Animals Healing People
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Set of 3 inspiring books by Susan Richards
Chosen by a Horse
How a broken horse fixed a broken heart
by Susan Richards, Softcover, 248 pages
Price - $13.95
The horse Susan Richards chose for rescue wouldn't be corralled into her waiting trailer. Instead Lay Me Down, a former racehorse with a foal close on her heels, walked right up that ramp and into Susan's life. This gentle creature-malnourished, plagued by pneumonia and an eye infection-had endured a rough road, but somehow her heart was still open and generous. It seemed fated that she would come into Susan's paddock and teach her how to embrace the joys of life despite the dangers of living. An elegant and often heartbreaking tale filled with animal characters as complicated and lively as their human counterparts, this is an inspiring story of courage and hope and the ways in which all love-even an animal's-has the power to heal.
A memoir of a horse, a book, and finding love
by Susan Richards, Softcover, 278 pages
Price - $13.95
In the heartwarming sequel to Chosen by a Horse, Susan Richards tells of the continuing gifts brought to her life by her beloved horse, Lay Me Down. Readers cried with Susan Richards when, at the end of Chosen by a Horse, her beloved mare was laid to rest in the paddock where she had met her herd-Hot Shot, Tempo, and Georgia. Now they will cheer as Susan recounts the further wonders that came into her life as part of Lay Me Down's legacy: a bestselling book, a tour to support that book, the reconnection to friends and family who come to celebrate her success, and love-unexpected, complicated, and true.
And so Chosen Forever works its magic as a sequel of self-discovery, as Susan continues to grow into her new life. Told in charming prose with her familiar and disarming sense of humor, and featuring a new supporting cast of animal characters, this is another moving tale for readers facing their own challenges at recreating their lives. Chosen Forever is the story of what happens the day after all of your dreams come truehow you learn to accept that you deserve to be happy, and how those we love continue to offer us gifts long after they are gone.
How a spirited horse reined me in and set me free
by Susan Richards, Softcover, 228 pages
Price - $13.95
One day, after nine years of waking up hung over, Susan Richards realized that she was an alcoholic. Susan had a new horse, a spirited Morgan, and something had changed in her. As she says: "It had something to do with Georgia. It had something to do with making a commitment as enormous as caring for a horse that might live as my companion for the next forty years. It had something to do with love."
Every day Susan learns a little more from Georgia - the kind of horse who doesn't go for indecision, who doesn't apologize for her opinions, and who is afraid to be herself. And through Georgia, Saddled reminds us of the power of animals to carry us through the toughest times in our lives, and of the importance of constancy, and of the way loving a good (and sometimes bad) animal can keep you going.
Set of all 3 Susan Richards Books
Price - $29.95
#BKUT - $22.95
by Luis Carols Montalvan, hardcover, 252 pages
A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalv‡n never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll.
Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.
Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being until Luis.
Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other's souls.
Gina's note: This book has a little different tone than most of our others. The whole time you're reading you can sense the authors anger, pain, frustration and struggle. He's a skilled writer, and if you're not careful, you'll be feeling that way too as you read. But don't let that turn you away from this title - the powerful part of all this is how he is able to let his dog help him; and how he's able to analyze and convey their story.
PTSD is a terrible, crippling disorder that is very real with many, many trauma victims. The last thing you'd think would be a good idea is to live in a stressful place like New York City where people can be rude/hostile/dangerous, and businesses deny access to service dogs. So, to navigate a scary, potentially dangerous struggle every day AND to relive everything prior to that by writing a book about it is truly a very brave act. And Luis didn't stop there. He's made a mission of speaking up for veterans and their service dogs (actually ALL folks with service dogs), doing all sorts of intense things like television appearances and public speaking. He served our country in the military, and continues to do so now. His story is an inspiration.
There's a good article with pictures of Luis and Tuesday here
Another article "Happiness is a Warm Puppy" here
Video and article from Wall Street Journal here
#BKBD - $23.95
Bad Dog - A Love Story
by Martin Kihn, Hardcover, 214 pages
(A true story.) Meet Hola. She's a nightmare, but it's not her fault if she tackles strangers and chews on furniture, or if she runs after buses and fried chicken containers and drug dealers. No one ever told her not to. Worse yet, she scares her family. Hola may be the most beautiful Bernese mountain dog in the world, but she's never been trained. At least not by anyone who knew what he was doing.
Hola's supposed master, Marty, is a high-functioning alcoholic. A TV writer turned management consultant, Marty's in debt and out of shape; he's about to lose his job, and one day he emerges from a haze of peach-flavored vodka to find he's on the verge of losing his wife, too, if he can't get his life - and his dog - under control.
Desperately trying to save his marriage, Marty throws himself headlong into the world of competitive dog training. Unfortunately, he knows even less than Hola, the only dog ever to be expelled from her puppy preschool twice. Somehow, together, they need to get through the American Kennel Club's rigorous Canine Good Citizen test. Of course, Hola first needs to learn how to sit.
Gina's note: Above is the publisher's description of the book. It's pretty good, but doesn't really touch much on the meat of the story; the parallels between the author struggling with his alcohol addiction, mirrored by the out-of-control behavior of his dog - who doesn't just jump on people and tear up things. She attacks them. And bites. It's a serious deal. This story is an epic journey to sobriety and a well behaved dog at the same time. At one point a professional tells the author that his angst is responsible for a great deal of the reason his dog acts out. (How many of us horse owners are learning the exact same thing?) There's excellent commentary on dog training methods currently popular today woven in with the author's experience with AA's 12 step program. This book is funny, serious, and thought provoking at the same time. I highly recommend.
Rider's Prayer Tassel Bookmark
FREE with the purchase of any book!
A Rider's Prayer
Dearest Creator in Heaven,
Give me strength to guide my horse.
Make my hands soft and my head clear.
Let my horse understand me and I him.
My heart you have blessed with a special love of these
Let me never lose sight of it.
My soul you have gifted with a deep need for them.
Let that need never lessen.
Always let my breath catch as the sun gleams on an elegant
Always may my throat tighten at the sound of a gentle nicker.
Let the scent of fresh hay and a new bag of grain be sweet to
Let the touch of a warm nose on my hand always bring a smile.
I adore the joy of a warm day on the farm.
The grace and splendor of a running horse,
The thunder of its hooves makes my eyes burn and my heart
Let it always be so.
Dearest Creator grant me patience,
For horses are harnessed wind, and wind can be flighty.
Let me not frighten or harm them.
Instead show me ways to understand them.
Above all, dear Creator, fill my life with them.
When I pass from this world,
Send my soul to no heaven without them.
For this love you have given me graces my existence
And I shall cherish it and praise You for it for all time.