Brrrr… It’s Cold Outside

Photo by Angela Kirk

Last Friday Doc said she thought it was a good idea to stop at the pet store on the way home from work to get some more dog food. I always think that going to the pet store is a good idea. What’s not to like? They have everything imaginable that a dog would want to eat, play with or sleep on. What I didn’t expect was for Doc to break a promise she had made to me at least 100 times.

Entering the pet store I received a friendly pat on the head and a treat while another clerk went to the back of the store to get my big bag of dog food. I saw Doc look over to the right while we were waiting and then move toward a display of clothing. I was horrified when I read the sign she was staring at “Dog Coats 30% Off.” When she started touching them I though, ” Oh No, she wouldn’t do that to me.” But before the thought left my brain she had the store clerk looking for my size and putting a horrendous  pink and brown plaid coat on my body. Looking at her with pleading eyes I said. ” Doc, you promised you would never make me dress up in dog clothes, remember? You even use to make fun of dogs that wore outfits.” ” Well things change Grover”. “On January 30th the Polar Vortex arrives with -2 degrees and a wind chill factor of -25- 45. You need a coat young man!” she quipped.

Trying on the coats in front of other dogs in the store was down right humiliating. To make it worse Doc laughed when I put my tail between my legs and hung my head.  Now that was just mean and I told her so. Luckily the store clerk took pity on me and found me a more masculine navy coat with brown buttons and white fleece pop up collar. When she paid them for it at the cash register I knew it was a done deal. I sulked all the way home.

After we got home Doc took me for a walk in my new coat. As we passed my friends Norman and Bailey’s  house I noticed that they were looking at me and admiring my new coat. At that moment my tail went up and I started holding my head up high. I guess it wasn’t so bad after all. It did have a nice flip-up fleece collar and even the humans we passed told me I looked handsome. On the plus side the coat was warm.

By the time we got back from the walk I didn’t want to take it off. I finally swallowed my pride and thanked Doc for my new nice winter coat. Having someone care enough about you that they want you to stay warm is not the worse thing that can happen in your life.

Photo by Angela Kirk ” The best therapist has fur and four legs.”

— Anonymous

Chilling During the Chill

Photo by Angela Kirk

Winter finally showed up over the weekend with a roar. The milder temperatures had lulled Doc and I into a false sense of complacency. But make no doubt about it, in the end Mother Nature will always remind you that she is the boss. The snow and the cold forced us to hunker down and hibernate even if it was for just 36 hours.

Hibernation appears to be a dirty word among humans in this ” I want it now and to be constantly entertained and stimulated” kind of world we now find ourselves in. After all, civilization is all about conquering nature. The problem is that you humans have forgotten that your bodies have been programmed to produce hormones that make you sleepy so that you rest and restore yourselves physically and emotionally in the winter. Haven’t you noticed that your pests are sleeping more in the winter? I even hear people brag about how little they rest. There really is no prize for that.

Anyhow, the bad weather placed both Doc and I into a quiet state of rest and bliss. We spent our time huddled together on the couch under a big fuzzy blanket watching great movies like 101 Dalmatians, Scooby-Doo and The Secret Life of Pets. Doc even shared her pop corn with me.The next day we both felt more refreshed. Imagine that!

So what if you learned to listen to what you body wanted and indulged yourself in some hibernation time? Try giving yourself permission to slow down and get that chatter out of your head that demands you complete a long list of tasks everyday. The world won’t end if you don’t get everything done. As for myself, now that I finished my blog I need a long winter’s sleep so I bid all of you good night.

Photo by Angela Kirk “All that we are is the result of what we have thought, The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

— Buddha

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!