Category Archives: TV Shows

Family Ties

Family ties…but not the ones from that popular TV series, but instead real life family ties. The past 10 days have been filled with them. First my 21-year-old granddaughter and her boyfriend visited (yeah, I know, hard to believe I”m that old to have a 21-year-old granddaughter but I digress). I have a special bond with Hailey, having taken care of her when she was an infant every weekend for her first year. When I went to Hawaii last spring to celebrate her brother’s graduation, I was fortunate to meet her boyfriend, a quiet, adorably nice young man. Kyle is a local Hawaiian and as kind of a human as anyone could wish for their progeny to find. Polite, sincere with a beautiful and respectful life ethic, it was great for me to have them stay with me. Turns out after all they did while visiting her friends from high school, staying with me was a vacation they needed…i.e. rest. I think the go-go mentality of young road warriors had caught up with them after days of constantly being on the move visiting places and sharing the beauty of Hailey’s home state with her boyfriend who had never been to Colorado before. This thoughtful sweet girl took him to South Dakota to visit with her other grandmother for a few days as well. When I think of how this beautiful young woman has matured into a loving human, I am filled with joy and yes, a helluva lot of pride, too.

As Hailey and Kyle were preparing to return to their island paradise, Hailey’s dad arrived, their co-visits only overlapping by a day. Ostensibly to attend his 30th year high school reunion (I know, here’s that age thing again…WTH…how did that happen?), we managed to schedule some family time as well. For our family who relishes these get-togethers more than anything, it usually involves a fair amount of good food and some liquid refreshments. And this was no exception. Kevin’s best friend since junior high helps out his cousin’s craft brewery here in the metro area. The brewery, located in Del Norte, Colorado near where we lived more than 35 years ago, Three Barrel Brewery specializes in small batch “artisanal inspired brews produced from San Luis Valley grown, single origin malt, hops, Haefelis’s honey (from a local honey farm) and fresh mountain water.” Seth provided us with a healthy supply of some of their more popular brews which provided us the opportunity for some experimental suds quaffing. Had never tried ‘sour beers’ before and think the consensus amongst our collective palate is we’ll probably stick to slightly more conventional options. Perhaps I’m too old to be hip enough to enjoy the sour beers that the brewery is well-known for, but no worry on my part. Give me a robust IPA or ale and color me a happy gal. I’ve known Seth and his family for more than 30 years and he’s practically a family member. It’s always good seeing this man who now also has a family though substantially younger than my son’s. Seth is a generous, smart and funny guy, who is Hailey’s godfather so we go back a long way, in more than just time.

My brother Tim and his wife, Natalie, opened up their beautiful new home to the family clan multiple times. Natalie’s nieces were visiting while Hailey and Kyle were here; our two families sharing food, beer, and loads of laughter completely warmed my heart and soul. After our recent pet therapy visits getting together was definitely most welcome and the perfect Rx to soothe and comfort my spirit.

Having my son visit, even for a short time, meant the world to me. Not only did I get to have some much-needed time with my son  (a mother’s dream) but the quiet mornings over coffee and breakfast catching up on the details of his life, of how his new job was going and the final details on the remodeling of the ohana back in Kona allowed me to see exactly the kind of incredible role model and human he is, as a son, a father and a loving human with incredible talents Even just thinking about it, I can’t help but smile.

At first meeting, Elsa was slightly wary of the new people arriving but quickly warmed up to Kevin, Hailey and Kyle. Sam became particularly attached to Kevin’s hip, following him around the house. And though both dogs waited outside guest bed rooms sniffing at the crack each morning waiting for their new BFF’s to rise, Sam in particular reconnected with his old friend from when he stayed with us for an extended time before moving to Hawaii in order to wait out the quarantine period with his own dogs.

Now that everyone has left, Sam wanders around looking for Kevin in particular, hoping he is still here. And much like me, he’s missing this wonderful man who provided such joy while he was here. It’s a lot quieter around the Ranch today and as we adjust back to the old ‘normal,’ I smile thinking of this wonderfully loving family, the cherished visits with everyone shared over lively conversations, tasty meals and libations. This is what I’m talking about…these kinds of family ties and as I look forward to the next one, be it here at the “Ranch” or on an island paradise, my heart is filled with love allowing me to face the dragons of this crazy world anew. It’s good to be fully stocked again by the best fuel around-my family.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Mission Impawsible

The call came in on Tuesday. Sam here. Our elite covert operations IMF unit needed to carry out a highly sensitive, feel good mission at West Pines, ASAP. The assignment was critical to carry out since one of the regular pet therapy dogs that visit West Pines recently passed away and with it being summertime and many of our volunteers on vacation, the therapy coordinator was desperate for someone to cover West Pines this month. We were just there 12 days ago but I jumped at the chance to visit my friends again. “Mom…they need us. Let’s do it!” Luckily for us our out-of-town company arrives after our mission is over. Whew! While our missions aren’t the typical ‘secret anonymous covert missions’ like the TV series or the ramped up Hollywood blockbusters, we don’t need to unmask criminals or rescue hostages but we knew it was vital to step in and help the whole team out. So the team leader asked if we could do Wednesday’s visits and we agreed.  One thing is vital on one of these last-minute Impawsible Missions: the mission must be carried out and the only high-tech equipment we can use involve treats in mom’s magic pocket. So we agreed to do Wednesday’s shift. That’s what teammates do, right?

But first…I fur-got about the dreaded bath preparation before I could go to West Pines. Eek…what was I thinking when I signed up for this gig?

Ever see anything so pitiful?

The only good thing (if ANYTHING good can be said about baths) to come from this water torture is it’s been so warm, mom didn’t have to use the gawd awful wind machine hair dryer on me. Man, I hate that thing! The clippers are bad enough. And for some reason this time, mom drove me cray-cray struggled with trimming up my feet. I don’t like ANYONE touching my feet anyway so it took her a whole lot longer. I was keeping my paws crossed she’d give up and let me go on the mission, Muppet style. Note to self: moms never give up. *Ugh*

We arrived early so I hung out in the main reception area waiting to spring into action. I can spread my therapy skills over peeps wherever I’m at and luckily the waiting visitors and staff cruising through periodically, obliged while we waited.  have been making loads of friends with the staff and they always offer me treats. Did I mention how much I love the staff? Nom, nom.One fellow who was waiting to check in had owned a couple of Standards years ago spent a lot of time with me. He teared up at the thought his beloved dogs were gone, but was very grateful for my visit.

When Donna, the facilitator was able to fetch us, off we went. It started out a little on the slow side. Not too many of the staff were able to run their fingers through my luxuriously soft furs. Dang…you mean I endured a…a….%#*@ bloody bath and no one was around now to escort me to the patient areas? What the heck is up with that? Eventually we were able to visit the various areas where there were plenty of patients gathered and boy, did I make up for lost time. Men, women. They all came rushing over to me. The first guy was a huge hulking man and I was a bit nervous he might squash me, but he gently sat down beside me and stroked my head and ears. He was super eager to spend as much time as possible and kept telling me how much he loved dogs. Another lady who knew about us poodles decided to get her therapy fix next. When she stopped petting me, I plopped down right next her and was prepared to stay all morning since I liked her energy.

Unfortunately we needed to move on to see the rest of the patients who have a regimented schedule and she bid me a sad farewell. Many others came by too to say hi and tell me stories about their own pets. Visiting with the mental health patients has become quite an adventure. Mom is struck by the number of people who need my therapy skills and how raw their emotions can sometimes be. It’s easy for me to calm them and sooth their tears. I sit patiently and look deeply into their eyes, studying their faces where I see the pain they carry. I hope I can erase some of that discomfort, even if just for a few minutes.

Our next stop was at a group session where they were practicing yoga. They all perked up when they saw me and I showed them I can bust a downward facing dog move with the best of ’em. One girl in particular especially seemed to need my attention so I laid on her yoga mat and we exchanged zen energy. I kept wagging my tail back at her when we had to leave and she smiled broadly from ear to ear. I hope I made her day…she sure made mine.

Although we’re usually only there for an hour or so, the whole experience wears me out. Being on a IMF mission, while I don’t self-destruct like TV’s Mission Impossible, does tend to wear me out so I’ll be spending the rest of the day like this till tomorrow when this IMF team goes back to hospice and the Senior Behavioral unit. Pfft, Mr. Phelp’s got nothing over me. 💤

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Tuesday Trivia

It’s Tuesday so that means it’s time for some trivia! Sam here, mom’s got a touch of laryngitis so I offered to do this week’s trivia (bwahaha, she couldn’t argue when I grabbed the laptop because she’s a bit croaky so I think I’m gonna love the next few days of peace and quiet and no scolding from her).

IMG_1219

So here is this week’s ‘All About Dogs” trivia questions with the answers listed below. See how many you get correct.

  1. Do you know the breed of dog first known as the Rothbury Terrier?
  2. Which dog is considered barkless but who actually makes a noise much like a yodeling Swiss Mountain climber?
  3. What breed of dog has a black tongue while every other known dog’s tongue is pretty in pink?
  4. What was the name of the dog from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”?
  5. What is the smallest breed of dog as recognized by the AKC?
  6. If you got the smallest breed, do you know the largest dog breed recognized by the AKC?
  7. What inspired the Chewbacca character from Star Wars? [hint, it was George Lucas’ what?]
  8. Do you know why dogs and wolves yawn?
  9. Here’s an easy one…Dalmatians born with what color?
  10. Ok, here’s a harder one…what breed is the state dog of North Carolina? I’m gonna have to find out why Colorado doesn’t seem to have a state dog. What’s up with that?!
  11. What breed appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest dog in the world for 3 consecutive years in the early 1970’s?
  12. Name the breed of dog on Columbo’s TV series?
  13. While we’re on TV shows, what was the name of the dog on “The Partridge Family”? That’s a hard one.
  14. What’s the name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box?
  15. And finally, do dogs favor one paw (left or right) over the other?

And now…drum roll please…here are the answers!

  1. The Basenji who produces an unusual yodel-like sound commonly called a ‘barroo,’ resulting from its unusually shaped larynx.
  2. The Bedlington Terrier (you could have fooled me).
  3. Chow chow (I think Martha Stewart’s tongue is jet black too).
  4. Max (I don’t get it-is that some kind of inside joke amongst you bipeds?).
  5. The Chihuahua naturally…those little puplets are only 6-9″ tall at the shoulders and weigh anywhere from 2-6 lbs. Talk about ankle biters!
  6. The Irish Wolfhound who stands 30-35 inches at the shoulder and weighs anywhere from 105-125 lbs. minimum and officially the tallest of all dogs though not the heaviest. Mom’s daughter has two of them and boy are they big! Loki is my best running buddy but I have to double time it to keep up with her because like all sight hounds…she’s fast (no, I mean, really. really. fast)!
  7. George Lucas’ dog Indiana, an Alaskan Malamute.
  8. Yawning is a sign of contentment.
  9. White. They get their spots 3-4 weeks following their birth.
  10. The Plott Hound. Say what?
  11. The Shar-Pei.
  12. A Basset Hound (and the poor thing had no name).
  13. Simone. Wait, what? Simone, seriously?
  14. The iconic snack food box displays Sailor Jack with his dog, Bingo.
  15. Dogs are like people in that yes, they totally have a dominant paw like their human counterparts. The Institute for the Study of Animal Problems connected tests on cats and dogs that showed they are either right or left-handed. Then there are some of us who are ambidextrous meaning we can get in trouble every which way! 😉

Well I hope you enjoyed those interesting facts and win the trivia bowl at your neighborhood pub. Have a groovy Tuesday Trivia.

Live, love, bark! ❤

Somebody Flipped the Switch

Full disclosure, this post is gonna be a rant-because I’m steamed, literally and figuratively. If you’re looking for unicorns, butterflies or glitter, you won’t find it here today.

Somebody flipped the switch. That switch going from lovely springtime temperatures to fiery hell at Mach speed. It was just 3 weeks ago that my furnace was still running for crying out loud! Fast forwarded to now and it’s Dante’s Inferno. WTH happened? Why couldn’t Mother Nature gradually e.a.s.e. into blissful Summer instead of going from a cool Spring (you may recall those of us in the 303 had a snow storm on Mother’s Day) to full on blazing heat shimmers? I realize folks in the South have blistering heat AND oppressive humidity (something that thankfully we get little of-ours is always joked as ‘…but it’s a dry heat’ as if when it’s hot as hell it matters). Yes, I also realize the Southwest is broiling with temperatures well above 100. Frankly, I don’t know how you guys do it. I’d evaporate away but not before I bitched like crazy about it. And try to walk a dog on black asphalt in temps like that and well, let me just say, I won’t walk barefooted out there so I definitely don’t expect Sam to either.

IMG_1914So I was waiting for the bus in the shade of a lamp pole a minuscule spot barely wide enough for a pigeon to take shelter from the blazing sun. I thought I’d have to fight a couple of them off for that prime real estate but luckily they acquiesced with no feathers shed. Naturally, the bus was late and in downtown Denver, a late bus is best described as ‘the pits.’ It usually means there was some accident along the route and traffic backs up. Between the concrete jungle and asphalt radiating intense heat right through your shoes and your head feeling like boiling oil was being poured on top of it as if you were in an episode from Game of Thrones, you almost can’t breathe it’s so stifling. It’s like walking into a 500 degree pizza oven without the yummy  mozzarella. This oppressive heat also makes for very cranky drivers sitting in their overheated cars in near gridlock. It took 3 light cycles for the bus to move less than 40 ft. to the bus stop. And whenever there is a baseball game downtown, well ‘fugetaboutit.’ In fact, sometimes I’ve been on a bus so long that I had forgotten where I was going in my sun-addled state.

I’m not the only one complaining about the heat. It seems to be THE topic of discussion on the elevator. On Tuesday the HVAC went out in our building and let me tell you, if you really want to cheese off lawyers, make them evacuate a building for a fire drill AND have the AC go out in the same day. 🙂 When the temps soared above 80 in their offices, many of them came out complaining and wondering why can’t the building can’t just ‘flip a switch’ to cool things off? Ex-actly!! Law degrees can be very powerful tools when fighting injustice but when it comes to the elements, they have no influence whatsoever and those degree holders are just like the rest of us schmoes…helpless and hot.

Hope wherever you are, you can flip the switch, stay cool and civilized. You’ll find Sam and me sitting beneath the AC vent cooling our jets till the monsoons arrive. 🙂

Live, love, bark! ❤

[Post script to this post that was prescheduled for publication. After being in the 90s again, I left work Wednesday at 5 with 40+ mph driving rain/hail, downed trees, tornado and flash flood warnings. In the 3 blocks it took to dash to the bus stop, I become as soaked from head to toe as I have ever been in any storm (yeah, no umbrella with me today 😦 though I’m not sure it would have helped since the wind was turning them inside out). Was going to post a selfie showing me sopping wet but it was just too pitiful to share. Think drowned rat but this is a good alternative.  372909038_0ec8203144_z  My clothes, shoes, backpack, and I will be drying out and getting ready for the next opportunity to flip the switch. ❤

Doglish 101 – June 11, 2015

It has occurred to me that Sam and I speak totally different languages. I understand English for the most part and he understands some other language that I’m not familiar with completely. And so this post is the inaugural edition of “Doglish 101,” a semi-regular column here around the Ranch that’s designed to help us figure out what the devil is going on in those communications with some of the more ‘intransigent’ hounds who shall remain nameless at this point but whose initials are Yosemite Sam.

008Oh sure, most of the time he gets “sit,” “stay,” simple stuff like that. But as we all know from a recent rant post, sometimes the wires seem to get bizarrely crossed. I’ve wondered whether my dog could be hard of hearing? I know I am with certain sounds and it’s not that selective hearing thing-no, it’s probably more like listening to extra loud rock & roll music as a teenager (heck I still like like my tunes loud so in my case, it’s not all that surprising that I’m half deaf). Sam on the other hand, well I think is either (a) just plain stubborn as all get-out (b) developmentally slow or (c) in need to of learning the language spoken by this humanoid.

Take for instance, the command “up.” When I say it, at least in my mind, I mean Sam should jump up on the sofa, or bed, or whatever and land with all 4 feet on said surface. What I don’t mean however is for him to start bouncing up and down like a cotton pickin’ pogo stick and hopping up on desks with all four feet like he recently did at the hospital. That command would be “feet” where during our training sessions, I lifted his front feet up onto a surface, provided loads of praise and lots of treats to get those brain synapses to fire in his little pea brain and associate the command with the physical act. It seemed so simple, its worked many times before, and yet, what he obviously hears is “jump up on this desk and embarrass the ever-lovin dickens out of Mom.”

Then there’s that whole thing about the command “come.” Sure Sam comes on command 99% of the time. That 1%, well that gets a little tricky. It’s like he is either thinking “Pfft, yeah not in this lifetime lady, I’ve got pee-mail to read and smells to check out and I’d rather not” or “La-la-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you with these paws in my ears.” When it suits him, he’ll come a-running, nearly crashing into me and then he turns into a silly wiggling mutt that seems to defy all possible forms of normal anatomy since it appears he has some sort of special hinge in the center of his back that vacillates back and forth like a Slinky toy. He’ll run up and then lean hard against my leg. Clearly he’s not prepared to be any kind of service dog to help out with balance issues and I have to brace myself to keep from falling over. I know I should be grateful he came, but…it’s not quite like how I pictured it in my mind and obviously a failure to understand Doglish. 😉

So tell me…is it just me not fully understanding the complexity of communication or have I entered the Twilight Zone of ‘Doglish 101?” Does it even matter?

Live, love, bark! ❤

Is age just a relative thing?

 

IMG_1219Sam here…mom’s busy doing heaven only know what tonight so I thought I’d take over the blog (it being Thursday and all so she’s probably watching Scandal, the slacker). We recently had our semi-annual checkup/evaluation at the hospital where we get tested twice a year to make sure we’re still good and can handle the whole hospital vibe thing-it’s good to measure the dogs regularly so everyone knows they will continue to do well with the patients. But I think sometimes they need to check the humans more often than us but that’s a story for another time.

I was patiently waiting for my turn when I spied Truffles! No not the yummy treat kind, the chocolate-brown Newfoundland dog kind. I have such a crush on Truffles though most of the time she doesn’t pay much attention to me. Any-who…there I was, there she was and my name was called and I started bouncing up and down to go see her and her mom, Lyn. The volunteer vet was a nice enough lady, she smiled and giggled at my bouncing and her and Lyn both were ooh-ing and ah-ing about me. I love Lyn almost as much as I love Truffles because she always has a nice word for me and some great treats. So the vet was checking my heartbeat (it must have been going pitter-patter like crazy!) and I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I was focusing all my attention on that gorgeous brown girl. Hubba-bubba! When all of a sudden, I hear: “So I see that Sam is a senior, any problems?” Wait. What?! Senior? Are you kidding me, I’m the spriest 9-year-old she’ll ever see! WTH does that mean? I mean here I am bouncing like a cotton-picking jack rabbit to impress my girl and the vet’s calling me a senior? Oh puleez. I’m as young as any 4-year-old and I can bounce and hop with the best of them. Truffles kind of rolled her eyes and turned her back toward me.

Wait-no, don’t listen to that stupid vet. I’m a real dandy, in fact a super catch. Just look at this handsome dog! I got my poms all groomed, my toes nice and trimmed, nice conformation, even my whiskers are all waxed into place. I’m a mean, clean, fighting machine! How could she not be taken in by me?

DSC00065Apparently Truffles listened more to the vet than to my whining and pining over her. She kept her back to me and laid down. Egad–noooo, not the cold shoulder! My little heart was crushed. I couldn’t understand why the vet would sabotage my chances with Truffles. I’m trim (no spare tire on this killer bod), sharp as a tack (well ok, sharp as an ADD pup can be), why I’m a veritable stud muffin with no health issues. What is this senior thing? It sounded so derisive and judging from Truffles’ reaction, not a good thing. 😦

The vet finished checking me out and gave me a clean bill of health saying I was good for another 6 months so I pranced and danced around trying to impress the Truffles girl. But alas, she wanted no part of me. But I’m not giving up just yet; there’s always the next exam or the summer get-together when I’ll see her and boy, I’ll totally be all ‘Rico Sua-ve’ when she does. Meanwhile, I think I’ll practice on a couple of the ladies in the ‘hood,’ just to keep in practice. Wouldn’t want to get rusty like a senior now, right?

So what exactly does ‘being a senior mean’ when you act like a teenager all the time? Is age a relative thing with us dogs?

Live, love, bark! ❤

Danger Will Robinson

Lost in Space, the series 1965-68, IMDB

Lost in Space, the series 1965-68, IMDB

Nope, this isn’t gonna be a review or comment on either the old campy series or the 1998 movie Lost in Space though that phrase is often heard in my house followed by peals of laughter-it’s just hard not to burst out laughing at that cheesy line, but I digress.

No, what I want to make you aware of is Poison Prevention Week, March 15-22. Although it was originally created to raise awareness with parents with small children, vets are calling attention to the public for keeping pets safe as well. You’ve probably seen those toxic plant lists and you can view an infographic here to refresh your memory on common toxic substances. But what I want to share is far more insidious that more and more pet parents are engaging in because it’s thought of as “cute behavior.”

One thing that is becoming more and more common is that many dogs and cats will lick your skin after you’ve applied lotions or medicated creams. Personally, it grosses me out, I know where that tongue has been and frankly don’t want it licking my skin but more importantly, I want my fur-baby to stay safe. There are many types of lotions and ointments, creams and topical medications that can potentially make your pet very sick if ingested. Obviously it’s better to discourage licking you following application of creams or lotions. Often times, a yummy smell such as vanilla or coconut oil based products seem to draw pets to lick you. If your pet has ingested a potentially toxic topical product, you should contact your vet or emergency facility right away.

Here are some over the counter topical products that are dangerous to pets include:

  • Personal care products that contain dioxane, parabens, phthalates, metholisothiaolinone, toluene, triclosan, sodium laurel sulfate, and propylene glycol. Found in toothpastes, body washes, moisturizers, make-up/cosmetics, antiperspirants, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, sunscreens. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t use it. Instead use: emu and coconut oil, oregano oil, mild soap without triclosan, water or water mixed with baking soda.
  • Creams containing hydrocortisone which is often used to control itching. Can increase thirst and urination, panting, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Ointments & lotions containing antibiotics often called ‘triple antibiotic” and applied to cuts, scratches, etc. Can cause stomach upset.
  • Antifungal creams can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
  • Products containing zinc oxide can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
  • Muscle rub creams – many of these contain salicylate, aspirin-like compounds that can cause vomiting  or stomach ulcers. Other potential ingredients include menthol or capsaicin.
  • Prescription topical products including steroid based creams, hormone creams, anti-inflammatory pain med creams (i.e. Flurbiprofen for topical relief of arthritis), vitamin A compounds (retinoids).
  • Minoxidil – aka Rograine. Hair regrowth product originally used as a blood pressure medication. Upon ingestion, symptoms displayed are vomiting, lethargy, progression to fluid build up in lungs and eventually heart failure.
  • Calcipotiene (Dovonex) – used to treat psoriasis. Even a small amount can cause death in dogs and cats; it also causes vomiting and kidney failure-yikes.
  • 5-flurouracil (5-FU and Efudex) – treats solar keratosis (precancerous sun damage and skin cancer in humans). If ingested by pets, can cause seizures, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, bone marrow suppression. Extremely dangerous to use around animals, ingestion almost always results in death. Don’t mess around with this one.

Tips for Keeping your Pet Safe from Topical Products.

Prevent your pet from licking you after you’e applied products to your skin, even non-toxic products. Allow all topical products to soak in thoroughly or cover before contact with your pet. Never apply a topical meant for human use on your pet without consulting a vet. After applying a topical product, OTC product or prescription, thoroughly wash your hands before touching your pet. Store all products away from pets, and contact your vet or emergency veterinary clinic immediately if you believe your fur-kid may have come into contact with any potentially harmful products. Remember…be alert and keep your fur babies safe.

Live, love, bark! ❤