Monthly Archives: January 2015

From pitiful to ‘pawsome’

We had hospital duty over the weekend and you know what that means…a bath for the “Muppet.” Cue the scary music…dum, dum, dum. Poor Sam, have you ever seen anything so pitiful looking?

H.E.L.P.  me

H.E.L.P. me

Can’t you just practically hear that tiny little voice from the movie The Fly?  I nearly wet myself laughing at his pitifully sad, drowned-rat expression. To get even at my laughing, he shook water all over me, twice. 😦

What a difference a couple of hours makes! Such a handsome boy and you could see from his prancing around, he was thinking he’s a real dandy. Well, YOU can’t actually see it, but trust me on that–he was doing the happy dance prancing all over. 🙂 He was so soft and fluffy, like a big dandelion. A couple drops of an essential oil blend later (clove and vanilla-my current favs) and W-O-W, he smelled just fabulous on top of it!

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So off we went to hospice where Sam’s favorite nurse, Ann was back (yay!). He was so glad to see her and immediately started loping toward her so he could do the ‘lean’ against her leg. She laughed and said how much she’d missed him. It’d been a couple of months since we last saw her and Sam had missed his favorite nurse.

Hospice was filled with loads of people visiting loved ones–I’d never seen the parking lot as full before. When we first walked in, there was a sobbing young girl near the lobby entrance, perhaps 6 or 7 years old with her mom who was trying to comfort her. Sam’s ears pricked up as I logged us in and he immediately pulled toward her. He’s super sensitive with crying kids and I knew it was upsetting him that this little girl was so crestfallen. He walked up and pushed his noise under her elbow between her and her mom. She turned and laid her hand on Sam’s head and began petting him. His tail started that furious, crazy wag and she stopped crying (her mom smiled, mouthing “thank you” toward us). Sam must have thought his job was done there because he turned to leave and encountered an older fellow who was sitting nearby reading a book. As he began to pet Sam, a family came by and oohed and awed and from then on Sam was in 7th heaven with people. The family asked all about him, “What’s his name, how old is he, is he a poodle or a doodle, how’d you get him so soft?” The usual small talk. I answered their questions and then the fellow reading his book chimed in that he’d never seen a big poodle. We all chatted for a few more minutes about poodle size and other sundry stuff and then Sam and I went to check in at the nurses desk. Sam had begun working his therapy mojo making people smile.

Our first visit was a rarity-the patient was quite conscious and chatting with this sister. “John” reached out to shake my hand and held it firmly, with clear eyes locked on mine. This wasn’t what I expected from a hospice patient. Sam wanted to get in on the action so we put his front paws up on the bed next to John. His sister was so taken with Sam and he with her because he immediately got down from the bed and went to her side which was where he stayed most of the rest our fairly lengthy visit. Sam senses when someone needs him and clearly she did.

John was one of the most charming and delightful humans I’ve ever met. It was hard for me to see this lovely man in hospice especially since he was probably around my age. I just wanted to hug him and take him home with me. Even the nurse said they were all going to miss him very much when he left. He was one of those kinds of people who impress you with their genuine spirit and lovely demeanor. He talked about when he raised Angora goats and we smiled at all his stories. When we finally left his room, I was profoundly affected. It is so rare that I get an up close and personal idea about a patient and their life first hand but this visit I found a light that shined from within this gentle man’s spirit.  He will indeed be missed not only by his family but by those of us who recently had met him. When it came time to leave, he again firmly took my hand and repeatedly thanked us for visiting. He wished us well. A life can be defined by those who greatly impact it. While it was a chance encounter, I am much richer for making John’s acquaintance. I can only hope we made as much of a difference to him as he did for us. I know that Sam had impacted his sister, and just hoped our visit did the same for John; he truly deserved that much.

No sooner had we left John’s room but we visited with the same family we encountered when we first walked in. Their mother was the patient and although she was sleeping, the son asked if we’d put Sam’s feet next to her so they could let her hand touch him. When I put his feet up, the son tried to wake her to no avail and rather than pull away, Sam completely relaxed and sank deeply onto the bed. The grandson lovingly took his grandmother’s hand and stroked Sam’s head. It was sweet seeing these men in a tender moment and Sam was a great therapy ambassador.

Shortly thereafter a woman came running after us to see if I’d bring Sam by for a few moments. We always accommodate requests whenever possible and Sam happily strolled in, ready to be the center of attention. They all fell in love with Sam and he made the rounds with each person. We answered all the questions about him and he ended up laying next to the most vocal in the group, a daughter. She was so touched by Sam’s response to everyone that she reached down and hugged him mightily, saying how she just loved him.

This kind of interaction always deserves a treat which I bring to keep Sam fully engaged while he’s working. Normally, he either doesn’t understand the concept of tricks for treats, or he thinks he’s cute enough not to have to perform them. The only ‘trick’ he will do on command is to lick his chops when a treat is offered. Trust me, I have no idea where he picked that up-as I’ve said many times before, this dog, sweet as he is, is about as dumb as a stump! He’ll lick the left side and when I say “can you lick the other side?” he promptly licks the right side. It cracks me up every time and he always impresses patients and visitors. Right on cue he sat like a prim and proper gentlemen and when I asked him to lick his chops, he did it twice, alternating each side when prompted. The family absolutely loved it, Sam loved his treat and we all smiled. It was that way the entire weekend, great connections with wonderful people and lots of shared smiles.

Normally after our sessions, Sam is pretty wiped out. Being such a good boy and absorbing all that negative energy for even a few minutes can take a real toll on his energy level and he will fall fast asleep when we get home. Gotta love the one paw hanging out there. He never even stirred when I got up to grab the camera. My buddy was a super star this weekend and I couldn’t have been any prouder of his hospital work. Care to share any proud moments of your ‘pawsome’ pet?

All tuckered out

My work is done for the weekend

Live, love, bark! ❤

‘Fursday’ smiles

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Two former college roommates were walking their dogs along the street. One of the guys had a German Shepherd and the other one had a Chihuahua. They were catching up after not seeing each other for a while.  The first one said, “Let’s go grab a drink and talk about old times to which the other one responded, “I’d love to man, but we’ve got the dogs with us and no one is going to let us into a bar with the dogs.”

The first guy said, “No problem, I’ve got this covered and he pulls a pair of Ray Bans out of his pocket and says, “Just follow my lead-we’ll look like just a couple blind guys meeting up for a drink” and off he strolls into the corner bar. The bartender sees the German Shepherd and asks him, “How’s it going? What’ll it be?” The guy orders a drink and the bartender brings it.

The younger guy thinks, “This is brilliant,” pulls out his Ray Bans and walks into the bar a few seconds later. He stops, feels around and says, “Bartender, can I get a scotch? The bartender says “You can’t come in here with that dog.” The guys says, Hey, I’m just a blind guy trying to grab a drink, what’s wrong with that?” The bartender says, “You idiot, they don’t have Chihuahuas as seeing eye dogs, now get the heck out of here.” Not to be deterred, the guy responds “Wait, what…they gave me a Chihuahua?! In that case, make it a double!”

Source: cutepuppiesphotos.com

Source: cutepuppiesphotos.com

Oh, to be that quick and clever on my feet! 🙂 Can you believe it’s ‘Fursday’ already and that January is half over? Any ‘doubles’ in store for you during the playoffs this weekend?

Live, love, bark ❤

Weekend work

Sam's paw seal of approval.

Sam’s paw of approval.

A couple months ago, I took a brie and wine making class at a terrific little shop in Denver. Wine & Whey provided us with everything we needed to make the most adorable little brie and a few bottles of a Zin Shiraz blend. I knew I wanted to use the blog logo for our label and think it turned out pretty cool. Our first vintage-yay! 🙂

So at 9:30 a.m. this morning  (it’s NFL playoff season and the instructor wanted to be home in time for the opening kickoff for her team). I was pouring, corking, and foiling my bottles. Now all I have to do now is wait patiently  for those puppies to fully mature! In 6 months they should be pawsome. I’m so excited I can barely standing it. Here’s hoping your team won this weekend. Cheers! 🍷

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Oh the weather outside is frightful

Baby, it’s cold outside and if you’re like most of the US right now (except for those lucky dogs in Hawaii), you’re probably “feelin’ the love” from our Canadian neighbors in the form of arctic cold fronts catching a ride along the Gulf Stream. Hard to believe winter has arrived with such a vengeance and so early in the season. Even the Deep South is experiencing cold weather (it’s 28 in Atlanta today and only 40 in Houston at this writing).

Apart from the snow shoveling (which, can I just say for the record, am already sick of doing?), there’s that whole thing trying to keep both me and Sam warm while getting in our daily exercise. This has not been an easy task either.

National Western Stock Show parade

January 8 ~ National Western Stock Show parade

The National Western Stock Show opens this week in Denver and for some inexplicable reason, the temperatures always are quite cold. The joke in town is when temps plummet, we say, “oh, it must be Stock Show week.” I mean, I love a longhorn cattle parade down 17th Street every January as much as the next person (that’s somewhat sarcastic on my part but loads of people seem to like it…whatever), but I am so over the bitter temperatures that accompany it every. single. year. 😦

Baby, it's cold outside!

It’s so cold, it’s blue out there

So naturally temps dropped to bitter at the beginning of this week. But inexplicably, each cold day has been followed by one where the temps were more like mid-October. It was 61 freaking degrees on Tuesday. I thought I was in a time warp when I left work. That night however, another cold front arrived and you know what that means. Can you say melt/freeze cycle?

After melting snow, you get a nice layer of ice. I was putting my recycling bin out for pick-up the other morning and  fell trying to maneuver the bin through deep ice ruts in the alley and suffering bruises & bumps to forehead, knee and keester for good measure [insert appropriate expletive here]. Of course Sam came bouncing over immediately to investigate what was up with all the swearing and why wasn’t I getting up immediately. There’s nothing like having your dog race over to you while you’re trying to clear the stars out of your head and him thinking “Gee, I think she wants to play!”

Once I assured him it was in fact, not play-time, I hobbled back into the house and applied some Arnica gel right away. If you bruise as easily as I do (and are, ahem…as equally graceful as I am 🙂 ), then you NEED this stuff. It works like magic reducing and even eliminating bruises and promotes healing. I got lucky the bruising was kept to a minimum and the pain only lasted overnight. Whew…dodged a bullet this time.

Apparently, Mother Nature is an equal opportunity beotch when it comes to weather, because Sam took a digger on the ice the next day. He gave me that WTH was that all about look, as if I had something to do with his crash and burn. Luckily he didn’t suffer any injuries and the good news is he’s not running at full speed like a maniac…as much.

Why it is you pull out the heavy-duty coats and hats early enough, but seem late in taking out the seriously warm gloves/mittens every winter? It took me a day or two to pull those suckers out and of course every day I felt like I had frostbitten fingers. We’re bundled up like Alaskan Eskimos, donning layers of wool under a terribly unflattering puffy coat (don’t you hate looking like the Mrs. to the Michelin man?), wearing two sets of gloves, sherpa lined boots and hitching Sam up with his fleece-lined coat and boots to prevent ice balls from forming and we’re still freezing. We look like unattractive extras from the movie Frozen and more than a few times have had to abbreviate our morning constitution because of the damn Stock Show effect.

Yup, it’s cold out there, baby. But because I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, I’m celebrating each additional minute of sunlight with every passing winter day. 🙂 Now where did I put the Yaktrax crampons for my boots? Sigh.

How do you and your pets deal with frigid weather? Stay safe and warm till warmer days arrive. Live-love-bark! ❤

Sam’s 2015 Resolutions

Sam and I did a lot of reflecting over the New Year’s weekend and we discussed some of his recent behavior of late and the need for, let’s just call them ‘adjustments’ with certain ones. Here’s the list of items he has agreed to work on this year. Some of these are probably impossible to hope for, but you know the saying: hope springs eternal.

  • I will stop trying to find the few clean area rugs in the house when I am about to throw up.
  • I will not eat my own vomit.
  • I will not roll on dead birds & squirrels or geese poop, etc. at the park.
  • I will not lick my upright’s face after eating goose poop.
  • I will not dig food bits or egg shells out of the compost bins.
  • I will not leave my elk antlers strewn over the living or dining room floors. [I’ve nearly gone lame stepping on the little one in the middle of the night!]
  • I will try not to hog the entire bed/sofa and ‘burrito’ the blankets around Mom so she can’t move or turn over. [if he can do this even just a few times this year, I’d be happy] 😉
  • I will not chew crayons, pens or markers, especially the red ones so my upright doesn’t think I’m hemorrhaging.
  • I will not try to stealth or push my way into the passenger front seat so I can lay my head/body across the gear shift into her lap for moral support.
  • Likewise, I will stop fogging up all the side windows with my anxious breath in the car.
  • I will not drop kibbles stuck to my face in Mom’s underwear when she is sitting on the toilet. [also see rule about face towels/napkins below]
  • I will not play tug-o-war with Mom’s underwear or pants when she is on the toilet.
  • I will not bark each and every time I hear a doorbell on TV.
  • I will not sniff at taller dogs while they are peeing.
  • The sofa is not a face towel or napkin, neither is Mom’s leg or lap. [this one might make it to the middle of February…if I’m super lucky] 😦
  • My head does not belong in the frig or freezer.
  • I will not bark or growl at a police officer when he reaches for Mom’s driver’s license and registration.
  • I do not need to suddenly stand up straight when I’m lying under a dining room chair.
  • I will not go racing through the French doors at Grandma’s house when they are closed. [I think he’s still recovering from a concussion received over Christmas]
  • I will not roll my elk antlers underneath the media center and whine and pace back and forth when I can’t reach them.
  • The mail lady is not trying to steal our stuff-she pets you and gives good ear scratches and loves you.
  • I must shake all rainwater or snow off my fur BEFORE entering the house and finally…
  • I will not chew, eat or disembowel any leather accessory I just ‘happen’ to come across on beds or tables. [just to be clear, I am especially resolved to keep those items at eye level–my eye level that is and completely out of his reach!]

Did you make any resolutions for 2015? Anything you’re hoping to change in either you or your dog’s behavior? Now if only I can reduce the number of the dozens and dozens of post edits, then all will be good. 🙂

Live, love, bark ❤

Sleeping dogs cause no problems

Sleeping dogs cause no problems