Grover Goes to the Symphony

Photo by Angela Kirk

Doc is always dragging me along to different events hoping that she will instill some culture into my being. This time she took me to the symphony. Being a dog I had no clue what I was about to experience but decided to remain open to a new adventure because that’s how I roll. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

We were joined by some other human friends Joe and Kevin at the 10am dress rehearsal of the Russian Winter Festival featuring Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto. Why did we go to a dress rehearsal you may ask?  For two reason’s; It only cost $10 and you know how cheap Doc is and because we get up so darn early we can’t stay awake for the 8pm performance. Oh did I mention that Doc is cheap?

Since it was general admission we went upstairs and sat in the most expensive seats in the house, the Loge. Waiting for the concert to begin I enjoyed listening to all the orchestra members tune up and practice their instruments. It is the most wonderful cacophony of sounds. Soon the conductor entered, tapped his baton on the podium to get their attention and off they went. After stopping them a few times to correct errors I never heard, they resumed playing and it was beautiful. I especially liked the violin section. But my favorite part of the whole show was when the featured pianist Sergei Babayan came out to join the symphony. He walked out, sat down on the piano bench and played Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto like he meant business. Bravo!!! And may I add that he also had an impressive head of hair.

Often I hear Doc encourage her patients to try new things now that they are in recovery. It can feel unsettling to go outside your comfort zone, but there are many rewards in experiencing something new. For myself, I am glad I went. I have expanded my horizons and am not too proud to say I can’t wait until we go again. You know what they say ” Music soothes the savage beast.” Count this beast as one that has been soothed.


Photo by Angela Kirk ” A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside.”


Don’t Harass the Alligators

Photo by Angela Kirk

Doc and I decided to head down south for a break from our regular lives and the cold in Ohio. Being from the north I learned quickly that I need to be alert when traveling to a different part of the country as there are things down here that can actually eat me.

This was never more apparent when during an early morning walk we came upon a sign placed by a seemingly tranquil body of fresh water that said; “Do Not Feed Or Harass Alligators IT IS ILLEGAL” Now I have never seen an alligator in person, but I have seen them on TV and I can’t imagine that anyone needs told not to feed or harass them, but apparently they do.

Asking to end our walk early so I didn’t become a gator snack I had to ask Doc how someone might harass an alligator. “Well, she said, harassment can take on many forms.” ” Like how?” I asked. ” In general, you could scream at the gator, try to intimidate it, torment it, or try to pressure it in to doing something it doesn’t want to do.”  ” Like telling the gator his mama’s scaly and ugly and then jumping on his back?” I asked. ” Something like that, she laughed.”  “Sadly the same people who harass animals, often do the same things to people” she remarked. ” Well maybe everyone should just respect both humans and wildlife” I responded.

After we got back to the condo I ask Doc if she would help me drawn a new sign. ” What do you want it to say Grover?” she asked with a puzzled look on her face.  I then told her to write;  Do Not Harass Wildlife or Humans. ” A big smile came over her face as she said, ” Now those are words to live by.”


Photo by Angela Kirk ” Once you have a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.”

— Dean Koontz

The Resolution

Photo by Angela Kirk

On Monday in group counseling, Doc decided that a good way to wrap up the year was look at the things in life we need to let go of so that we can focus on what we want to accomplish in 2019. It’s funny how stuff from the past can bog us down both emotionally and physically, robbing us of the energy we need to move forward. The patient’s liked the exercise and were all able to identify what they need to let go of like guilt and grudges. They also came up with new goals to focus on along with a plan of how to implement them. Discussing all of this in group got Doc to thinking and that is when that uneasy feeling came over me knowing that somehow she would drag me into whatever she was planning.

Doc feels like we should practice what we preach, so instead of having fun and relaxing on New Years Eve like most normal people, Doc got out pencil and paper and began to make a list. I was lying on the couch trying to watch the festivities on TV when Doc looked at me and said ” Grover when you went to be groomed last week and they put you on the scale I noticed you had gained a pound in one month.” ” So what’s your point?” I said as I munched on some of Doc’s pop corn. ” The point is, that we could both work on getting healthier”  she exclaimed. “What’s this “we” business?” I retorted.  But as soon as the words came out of my mouth I knew it was futile to resist. In case you don’t know by now, when Doc gets focused on something she is like a horse headed for the barn. I just nodded, hoping she would forget about it by the next day.

Yesterday when we went back to work, I resumed my regular door to door rounds looking for treats from the staff members that always feed me. When Doc caught me she didn’t say a word, she just turned on her heals, went back to her office and emerged with a sign in hand. She bent down and attached it to the bandanna around my neck. The sign read…Grover has been fed, do not fall for his manipulations. Although the sign thwarted my usual plan, it worked. In one week when Doc weighed me I had lost the one pound I had put on. I have to admit I do feel better now that I’m off the junk food and Doc is eating healthier too. Sometimes it’s good to make some changes even if you are dragged into them kicking and screaming.

Happy New Year!


Photo by Angela Kirk ” You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

— C.S. Lewis

Waiting for the Jolly Old Elf

Photo by Angela Kirk

It’s Christmas Eve and the house is so still

as I glance out the snow kissed window sill.

It’s that special night, I wait for all year,

for my friend in the red suit to appear.

Doc is sleeping and snug in her bed

when I hear the faint sound of sleigh bells overhead.

In a matter of seconds I look up to see

Santa Clause staring at me.

He pats me gently on top of my head,

then looks at me very seriously and says,

“Grover what are you doing up all alone?

Does Doc know you’re downstairs all on your own?”

” Yes Santa, Doc knows I’m not asleep,

she said I could wait up to see you if I didn’t make a peep.

As Santa begins to place the presents under the tree,

he looks over and motions to me.

” Grover, come and tell me what you’ve been doing all year,

are you still helping people and bringing them cheer?”

” Oh yes Santa, I try to do my very best each day,

to help people’s hurt and pain go away.

But sometimes I wonder if I’m doing enough,

the people I help, their lives are so tough.”

Then Santa paused and quietly said,

” Grover the love that you give is unconditionally true

and that healing power comes from deep inside of you.

Never doubt your ability to heal

the pain and suffering that your patients feel .

A gentle lick on the hand or your head in their lap,

can bring them the happiness and comfort they lack.”

And as Santa placed the last present under our tree,

once again he looked up at me.

” How would you like to take a ride in my sleigh?

We’ll leave a note for Doc so she knows you’re away.”

And before I could finish nodding my head,

I was in Santa’s sleigh flying overhead.

We went down chimney’s and dropped off toys,

to all the good little girls and boys.

Soon I was tired so Santa took me home to bed,

after he tucked me in next to Doc he stood there and said;

“It’s time for me and the reindeer to take flight,

as there are many more children to see tonight.

But I promise you I will be back next year

to visit and check on you Grover my dear.”

Then he was gone as fast as he came,

up on the roof calling the reindeer by name.

But Santa exclaimed as he drove out of sight,

“Merry Christmas Grover and Doc and to you a good night!”






















 “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

— Hamilton Wright Mabie

“It’s a Wonderful Life!”

Every Christmas Doc and I look forward to watching “It’s A Wonder Life” on TV. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until we watch it. This Christmas the movie is 72 years old and now more than ever, both Doc and I respond to the hopeful message that the movie represents. If you haven’t ever seen the movie, I highly recommend that you watch it this Christmas.

George Bailey, the main character is really a lot like all of us. He is going through some terrible problems and is feeling hopeless. We all have those times in life when things feel overwhelming and we just can’t see how it will get any better.  Doc says the worst thing any of us can do at a time like that is to isolate and not let others know what we are feeling. There is power is telling our story and feeling listened to. We also find out that we are not alone in our trials and tribulations. Often we find that those around us have been through the same things and survived. This can give us hope to move forward.

Watching this movie I am reminded how valuable each of us are when I hear Clarence the Angel tell George Baily; ” Strange isn’t is? Each man’s life touches so many others lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he.” Doc has told me the impact certain people have had in her life, especially those that believed in her when she was doubting herself. It’s important to remember that a kind word or lending support to someone feeling down can go a long way.

So this holiday, Doc and I wish you joy and a reminder that our greatest gift in life is each other.