dog, ChiChi and volunteering at the Bucks County S.P.C.A

I Salute Pit Bulls and Parolees


For the last month, my Saturday night entertainment has been Animal Planet’s Pit bulls and Parolees. I am a devotee of this show that brings together an amazing cast of tattooed characters and critters. For starters, there is Tia Torres, a tough red-headed super hero mom over 50, who founded Villalobos Rescue Center(VRC) to save abused and abandoned pit bulls. With her on this journey are her family and a crew of ex-cons who work tirelessly caring for almost 200 pit bulls at their 10-acre facility.  It’s a story of wounded souls to the rescue, and I love it. No job is too difficult for this dedicated and tattooed team. I’ve seen them spend days out in the scorching desert waiting to capture and rescue one scared dog.

Tia and friend

This past week, I witnessed Tia and her crew trek out to Alabama (from CA) to help rebuild a dog rescue center that was destroyed by the tornado there. They conducted a memorial service for the twenty some dogs that were killed and at the very moment during the service when the name of each dog that perished during the tornado was being called out, the other dogs on the premise were howling as if they, too, heard the names and were saying good-bye. And don’t forget to keep a box of Kleenex close by…

The drama is gripping. Not only does this amazing super hero, Tia, run the rescue for these four-legged friends but a rehabilitation program called Underdawgz for the parolees.  Tia believes both pit bull and parolee have been maligned and feared and both are in need of training and rehab, and Tia is committed to that — no matter how long it takes! I love her.

Showing the Love

But if you’re thinking about adopting one of these doggies, Tia doesn’t make it easy. She is is very strict about who adopts these animals because they are not for the bleeding hearts, and she wants everyone to know what they’re getting into. It takes commitment and hard work to own one of these rescues, but from what I’ve seen on the show, the reward is great.


Second Attempt: Tequila Holiday Cake Recipe


This is one of my favorite recipe’s from my dear friend Va at Sheville.org.  I tried to make this Tequila Christmas Cake recipe for Chanukah again this year, but it didn’t work out so well.  So, I’m trying again for New Year’s Day.  Here goes:


1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar  Lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 bottle Jose Cuervo tequila
2 cups dried fruit

Sample the tequila to check quality.  Take a large bowl; check the tequila again to be  sure it is of the highest quality.  Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer.

Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Beat again.  At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK.  Try another cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.  Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck iin the cup of dried fruit. Pick the fruit up off the floor.  Mix on the turner.  If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity.  Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.  Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon ice strain your nuts.  Add one table.  Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.  Turn the cake tin 360s and try not to fall over.  Don’t forget to beat off the turner.  Finally, throw the bowl through the window.  Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat.

Too Much Tequila

Pahhpy New Gears!

Farmer Nancy on Aging Horses

My horse vet had called to say he’d be late.  There was an old horse that couldn’t get up, and he needed to go put it down.  When he arrived at our barn, he said a curious thing: ‘That old horse was 38!  I don’t want my horses to live to be 38!” I looked down at the medical report I’d dug up on my mare and glanced at her age: 28.  I started doing a mental census of our 27 horses’ ages—but quickly stopped before depression set in.  Yes, aging horses can be tough, and they certainly are living longer these days.  Just last year, out of frustration at always guesstimating our herd’s ages, I made a definitive list of everyone’s age.  It was shocking.  How could Moe and Sunny be 28?  That little pony that we got for my daughter when she was about 7!  He’s nearly 30??  (Of course, my daughter’s almost 22, so I suppose that’s right.)

Farmer Nancy
College Boyfriend's Horse Pic

There are the people who go through a horse period, when their child is taking lessons.  Maybe they even buy a horse.  But as soon as the child loses interest or the horse becomes unusable, they’re done with it.  That horse may get passed along to the next brief enthusiast and the next, then maybe to a riding stable, but eventually there’s no real use for it—other than just being a horse.  What happens then?  More than likely, the horse ends up in a bad situation, gets put down or goes to the slaughter house.  

One of our horses came with a long line of impressive show wins, and with a little notoriety from his time at a local barn, so, after having him for about 10 years, I called the previous owners to let them know how he was doing.  I could tell from their response that they thought I was nuts.  Like a lot of other people, they had no interest in finding out what had happened to their horse after they were finished with it.   

I’m fortunate in that we have a farm, so we have never had to board our horses.  Of course, that is a double-edged sword—because if we had had to board them, we’d have never ended up with so many horses.  Some we got as sad-story rescues, such as the horse show jumper who wasn’t ever supposed to jump again who was being used as a jumping lesson horse, or the retired thoroughbred with the bent leg, or the little Arab, “Rosie”, we found on the side of the road.  (When I was little, my parents accused me of yelling “pick me up!” every time we passed some unfortunate creature on the side of the road.  I guess they never imagined I’d find a horse that way.)


Rosie was a mess.  She was loose that day, grazing beside the road, but she normally lived in a muddy garage with a piece of barbed wire across it, right next to a busy road.  She’d gotten out in an ice storm and fallen.  There were wounds all over her.  When I found the owners, I offered to pay them $200 for her or to call Animal Control.  We brought her home that day.  Local men that came to help us pick up hay that season knew her.  They said she was always in a local parade.  One day I put a saddle on her.  It felt unnatural.   I wasn’t used to her high-head Arab carriage.  It was unnatural for her, too: she associated riding with fear, noise, and stress.  I never road her again, and that was ok.  To see her put on weight and just be a horse in the pasture was payment enough.  She has arthritis now, and one leg is bending at an odd angle.  When it gets cold outside, I blanket her, but every morning she’s there with her ears perked up, waiting for her food.  I doubt she’d be alive if we hadn’t brought her here. Continue reading Farmer Nancy on Aging Horses

Words with Friends


Like you, when I wake up in the morning, I have my rituals.   Ialso take great pleasure in them.  I have a short routine because I spend my day at a  9-5, but it doesn’t diminish the virtues of those rituals.

Me and Carli

My dog, Carli, wakes me up every morning  (now that Gus is gone) and while she’s out doing her business, I sprinkle a little fish food in the aquarium for the rainbows.  Carli hurries right back because she knows her breakfast is waiting  – ½ cup of dry food, 2 Tbs. of wet food (now that she’s 12) and a few spoonfuls of some sort of green vegetables.  This week it’s broccoli.

Then, it’s all about me.  I make a mug of fresh roasted coffee and take my place in the on the living room sofa before I reach for my iPhone to play Words with Friends.

Word with Friends app

Yes – I admit to playing an electronic game on my phone and I admit it’s one of my guilty pleasures, so is unleashing my competitive spirit. I play with my dear friend and yoga teacher, Cindy – and let me tell you, this yogi plays a mean game of scrabble.  She wins more than me, but like I’ve said to her, “Sometimes, life just gives you all consonants.”

We’re not the only ones who play.  It seems millions are addicted to this word building, triple score seeking, instant chatting Words with Friends.  However, Cindy and I are not addicted.   We play once a day (me in the mornings, Cindy in the evenings) and a game can last us weeks.   What I love best about playing scrabble this way is how it actually makes me feel like I’m with my friend.  I know that sounds crazy, especially since I’m not a gen xer, but a baby boomer, but believe me, there is a connection through words.  I felt it most when my dad died last April, and I was staying in Cleveland for a couple weeks.  Every morning, I  looked forward to firing up the app just to connect with Cindy and play our little scrabble game.  It allowed me to continue with part of my ritual when I needed it most.

Amazingly, this scrabble-like app has over 1.6 million daily users, and I see why.   You can boot up the app and be in a game in just seconds.  In case you’re wondering, there’s no Facebook application or web presence of any kind, so you have to make all of your moves from an iPhone or iPad. And the game isn’t available on any other mobile platforms like Android.