Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ghost Horse Legend

"Mane and tails flying, they run in the hills, just to follow the ghost stallion's flight..." When I heard this Native American legend about an evil chief who is bested by a white stallion, I just had to put it to verse...

Click this link to read it!

Scooter Watercolor Update

I'm still working on the Morgan gelding watercolor. Part of my problem with this has been getting the color just right. Every time I scan it, it comes out differently. There just doesn't seem any way to adequately reproduce the color of the original in this painting. Anyway -- here finally is the finished image. (I think.)

The Sleeping Lion, Chapter Four

As I continue to go through and load this novel, I am editing chapters as I go along. It was loaded on an old computer and the file is full of glitches. It's been quite fun though to watch the story evolve, as I have forgotten most of the details. It's very different from my other books, although it does feature a Somali cat! If you like sci-fi and like to read, check it out.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Sleeping Lion

Back in the early 90's I valiantly wrote my first novel. Ignorance is bliss, and my subsequent search for a literary agent, and cash spent on professional evaluations gleaned nothing. But overall, it was a good experience, and obviously I haven't given up writing.

I decided to post it online, since I don't want to invest in self publishing and relive the publicity throes of "Holding the Ladder". But it is an entertaining story and might be a good read for those who enjoy blogs.

The Sleeping Lion is the story of a battered woman who, while hiking in the mountains, is the first to witness a meteor falling from the sky. But the meteor is not a meteor. Her discovery leads to a mystery that draws her in, and she subsequently becomes a fugitive as she tries to solve it. In the midst of her adventure, she questions the existence of God and her own self-worth, and finds answers she wasn't expecting.

Check it out!

Oh, Meme! I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by my friend, Victoria, at
for a game of Meme. I am supposed to tell you seven things that you probably don't know about me and then tag seven more bloggers.

For those whom I tag, here's what to do: The rules of the game are this– Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Post 7 random or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Tag 7 people and link to them. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here are some facts about me:

1. I lived in Alaska and once came face to face with a mama grizzly bear.

2. I still have fantasies about living in the mountains.

3. I'd rather walk in the woods than do just about anything.

4. I have had recurring dreams about swimming with dolphins.

5. I like the concept of Native American totem animals. My totems, among others, are the hawk and the fox.

6. I have been divorced for seven years.

7. I love the story of Lewis and Clark, and think maybe I was supposed to be with Merriweather Lewis. And maybe that's why I have been divorced and single for seven years.

Okay, okay, I know there are only five links here, but I'm on dialup! So, please don't get mad at me for tagging you:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Session with an Artist

Session with an Artist: "by Nancy J. Bailey, Jan 27, 2008
A marriage counseling session with a hopelessly mismatched couple, a German shepherd, and Winslow Homer."

Missing a Turn

Missing a Turn

by Nancy J. Bailey, Jan 26, 2008

A peaceful dinner out with a jealous wife just doesn't work when a beautiful blonde walks by.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Christmas Carol

I have some short stories that are SHORT -- too short even to be Amazon shorts. But I found another way to publish them online. I will probably set up a link bar here on the blog. The first one came out yesterday. It's a funny true story about Amanda and me at Christmas time several years ago, when I was still married. It's called, "Another Christmas Carol".

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Adventures in Puppysitting

While looking through some old files, I found a diary of a puppy I had taken in for a week while owners went on vacation. Sonic was a half border collie, half terrier. She was chocolate brown with green eyes, and totally loveable, and of course, brilliant.

I decided that when the owner came back, I would have taught her a trick. As roll over is one of the easiest to teach, I decided on that. You simply have the puppy in a lying down position and hold a treat over its haunches, so that it has to reach, strrrretttch to get it. Most pups will naturally flip over on their backs, and then follow the treat like a magnet the rest of the way. Give it a try!

You can read more about Sonic's adventures that week, by following the link to "Fur the Love of Dogs".

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger

He must have been a pretty astute and determined character, to not sell out to his good looks, instead staying true to the arts.

I found his role in Brokeback Mountain very moving. I saw that film two or three times, and in the scene where he breaks down on the shore of the mountain lake, I break down too, every time. His pain is utterly convincing.

This is a tremendous loss of great talent.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today's Watercolor - Morgan Horse

This is Scooter, a Morgan stallion. Unfortunately this is a post mortem commission, as he died of a twisted intestine earlier this month. This is watercolor, 9 x 12".

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dogs and Horses

"Dogs and Horses" has been the subject line on my Morgan List for a couple of days now, and it makes me think of my sister, Amanda. Every year she sends me a Valentine's Day card, and a separate one for the animals. She's not a huge animal lover as I am, but it's her way of acknowledging their place in my life. I think it's really sweet.

Anyway, aside from having Down's Syndrome, Amanda is also dyslexic. Despite these challenges, she eventually learned to read and write on a limited basis.

Her Valentine one year was addressed to: "Gods and Hores".
(Read: Dogs and Horses)

I about split my sides! So now whenever I send Christmas cards or birthday cards or whatever, I am sure to sign it accordingly.

& Gods and Hores

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nancing Around

My alma mater, Lake Superior State University hosts an international “word ban” every year. This year they picked a few that I agreed with, including, “It is what it is,” and, “Sweet!” I won’t be sorry to see either of these go. I am sure “awesome” is long gone, but I’d love to see that one disappear in real life.

A couple of others I would personally banish are, “side profile” and, “totally”.

And then, of course, there’s, “Nancy”.

Here’s the thing. I am not at all happy about the current trend of calling men, “Nancy”. I’m hearing it more and more, and it’s not a complimentary thing. I was watching a (very lame) movie the other night and it came up again.

Actually my favorite movie, “As Good As It Gets” has a reference to the label too. Jack Nicholson says to Greg Kinnear, “When you are nancing around in your little apartment.”

Any guy who is called by my handle should take it as a compliment. I am way tougher than I look. I’m pretty smart. And I have good hair.

I think we need a new trend here. Let’s start calling wimpy men Dubya. Or Brittany. Or how about Paris?

Come on, “Shirley” there must be a gazillion other expressions or names we could pick. Let’s get creative!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stem Cell Breakthroughs Help Arthritic Pets

ABC News today hosts an article about Hunter the Golden Retriever. Hunter, who is 9 years old and suffering from hip dysplasia, has had great success with stem cell treatment.

I know the first reaction of many will be thoughts of embryo transplants, cloning, and other hot topics in the juicy world of modern medicine. But read on. There are a few pluses for those who may have moral issues with stem cell treatments:

1) The cells are not embryonic -- they came from body fat.

2) There is no legal red tape with stem cell treatment in the veterinary field.

3) There are no donors involved. The cells are taken from Hunter himself.

A fourth advantage is that stem cell treatment is about 80% less costly than a hip replacement, which was Hunter's alternative.

So far, veterinarians boast about a 70% success rate using this method. Two weeks after Hunter's treatment, he is already moving better and seems happier.

Most exciting for me was the story of Be a Bono, a race horse with bone chips in his knee and a damaged fluid sac.

This is the same problem Clifford has. As I described in Return to Manitou, he whacked his knee during a trailering incident several years ago and broke off a bone chip. (He hates that trailer.) Since that time, the knee has swelled up, and the cartilage has disappeared. Clifford has about half the flexion he used to. He is only 16 years old -- a young age for a Morgan -- and is now only able to go on short rides.

Be a Bono's career was over. In fact, quite possibly, so was his life. In an experimental effort, he was injected with stem cells in November 2005. The quarter horse has since returned to racing and gone on to win over a million dollars in prize money.


You can look for stem cell treatment information in your area.

I'll be calling my vet on Monday.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Today's Watercolor - Nuthatch

A nuthatch, commissioned by some folks who live on Nuthatch Lane. Kind of unfortunately for me, they picked the white-breasted variety which makes sense, because my favorite, the red-breasted, is not prevalent in this area.

But I was thrilled to get to paint a bird. 9 x 12" on watercolor paper.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cliffyana Jones

So I was watching, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" last night. There's a scene where young Indiana Jones (played by River Phoenix) whistles and a horse comes running. The kid is preparing to jump off a ledge into the saddle, but just before he lands, the horse steps forward.

I had a flashback to that scene today, because Clifford was roaming around the yard while I cleaned stalls. I would look out the barn door periodically to make sure he was still in sight, and that the dogs weren't harassing him.

Basically, since his knee was diagnosed as arthritic, I have treated him like an invalid. But today he shot twelve feet straight in the air, snorted and launched a pseudo battle with the dogs. He eyed them wickedly, swerving his hindquarters toward them and shooting heels in the air.

Cajun and Rip know it's all a big joke, but they are careful of the heels. Clifford is clearly none the worse for wear. It doesn't hurt that it's sixty degrees here in Southeast Michigan.

I finished with the stalls, glanced out the barn door and didn't see him.

"Clifford," I said, in what amounted to a half-hearted yell. I knew he wasn't far. I turned around to fill the water bucket, and I could hear his hoofs pounding over the soggy ground. Ta da DUMP, ta da DUMP, ta da DUMP, just like Indiana Jones' horse.

He came clattering up the barn aisle, walked into his stall and stood rolling his eyes, nodding his head vigorously.

"Yeah, you're cute." I dumped his grain into his feed bin, rolled his door shut and snapped off the light.

I had no doubt that yes, he would move a step when I jumped.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Police Dogs - Friends and Heroes

How about that Stryker? The six-and-a-half year old police dog, a Belgian Malinois in San Diego, made the ultimate sacrifice.

News reports yesterday said the dog's handler chased down a suspect who was driving erratically. The driver had hit another vehicle, run a red light, and sped out onto the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. For whatever reason, the guy stopped and got out of his truck on the bridge, and the police officer sent Stryker.

The dog bit the man and took the suspect down, but then the man got up and jumped off the bridge -- and took Stryker with him. The two fell into the cold ocean water 200 feet below.

Stryker did not survive the fall.

Earlier this year I received the sad news the passing of K9 Officer Cavar von der Zalens, who died in October due to an onset of cancer.

Cavar was Cajun's littermate and lived with us until he was a year old. He learned basic tracking and obedience while he was here. He was donated to Detroit PD and was Officer Rob Huckestein's first dog. The story of Cavar's graduation and initiation into service is told in my book, CLIFFORD OF DRUMMOND ISLAND.

Despite being rookies together, the pair was unstoppable. Cavar won the Medal of Valor during his first year with the force. He was the department's first dog to win this honor. He was Rob's buddy and a constant companion to him and his eleven year old son.

For the next seven years, Cavar went on to earn a plethora of awards and accolades. He found countless amounts of narcotics and saved an untold number of lives.

Cavar was still working full time right up until the day before he died. On his last day of duty, he tracked down a murder suspect. He gave no indication that anything was wrong up until the next morning, when he was abnormally fatigued. Rob took him to the vet, and he was diagnosed with cancer throughout his body. He would not have even made it through the night, and was euthanized.

Cavar was a dog of great heart and courage and I am honored to have played a part in his life. He was greatly loved and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Right now Detroit PD has only two tracking dogs left on the team. And when it came to tracking, Cavar was always the dog requested. He was their best. I was told that Detroit PD has no budget to purchase blue-blooded dogs like Cavar. They take what they can get. Few police officers have time or knowledge to raise a puppy. They start with a dog who's over ten months old. The dog then has to pass a rigorous health and fitness test, and must also have a strong work/retrieving drive. The police are less stringent on temperament, as most of the police K9s do not interact with the public.

After his fatal plummet to the icy water, Stryker's body was retrieved. The suspect he was chasing was hospitalized. The man will be charged with a felony for causing the dog's death and could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

Four years? That's it?

Isn't it ironic that, in a court of law, the dog's life would be valued less than the suspect's? I wonder how much money it will cost the Oceanside Police Department to replace Stryker.

There is no way to put a value on these dogs. Who can say how much of a difference they have made? I suspect only their handlers have the vaguest of ideas.