Things That Go Bump In the Night

Although Halloween is just a few days away, this is not the only time of year that I get spooked. There are plenty of odd occurrences in my world that make me sleep with one eye open at night, but nothing is more frightful than when Doc tells me a true story about things that go bump in the night right before I go to sleep.

Before I was born, Doc lived in a house built in 1907. Because the house was so old, it creaked and rattled all on its own, and if that wasn’t scary enough, some of the neighbors, friends and even family thought the house might be haunted. It didn’t take too long after Doc moved in for the “hauntings” to commence. Apparently what ever it was, wanted Doc to notice because there would be loud banging and a general ruckus a few times per month, especially at night. In addition to the noises, there were some people that swore that they saw a ghostly presence standing in a long frock coat, gazing out the window on the stairway landing on more than one occasion. Doc never saw this apparition and frankly thought the people had over active imaginations, but the ghost did not care what Doc believed and continued its noisy hauntings.

One day, Doc happened to jokingly mention to her new neighbors next door what was happening in the house, and guess what? The two girls that lived there with their parents told her a story that made my fluffy dog hairs stand on end. From the time the girls were little they would sometimes wake at night to see a ghostly presence that wore a dark long frock coat standing at the end of their beds just watching over them. Although this seemed strange, they were never really frightened, as he had been visiting them since they were little. Of course, when they tried to tell their parents they brushed it off as childhood fantasy. When the girls got older, they decided to go to the library and do some research and you will never guess what they found out. Apparently their house was built in the late 1800’s and the man that owned that home eventually built the house next door that Doc lived in for his daughter’s family. So, this ghost was just traveling back and forth to watch over who lived in the houses he built.

Although Doc was skeptical, she did contemplate what the girls told her and one night it all came to a head. Doc was sound asleep when she was awakened by the sound of a big bang coming from the dirt root cellar. Irate that her sleep had been interrupted she angrily stomped down the stares to find the entire front of the furnace on the ground. ” “That’s enough!” she yelled out to the ghost. ” I am not scared of you, I am not leaving this house and if you are not going to help pay the mortgage than you can’t live here. Now go toward the light to the other side where you belong.”

Who knows, maybe the spirit was waiting for someone to give him permission to leave and retire from watching over everyone, but after that night the house was as quiet as could be. It stayed that way until Doc put the house up for sale and left. Who knows, maybe the spirit has returned to watch over the new owners. I am certainly glad he didn’t follow Doc to the new house or maybe he has and he is just being quieter. Happy Halloween!

“Beam Me Up, Scotty”

By now I am sure you all know that 90 year old William Shatner aka Capt. T. Kirk from Star Trek was shot into outer space last week and once again Jeff Bezos didn’t ask me to come along. I am so unhappy about this slight that I may ask Doc to stop ordering anything from Amazon again. After all, what could be better publicity than a therapy dog named Grover T. Kirk going to space with Captain T. Kirk? I can see the headlines already, but here I sit in the backyard waiting for my big break. And to add insult to injury I just found out that in 1963 the French, sent a cat 130 miles into outer space and it returned via parachute. It was even awarded a medal of honor. Now how did a cat get to go before me? That really stuck in my craw.

Doc intervened as soon as she saw the mood I was in, knowing what was wrong. “Why are you sulking on such a beautiful fall day Grover? I am going to tell you what I tell everyone else that waits around in life for someone else to fulfill their dreams, figure out a way to do it yourself.” she said in a stern voice. ” What do you mean?” I asked with surprise. Do you expect me to build my own rocket ship in our back yard?” “No Grover, but there has to be another way to either achieve that goal or one similar. Now, get up on your paws, move forward and try to figure out what you really want. Make a plan a go for it.”

I hate it when Doc expects me to be responsible for my own happiness. One of the down sides of living with a therapist. It did get me to start thinking however. Could I apply at NASA to their space program? Did I really even want to go into space or did I just like the idea of it? I tried to picture my self walking on to the space ship, being strapped in and the g-forces blowing my ears straight back when we took off. Then, being weightless and not being able to get my dog bones because they would be floating all around the cabin. Would I really like being that far away from Doc and all the comforts from home? The more I thought about it, I had to admit that I would probably wouldn’t like the actual experience at all. Now what was I going to do after all the fuss I made?

Oh well, life is like that sometimes. The fantasy that floats around in your head is often different than the reality of the real experience. But I did decide on a new plan that would bring me pleasure. After the sun set, I asked Doc to come outside to lay on the back patio and gaze at the night sky with me. It just so happened that it was a full moon last night. It was so clear that the stars sparkled like diamonds against the blackness of the night and we could see some of the constellations. In the quiet of the moment, I confessed to Doc that I finally figured out that I can be just as content staying on earth with her, looking at the universe from the safety of our own back yard. “Let other hardy explorers go to space and dream of new horizons. I said to her. I am finally content to do my exploring from earth”.

Taking Care of Business Can be Exhausting Sometimes

Trying to be a responsible therapy dog and keep things in order around here can sometimes be exhausting. For the last week I have had to address a new critter in our back yard, take care of Doc and work. I won’t lie, I am feeling stressed.

The first thing that happened was after Doc and I got home from work on Wednesday. I noticed that her energy was faltering. By Friday morning, it was apparent to me that she was sick, but Doc stayed in denial and pushed herself through the rest of the day. Luckily we were working from home, but in the afternoon I told Doc she needed to practice what she preached to others and see a doctor. Surprise, surprise, she must have been feeling bad, because she listened and made an appointment for Saturday morning. Luckily it was nothing serious. She actually came home and got in bed to rest like the doctor ordered and I was happy to stay right beside her. I know it comforts her, and Doc taught me we should take care of those we love.

On Sunday afternoon, she was starting to feel better and since it was a beautiful and warm October day, we decided to hang out on the back porch and relax. I had found a nice spot in the shade where I could watch the kids next door playing soccer, when I suddenly heard the faint sound of rustling leaves under the pine trees. I didn’t think too much of it until this little fury critter came shooting across the lawn like a cannon ball and almost ran me over. The nerve! Startled, I got up as fast as I could and flew over to the flower bed to investigate, but it had already gone down a hole in the ground that went under a large statue of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. I guess the little thing thought it needed a miracle to stay safe. I looked up at Doc who was chuckling at me. ” We’ve got ourselves a chipmunk, and it’s way too fast for you to catch Grover. ” she said with a wink. Well, I have to admit, that kind of ticked me off, so I decided to set up a stakeout right on top of the hole. No chipmunk was going to outsmart me in my own yard. So I sat and I sat until it started to turn dusk and Doc called me in for supper. And don’t you know it, just as I was going up the stairs to the back porch that little sucker poked it’s head out of the whole to see if the coast was clear and then ran back across the yard. “Curses, foiled again!” I mumbled under my breath. Too tired to give it any more energy, I relented and came inside.

I must have looked defeated because Doc said to me, ” Let it go Grover, it’s ok. Sometimes life can be filled with challenges that can leave us feeling tired and frustrated. This has been a stressful week for both of us, but especially you, because you have been trying to take care of everyone, including me and now It’s time for you to take some time for yourself. ” she said softly. She was right as usual, and so I gave in to the weariness that was taking over. I curled up on my blanket next to Doc’s chest, took a deep breath and focused on the beat of her heart until I fell fast asleep.

Therapy Dog Goes Out On Tour

Doc said she was shocked by the call, but I wasn’t. I knew it was only a matter of time that one of the major rock bands of all time, The Rolling Stones would need my therapy dog services. After all, life on tour can be stressful.

On Monday morning we packed our bags to make the three hour drive to Pittsburg. It was the next stop on their tour and the closest to where we live. As we got closer to the city even Doc got excited because they had been nice enough to give us tickets to their show that night. It wasn’t long after we checked into the hotel that we traveled over to the stadium where they were playing and met them in some huge trailers out back that doubled as their dressing rooms. They had just finished sound checks and were relaxing so our timing was perfect.

After introductions, Doc excused herself so that they could have some privacy. Now you may wonder why people that are famous and rich need a therapy dog? Let me tell you a secret, neither wealth nor money can protect you from problems or life’s tragedies and these blokes are no different. They told me they were still grieving the recent death of their band mate and friend Charlie. Nothing levels the playing field in life like grief. I sat quietly and leaned into whomever needed me the most and just listened. I think the biggest gift you can give another is to just sit with someone and be present. After spending about an hour with them they said they were feeling much better after being able to open up and talk things over. I offered to go on the rest of their tour with them, but Doc nixed that in a hurry and reminded me that I already have a responsibility to my patients at home. So we said our farewell’s and waited for the concert to start.

It was almost 9pm, way past Doc and my bed time when they hit the stage. The announcer woke me up when he said “Ladies and gentlemen, The Rolling Stones.” The crowd went wild, I sat up so I could see better and watch them run out on to the stage. I have to hand it to that Mr. Mick Jagger, he is certainly spy for his age. He kept running down this long stage for no apparent reason other than the fans liked it. I don’t run that much or that far unless I am chasing a tennis ball. Oh well, to each his own, it was still fun to watch and everybody enjoyed themselves.

Its always good when you can escape from your daily grind sometime and music can certainly help to heal a lot. When I think about it The Rolling Stones and I are both in the same kind of work because we help people to feel better.

The next morning we got in the car for the ride home and I told Doc that although I had a lot of fun and was glad I could help, I was looking forward to getting home. I guess everyone has a direction in life they are suppose to follow if they listen to that inner voice calling them. Doc and I were led to each other and the work we do and all of you have a unique path as well. No matter how old you are or what rode blocks you have had to encounter, I hope you follow that voice. I know I am.