The Gift

Don’t you just love it when the doorbell rings and someone that is special to you is standing at your front door? Well Sunday afternoon was a double surprise when two of my favorite former co-workers came over for Sunday supper. Doc hadn’t told me they were coming over or I would have combed out my beard and eyebrows so I would have looked more presentable, but they didn’t seem to mind my scruffy appearance. The good thing is that old friends don’t care and I was so happy to see them that I could hardly contain myself. Preoccupied, I didn’t even notice the pretty box with the blue bow until it was handed to Doc. Thinking it was for her I was surprised when I found out it was for little old me.

No one has ever brought me a present that was wrapped up so beautifully. I have to say I was quite touched and also curious to find out what was inside. Doc placed it down on the stool so I could get close to it and sniff it. It took me two seconds to realize there was something very tasty inside and I could hardly stand the wait as Doc helped me to untie the bow and open the box. Inside were the most magnificent treats that I have ever seen. They also tasted as good as they smelled. Being thankful, I went over to my friend, sat right next to her and gave her a lick on the hand so she would know how much I appreciated the gesture.

The next day I was still thinking about how nice it was that my friend took the time to think of me and made the effort to bring me something I would really enjoy. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with rushing through our lives we forget how the simplest of gestures can brighten someone’s day. Doc once read me a quote from writer Richard Bach that says; ” Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” Here’s hoping that all of you reading this blog today feel appreciated by someone special in your life and more importantly that you appreciate yourselves.

Good Things Can Come In Small Packages

It was a lazy Sunday and I was looking out the front window when I was surprised to see Doc’s niece, Sami arrive. I had not seen her since Christmas and I was so overjoyed that she had come to visit, that I met her at the front door. I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even notice that she was holding a tiny fur object in her arms until Doc let out a sigh of delight. Even then I didn’t understand what she was looking at until she took the fur ball from Sami, sat down, put it in her lap and it started moving. Then I became very curious.

Trying to figure out what this little creature was took all of my sniffing power. The poor thing was smaller than my bunny friends that come into the back yard. Finally Doc said to me, ” Grover, its a puppy, now be careful, its just a baby.” When Sami told Doc that it now weighed 2 pounds at the age of three months, I was kind of shocked. I weigh 82 pounds. I probably already weighed two pounds at birth. How was it possible that a dog could be this small? I started feeling skeptical and wondered if it was really a dog. Every time I went near this so-called puppy that was named Twyla, it started to shake. I realized I must look like a giant to her so I was extra gentle. Finally Doc sat down on the floor so I could get a closer look. I tried to engage her by going into the play stance so she would know I was friendly, but when I did that she just crawled back between Doc’s legs and hid. ” What’s wrong with this puppy? ” I asked Doc. “She acts like she doesn’t even understand how dogs communicate. This dog seems broken, if you ask me and frankly she is so boring that I don’t want to play with her.” And with that I went over to my dog bed to lay down.

It was when Doc asked me to come with her into the other room that I knew she was not pleased with what I had just said. ” Grover, we will be kind to every creature that comes into this house. What you didn’t know was that Twyla was born with some joint issues in her legs and will have to have surgery when she is fully grown, so she can’t do all the things regular puppies do right now. I think it would be nice if you acted like a big brother to her and helped her to feel more comfortable around dogs. You could act as her teacher.” As usual Doc was right and I felt bad for not being more patient and understanding. I liked the idea of being Twyla’s teacher. I could teach her all the important dog things that she will need to know, like how to manipulate humans into giving you extra treats.

After I went back out into the family room I approached Twyla and ever so gently gave her a lick on her nose. This seemed to make her feel safe enough that when I laid down on the floor, she came over and cuddled next to me and we stayed that way until it was time for Sami and Twyla to leave.

Later, when I was thinking about the visit with Twyla, I told Doc that I was glad that she let me know that she had some medical problems. ” I never would have know by just looking at her. ” I told Doc. ” Sometimes you just don’t know what a human or a dog could be dealing with.” Doc responded. Because Twyla is a toy breed she will never be bigger that about 5 pounds, so I decided that whenever she is around me I will not only be patient, but protect her. After all, she is family and that’s what family should do.

So Glad You Are My Neighbor

Sometimes Doc and I watch old reruns of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on PBS. It is both comforting and reminds us the importance of being a good neighbor. I once heard him say ” Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered , as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person. ” Doc and I are lucky in that we have very kind neighbors that watch out for us. A perfect example of this was during the recent ice and snow storm that we had last week when the smallest of our neighbors showed up to lend a hand.

For those of you that experienced the storm that stretched over 1,000 miles last week then you know we were pounded with rain that turned to ice and then was followed by 7 inches of snow in our area. This lasted for almost two days. Luckily, we did not loose power and Doc and I were able to work remotely on Thursday and Friday so we were safe and warm, but that still left us with a dilemma. How on earth would we get down the driveway and the the snow covered road to the pet store? I was getting low on dog treats to the point that I was starting to panic. This could become an emergency. Luckily, just when I though I would have to hitch myself to a sled and pull Doc to the store, I heard the sweet sound of the city snow plow coming down the road and soon after the musical hum of the neighbors snow blower in our driveway. Hallelujah! I know Doc was relieved because that snow would have been tough to remove with just the snow shovel.

Now that we knew that the road was clear, Doc started getting ready to go to the store. While waiting for her, I suddenly heard the sound of some children giggling outside in the front of our house, so I did a low bark to alert Doc. “Who’s out there Grover? ” she asked while going toward the front door. When she opened the door there were the three children from next door. With three shovels in hand they were diligently chipping away at the ice and snow on the front walk and the steps, laughing like this was the most fun they could have on their snow day off from school. ” Oh my, ” Doc said with surprise. ” How nice of you to shovel everything, that really helps me out. I guess your hard work calls for some home made chocolate chip cookies.” They all nodded in agreement and told Doc they were happy to help and would love some of her cookies.

Later on, when Doc remarked to the children’s father how nice it was that his kids had shoveled the walk, she was surprised by his reply. ” Well of course they should do that, you are our neighbor.” And there you go, this is a perfect example of how children learn by example and how teaching them the importance of helping others when they are young will leave a lifetime impression.

Later on in the evening after we got home from the store and I was enjoying one of my dog treats by the fire and I thought about Mr. Rogers again. What happened today was just the kind of thing that he thought was important, caring for your neighbor. In fact, Doc says that we should act neighborly to everyone because we are all connected in some way. There are ample opportunities that present themselves everyday where we can lend a hand or say a kind word to someone. Not only will you be helping someone but it will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. After all, kindness is contagious. So pass it on.

Everyone Has Their Secrets

On Monday, after working from home for a few hours, Doc abruptly announced that she was leaving to go to the office. I was more than surprised when she told me that I needed to stay home because she was going to a CPR class and also needed to meet with Human Resources to have her annual background check completed that included fingerprinting. Honestly I was a bit miffed that I could not go with her. I even tried to persuade her by telling Doc that I had just seen a video of a dog on TikTok doing CPR and that I needed certified in case of an emergency, but she just shook her head and walked out the door. Later on when she returned and told me what happened while she was giving her background check, I have to admit that I became a little bit suspicious and was glad that I stayed home. No one wants to be thought of as guilty through association.

Doc said she went to give her background check like she had done every year and everything went normally until it was time to give her fingerprints. She had to place her fingers and thumbs on a screen that was suppose to scan and take a picture, but for some reason Doc’s finger prints would not register correctly. The head of HR tired everything but nothing worked, so she was sent off to her class and told to come back when she was done to try again. After class they repeated the procedure and just like Groundhog day, the same thing happened again. What I found strange about the story was that everyone else was able to give their fingerprints successfully. Feeling frustrated, they told her to go home and they would try another time if needed.

Now if you watch crime shows like I do then you know that any good detective would think something nefarious might be going on, so just like the cops on CSI I started my own investigation. After all, even though I didn’t want to believe it, Doc could be living a secret life or trying to hide something in her past. I see this all the time on Dateline and nobody suspects a thing, As her dog and co-worker I decided right then and there that I was not going to be seen as some poor naive family member that tells the reporter on camera that they never suspected a thing. I also happened to know that her DNA results showed that she is related to Jessie James, and you know what they say about apples not falling far from the tree.

Since I have some connections myself, I decided to start with the head of security where we work. He also happens to be a special duty Columbus police officer. It was easy for me to talk to officer Joe alone without alerting Doc’s suspicions, so bright and early this morning I approached him and told him about my concerns. Officer Joe turned to me with a glint in his eye and said very quietly, ” Well Grover, there are a few things she could be doing if she is trying to hide her past. ” Like what ?” I asked as I leaned in closer. “She could have hacked into the system prior to arriving, to circumvent the scanner or she could have had her fingerprints surgically altered so that they would not scan correctly.” He said with authority. My mind starting racing and my imagination kicked into high gear trying to imagine what double life she has been leading over the past few years. I must have looked both scared and concerned as Officer Joe burst out laughing. ” Are you kidding me Grover? Do you actually think Doc is hiding a secret life?” ” Well when you say it out loud it does sound kind of far fetched.” I said feeling relieved. “Grover you need to stop watching all those crime shows, its making you kind of paranoid. Now isn’t it time for you to go help Doc with Stress Management group?” He asked. So off I went.

I know all of you must be thinking that I have an overactive imagination but like Patricia McKillip once said, “Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps. It must be fed; it cannot be ignored.”