The Guardian Part 3- What You Can Do

The end of The Guardian, By Joan M. French-Warner, but not the end of the story.

happy dodger


Life at the sanctuary is good now. I am amazed at how well I feel, which is evident in my shiny coat and clear eyes.

I can run!

Oh the joy!

Every day I get taken to the arena. It feels so good to be able to kick up my heels and run like the horse I was meant to be.


And loved.

Slew, who stands a proud seventeen-and-a-half-hands, is feeling much better, too. He gets turned out in the arena for his morning exercise, and receives continual care for his feet and legs. He is a loveable guy who thrives on attention.

You have an open invitation to come see us, talk to us and pet us. An abundance of love and appreciation will be yours in return.

help 1

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The Guardian Part 2

slew before

A continuation of THE GUARDIAN by guest writer Joan M. French-Warner


(aka Nearly Lucky)

To run

To be free

A once-beautiful dark brown thoroughbred staggered in to the auction pen and was purchased by the Kill-buyer. Then “rescued” by the same animal hoarder who rescued me.

He told me that before being sent to auction, his stall mate had bullied him, keeping him from food and water. Rain rot, a bacterial infection caused by prolonged wetness, heat and humidity, covered his back and withers. Severe laminitis and an abscessed hoof caused lameness and pain. He had not been treated by a vet in years.

He was only fifteen years old.

You could see no resemblance to the proud racehorse he had been. He is the great-grandson of Seattle Slew, an American Thoroughbred who won the Triple Crown in 1977. Perhaps his racing name, “Nearly Lucky,” jinxed him. Slew had not inherited his grandfather’s racing genes. One cannot compare Slew’s career winnings of $7,300 to Seattle Slew’s total purse—$1.2 million.

A non-winning horse is obviously a liability in the racing community. His owners sold him and his fate deteriorated from there.

Slew is my stall neighbor and we watch out for each other. When I get taken to the round pen for exercise, he calls to me the entire time I’m there. He’s so happy to see me when I’m returned to my stall.

 slew now


Our Haven Realized

Three emaciated horses stared from lifeless eyes into TV cameras. A plea for donations to help seventy-five of us regain our health shattered the hearts of animal lovers.

A few years later, when it became apparent that we did not benefit from the contributions, the Board of Directors gained control of the sanctuary and hired new staff to care for us and maintain the property.

Now, a year later, we are all healthier. Several of us have been adopted by loving humans who have promised forever homes. We who remain are visited regularly by the vet who monitors our health. The farrier also makes routine visits to take care of our feet.

A few of us were moved into our own single pens with partial cover from the hot sun. Some of us remain in small herds in large pens. The pens are cleaned daily.

We can’t forget our other friends here. Two dogs remain of the thirty that were dying from mange and other diseases.

Roberto and Burrito, two of five donkeys, were close to dying. Their big bellies are telltale signs of having been given alfalfa to eat. They thrive on orchard grass for good nutrition. Acute summer sores infected their legs and faces and erased the hair in those areas. They continue to receive daily treatments of medication and care. Although they have recovered, they will carry scars for the rest of their lives.



to be continued…




All donations to MASH go directly to the feed and care of the animals. You can donate securely online through PayPal, or by mail to:


PO Box 1133

Mira Loma, CA 91752




The Guardian Part 1

This story is by Joan M. French-Warner, a friend and fellow writer. I am sharing this story with you, reader, because the cause she is advocating is a worthy one. This story will be in three parts, so check back on Tuesday and Friday for the next installments.

the guardian copy


’Twas the night before auction

And all through the pens

The horses were restless

Separated from friends

Being the oldest

I had to act brave

I said to the herd

We’ll surely be saved

They mocked me and snorted

You’re such a lame brain

You know we’ll all perish

Kill-buyers will reign

Firmly planting my feet

I flung my head high

And staunchly protested

I won’t say good-bye

Then someone took notice

Could take only two

And that person rescued

Old Dodger and Slew

Old Dodger, that’s me

And Slew, my best friend

Let me tell you about us

From beginning to end


A Magnificent Place

A Dream

We stumbled from the horse transport trailer and looked out over eleven acres of wild grasses under a canopy of eucalyptus and oak trees. A babbling brook added serenity to the peaceful, healing site for sick horses. Here, we have been promised a forever home with the best of care—plenty of good food, clean water, and medical attention.

We will be exercised and groomed every day, never again hauled from barn to barn, or back yard to back yard.

Cruel and devastating treatment behind us, we can luxuriate in our new surroundings, recuperate from our wounds, heal from disease, and enjoy the camaraderie of like companions.

A magnificent place and forever home.

A dream . . . rapidly turned to nightmare.


The stench

The flies

The cruelty of neglect

My name is Dodger. I’m a thirty-four-year-old Quarter Horse—that’s a hundred and two in people years. They nicknamed me The Guardian, mostly because I’m the oldest horse here. But I also notice all the activities of the ranch, and am aware of my herd’s needs. I know who’s sick, who should have shoes, and who has special dietary requirements.

Until recently, I suffered the unimaginable anguish of animal hoarding. Actually, most of our life here hasn’t been easy for me or my companions.

Rescued from the Kill-buyer, I hardly recognized myself—a fragile skeleton on four legs held together with a paper-thin layer of skin. I shuffled when I tried to walk, barely able to move due to the excruciating pain of laminitis. It’s a painful inflammatory condition of tissues that bond the hoof wall to the bone in the hoof.

My teeth were so rotten most of them had to be pulled. Eating alfalfa and grain became impossible. I lost even more weight.

Relief at being freed didn’t last long. I had been saved by an animal hoarder. Shoved into a small pen with other horse-mates, we stood in our own urine and feces day after day. Waste, flies and too much grain caused me to have several health ailments.

Constant seepage from my eyes streaked my face with gunk. Flies swarmed to hide their eggs in this warm, soggy mess, causing summer sores. They also chewed the tips of my ears, which are already too small for my head. I’m cursed with teddy-bear ears which humans think are cute. But I digress.

Cushings Disease affected my health in many ways. It is a dysfunction of the pituitary gland often found in older horses. It caused me to drink lots of water, the results of which certainly didn’t help the condition of my pen.

My coat, once black and shiny sleek, became dull, thick, and fell out in clumps. The hair on my legs—shaggy and caked with muck. My mane and tail—thick and matted.

I smelled really b-a-d!

No one seemed to care. No vet visits. No one gave me attention, other than to toss alfalfa into my pen each day. My head hung low. I sighed often. I became a spectacle to be stared at; a symbol of neglect to elicit human sympathy.

Gradually I lost my self—that indomitable spirit within me overflowing with life. Gone. You could see it in my eyes. Life and light—vanished.

To be continued…


All donations to MASH go directly to the feed and care of the animals. You can donate securely online through PayPal, or by mail to:


PO Box 1133

Mira Loma, CA 91752

Depends on who you ask

I went to my local auto dealer to buy a car last month.

“I’m sorry,” The salesman said after running my credit, ” We cannot finance you for this car. You are dead.”

“How can I be dead? I just test drove a car. I don’t think dead people drive.”

“I am only informing you of what the credit bureau has reported. You are dead. I’m sorry, you seemed like a nice person. Have a nice day.”

The salesman walked away, and I got in my old car and drove home. I went online and found the number to the credit bureau, pressed zero to talk to a human, waited on hold 25 minutes, and then finally talked to Fran Applebalm in North Dakota. Fran seemed like a nice woman at first. She tsk tsked when I said that I had been reported dead, and made sympathetic noises when I told her I was still very much alive.

“We can fix this, no problem.” Fran said once I told her my tale.

“Great! I replied. Lets do that.”

“Sure.” Said Fran, “You will just need to send me a copy of your death certificate.”

“”What?!” I shouted into the receiver. “There is no death certificate, because I am not dead!”

“You will need to calm down, Sir. I cannot help you if you become hostile.”

I counted to ten, took a deep breath, and tried again.

“Fran, I’m sure you can understand that I may have a hard time obtaining a document for an event that has yet to happen.”

“That’s no problem. Just call us back when you have the proper documents.”

“Wait, I can’t. . .”

A click on the line let me know Fran had disconnected our call.

I tried calling back. I had similar conversations with Talia Montaj in Kentucky, and Frank Smith in Wisconsin. Both conversations ended with the same clicking noise.

I  gave up on getting a new car. My ATM card still worked, and I still had my drivers license. It seemed like I didn’t really need anything else.

About a week later, I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop. After running my plates, he walked back up to my car window.

“Son, did you know that the registration for your motor-vehicle is no longer valid? Neither is your drivers license. I’m gonna have to ask you to step out of the car.”

I got out, and sat on the curb while the police officer had my car towed. He gave me a ticket, and told me how someone could pick my car up from the impound lot.

When I got to the impound lot, the clerk refused to return my license.

“This is the license of a dead man. You can’t use this to steal a dead man’s car! Shame on you! I ought to call the police.”

“But I’m not dead!” I shouted at her.

A burly tow truck driver grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and tossed me out of the shop like a rag-doll.

I went to the DMV to correct the error with my license, and they said I had to obtain a copy of my birth certificate.

I went to the country recorders office to obtain a copy of my birth certificate, and they said they needed valid ID.

I rode the bus home, frustrated and angry about the whole situation.

I decided not to show up for work the next day. Dead people don’t have jobs, right?

My boss called me and yelled at my answering machine. I took the bus to work the day after that.

While stepping down off the bottom stair of the bus, my shoelace caught on a loose screw, and I fell face first into the concrete curb.

I was unconscious for several moments.

The bus driver’s face was close to mine when I opened my eyes.

“You alive, son?”

I blinked several times.

Then I started to laugh uncontrollably.

Finally I answered,  “It depends on who you ask.”

Room 406

Adjacent to Miss Badalla’s Curseology class in room 405, is Mr. Theyorie’s Art History class in room 406. Mr. Theyorie wears a carefully preserved tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, beige corduroy pants, and an olive green paisley print tie. In his jacket pocket is a yellowed handkerchief that he uses frequently to wipe snot from his scruffy grey moustache throughout the course of his lectures. His monotone voice drones on about the masters throughout the ages at exactly the right pitch to lull an unsuspecting student to sleep, often resulting in a banging noise as the student’s forehead meets the desk in front of them.

The most exciting part of Mr. Theyorie’s class is when the Curseology students next door get too rambunctious. Mr. Theyorie will halt mid-drone in order to bang on the wall shouting, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

If any student of his dares to laugh, Mr. Theyorie will level a scowl at them so fierce the student will shrink in their seat, rendered completely silent.

Once, several years ago, someone asked Mr. Theyorie why he gets so angry about the noise next door. Mr. Theories proceeded to shout for thirty solid minutes about the uselessness of learning such made-up bologna.

When Miss Badalla was nominated by the student body for teacher of the year, Mr. Theyorie promptly lost what was left of his hair. When the newspaper arrived to cover the presentation of the award, Mr. Theyorie had to lie down.

In apology for being significantly more popular than Mr. Theyorie, Miss Badalla made him an amulet to protect against high blood Pressure. Mr Theyorie threw it away.

The following semester Mr. Theyorie had only two students in his Art History Class. When he confronted Miss Badalla for cursing him, she politely reminded him he didn’t believe in curses.

Room 405

If you are looking through the course catalog of your local college, you will find your typical classes offered; English 101, Algebra, Pottery, Nutrition, that sort of thing.  But if you flip to the back of the catalog, under the miscellaneous heading that most people don’t read, you will find a class not offered by most colleges. This class is Curseology 101, taught by Miss Badalla.

When you enter the classroom it looks like any other. Rows of tables and chairs to the left and right of a center walkway. The front of the class has a green chalkboards and a podium, where Miss Badalla scatters her various notes and articles to reference in her lectures.  She runs the class much like any other teacher; there are vocabulary lists and chapters of assigned reading from the Curseology 101 textbook. But that is where the similarities to everyday learning stop.

Miss Badalla teaches her students about curses. How to use them, what they are, and how to defend from others cursing you. She peeks out from a halo of frizzy salt and pepper hair, tied back by a scarf embroidered with silver suns and moons. Her hands are laden with numerous rings, all interesting stones like turquoise and Jasper. She wears charms around her wrists, ankles, and neck, each one with a special defensive purpose she teaches about in her advanced class, Amulet Crafting. She wears brightly colored wispy fabrics, and a gray shawl that looks as though it has been dragged down the street by a trash truck, and then hung to dry. Her brown sandals have been patched and mended, and are the only pair of shoes she ever wears. She calls out her lessons in a sing-song voice, wafting the spicy aroma of incense as she passes between each desk. She answers criticism and doubt with the certainty of someone who has seen the effects of the curses she explains.

Curseology will not likely help you achieve your major. Indeed, nobody is even sure if there is credit for taking Miss Badalla’s class. But the experience is well worth the price of one semester of your time.


Curseology 101: How to handle minor curses

Curseology 101

Lesson of the day: How to handle minor curses

Method 1: Think of puppies. Curses are based on negative energy. A minor curse, such as Drabulize, can be counteracted by the adorably positive energy of a cute, fluffy, wiggly tailed pup. This method is sometimes difficult, because thinking of puppies while someone is cursing you can be distracting.

Method 2: the counter-curse. While this will not prevent you from being cursed, at least you force your curser into a similar predicament. There is a chance they will lift the curse if you agree to do the same. Curse mediation is sometimes necessary to negotiate these situations.

Method 3: Deflection. This method is safest for you, but very unsafe for unsuspecting bystanders.


This will also be on the quiz

Curseology 101

This week’s vocabulary list:

Insomniate: To curse an individual with the inability to sleep.

Abdactify: To magically force someone in a position of social power to step down against his/her will, though it appears as if he/she voluntarily stepped down. Often used by school girls to settle popularity contests.

Drabulize: Draining all the color out of a victims entire wardrobe.

Conjactuation: The writing or inventing of new curses.

Floorigating: Causing a person’s shoes to leave behind muddy footprints, regardless of the weather outside or the victims vicinity to mud. Common trick played on housewives with tile floors.

Pay attention. There will be a quiz.

Brief Update

I am on a time crunch, so I shall keep this brief.

The bad news: I will not have 150 poems for my book.

The good news: I Will have my book done in December.

I have been inspired to write some short stories alongside my poetry, and I decided to include that in Tilted Tales. There are many many poems that I did write, but will not make it into the book because my dog has laid steamers that made me more proud. That is not to say I can’t improve upon them, I just don’t want to force it if it’s not working. The short stories do work with my theme, and my husband has given his stamp of approval on the mix of styles, so that is what I am going to do. I will be sure to share the link with you when I get the formatting all finished and published.


Happy Turkey Day and Happy writing!