Monthly Archives: October 2017

Reading Leaves

Today is Halloween, a universally celebrated holiday though probably observed more so in the US  than in other countries around the world. It also means Autumn is in full swing north of the Equator. Ahhh…my favorite ‘color’ and time of year. Since dressing up for the day is strictly abhorred by the fur-kids, I’ll try instead to “make sense about the scents” of this time of year before Winter sends us shivering under thick sweaters, coats and gloves. The weather is mild and the sunlight exquisitely golden. The air is crisp in the early mornings filled with earthy fragrant smells, with special scents buried deep in our brain and are often linked to childhood memories. 

Nothing says Autumn like pumpkins and richly hued leaves but bipeds and canines probably have different thoughts about them. Safe to say we probably all agree on the tastiness of pumpkins. I love the beautiful colors and can’t resist crunching leaves beneath my feet. There’s a special embrace in the changing seasons, from scrutinizing all the red, orange and gold colors of leaves to filling one’s olfactory sensors with their heady aroma.

I can’t help but wonder what Sam and Elsa think about Autumn with its earthy scents especially since they revolted about dressing up for Halloween. For me, I’m inspired to do more reflection in the beautiful light. To deeply inhale and savor harvest tastes and smells. For dogs, “making sense out of scents” is probably different.

Sam, of course, completely buries his nose into it. Even more than usual. Our normal walks take anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes, depending on our route and how many stops we make. These days it takes much longer because a certain ‘someone’ feels compelled to investigate each. and. every. single. fallen. leaf. Always the time waster ‘snoopster’ on our walks anyway busily reading pee mail like it’s a best seller, this time of year Sam must be overwhelmed with smells because he’s acting like some sort of psychic, reading tea leaves. Long, deep inhales and contemplative thoughts no doubt fill his pea brain as the leaves “speak” to him. Now if only he could tell me how long each walk is going to take. I swear that dog could inhale the scent completely out of leaves if I’d let him. *Sigh*

Elsa on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be nearly as impressed with falling leaves or their scent. Though I didn’t manage to photograph it as proof, she actually avoids walking on piles, instead preferring to wander on grass surfaces or bare spots on sidewalks, weaving back and forth to avoid as necessary. She’s not much of a sniffer on our walks anyway; she finds that one ‘spot,’  does her business in the same place, and then repeats the procedure on subsequent walks. Her thing leans toward the visual…as in ‘where is that squirrel?’ Her passion is all about checking out the scenery. She is no tassologist psychic and could care less about leaves. Give her a squirrel or rabbit trail though and then she’s all in. Nose down, tail up, weaving back and forth like a well focused hunting dog. No crunching under webbed feet for my girl but at least her antics don’t delay the walks like Sam’s.

Our three-ring circus has different reflections when it comes to Autumn. Mine lean toward the transcendental, Sam gives his inept best tea leaf reading wizard imitation and Elsa…well who can say what exactly goes on between her ears? All I can say for certain is the walks take longer, yet their enjoyment will linger as long as Mother Nature allows it before thrusting us ankle-deep into Winter.

What’s your favorite scent of the season? Happy ‘Howliween.’ 🎃

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Monday Musings ~ October 30, 2017

Greetings. Elsa and Sam here. Mom was looking for some Howliween inspiration and thought this would be fun with left over Easter egg coloring tablets.

We told her if she did that she might as well build this sign while she’s at it. We apparently convinced her of our major Cujo skills and she decided on a ‘simpler’ approach. She’ll be lucky if she gets to brush us now or add a festive collar.

Here’s hoping the week starts off with smiles and treats, not retreats. Happy Monday.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Fab Friday ~ October 27, 2017

Our friend Friday is here…prepare for arrival. All lights are green for having a great weekend.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Here’s hoping the rest of the week goes well for you. It makes for a best host for our friend, Friday.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Hospital work can be hard as well as rewarding

We’ve spent the past several days working at the hospital lately. For my little senior citizen, it’s been a lot of time spreading joy throughout the hospital system. In addition to our actual visits with patients, we’ve been helping the program out by selling the annual calendar for next year which funds our program all year-long. The whole calendar project was grueling work for me as I helped put it together and dealt with the marketing folks who seem to reside on another planet when it comes to design…read inflexible and a printing company less inclined to work on the attendant issues that came up during the printing process. In other words, exhausting. But nothing compared to what poor Sam endures when greeting visitors in the lobby selling them on cold hard floors in the lobby. I often joke about him doing all the work and me just driving him but that really isn’t too far off the mark in all actuality, especially during the sales part.

Sam waits patiently, leash fully taunt waiting for them to buy a calendar stop and say hi as we man the sales table, his tail wagging like crazy at each passing visitor or hospital person. He tosses his head as if he knows each person as if they are some lost friend, looking longingly when they walk past by, without stopping. He turns around and walks back to stand next to me and mans his position with the hopefulness of a true optimist that the next person will stop for a moment. 

Luckily he is rewarded quickly. One of the nurses we visit with from a floor upstairs stops for a long ear scratch and shares lots of ooh’s and ah’s, the equivalent of auditory nirvana for Sam, his tail upright and flitting back and forth like a Swiffer duster hard at work. Sam loves nurses.  They are loving, kind and sweet in his mind and he can’t get enough of them.

As we work the lobby, several people ask if we would come upstairs and visit with the person they are there to see. I diligently take down the room numbers and make notes so we can swing by following our shift selling. It’s clearly gonna be a long day but one that will make lots of people happy.

And then the lottery jackpot falls into our lap. A small toddler about 3 years old walks in. She’s adorably precious with curly blonde hair and wears thick glasses. She’s not much bigger than a minute, and it was touching seeing her eye to eye with Sam. She and her mom are visiting her grandmother. She squeals with delight when she recognizes Sam and rushes over to twirl her fingers through his soft hair. Her mom explains she’s close to being blind in one eye and they are working to strengthen her vision with the glasses. The little girl smiles and coos, Sam is in heaven as he absolutely adores little kids and patiently allows her to pet him ever so gently. She leans in to kiss him to the nose. He wags his tail and looks at me as if to say, “It’s ok, right, mom?” I asked her if she’d like to give Sam a treat and she tells me “oh yes.” Sam has died and gone to heaven. A little kid AND a treat. What could be better than that?

We spent over two hours visiting with folks in the lobby, chatting about our program, showing the calendar to countless people showing them Sam is Mr. May and featured in another photo in the calendar demonstrating what we do. I can see he is tired. All this ministering to people and their various emotions as they come to the hospital taxes him. It taxes me too. We go upstairs and visit with those who requested it and by the time we leave, it’s been over 3 hours of non-stop therapy work. Even a young dog would be spent but I knew Sam was particularly tuckered out. So tuckered out in fact, he never flinched when his sister greeted him in his bed when we arrived home. Normally he’d go off to find another comfy spot. Instead, he just laid there letting her curl up next to him. In her own way, I think she was providing some well needed therapy for Sam. It was the end of a very special day for a hardworking pup.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Monday Musings ~ October 23, 2017

Holy cow, last week was a blur of daily commitments (about which we’ll hopefully have a post to share soon). It looks like this week is going to be almost as busy with more hospital work. Whew! Hopefully the parking lot will be completely repaved now so we don’t have to walk a marathon after parking. This parking experience has been a real “adventure” driving around from building to building to find a spot during the construction project that repaved the lot in sections and has been going on for the past 2 months. Ok, enough whining, we’re off to get ready for today’s hospital work but before we go, here’s a little smile to begin this week. Watch out for those clippers and where you park. 

 We hope life at your end of Blogville has been treating you well. Make it a great one!

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

When Your Vet is a Star 🌟

Dr. Jeff Young, ‘Star’ Vet

We all think our vets are ‘stars,’ right? Well, we should. When you are entrusting your beloved fur-kid, you definitely want them to be a star. I mean, who wants to drop a house payment on a vet you have no confidence in when your pet needs critical care? But in my case (house payment aside), my vet really is a star. A TV star that is, as in Dr. Jeff, Rocky Mountain Vet currently airing on the Animal Planet network. These days our vet stars are Dr. Amy (who treats Elsa for her seizures) and Dr. Baier (who tends to Sam’s health) who work at his clinic, Planned Pethood Plus. And I’m very happy with all of them. By the way, if you haven’t seen the show, I strongly recommend it so you can see how this pillar of the community has made a difference in the lives of so many people and their pets. Here’s a link to a recent episode. Dr. Jeff also shares my passion regarding puppy mills and is a firm believer that you shouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy in order to take care of your pet. We all know treatment for pets can be limited by an ability to pay for it so he does everything he can to make treatment affordable.

My association with Planned Pethood did not begin when discovered the show which now has around a million and a half viewers each week. Established back in 1990, the clinic was located not far from where I currently live although I had been going to his mobile low-cost vaccination clinics for over 20 years.  With a seasoned staff of some 30 professionals, some who have been with him since they were hired out of high school where he has also been a cross-country track coach for the school, he is one of the busiest vets in the country with 100,000 clients. Dr. Jeff is driven by two simple underlying missions “significantly reducing companion animal overpopulation throughout the world” and “thinking globally: acting locally.” His passion for curbing pet overpopulation is paramount to his practice, with all rescues treated being spayed or neutered. In fact he has probably performed over 160,000 spay and neuter procedures in the Denver area, as well as providing all manner of veterinary care with his mobile unit throughout the Rocky Mountain region and internationally through Planned Pethood International clinics located in Bratislava, Slovakia and Merida, Mexico. 

Having a vet who just happens to be a TV as well as our personal vet star isn’t always rainbows and unicorns though. Because of the sheer number of clients, there are times when it can be frustrating waiting for a return call and it can be challenging keeping one’s expectations for instantaneous care in check. Like most people, I’m impatient when it comes to the care of my fur-babies. Yet I know the work performed is always in the best interests of their clients when they need treatment (did I mention he has 100,000 clients?) and know they always provide quality, affordable care. In 2016 just prior to the season finale, Dr. Jeff made the shocking announcement revealing a diagnosis of B-cell Lymphoma and that the landmark clinic would be moving from the Highlands neighborhood to a new location a few miles west in the suburb of Wheat Ridge. He cut his signature shoulder-length hair in an episode that was hard on the staff and all who know and love Dr. Jeff. While you can never be certain of a long-term prognosis with cancer, he seems to be doing well and continues his work with the same passion as always. We certainly wish him all the best.

When I began drafting this post, I realized Dr. Jeff isn’t the only vet star I’d been fortunate to have taken care of my fur-kids. Back in the 90’s when I lived out east in the suburb of Aurora, my first dog had epilepsy, too. Our neighborhood vet did not have 24 hour care when Crosby’s Grand Mal seizures began and recommended he be transported over to Alameda East, a couple of miles away where he was successfully treated and where all my other pets were treated as well. Back then, the TV series ER was hugely popular and Animal Planet contacted Dr. Robert Taylor, the founder of Alameda East Veterinary Hospital about producing a reality show showing the treatment of animals and thus the show Emergency Vets began airing in 1998. The show ended in 2002 just before I moved to the west side of town once I realized Dr. Jeff’s mobile clinic had a permanent location close to the house.

Dr. Fitz with a couple of patients

While we were clients at Alameda East, our vet ‘star’ was Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, who was a reptile specialist and who coincidently happened to be a well-known local stand-up comedian in his spare time as well as a TV star.

Doesn’t it seems kind of ironic that both of my vets have been TV stars? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. But you have to admit it is interesting they both have silver hair and mustaches and are ‘stars’ in multiple ways.

Maybe there is something special about the thin air of the Mile High City that produces such terrific stars both on TV as well as for providing great care to my fur-kids.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎