How do you make special time for your pets?

MAKING SPECIAL TIME FOR YOUR PETS

Feeding, cleaning, exercising, grooming, caring for, playing with pets can sometimes seem like a full-time job, especially in multiple-pet families.

How do you find time for it all?

Cuddles

Cuddles

If you’re like us, you have to multitask, even with your pets. Exercising includes walking combined with playtime and throwing the ball for our cocker spaniel Leaf.

Annual vet appointments involve bringing both our cat Cuddles and Leaf to the veterinarian’s office at the same time. We found that sharing their distress with each other actually seems to help them cope better. Cuddles can scurry back into her carrying case and feel safe while Leaf is having his exam.

But one thing that each of our pets requires and deserves is at least a few minutes everyday of our undivided attention. Cuddles tends to like her quiet time while sitting on Linda’s lap in the morning. Linda has to work around the cat in order to write in her journal and do a contemplation. But the sound of Cuddles’s sweet purring adds a blissful dimension to the centered start of her day.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Leaf’s special time comes at night when we take turns rubbing his belly, while he sprawls out on the bed. First, he carefully paws Allen’s side of the bed as if preparing a nesting place. Then while Linda pats his head, he answers her question — How was your day? — with grunts, groans, and other vocalizations.

Leaf licks Allen’s cheeks for a while and then settles in the middle of the bed to sleep until Linda finishes reading and turns off the lights.

Cuddles curls up next to Linda’s side. The bird is covered in his cage, sleeping on his perch behind a spray of millet. And everyone drifts into sleep and dream.

How do you make special time for your pets?

An Author’s Dream Book Launch Party

Allen and Linda Anderson

Allen and Linda Anderson

The #AnimalStars book launch was a grand event. We were amazed and very happy to see all the excitement and love for the book and for American Humane Association. The book party was at Fox Studios in Los Angeles in the ballroom.

Leading up to the ballroom was the red carpet, backdrops with ANIMAL STARS book cover images, and massive posters lining the red carpet on the other side of the entrance aisle. Hundreds of well-wishers attended. At one point, when our coauthor Dr. Robin Ganzert asked, “And what’s the name of this book?” everyone sang in unison, “ANIMAL STARS!”

ANIMAL STARS -- Book Launch Party

ANIMAL STARS — Book Launch Party

 

Animal Stars

Animal Stars

The party included food, drink, and lots of laughter. Many of the book’s contributing authors/trainers attended with their animal stars who were featured in the book. People were getting photos and videos of themselves with the famous animal actors. Crystal, the capuchin monkey star of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and WE BOUGHT A ZOO was a full participant in the celebrations. She graced us by sitting on our shoulders and grooming our hair. What an actress!

Celebrities James Denten (Mike the Plumber on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) and Animal Planet host and author Victoria Stilwell were enjoying the party as well as a young man from television that the teenagers all knew and adored.

Animal Stars Director's Chair

Animal Stars Director’s Chair

We were thrilled to meet Dr. Marty Becker, official veterinarian for GOOD MORNING AMERICA and the DR. OZ SHOW. He wrote the foreword for our first ANGEL ANIMALS book and for this book. Such a nice man. Our publicist for all these years, Monique Muhlenkamp was also at the party representing our publisher New World Library.

Allen and Linda Anderson with their Friends at the Animal Stars Book Launch Party

Allen and Linda Anderson with their Friends at the Animal Stars Book Launch Party

Margo, Linda, and Arlene

Margo, Linda, and Arlene

It was an author’s dream book launch party. And we are grateful to have had the opportunity of meeting people who sent the book off with a good start. Many came up and told us they have been reading and loving our books for years. What a treat! Who knew?

Linda, Crystal, & Allen

Linda, Crystal, & Allen

Robin Ganzert and Friends

Robin Ganzert and Friends

Meeting Finder, the Horse Who Played Joey in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse

From childhood, we have always felt loved horses. We love horses so much that we have written two books about these amazing creatures. Just as millions of people around the world have, we watched the Thoroughbred Joey in Steven Spielberg’s movie War Horse and marveled at the horse’s acting and athletic ability. Remember the spectacular scene when Joey jumps over the World War I tanks? The horse’s keen intelligence and bravery heightened our regard for him from respect to awe.

Finder

Finder

What a treat it would be to actually meet Finder, the amazing horse who played the role of Joey, and his incredible trainer Bobby Lovgren. Part of our extensive research as co-authors with Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of American Humane Association, for our new book Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors, was to meet the celebrity animals who star in film and television and to interview their world-class trainers.

In mid-July 2013, we drove to the home of Bobby Lovgren, his wife Wendy, and their family. Coming from the Midwest’s Twin Cities, we were unaccustomed to the dry desert heat and cooled down by sipping on icy fruit smoothies. Relying on a crisp-voiced GPS navigator, we wound our way outside Los Angeles to a world where animals are the stars.

We arrived at Bobby’s home to find a horse ranch with stables and corrals. After graciously greeting us, Bobby and Wendy brought us into a spacious open room of their home. Its walls and shelving displayed photos and memorabilia from movies for which Bobby had trained and wrangled horses. The Lovgren’s home seemed like a sanctuary where a world-traveled trainer could rest and regroup with his family between assignments.

Interviewing Bobby

We set up our microphone and tape recorder and retrieved our notepads for taking additional notes. Bobby’s stories and adventures as a movie animal trainer kept us entertained and enlightened. He stressed his determination that safety protocols be followed for horses and other animal actors. He explained that he repeatedly practices any trick or action a horse is asked to perform. Without patience and careful practice, Bobby would not allow the horse to do the trick.

Finder and Bobby Lovgren

Finder and Bobby Lovgren

His one regret? Often scenes that took weeks of practice and orchestration to do safely, get attributed to CGI effects by audiences (and even movie reviewers).

Sometimes, Bobby has to refuse a director’s request for an action but usually can find a safe alternative for getting the same effect. He expressed his appreciation for having American Humane Association Certified Animal Safety Representatives on set. When Bobby feels concern over doing animal action, the safety reps are always firmly in his corner and helping to find other ways to accomplish the director’s goals.

Our conversation turned to talking about Finder. We had already interviewed Bobby on the phone for his story in Animal Stars, “Finder, as Joey in War Horse, a Director’s Dream Actor.” Bobby describes Finder is a Thoroughbred who adds a touch of attitude to every performance. One of the statements in his story had made us especially eager to meet this magnificent horse. He had said, “Finder is the most challenging animal I’ve worked with because he loves when cameras and people are around. They energize him. A professional, he brings something new to each scene.”

Meeting Finder

At last, it was time for us to meet Finder. As we walked to a fenced-in running area that held several horses, and Bobby left to bring the famous gelding to us, we talked to each other about all the kind words Steven Spielberg had said about Bobby and Finder. Flown to England for War Horse, Finder and Bobby impressed Steven Spielberg with their professionalism and skill. About the experience, the iconic director had written for Animal Stars, “I thought the centaur was a mythological creature until I watched Bobby Lovgren and Finder interacting. At one point, I could not tell man from horse. They both performed admirably.”

Finder

Finder

Soon, Bobby brought Finder to a large open area that he uses for training and exercising his horses. Beautiful, muscular, and confident, Finder strutted next to Bobby as they entered the arena. The power of Finder’s pride and presence was palpable. While some people meet a Holly wood star and feel disappointed, saying things such as, “He’s shorter than he looks onscreen,” Finder was even more imposing than he appeared in War Horse. Everything Bobby had told us about him was true–and more: This horse had attitude!

Bobby allowed Finder to show off a bit for his visitors by rearing up on his hind legs, running, and trotting. Finished for the time being with impressing us, he came over to where we had been watching him, awestruck. At Bobby’s instruction, Finder carefully lay down on the ground. We gathered around, knelt in the dust, and stroked our hands across his sleek back and sides.

Finder with Allen & Linda Anderson

Finder with Allen & Linda Anderson

The trust and affection between Bobby and Finder were total. It was apparent that these two knew each other well and deeply. We observed an unbreakable connection of two strong individuals who trusted and respected each other. They had become comrades, sharing their life’s adventures together.

In his story Bobby had commented on their teamwork by saying, “Although some might not call what Finder does acting, I’ve noticed that he heightens his actions when people are around. He lets me create emotions for him to show, and the expressions on his face make him easy to read. I’ve never seen a more expressive horse.”

Right about that! During a short photo session Finder made a special connection with Linda as he gently placed his head on her shoulder.

Bobby told us that American Humane Association’s Film & TV Unit, which officially oversees hundreds of filmed media productions each year as part to of its “No Animals Were Harmed®” service, often brings new staff to the Lovgren ranch to watch Bobby properly and safely train and work with horses. As we left the Lovgrens and Finder, we felt honored to have met a matchless team of human trainer–and animal teacher.

Animal Stars

Animal Stars

ANIMAL STARS: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors by Robin Ganzert, PhD, and Allen & Linda Anderson with a foreword by “America’s Veterinarian” Marty Becker, DVM, is published by New World Library. It will be released as an e-book on August 19th in major e-book retailers and available in bookstores by September 25, 2014. For details on receiving a free gift with a pre-order of Animal Stars and to see endorsements from Temple Grandin, Naomi Judd, Lisa Vanderpump, Carson Kressley, Jon Turtletraub, Quentin Tarantino, Zac Ephron, and other celebrities, go to www.animalstarsbook.com.

WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH: Writing about Pets and Animals for Love and Money

WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH: Writing about Pets and Animals for Love and Money

Wouldn’t you like for someone, who has a lot of experience in fulfilling a dream of yours, sit down and tell you what you need to do and know to duplicate that success? That’s exactly what we’re offering those of you who want to write about some of the most important relationships in your life.

WOOF, MEOW, WRITE, PUBLISH: Writing about Pets and Animals for Love and Money is a new, downloadable, three-part, comprehensive course to guide you in writing books, articles, stories, blogs, and essays about animals for pleasure or extra income. We designed and wrote this one-of-a-kind course based on our experience as best-selling, award-winning authors of 14 published pet books.

Read more at www.allenandlindaanderson.com/
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network -Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net

 

NATIVE AMERICANS AND MYSTICAL HORSES

NATIVE AMERICANS AND MYSTICAL HORSES

Native American ability to connect with animals spiritually inspires with its awesome simplicity. Native Americans weave strands of all life together in a tapestry that does not easily unravel.

Perhaps one of the most lasting impressions of how thoroughly and courageously humans and animals can blend their spirits and hearts came when Native Americans began their centuries-long relationship with horses.

Horses evolved on the American continent about a million years ago into Equus caballus, an ancient ancestor to the modern day horse. Archeological evidence suggests that horses migrated across land bridges to Europe and Asia. Ten thousand years ago, Equus went extinct in the western world but found its way into the deserts of the Middle East, the mountains of the Far East, and the jungles of Africa.

According to the Native American Newsletter “Buffalo Trails,” before horses were reintroduced to the Americas, there were rare sightings of a few of their ancestors. These became known as the Curlie Horse. The Sioux revered the Curlie Horse as mysterious or mystical.

Ultimately Native Americans fell in love with Equus, domesticating horses and coming to rely on them for hunting, warfare, and moving from place to place over the vast plains of the Midwest and South. Historians believe that the Comanches first recognized how important horses could be to their survival and put them to the greatest use.

Paintings survive that show Native American warriors dressed for battle with their war ponies painted the same patterns and colors as their own faces and bodies. The horse and the man were as one, a formidable force adorned identically with symbols such as zigzag lines to represent lightning and circles around the eyes to improve both the horse’s and human’s vision.

Native Americans found strength in horses and connected with them at deeply spiritual levels. It appears to have been destiny for them to take their relationships with horses beyond that of using animals merely as “beasts of burden” into one in which human and horse spirits joined as one.

What is your relationship with horses?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net

ANIMALS AND YOUR SPIRITUAL BLIND SPOTS

When we give our talks and facilitate Angel Animals workshops after someone has shared a story about his or her spiritual connection with a special animal, we often ask what was going on in the person’s life at the time. This is when the awareness dawns that a memorable experience with a pet or animal in nature has reflected the person’s spiritual lessons, challenges, or attitudes.

We call these “spiritual blind spots.” They are aspects of yourself that you can’t see, but an animal reveals them to you.

Animals reflect what you’re all about — your values, interests, and personality. What you may not realize is that animals can also be spiritual barometers for whatever you’re hiding from the world and yourself. They manifest your state of consciousness — fleas and all.

Animals, as souls, are spiritually engineered to give service. So are humans, but people tend to carry a lot of mental and emotional baggage, making it more complex for them to be pure and loving vehicles for love. As a service, animals reflect aspects of your personality and spiritual makeup that may be keeping you from becoming your most evolved, loving, enlightened self.

Spiritual blind spots are the needs and desires you don’t, can’t, or won’t admit you harbor. Recognizing and accepting them fosters spiritual growth, because the first step toward loving God and others is to love yourself completely.

Animals often depict scenes of your secrets brought to the big screen in living Technicolor by an animal actor. The spiritual blind spots animals bring to your attention enable you to discover whatever hinders you from being all you were meant to be.

Has an animal ever shown you a spiritual blind spot?

On another note, when we went to Chicago for the DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM book tour, we did a radio interview with Steve Dale, the renowned syndicated columnist, author, speaker, and animal advocate . Steve’s radio show and podcasts are on the “best” lists and have received many awards. He’s such a unique and authentic voice on the air. You’ll understand why people don’t ever want to miss one of his shows. Go to Chicago radio’s WLS-AM website and click on “Expanded Steve Dale’s Pet World Petcast – November 22, 2010”. Let us know what you think.

To have the fun and excitement of virtually joining us on the launch of DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM, take a look at the clips of events, including Linda Anderson reading to the R.E.A.D. dogs — dogs who graciously listen to children read and help them gain self-confidence. Go to the YouTube.com website and search “dogs and the women who love them”.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family!
www.angelanimals.net

Dogs and the Women Who Love Them
www.dogsandthewomenwholovethem.com

What were your pets like as babies?

WHEN YOU WERE A BABY

Linda was recently talking with Cuddles while the cat watched her typing at the keyboard of her laptop. Linda picked Cuddles up and placed the cat in her lap. She told Cuddles about how tiny she had been when we first brought her home from the animal shelter. Linda said, “When you were a baby, you used to curl up in my lap and sleep while I worked at the computer.”

After their moment of reminiscing, Cuddles went back over to the table from where she had been observing Linda. She stopped and seemed to be thinking about the fond memory Linda had shared with her. Then Cuddles extended her paw and crawled onto Linda’s lap, just as she had as a kitty.

Isn’t it grand to let yourself be a treasured baby once again?

What were your pets like as babies?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net
www.dogsandthewomenwholovethem.com

IN AN ENLIGHTENED WORLD

In her book, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, author Amy Tan writes, “I was like a turtle lying on its back, struggling to know why the world was upside down.”

How likely is it that much of the world is like that turtle, trying to view the complex animal-human relationship from a perspective that only yields false results?

In an enlightened world the veil would be lifted, and golden threads that connect all life would become visible.

In an enlightened world you would communicate easily with species that have lived on this earth longer than people, can move about it more freely, and view life in an entirely unique way. Animals would become a valued resource for decision-making, health, and happiness.

In an enlightened world there would be no doubt that the souls of animals survive death and move on into an afterlife. You would be comforted in the knowledge that you’ll be reunited with those who have placed their indelible paw prints upon your heart.

Even though you personally may be enlightened about your spiritual connection with animals, unfortunately we’re not living in an enlightened world — yet.

In our opinion future generations will look back on our modern-day era and ask, “Can you believe back then people actually didn’t know that animals are souls?”

Our cultures will seem as primitive as previous periods in history when one class, society, clan, or tribe looked down on, treated cruelly, or subjugated another and justified their actions with the viewpoint that the enslaved had no feelings, no ability to care for themselves or to make choices, no awareness, no souls. Today’s humans will appear to be arrogant people who confused the power to dominate with being superior to those who fell under their rule.

As always, a story says it best. What could life be like in an enlightened world? Please always share your stories, whenever and where you can, so that the day may come when we all live in an enlightened world.
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net

What human words do your pets respond to?

How Big Is a Pet’s Vocabulary?

The animals in our home seem to catch on to quite a bit of our verbal communication. We know that they read our body language, behavior, and emotions. They pick up mental and visual images. But we’ve been noticing the human language they recognize.

Seems like we’ve heard that dogs have up to about a 300 word vocabulary. Of course, parrots’ vocabulary can be incredible. So we’ve been experimenting with our cocker spaniel Leaf to find out which words have been imprinted on his young brain.

It’s more difficult to figure out with cats. Do they really not know words such as “Don’t scratch that,” and choose, cat-like, to ignore the plea/command? It’s easier to tell what words our bird knows. He says, “Hello,” and “I love you, sweet baby.”

Below are a few of Leaf’s vocabulary achievements.

Popcorn: mentioned at any volume from any part of the house, brings him running

Carrots: see above for popcorn

Banana: see above for popcorn and carrots

Greenie: see above for popcorn, carrots, and banana

Pampered Pooch: his favorite doggy day care center

Dog park: brings him and his orange ball to the back door, fired up and ready to go

Up, up, up: entices him to jump onto the bed for a squeeze, kisses, and a tummy rub.

Tummy, tummy, tummy: elicits a rollover that’s faster than money moving from a 401K to an IRA account

Squeaky toy: causes him to root through his collection for favorite toy of the moment

To be fair he still remembers, sort of, his dog school training commands:

Sit (more like, squat for a second),

Stay (more like, pause),

Shake (more like, wave your paw around),

Down (more like, I’ll think about it and decide if I want to)

What human words do your pets respond to?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family
www.angelanimals.net

Who has believed in your potential when no one else could see it?

First published by Angel Animals Story of the Week, January 9, 2010. Reprinted with permission. To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

A HORSE NAMED FREEDOM
By Kathe Campbell

A horse’s shocking year, as told to me by loving animal sanctuary folks in Montana — his ominous days before mending at my mountain ranch.

The young Mustang’s life was unruffled, his fodder and spring graze lush, while he contemplated his prime and lived near kin. The fields and pastures were seasonally green, and the rancher forked up two squares a day, lending belly comfort and warmth to the horse’s life even through winter’s chill. Then some folks arrived on the scene to take the youngster away. He left his ma and sidekicks while being prodded into a tiny horse trailer.

Life was now simpler for the gelding, no long green valleys, nobody to run the rivers with.  The hard case that bought the horse was unkind, jerking the youngin’ around while breaking him to saddle, and forcing that cussed bit.

Horse, as the new person called the Mustang, had never known about newfangled shouts, curses, and whippings that he was getting from the man’s leather quirt.  The youngster’s fare dissipated into mostly weeds and dandelions, stale ditch water, and nary one sweet handful of oats.  Worse, he stood afire under summer’s fierce rays while ogling grazing cattle across the fence.

The lady crawled upon Horse’s back for a spell, seemingly content with her new pony as they walked along the dirt road on fair afternoons.  But for an occasional cake of grass hay tossed over his rails by a kind neighbor, Horse was left to languish in the bare and dusty pen.  By summer’s end, his once sleek sorrel coat became pocked and dull, and his raw-boned hips and neck were bit through by a range of pesky chiggers.

Come evening, the man and lady screeched and hollered so loud as to make Horse’s ears twitch.  Sometimes the lady came flying off the back porch, only to lay bellerin’ in the dirt.  Often, the man became so angry, he swore and threw his fist through the window of their unholy little weather-beaten shack.

Autumn came, and the man left the place in his old rusty pickup. The weeds in Horse’s pen were done for, and yet seldom did a soul come with a cake of fodder.  Now and then the offish lady fetched a few handfuls of bunch grass from the yard, always carrying that rank bottle of lightening.  If she’d only offer to take Horse for a ride, he could easily harvest a meal from the dusty grass alongside the road, but it wasn’t to be.

The first snows saw the woman leaving early in the mornings, never seen till after dark throughout blizzards and hard freeze. She emerged nightly from her little car plumb full as a tick, mumbling nonsense as she weaved her way to the house.  Horse whinnied, cribbed on the rails, and kicked the boards, but the lady never turned the lights on or gave him a thought.  Crowbait now, and a layer of snow covering his back, icicles hung long and heavy from the Mustang’s mane.

Looking as though the half dead animal was ready for the bone orchard, a lady from the local animal sanctuary appeared. She opened Horse’s pen and ran gentle hands over his sorry body, murmuring soft sounds of love and reassurance.

Soon a horse trailer arrived, and Horse threaded his thin and weary legs up the ramp. But his knees collapsed, leaving him a crippled heap of filthy flesh and bone.  Kind folks helped him walk into a warm stall where he bedded for days with hay, oats, and fresh water. At only three years old, his way of going seemed lost, and unless salvaged, he’d be put out of his misery.

Weeks passed, and another horse trailer pulled alongside Horse’s stall. Other folks blanketed his emaciated carcass before escorting him inside.  After a long journey the doors opened to the scent of green sprouts in a field and the loping hooves of donkeys rushing to greet the pitiful wretch.  He was turned loose to the glory of it all — a barn, alfalfa hay, and clean running water when he thirsted. Horse was free.

Shivering and gasping at the sight, I saw Horse’s scrawny neck schmoozing my donkeys across the fence one early morn.  “So you’re our rescue baby, you sorrowful thing,” I tearfully whispered, caressing his head against my chest.  “We’ll bring you about.”

Horse was made welcome in a clean, straw-filled stall when he needed comfort and seclusion.  I brushed his coat daily, clipped and filed his split hooves, shared carrots, and assured him he had a home if he was a mind to stay.

He was high maintenance in the beginning and stayed for a goodly time at our ranch, high in the Montana mountains.  When we saddled up and rode the hills and forests on our big champion donkeys, Horse trailed along until he amassed the sleek coat, bulk, and muscle he was born with.

The day came when we shook hands and hugged a dear old friend as he and his small Indian grandson emerged from their truck. Horse had never seen a shave tail before and seemed taken with the boy’s tawny skin, shiny black hair, and winning smile.

The lad crawled up on Horse bareback, pulled gently on the reins, and spoke kind words as they rode the acres.  This was surely the best birthday present the youngster ever had, as the Mustang walked easily into their trailer to go home.  They called him “Freedom.”

BIO:
Kathe lives on a Montana mountain with her mammoth donkeys, a Keeshond, and a few kitties.  She is a prolific writer on Alzheimer’s, and her stories are found on many ezines.  Kathe is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup For The Soul and Cup of Comfort series, numerous anthologies, RX for Writers, and medical journals.  Email her at <kathe @ wildblue.net>

SOMETHING TO THING ABOUT:

Who has believed in your potential when no one else could see it?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Note: To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com