” Put Me in the Zoo.”

Photo by Angela Kirk

Doc’s favorite book when she was a little girl was “Put Me in the Zoo” by Robert Lopshire. Her family told me that she read it out loud over and over to everyone until they were sick of it. Since I think it’s important to judge things for yourself, I had Doc read it to me and I could see why she liked that book.

It tells the story of a big creature covered in spots. After visiting the zoo he decides that he would like to live there. When the poor fellow asks if he can stay, the zoo officials tell him no and throw him out. The creature is mad, but his friends ask him an important question, “Why should they put you in the zoo?’ The creature then goes on to show his friends all of the marvelous things he can do with his spots. In the end, his friends and the creature decide that the zoo is not the right place for him after all and he joins the circus where he lives happily ever after.

For a beginner book, it packs a big message about life. So many times we think we know where we belong, but once we get there it ends up being a bad fit. The problem is that some of us will stay because we invested so much time in getting there that we think we can’t change our minds or we remain out of a false sense of loyalty. That is a sure path to misery. Learning that it’s OK to go a different route is part of finding out where we are the happiest. No crime in that.

For example, it took Doc and I some time to find out what group of people I liked visiting the most as a therapy dog. Doc envisioned that it would be children. Although I like children, we found out that I am happiest doing therapy work with people who have addiction and mental health issues and cancer patients.

Always remember that if you keep your heart open you will find out where you really belong. There is a special place for everyone.

” Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog: but you’re never friendless ever if you have a dog.”

— Douglas Malloch

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

Humans often make things more complicated than they need to be. Because of the big brain you were given with the ability to be analytical, you often think things to death.

For a canine it can be exhausting watching you, especially when you are in groups. You talk about a topic until it doesn’t have any life left to it, when the answer was simple and right in front of you. Let me give you an example; the Labrador part of me loves to search for and eat almost anything. When I want a snack, I will use my nose to sniff out food, then either try to beg for it from a human or steal it from the trash. Simple.

Humans on the other hand will decide what they want and then think about how many calories it contains, read the labels to see what’s in it, discuss if it is healthy, if it is organic or not, how long they will have to exercise to burn off the calories, and on and on. The joy in eating it is all gone before you even take one bite.

Now I’m not saying these questions aren’t important, but for goodness sake, life is short, how much time do you want to spend thinking about all these things and missing out on the pleasure?

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, would say that the ego tries to keep us in check. Doc thinks the ego can get in the way.  Ego causes us to hang on to our beliefs for dear life, even when we’re wrong, digging in like the preservation of world order depends on it.

In the end, it’s good to have opinions and good to discuss them, but lets learn to cooperate and move on. Like one of Doc’s professors use to tell her when she was working on her dissertation, ” make it simple.”  Because sometimes… a cigar is just a cigar.

” Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

— John Muir

The Healing Touch of Nature

Photo by Angela Kirk

Sunday was one of those beautiful fall days. It was too nice to be inside the house, so Doc and I decided to go out and start some fall clean up in the yard. To be honest, Doc did most of the work and I stayed busy stealing the last of the green tomatoes that had fallen off the vine and burried them in the soil for a later date.

There is something wonderful about being outside even if you have chores to do. Digging in the dirt, pruning the plants to get them ready for winter and just being in the warm sun has a way of lifting your spirits. Nature always brings you back to a place of calm.

Doc say she worries sometimes that everyone is getting too detached from nature. She feels that the more society becomes disconnected from our roots of farming and interacting with the earth, the more anxious and depressed humans become. There’s been gobs of research to back up what she’s saying ( I know, because I looked it up.) So it’s always a shock to me when I hear someone say they don’t like the outdoors. Nature is part of who we are. You don’t have to be hands on with it like Doc and I, but everyone can be soothed by a beautiful sunset or gazing at the stars on a moon lit night.

Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” What a smart and observant man. I think humans sometimes believe that the answer to everything lies in technology. Although technology is wonderful, it will never match the perfection of nature. Nor will technology ever sooth and sing us to sleep like the sounds of the crickets on a cool fall night.






” If the kindest souls were rewarded with the longest lives dogs would out live us.”

— Anymous

Caught In the Act

Photo by Angela Kirk

Photo by Angela Kirk

Thinking Doc was inside and too busy to notice, I slowly made my way over to the base of the Maple tree and began digging in the dirt with my two front paws.  The faster I dug the higher the dirt flew. What a rush. I have to admit I was feeling some guilt, but not too guilty to stop.

While I continued my excavation work, I recalled that just the other day Doc was bragging to the next door neighbor about how she had gotten me to stop digging in the yard when I was a puppy.  After watching Norman, the new puppy next door having so much fun digging in his yard, I guess I fell off the proverbial wagon.  I rationalized what Doc didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. Boy isn’t that one of the big lies we often tell ourselves to sooth our guilty souls.

Being so lost in my digging, I never heard that back screen door open. The first thing I noticed was Doc’s shadow in the grass next to me. In a flash I stopped what I was doing and tried to lay myself flat enough in the grass to appear innocent. The next sound I heard was the click of Doc’s smart phone as she took a picture of my dirty deed. ” Just admit what you did, she said in an exasperated voice, you’ll feel better. Now come on over here and put the dirt and the mulch back around the tree.”

I did what I was told without even a whimper. Putting all of that dirt back was a lot of work. It made me realize a few minutes of mischief is not worth the consequence, especially when it upsets those you care about.


groverpic ” Those who walk on the well trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.”

— Voltaire