Go for the Gold!

IMG_0538Even though the Rio Olympics have finished, I am left in awe of what the athletes accomplished and now I feel inspired to win my own gold medal for best therapy dog and Doc’s most faithful companion.

One of the things that inspired me the most were the personal stories they told about the athletes and their journeys to get to the top of their sports. When you see the athletes smiling proudly, dressed in their country’s uniform, you can forget that some of them suffered great personal obstacles and failure along the way to achieving their dreams. The common thread among the athletes is that they never gave up, never gave in to negativity, kept moving forward even when they failed and surrounded themselves with people who believed in them. This is a good motto to live by no matter what you are trying to accomplish in life.

Often I hear Doc tell her patient’s not to let other people’s opinions define who they are. You have to feel like you deserve to be a winner. Allowing yourself to dream big doesn’t cost you anything and may change the direction of your life. Then, putting those desires into action by working hard every day without making excuses, puts you one step closer to your goal.

When I was training to become a therapy dog, it took a lot of work on my part as well as Doc’s. I know there were some days that both Doc and I doubted ourselves, but we stuck together and also had people in our lives that believed in our goal. I will never forget the day we passed the final test and I became a fully registered therapy dog. That was such a proud day for us both.

As I continue on my journey to improve my skills, I will continue reaching for my own gold. Doc agrees and says along with winning a gold medal for best therapy dog and faithful companion, she would also award me a gold medal for best nap taker. You know, I love Doc, but sometimes she can be a real wisenheimer.

groverpic” I guess I am a true narcissist. I convinced my dog to walk me.”

— Richard Lewis

Grover’s Mailbox

mailboxThe mail has been piling up as I have been so busy having fun I haven’t been keeping up with your letters, e-mails and Facebook posts, so let’s get down to business!

Dear Grover,

My dog wants to sit and sleep on my feet. Does he have a foot obsession? Any insight will be appreciated.

Molly

Dear Molly,

There are many reasons dogs like your feet, but the number one reason Molly, is that your feet stink. Each foot has over 125,000 sweat glands and that’s more than enough to  give off that wonderful aroma your dog loves so much. The other reason dogs sit on your feet is to keep you from leaving. Doc can’t move when I place all 82 pounds of my body across her toes. Take it as a compliment Molly, your dog loves you and all your smelly parts. No human will ever love you because you stink, but your dog will.

Grover

Dear Grover,

What is it like being such a big celebrity? You are as famous as the Kardashians but I think you are much better looking. Tell me all about it dude.

Your biggest fan, Boomer

Dear Boomer,

Flattery will get you everywhere, so I will let you in on some secrets about my life. The up side is I have the best fans in the world and it is fun when people recognize you, contact you, bring you free treats and appreciate your blog. The down side is that you give up your privacy. People have stopped Doc and I when we are just out taking a walk. Another time I got recognized when I was in the back of Doc’s car driving down the street. This couple pulled up next to us, honked and yelled out my name.  Not only did it startle the both of us, it started holding up traffic and people were mad.

But it’s all good and I feel lucky, so thanks for writing Boomer.

Best wishes,

Grover

groverpic” Dogs need to sniff the ground, it’s how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued into the next yard.”

— Dave Barry

Surrender Dorothy

Surrender DorothyThere may come a time when you need to banish all of the wicked witches and flying monkeys from your life. What does that mean you ask? Well let me tell you a story about learning to surrender to your truth, just like Dorothy did in The Wizard of Oz.

Being a therapy dog, I listen to many people talk about their lives. On this particular day, a patient had told Doc about a big life lesson they had recently learned. Since childhood, Doc’s patient had allowed herself to be forced into roles and pigeon- holed into being anything but her authentic self. “I didn’t even know who I really was anymore, I just did what people expected so they would like me.” she said.

That path of pleasing others eventually led down the dark road to addiction. Then the addiction led to being with people she didn’t like, participating in behaviors she didn’t really want to do and trying to cover it all up by being high, so she wouldn’t have to think about any of it. She was lost.

As often happens with addiction, life got really ugly. One day she just couldn’t stand the pain any more so she sought treatment. That’s where Doc and I came in. As part of the treatment team, it was Doc and my job to listen and help to guide her back to her true self again. It was tough for her at first, she struggled, sometimes she was resistant, but she stuck with it.

First she got rid of the people in her life that wanted her to stay sick, then she got on her feet and got a job, apartment and a car. As she gained confidence she learned to say no. It wasn’t always easy, in fact recovery can be painful at times and the witches and the flying monkeys from her past kept trying to lure her back into addiction. But, she was tough, stayed focused and slowly she started getting better.

One day last week she came in to see us and said. “I realized I was still trying to please others by letting people talk me in to doing jobs or favors I did not want to do.” So she quit the job she was not happy in and got a new one she likes. Then she started telling people “no” when she didn’t want to do something. “I realized that if they don’t like who I really am, than they are the one with the problem.”

I thought Doc was going to jump out of her chair she was so proud of what her patient had accomplished. As for myself, I went over and gave her a big lick across the face and thought to myself, “good for you, no more witches or flying monkeys. You finally understand that there’s no place like home.”

 

groverpicSometimes you panic and find yourself emitting remarks so profoundly inane that you would be embarrassed to say them to your dog. Your dog would look at you and think to itself, ” I may lick myself in public, but I’d never sat anything as stupid as that.”

— Dave Barry

Skunked Again!

Eliminate-Skunk-OdorYou may recall that over a year ago I wrote about the skunk that lives in our neighborhood. We were suckers and let the little stinker go after we had devised a trap and relocation program. We made the big mistake of feeling sorry for Mr. Pepe Le Pew. Well, let me tell you why that was one of dumbest decision that Doc and I have every made.

It was one of those perfect summer nights that you don’t ever want to end. Doc and I were sitting out on the back porch listening to the cacophony of nature’s sounds under the blue moon of late July. All was quiet and peaceful until I noticed some movement off in the distance. Alerting Doc to the danger I barked and howled, bounding off the porch toward the black and white creature that had made his way under the picket fence and into the yard. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Doc jump up out of her chair with a horrified look on her face. She yelled at the top of her lungs “Grover, No!” Too late, I got sprayed in the face. Running back toward the porch for help I saw Doc high- tail it into the house. What the heck? Was she really going to bail on me in my time of need?  Left alone, I rolled all over the grass, rubbing my eyes and could not get the stuff off of me.

Just when I was about to give up on her helping me, Doc emerged from the house and led me to the garage. Being a former girl scout, she was prepared for just this type of emergency. Mixing up some type of anti-skunk smell concoction in a bucket, she bathed me until the stink was gone, dried me off and let me come into the laundry room where she was going to make me sleep for the night. I whimpered from the trauma I had just experienced and Doc must have felt sorry for me as she placed a sheet across the bottom of the bed where I could sleep. Soon we were both off to dream land.

The next morning, checking to make sure the coast was clear, I returned to the scene of the crime. It still stunk to high heaven and so I made a vow to myself and to Doc right then and there. Somehow, some day I will get that skunk and when I do, he will get a one way ticket on a Greyhound bus to that state up north.

groverpicMy Labrador Retriever had a nervous break down. I kept throwing him a boomerang.

— Nick Arnette

Nora I Adore Ya!

IMG_0381If a dog could develop a friendship with a polar bear cub, Nora would be my best friend. I have been watching her on video since her birth at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was announced on November 6, 2015. I think we would have much in common as we both like to swim, play with balls, hang out with humans and eat treats. Knowing that I needed a ride to the zoo to meet her, I started bugging Doc to take me as soon as I found out she was old enough to go out into the polar bear yard and meet the public, but Doc kept telling me we were too busy to go to the zoo. Then one day a miracle happened, Doc woke me up early in the morning and said, “Get up Grover, we are going to meet Nora today!”

After I gobbled down my breakfast so fast that I almost choked, I hopped into the back of the car for the drive to the zoo. As we pulled into the parking lot and headed toward the entrance, my heart quickened with anticipation. Even though it was only 9:20am, there was already a line forming outside of the polar bear exhibit. Doc knows how to assertively maneuver through a crowd, so we a got a space right up front by the glass. Suddenly, one of the zoo personnel announced that Nora was in the middle of the viewing area,  and as we looked down, there she was, smiling up at me. I was immediately smitten.

I was happy to see Nora having a great time playing  with her ball, swimming and going fishing. She has come a long way since her mother Aurora stopped caring for her about a week after her birth. The zoo staff took over for Aurora and hand-reared Nora. You can tell she has been raised by humans because she sure is a ham around all the people that come to visit her and came right up to the glass to look at us.

The best things about Nora’s birth is that the Columbus Zoo has now been designated as an Artic Ambassador Center by Polar Bears International. Baby Nora will help the public understand that the existence of polar bears are under threat due to the changing environment where they live. An important job for a baby.

After watching her for awhile, I  wanted to go in the water and swim with her, but Doc told me she needs to learn to socialize with the other polar bears, not with dogs. She did agree that we need to come and check on her more often, so until next time, I will just have to hold this special day with Nora in my heart.

groverpic What does a dog do on his day off? He can’t lie around – that’s his job.

— George Carlin