Make Mine A Mule
The Story of a Friendship

Review by Candida Baker (Well known for her animal books published by Allen & Unwin)

When I was a horse-obsessed child growing up in rural Oxfordshire, my mount was a somewhat unpredictable Arab/Fell Pony mare, who had some strange foibles. She hated pigs, for instance, and whilst my friendís horse would walk quietly through the piggery, Hester (named after Lady Hester Stanhope), would balk, buck and bicker with me for what seemed like hours.
She was also in love with a donkey. We would pass this particular paddock on one of our rides, and I never knew whether to be amused or furious when she would literally dash across the road to his field, and stand there talking to her long-eared friend, and taking absolutely no notice of my orders to her to "walk on". One day my friend and I talked about what would happen if she was allowed to run with the donkey. "Sheíd have a mule, Ē my friend said. "Yuk," I shuddered. "A mule!"
Not that I knew much about them, but I knew they were stubborn, and I knew they looked, well, a bit peculiar - beyond that I didnít ever really think about them much at all.
But thatís all changed now, thanks to Ann Walkerís splendid book, Make Mine a Mule, the remarkable true story of her twenty-eight year friendship with Pepita - a beautiful, 12 hand high mule with the largest brown eyes you ever saw.

Make Mine A Mule

Walker is also from a rural English background, and when she and her husband - who had owned ponies and a donkey in the UK - emigrated to Tasmania, they decided to continue their interest in donkeys, little realising that they were moving to a state where, at the time, there were none.
When Ann and her husband decided to import six donkeys as a basis for their newly-formed Keysoe Donkey Stud, the new arrivals featured in all the Stateís media, quickly becoming stars of TV, radio and press. Ann, a novice breeder, became an overnight donkey Ďexpert,í somewhat to her own amusement. It just so happened that one of the numerous people who sought Annís advice, was a woman from Victoria who was keen to breed a mule. The woman wrote to thank her for her help, and a year later again to tell her that her mule filly had been born.
Fast forward four years, and Ann and her family had moved once more, this time to Victoria, where Ann had gathered mule experience in the form of Juanita, whom she had raised as a weanling. (Years later, Juanita, with her owner, Patsy Sinfield would become famous for being the first mule to complete the arduous 100-mile-Quilty endurance ride.) When she got a call from the woman in Victoria, offering to sell her Pepita, Ann jumped at the chance of owning her. Assured that she was quiet and had been taught all the basics, Ann decided that Pepita would make a perfect family mount.
As it turned out, Ann was right - but not before she found out to her cost that, as Ogden Nash once wrote, ĎIn the world of Mules, there are no Rulesí. Quiet Pepita certainly was, but mules, seemingly endowed with much more brain than either horse or donkey, need to have confidence in their owners before they will allow themselves to be persuaded to do something. But the amusing to read, although no doubt less amusing to experience, trials and tribulations in the end created an extraordinary bond between Ann, her family and Pepita. After a somewhat rocky start, Pepita even became a Pony Club mount, taking part in all Pony Club activities, including jumping, which she was remarkably good at - always clearing the jump by just a few centimetres - another mule trait, as Ann discovered on her mule journey.
The wonderful stories in this book will delight, entertain and enthral animal lovers everywhere. Thereís the story of Pepitaís first mule class, when she realised it wasnít her beloved Ann behind the long reins, and dashed the length of the ring braying the entire way, to stand beside her; or how Pepita saved Annís pony, Peppi, one day when Peppi fell down a steep bank, and in her anxiety was struggling so much she was in danger of falling into a ravine. Ann describes how Pepita stood there and Ďtalkedí Peppi into becoming calm. Many years later Pepita saved Ann herself from a ferocious ram that was about to charge into Ann with full force.
Not that Pepita was always perfect - with her delightfully stubborn mule streak in evidence, Pepita would try and persuade Ann that she didnít want to take a particular route by lifting a hind leg, and gently tapping Ann on the heel. If Ann persisted in her desire to go her way, Pepita would try once or twice more before reluctantly giving in.
But perhaps the two most moving messages to come through this enchanting book are the level of telepathic communication available to equine owners if they should choose to listen (and itís something Iíve experienced myself), and the intense loving friendships that animals can have with one another (also something Iíve witnessed).
Pepita lived to the ripe old age of 32, succumbing, sadly, to colic, when Ann had to make the decision to have her put to sleep. Shortly after, she received communication from a clairvoyant with messages that Ann knew could only have come directly from Pepita.
This story of a lifelong (and beyond) friendship is heartfelt and humorous, and full of wisdom and insights into the world of mules. Itís a perfect gift for all ages.
The only problem is that now I want a mule!

$19.95


 
The Power Of The Cat

The Power Of The Cat

I have had many cats in my life but it was not until reading The Power Of The Cat by Ann Walker that I really thought about how blessed I have been and how much I have taken their role in my life for granted. The Power Of The Cat is a heart-warming and emotional journey into Ann's life and the lives of her many moggie friends. Having a child with Autism I have seen the special bond that a cat can hold and the love, acceptance and understanding that it can convey. Until today I had never really understood this bonding that only a selected few of our cats have had with my son. Over the years I have brushed it off as 'one of those things that happens in life'.The therapy that these few cats have offered him with their unspoken understanding of his meltdowns and their soothing touch when no one else is allowed to touch, was misunderstood until I read The Power Of The Cat. Ann has helped me accept and understand what I knew I was seeing but thought impossible. We currently do not have a cat in our life, to the disgust of my son, who tells me daily that he needs a feline friend. Through The Power Of The Cat Ann Walker has given me a deeper understanding of the true meaning of a cat in my son's life and the special healing powers that they hold

Cleverly written The Power Of The Cat is able to weave history and knowledge of the cat and cat breeds into stories of Ann's life. From the day they arrive into her life until well after their death all of Ann's cats have left an impression and meaning to their being. I highly recommend this book, even for the non cat lover. It is touching, moving and enlightening. Coloured photos leave you wanting to stroke and cuddle the feline friends and take one home. Loving and loyal, divine and devilish The Power Of The Cat has left me with a deep understanding and respect for the loving moggie.

Review As published in Good Gabble Newzine

$24.95


 

Your Talking Pet
and how to answer back

Animals, particularly pet animals, provide both companionship and comfort, however, Ann Walker believes they do more than that. She suggests they are in fact 'our teachers' and that once we rid ourselves of the concept of humans being superior to animals, this will become clear.
She recommends listening rather than talking to animals, picking up their signals to know how they are really feeling.
Exploring further the concepts first introduced by Ann in her successful book 'Talk With The Animals', Your Talking Pet will appeal to those who'd like to understand and communicate better with their pets.

Your talking pet

$15.95

Click here to see the English cover for Your Talking Pet


 

The Mystic life of Animals

The Mystic Life of Animals

This book looks at the spiritual side of animals and our relationship with them and our responsibility to them as spiritual beings.

Chapter Headings
Them and Us - Or Are We All One? *** In Myth & Legend
The Healer *** Animal Ghosts
The Animal Soul *** Animals and Christianity
Animal Magic *** Many Happy Returns
And What Now?

"If we believe that the spirits of men live on after death, then we must also believe that the same thing happens to the spirits, or souls of animals. Presuming of course that we accept that animals have souls. If we define the soul as that divine spark within each person that makes he or she the individual, different from every other individual, then we must accept that animals too have a soul. Animals, like us, are individuals with as distinct personalities as people"

$19.95


 

Cats' Company


A book of cats - history - reincarnation - healing - communication - stories

Ann explores the role of the cat through history, from being worshipped in Ancient Egypt to being cruelly treated and hated in Medieval Europe. The book includes tales of cats who returned to their owners after death, both in spirit and reincarnated form. Stating that "The Ancient Celts believed that the eyes of a cat were windows through which humans could explore the inner world", we are given an extract from a grimoire giving guidance on how to attune yourself to your cat. Believing in the healing power of cats and our ability to think/talk with them, Ann shares many stories of the cats she has known and loved over the years. A fascinating and enthralling book for cat lovers everywhere.

Cats' Company

$8.95

Click here to see the English cover for Cats Company


 
A Joy of Wild Asses

A Joy of Wild Asses

This is the story of the six donkeys from The Northern Territory who travelled across Australia to the North West Coast of Tasmania in the winter of 1969 to form the basis of the now famous Keysoe Donkey Stud. This enchanting little book will go straight to the heart of anyone who has ever loved or tamed a wild donkey.

$4.95

This book is also avalable from Ruth Walker's website. Click here


 

Talk With The Animals

Talk with the animals - something we can all do!

Now you can communicate better with your animals. All you need is a love and understanding of them as individuals and personalities in their own right, and a willingness to listen, watch and learn.

Ann Walker shares with us a lifetime of experiences and shows how the rewards of 'getting through' to animals can be worthwhile - even spectacular. Her own affinity with donkeys, ponies, mules, cats, dogs and sheep has had some surprising results at times!

This book explains why animals are valuable companions for young and old, for the sick and disabled, and as partners for the blind.

Talk With The Animals

 

Out of Print

 

Donkeys, Ponies and Mules

Donkeys, Ponies and Mules

The care and training of donkeys, ponies and mules.

 

Out of Print

 

Australian Donkeys

Ann Walker's first acquaintance with donkeys was when she was about three years old and rode them on the holiday beaches in England. Animals have always played a major part in Ann's life, and for many years in England she bred and exibited pedigree cats and ran a small boarding cattery.

Australian Donkeys

 

Out of Print

 

Guide To Cats

Guide To Cats

Guide To Cats is not only for the new owner or prospective purchaser of a pedigree kitten, but for all who own cats; whether aristocrats of the feline world or "Moggies" of no known parentage. Cats are fascinating creatures; a joy to look at and a delight to live with - they have a past rich with history and a future bright with promise - all these facets have been touched on here.

 

Out of Print

 

Your Cat

You cannot know too much about your cat, for ownership of an animal involves a definite responsibility which cannot be fulfilled properly, under all circumstances, without a full understanding of the problems. This book is addressed both to those who are buying a cat for the first time and to those who have owned cats, but feel they want to know more about these animals.

Begins with an investigation of the merits and demerits of pedigree and mongrel cats and continues with comprehensive discussions on how to handle a new kitten, what it should be fed and how it can be quickly and effectively house-trained.

The author devotes the conclusion of her book to stray cats, the cat as hunter, companion and performer and a concise and amusing history of the cat through the ages, not forgetting the larger members of the cat family.

Your Cat

 

Out of Print