Thursday, May 01, 2008

Arf

We found this picture in the album - it's the kitty meeting our Briard puppy for the first time.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Course in Almería

José Luís Gallego from the University of Almería will be holding another course, both technical and practical, on all types of equine therapy at the University of Almeria and on site at a center for riding for the disabled. Together we printed a book after the last conference with information from starting a center, such as the right horse and tack for each individual problem, all the way to the most modern medical information and formation for instructors. The book was in Spanish and the only one of its kind and unfortunately sold out way to fast. There is still a huge demand for this information in Spanish. After this course a much more complete book will be published.
The course will be held in April or May of this year and I will keep you updated on more details.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Famous People

While I have been living in Spain I have had the privilege to know some of the most interesting people. I have always worked in charity and have found that a lot of them are complete frauds but many are wonderful, it is very important to find out where the money goes to and follow the progress of the charity you have chosen.
Every year I wrote a supplement for my husband’s paper The Entertainer. I wrote one on animals, one on ecology, one on NGOs, and one on education. The full page promotion was given free, to each group and I found banks etc. to sponsor the articles and ads. The one thing I learned is that the front page lead story had to be by someone important and internationally known, and then it was a breeze to get sponsors. I had a lot of way-out ideas and was often taunted by the staff but I am pleased to say that all of my celebrities except Prince Charles were forthcoming. I had a lovely letter from Prince Charles apologizing, but due to the media frenzy around Lady Di he was unable to comply with my request for an article.
I had seen a talk on T.V. given by Pope John Paul II on ecology and thought I would give him a try to see if he would be interested in helping. I had no idea how to start and no one believed in me, but a friend sent me a sarcastic letter saying that if I really wanted the Pope I should call this number. After screwing up my courage I called. I spoke to a charming man in a strange mixture of languages, after understanding what I was after, the secretary told me I had to go through the press office, who sent me packing. A day later I got a call from the Vatican from this lovely man who would not give me his name, however he passed me his Holiness’ private secretary’s number. On calling him and explaining my project, he said he would present my proposal to His Holiness and get back to me. After a few weeks I received a letter from an archbishop in Spain who memorably said “patience child patience”. Some time later, an article arrived from the Pope together with a photograph and a nice letter from some senior Vatican staffer. No one could believe it. My feeling was, it’s always worth a shot.
I also contacted the representative of the Dalai Lama in Spain, Who said he would try and pass my message on but that the Dalai Lama was traveling and very busy. I was very pleased when I finally did receive a letter and picture, which we actually had to edit because it was so long. On another occasion, I wrote to the Queen of Spain, about her anti-drug charity, F.A.D. She was very pleased to help and I was actually invited to the palace to receive the photo and article and meet with the head of her charity.
Another fascinating man I met was Padre Angel, a world known priest who has spent his whole life helping every kind of person in need and setting up centers to help them all over the globe. He could not have been kinder or more helpful and he came down expressly to Mojácar to see our facilities and also kindly invited me various different centres he runs in Madrid and Extremadura. I was introduced to him by a man from Telefónica called Paco Limonche, who believed in me from the beginning and helped me with contacts and invited us to an international convention in Madrid where our service dogs did demonstrations and even appeared in a small television advert for the phone company.
Here is a picture of Padre Angel when he came to visit ANIMO, I subsequently helped him with other projects.
Another supplement I did was on horses. I was put in touch with Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatriz, president of the Arab Horse Association, who was so kind and comforting because as an American I had no idea how to deal with royalty. I met her in her office in Madrid. I did not know if I had to curtsy or bow or kiss her hand but we just sat down and had tea and talked about horses and my charity. She was charming and knowledgeable and friendly.
I have met so many wonderful people here from shepherds to royalty, they all have their story to tell and have all made me feel so welcome and blessed to have made their acquaintance. I did many more supplements but you get the idea of what I mean when I say this is a wonderful country and very genuine people.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cookie and the Ratón Pérez

Cookie is a pure black cat with a wonderful disposition. We found her when she was a day old in a hole in the road with her brother. We brought them home and gave them to a strange little dog someone had abandoned that we had taken in a few weeks before. The dog looked like a fox and mothered everything she found. She was still a puppy herself but was already caring for and nursing two baby rabbits. The kittens took to her with no trouble and grew to be strong. I don’t think any of them new what type of animal they were. We found a home for Cookies brother and kept Cookie, Our children were very young then and dressed her up in dolls clothed, pushed her in a pram and even sat on her by accident from time to time. She never scratched and just put up with every thing. She followed them every where.

I don’t know what they have in other countries, in USA we have a tooth fairy, and here in Spain they have a mouse called the Ratón Pérez. When you loose a tooth you put it on the windowsill at night and the Ratón will change it for money. Ever since our daughter Ami was old enough to have a tooth fall out and lean about the Ratón she was very frightened the Cookie would catch it and eat it. You see Cookie was a very good hunter and she brought her catch home to show us then she would eat the whole thing, as it was meant to be in nature. It makes me sad to see a cat catch a bird, lizard, rabbit and the like but I know that is how it was meant to be in the wild, as long as they eat their prey and not just play with it and then leave it on the floor. It is a natural instinct.

When Ami lost her first tooth we put it in the window, as we should and in the morning we heard shrieks and crying as she came running into our room. She held in her hand a large dead tree rat. She was crying so hard about what she had always feared but she did say “well at least he left the money first”. We tried to explain to her that the Ratón was much more important than the money because he had so many more children to see and then we explained that it wasn’t the Ratón Pérez after all and that it was a tree rat that Cookie had brought home to show her. So it all had a happy ending, but I’m not sure Ami got the moral of the story.
(Bottom Picture: Cleo)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dog Pictures


Here are two of our dogs, enjoying the Spanish countryside. The photographer appears to favour the Briard. ¡Así es la vida!

New Year - New Energy!

I am sorry that it has been so long since this has been updated. Since the ANIMO center has closed I have just been doing consulting and my daughter Amber has been giving a few presentations. There are so many new groups starting and it seems that there is now money available for AAT programs. I still recieve about ten call a week from people that are just starting out. What I would like to do is have everyone in Spain that is involved in ATT send in a small resume of their program such as: type of disability, number of students, location, experience, status (non-profit, paying, profession of staff, when you started and what type of aid you receive). I would like to have a data-base to help get to know what is being offered and to have this information available to everyone so we can all help and to have a support group to help with questions and to stay up to date on what is happening in this field.
I have been recovering from an accident and an unknown fungus that I caught in the hospital which we have only now been able to diagnose and treat but I am afraid that in the meantime the fungus has done major damage and left me fairly disfigured. I am learning to cope and would very much like to stay on top of what is going on and help where I may as it is all I have done my whole life and seeing the results has meant so much to me. You can E-mail me at brbrnapier (at) yahoo dot com. I will publish all information sent to me.