Is It Vanity?

Because I am a big celebrity among therapy dogs, it is important that I remain coifed and camera ready. I owe it to my fans and to the patients and staff I work with. Some may call me vain, but I prefer to think of my grooming rituals as being my most fabulous self. After all, who wants to be around a stinky, unkept dog. That’s just ridiculous. So on Tuesday afternoon, Doc was kind enough to chauffeur me over to my favorite veterinarians office for an overdo mani-pedi.

After we got to the Vet, the first thing they did was weigh me and I am proud to say that even during the pandemic I have remained a slim and trim 82 pounds of fur and muscle. I am not surprised because between doing zoomies around the yard everyday and Doc walking me a few miles, I am burning calories galore. Next, one of the technicians took me in the back where they trim my nails. My favorite part is when they tell me what a handsome and good boy I am and then they give me hugs and kisses. I don’t want to brag but the ladies do love me. When my nails were nicely trimmed they took me back out to the waiting room and Doc drove me home.

Now I could tell Doc was tired because by the time we got home, she went straight into her bedroom. After all, she had worked all day before we even went to the vets office. After she stretched out on the bed and turned on the TV to relax, I jumped up next to her to cuddle and happened to glance down at her bare feet and toenails. Oh my! I thought to myself. “Doc are you really going to work like that tomorrow with your feet and toenails looking all raggedy like that? ” I said with too much shock in my voice. And before I even got the whole sentence out of my mouth I knew that was the wrong thing to say. Boy, did she give me the look before she replied ” Grover, sometimes the wisest thing you can do is say nothing.” I have to admit, she was right. So I quickly made amends and told her I loved her even if her feet and nails looked gnarly. She just laughed, patted me on the head and fell asleep.

The Past Comes Back to Haunt Me

Everyone of us has a past, even dogs. Some memories are good and some we would rather forget. You never know when a past memory will come back to haunt you or how you will react until you are confronted with it. I was put to that very test just recently.

It was the weekend and we were looking forward to some relaxation. As we took our morning walk some of the men in the neighborhood were already firing up their cookers and grills for a block party later in the evening. It was sheer torture for this dog as the wonderful aroma’s waffled through the air knowing I would not get one tasty morsel of what they were grilling. Further down the road, someone had set up a bouncy house in the yard and even though it was early morning some of the children were already trying it out. Their laughter and exuberance was contagious and we stopped for awhile just to watch. They called me over to try it but Doc thought I might get sick to my stomach being tossed all around. After all no one I know wants a dog throwing up in their bouncy house, so we said thanks and kept walking.

Resuming our stroll, I was busy smelling the pee-mail left on the fire hydrant by another dog when Doc broke the silence. ” I wonder what that is at the end of the street that all those people are crowded around?” she asked out loud. Being nosy too, I looked up and as we got closer I could smell something that was very familiar to me but I couldn’t quite place it. As we approached there were about eight people crowed around an animal trailer hitched to the back of a truck. Although it was dark inside the trailer Doc and I could both see some movement. She was not shy about asking, ” What have you got in there a baby calf?” And before they could answer I got another whiff of the beast and remembered that smell immediately from when I was a puppy on the farm. Terrified I backed up behind Doc and tried to pull her along with me. ” No, it’s a goat!” one of the men said. “What’s wrong with your dog?” another one asked.

As some of you may recall I was born on a farm in Ohio that also bred goats. The problem is that some goats do not like puppies and one day when I was only six weeks old, I got away from my mother, slipped under the fence to the pasture and a large mother goat protecting her kids came charging at me. I froze in fear but luckily famer Black saw the trouble I was in and swept me up in his arms just in time. After Doc adopted me I thought I would never have to see another goat again, but I guess I was wrong.

Without a word Doc knelt down and whispered in my ear, ” Grover, you are not a puppy any more, in fact you are bigger than that goat. Do you want to confront your fear or walk away? I will support whatever choice you need to make.” So with Doc by my side I decided right then and there to walk up to that big black goat, after all it was enclosed in the trailer. And you know what, as soon as that goat saw me, he became nervous and the owner of the goat said, ” I think your dog is scaring my goat..” So out of respect, I backed away with my head held high, proud that I had confronted my fear from so long ago.

As Doc and I were walking the rest of the way home I said to her, ” Isn’t it a funny thing to find out that when you confront your fears from the past they aren’t your fears anymore? ” ” I agree, she said and I am proud of you Grover, but don’t you think it’s weird that someone had a goat in our neighborhood? ” We both had to laugh about that.

Oh The Heat ! The Dog Days of Summer Return

Although Doc and I enjoy the summertime, one thing I do not like are the sultry dog days of summer. It’s so hot and humid it makes my paws sweat and leaves my fur so frizzy that it results in a very bad hair day. Oh the horror! But I bet you don’t know where the term dog days comes from, so this smart pooch will give you a brief tutorial all about it.

During this time of year, Sirius, also known as the dog star is not only the brightest star, it is part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. Sirius is so bright that the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat, adding to the sun’s warmth so they called this time of year dies caniculares or ” dog days.” In reality the heat this time of year is a result of the Earth’s tilt causing the sun’s rays to hit us at a more direct angle and for longer periods of time resulting in hotter days. The Romans also thought the oppressive heat led to lethargy, fever, bad luck and dogs going mad. Now I don’t know about all that but it does result in me being a miserable hot dog.

The best thing about being a member of the canine clan is that we have had to learn to adapt for centuries. So how is this black haired dog and his owner coping with the heat? Luckily Doc keeps the air conditioner on low and paddle fan on high over the bed so I can nap in comfort and stay cool during the heat of the day.. Late in the afternoon as the sun begins to set, we finally venture out on the back porch with a cool drink. If there’s a breeze, we can sit comfortably and enjoy the symphony of sounds that are performed by the creatures of the night. The one good thing about the dogs days is that it does force us to slow down and that is never a bad thing in this hectic world we live in.

So savor the last of summer while it is with us because in the middle of winter we will long for the dogs days of summer to return.

Hangin With my Bro’s

Every so often you need to take some time away from the daily grind and just hang out with the ones that you can just be yourself with. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being with Doc, but she just doesn’t get me the way my canine buddies do. Knowing that, she arranged a nice surprise for me.

First let me back up a minute and tell you what’s been going on. For the last week and a half, Doc and I have been on vacation. No matter how much you enjoy your job, it’s always good to pause and get away. To tell you the truth, Doc and I have been so worn out by everything that happened over the last year we decided not to plan anything and thought we would would just take things day by day. No schedule and no one to answer to felt like the best way to take care of ourselves and it has been wonderful. Some days we take day trips and sometimes we just rest and hang out at the community swimming pool. With that being said, Doc didn’t forget about me and last Saturday she announced that she had a special surprise. She told me that she had been asked to babysit my friends Norman and Frankie while their humans were gone for the day and she was bringing them over to our house. Yippee!

Luckily it was a gorgeous day and not too hot. Boy did we have fun. When we weren’t running around the yard chasing each other or catching the tennis ball, we spent our down time peeing on stuff and eating any strange thing we found in the yard.. It was heaven except for that little fella Frankie. Let me tell you that puppy is still kind of wild . He’s only a year old and has way too much energy for this old dog, but luckily since I am so much bigger all I have to do is gently put my paw on him and he calms down. There are strict pack rules in the dog world and we like to set boundaries to keep order. Apparently no one gave Frankie that memo. I told Norman that he has my sympathy having to deal with a little brother that is still learning the rules of the pack. Norman said he was appreciative that I could feel his pain. I told him he could come and talk to me anytime because that’s what bro’s are for. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a friend is to listen and keep your opinions to yourself.

Well, as all good things must come to an end, Norman and Frankie’s family came home and they needed to leave. I was all tuckered out and ready to rest any way. It had been a long day. That night as I was dozing off into dream land I remembered to count my blessings and to be thankful for the gift of my friendships. After all, nothing is better than having friends that know all about you and still accept you just the way you are.