Call 911

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Photo by Angela Kirk

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job as a therapy dog, but it’s always nice to head home at the end of the day, unless something unsettling awaits you. Last week as Doc and I were driving down the street, we approached the house and nothing seemed out of the ordinary until we were ready to pull into the driveway. That is when I heard Doc say in a worried voice ” Oh no.” As I followed her gaze, I noticed what she saw and my heart dropped. The double front doors were wide open.

She pulled into the garage and we both got out of the car. I know her brain was on overdrive and I could sense that her anxiety was kicking into fear. I took the lead as we approached the front door together. It had snowed while we were at work and as we went up the front steps, we did not see any footprints. As we slowly stepped in the front door and peered into the house, it didn’t look like anything was out-of-order or stolen. Pausing, I didn’t hear anyone in the house, but I thought to myself, this is the part in the movies where the audience is yelling at the actors, ” Don’t go into the house, Freddy Krueger is hiding behind the door!” Doc must have been thinking the same thing because much to my relief, she got on her phone and dialed 911.

“911, what’s your emergency?” the dispatcher asked. When Doc told her what was going on, the dispatcher told her to that we both needed to get back in the car and lock the doors until the  police arrived. That nice lady stayed on the phone with Doc to make sure we were ok. She then instructed Doc that if someone comes out of her house and approaches her, lay low. Doc told the dispatcher that if that happens she will run them over with her car. That’s my Doc! The dispatcher burst out laughing, but advised her that she did not instruct her to do that.

Three police cars pulled up to the house within 2 minutes of the call, and told us to stay in place in case they flushed out a perpetrator. As two of them searched the house, one of them went in the back yard. After what seemed to be forever, they told Doc that we could come inside. They had not found anyone, but they wanted Doc and I to go through the house to see if anything was out-of-place.

Being promoted from therapy dog to crime dog in one day, was almost too much for me to handle, but I rose to the occasion. Luckily after going through the house, everything looked fine.

The police examined the front doors and determined that there was no forced entry.  That was when Doc remembered that she had furniture delivered a few weeks ago, and thinks that maybe she had not bolted the one double door back into the frame. Since we had some high winds on that snowy day, it was determined that the wind blew the doors wide open. What a relief.

After Doc thanked the police and we both settled down, we realized the next morning that not one neighbor on our quiet street came out to see what was wrong, even though many of them were home. It makes you wonder how three police cars can come in broad daylight, search a house and yard and no one notices.

groverpic ” They motivate us to play, be affectionate, seek adventure and be loyal.”

— Tom Hayden

“Paranoia Will Destroy Ya”

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Photo by Angela Kirk

Sitting a top the slope in the back yard, I can keep watch over the acre beyond the fence and into the next neighborhood. It is my job as the neighborhood dog to alert everyone when sudden movement or strangers appear. I toss my head back and bark and bay to announce to the interlopers that I am guarding over my domain. Just like my ancestors did, I take my job of protecting the perimeter very seriously.

Through my observations, humans take protecting themselves very seriously as well, although I do think you take your safety way too far.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for taking precautions, and I understand that some people live in safer areas than others, but you don’t want to become so fearful, that you create unnecessary stress and anxiety for yourself. I get the impression that you think you can ward off bad things forever. In reality, there is only so much you can control. I know some of you may disagree, but lets look at the facts.

For starters, the United States spends more on defense than the next 9 biggest nations to protect its borders. You have the national guard to protect each state, sheriffs and city police, and don’t forget the neighborhood watches. Wait, I’m not done yet. There are car and home alarms and safes to store your stuff in. There are dead bolts for your door, along with security cameras so that you can see who is in your yard.  There are helmets to protect your heads when riding motorcycles, bikes or any other thing that moves, seat belts, airbags, and guns to protect you and your property. Well you get the idea.

It’s all so exhausting to think about. They say Americans are more frightened and paranoid than any other nation on the planet. Since I haven’t been out of Ohio I will just have to take Google’s word for it.

Luckily the only scary thing that has come into Doc’s yard is a big deer that tried to jump the fence, but I took care of that doe when I snuck out from behind the bushes and started barking. I think I scared the poor dear half to death.

groverpic ” For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

— Nelson Mandela

The Ripple Effect

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Photo by Angela Kirk

 A very smart man named Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest wall of oppression and resistance.”

I often hear humans say that they are only one person and that they can’t make a difference all by themselves. As a very observant dog I respectfully disagree. Every day I watch how your thoughts manifest into energy and not only dictate your own actions, but often affect the thoughts and moods of others around you. I don’t want to brag, but at work I can go into a room filled with patients or staff and feel the energy shift because they are happy to see me and get their minds off of work or worry for a while.

The history of the world has often been shifted by the energy of one person. If the person is dynamic enough and can tap into the fears or hope of others, they can build a movement and others will follow.

From the time I was a puppy until the present, Doc has taught me the importance of being a leader rather than a follower, to be an independent thinker, to understand how my actions and decisions will impact others and to stand up for those that are either too weak or frightened to speak for themselves.

Every day your thoughts and actions not only change the course of your own life, but have that ripple effect on others. It’s for us to decide how our choices will ripple out into the world.

groverpic ” The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”

— M.K. Clinton

Labels Belong On Cans

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Photo by Amy Jewett-Sadler

There is no doubt that I am a different looking kind of dog. With my bushy eyebrows, beard and long curls hanging from my floppy ears, I get many second looks from the humans I encounter. Some question Doc about my breed and age as they try to pigeon-hole me into a category they understand. Most humans are complimentary and say nice things about me, but there are others that tell Doc that I am the ugliest dog they have ever seen. They assume that because I’m a dog that I don’t understand or sense the negativity in their voices. Sometimes it hurts my feelings, but Doc reminds me not to let other people’s negative opinions get to me, because that is all that they are, opinions.

Because of those encounters, I have become more sensitive when I hear humans make judgments about each other. From my experience, human beings can get pretty ugly with each other in a multitude of ways. The worst things I see show up on social media. I guess people feel safe saying whatever they think when they are anonymous. They would never say those same things to someone face to face, or at least I hope not.

It’s different for dogs. We strike out physically when we’re afraid. It’s a way to protect ourselves and those that we love.  It’s pure survival instinct to deal with the situation and then move on. I have never lashed out or snubbed another dog because I looked down on them for being a mutt or having a past as a shelter dog where they were given food and housing for free. It makes me wonder where all the judgement comes from. I guess you humans are afraid of what you don’t know and protect yourselves by assigning a label or a judgement instead.

The beauty of being a therapy dog, is that I get to love people unconditionally every day. I don’t care where you came from, what you did in the past, how much money you make or who you voted for in the last presidential election. There is a real sense of freedom that comes with that approach.

Doc told me that many years ago a very wise professor she had in college told her that labels belong on cans not on people. I think that was a very profound thing to say. Maybe we would all be better off if we tried to get to know each other before coming to any conclusions.

groverpic ” Dogs act exactly the way we would act if we had no shame.”

— Cynthia Heimel

When One Pug Isn’t Enough

6a00d83451580669e201b7c8c0aa2f970bIt must be crowed in a house that you have to share with 30 Pugs. A dog owner in Cheshire, England started out with one lonely Pug and ten years later is not the proud owner of 30. Is she a Pug hoarder you ask? Well, you be the judge.

She originally got the first dog from her parents.Within ten years she had added 29 more through rescue organizations or breeders. After some time, she had to quit her job to take care of all of her dogs. Her parents now support her financially. In total, it costs her $24,000 per year for food, treats, grooming, toys, clothing and vet bills. This past Christmas she spent $1,200 for their presents.

To tell you the truth, it would horrify me if Doc brought home 29 more dogs to live in our house. It gives me anxiety just to think about it. I am use to being an only child and going about my business without being bothered. Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind having one more dog in the house to hang out with, but 29 more? Even I know that is a recipe for trouble. Dogs having a pecking order within the pack and it would be exhausting trying to figure out who was the boss on any particular day.

Deciding to ask Doc what she thought, I showed her the article. After she finished reading, she looked up over her glasses at me and said, “What I want to know is who cleans up all that dog poop?”

Well, faithful readers, I would love to hear what you think about this, so either write me in the comment section of the blog or comment on Facebook. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

groverpic ” The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.”

— Anonymous