Category Archives: From the Heart

Tribute Tuesday

While we’ve had a rash of special pets cross over the Rainbow Bridge over the past several months, it hasn’t been limited to Blogville. A number of fellow pet therapy dogs have left as well. I haven’t shared stories about those losses since we try to soldier on as best we can despite the hole that’s left behind. When Sam and I joined pet therapy over 4 years ago, there were over 50 dogs in the program. Today that number is just over 30.

Recently one of my absolute favorite dogs left us unexpectedly, leaving her owner, Bonnie and the rest of us who knew her, simply devastated. “Fergie” was one of those dogs you just couldn’t get enough of whenever you saw her. With a regal face, expressive features, she was a pawsome ambassador for our program. I was instantly drawn to her at the first get-together for both handlers and dogs. In the midst of dogs everywhere and uprights chit-chatting away, Fergie quietly sat next to Bonnie taking it all in. She was a beautiful soul with a calm presence who represented her breed so nicely especially in the midst of frenetic motion and noise. 

Fergie was a wonderful therapy dog and will be sorely missed. Throughout her two years of service to our program, she and Bonnie provided much comfort and joy during their 64 visits. Sam and I were lucky to spend some time with Bonnie and Fergie at the annual fund-raising calendar sale with Fergie performing impressive tricks for people in the hospital lobby. And Sam adored her as much as I did.

Bonnie described Fergie this way:
“Fergie loved riding in the car wearing her goggles, and hanging her head out the window.  It also gave Fergie joy when she would get her toenails painted.  And I believe she liked wearing one of her many outfits.  She was an attention hog.  She knew only a few tricks but she was always willing to perform.Treats were a big must have for her.  Fergie loved chasing anything that ran.  She didn’t care to catch it, but she loved the run.  If she saw something running (squirrel, deer, rabbit, cat, anything) she would be on the chase.  But, if it stopped, she would stop, until it started running again and then it was off she goes!  When she would get tired or the poor creature would out smart her, she would come bounding back to me with her head held high, a smile on her face and a prance in her step just as pleased as she could be.”
Here are some photos Bonnie shared with me that show the great spirit Fergie exhibited with her good nature and sense of style.

Sam and I will miss our sweet fur-iend and hope our admiration for Fergie helps her mom deal with this untimely loss. Our program just won’t be the same without the two of them. No doubt there will be tons of nail polish colors and goggles just waiting for Fergie at the Rainbow Bridge. While she may be gone, she will not be fur-gotten. Rest in peace, sweet girl. 
Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Earth Day…Revisited

Despite wanting to share this post shortly after attending a photography seminar, a hectic life sort of interfered. But I decided it was just too good not to share the experience. “Walk on the Wildside” was held in connection with Earth Day sponsored by a local camera shop at the Denver Zoo. The guest speaker was not only a phenomenal photographer but one who happened to be a Nikon Ambassador.

Ron Magill, director of communications for the Miami Zoo, is a trained zoologist but never took any photography classes. He learned how to photograph through practice, patience and necessity (stock photos were too expensive when he first started out). I signed up for this class not because I’m planning on a safari trip to Africa, but because I figured any tips could be used in taking photos of Sam and Elsa (who often resemble wild animals).

Boy am I glad I did!! Although I shoot with non-Nikon brand cameras, photographic principles are the same whether you use Nikon or another brand like I do. If you have the time and the inclination, this video is a fair representation of his presentation in Denver with emphasis on his conservation efforts. Ron is high energy and enthusiastic. Be prepared to get caught up with his energy. As a world-renowned conservationist as well as a photographer, Ron walks the walk using his position to draw attention to the importance of saving endangered species throughout the world. Ron stressed the importance of living a life that protects these magnificent creatures so that we can enjoy them now and well into the future. As a naturalist whose primary job is protecting wildlife for generations to come, Ron showed how invaluable photography can be in telling stories that help empower people in to making a difference in protecting our natural world.

Ron showed some of the most inspiring photos in extreme locales; his enthusiasm for photographing nature’s incredible creatures permeated throughout his talk. Even though the presentation ended shortly after noon (and the worst possible time to take photos), I left inspired to see if I could possible capture anything like what he suggested.

Catching up on some 💤

What did I say about your attitude?

🎶 I’m too sexy for my…

Wait, was that a ground squirrel?

I’m the real sexy one!

Hey, no pictures without a signed release, ok?

Hey Ralph, there’s something down in this hole.

The most dangerous creature in Africa (next to man).

While the lighting was atrociously harsh and mostly overexposed, I was able to shoot a few shots that pleased me and as Ron suggested, any photo that you like is a good photo regardless of photographic rules. This presentation inspired me to my very core. It rekindled a burning desire to photograph the odd, the ordinary, and those exceptional sights that I’m blessed to see every day right in front of me. I left with an energized sense of creativity. It reminded me we all are stewards of nature and the need to keep wild animals alive and present for our children. An Earth Day to remember, savor and practice every day, oh yes. And for the record, it has inspired me to visit to the zoo more often, that is, when I’m not living with the zoo at home.

What story will you tell with your photographs?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Thankful Thursday

When it comes to celebrating blogiversaries, I have been fairly taciturn to publicly share those dates and have never posted anything about receiving any awards but since being recently notified that our “Ranch” was one of PetNitro’s Best Dog Bloggers to Follow for 2017, as well as realizing over 600 of you amazing readers follow us, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge both milestones and express my gratitude to those responsible. That’d be you guys! Sure I know there are gazillions of you who have scads more followers and been doing this blogging thing a whole lot longer and are far more successful than the likes of us, but I kind of had to think…WOW! Had you asked me after publishing that first post (A new baby arrives) a year ago this week (which came a month after setting up the blog) whether I’d have thought any one other than maybe my kids or a friend or two would have read it, I’d have laughed myself into delirium and needed oxygen. Apart from an eye roll, even contemplating such a silly notion of having a blog read by anyone, let alone something still being read 3 years later, from my vantage point at least, was so far off the radar-screen, it still makes me chuckle even thinking about it.

I mean, I had this stress filled nightmare job with an unreasonable boss whose purpose in life seemed to be to hoist me on a petard every day. Who’d want to do anything else, right? Ha! He could have cared less about what I thought or did so long as his personal life was made easier. But I did somewhat enjoy the client work and my co-workers were the best so that generally got me through most days. But as the years and ignoble personal requests piled up taking their toll on my soul, I realized a creative outlet was imperative for sanity and decided to try blogging as a creative outlet to avoid committing some criminal act. I had no idea what I was doing, had minimal graphic skills (some things just never change) and yet, there was this voice inside that was awakened and needed to be shared. Originally I wanted to create a design blog and then quickly came to realize that wasn’t gonna happen. Sure I had co-owned a hardware store before and could wield a mean paint brush and cut a key in record time, but who was I kidding? I didn’t have the wherewithal to move interior walls and handle plumbing projects from scratch (I’d rather set my hair on fire frankly than deal with ANYTHING plumbing related) let alone do an amazing makeover like the rest of the Martha Stewart/MacGyver types who are able to create something fabulous from paint, pillows, a bit of spit and maybe a rubber band or two.

Then it hit me…the real muse was wagging his tail at me in a hospital room so what better way to harness that inner voice than to share stories about a certain lovable knucklehead rather than trying to redesign some tiny little kitchen or rehab project around the house without dynamite or a Sugar Daddy. We were already doing therapy work and it seemed natural to share our adventures on hospital visits. It was fulfilling and rewarding beyond measure. Was I terrified hitting the ‘publish’ button in the beginning? You betcha…I still am! But life has a funny way of encouraging you to make changes or to see that most of the time you spend working doesn’t have to be constant misery-inducing for someone happy to suck the life out of you.

So after finally having a steaming mug of crap filled to overflowing (aka end-of-the-year cluster), I came to the conclusion life would be infinitely better blogging full-time than to be someone’s whipping-post for their unhappy existence. With that, I left the legal biz a little over a year ago walkING out with my head held high, a smile on my face and never looking back.

Those of you who know me well, know I’m not into tooting my own horn and any level of accomplishment is not dependent on awards or anniversaries but instead comes from smiling when YOU guys take time to comment on our escapades. I am grateful beyond words and know my rewards are about the back and forth dialogue and sharing of your experiences. For that I continue to be grateful. Your warmth and support have been re-affirming and you taught me the “3 E’s of blogging.” Engage, educate and entertain, for which I can’t thank you enough. We invite you to stick around and continue to hear our drivel stories.

This peanut sized space on the Internet where people come together and have a genuine love for their 4-legged-better-parts, sustains and fills me with a joy that is often indescribable. The fact that you are so generous with your kindness and comments is beyond touching and makes my day. Thank heavens I had the good sense to avoid the design genre (far too many design peeps seem to lack any kindness DNA…and besides, who wants to paint rooms the color of puce just to be part of a catty, mean-spirited clique anyway?). Love you guys for your kindhearted encouragement, empathy and smiles! So as I commemorate these two events, I hope we share half as much joy in your life as you do to ours. Sending tail wags and nose nudges to you all.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Flowers for Dory ~ A Tribute

Blogville recently lost a dear fur-iend, Dory from Dory’s Backyard and today we will honor her with a tribute and blog hop. While we didn’t know her all that well, we were always inspired by her Flower Friday posts and her smiling face. Sweet little Dory will be missed by everyone in Blogville. We are sending digital hugs and tail wags to her ‘brothers’ Arty (the Mayor of Blogville), Jakey, Bilbo and to her ‘pawrents.’ Dory may be gone, but she will never be forgotten and is no doubt spreading smiles among way too many of the others who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge from Blogville and will definitely be missed.

In honor of sweet Dory, here are a few of Sam’s favorite flowers from around our garden.

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Thanks to Kinley the Westie and the Idaho Pug Ranch for hosting this special Flowers for Dory blog hop. Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎