Snow Day!

The weather may be frightful, but I am feeling delightful because we are getting more snow! Something interesting happens when there is a prediction of a big snow event, the kids get happy and the adults start to grumble. As for me and Doc, we just go with the flow.

The snow was mixed with rain when we left for work at 5:15am this morning. Despite the catastrophic predictions from all the locale weather news meteorologists, the drive was pretty uneventful.

I know all the kids in the neighborhood were happy when they work up to find out that all the schools were closed. Doc told me she loved snow days when she was a kid because it meant a whole day of sledding and building snowmen with her friends in the neighborhood. She told me a story about a big hill very close to her house that she and her friends had named the Double Dipper because you would go down the hill, hit a bump, fly up in the air and then land back on the hill. You then picked up so much speed you felt like you were going faster than the speed of light. Over and over they would go up and down that hill until they were all so wet and tired that Doc’s dad would come outside and give a loud shrill whistle for them all to come back inside to get warm.

I am happy we are getting more snow because when I get home from work today, I can supervise while the neighborhood children play. The other day they built some impressive snow men and igloos when I wasn’t looking. In the dark, when Doc let me out before bed, those strange things emerging from the earth startled me to the point that I growled and barked to alert everyone of the impending danger that Sasquatch may have set up camp on our street. The next day, Doc took me over so I could see that the snow figures weren’t real. Boy that was a relief!

So, everyone getting hit by the snow storm today, stay safe and warm. All of you living in the warmer states can be thankful you don’t have to deal with the cold and the snow.

The Guru of Goodness

Mastering the art of rest and relaxation is not a problem for me, but lately I have taken it to a whole new level with Doc’s help.

It is only 6am in the morning at work. Doc and one other counselor are the only one’s in our building this morning and it is so quiet you could hear a mouse pass gas. A good time to focus and be creative without distractions. It’s still pitch black outside our window and Doc is working on what we will do in Stress Management group today. She starts out by reviewing a 5 minute meditation and the lady’s voice is so calming it puts me right to sleep. I even notice Doc’s body relaxing down into her office chair. Next she reviews different background music to be played during our breathing and meditation exercises. After listening to that for about a minute, I get so relaxed I fall right to sleep until about 7am when the hustle and bustle starts in the building. I awake to see our first patient entering the room. When he sees me snoozing, he says to Doc that it must be nice to be able to sleep on the job. ” I am just trying to be a good role model of Zen behavior.” I think to myself. Peace, oneness and enlightenment are my moto as of late.

I remain in this relaxed state for awhile, but as the day progresses and more is asked of me, it gets harder. That’s always that challenge of any change we are trying to make, trying to stick to it for the long haul. But you know what they say, “practice makes perfect.”

When we get to group, we do our deep breathing exercise and I go into my peaceful energy again. I get lots of pets and hugs from the patients and that helps me to feel special. They look to me for unconditional acceptance and support. Yes, it can be a burden to be the Guru of goodness, but it is a burden I am happy to accept.

Planting Seeds and Learning Patience

Although I love being a therapy dog, sometimes I wonder how much of a difference I am making. After all, I am just a dog and I don’t really understand the level of human pain that many of the people we see have experienced. On the days that I have my doubts, Doc reminds me not to get discouraged because recovering from anything is a process and it takes time for people to heal and our work is really about planting seeds.

Being present, building trust, offering emotional support, and accepting someone unconditionally are all seeds that help someone to grow, Doc says. “They are the fertile soil that allow people to feel safe enough to bloom. Change doesn’t happen overnight. ” Doc reminded me. ” Be patient Grover.”

Well that’s easy for her to say. I think it’s hard to be patient. Why, just this morning at work, Doc was talking to a co-worker and not paying attention to my needs, I first tried whining to get her attention and when that didn’t work, I admit that I got a bit miffed and barked loud enough that everyone heard me. I know I am not suppose to bark during work but heck, she wasn’t listening. She quietly turned to me, patted me on the head and said, ” Stay calm, I promise I will help you in a minute. And when she was done talking, that is exactly what she did. In that brief encounter, she reinforced that seed of trust reminding me that some seeds need extra fertilization in order to grow.

After giving all of this some thought, I have come to the conclusion that as I therapy dog I am planting seeds as well. Seeds of joy, love and light that can be passed on and on, making a difference in more than just the one person I showed up to help in that moment. It can take time to see the fruits of your labor. I just need to be more patient.

The days you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Be patient and stay the course.” -Fabienne Fredrickson

Throw Out the Old

And in the blink of an eye, the clock struck twelve and 2023 was upon us. Another transition of letting go of one year and embracing the new one.

Humans make a big deal out of it, but it’s just another day for this dog. I know you are suppose to re evaluate your life and make some resolutions to do better, but I can’t see that I need to change anything, I am fine with the way things are. Now Doc on the other hand, did decide to make some changes specifically to reduce her stress level. She has started to take time in the morning and at night to meditate. Just last night when she was listening to her guided meditation, I got so relaxed I fell asleep and started snoring right next to her, interrupting her concentration for a moment. I also got so relaxed I started farting and Doc told me that was too much, so I had to go to another room until she was done. Now what do you think about that?

Since Doc and I took some time off over the holidays, it was quit a shock to me when Doc woke me up on Tuesday morning at 5:15 am to get up for work. When she leaned down to touch me to see if I was awake, I swatted her hand away with my paw so she would leave me alone. I had gotten use to sleeping in for the past ten days and wasn’t ready to get up so early again.

It’s kind of a let down after the holidays. The relatives and the leftovers are gone, the packages have all been opened and the Christmas music is done. On Monday, when Doc went outside to take down the Christmas lights, I felt kind of sad, especially when she came in and took down the tree. A reminder that another season has ended.

Life is full of transitions. When one is over, we make way for the next one. Some can be more difficult than others, but it is good to keep in mind that transitions can offer an opportunity for discovery.

So, Happy New Year! Here’s is hoping that all your transitions are positive ones.