Scandals and Stories from the Lake

As soon as we finished breakfast on Saturday morning, I was surprised when Doc told me to pack my dog bed and my tennis ball as we were going up to Lake Erie for an overnight. I was so excited I almost tripped over my own paws trying to get ready. “Yippy skippy!” I said out loud. There is nothing better than a surprise road trip and this road trip ended up being filled with both fun and some scandalous surprises.

Doc must have packed last night after I was asleep because when I got in the car, her bag was already in there along with my food, treats and dog bowls. She can be the sly one sometimes when she’s trying to surprise me. It’s a little over a two hour drive and the traffic was heavy on the way. I guess lots of people were going to the lake. I like to lay in the back and look out the window at the scenery. After we get out of the city its very rural and I like to see all the corn and soybeans planted in neat rows. I also like passing through the small little towns along the way and imagine how my life would be different living in one of those places. It appears that life goes at a much slower pace and everyone looks so friendly, but I was about to find out that how things appear and how they really are can be two very different things.

I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I heard was Doc saying we had stopped for a bathroom break and to get a snack. It just so happened that the place we stopped was a town called Bucyrus. The population is about 11,000 people compared to where we live, with a population of 1 million. Lets just say it’s still small enough for people to know each others business. Now Doc and I were just sitting outside at a table minding our own business when we could not help but overhear the people at the table next to us talking loudly and debating about some town scandal involving the Bratwurst Queen. Apparently she had been forced to turn in her crown. Well that perked up our ears. Who doesn’t like a good tale about royalty and their troubles? In a nutshell from what we overheard, the 2021 Bratwurst Festival Queen engaged in some behavior that were deemed to be unfitting and she was removed from her throne 10 days before the start of the 2022 Festival. Quite the scandal according to the conversation we overheard. Now everyone in town has their dirndl in a bunch with their own opinion on the matter. The conversation was getting heated, so Doc and I decided to finish our snack and take off down the road.

In about an hour we arrived at the lake and it was nothing but pure peace. We got to spend some time with Doc’s friends, I met some nice dogs to play with and we slept in late. In the afternoon we went down to the lakefront Pavilion and listened to live musicians perform as we watched the boats go by. We stayed long enough to see the rays of a beautiful sunset shimmer across the water. The time went by so fast, that before we knew it, it was Sunday afternoon and time to go home. Doc and I always feel a bit melancholy to leave this special place.

On the ride home I mentioned to Doc that although I had had fun, this had also been a learning experience for me. ” How so? ” Doc asked. “Well you think big cities are the only ones where people have problems but I guess it can happen anywhere. Humans certainly have strong opinion’s about all types of subjects. ” I said. ” Ya think? ” Doc responded. We were so relaxed from the lake that on the way home we decided the only place we would stop was the fruit stand to buy some fresh peaches. We drove right through Bucyrus without stopping to avoid hearing any more angry debates. But I do admit that I am curious as to how this whole Bratwurst Queen scandal will play out. Even a dog likes in on the gossip every once in awhile.

Are Dogs Smarter than Humans?

Photo by Angela Kirk

Dogs are not known to be deep thinkers by the human race, but you might be surprised by what we observe and comprehend. After all, we have learned to evolve, adapt and get humans to take care of us for over 30,000 years. The biggest difference that I have observed between humans and all other species on earth, is that humans are the only ones that will follow an unstable and unbalanced leader. Now if that doesn’t get you to start questioning dogs good instincts, I don’t know what will.

In the dog pack, if we followed an unstable pack leader, it could place us in harms way. We also don’t like the energy of instability. Mother Nature has blessed us with instinct and we are not fooled by angry, frustrated, jealous or unstable energy. If you have ever observed how dogs react to an unstable dog you would see our instant reaction. We will first try to correct the instability and if that doesn’t work we will move away. If you ever observed a group of dogs at a dog park and how they react when a dog with unstable energy enters their space you will know just what I am talking about. Doc told me that even she has observed how dogs react. One day we were at the park and a dog and it’s human entered the space. The human had brought a ball and when she threw it to her dog of course all of us tried to join in on the fun. The only problem is that the human got mad because other dogs were chasing “her” dogs ball and she started yelling at the other dogs to stop. Her dog, mirroring back the human’s energy, started growling at the other dogs. Well the rest of us decided in a hot minute to move away from the instability of both the human and her dog. Doc said it was fascinating for her to watch how they were shunned by the pack.

So why do you humans follow unstable leaders? Both Doc and I have some theories that include the fact that humans will rationalize other peoples behavior and dogs do not. A dog’s theory is “what you see is what you get”, we don’t make excuses for dogs irrational behaviors. We could go on and on about the why’s but lets just look at the facts. Good pack leaders promote unity rather than divide , they lead the pack by making things better and have good boundaries to help keep the pack safe. The main focus is always what are the best choices for the pack, that’s what a good leader does.

Everyday, Doc works hard at being a good pack leader. It helps to keep me safe and calm because I know the expectations. In turn I watch out for her as well, it’s why we make a good team. So now you know why dogs have evolved and survived next to humans for over 30,000 years. So what do you think, are dogs smarter than humans?

The Importance of Taking Time Off

Photo by Angela Kirk

After the Ohio State Fair closed down and the work week was completed, Doc and I decided to take some much needed vacation time. After all, life should never be just about work.

The first week we just kind of slept in and laid around like a couple of billionaires that didn’t have to do a thing for themselves but that started getting old, so one morning Doc woke up and announced that she was going to take a trip up to Lake Erie to one of the islands. Well, I thought that was a great until she told me that I would have to stay home. I can’t lie, I was a little miffed about that because I like going up to the lake but I did feel better after I found out that I would have nephew Cole as my babysitter.

The day before she left, Cole came over to go over the very important instructions on how to take care of me. Being a famous Facebook and Blogging pooch I have specific needs as you all know and I don’t like any deviation from my schedule. I knew Cole would do a good job. I have know him since he was only ten years old and now he is a huge nineteen year old man that plays football for the local college. Since I heard him tell Doc that football practice had started, I was hoping he would take me to practice and I could chase the football around but it being so hot and humid out, that idea got nixed very quickly.

Early the next morning Doc woke me up as she needed to leave the house and catch a luxury bus that would take her to the lake. It wasn’t too much longer before Cole arrived and took such good care of me while Doc was gone that I hardly even missed her. Then late one night while I was sound asleep in the middle of Doc’s bed I heard the door open from the garage. ” On no,!” I thought to myself, is it a “burglar?” I carefully peered around the corner and there was Doc looking at me and smiling. ” I brought you something Grover”, she said and there in a bag was a tasty dog treat just to prove she had not forgotten me. As we caught up on what we had done while we were apart we both agreed that the time away and pursing our own adventures was important for our mental health.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day after day so it’s good to shake things up every once in awhile and try something new. So it was a shock on Monday morning when that alarm went off a 4:45am and Doc said ” Time to get up Grover and get ready for work, the bills aren’t going to pay themselves.” I rolled over, yawned and asked Doc ” Just five more minutes?” but to no avail, our vacation time was over.

Things That Make You Say “Moo”

Working at the Ohio State Fair last Friday was great! I met lots of nice people that gave me pats, hugs and told Doc what a good boy I am. Going to any state fair exposes you to new and interesting things that I never see in the suburbs where I live with Doc. But isn’t life suppose to be about having new experiences? Well, I packed in quite a few in just two hours of work, including meeting a new and strange looking friend named Clarissa.

Since we work across the street from the main entrance of the fair it was easy enough just to walk over to the building we were working in that day. It was already 11am by the time we were done seeing some patients and there was already a line of families waiting to go through the gates. When it was our turn we had to go through security. Luckily neither Doc nor I set off any alarms and we proceeded through without incident.

The first strange thing we passed were a bunch of squawking chickens and roosters crowing at the top of their lungs. I have to say they sure don’t smell very good and glad I don’t live next to any of them at our house. Some of them do have some magnificent looking feathers, so they have that going for them, along with supplying the eggs I like to eat on Saturday mornings. Next we walked by Mrs. Houdini’s place where she lives in a travel trailer and has a big stage she performs on. We never did see her. She must sleep late. I am sure it’s exhausting trying to free herself from the big chains they lock her in under water. I would need a lot of rest too if I had to do that for a living every day.

After walking past the fair rides on the midway and some of those food stands that have all the great smelling fried food, we finally made it to our destination. Not long after getting to our booth, people started coming over to see me. Now I don’t want to brag, but I was a big hit, especially with the children. One little girl came over and talked to Doc while she hugged me and told us all about her prize pig that she was showing in the afternoon. She was only about 8 years old and was so excited about her pig and being at the fair that she gave both Doc and I a laugh. We wished her good luck as she left with her parents.

In the time I was there I met people of all ages and from every walk of life. As always, me being there gave Doc the chance to talk to everyone about addiction and mental illness in a relaxed environment. I am always happy to help spread the message.

After about two hours, I was zonked, so Doc said it was time to take me home, but on the way out we made one more stop. It just so happened that where we were working was next to the cow barn. I smelled her before I saw her. As we approached I saw this very large brown animal and didn’t know if it was some strange looking oversized dog or what it was. As we got closer she came over to the railing and made a quiet mooing sound to acknowledge me and as not to be rude, I responded with a very quiet bark. We just stood there for awhile staring at each other. She acted like she had never seen a dog before so I finally went into a downward dog position to let her know I came in peace. After that she looked more relaxed. Her name was Clarissa and she said she was about 5 years old and lives on a dairy farm near Mechanicsburg, Ohio. She is taking an a vacation with her family at the fair and is also enjoying meeting all the people that stop by to see her and even get a chance to milk her. I found that impressive!

So as you see, animals provide a vital service not only in life but to educate people at the fair that may never have a chance to be around farm animals or even therapy dogs like me. It was so much fun to be there, but when we got home, this puppy was pooped and I slept and slept for the rest of the day dreaming about cows and deep fried bacon on a stick. What an adventure!