I Ate the Whole Thing and I’m Not Sorry

What do you do to amuse yourself after you have been placed in time out for what Doc claims is inappropriate behavior? You may wonder what heinous crime I committed to get me in so much trouble, so let me tell you my side of the story.

It was just a regular Tuesday at work and we had a break between patients, so I decided to meander down the hall to visit Sheila, one of my co-workers. She was giving me a back massage when Doc came into the room. Well, Doc and Sheila started talking and Sheila stopped my massage, so I got bored listening to those two talk about work. I decided to look around the office for something to do. Suddenly, I spied a tote bag on the floor next to the desk and thought I should probably investigate to make sure there was nothing dangerous inside that could hurt the staff. As I got closer I noticed a wonderful aroma coming from the bag, so I did what any dog would do, I stuck my head down in it, all in the name of safety of course. But just as I was pulling the contents out of the bag and sinking my teeth into it, the yelling started. Startled, I turned around just as Doc grabbed me and tried to pull the baggy out of my mouth that had the food inside. I have jaws of steel and was not going to give her the bag. If she was hungry she needed to find her own food, I thought to myself. But of course she won and was horrified to find out that I had taken a big bite out of Sheila’s lunch. Doc immediately threw it in the trash where I made the mistake of trying to fish it out again. After all you shouldn’t waste perfectly good food.

Doc was quite upset by my behavior and offered to buy her another lunch. Sheila sure didn’t seem that bothered and was a lot nicer about the whole thing than Doc was. Doc scolded me all the way down the hall. I told Doc that I thought it was Sheila’s fault for leaving food where I would be tempted and reminded her that science says that dogs intellectual ability is the same as a toddler’s, so what did she expect. That really set Doc off and she gave me a lecture about taking responsibility and then sent me to my bed to use my “toddler intellect to think about what I had done.”

It’s now late in the evening after supper as I write this, and Doc has already moved on. That is the good thing about Doc, she doesn’t hold a grudge. As for me, I just can’t promise I won’t try to steal food again. After all, what dog do you know that ever passed up a free snack?

Summer Wrap Up and Back to Work

As summer vacation drew to a close, and we had to return to work, Doc and I tried to fit in every outdoor adventure while we had the time. I thought Doc might be overdoing it with all the things she had us signed up for, but I went along for the ride without complaint, because I have to admit, she does know how to have fun. Then reality set in, and we were back to our daily work schedule the day after Labor Day.

On our first day back and after having a day filled with seeing patients, we had a mandatory meeting with the big bosses. They were presenting some new section of a strategic plan for our agency. Now don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see everyone, including counseling staff we never get to see, but meetings and presentations are boring to this pooch, so I tried to liven things up a bit and that did not turn out well.

First, I went around to greet everyone while I also stayed on the look out for any snacks they may have had. some were nice enough to share. I then spotted my co-worker Homer and became so excited to see him, I tried to get to him, but was trapped on the other side of the table. So I did what any normal big dog would do, I jumped up and put my paws on the table trying to get to him. Boy, when Doc turned and saw that, I got in a little bit of trouble. I swear that woman has yes in the back of her head.

After that she made me come stay by her side while the presentation went on. I no I needed to be quiet, but I just couldn’t take it any more so I started whining. Doc, did try to correct me, but I just couldn’t contain myself and got louder. So, after a while, I got kicked out of the meeting for being disruptive on my first day back. Imagine that. I guess that means I am in the dog house for awhile. Oh well, life goes on.

Adventures at the Slanty Shanty

Leave it to Doc to find a lakeside vacation rental called the Slanty Shanty. Built in the late 1800’s, it was originally a carriage house. Yup, you got it, Doc had us staying in a place that use to house horses.

The horses were gone of course, and the place was now converted for human use, but I swear the place was still being haunted by the spirits of the horses that use to stay there. All I can say is that there were some strange noises in that place at night. Whoa Nelly!

Since we basically only slept there at night, it was ok. We were too busy during the day playing by Lake Erie and spending time with friends. My only beef was that Doc refused to let me jump in the lake. What a spoil sport. Why did she bring me, if I wasn’t allowed to swim? She told me the beach would not allow dogs and it was too dangerous for me to jump over the rocks by the shore line. She was concerned I would float away and end up in Canada without a passport. I complained with loud barking, but to no avail, after all, she is the boss of me.

It’s was nice to get away and not have a schedule to follow. Sleeping in, going for long walks by Lake Erie, eating good fish and meeting new people and dogs is always nice, but it is also nice to come home. We have one more week off of work and then we return after Labor Day. It always makes me kind of sad when the summer is coming to a close, but we do have fall to look forward to. So, enjoy the waning days of summer and all they have to offer, before they slip away.

Musings From the Lake

As it is important to have balance in our lives, Doc and I are practicing what we preach, and taking a break by the lake.

My favorite part of the day, are the early morning walks along the lake. Every morning is different. Yesterday it was quiet windy and there were lots of white caps as the water was being churned around. As the water hit upon the rocks, sometimes we got splashed, not such a bad thing on a hot summer day.

This morning it was quiet hazy and overcast and you could barely make out Perry’s monument in the distance on the island of Putin Bay. As we got closer to the where the Kelly’s Island ferry makes it’s crossing, we could see people waiting for it to dock so they could board. Back on the mainland, we never think about how different island life is for the people that live there year round. The ferry transports not only people, but cars, supplies and the people that work on the island. I’m not sure about how I would feel about going to work on a ferry everyday, especially when it gets cold.

The pace of lake life is much slower and both Doc and I like that. When we go for our walks we meet lots of nice people and dogs. Since we aren’t in a hurry and neither are they, we stop and talk about all sorts of things. The number one question she gets about me is ” What kind of dog is that?” That’s always a good conversation starter.

Well, that’s all for now. After walking for over two miles, I am ready for a nap. I hope later on, Doc lets me jump in the lake. I would love to catch her one of the Perch or Walleye she loves to eat.

On The Road Again

Doc left me last weekend and headed just over the Ohio river to the West Virginia. Pennsylvania border to see Willie Nelson in concert. At the age of 90, he is still out performing. I admit, I was kind of ticked that I wasn’t invited to see the iconic troubadour, but after I heard what happened at the concert, I was glad I stayed home.

Doc said that other than some weather delays that the concert was going well and when Willie came out on stage everyone stood up to give the applause a 90 year old iconic musician deserves. After a rousing rendition of “Mama Don’t Let your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” and “On the Road Again,” the first fight broke out. Doc said two women started slapping each other in front of her and then after the police took care of that, some young males started jumping over seats and punching and yelling at each other a few rows back. Good grief, someone must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. I thought to myself.

Now Doc would say in her psychology speak that those people lacked emotional regulation skills and poor impulse control, but from a dogs perspective, I would say that they were acting primal. Like a pack of angry dogs. I also guessed correctly that the actions were most likely fueled by alcohol. Another reason I don’t advise drinking. Doc teaches her patients that sometimes the best thing you can do when you experience strong emotions is to walk away.

In case you were wondering, Doc was not hurt or even phased by the incident, but it did put a damper on things. Their actions could have put people near then at risk, including people that brought their children for an enjoyable evening. A reminder that the choices you make don’t just affect you.

As for Willie Nelson, Doc said he just kept right on playing his guitar. I’m sure that’s not the first fight that broke out at one of his concerts. Doc is thinking of writing a country western song about the whole event titled; ” I went to a Willie Nelson concert and a fight broke out. I suggested when she done, she could send it to Willie and maybe he will record it. You just never know.

Working Like a Dog

For the second year in a row, I had the honor to go over to our booth at the Ohio State Fair to help my co-workers give out important information about our organization. In addition we gave out over 430 free boxes of Narcan, and information about recovery and sexually transmitted diseases. All important things to know about. My job was to be cute and lure people to our booth so Doc and the others could strike up conversations with the people that walked by. I know it’s not polite to brag, but I was a big hit and a big help.

There are many things I like about the Ohio State Fair. Of course number one is the fair food, and some of the vendors were nice enough to slip me some morsels for free. But my very favorite part is all the nice people I get to meet at our booth. A nice little girl that was showing her pig at the fair for her 4H project spent a good long time petting me and telling Doc about her pig. Now that was interesting. Then we met one of the many queens that walk around the fair. We met Miss Independence who had on a beautiful sash and a very big and heavy crown that she said was hurting her head. I guess that’s the price you pay when you are royalty. She told us all about how she got the title, something neither of us knew. I wonder if they let dogs compete? I would love to be State Fair Queen next year. Then of course we were able to talk to and listen to the stories people shared with us about loved ones dealing with opioid use disorder. I hope we offered them some small comfort just listening.

When we were done with our shift, Doc let me go and visit some of the horses and also stop by and meet the new baby calf’s that were only about a week old. Boy were they cute. I spent some time loving on them, licking their ears and really didn’t want to leave them but it was time to go home. I would have loved to bring one home but Doc said farm animals aren’t allowed in our neighborhood.

As all good things must come to an end, when Doc and I got to work this morning, they were busy taking down all the rides and booths across the street at the fair grounds. I’m glad I don’t have that hard job. I am going to miss all the hustle and bustle the fair creates, but there is always next year to look forward to.

Meet Me At The Fair

It was still rather overcast from the overnight storm when we took a walk down the street on Tuesday to see if the Ohio State Fair was ready to open. Even though it was still kind of wet out, there was plenty of hustle and bustle as they were doing the last minute preps for opening day. It’s always impressive to watch how they put everything together.

Then, this morning, when Doc arrived to work, everything was ready to open at 10am. The sad thing is, Doc is so rude, she dropped me off at doggy day care this morning, and she is going to the fair without me. Even though I will be going at a later date to work at the CompDrug booth, I still would like to have been included. I guess the life lesson is that you can’t always do everything you want. I will suffer in silence at Doggie day care with my canine friends as we relax in the swimming pool they have to keep us cool on hot days. I know you feel my pain living the country club lifestyle that I do.

In any event, I will keep you posted on all my adventures at the fair. So stay tuned, you never know what may happen or who we may run in to . There is always something interesting going on at the fair.

A Birthday Surprise!

To tell you the truth, I had forgotten about my birthday until I noticed that Doc was whispering to the humans at work about some kind of party. That was the first clue to me that something was going on. So I kept my big floppy ears open to make sure I didn’t miss a thing, but even I didn’t suspect that the party was for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any hang ups about getting older. I don’t feel the need to run to the doggy plastic surgeon for a jowl lift or to have my gray hairs dyed. Dogs just don’t mark time the way humans do. Honestly, my days are spent waiting for the next meal or snack time, but I am always up for a party and so I was happy to be remembered.

Doc decided to have my Birthday party as part of the Stress Management group, so that the patient’s that I work with could be part of the happy celebration. Doc went all out with Birthday napkins, party hats, fresh pastries from the bakery and a doggie cake for me. What better way to relieve stress than a happy celebration with yummy pastries to eat?

I was polite and still acted surprised when they sang Happy Birthday, and a good time was had by all. I feel lucky to have so many people that love me. I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in my 11th year of life.

Asserting My Independence

While everyone in England had to go to work yesterday, Doc and I were thankful to have the day off. Back in 1776, because most colonists no longer wanted to be under British rule, a resolution for independence was adopted, and on July 4th the Continental Congress formerly adopted the Declaration of Independence.

I can relate to to wanting your independence. Now don’t get me wrong, most of the time Doc is very good to me, but there are other times I know how the colonists must have felt being under Britain’s tyrannical rule. So I decided to adopt my own declaration that outlined what I will and will not put up with moving forward.

Just like Thomas Jefferson, the first draft of my declaration took awhile, but after some consultation with my next door doggie friend named Franklin, (after Benjamin Franklin) I had my final document.

Feeling somewhat nervous about how Doc would respond, I approached her with cautious assertiveness. She respectfully read over my demands to be free, then looked at me over her glasses and said, ” I will grant you your independence Grover, but just like the colonists, you will now be totally responsible for taking care of your own needs. No more free housing, a soft bed to sleep in, pup cups from Dairy Queen, veterinary care, dog toys, treats, vacations to the lake or food. You will totally be on your own. But I will grant your request if that’s what you want.”

I was shocked and shivers went down my spine. Apparently I had not thought this through and quickly decided to rescind my request. Maybe for this dog independence wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Luckily Doc agreed and we did what any red blooded American would do on the 4th of July, we went to the parade and then came home and had hot dogs for dinner.

What Makes You Happy?

It’s just after 6am and we are already at work setting up for our 9am Stress Management group. I don’t think it ever occurred to Doc that using your brain and body that early in the morning may be causing us stress, but oh well, I am just along for the ride at this hour. She likes to get things done before the other staff and patients start arriving because there are less distractions. what I didn’t know, was today I was going to learn my own very important lesson.

While Doc sets up for group, I sniff around for crumbs left on the floor that the cleaning crew missed the night before. As I glance over the top of the table I notice the hand out for todays group. The cover sheet has a quote by Catherine Pulsifer that says, “Being happy is something each of us determines, it is not something we find outside ourselves, it is within us and our choice.” Now that made me pause and think, until I said out loud to Doc ” I am responsible for my own happiness? ”

Doc stopped dead in her tracks and with a puzzled look on her face said to me, “Who did you think was responsible for your happiness? ” ” I thought you were responsible! ” I said with surprise. ” Oh Grover, she said with concern, have you learned nothing after all these years of being in counseling sessions with me? Yes, I am here to make sure you are taken care of because you are a dog,, but you and only you are responsible for your own happiness.” Then she went on to explain. Often, we get stuck thinking we will be happy when someone comes into our lives and make us happy, or getting a new car, or winning the lottery, you get the idea. Or in your case, getting a giant steak bone. ” That would make me very happy, I responded.” All of those are nice things to have happen, but they are only short term fixes.”

” Well, I said, what can we do different? ” “You can start by no longer comparing yourself to others and look inside to see what really brings you contentment. You can also start looking at decisions you have been putting off making, like ending toxic relationships, or making a job switch to something more fulfilling. Of course if you feel stuck, you can also talk to a counselor that will help you sort things out. ” “Or a therapy dog, I am a good listener too. ” I added. ” In the end, you have to take action to live a more joy-fulfilled life. Sometimes it starts by just counting your blessings.” Doc responded.

Well, that conversation gave me a lot to think about ways to improve my happiness and I decided I would start with a nap. Naps make me very happy.