Monday Musings ~ December 10, 2018

After posing in front of this neighbor’s blow-up Santa Paws a few days earlier, Sam was somewhat confused when we passed by it over the weekend and it was deflated. He kept sniffing around to see what happened. Maybe he’s worried there may not be presents for him and the Ninja. It took some reassuring but I think he’s okay now. Elsa on the other hand was thrilled as the man in the red suit freaked her out.

Deflated Santa Paws

Hope yours was a fun-filled weekend. We’re off to visit patients again the next few days so I’ll probably be late with comments. Have a good week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 7, 2018

Welcome to Friday where we once again join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for Nature Friday.

When I was in Mexico recently there were such amazing sights I came across, combining the beauty of nature and the artistic nature of man. One day in particular stuck out in my mind-a trip to Old Town. Located across from the iconic crowned Renaissance-style towered church, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a beautiful and colorful plaza where visitors can relax, people watch and listen for the church bells that are rung by the sextants every 30 and 15 minutes prior to each service. Filled with colorful banners mixing traditional Christian and Aztec motifs, there were loads of flowers and plants to provide a charming respite in a busy spot in the cobble stoned enter. Many of the plants I was familiar with, but only as house plants. Seeing them in a garden setting left me in awe.

Mexican Plaza

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
Church as viewed from the plaza

Everywhere it seemed that Bougainvillea were in brilliant bloom throughout the landscape. In Mexico they are known as bugambilia but in my mind they are simply  spectacular. The thorny ornamental vines/bushes/trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers can grown up to 40 feet tall. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. In tropical areas, the popular ornamental plant remains evergreen where rainfall is plentiful all year-long, or deciduous if there is a dry season. In Colorado we only know them as potted plants that beautify our patios during the summer and brought indoors in winter as they are quite frost sensitive. They are frequently seen in natural settings in the southern states. Sometimes referred to as “paper flower,” the bracts are thin and papery. The actual flower is small and usually white; each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts of the bright colours typically associated with the plant. They can be pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. Bougainvillea glabrais sometimes referred to as “paper flower” because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene. The first European to describe these striking plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist who accompanied the French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his circumnavigation voyage of earth and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789. Introduced in Europe in the early 19th century, French and British nurseries did a thriving trade providing specimens to Australia and other faraway lands. There are over 300 varieties of Bougainvillea around the world and many hybrids.

Hope you have a terrific weekend and are able to enjoy your own special spot of nature.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Therapy in Action-Mexican Style

Pirate coffee hutSince returning from Mexico I have been frequently thinking about the impact of pet therapy more than usual. While visiting south of the border, I witnessed first hand the absolute power of pet therapy on a spontaneous walk I took in the vicinity of our resort. My intention was to walk up the main roadway toward where the river flowed out into the bay. I knew from walking along the beach that near the confluence, a number of egret-like birds hung out. I was also told by a local person, crocodiles could also be found upstream. I planned on avoiding the later but hoped I could get some decent shots of the former.

Pirate coffee shopWhen it became clear no good shots of the birds could be had without climbing down a step river bank (umm, no thanks, no photo of a bird was worth a potential encounter with a croc sighting, thank you very much). Instead, serendipity arrived in the form of a little coffee stand in the shape of…a pirate ship. ‘Argh,’ I groaned but quickly realized this little hut and companion playground held potential for a few photo opportunities. The proprietor greeted me (that’s him waving in the first photo) and we exchanged limited greetings, he only spoke Spanish and beyond ‘Hola,’ I could only smile. But I wandered around hoping to catch some locals taking a break when I saw a small boy playing in the playground area, but realized there was something special about this little boy. The boy was chasing and being chased by a small puppy who constantly dashed after this blur of a child, and the two rambunctious dervishes chased and played with each other with pure abandon. After several minutes of watching the scene, a thin slip of a young woman with a beautiful smile waved and came over to chat. She was the boy’s mother and we began a long chat about the two bundles of energy. The puppy was a Pit/Lab mix, about 4-months old which she had obtained for her 4-year old autistic son. She had gotten the dog in hopes of giving her son a companion that he might be aided by the fur companion. She related how owning this little ball of energy had made a significant difference with her son. When I revealed Sam was a therapy dog, she began asking me a jillion questions about training the new addition while repeatedly re-directing the pair away from the busy road.

Mexican therapy dog
A brief  moment of stillness

I barely was able to catch the pair still enough to capture any photos (never did get one of the boy who was either blurry or where he looked away), but in the shot above, the little ‘therapist’ was catching his breath for a few seconds before resuming the chase with his human friend. Watching the two of them and talking with the mom, it really struck me, how often dogs manage to understand their role with their humans. They instinctively seem to know what we need and provide it willingly. The mom, a transplant from Alberta Canada, mentioned that day was to be the last one with the little dog officially. The landlord said no pets and was adamant about the rule. So like mom’s everywhere, she found a solution to comply without moving by paying a nearby neighbor a few dollars a month to care for the dog at night and bring him back to play with her son during the day. I can only hope this solution works well for them, the little boy was clearly attached to his pal and the little pooch was thrilled to have his ‘2-legged puppy’ companion with whom he could romp and play during the day.

I thought about that family when Sam went to West Pines last week. We visited with a number of folks who for a brief few minutes, came out of their shells to twirl their fingers around the soft fur of a loving Knucklehead. One woman in particular sat down and had Sam sit in front of her crossed legs. Her face lit up and her soft voice shared her story about adopting a pair of Potcake dogs (you can read about the breed here) and how much she missed them. I could tell this tender-hearted woman needed a few minutes with Sam and he was more than willing to let her gaze into his eyes and stroke his ears. A fellow resident who was far chattier and extroverted then took his turn with Sam who accommodated him with a totally different energy. I couldn’t help but think of the little Pit/Lab mixed puppy a 1000 miles away chasing the pant legs of a little boy while romping together and then smiling. It was then while I typed this post that I realized Sam had his head pressed against my thigh. Without consciously thinking I reached down and twirled the fur on his ears and he leaned in and then looked up at me. Yes, therapy dogs are the same no matter where they are and I couldn’t be more pleased about that fact.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Think this could this count as a Christmas tree in a pinch? I’m so not ready.

Poodle Art

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 3, 2018

Eep…is it really December?!?! It just doesn’t seem possible, does it? If you were out holiday shopping this weekend, you just might a bit like this. Then again, if you’re like me, you probably feel that way whenever you’re out and about. *Sigh*

Here’s wishing you a great week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 30, 2018

On this last day of November, let’s remember Nature Friday hosted by Rosy and her brothers with some photos from the recent Mexico trip. Today is a cool day in the Mile High so hopefully these images of nature will warm you up like they do me.

For some odd reason pirates are a big thing in PV. Seeing them in the Caribbean makes sense, but here on the Pacific, I just never did find a plausible explanation other than to entertain tourists willing to part with their pesos. The pirate ship in the marina at dusk tried compete with the evening’s sunset with a string of lights and no doubt, lots of libations. Umm, pass. I think I’d rather be mesmerized by Mother Nature’s  sunset, thank you very much.

Pirate Ship

During the daylight hours, it looked like this, making its way across the bay. Shiver me timbers!

Day Pirate Ship

This gorgeous fella decided to crash breakfast just as we were leaving. I literally nearly stepped on him and once I froze, he kept a keen eye out for any quick movement toward him, then hopped into a planter for whatever iguanas normally take-out for breakfast. He was a stunning specimen, nearly 2 feet long from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. Iguana

Spending a couple of days in Old Town, I walked along cobbled streets marveling at the incredible arts scene. On those warm days, palm-lined streets provided much welcomed shade until you could catch the sea breeze to cool off.Old Town

Often during the day, I’d sit on the beach under the palapas people watching. Loads of assorted birds were always present.

Table 10 with Bird

When walking along the beach, I rarely went without some company. These white egrets generally hung out where the river flowed into the bay and were constantly scouring that vicinity for crustaceans.

PV Heron

A full-moon nightscape from the cell phone highlighted the ‘next door neighbors’ crib. They clearly live a tough existence in their ivory towers but man, what views. Moon Over Parador

So no matter where you go, nature beautifully shows itself off in subtle and no-so subtle ways if you just look. Here’s hoping you get out this weekend as you dash about making ready for the holidays and actually witness some of it. It’ll make the dashing part easier to handle. Happy weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ November 28, 2018

Mexican Mural
Mural in the Mercado

Live, love, bark! 🐾

The Dogtor Will See You Now

Sam here. I was told today is Giving Tuesday (whatever just happened to plain old Tuesday?) so I’ll be giving back by making rounds with patients and staff over the new few days. We’ll back toward the end of the week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 26, 2018

We hope your howliday was full of good cheer, the best of tasty noshings and comfortable elastic pants. Did you gobble till you wobbled? Ours was nice and quiet which allowed us to reflect upon all our blessings and being especially grateful for all of you. Hopefully you survived Black Friday. Today is known as Cyber Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend and we invite you to swing by the e-shop.

Enjoy those Thanksgiving dinner leftovers this week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 23, 2018

We’re back to pawticipate in Rosy and the Boy’s Nature Friday and while my vacay was fabulous…it’s always good to come home. Even if there was a 60 degree difference in temperatures. While I love this time of year, I will confess to rather enjoying the balmy warm days on the beach. For those who didn’t  know where I spent the week, I was in sunny Puerto Vallarta ‘staying calm on the fun side of the Wall’ as some of the locals like to refer to it. Not only were the temperatures warm, the locals were too and graciously kind helping our family navigate a different culture and language of which we are not at all fluent. I was touched by their generosity of spirit and kindness.

But back to Nature Friday. Imagine waking up to a view like this every morning on your way to breakfast. What’s not to appreciate, especially given that I left in a snowstorm with temps hovering in the low 20’s? The clear blue skies and water and remarkably clean beaches with people enjoying fun activities in the sun…it was a soul cleansing week. And sunsets that made you ooh and aww with their incredible color.

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving; for our part, we were reflective in our gratitude…for health, happiness, love and fellowship with our family and fur-iends, both the 2 and 4-legged versions and naturally for you, dear reader. It’s days like yesterday where I am reminded just how blessed and fortunate I am. Have a great weekend, savor those left-overs and stay safe if you’re brave enough to actually go out shopping.

Live, love, bark! 🐾