Oh Baby!

Photo by Angela Kirk

Last Saturday I got a nice surprise when I finally got to meet the new baby in our family. Baby Abraham is now 3 months old and already I love everything about him. Like Doc always says, ” There is nothing like a new baby in the family.”

Abraham showed up five weeks before he was due which tells me he was just extra excited to see all of us and the world. Born during the height of the pandemic, he is now thriving, happy and getting nice and chubby. When his mama put him down so I could be near him, I gave him lots of kisses and put my head in his lap so he would feel safe. He’s still so tiny compared to me I knew I needed to be extra gentle.

There is something so wonderful about a new life. It’s a reminder to us all that no matter what is happening in the world that life goes on. ” Each time a baby is born there is a possibility of reprieve. Each child is a new being, a potential prophet, a new spiritual prince, a new spark of light precipitated into the outer darkness.” R.D. Laing

News From The Neighborhood

Photo by Angela Kirk

Finally the crisp fall weather showed up a few days ago and that’s not the only thing that has changed around here. So I thought I would take some time to update you on the latest scoop.

For more than a week I was sick to the bone. I will spare you the details, but I could not keep anything in my system. Doc tried everything to cure my ailments and finally when nothing would work, she took me to my nice veterinarian. After a shot in the butt and some antibiotic I am now back to my normal self. Now that I am better and Doc is no longer worried, she balled me out the other day. She found out I got sick from eating the bunny and raccoon poop that I like to snack on in our yard. Apparently it’s not good for you and can cause bacterial infections. Who knew? Doc was a bit upset to say the least. What I can’t understand is that what is gross to her is a gourmet treat to me.

Now for the best news. Last Saturday, Doc and I got a new next door neighbor. We found out when my best friend Norman came and stayed with us while his humans went out of town to pick up his new baby brother. Doc tried to warn Norman that his life was about to change, but there are just some things you don’t understand until you experience them.

Franklin is about 9 weeks old and full of spit and vinegar for such a little thing. He is literally only about the size of my head. It’s taken Norman some time to adjust now that he is no longer the top dog in the house, but they are really starting to enjoy each other.

Life is like that sometime, you can’t always prepare for what may be ahead but you can always remains open to adapt.

Stay well and take care until next time.

Come and Sit for Awhile

Photo by Angela Kirk

As the days become shorter and we move into fall, there is nothing better than sitting on the back porch with a cold bowl of water and my favorite human. The evening is my favorite time. Having finished work and our chores for the day we can just relax and put the daily grind behind us.

There is something quite magical that happens at dusk. It’s as if the world is winding down for it’s nightly slumber. The sounds of the children’s voices in the distance as they are getting in their last game of basketball as the street lights come on combined with the katydids singing always eases my mind. During this tough time we are all going through it helps me to feel like there is still a sense of normalcy in my little corner of the world.

Last night Doc told me that from the time she was a little girl she remembers sitting on the porch almost every evening with her father during the summer. She said they didn’t really talk about much, but to this day she remembers watching the sun set behind the barn and listening for the whistle of the train as it passed the crossing a mile from their house. I guess it’s those rituals that bring comfort to our lives.

So before it starts getting too cold, get your lawn chair and your favorite person or dog and spend an evening outside.

” This evening is as brief as the twinkling of an eye yet such twinkling is what eternity is made of.” Fred Rogers

COVID and Colonoscopies

Photo by Angela Kirk

Healthy dogs like myself get taken to see the veterinarian about once a year but if you are older than dirt like Doc, apparently there are all sorts of medical exams and tests they like to run on you. In the past few weeks Doc has been catching up on her medical check ups and exams that were postponed because of COVID. She has had her eyes examined, her ears and nose checked out and  her teeth cleaned, but this Friday she is having the mother of all exams called a colonoscopy. Apparently there is a lot involved in preparing for this test and after Doc explained it to me I am sure glad dogs don’t have to do this.

As we are in the middle of a pandemic, part of the preparation was a request by the doctors to be tested for COVID prior to the actual procedure. Since they were sending Doc to a outdoor testing site, I got to ride along. When we arrived we pulled up in our car and nice smiling nurses all dressed up in their PPE  approached the car and after checking Doc’s ID to make sure she wasnt’s using an allias she was instructed to tilt her head back and grip the steering wheel very hard apparently so that she could brace herself for what was about to happen. Then one of the smiling nurses gingerly stuck a very long swab that looked to be about 2 foot long up each nostril. As we we were driving away all Doc would say was ” it felt like they were probing my brain.”

Thursday is the game changer and the day I am not looking forward to as the prep for the testing will start. She has to be on a clear liquid diet that I know will make her grouchy and leave me without table scraps. Then at about four in the afternoon she will start of drinking what looks like a few gallons of some awful mixture that Doc says works like an atomic cleaning fluid for your colon. She says this prep will go on for hours, so I have decided to play it smart and lay low over at my friend Norman’s house until it’s over.

On Friday morning Doc’s nephew Scott will come and drive her to the medical clinic. Doc says columnist Dave Berry described it best when he said that basically they wheel you into the procedure room where an anesthesiologist puts you to sleep and then the doctor puts a 17,000 foot tube up your behind. I’m not sure what they are looking for but just hearing about it is enough to make me faint.

Hopefully when it’s over the doctor will tell her what a nice looking colon she has. Then we can all get some rest and look forward to not having to do this again for another 5 years.

Finding Solitude

Photo by Angela Kirk

My early morning walks with Doc are my favorite part of the day. Nature is waking from it’s slumber and it is peaceful and still in the world. When we are out in nature at that hour it reminds me of the quote that Doc likes to repeat from Henry David Thoreau, ” Live in each season as it passes; drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

It is so easy for you humans to get caught up in the frantic rhythm of life. The cacophony of sounds that fill your days and bombard your senses are only a distraction. I have also noticed the stress that it brings into your lives. Please explain to this dog how engaging in all the popular rantings of the day through social media and television help to resolve anything. Because I care, my advice to you is if it agitates you, disengage. It’s your choice what and who you allow in to your life.

This morning as we walked down the hill toward the park, I noticed the fog rising off of the pond in the distance. I couldn’t image any where else I would rather be. Maybe it’s your time to refocus and embrace the solitude of nature. Doc and I both guarantee that you won’t be sorry.

It’s A Thankless Job, But Somebody Has To Do It.

Photo by Angela Kirk

As we enter into the fifth month of working from home, I realized that Doc could benefit from having an on site supervisor. Left to her own devices, she may be slacking on her duties. No one is watching, so who knows what the heck she is doing all day. Up until now I have been assuming that she was upstairs in her office working while I nap downstairs in the middle of her bed, but lately I have been getting suspicious so I decided it was time to make it my business to find out.

When you are on a reconnaissance mission, the first thing you need to do is act casual. I knew she could hear my paws as I was coming up the steps. She acknowledged me with a nod, but she was busy talking to one of our patients whose voiced I recognized. I casually sauntered past her desk and acted like I was just looking out the window so I could see what was on her computer. To my surprise it was the patient’s record. I thought I might catch her on Facebook, Twitter or Tick Tock, but she was actually working. After about two hours of keeping my eye open for any indiscretion, I became bored and fell asleep on the floor beside her desk. I was aroused from my slumber when Doc woke me up after she was finished with her last patient.

“Why did you stay in the office all day today?’ she asked. “Well, I confessed sheepishly, I was trying to see if you were really working all day or if you were goofing off.” Then Doc gave me that look. “When people pay you to do a job, you do it, that’s called maturity. Besides, you know that people are counting on us and we have a responsibility to be there for them.”  “Well now I feel bad for being suspicious,” I said with a hint of shame. ” Oh Grover, it’s ok, it’s just another lesson you have learned today. You know what they say, the true test of a person’s character is what they do when none is watching.”

 

A New Kind of Therapy Dog Work

Photo by Angela Kirk

When the pandemic reared it’s ugly head and we started working from home, I became a dog without a job. At first it was nice to live what I call a “Country Club Lifestyle” of napping, eating, playing ball and then napping again, but that soon got rather boring. I missed seeing our clients, staff and visiting the patients at the cancer center. Then someone Doc knows came up with a great idea.

One day about a week ago, Doc was in the Uptown area of our suburb and one of the business owners she knows asked how I was adjusting to not being able to help people every day. ” Grover’s going with the flow, but I can tell he misses work.” Doc told her. ” Well why don’t you bring him to visit us and our customers, she said to Doc, we are feeling stressed with everything going on and could use some cheering up.” And with that a plan was hatched.

A few days later we stopped by to visit our first business. I was so happy to go and bring some cheer to  the hard working shop owners that are trying to sustain their businesses during this pandemic and their customers. Now every week we visit another place of business, or stop by the farmers market as the locale farmers are having a tough time as well. I now feel useful again. It’s not traditional therapy work, but it’s a reminder that there are many people outside our regular scope of work that need a nice kiss and cuddle from a therapy dog during these difficult times.

” The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”  Barack Obama

A Tale of Two Donkey’s

Photo by Angela Kirk

Today I am going to tell you a story about sensitivity, intuition and the healing power of two donkeys named Eddie and Oatmeal. Eddie and Oatmeal reside on a farm in Ohio with some horses, a pig named Cupcake and assortment of nice dogs and cats. All the animals at this particular farm work as therapy animals, meaning they are trained to comfort people going through some difficult times in their lives. Doc and I know this menagerie of animals, as this is where Doc takes her patients to engage in Equine Assisted Therapy.

On this particular Saturday, Doc was at the farm to do some training. What the people at the training did not know was that a few days prior, Doc had lost her beloved Aunt Pat at the ripe old age of 93. Thinking that going to the farm and focusing on learning new therapy skills would bring some respite from her grief, she decided not to tell anyone and swore me to secrecy.

As we entered the arena to start the training, Doc was given the task to help a woman work through her fears, one of which was a fear of horses. They decided to start with donkeys as their smaller size can be less intimidating.

In to the arena sauntered Eddie and Oatmeal and before the lady could even become too frightened, the donkeys moved away from her and toward Doc. Doc tried her best to redirect the two back toward the lady, but they would not leave Doc’s side. Slowly they moved in as close as they could on either side, leaned against her and began to softly bray.  The jig was up, they could sense Doc’s sadness and were comforting her.  I wasn’t surprised when I looked over and saw Doc’s eyes glisten with tears. The lady was so astounded by the gentle beasts, that she walked over and began to stoke their heads without reservation.

After reading this tale you may be left thinking that Donkeys and other therapy animals have some magical psychic powers, but the truth is we embrace what many of you have forgotten. Silence is our super power. Only through silence will your spiritual eyes open to the world and expand your sensitivity to others. Something we could use more of right now.

Too Hot To Handle

Photo by Angela Kirk

After a stretch of almost 10 days in the 90’s I would say it is officially the dog days of summer. The ancient Greeks believed that after Sirius the dog star rose, it’s bright light radiated extra heat toward the earth, making it hotter. All I know is that Doc and I are miserable and all of this heat is turning me into a mad dog.

Luckily we can get out in the early morning and the late evening for some activities outside, but the rest of the day forget about it. Doc takes me for a one mile walk every morning around 6am. Its cool in the morning but still so humid it gives both Doc and I a bad hair day as our wavy hair turns into a big frizzy mess. After that walk I am done for it and get in the middle of Doc’s bed right under the paddle fan for a long morning nap while Doc goes to work doing tele therapy with her patients. (Someone has to pay the bills). I use to stay with her all day, but since working from home since March I have decided to live what I call a Country Club Lifestyle. Hey, don’t judge, it works for me.

Although this summer is certainly different with COVID still among us, I have adapted and decided to focus on the things I can control. I feel safe right here at home with Doc and look forward to the evening when the sun goes down and we go out on the back porch. Nothing is more soothing to me than listening to the frogs croaking loudly in the pond while the full moon shines off of the water.

So my advice for now is stay cool, don’t sweat the small stuff and slow down. This too shall pass.

 

A 4th of July Like No Other

Photo by Angela Kirk

The 4th of July is just three days away and it feels strange that we will not be celebrating in the traditional way. Fire works are cancelled along with parades and big family gatherings. So how’s are we suppose to honor this important American Holiday? It’s just one of the things that have been on my mind lately and I bet you all have been thinking about it too.

On top of everything else, I went for my annual physical at the Veterinarian on Monday and once again the doctor said I need to loose weight. The doctor tried to make me feel better by saying it could be a low thyroid issue, but I know the truth. Since Doc and I have been working from home I have been napping and snacking most of the day. So now more diet and exercise are on the agenda. Yipy Skippy!

Some days this pandemic feels like it has sucked all the fun out of everything. If I sound a little melancholy it’s because I am.  Doc says that’s normal considering all that we have had to endure lately but the good news is that we can learn to adapt and make some new choices. So starting today instead of focusing on what we can’t do, I have decided to focus on what I can do.

I will leave you with a quote from Abraham Lincoln ” Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be,” Ain’t that the truth. Doc and I wish all of you a safe and happy July 4th!