A New Kind of Therapy Dog Work

Photo by Angela Kirk

When the pandemic reared it’s ugly head and we started working from home, I became a dog without a job. At first it was nice to live what I call a “Country Club Lifestyle” of napping, eating, playing ball and then napping again, but that soon got rather boring. I missed seeing our clients, staff and visiting the patients at the cancer center. Then someone Doc knows came up with a great idea.

One day about a week ago, Doc was in the Uptown area of our suburb and one of the business owners she knows asked how I was adjusting to not being able to help people every day. ” Grover’s going with the flow, but I can tell he misses work.” Doc told her. ” Well why don’t you bring him to visit us and our customers, she said to Doc, we are feeling stressed with everything going on and could use some cheering up.” And with that a plan was hatched.

A few days later we stopped by to visit our first business. I was so happy to go and bring some cheer to  the hard working shop owners that are trying to sustain their businesses during this pandemic and their customers. Now every week we visit another place of business, or stop by the farmers market as the locale farmers are having a tough time as well. I now feel useful again. It’s not traditional therapy work, but it’s a reminder that there are many people outside our regular scope of work that need a nice kiss and cuddle from a therapy dog during these difficult times.

” The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”  Barack Obama

A Tale of Two Donkey’s

Photo by Angela Kirk

Today I am going to tell you a story about sensitivity, intuition and the healing power of two donkeys named Eddie and Oatmeal. Eddie and Oatmeal reside on a farm in Ohio with some horses, a pig named Cupcake and assortment of nice dogs and cats. All the animals at this particular farm work as therapy animals, meaning they are trained to comfort people going through some difficult times in their lives. Doc and I know this menagerie of animals, as this is where Doc takes her patients to engage in Equine Assisted Therapy.

On this particular Saturday, Doc was at the farm to do some training. What the people at the training did not know was that a few days prior, Doc had lost her beloved Aunt Pat at the ripe old age of 93. Thinking that going to the farm and focusing on learning new therapy skills would bring some respite from her grief, she decided not to tell anyone and swore me to secrecy.

As we entered the arena to start the training, Doc was given the task to help a woman work through her fears, one of which was a fear of horses. They decided to start with donkeys as their smaller size can be less intimidating.

In to the arena sauntered Eddie and Oatmeal and before the lady could even become too frightened, the donkeys moved away from her and toward Doc. Doc tried her best to redirect the two back toward the lady, but they would not leave Doc’s side. Slowly they moved in as close as they could on either side, leaned against her and began to softly bray.  The jig was up, they could sense Doc’s sadness and were comforting her.  I wasn’t surprised when I looked over and saw Doc’s eyes glisten with tears. The lady was so astounded by the gentle beasts, that she walked over and began to stoke their heads without reservation.

After reading this tale you may be left thinking that Donkeys and other therapy animals have some magical psychic powers, but the truth is we embrace what many of you have forgotten. Silence is our super power. Only through silence will your spiritual eyes open to the world and expand your sensitivity to others. Something we could use more of right now.

Too Hot To Handle

Photo by Angela Kirk

After a stretch of almost 10 days in the 90’s I would say it is officially the dog days of summer. The ancient Greeks believed that after Sirius the dog star rose, it’s bright light radiated extra heat toward the earth, making it hotter. All I know is that Doc and I are miserable and all of this heat is turning me into a mad dog.

Luckily we can get out in the early morning and the late evening for some activities outside, but the rest of the day forget about it. Doc takes me for a one mile walk every morning around 6am. Its cool in the morning but still so humid it gives both Doc and I a bad hair day as our wavy hair turns into a big frizzy mess. After that walk I am done for it and get in the middle of Doc’s bed right under the paddle fan for a long morning nap while Doc goes to work doing tele therapy with her patients. (Someone has to pay the bills). I use to stay with her all day, but since working from home since March I have decided to live what I call a Country Club Lifestyle. Hey, don’t judge, it works for me.

Although this summer is certainly different with COVID still among us, I have adapted and decided to focus on the things I can control. I feel safe right here at home with Doc and look forward to the evening when the sun goes down and we go out on the back porch. Nothing is more soothing to me than listening to the frogs croaking loudly in the pond while the full moon shines off of the water.

So my advice for now is stay cool, don’t sweat the small stuff and slow down. This too shall pass.


A 4th of July Like No Other

Photo by Angela Kirk

The 4th of July is just three days away and it feels strange that we will not be celebrating in the traditional way. Fire works are cancelled along with parades and big family gatherings. So how’s are we suppose to honor this important American Holiday? It’s just one of the things that have been on my mind lately and I bet you all have been thinking about it too.

On top of everything else, I went for my annual physical at the Veterinarian on Monday and once again the doctor said I need to loose weight. The doctor tried to make me feel better by saying it could be a low thyroid issue, but I know the truth. Since Doc and I have been working from home I have been napping and snacking most of the day. So now more diet and exercise are on the agenda. Yipy Skippy!

Some days this pandemic feels like it has sucked all the fun out of everything. If I sound a little melancholy it’s because I am.  Doc says that’s normal considering all that we have had to endure lately but the good news is that we can learn to adapt and make some new choices. So starting today instead of focusing on what we can’t do, I have decided to focus on what I can do.

I will leave you with a quote from Abraham Lincoln ” Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be,” Ain’t that the truth. Doc and I wish all of you a safe and happy July 4th!