Ahoy Mateys!

Greetings swashbucklers…today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Created in 1995 by long-time friends John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy) of Oregon, who while playing a friendly game of racquetball and for reasons still somewhat unknown, began shouting pirate slang at each other. The silliness began to take on a life of its own when they decided to create a holiday celebrating ‘piratude.’ Summers has been credited with choosing the date (his ex-wife’s birthday).

For a few years, their holiday remained in relative obscurity until they happened to connect with the syndicated columnist and author, Dave Barry. With media coverage following Barry’s column about it, the event is now celebrated internationally,PirateNaturally the Knucklehead and Ninja are joining their Blogville fur-iends, Captain Da Nelly, First Mate Kismet and Swashbuckler Shoko in the merriment. So grab a bottle of beer rum and enjoy some good ole fashion pirate booty. Just make sure to watch your step if you plan on walking the plank…we hear that first step can be a dousie.

Pirate

Live, love, bark!

Make a Wish Monday ~ September 16, 2019

Three years ago, a skinny, shut-down black Standard Poodle joined the pack and life hasn’t been the same ever since. Today is Elsa’s 3rd ‘Gotcha’ Day and I couldn’t be happier she found her way into my life. You can read more about her story here.

Elsa

Sure it’s true, I’ve suffered from her munching of multiple pairs of reading glasses, wool socks, and other assorted household items and I’ve learned to cope with the devastating diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy, but this clever girl has truly blossomed into quite the Princess.

From a shut-down, puppy mill survivor to the spunky, hilarious Ninja of today, Elsa learned to wag her tail when she experienced joy and came to love playing with toys. She’s definitely come a long way from that fateful autumn day three years ago. The birthday girl must have realized today is a special day since she let me sleep in to 4:45 a.m. this morning (from her normal “GOOD MORNING!”  bark requesting the desire to come up on the bed rather than the usual 4:35). With this girl, I’ll happily accept those extra ten minutes and continue to enjoy those daily early morning snores snuggles.

Sam & ElsaHappy Gotcha Day, sweet Elsa. Keep making everyone around you smile and continue to thrive while bringing smiles to those who love you. Even your Knuckleheaded brother sends happy greetings.

Elsa

One of the most inspiring footnotes to Elsa’s story is the fact that she has (knock on wood) remained seizure-free since last November. She continues learning how to be a ‘normal’ dog  and how to enjoy life. There’s still seems to be more room for her to grow and learn so I look forward to more continued progress, both physically and emotionally. High five, Ninja.Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 13, 2019

Today is Friday the 13th and I’m handling today’s post for mom. Sam here. Despite the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th, I think it’s lucky for mom that I’m taking over for her today as we join our Blogville fur-iends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard. Did you know Friday the 13th occurs any month that begins on a Sunday? According to a local NPR station, “the last time a full moon happened on Friday the 13th was on June 13, 2014, said Paul Hayne, assistant professor in the Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “You might say it only happens once in a blue moon,” he said. “This particular full moon is unique in the sense that it both falls on Friday the 13th and it’s also the Harvest Moon.” A Harvest Moon is the closest full moon to the fall equinox, when our days start to get shorter than our nights. The fall equinox is on Sept. 23. The last time a Harvest Moon happened on Friday the 13th was on October 13, 2000. The next time a full moon will happen on the superstitious day will be in August 2049.” Pretty cool stuff, huh?

The mornings have been wonderfully cool (today it was just 48F and the Ninja and I showed our super sled dog skills dragging pulling mom on our the walk) but it warms up during the day (into the 90’s this weekend). Who knows nature better than me, Ace Snooper-Sniffer about snuffing out nature’s coolest stuff? After all, I know all the best places to check out where I leave loads of coded messages for other doggos who walk in my paw prints. As mom’s whined told you multiple times, it’s been hot and dry this summer. After a nice little shower a couple of days ago (the first in forever in our ‘hood), something strange happened. These guys started popping up in the weirdest spots. This first one is located in one of my all time favorite spots to read pee mail. The nerve that now there’s a house there now. Ugh…naturally that means mom won’t let me sniff there now. Boy she can be such a killjoy!

Mushrooms

Look how the guy managed to push itself up through that mulch. Makes you wonder how much force nature used to that.

While we were walking this morning, we found this straight line of mushroom caps.  I think they’re making a stand against some garden mouse.Mushrooms

I think this little fella is a tad sleepy-see how he’s leaning sideways.

Mushrooms

We noticed something else kind of weird in our own garden. Mom planted a couple of vegetables (a cherry tomato and a pepper plant) in pots this year to see how’d they fare. In a word, the cherry tomatoes have been going “nuts.” Mom is thrilled but I don’t like them, they’re veggies and as a Standard, well…I have my standards concerning anything remotely sounding veggie-like. As in…nope, nada, ain’t happening. Elsa of course thinks otherwise, but then she eats wool socks so she obviously has no standards. There’s never any rhyme or reason as to what shows up in our garden.

Veggies

Mom saw new  ‘neighbor’ this week. Although a pair of falcons have been seen a few times in the past couple of years several blocks away, she’s never seen one this close to the Ranch. He was pretty skittish and she couldn’t get very close so this isn’t the best photo with a cell phone, but it’s still pretty cool. Elsa and I would have made him fly away flushed him out for a close up but mom won’t let us. That woman is too heavy handed with killjoy stuff.

Falcon

Mom was hoping he’s looking for squirrels who are eating acorns. Gawd knows there is a gigantic bouquet of those buggers. But he was still pretty cool to check out.

We hope you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful Indian Summer weekend but don’t forget to enjoy some nature at the same time.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 6, 2019

Let’s hear it for the arrival of our close personal friend, Friday. This is also when (after a hearty welcome) we join our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard and stroll around Blogville checking out the beauty of Mother Nature.

It’s been a busy, if not shortened week and I’ve been somewhat derelict in finding a lot of new blooms to share so let’s take a look at some of of the our insect friends, pollinators and predators around the Ranch.

Insects

Honey and bumble bees are our best friends in the garden; they pollinate flowers and create that scrumptious nectar, honey. I’m not sure what that little stick-like bug is just to the left of this bee but he watched that bee working for a long time. I think he’s some sort of ‘voyeur’ bug.

Insects

Moths and butterflies are also big pollinators in the garden. This colorful guy was filling up like a thirsty SUV. Check out the schnoz on that dude. You’d think he was drilling for oil.

Insects

The Plumbago is in full bloom right now and the bees and butterflies are grateful for the tasty smorgasbord being offered.

Insects

Known for their triangular heads, bulging eyes with flexible necks, long bodies that may or may not have wings, all Mantodea have forelegs that are enlarged and perfectly adapted for catching and griping unsuspecting prey. Their upright posture, while remaining stationary with forearms folded, has led to the common name “Praying Mantis.” I couldn’t get as close as I wanted without scaring this bad boy off (thus the lousy image) but was so excited so see him in the garden that I named him Harvey. I’d never seen one before in person. Mantis generally wait for prey to venture close by and only eat live prey. Because they lack any chemical protection, they often stand tall spreading their forelegs and fan their wings out to make them appear larger and more threatening. Mantises lack chemical protection, so this display is mostly a bluff. If pursued, they may slash their captors with raptorial legs. They are a fascinating garden predator.

Spider web

Some garden residents build remarkably beautiful homes. Around the Ranch, those intricate structures often don’t last long. Whenever I happen to absently walk into one encounter one, too often I start simultaneously screeching while wind-milling my arms like a maniac trying to remove the web from my face. The neighbors no doubt think of me as that crazy dog lady who flips out with spider webs. I’m really not an arachnophobe and find spiders quite fascinating, but that close-to-invisible, Velcro-like fiber turns me into an arm flapping weirdo. It’s a wonder I don’t lift off the ground trying to get that stuff off my face.

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you are able to get outside. Mother Nature is still offering a whole lot of wonderful and should be enjoyed. If you live on the east coast, we hope you stay safe and dry. But before you go outside and savor Indian Summer, don’t forget to check out the e-shop for items including the recently published BarkBook chock full of easy to make tasty recipes, stylin’ bandanas, hand-painted note cards, and “Scrubbies” (which work great as exfoliators on uprights or work hard cleaning your veggies or around the house in general).

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Therapy Thursday ~ September 5, 2019

🎵  Scooby-doo-bee-doo…ooh baby…oops, wrong opening chorus. Hi-ya…Sam here. While I can’t sing this post, I can share some of the adventures from last week in my triumphant return to hospital and West Pines. Now that I’m finally back to 110% it was nice to get back in the saddle and visit with my friends.

ELMC, West Pines Sam

Naturally mom said I had to be spiffed up. Ugh…not a bath, mom!! Seems like the nurses like a sweet smelling boy so I didn’t mind too much when she put a blend of relaxing essential oils on me after the bath. Chicks seem to dig that and well…when there are hugs and “atta boy’s,” how can I refuse?

It only took a few nanoseconds for me to remember some of my favorite peeps who I’ve regularly visited in the past. Mom thought we should go visit the Lab and soon there was a crowd of the regulars welcoming me back. One of the managers is a favorite of mine so I spent a long time visiting with her. I sure have missed her so it was a great way to start out what would end up become a long shift.

After our swing through the Lab, we made it down to the surgical reception area for another memorable visit. I like going through this area providing comfort to peeps waiting for their loved ones to get out of surgery before moving up to their rooms. One lady with a mini-peep tagging along lit up like a candle when she saw me. She told my mom they loved us poodle-y dogs. What I loved was her mini peep…a twenty-two month old granddaughter who was exactly my height and the two of us had a great time visiting. She had this weird thing in her mouth (mom said it was a nuk) that I was kind of interested in at first but realized the chubby little hands that pet me ever so sweetly were much better than some slobbery chew toy. I spent a long time with her and her grandma was very happy for my therapy.

I had a lot of dates with nurses encounters all over the hospital and it all began to come back to me. The ladies in the gift shop were as nice as always and told me about their summer adventures. I listened and wagged my tail at all the right times. They seemed to appreciate my listening skills. They were equally impressed I remembered where the treats are stashed.

The next day we went to West Pines. The director who shepherds us around to the various buildings on campus is one of my favorite hospital peeps. When we arrived at the first building, it was like I’d never been away. A number of patients were super excited to see me. They asked me all sorts of questions…how old was I, what was I, you know, stuff like that. I was the ‘pawfect’ gentlemen and let them all hug me and tell stories about the dogs that were in their life. Then there was one woman who just sat back on the other side of the room and watched me. When mom asked her if she’d like to pet me, her face lit up with a huge smile. I pranced sauntered over and sat in front of her and looked her in the eye. She began to talk to me and that made my tail wag. Her fingers were soft and gentle on my ears as she pet me and we both relaxed like old friends. When it came time to leave, mom offered her hand to shake and wish her well but her arms withdrew and her head turned, much like a turtle. Her face grew dark as she looked away. Clearly she has issues with people and touching and it left me sad. Everyone likes my mom but the patient only had eyes for me I guess. Hopefully the staff will help her learn to trust again, in others and in herself. I liked visiting with her.

All the way home, mom just couldn’t get over that young woman. The pain in her eyes when she folded up on herself left her very sad. It seemed my therapy work wasn’t over even though we left the hospital. I wanted to give mom some therapy when we got home. I stayed with her and she pet me. Whenever my tail wagged, she’d smile and say I was the bestest boy in the world. All the attention she gave me really cheesed Elsa off but I knew mom needed cheering up. She kept whispering “but for the grace of god, there go I.” Not sure what she meant by that, but was glad I could be there for her when she needed me. Ater making her feel better, I relented played with the Ninja and then took a nice long nap. It sure felt good…both the making peeps smile part as well as the long, rejuvenating snooze. Life is good around the Ranch and this work makes us really aware of that.

Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Labor Day 2019

Today is Labor Day throughout the US and its territories where we celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of workers. On the first Monday of September we honor the labor and union movements (if you work 40 hours or less a week, please thank a union member for that benefit) and the role all workers have made to the strength and well-being of the nation. For many of us, we have the day off and frequently welcome in the new school year along with the beginning of football season this time of year. Labor Day is often thought of as the unofficial end of summer with BBQ get-togethers often being a frequent pastime as well as gobs of retail sales events.

Labor Day

A brief history of Labor Day shows that as the trade and labor movements began to grow, calls for a day commemorating workers’ contributions were proposed. Colorado has long been progressive on social issues like this and was one of the first five states to enact legislation recognizing Labor Day. Oregon was the first to officially make it a public holiday back in 1887. Labor Day became a national holiday in the U.S. in 1894. Our Canadian friends also celebrate “Labour Day” on the first Monday in September.

But life in the labor movement wasn’t all roses and candy. After the deaths of workers during the Pullman Strike of 1894, Congress unanimously approved legislation making Labor Day a national holiday. President  Grover Cleveland signed the law into effect shortly after the end of the strike to recognize all workers and their efforts and contribution to the nation.

Whatever you do today, please keep all those in the path of Hurricane Dorian in your thoughts and prayers. We are hoping for their safety.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 30, 2019

Welcome to Friday where we join our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in the Our Backyard. Today let’s stroll around the Denver Botanical Gardens where ‘gardening with altitude’ is how we roll in the Mile High City.DBG

Officially created in 1951, the Denver Botanic Gardens has come a long way from its humble roots. Beginning as a small rose garden in Denver City Park near the Museum of Natural History, it became clear the garden was a bit too public as the roses were constantly being dug up by visitors. Thus a number of influential city leaders began looking for a more secure space. They found a large flat spot a couple of miles to the south in the Cheesman Park neighborhood. Originally Denver’s first cemetery, the graves were relocated (although an occasional grave still turns up every once in a while) and the garden oasis began to evolve into what it is now. Featuring the largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world, it includes seven diverse gardens that primarily include plants from Colorado and neighboring states.

DBG

Located just behind the Ruth Porter Waring House (originally used as the administration building and gift shop), the Romance Garden has a spectacular Chihuly sculpture (from the 2014 exhibit). It’s beautiful during the day but near dusk, it is even more spectacular.

DBG

At the opposite end of the gardens is the Shofu-en, or the Garden of Pine and Wind, a traditional Japanese strolling garden, another visitor favorite. Drawing its inspiration from the area’s climate and plants from Colorado’s Rocky Mountain region, there are 130 character pines transplanted from the foothills. The garden was designed by Koichi Kawana and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

DBG

No visit is complete without a stroll around the Monet Pool. The spectacular collection of water lilies in bloom this time of year are always well visited.

DBG
Courtesy of denvermodern.mariah.com

Last on this tour is the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory. This structure is unlike any in the world, built from concrete (Charles Boettcher made much of his fortune in concrete), it contains faceted and curved plexiglass panels specifically designed to have the condensation flow down the structure into the watering system. When built, it was the only tropical conservatory between Missouri and San Francisco. Some 2000 species are cultivated in the conservatory.

DBG

Hope you enjoyed this week’s tour of nature in the city. The DBG is my favorite 24 acres in town and a wonderful place to spend a few hours enjoying elements of nature in a hectic world which proves you can find amazing views of nature even in an urban setting.

We wish you a terrific Labor Day ‘howliday’ weekend and hope you are able to get out and enjoy some of the many fine offerings nature provides on this last weekend of summer.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Pet Therapy Thursday ~ August 29, 2019

Hi there peeps, it’s me, Sam. As you may recall, I went back to work this week but wanted to share a couple of photos from the annual award ceremony. Can I just say it felt great getting back in the saddle. It was a little weird at first and I had to rely on my super powers to remember what I was supposed to do but luckily, it comes pretty naturally for me even if it had been forever since I was last there. Although I had been sick in June and again in July, my hospital friends welcomed me back with open arms and lots of treats.

So let’s check out some photos of my fellow pals from Pet Therapy who were at the awards ceremony. Mom says it’s hard getting us all to stay in line while 87 other moms are trying to take pictures. I have no idea what she’s talking about.

Pet Therapy
Pictured: Back row, Mandy, Charlee, Akira & Logan, Little One, Kai, Dolly. Front row: Yours truly, Bindy, and Axel.

My best friend, Teddy received a special award (he’s retiring from the program). We are sure going miss him. Luckily his mom is friends with my mom so hopefully I’ll still get to hang out with him once in a while.

Teddy, Pet Therapy

With Teddy leaving our program, my newest pal is Axel, the handsome dude next to me. Axel is new to the program but already is making friends all over hospital. He’s a Black-Mouth Cur, a breed with which we weren’t familiar. He was rescued from a shelter in Texas. And everyone loves his mom who is one of the most cheerful people in the program-she always has a big smile on her face. We’re excited to have Axel and his mom join our merry little band.

Axel, Pet Therapy
Pictured: Me, Axel and Dolly

Yesterday was my first day back at West Pines. Mom is working on a special post just for that visit and always tells me “but for the grace of Dog there go I” whenever we leave that place. I’m not sure what she means by that but I’m just glad I was able to visit the medical staff and nurses again with a couple of extra special encounters with patients.

Here’s a close-up of the award I received. Who knew I’d have more than 200 visits? We’ve met so many wonderful people as a member of the pet therapy squad and hope we can continue for future special times being a part of this amazing group.

Pet Therapy

Don’t we have a great looking group? They all enjoy making peeps smile and I hope there are loads of ear rubs and treats in the future for all.

Live, love, bark! 🐾