False Alarm

IMG_0811 We first noticed the chirping sounds as soon as we got home from work. Doc, all too familiar with the noise, knew one of the batteries in the smoke alarm needed changed. Since Doc had to eat a quick lunch, change her clothes and dash to a meeting, she needed to put off fixing it until she got home. What she didn’t realize is that she had made a very poor decision.

Left alone at home with the obnoxious noise, I got under the bed and covered my ears. At about 8 pm, the back door opened. After changing her clothes, Doc put a fresh battery in her pocket, got the ladder from the garage and carried it to the room where the smoke alarm was making the noise. Swiftly she climbed the ladder, changed the battery and closed the opening to the smoke alarm. As she put her foot on the last rung of the ladder the chirping sounded again. Back up the ladder she went, trying to fix it off and on for at least 20 minutes until she decided there was nothing more she could do. She couldn’t just remove the battery to make it stop because the alarms are electrically wired through out the house so you can’t stop the noise unless you detach the wires. Thinking that the battery might be bad, and given that she had no more of them, she decided to wait until the next day. Bad idea. She shut the door to the room, came downstairs and after about an hour we went to bed.

As the house became quiet, all you could hear through out the night was that darn ” chirp, chirp, chirp” off in the distance every 15 minutes through out the entire night. Needless to say, neither of us got any sleep and we drug through our work the next day as best we could. On the way home we stopped and bought fresh batteries.

Once again after getting home, Doc climbed back up the ladder and put in the fresh battery. Surely the problem was now solved and we would have peace and quiet again. Nope, not a chance, “chirp, chirp, chirp,” it sounded once again. Well you should have seen the look on Doc’s face, it was a cross between exasperation and fury. ” Please make it stop!”, she yelled. I was right there with her until she started talking about getting a gun and shooting the darn thing.

Knowing it was time for an intervention, I texted her nephew that happens to be an electrician and typed the following, ” Please come help us! The smoke alarm won’t stop chirping. We are sleep deprived and not thinking clearly. Doc has done everything she can think of and is now threatening to kill it with a weapon.” Luckily her nephew was close by finishing up a job and came right over. Quickly he disconnected it, removed the wires and said that the whole smoke alarm was bad and needed replaced.

In an instance, a wave of calm and normalcy returned to the house. I did learn one important thing from the whole adventure. If I ever need to get any top-secret information from Doc, all I need to do is lock her in a room with a chirping smoke alarm and she will give up the farm.

groverpic ” The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”

— Johnny Depp

Filling In for the Organ Grinders Monkey

FullSizeRender-19Just when you think your life is kind of boring, an interesting opportunity presents itself and you can either say yes or no. Imagine my surprise when one of Doc’s out-of-town relatives showed up at the front door with her accordion in tow and asked me if I could help with the entertainment.  She explained that her small monkey Luigi usually accompanies her, but she didn’t want to bring him on such a long trip, so she asked me to fill in. And that is what started my career in show business.

To tell you the truth I had never really heard of animals performing with musicians, but I soon found I was very mis-informed. As it turns out, immigrant musicians started playing the street organ in US cities, sometime in the mid-1800s.The first account of an organ and animal team was mentioned in the Washington Post in 1884 where the teams performed on downtown streets. Some of the animals were small dogs and some were monkeys. So here I am so many years later carrying on the tradition in a more nontraditional way. My job, as I see it, is to lay there and look handsome, while my partner does all the work.

Our first performance was after a family cook out. After a great meal of bratwurst, baked beans and blueberry pie, the family came inside the house for the show. While everyone was finding a place to sit, the large accordion came out of the case and as she slipped the straps up over her shoulders, the bellows on the organ gave out a loud groan. Soon she was all strapped in and the merriment began. Everyone was singing along, laughing and some even got up to dance. It was quite the show and I was surprised to find I was sad when it was over.

It just goes to show you how much fun you can have when you take a risk and try something new. One day you’re just a regular old therapy dog, the next day your calling America’s Got Talent to find out when the next auditions take place. Show biz here I come.

groverpic ” In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”

— W.H Auden

I Accept All Discarded Doggie Treats

IMG_0763Doc’s loud voice carried down the hall and I was horrified when I heard her tell Carol, one of our co-workers ” Just because your dog turned his nose up at those dog treats, what makes you think that Grover wants your dog’s leftovers?”

“Just one darn minute”, I thought to myself, I don’t care if Carol’s dog licked every treat in the bag, I want them and don’t think Doc should be making that decision for me. When is she going to let me start making my own decisions, for goodness sakes?

When Doc came back to the office, I just gave her the “stink eye.” At first she didn’t notice, but then she looked over and said, “What’s wrong with you?” “I don’t think you should be making decisions without consulting me first, I said, I’m not your little puppy any more, I don’t mind leftovers. Have you forgotten that I eat dirty kleenex out of the trash?”

Doc thought for a moment and responded, “I just don’t like people thinking that just because you are a mutt that you don’t deserve the best of everything.” “Oh,” I responded, “she pushed your class warfare button.”  A look of confusion came across Doc’s face as she processed what I had just said to her. “Oh my, she said, you are right Grover, how did you get to be such a smart therapist?” “I know what makes you tick.” I said.

And with that, she got up from her chair and I trotted behind her as she marched down the hall and apologized to Carol. “Grover will be happy to eat the treats, you were kind enough to bring for him today, he just happens to love leftovers.” Well, I thought to myself, it’s a start, but I think I need to work with her on her apologies.

groverpic ” Never stand between a dog and the fire hydrant.”

— John Peer

If You Want To Be Happy in Life, Be Of Service To Others

FullSizeRender-17 It can be easy to get caught up in our own problems and forget about the rest of the world.  If we aren’t careful, focusing on our pain and hardships can lead to a spiral into darkness if we shut out the rest of the world. Often people in that dark place will ask Doc and I how to be truly happy in life. There are many answers to that question but the number one thing that Doc and I will tell them is a quote by  Robert Ingersoll, “We rise by lifting others.”

The work that Doc and I do, and the times that we spend visiting cancer patients or families grieving the loss of a loved ones, leaves us feeling renewed and thankful. We always get back more than we give. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself.

The great part of giving is that it doesn’t have to be some grand gesture. Sometimes the small things make the biggest differences in other people’s lives. Finding something that truly matters to you and then helping a person, group or cause without expectation that you will get anything in return except a good feeling can change the way you view yourself and the world. I highly recommend it. For example, just the other day, Doc and I came across a woman at the cancer center that was having a down day. When she saw me, her face lit up, so I approached, leaned in to her and gave her some puppy kisses lightly on the cheek. She started laughing, her husband took some pictures and I stayed next to her as she gently stroked my fur. In just those few minutes, it took her mind off of her discomfort.

So I challenge all the wonderful readers of my blog to take the time every day for one week, to do one small thing for someone else that you would not normally do. Be creative and have some fun with it. At the end of the week, take stock and see if life looks a little brighter. You can even message me and let me know what you did and how it went. Good luck!







groverpic  ” Without my dog my wallet would be full, my house would be clean, but my heart would be empty.”

— aplacetolovedogs.com

It’s Frog Friday!

FullSizeRender-18Luckily my life is rarely boring, in part because Doc can always come up with some hair-brain idea to keep us busy. I have to admit that we go on some very interesting adventures together. This week Doc told me to get in the car because we were going to the wetland park for Frog Friday. I didn’t even resist. I like parks and I like frogs, so off we went.

When we arrived, I saw that it was sponsored by the Mad Scientist Associates and was worried they may be turning frogs in to princes or that they were messing with their DNA and creating big killer frogs. Seeing my concern Doc looked at me like I had lost my marbles and told me to get out of the car. I soon saw families with kids and some other dogs, so I figured it must be safe.

One of the scientists talked about how active the frogs are at this time of year as they emerge from their winter hideouts and make their way to the wetland pools. He then encouraged us to get out our flashlights and begin our hot pursuit of the amphibians. Those slimy little suckers were plentiful, but fast. I have webbed feet, but Doc had a harder time not slipping and falling on her keaster. We all laughed and had fun as we searched.

After about an hour, we were done and ready to go home. There is only so much quality time you can spend with frogs before it becomes mundane. When Doc told me it was time to leave, I picked up the squirming bag of frogs that I had caught and carried it between my teeth and headed toward the car. “Grover, what are you are doing with that bag of frogs?” she asked with a look of horror on her face. “Well aren’t we having frog legs for dinner?” I asked. “Heavens no, she said, what ever gave you that idea? Now go put those frogs back in the pond.” Reluctantly, I did what I was told.

Go figure, just when I was feeling all proud of catching our dinner, my dreams were smashed to pieces. I guess another night of dog food never hurt anyone, but I bet those frog legs would have been tasty.


groverpic ” Dogs for a reason that can only be described as divine have the ability to forgive, let go of the past and live each day joyously. It’s something the rest of us strive for.”

— Jennifer Skiff