Abandoned and Afraid

Photo by Angela Kirk

Doc misunderstood what I wanted when I started whining right after we got to work. It was only 6:15am and she thought I needed to go outside to use the bathroom. What I really wanted to do was   find out where that crying noise was coming from outside. Doc couldn’t hear it inside the building but I could and I knew whatever was making that noise was clearly in distress.

As soon as she opened that back door we both heard it. “Meow, meow, meow!” It was loud, constant and sounded like a baby.”  ” Is that a kitten crying? ” she asked one of her coworkers. “Yes, he said and look, its chasing Grover!” When we turned around we saw a little black kitten running across the parking lot toward us. Now I have to admit, even kittens make me a little nervous because they hiss and chase me, but even I knew that this baby needed help. Just as Doc reached down to grab it, it ran and hid under a car. It was still dark out and you know how hard it is to find a black kitten in the dark.

As more people showed up for work we tried working as a team but to no avail. That little sucker was too fast. But you know Doc, she was not about to give up. Finally one of the patients saw us and came to help. While I stayed on one side of the car showing the humans where the kitten was our helper got underneath the car with a flashlight. As the kitten moved toward me, he grabbed it. Success!

Luckily Doc still had my old dog crate inside the office, so we put kitty in there for the day. Doc then called the Vet and made an appointment for later in the day. Let me tell you that little kitten was the star of the day and everyone pitched in to care for him Using my therapy dog skills, my job was to lay by the crate because that was the only thing that would stop him from crying.

The next morning we got good news from the veterinarian. All the testing showed he was healthy but only weighed 2 pounds, poor skinny thing. After giving it some thought I told Doc that kitten made me nervous and that I didn’t want him to live with us. Luckily Doc said she knew a co-worker that wanted to adopt him.

So this story has a happy ending. Kitten went to live with his new family on Saturday night and he is loved and taken care of. What makes me sad is to think of all the other animals that are either lost or abandoned and never found. So here’s my speech, please neuter and spay.

Before kitty went to his new home I saw Doc look him in the eye and say, ” Every living thing deserves to feel safe and loved and you are going to a wonderful forever home.” Too bad that’s not always the case I thought.

Waiting for Anderson Cooper

Photo by Angela Kirk

Just to keep you up to date on my daily activities I am letting you read an e-mail that I sent to Anderson Cooper this week.

Dear Mr. Cooper,

When Doc told me that you were coming to our Ohio town on the fifteenth of October to moderate the Presidential debates, I became verklempt to the point I almost fainted from excitement. I thought to myself why not drop him a line and see if we can get together while you’re in town. So here’s your invitation.

I was just a little puppy when I saw your show for the first time. As soon as I heard that soothing voice of yours, it immediately calmed down my wild puppy energy and put me right to sleep. My human mother that I call Doc, noticed the positive effect you had on me right away. From that day forward at exactly 8pm every night Doc puts me in bed, turns on your show Anderson Cooper 360 and waits until I am snoring away in dream land. When I told Doc I was e-mailing you she told me not to tell you that your show makes me sleepy as you might take offense, but I assure you I mean it in the very best way possible. Mr. Cooper, simply put, your voice is comforting.

Since I am fully awake during the day I thought we could meet when I get home from work in the early afternoon. I have made a list of things we can do. I know you only have a few hours to kill before that debate thing you’re here for but don’t you think it’s important to relax before the show?

Because I am your biggest fan, I happen to know that even though you don’t have a tattoo that  you secretly want to get one. Well you are in luck because we have a great tattoo parlor in town called Thrill Vulture Tattoo. It’s in walking distance of Otterbein University where the debates are being held, so it’s very convenient.  I would be happy to sit next to you and provide comfort like a good therapy dog while they drill that needle into your skin. I’m thinking a likeness of me on your arm would be perfect for your first tat. Doc says that’s creepy and I shouldn’t even bring it up, but why not? After that we should probably go for some ice cream at Graeters. They have pup cups and we could sit on the benches outside and watch the people go by. That’s always entertaining.

Even though I am a famous therapy dog with a blog I wouldn’t be too upset if you asked to get a selfie with me. It would be a nice reminder of the fun you had in Ohio. Well, I hope you can squeeze in some time with me next Tuesday. I will be waiting by the CNN Credentialed Parking sign for you. You’ll know me by my bushy eyebrows and tail. Take care and have a safe trip to Ohio.

Love, Grover

Too Much To Do!

Photo by Angela Kirk

Yikes! Doc and I have been so busy lately we almost forgot to write todays blog. Thanks to me, Grover the Wonder Dog I reminded Doc right at the last-minute by casually opening up her lap top after our morning walk and pointed to the key board. Now let me tell you what we have been up to lately in spite of the freakish 90 degree fall weather.

Last week Doc gave a presentation to some fellow staff members about Healthy Boundaries, her favorite subject. Although many people have problems saying “no”, Doc does not and I think it is her favorite word. But I digress. After finishing out the work week, we hopped in the car Saturday morning and drove to Kentucky to see Doc’s cousin get married. It was a beautiful wedding, we had a great time and it was a reminder of how important family and friends are.

Driving back early Sunday morning on a rural farm road in Ohio, we were fortunate to spot an eagle fly across the highway and land in the soybean field. Doc was so thrilled I thought she was going to drive off the road while watching it. Let me tell you that Eagle was huge and this bird dog would ever get close to those talons and beak.

So far this week we have been taking it kind of easy as Doc and I have taken some time off of work to get some chores done at home. As you know, there is always something to fix when you have a home and I am still working on that hole by the fence that I started in the spring. Hopefully I will be done before the ground freezes, so my buddy Norman and I can go back and forth as we please.

It’s almost time for us to leave to go to the cancer center to visit patients and my favorite nurses. It always feels like a blessing to hopefully bring some joy to others while they get their medical treatments.  Like Doc always tells me ” If you want to be happy in life, be of service to others.”



The Whiskey Wars at Corbin’s Saloon

Picture by Angela Kirk

Doc has taken me to some interesting places, but where we went last Thursday ranks near the top. We started out at the Anti-Saloon League Museum in Westerville, Ohio. Doc had signed us up for a walking tour of a Temperance Timeline of Events that took us to all of the places involved in prohibition from 1893 to 2006. All of it was quite interesting, but my favorite part of the tour was the story about the Whiskey Wars at Corbin’s Saloon.

Henry Corbin ran the only saloon in Westerville, Ohio. Being that his neighbors were anti-alcohol they blew up the saloon in 1875. Apparently Mr. Corbin was not easily intimidated by his non-drinking neighbors, so he built another saloon in 1879 and you guessed it, the prohibitionists blew that one up too. In 1920, Prohibition became law across the entire United States so that was the end of legal alcohol sales for a while. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 Henry Corbin started selling beer out of his downtown Westerville pool hall. The problem was that by now people were afraid to go into his establishment to buy it. They were probably afraid they might get blown up!

Eventually Corbin’s Saloon was rebuilt and still stands today at its original site. If Henry Corbin were still alive I think he would be surprised to know that Westerville did not allow alcohol to be served again until 2006. Today many establishments in Westerville serve alcohol although some residents still don’t approve. Doc told me there was even arguing and resistance in her own family. Her fathers’ side of the family were strict Methodists and thought alcohol to be the root of all evils. It is said that Doc’s great-grandmother after finding out that the local bartender served her son alcohol went down to the bar with a horse whip and threatened the bartender. you can bet that man never gave her son another drink.

So what do you think? I would love to hear your opinions both pro and against about Prohibition.

We Will Not Forget

Photo by Angela Kirk

Today is 9/11. Not only do we honor the 2,996 people who lost their lives on this day but we also remember the brave first responders that rushed to help and died of respiratory disease or cancer in the years that followed the attack. Although I was not yet born, Doc can tell you exactly where she was and who she was with when she found out.

She said it was one of those beautiful September days. The sky was a crystal blue without a cloud in sight. She was at work when one of her patient’s came in and told her that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Although it was shocking she thought it must be some type of terrible accident not realizing what was about to unfold. Soon patients came in and they were crying as they found out planes not only hit both Trade Centers, but also the Pentagon and one plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It was almost too much to process.

Doc stayed at work until she was told to go home as the downtown was closing, There was a concern more attacks may be planned.  When she left work there were police guarding the bridges and some of the streets. The airport was shut down and all planes grounded across the United States. While driving home there was barely a person on the road and she became acutely aware of how very quiet the world had become.

For the rest of the evening she sat on the front porch with her neighbors trying to comprehend what had occurred. The only other time the United States had been attacked was at Pearl Harbor during WWII and it almost seamed impossible that it happened again. I think that sometimes we can be lulled into a false sense of safety.

So today let us pause and remember all of the people that died that day. May we never take our lives or the people that we love for granted.

Caution, Beware of Lizard Brain!

Photo by Angela Kirk

Just because I’m a dog doesn’t mean I am not interested in higher levels of thought. When Doc watches lectures from professors on U-Tube, buddy boy I am right next to her taking it all in. How do you think I get new information on human behaviors? Well this particular day, Doc was watching a lecture by a professor at Harvard on the brain and let me tell you it was interesting. Nerd alert, since I am not stingy with my knowledge, I am passing it on to you.

Although it is not my intention to offend, I have observed some humans act as if their territory is being threatened. I have seen people get mad and defensive about politics, when driving, fighting over stuff at the store, when making business decisions or basically anything that threatens their ego. It’s like watching primates throw poop at each other. Hey guys, we aren’t competing with the neighboring tribes on the Savannah any more, be nice.  But alas your primitive physiology is still influencing your behaviors.

Then there are those humans that take it to the next level. They are so influenced by that part of their brain that they let it take over any rational thought and the scheming and the scamming begins. Survival of the fittest turns into survival of the slickest. Yikes, the times I have been exposed to people like that I hide behind Doc, I can smell their insincerity.

Alas, there is good news. Humans have a prefrontal cortex and thus you have consciousness. You can then use that consciousness to be aware and educate and control your primitive desires and fears. Our prefrontal cortex can also help you to identify the “slick” among you, helping to keep you safe. The human brain is one marvelous miracle.

So what’s the moral of this tale? Don’t let your ego imprison you. Take control of your lizard brain before it controls you. But do give in sometimes when you get that urge for some ice cream. Yum!

My Little Corner of Heaven

Photo by Angela Kirk

You can hear the thunder off in the distance now that the storm has moved past our house. It was a good soaking and needed after so many months of dry weather in July and August. I can already see the grass greening up again, loosing some of the brown that had crept in during the dry spell. Everything looks so clean and refreshed as the late evening sun makes a brief appearance before setting in the West. Since it stopped raining, Doc has let me out in the back yard where I sit in my favorite spot on the hill under the pear tree. This is where I sit in every season so that I can keep watch over the acre behind our house. Doc would call it a mindfulness exercise. Since I don’t speak psycho babble I just call it feeling at peace.

I think it’s easy for you humans to get so caught up in your lives that you forget how you are connected to the earth. Your pets are there to remind you of that lest you forget.  Many times I am able to draw Doc back to nature after a busy day if I am patient and sit very quietly. Eventually she will come be next to me on the grass and we just sit there side by side without a word being spoken between us. That is the time I feel most connected to her.

The artist Claude Monet said it the best; ” My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.”

Dog Days

Photo by Angela Kirk

We are getting to the end of the dog days of summer when sunrise coincides with my favorite star Sirius, the Dog Star. Egyptians thought that the combination of the Sun and Sirius caused the sweltering heat. Sweltering is right! I am so hot that my paws are sweating.

Doc just deals with the heat and you can find her outside in the garden happy as a clam no matter how dirty and sweaty she gets. I know dogs are supposed to be loyal to their masters but I do not feel one bit of guilt watching Doc through the window while I lounge over the cold air vent on the floor. I am waiting for her to finish so we can go swimming, but my patience is wearing thin in this heat.

Even though I complain about the heat, I start to feel melancholy this time of year knowing the summer will soon come to an end. I will miss sitting on the back porch in the evening with Doc while we listen to the frogs in the pond as the fire flies flicker in the dark. The impromptu trips to Dairy Queen for a dog cone, going on vacation, or just floating down the lazy river without a care in the world. There is something so magical about summer that it makes you want to slow down and take it all in.

So savor the last days of summer….. ” Summertime is always the best of what might be.” Charles Bowden.

Photo by Angela Kirk” Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”

— Brene Brown

Home Sick

After two weeks of Doc and I being on vacation, we have finally returned to our normal routine and I for one am glad. When Doc and I came home from the lake, I didn’t realize that after a few days that she was going back for a second time and leaving me behind. The first I knew about the plan was when she packed up the car and took me over to the veterinarians office to be boarded there. You would have thought she would have discussed it with me before hand to at least prepare me. I am not just a piece of luggage you can just drop off anywhere, anytime. If I sound perturbed, it’s because I am and let me tell you the rest of the story so that you understand.

After Doc left I felt a little anxious and then to make matters worse they placed me in a kennel across from a very vocal beagle that would not be quiet. Even after I gave him the stink eye, he kept up his barking, howling and whining all day and all night. At first I tried to go with the flow but after a few days went by I started to ruminate and wondered if Doc was ever coming back. She had never left me so suddenly before and why hadn’t she taken me with her? The more I thought about it, the more I fretted and then became frightened. What if I became an orphan and had to live on my own? After a day of worry my stomach began to hurt, then I stopped eating and I even threw up.  Between my stomach and that loud mouth beagle I didn’t get any rest at all. What was I going to do?

Then just as suddenly as she left, Doc shows up to take me home all smiles, like nothing had happened. If I wouldn’t have been so relieved to see her I would have given her the silent treatment. The veterinarian told Doc that I worried myself sick and then they gave me a darn shot right in the behind to stop my nausea. Doc gave me a big hug and asked me why I was so worried. ” Grover, have I ever left you and not come back to get you?” she said with concern in her voice. ” No, I responded, but I just don’t like being away from you and thought you might not come back.” ” Oh Grover, she said, I promised you when you were just a puppy that I would always take care of you, never forget that.

When we finally got home I thought about what she had said but just to be on the safe side, I have been sticking to Doc like glue so she won’t escape without my noticing.