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

A Moment in Time

Photo by Stillwagen and Gowin Photographic Studios

Photo by Stillwagen and Gowin Photography Studio

When I entered the room, Doc was staring so intently at an old photograph that she didn’t even notice that I was there. Finally she looked up and seeing me, she smiled and motioned for me to come closer. She slowly lowered the photo where I could see it and there looking back at me was an older gentleman and a dog. “That man” she said, “is my great-grandfather and it is the first time I have ever seen a picture of him as he died long before I was born.”

As she turned over the photo there was writing on the back that said, ” This is a photograph of Robert Jr. The dog is Joe and belonged to his son.” “My grandfathers dog,” Doc said, ‘he spoke about him many times.”

Photographs capture a moment in time, but never tell the whole story. Generations later as Doc and I study this photograph we are left with many more questions than answers and begin to formulate our own stories. It is interesting to ponder why on this particular day, Robert Jr. decide to go to Stillwagen and Gowins Artistic Photography studio with his son’s dog for a professional photograph.

Sadly, all of Doc’s relatives that may be able to answer the questions she has are now gone. It’s too bad because I have come to understand by listening to so many people’s stories that the histories of past generations effect who we are today. I believe that is true for all living things.

It’s nice to think about how Doc’s family has always loved dogs so much that they include them in their photos. Now I know why she has me take so many pictures with her, it must be in the genes.



groverpic ” Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.”

— Pythagoras

Boundary Boot Camp

Photo by Angela Kirk

Photo by Angela Kirk

All of you know how much I love Doc, but lately she has been getting on my last nerve. She feels the need to tell me no, when other humans are telling me yes. She acts like she can boss me around anytime she wants and restrict some of the behaviors I love the most which include eating and begging for attention. Did I mention I love eating? After working on a strategic plan for years that involves manipulating staff and patients into sneaking me treats or any part of their snacks and lunches, she has decided to put the kibosh on my behavior.

I guess I went too far the other day when she noticed I had snuck out of the office and was going door to door begging for tasty morsels whenever I could  smell the aroma of food waffling out into the hallway. It was my version of trick or treat come early. There are also the regulars that keep gourmet dog treats or share their pretzels with me. What a life I live or did live until the boundaries were put in place.

It’s not that I don’t have my supporters. Many came to my defense when she told me no and sent me back to the office. ” Don’t reward him for that behavior,” she said in her strictest voice. But my fans persisted telling her what a good dog I am and how cute I am when I sit and wait like such a good boy. I do have to say, for a bunch of people trained as counselors, they are easy to manipulate. Doc just looked at all of them and said ‘ Boy oh boy, does Grover know how to get over on all of you.”

So it’s Wednesday and Doc hasn’t taken her eye off of me all week. I have been entered into a training course against my will that Doc refers to as Boundary Boot Camp. Every time I even look in the direction of the doorway she says in that voice she uses when she means business, “Don’t even think about it,” It’s freaky the way she can read my mind.

groverpic “As long as you have a dog, you have a friend. even if you become poor or sick, the unconditional love your dog gives you only seems to get stronger.”

— Anonymous

The True Enemy is Fear

Photo by Angela Kirk

Photo by Angela Kirk

There has certainly been violence and hatred between humans since the beginning of time. It saddens me to see that some people have not evolved enough to understand that neither violence or hatred ever changes anything. As a canine, that is something that I still can’t wrap my head around. Dogs deal with issues as they happen and then move forward.

Humans are often proud to say they are evolved and that unlike animals have the ability to reason. As of late, I have my doubts because as Doc often tells her patients, actions are the truest measure.

Humans fear what they do not understand and that includes each other. I watch as some people assign labels, assumptions and speak with arrogance and presumptions about an individual or a group often without knowing anything about them or their situation. Mahatma Gandhi once said ” The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear.”  Truer words have never been spoken. Learning to listen to others will open the door to understanding because you can never truly change someones mind by trying to bully them into it.



groverpic ” Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

— Dalai Lama