Friday, December 12, 2014

For the non-facebook blog readers....

UPDATE:  Here is the link for the podcast of the interview.  The other author's story begins at about the one minute mark, and mine begins at about the seven minute mark.  (Thanks Mark, for giving me the head's up on this!):  Click here for link to podcast!

Original post:
For those who haven't seen my post on Facebook, I was interviewed by Sheryl MacKay of  CBC Radio One's program North by Northwest this week, regarding one of my recently published stories.  It will air tomorrow morning (Saturday Dec 13), just after the 7:30 AM News and sports.  Two of us who contributed to "In the Company of Animals:  Stories of Extraordinary Encounters" (edited by Pam Chamberlain) were interviewed for the program. CBC Radio One is found at 690 AM or 88.1 FM in the Vancouver BC area, 88.9 FM in the Okanagon, 90.5 FM in Victoria, 91.5 FM in Prince George.   If you aren't in BC, I think it becomes available via podcast on their website a week from Saturday.

As for blogging, I haven't abandoned you.  Really.  New post coming very soon.....about my friends Ollie and Scooter.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Adventures with Cosmo!

By Eddie

Last week my mama took me for a hike at Swallowfield.   She didn't tell me she wanted me to meet her friend's new dog.

Well, he's not really a dog yet, he's just a puppy.  A fifteen week old pomeranian puppy named Cosmo.  A very very very very active puppy.  He likes to jump on me (I didn't like that and told him where to go!), and he likes to jump on the leaves and the grass and the bugs and the water and shoes and mud and, well, just about everything.  My mama sez he is just doin' what puppies do.  

Cosmo:  Hurry up, Mr. Eddie!
Eddie:  Yeah, yeah, you just bounce right on ahead.

Some people we met thought we looked a lot alike - like he was maybe a mini-me.  Dunno why they thought that - anyone can see I'm much handsomer than he'll ever be. [Jean:  EDDIE! Be nice!]

Why would people think we look alike?
At least I know enough to
face the camera!

Cosmo:  Yer kinda grumpy, ain't ya Mr. Eddie?

Mama took her big camera. And then all she did the whole time we was hiking was take pictures of the puppy.  So - spoiler alert - here come a ton of puppy pictures.  I don't know why people think puppies are so much fun.  They look like an awful lot of work to me.  I'm glad mama only adopts us old dogs.  Here's Cosmo playing in the leaves:

And here's Cosmo doing other stuff, like stalking shoes, and looking at the water, and posing :

Mama did take a few shots of the scenery, and of an eagle that thought Cosmo might be the perfect size for a snack:

Then we headed back to the cars, where Cosmo had to be dried off with a towel.  He was feeling pretty tired by then:

But I saved the best picture for last:  

[Dogs rule, puppies drool! Nyah nyah nyah!]

Friday, November 14, 2014

All She Wants for Chrismas......

....Is a home of her very own!  This is Lucy the beagle mix, and she is looking for her forever home in or near southern Ontario, Canada. 

Hai! I'm Lucy! And I need a home!

(All photos and info used with Lucy's permission -
or at least that of her foster mom!)
I don’t usually profile out-of-province dogs here – heaven knows there are enough dogs in rescues and shelters right here in BC.  But Lucy has been in foster care for 528 days and counting – yes, you read that correctly.  Five Hundred Twenty-Eight Days.  A dog-forum-friend of mine just north of Guelph, Ontario is fostering her for Speaking of Dogs rescue.  And the rescue, the foster mom, and Lucy really, really, really want to find her forever home by Christmas.

A home of my own would be
even better than a stuffed kong!
Yes!  Really!

So I said I would help.  About 10% of my blog readers live in Ontario.  And  while 70% of my blog readers are in BC,  I bet at least half of those know people in Ontario. And even if those readers and friends can’t take on a dog, they also have friends in Ontario. You tell two people, and they tell two people, and so on and so on and so on.  And somewhere, somewhere among the 12 million or more people in Ontario (or within a short distance of its borders) is Lucy’s forever home.  They don’t have to live in Guelph, but Lucy can’t be shipped so they need to be close enough (within a few hours drive) for the home check, the transport, the follow up.  

I gotta be able to get to
your place by car!  
And,  like any responsible rescue, they are looking for the RIGHT home for Lucy.  Someone who has done their homework, read the information, has the right home, has the commitment, is willing to work with her.  In return, Lucy will give them tons of entertainment (just check out the videos on her facebook page!) and love. 

From Lucy’s facebook page:
My name is Lucy, and I've been in rescue for WAY too long. Will YOU take me home?
I’m a 7-year-old spayed female Beagle mix who weighs in at about 45 pounds. I was given away by the only family I ever knew May/2013 because they were having a baby. It was a sad day, but I guess I'm glad I didn't have to live with a baby! 
My foster parents say I am a good problem solver. I love my puzzle toys and Kongs. I’m a thinker and really thrive when I am kept busy with training and learning new things. Nothing makes me happier than the sights and scents of a trail hike. I need an owner who enjoys keeping up with my superior mind!
My foster parents say that I have the cutest wiggly greeting they've ever seen. I, of course, need to be holding my ducky or rabbit for the full effect. A favourite past time is balling up my blanket and sucking on a big chunk of it. You can see all the endearing things I do in the pictures and video on this page.
Even though my good points definitely outweigh the so-called “bad” ones, there are a few things my new people need to consider in order to ensure we are a good match: 
Dogs and children make me very uncomfortable, so I need to be in a home where there are no dogs or children younger than their mid-teens. I've been cat tested, and my foster parents said that I got a little too crazy to be able to live with one - but gosh I wish I could! (It would be so fun... for me, anyway) 
I’m still learning that dogs aren’t as bad as they appear, but they still upset me, so it’s important that my new person is able to help and protect me rather than punish me if I become upset or flustered. Whoever wants to take me home has to be ready to help me with this issue and go about it the right way - I know it can be frustrating to have a dog who barks and gets upset, but I'm just trying to save myself from those who frighten me!
A house would be the best place for me; I don’t bay like a hound and I certainly don't bark excessively, I will bark if I hear activity outside the window. I don't have any troubles with separation anxiety right now, but I used to, so my new forever people will have to help me transition into my new home.
I have two medications that I take daily, the total cost per month is less than $50. No big deal!
I’ve been waiting a long, long time for a forever home. Will you be my "happy-everafter"?

If you are interested in meeting me you can email Lorraine ( or Emily ( for an application.
Hope to meet you soon! Wags, Lucy
Pleeeease?  Find my forever home?
(How can you resist these eyes?)

So let’s see if we can’t help out my friend Emily and her foster dog Lucy by spreading the word.  Send a link to this blog page to everyone you know in Ontario or who might know people in Ontario, or share Lucy's facebook page and ask your facebook friends to share too.  And if you are part of a rescue organization, will the director give her a courtesy post? They can share her photos from here, share her facebook page, or send a message to the links below and the foster mom will send a bio and pictures.

Let’s help Lucy get the one thing she really, really, really wants for Christmas.  It’s not two front teeth.  It’s simply a forever home.  And it is out there waiting to hear about Lucy. Help spread the word. 
Where you’ll find out more:

Lucy’s rescue’s website: http/

Foster mom’s email:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day 2014

"There never has been a good war, or a bad peace"
~Benjamin Franklin~

 Photo (c) Jean Ballard 2014
Teach the children about the realities of war, not the glorification of it.  Only then will the next generation look for other ways to resolve political and religious differences.

Teach them of its horrors  - horrors for the men and women on the battlefield regardless of which side they were on;  horrors for the chidren whose parents died, the parents whose children died, the spouses whose partners died;  horrors for the citizens of large cities and small villages who were wiped out in military attacks.

We wouldn't let kids play games that mimic rape; why do we let them play games that mimic war? We wouldn't promote toys that facilitate games of domestic violence; why do we promote toys that facilitate games of international violence? We wouldn't claim toys teaching animal abuse have a cathartic effect or meet some genetic need;  why do we claim this to be true for war toys?

Teach the children the skills they need to live in peace.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Many Faces of Huli (and other canine friends)

Just over a week ago, I attended an open house at our little Crofton Old School Museum.  Two friends of mine, Liz and Robyn, were doing book signings there for recent releases of Chicken Soup books that contain their stories.  The proceeds, along with that of a silent auction, went to support the museum.  I took photos of the event (which can be viewed on my facebook page), but as so often happens when I attend dog-friendly activities, I took more photos of the dogs than of the people.

There was PJ, a handsome, friendly dude whose tail never stops wagging and whose ears can go every which way, but mostly stand straight up:

PJ, ears askew
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

PJ (2)
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

There was Sophie, a sweet little girl whose ears always hang low, framing her face like a well-coiffed hairdo:

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Red becomes her
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Is she done yet?
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

And then there was Huli.  Huli lives with my friend Mary, who also happens to be my neighbour across the street.  And since I told Mary I'd have the photos up "in a day or two" nine days ago, and I'm counting on her to feed my dogs tomorrow while I drive down to Victoria for an appointment, I figure I better not procrastinate any further on blogging about one of the best, funniest, cutest, craziest, friendliest, happiest dogs in town.  Huli makes me smile every time I see her. She is 100% wiggle butt. But she doesn't much like a camera in front of my face.

Oh doG, it's the CAMERA LADY!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Mom, yer not gonna let her take my
picture, are ya?

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Sheesh.  Here.  I'm posing. 
[Me:  Huli, put your ears up!]

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

.  That's as UP as I'm gonna put them
[Me:  Well, could you at least smile for me?]
(c) Jean Ballard 2014


(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Now get outta my face!

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

So There!

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Day at the Piggy Sanctuary

Open the door!  I know you put
more treats in there!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

[It is Hallowe'en and sounds like a war zone outside.  No big deal to Mitzi and Shiloh (who doesn't understand why I'm not taking her for her evening walk), but a nightmare for Anxious Eddie.   We have been steadily bombarded by fireworks from all sides since early this evening; now, at well after ten, they have reached a frenzy.   So, with the music up and the lights dimmed, we are hunkered down in my office near the back of the house, where I have nothing much to do but edit photos and put up a rather tardy blog. ] 

'Way back around the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I spent a few days on the mainland.  One of those days was spent at Hearts on Noses Mini Pig Sanctuary, for whom I once fostered a family of twelve piggies. They still remember me.  As soon as Janice, the owner, let me through the gate and closed it firmly behind me, the first familiar face appeared:

Foster Mama!  You're here!

Followed by two more,
We know that voice!

And then the whole herd.
About time you came to see us!

My three velcro pigs, who used to follow me around the farm and always squealed their greetings when I arrived home from work, were the first to come running over. [You can read one of my tales about them here.] Fizzy, Whisper and Rob Roy knew I'd have treats - which, of course, I did.

She brought peanuts!

We luvs our ol' foster mama!
Okay, we luvs peanuts!

Soda, their mama, wasn't far behind, nor their sister Lizzy - followed by Scotch, Spritzer, Toddy, Tom, Rickey, Derby and Swizzle.  I can't tell them all apart any more - after all, ten of them were just half-grown 20-month-old piglets when they left my care, and they are now full grown seven year old pigs. But they still know me! Lizzy, the only girl of the litter, had been one of the most aloof when I fostered, but on this day she made her presence known by sticking close and smilin' pretty:

I'm happy to see you foster mama!
Remember me? I'm Lizzy!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I interrupted my snack for you, foster mama!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I spent the next several hours  rubbing bellies, doling out treats, scooping poop, and - of course - taking photos.  I won't offend them by saying they are all hams, but they sure know how to play up to the camera!
And not just my twelve, but several of the other residents at the sanctuary too:

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

 Rose and Roscoe, the big farm pigs, remembered me too.  Rose came running - not a common sight to me - and showed me her lovely ear feathers:

Hi Auntie Jean!
Didya bring me sumthing?
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I'll wiggle my ear feathers for you!

After a few treats, she was ready for a nap, head resting against the gate:

Roscoe, my buddy from my pen-building days (see here for that story!), came running over too:

Hey!  Auntie Jean!
Are you here to play with me?

Roscoe:  Open this gate, willya?
Me:  Just a minute, Roscoe - there's a wire
sticking out.

Thanksf for fixin' that wire, Auntie Jean.
I might have hurt myself on it.
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Lacey the horse surprised me the most.  In the past, it was Janice's other horse Dior who always greeted me, looking for the apple she knew I would bring.  Lacey stayed further away and had to be coaxed over.  But sadly, Dior passed away recently, and to my surprise, Lacey showed no hesitation at seeking out an apple from me:

Lacey was also in cahoots with the three little pigs - they somehow coerced her to knock the bird feeder down for them:

Pigs:  C'mon Lacey, you can do it!

Just huff and puff and
knock the house down!

Plastic houses are better than
straw, sticks or brick -
at least when they are full of seed!

A few more random photos of the critters at Hearts on Noses:

Sheer bliss!

Which of these things
is not like the others?

Janice passing out peanuts
Lying down for a belly rub.....

Lotsa belly to be rubbed!

Hey, get up, it's my turn!
I think he's comatose.
Bellyrubs will do that to ya!

But my favourite shot of the day was not of a pig, but of a dog.  I snapped it shortly after I arrived.  Chilko had been patiently watching me unload fruit and veggies from the car and carry them to the storage shed, pour peanuts into a bucket and start passing them out to the pigs, rub bellies and scratch piggy ears.  But the dog treats I'd brought with me were still in the car. As I handed yet another peanut to a pig, I heard a sigh and glanced over to see this:

No caption needed.  The expression says it all!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

It was a great visit, and - yes - Chilko got his treats.