It’s Fair Time!



Doc and I get to work just as the sun is coming up. This morning as we got out of the car I heard some roosters crowing off in the distance. My ears perked up and my tail started wagging with glee as that can only mean one thing, the state fair has started! The building we work in is across the street from the chicken barn and for the next eleven days we will take in all the sounds and the smells.

One of my favorite things about the fair is watching the humans. The fashions are always worth the trip. I saw a couple walking together and the wife had on a tee-shirt that said “I’m with stupid.” There was an arrow pointing to her husband. Long live wedded bliss.

The other great thing about the fair is the food. Fried lemonade, deep-fried Oreos, doughnut burgers, fried snickers and fried cheese. Only human’s will take something that is already bad for you and then fry it. I head some people interviewed on TV  and they said they wanted to eat their way across the fair. I guess it’s always good to have goals.

You can also meet some celebrities. Last year I met one of the last surviving munchkins from the Wizard of Oz. The announcer said that he had left his comfortable home in Beverly Hills to come and meet all of us. Well, I though that was mighty nice of him. It was about 90 degrees in the blazing sun that day and he was sitting on the stage with a snake wrapped around his neck. He looked like he was half asleep. Maybe he was worn out from being out all night with Gorilla Girl.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to go to one of your state fairs this summer. I know Doc and I will be going. You just never know what will happen or who you will meet and I don’t want to miss a thing.

groverpic” No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.”

— Louis Sabin

Happy Birthday To Me, Today I Am Three!

Photo by Diane Black

Photo by Diane Black

Since today is my birthday, Doc is giving me the day off and she is going to write my blog.

It’s hard for me to believe that three years have passed since I brought home a furry little puppy named Grover. Raising and training a puppy to become an animal assisted therapy dog to help me in my work has turned out better than even I could have imagined. Grover helps the patients in ways I cannot as he accepts them all unconditionally. It is magical to watch people’s faces light up when they see him and without prompting, a conversation begins. I always say that Grover opens up the door so  that I can enter and begin to help the patients heal.

So many people ask me what it’s been like to raise, train and work with a therapy dog. Well, to be honest, as cute as Grover was as a puppy, he could be a stubborn butt head at times. I do not miss all the chewing, peeing, whining, nipping and correcting his behavior over and over again. It tested my patients and sometimes I wondered if I was in over my head. The two things that kept me focused were; I knew having an animal assisted therapy dog would help people and if I put in 6 months of hard work training Grover, I would have a great dog for life. Luckily both of these things have come true. I would not change any of those experiences as it helped me to grow as a person.

I have heard animal behaviorists say that dogs mirror back to us who we really are. That is so true. Grover reads the energy and body language of anyone in the room. You cannot hide who you are from a dog.

So today, Grover will take it easy, get birthday cake from the Dog Barkery, and get extra belly rubs from all of the people who love him. Don’t tell Grover, but a surprise birthday party is being planned. Shhhhhh.

groverpic” The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.”

— Anonymous

Beware the Cheshire Cat!

cheshirecatwallpaper3[1]” The cat grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

From the time I have lived with Doc, when she thought I was hanging around the wrong kind of dogs, she would look at me and say “Beware the Cheshire Cat.” I hate it when she says that, because what she is really saying is that she thinks some of my friends are snakes.  Why all these references to animals you ask? Well they represent the slippery, smiley, manipulative ways of those that pretend to like you who then turn around and do you wrong. Doc knows that I need to be able to learn how to identify my friends from my foes. So, like any good mother she watches from a distance while I learn from my errors and my successes. She is always there if I need her.

Recently, I got my feelings hurt by someone who I thought was my friend. I found out they had been telling the other dogs that I was nothing but a mutt and made fun of me because I’m not a pure breed.  I should have known better because this “so-called” friend had been gossiping about others in my presence. Lesson learned, if they talk about others in front of you, they are talking about you when you aren’t around. Learning the ropes in life can be hard and sometimes hurtful. The best lesson Doc has taught me is to step back when I meet someone new and watch how they act from a distance before extending my friendship. People always reveal their true selves over time. The good news is that there are many nice puppies in the world that can become my friends, I just need to take my time.

groverpic” Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.”

— Mordecai Siegal

The Journey

Journey_dogRecently I saw a TV show called ” My Bionic Pet  on the Discovery channel and one of the pet’s they featured was a special therapy dog named Journey. The thing that makes Journey special is that he was born without a paw. He is also a certified therapy dog.

As the story goes, Journey’s owners Pat and Ron Graff already had one therapy dog, but finding out about this new puppy being born without a paw, they decided to adopt him and the rest is history. The Graffs related that when Journey was a puppy his siblings did not treat him any differently, but once he left the pack he had to learn to do things on his own.  The Graffs started researching prosthetic paws before he became a therapy dog and in 2009, he was fitted with his prosthetic. Even though Journey is able to get around on just three legs, he does much better with his prosthesis.

What most people don’t know about therapy dogs is that it is important to match us doggies to the right environment. For example, Doc knows I do well with adults, but knows I am too young to be around children, even though I love them. Well for Journey, the perfect fit ended up being a hospital program that connected experienced amputees with people new to limb loss. On one occasion, a patient that had just lost her leg was surprised to see that her peer visitor was a dog with a prosthesis. The patient remarked that meeting Journey brought her hope and inspired her.

It just goes to show you that inspiration and help comes in many different forms. Sometimes, it even has four legs and a tail.


Independence Day

4thofjulyWith the 4th of July approaching, I started thinking about what it means to be independent. Back on July 4, 1776, you humans declared yourself independent from Great Britain with the adoption of a must read document called the Declaration of Independence. As I sometimes feel oppressed by Doc’s rules, much like the colonists probably did with the British, I thought it was about time that I write my own declaration. Using some inspiration from my buddies Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, I am proud to present to you;

Grover’s Guide To Independent Living

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that I have lived under the tyranny of my human, Doc, as she imposes rules, boundaries and limitations on my freedom. Therefore, I am separating from her stupid rules so that I can pursue life, liberty and the ability to do whatever I want when I want. I will however allow Doc to continue providing me with food, shelter, belly rubs and rides to the dog park while I am in pursuit of my freedom. To prove Doc’s tyranny over me, I submit to you the following facts;

She has refused to allow me to eat all the treats provided to me by my human co-workers depriving me of bacon, cheesy fries, White Castle hamburgers and anything else I find in the trash.

She has refused to let me greet people in any exuberant way I please by saying over and over, “four paws on the ground Grover,” or “keep your nose to yourself.”

She has obstructed me from lifting my leg to pee on a co-workers fancy sports car, therefore depriving me of my right to mark my territory.

She has abolished my ability to reproduce by having me neutered against my will.

I, therefore, solemnly publish and declare that I, Grover be allowed to be free and independent and be absolved from all allegiance to the rules that Doc makes for me.

All of you in favor, respond on Facebook or in the comment section and that will let Doc know that her rule as the tyrannis queen is over. Don’t you just love democracy?

groverpic” I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better.”

— George Bird Evans