Photo by Angela Kirk

With all the noise and chaos going on in the world, you may have missed a monumental event. The NASA land rover Perseverance landed on Mars last Thursday. Doc and I were lucky to catch the event live on TV and it gave both Doc and this canine goosebumps when it finally touched down safely. We cheered and clapped right along with those NASA scientists. Think about it, NASA literally shot a dune buggy into space and landed it on Mars. Wow!

What surprised me was that the first thing that the rover did after it landed was Tweet a message back to earth that let NASA know it was safe, then it tweeted: ” Perseverance will get you anywhere.” ” What a statement!” I said as I turned to Doc and she nodded back to me in agreement. That one word “perseverance” really got me to thinking about how we can move forward in our lives.

When you think about wanting to accomplish a goal you can do one of three things, get stuck dreaming about a goal and not moving forward, start making excuses and giving up, or setting a goal and taking the steps necessary to achieve it and not giving up until you succeed.  People certainly have different motivation levels when it comes to change. Change for many feels so uncomfortable that they would rather stay with the devil they know. Doc takes the “no excuses” stance for herself and me. It can be annoying at times but she’s right. She says just keep moving forward even if you’re anxious or scared because things are usually much scarier in our head than in reality.

The scientists and engineers at NASA worked for about eleven years to build Perseverance. I am almost positive that they made mistakes and missteps along the way, but they kept on going. Its inevitable that in life we will make mistakes as we journey forward but Doc says she has learned more from her errors than her successes. The most important thing is to never give up. Believe in yourself and find others that believe in you. Sometimes perfect strangers or loved ones will show up to cheer you on. It’s always helpful to have good cheerleaders in your life to lift you up when you get discouraged.

The most important thing to remember is not to let anyone discourage your dreams because perseverance will get you anywhere you want to go, even to Mars.

Winter Whallop

Photo by Angela Kirk

When Old Man Winter slaps half the country with a major winter storm , it is a big reminder that humans are really not in control of everything.

The meteorologists started predicting the coming of the storm starting late last week. You could see the excitement in their eyes as they went over their maps and talked about fronts and wind chill factors. I watched with feigned interest not realizing that Doc was quietly making a list to prepare, but now that I look back on everything it is starting to add up. She did go to the store on a day she doesn’t usually go and made sure there were logs for the fire. Then on Sunday night she started charging all the electronic devices before we went to bed.  She has often told me that she learned in Girl Scouts the it’s best to prepare in advance instead of waiting for an emergency to happen.

The storm was suppose to arrive here on Monday but were surprised when we woke up to find only three measly inches of snow. After Doc and I walked down to the park and shoveled out the driveway she decided it was time to get some other chores done. I was not happy to find out that one of the chores was to give me a bath. The only good thing about that was that she took me to my favorite pet store where they have a dog bathing area. I did my best job of acting extra pathetic while she bathed me so that she would feel guilty and it worked. I picked out the most expensive treat to take home. As we walked outside you could tell that a storm front was moving in and it looked ominous.

As the afternoon turned into evening we could hear ice pelts starting to hit the window and roof. We were surprised as they had been predicting up to 8 inches of snow not ice. At bedtime I curled up right next to Doc for comfort as the wind started howling against the house. By morning some more snow had fallen on top of the ice and what a mess that created. Luckily our nice neighbor Aaron came over with his snow blower to clear the driveway and sidewalk. Watching the news we were shocked to see the devastation from the storm to areas of the country that are not prepared for this type of weather. We counted our blessings that we had remained safe and warm.

This morning the sun is shining, but don’t be fooled, it is only 6 degree’s, enough to freeze a dogs behind off and on Thursday  they are predicting another round of snow. Who knows what that will bring, but there is no doubt that Mother Nature gets the last word every time.

The Tale of a Mamas Boy

Photo by Angela Kirk

Since Doc and I have been staying inside most of the time due to the inclement weather she has developed an annoying habit. Instead of paying attention to me, she has been spending the evenings yacking on the phone with friends and it is starting to get on my last nerve.

Just last night we were in the middle of playing with a tennis ball I happened to “borrow” from the next door neighbors yard when her phone rang and she abruptly stopped our game to answer it.  How rude! She even puts the call on speaker phone like I care about anything humans discuss. It’s usually the same boring conversations. They either talk about the weather, what they ate for dinner and then the conversation inevitably turns to discussing things they did way back in the dark ages before I was even born. To be forced to listen to these stories and have Doc’s attention and time taken away from me gets my goat, so I have started plotting a way to get her to focus back on my needs. After all I am her fur child.

Over the next few days I tried a variety of stunts to get her attention. On Sunday night when the phone rang I quietly went back to Doc’s bedroom, jumped up on the bed and the first things I did was push all the pillows on the floor. The I used my teeth to strip off the comforter and sheets and pulled them to the floor. One by one I drug everything into the living room and boy that got her attention, but not in a good way. On Monday I went into the kitchen as soon as she started talking and was able to get to tray of biscuits she had cooling on the counter and ate two before she caught me. By last night she was on to me and kept an eye out until she became lost in conversation and I went over to confiscate her favorite throw and drag it across the floor. I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard her tell the caller in a irritated voice, ” I need to go, I have a jealous dog on my hands.”

“What is wrong with you Grover?” she asked sternly. That question stumped me because I didn’t think I was the one with the problem and told her so. ” It’s you! I said, you don’t pay any attention to me when your friends call and I think that’s wrong.” She was silent for a moment and I could tell she was thinking. “Grover, I can’t pay attention to you all the time, I need time for myself to do the things I like to do and you need to respect that. Let’s talk it out and come to a compromise ok?” So after some negotiating I agreed to respect her boundaries of having her own space and she would respect my play and cuddle time with her. I also had to admit to myself and Doc that I’m just a big old hairy mama’s boy.

Cheers to Punxsutawney Phil !

Photo by Angela Kirk

On Ground Hog day I anxiously awaited for that little rodent Punxsutawney Phil to make his prediction about spring and was happy when he saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. For those of you that hate winter, I can just imagine all the collective groaning and grumbling but all the big dogs and children are rejoicing with an Alleluia! I don’t get it, who doesn’t like a good snow day? So before passing judgement, give me a moment to state my case.

Our latest snow storm arrived late Friday night while Doc and I were sleeping. When I woke up and looked out the back door, the ground was covered. I threw back my head and howled with delight. I could hardly wait for breakfast to be over so we could go outside. Doc got all bundled up and even helped me on with my coat. When we opened the garage door I was excited to see the kids next door and my puppy friends Franklin and Norman sporting new winter coats. They were all running around, throwing snow balls and I even helped supervise the  building of snow man in our front yard.  They used strawberries for the eyes that looked so yummy I tried to eat them but Doc caught me and said it was time to go inside to get warm. We continued to have fun the whole weekend.

By Tuesday afternoon the sun came out and Doc and I decided to trudge down to the park.  As we came closer we could hear both adults and children squealing with laughter as they flew down the big hill on their sleds. When we came around the bend of the trail I heard some children call out my name and abandon their sledding to run down the trail and greet me with big hugs and kisses. It’s fun being a celebrity. We then walked a few miles and felt happy to stretch our legs after working all day.

It’s Tuesday evening as I write this and I hope I have convinced you to get outside and have some fun. Remember when you were a kid and a snow day meant no school and a whole day with your friends?  Doc says those were some of her her fondest memories. As soon as they would announce school was cancelled she would call her buddies and they would spend the day sledding and skating on her Aunt Pat’s pond. If you just can’t bring yourself to be out in the cold then at least appreciate how beautiful and clean the world looks covered in snow.

Today I challenge you to embrace that inner child again. Surprise yourself and take the time to play. It’s so good for the soul and we could all use a break from reality right now.