Who’s Who at Based On A True Story…


I’m in my mid 40s. I’ve been a veterinarian since 1997. I’ve been blogging here since January 2005 and for a year before that on a free site. I was raised a hard-core evangelical Christian but left the faith after vet school. Now I’m a nothing.

Originally I’m from PA but I moved to Ohio in 1998 when I married The EX. That lasted for 9 years until he decided at the tail end of an adoption process that he couldn’t handle having adopted children instead of biological children and took off. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me but it didn’t seem that way at the time. I stayed in the area because my job and my friends are here and it doesn’t snow here as much as it does in PA. In 2012 we moved again to the northern part of Ohio for The Husband’s job.

The SO/ The Husband

That’s short for the Significant Other since once I realized that he was going to be a significant enough presence in my life to require blog mention I didn’t come up with any better pseudonym. He was excited to learn that he got to change his name when we got married on June 2, 2012 because he never liked The SO. He’s a weightlifter, ex-Army, car-loving good boy. I tell him he’s a good boy because that’s the highest form of praise in my line of work. He has a daughter named Z who used to come here every other weekend.


The Critters




Jules is a Senegal Parrot born in 2005 who came to live with us in May 2011. She likes me but isn’t too sure about The Husband. He is very scary but he gives grapes and bananas so she has decided he may live.


Paul was adopted in October 2015 at the age of two. He’s a sweet boy but very timid.  It took him 2 years to decide to enter the living room.  He’s a lover though.


Adopted December 15, 2018 at 4.5 months old.  She was part of a litter named for the Beatles.  Her brothers were John, Paul, George, and Ringo (Yes, she already had a brother named Paul!) and she was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. 


The Former Cast


The blog was named for my horse Spirit. He came into my life on November 13, 1984 when I was almost 12 and he was 9. He died at the age of 33 on August 6, 2008. He influenced almost every major decision in my life from where to go to college (stay near home to keep showing him) to where to build a house (where he could live with me) to can I go out to dinner (how mad is Spirit going to be if his dinner is late? Answer – very!). He was a grumpy old man even when he was young and he is sorely missed.


Spirit on the left (Don’t mention the purple. It embarrassed him.) Prize on the right.


Prize is a Morgan mare who came to live with us in November 2000 as a yearling. She’s a Princess and she would be happy if no one forgot that. She’s a star at Sport Horse in Hand classes and has the national level all breed awards to prove it. She’d like not to be ridden, thank you very much, but has done some dressage and even some cattle work. She’s been on a layoff since an accident in May 2006 that broke my pelvis (which healed) and my riding confidence (which hasn’t).

She went to live at a new home on December 26, 2011 so she could go back to work. Since then she has become a trail horse diva who goes through mud like a champion on her almost daily rides. (Seriously, she’d have killed me if I tried that with her. She and I butted heads a lot.) I always said she’d be a good horse when she was around 16. It was just a long and painful process getting her there.

Died July 3, 2018



Powder came here after being abandoned as a kitten in 2002. She’s a mighty rodent killer but is also very sweet and loving to humans. She’s a cuddler and used to defend Snowball from the evil plans of Riley. She despises Freckles and hid from her for a year and half because she was mad. Then she decided that the dog wasn’t leaving so it was time to come back into the world and reclaim her rightful place as Queen.

Died October 7, 2018



I was supposed to euthanize Snowball at the age of 9 in April 2001 but she jumped down in my arms and started licking my face. She moved in with me instead. She’s going senile and is tormented by the cats who are larger than her. But she still perks up for caramel coated rice cakes, a snack she learned to love from the ex. She is pathologically devoted to me for some reason and barks herself hoarse if I go out of town.

Died June 28, 2009 at the age of 17.



Ozzie is a lovebird who came to live with me at the age of 8 weeks in 1995. He’s been through 6 moves with me in three different states. His favorite things are screeching, popcorn, and showers. After Spirit’s death he became the most senior animal in residence and is reveling in his new found authority. He’d like to beat up a cat but I tell him it wouldn’t be a fair fight. He doesn’t realize that I mean that he’d lose because he is the size of their heads. He proves to me that birds descended from Velociraptors.

Died 12/11/10 at the age of 15



Riley was born in 2006. The SO says he’s a thug but he’s really a mama’s boy. He’s a cat who will be in trouble all day and then just when you are about to have to beat him, he’ll come and cuddle and love on you so he lives to torment another day. He used to hate dogs until Freckles came and now they are bestest buddies. Died Sept. 2015.



Freckles was adopted on December 1, 2009 (age 5) through English Springer Spaniel Rescue but she’s not a springer. At least, she isn’t full springer. She’s either a total couch potato or a blur of energy. There is no in between. We call her the narcoleptic lap dog because if she sits on your lap she immediately falls asleep. She loves car rides and the dog park – especially car rides to the dog park.

Died March 27, 2020

11 Replies to “Meet the Cast”

  1. Hello!
    I really like your blog! It has a lot of content and I can see you have been doing this for a while, since 2005. I like reading books based on true stories, that’s how i ended up here on your blog. I have been clicking here and there but i don’t see anything that says based on a true story, or maybe all these books are based on true stories?
    But anyhow, I will stick around a little bit longer and see what I can find.

    Thank you!
    Edgar De Leon

  2. So I had to click on “meet the cast” and I’m so glad I did! You describe your pets so very well (I have Rocco, a purebred pitbull-I prefer ‘pibble’-who sounds much like Freckles in the on or off department) and you brought both smiles to my face and lumps to my throat. You’re a reader too! And a vegetarian! Methinks I need to follow you… 🙂 Thanks for sharing all this personal information in such an enjoyable way. I’m sending my daughter here to visit, another animal aficionado. Snowball’s story just made mush of my already-pretty-soft heart.

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  4. Hi Heather,
    I’ve visited your blog for Reader’s Workout entries for quite some time now and for some reason, never clicked on the Meet the Cast button at the top.. until today. It was an absolute pleasure to read about you and your family. I giggled and awwed the whole time and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I shed a tear or two by the time I got to the bottom of your post. Yeah, I’m a sap, but still. Lovely to read and lovely to “meet” you. xo

  5. I loved learning more about your cast & crew and found myself laughing out loud reading your descriptions and the traits of your pets. It is so great to acknowledge and embrace the different personalities and quirks of our companions (past and present). Your home must be filled with so much joy.

  6. Hi! I’m happy I found you and your family! Wonderful stories – sweet and sad. I used to love horses and riding but then felled down and started to be affraid and couldn’t enjoy anymore. Still I love to see horses – they are so special! Dogs are most important to me! Our Foxy was 16 when she passed away last autumn (two days before our wedding). Now I shall go to read more your blog which has great name!
    Sunny wishes! Teje

  7. Hi there, I love your menagerie of family! I hadn’t realized that horses lived so long. I used to have a slew of sled dogs who were part of the family for years…now just two cats and a lab/shepherd mix. Nice meeting you!

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