Live, From The Ohio State Fair

Doc told me that this morning she received an email that invited me to make a personal appearance at The Ohio State Fair this Friday. Now this isn’t just any rinky dink county fair, this is the big one for the whole state. After getting over the shock, I was curious to find out why I was being asked to appear. Because Doc was busy seeing patients and could not talk to me about it immediately I started coming up with my own ideas.

I had heard that Willie Nelson was performing there and wondered if they needed me to sing a duet with him. He probably found out that I have perfect pitch when I howl along to his songs and thought I would be an asset to his act. Or maybe I will be assisting the ” Daredevil Escapologist, Lady Houdini” in case she gets trapped and needs me to jump in the tank of water where she is chained and drag her out to safety. Boy wouldn’t that get me on the evening news! Or I could be a judge at the pig races. Being friends all these years with Cupcake the pig would probably qualify me as an expert judge. It could be one of many reasons and I was excited to find out.

After work, Doc told me that I had been asked by our employer if I could make an appearance at the booth we will have at the fair. She said our agency will be there to promote awareness about our organization, hand out information about addiction, recovery and mental health and answer questions. Since I am the therapy dog extraordinaire I guess they figured no fair booth would be complete without me. Of course I told Doc I would be happy to oblige on one condition, that I get to try the deep fried cheese or deep fried pickles I keep hearing about. ” Absolutely not!” she said. “Don’t you remember that you just got out of the hospital a month ago because of gastrointestinal issues? I am not going through that with you again. ” Well, I said with a glint in my eye, how about you take me over to the Dairy building and let me lick the cow carved out of butter?” Even Doc had to laugh at the thought of me doing that.

So no solo with Willie, but I will be happy to cheer up some fair goers on Friday and I will let you know what happened. You never know what kind of adventure I might get into at the fair.

Getting Older and Wiser

Grover at 6 Weeks Old

This Friday will be my tenth birthday, an old man in dog years. I hear most older humans say they don’t feel as old in their head as their chronological age says they are and I agree. I still feel like I am five. Except for my recent health issues that I am now fully healed from, I am still as spry as a young puppy, as long as I take the occasional nap.

Over the past few weeks I have heard some whispers about a surprise birthday party during this morning’s group therapy session. I hope it’s true. I love a good party, don’t you? The mile stones in our lives should be celebrated with the people we care about. The favorite part of my birthday besides dog treats and new toys is when Doc and the patients that have known me since I started work as a therapy dog, tell stories about me when I started my training and coming to work as a puppy. I especially like it when Doc reminds me of the day that she picked me up from the Black’s farm and brought me home. Out of all my seven brothers and sisters in the litter, Doc chose me. I often think how lucky I am to hear that I was loved from the very beginning of my life as I am aware that is not true for everyone. It’s always good to count your blessings.

The one piece of advice that I would pass on to you in my advanced age is to keep doing the things you love no matter how old you are. I often hear people use the excuse that they are too old to do this or that. Pashaw! If you want to be happy in life, stay interested, busy, curious, keep moving, set new goals and spend time sharing what you have learned with others. I plan on working as a therapy dog for the rest of my years on earth and of course I have to watch out for Doc. I will tell you a secret, she thinks she watches over me but I actually take care of her, a full time job.

So today I will act surprised when I go into the group room this morning when everyone wishes me a Happy Birthday! Then I still have Friday to look forward to, my actual birthday. I sure hope Doc gets me a pup cup from Dairy Queen. That would make my birthday perfect.

You’ve Kept Me in Stiches

There was never a time in my life that I thought that I would actually look forward to a medical procedure but I am really happy about the one I am having today. This afternoon after work, I will go to veterinarians office to have the stiches removed from my surgery sites. It’s time to move forward from all of my medical problems and enjoy all that summer has to offer.

So, good riddance to the tee shirts I have had to wear 24/7 to keep my sutures clean. I am more than ready to embrace my naked fir coat again. Now I can go on walks in the neighborhood without other dogs giving me the side eye because they wonder what I am wearing and why. The humans that we encounter show empathy after Doc tells them my medical story of whoa, but not the dogs. They are ruff in there remarks and let me tell you some of these fancy coifed Doodles on my street are just plain snobby and make judgements about my appearance because I am not wearing a designer tee shirt. So rude! You just never know what someone is going through.

For example, yesterday we got to work at about 5:45am. Doc opened the door of the building and the alarm started going off. She does not have a code to shut it off, so we hurriedly went in the office and contacted administration before the police showed up. It would just be our luck to get arrested trying to come to work on time. Wouldn’t that make a good story? Anyway the alarm was disarmed quickly but it put us a bit behind on our schedule. I could tell Doc was a little stressed because she was running late. Doc is usually pretty good about redirecting herself, but I could tell she was having to push herself to get to her patients on time. As a result, she started trying to rush me around and I don’t like that one bit, especially when I am trying to use the bathroom. i don’t know about you, but I need some peace and quiet. Now, if someone was observing from the outside it might look like some pushy woman trying to boss her dog around, but that wasn’t the whole story now was it?

All of this makes me reflect on the importance for all of us to find out the facts and not just make assumptions.

When You Are Labeled A Non-Compliant Patient

It is Tuesday evening as I write this and it has been one week since I had my surgery. In less than a week, I have earned the label of being a non-complaint patient by Doc and the veterinarian. For someone that screams about not labeling others Doc sure slapped that one on me quickly, even though I did kind of deserve it.

It all started in the early hours of Saturday morning. Doc was still in her PJ’s and getting ready to sit down to a leisurely breakfast of eggs and bacon. I had already eaten my breakfast but I was sitting next to Doc just in case she dropped something on the floor. Before she started eating, she decided to get up to get a cup of coffee, I moved out of her way as she went into the kitchen. On her way back to the table I saw her look down on the floor and I could tell she was trying to make sense of what she was seeing. Her face turned ashen as she realized that she was seeing bright red drops of blood that had left a trail from the kitchen floor into the family room and on to the back door. She would later describe it as looking like something out of a murder scene. Now Doc is not one to panic, but I could see she was trying hard not to for my sake, when I heard the fear in her voice. ” Grover, come here! ” As she lifted up my head and looked at the surgical site, there was blood oozing out between the stiches. First she grabbed a paper towel but it soaked right through it, next she tried a ABD gauze pad and the blood soaked through that as well, but remembering her first aide training she applied a little pressure and it soon stopped. She placed a large bandage over it and then called the veterinarians office. Since the bleeding had subsided they gave us a 9:30am appointment.

I can’t lie, when we got to the office and Dr. Ritchie came in to examine me I started shaking. I had been through so much medical stuff lately that I was worried they were going to have to stich me up again. Seeing I was upset Dr. Richey got down on the floor along with the nice vet tech and they gave me a pats, talked to me and gave me treats until I calmed down. Dr. Ritchie looked at the surgical site, said it looked fine and that the stiches were still in place. Both Doc and I gave a big sigh of relief and that is when Doc turned on me, telling them I was being non-compliant and that my antics are probably what caused the bleeding. In my defense, I’m a dog for goodness sake and don’t know how I can be expected to sit around like I’m old and decrepit. But that is just what they expect, so I had to sit there and listen to them plot and plan what I would call a very unrealistic and boring recovery plan. When we got back in the car, Doc said to me ” Grover you can either follow what the doctor said or you will have to get stiches again, it’s up to you. You are making me a nervous wreck. You know Grover, the choices you make with your health and recovery don’t just affect you, they also affect everyone that loves you.” she said with firmness. We drove the rest of the way home in silence.

Now that was a guilt trip I had not planned to take so early in the morning, but she was right. It’s not just about me. So as hard as it might be to believe, this stubborn dog has been doing what I am suppose to do. I only tried to do “zoomies” around the yard once but Doc stopped me dead in my tracks since she supervises everything I do. I still don’t like the stupid tee shirts I have to wear in this 90 degree heat to keep my stiches covered and clean but I only have to put up with everything for one more week until I get my stiches out next Tuesday. Until then I have decided to give up my non-compliant ways, at least for awhile.