Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

Humans often make things more complicated than they need to be. Because of the big brain you were given with the ability to be analytical, you often think things to death.

For a canine it can be exhausting watching you, especially when you are in groups. You talk about a topic until it doesn’t have any life left to it, when the answer was simple and right in front of you. Let me give you an example; the Labrador part of me loves to search for and eat almost anything. When I want a snack, I will use my nose to sniff out food, then either try to beg for it from a human or steal it from the trash. Simple.

Humans on the other hand will decide what they want and then think about how many calories it contains, read the labels to see what’s in it, discuss if it is healthy, if it is organic or not, how long they will have to exercise to burn off the calories, and on and on. The joy in eating it is all gone before you even take one bite.

Now I’m not saying these questions aren’t important, but for goodness sake, life is short, how much time do you want to spend thinking about all these things and missing out on the pleasure?

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, would say that the ego tries to keep us in check. Doc thinks the ego can get in the way.  Ego causes us to hang on to our beliefs for dear life, even when we’re wrong, digging in like the preservation of world order depends on it.

In the end, it’s good to have opinions and good to discuss them, but lets learn to cooperate and move on. Like one of Doc’s professors use to tell her when she was working on her dissertation, ” make it simple.”  Because sometimes… a cigar is just a cigar.

” Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

— John Muir

The Healing Touch of Nature

Photo by Angela Kirk

Sunday was one of those beautiful fall days. It was too nice to be inside the house, so Doc and I decided to go out and start some fall clean up in the yard. To be honest, Doc did most of the work and I stayed busy stealing the last of the green tomatoes that had fallen off the vine and burried them in the soil for a later date.

There is something wonderful about being outside even if you have chores to do. Digging in the dirt, pruning the plants to get them ready for winter and just being in the warm sun has a way of lifting your spirits. Nature always brings you back to a place of calm.

Doc say she worries sometimes that everyone is getting too detached from nature. She feels that the more society becomes disconnected from our roots of farming and interacting with the earth, the more anxious and depressed humans become. There’s been gobs of research to back up what she’s saying ( I know, because I looked it up.) So it’s always a shock to me when I hear someone say they don’t like the outdoors. Nature is part of who we are. You don’t have to be hands on with it like Doc and I, but everyone can be soothed by a beautiful sunset or gazing at the stars on a moon lit night.

Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” What a smart and observant man. I think humans sometimes believe that the answer to everything lies in technology. Although technology is wonderful, it will never match the perfection of nature. Nor will technology ever sooth and sing us to sleep like the sounds of the crickets on a cool fall night.






” If the kindest souls were rewarded with the longest lives dogs would out live us.”

— Anymous

Caught In the Act

Photo by Angela Kirk

Photo by Angela Kirk

Thinking Doc was inside and too busy to notice, I slowly made my way over to the base of the Maple tree and began digging in the dirt with my two front paws.  The faster I dug the higher the dirt flew. What a rush. I have to admit I was feeling some guilt, but not too guilty to stop.

While I continued my excavation work, I recalled that just the other day Doc was bragging to the next door neighbor about how she had gotten me to stop digging in the yard when I was a puppy.  After watching Norman, the new puppy next door having so much fun digging in his yard, I guess I fell off the proverbial wagon.  I rationalized what Doc didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. Boy isn’t that one of the big lies we often tell ourselves to sooth our guilty souls.

Being so lost in my digging, I never heard that back screen door open. The first thing I noticed was Doc’s shadow in the grass next to me. In a flash I stopped what I was doing and tried to lay myself flat enough in the grass to appear innocent. The next sound I heard was the click of Doc’s smart phone as she took a picture of my dirty deed. ” Just admit what you did, she said in an exasperated voice, you’ll feel better. Now come on over here and put the dirt and the mulch back around the tree.”

I did what I was told without even a whimper. Putting all of that dirt back was a lot of work. It made me realize a few minutes of mischief is not worth the consequence, especially when it upsets those you care about.


groverpic ” Those who walk on the well trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.”

— Voltaire

The Rewards of Patience

Photo by Angela Kirk

Photo by Angela Kirk

Doc and I love the quiet of the early morning. The earth is so peaceful as the world awakens and it is in this stillness that you can observe some of the most magical moments in nature.

Doc was drinking her coffee and I was relaxing beside her when I could tell that she noticed some movement in the back yard. Glancing out the window, we both saw the deer at the same time. It was a mother doe and her two fawns feeding on the wild flowers in the back acre. “Look, they still have their spots” Doc said with a smile. I immediately went on high alert with a low growl as I usually chase the deer out of the yard. But this particular morning Doc told me to lay down and stay quiet because she didn’t want me scaring the fawns.

After grabbing her camera, Doc slowly opened the screen on the sliding door, went down the steps and into the wet grass in her bare feet. As she approached the deer, mother and children stopped to look up. Doc froze in place. After a few minutes I guess the mother deer didn’t think Doc was a threat and so they went back to grazing. I was amazed at how close she allowed Doc to come over the next few minutes.

The whole encounter made me think about the importance of having patience in life. What is that saying? ” Only fools rush in?” But like this morning, when you are patient, you will be rewarded with a mother doe trusting you enough to let you get close to her babies.

groverpic ” We have more to learn from animals than animals have to learn from us.”

— Anthony Douglas Williams

A Different Perspective

Photo by Angela Kirk

Photo by Angela Kirk

This time Doc wanted to go to the farm without me. Since I had ended the relationship with Cupcake the pig, she didn’t think that it was time for us to be near each other just yet. ” It can take time to heal and today there is a work field trip. I need to be able to focus without worrying about any drama,” she said. But after some groveling and me convincing her that I am mature enough to handle the situation, she told me I could come as long as I kept a low profile.

It really was a beautiful fall morning to be out in the country. As Doc’s co-workers emerged from the van you could see by the look on their faces that they were happy to be out in nature. The purpose of today’s training was to learn how working with horses and donkey’s in a therapeutic way can help the patient’s we serve. In the same way I assist Doc at work, reconnecting humans with nature and animals can assist those in emotional pain to feel safe enough to  open up in ways traditional therapy cannot do sometimes.

As I lay quietly on the other side of the fence, I watched as everyone communed with the horses, participating in different activities that would help them to understand how Equine assisted therapy works.

After a short break, everyone moved inside to the arena to work with Rusty and Dusty my favorite donkeys. They were given an activity to complete that include moving the donkeys through some obstacles. I have to say, for beginners they did a pretty good job, but I had to chuckle when Rusty and Dusty decided to only go so far and then stop. After a while the humans figured it out by looking at it from the donkeys perspective rather than their own and Rusty and Dusty were then happy to move ahead.

That’s an important lesson to learn. Sometimes our biggest road blocks with others come from not being willing to look at the world from someone else’s perspective. It’s easy to get stuck inside our own egos thinking that our way is the right way, but that is often far from the truth.

After watching that activity, a light bulb went off in my own head. I decided to mosey over to Cupcakes pig sty to make amends. Cupcake was more that gracious and we decided we could be friends. None of this escaped Doc and as we rode home she remarked “This was a learning experience for everyone, even you Grover.”

groverpic “Animals are born who they are, accept it and that is that. They live with greater peace than people do.”

— Gregory Maguire