Wordy Wednesday ~ June 8, 2022

We’re departing from our usual wordless format in favour of a pictorial recollection from the weekend fundraiser held at the Park Meadows location of Orvis who offered gift wrapping to their customers for a donation to the OES Rescue. We are always grateful for their support but to visit directly with customers at an event is extra special. Because of Norman’s pet therapy experience, he was the weekend’s ambassador showing the general public how great rescued dogs can be, given a chance.

Welcoming us to the store was a sandwich board showing current conditions at favorite regional fishing spots, and sporting an adorable OES face. After a quick set up of the wrapping table and after meeting the staff who showered Norman with affection. Customers began arriving shortly thereafter and we enjoyed chatting with them. My good friend and fellow volunteer, Anastacia (who arranged for this event), and I wrapped gifts while chatting with folks while Norman did his thing.

Norman

For those unfamiliar with Orvis, it’s an American family-owned retail and mail-order business specializing in fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods. Founded in Manchester, Vermont, back in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis to sell fishing tackle, it is the nation’s oldest mail-order retailer and this location is a dog friendly retailer at a large mall.

One of the first visitors was a woman who instantly fell in love with Norman and said she would return with her daughter and granddaughter. Shortly thereafter, this little cutie marched in and strolled up to meet Norman.

Her mom and grandmother chatted with us for several minutes and all enjoyed their time with Norman. His soft fur and patient disposition never disappoint.

Norman is nothing if not an equal-opportunity therapist…he enjoys youngsters as well as older folks alike.

Norman

Norman easily size people up and seems to know who will offer an ear rub and those who will offer a nice belly rub as well.

NormanNorman

Norman spent the entire day meeting and greeting customers. Most didn’t want gift wrapping but still left a donation nonetheless for which we were most thankful. To reward Norman for all his hard work, he got to pick out a toy from  numerous offerings. You may recall the customer who liked Norman so much at Orvis’ Christmas event, she purchased one that he still adores to this day.

Norman
Oh…the choices

The elephant had been intriguing to Norman back in December, but he barely acknowledged it this time.

Norman
Hmm…this one has possibilities

He thoroughly checked all the offerings.

Norman

In the end, Norman put his paw of approval on the sloth, a choice that was most unexpected.

Norman

This was THE one.

Norman
My favorite!

It was a long day yet Norman performed like the consummate professional he is. He was one happy but tuckered out boy.

Norman

Next week Orvis will host another event where a different pup and volunteer will help out Anastacia. It should be a good one for the rescue too since Orvis is running a big promotion to coincide with Father’s Day weekend. While Norman and I won’t be there, we are excited at the potential for another very successful day.

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few pics from our day at Orvis. We want to thank Orvis and their gracious staff for their ongoing support of our rescue.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Purple Day ~ 2022

Purple Day

This weekend we are honored to join Fur Angel Gibson from the FiveSibes blog and fellow epi-warrior, Olivia at Knotty Toys for Good Dogs for the 2022 edition acknowledging Purple Day for Epilepsy (with apologies for being a day late of the actual date, March 26-I got my dates mixed up).

Elsa
The Ninja rocking her purple bandana

You may recall, the Ranch’s resident Ninja (aka Elsa) was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy a couple of weeks following her adoption. You can read part of her story here.

We are so grateful for all the info Gibson and Olivia have shared on their respective blogs about epilepsy and remain appreciative for their leadership in sharing information and resources. Please visit the Purple Day website for additional information about epilepsy. Elsa is living proof dogs who have been diagnosed with this condition can live relatively normal and productive lives.

Epilepsy
Elsa ‘reading’ the”What’s Wrong with Gibson” book

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 4, 2022

Welcome to February’s first Nature Friday edition, where we join our pals Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Rosy and gang recently relocated to the Land of enchantment so make you you click on the link to check out their adventures.

Originally I had planned on doing a post about the big storm that hit the Mile High City this week, bringing windchill temps down to sub-zero levels. And then I heard a most remarkable story on the radio this morning about a nature story of sorts from the Western Slope and decided to rewrite it.

It all started the day after Christmas. Returning to their Grand Junction home from Denver, Charles Reigies, girlfriend Hannah Poscente and their dog, Mia hit a spot of black ice near Gypsum, CO late at night and crashed. When Charles came to, Hannah was injured, Mia had disappeared and their Jeep was on its side. Hannah was rushed to the hospital by ambulance with a broken neck. Charles searched for Mia until the tow truck arrived. He wasn’t able to find Mia in the snow but that’s not where this story ends.

When Hannah was released from hospital the next day, she reactivated her Facebook page and joined various lost pet sites hoping for a miracle.

Lost Dog
Photo Courtesy of Hannah Poscente’s Facebook page

At the time, this was one of the first snowstorms to hit the region and cold temps moved in. Hannah’s post were liked and shared and thus the ‘village’ began the implausible quest of Charles and Hannah finding their beloved pet.

Enter Janet Cross, who lived near the crash site, and heard about it. She set up a trail camera near the accident. When reviewing footage, she realized Mia (like many pets do when separated from their family) returned to the area twice a day. Mia was skinny, temps were freezing, but she was alive. There were other sightings among various people but living 2 hours away from the crash made it difficult for Charles and Hannah to follow up quickly on them. But Janet didn’t giving up. She obtained a trap from animal control and checked it every hour. She refused to give up on finding Mia and continued to help reunite the family.

The deer fence the vehicle crashed into was rebuilt making Mia’s reunion even more challenging. Mia was not seen for 8 days. Then a miracle happened. Janet received a call from someone who lived 10 miles from the crash site indicating that Mia had been spotted so Janet repositioned the trap near that area. Mia was initialled scared off but after receiving a message about  being sighted, Hannah and a friend returned to the area to continue the search. Still in a neck brace, Hannah decided to go out and look again while the friend took a meeting on her phone. Snow and sagebrush camouflaged the surrounding landscape but Hannah continued walking along the train tracks. Mia was there! And she didn’t scare off, instead she came walking toward her person. Hannah recorded the reunion with her cell phone.

Dog
Photo courtesy of Hannah Poscente

Mia was so excited to see her mom, she began jumping all over her and the video cut off. The same scene was repeated when Hannah returned to her Grand Junction home with Mia with Charles being knocked down by his happy pup. This improbable rescue ended one month and one day after Mia was lost. “She’s still got a lot of weight to put back on,” said Charles, patting Mia, her ribs showing, “but the vet says she’s doing good, all things considered.” No one will know what Mia endured while lost and her story continues to be shared on Facebook, often with the title “Never Give Up Hope.” And what about Angel Janet, the caring soul who made it her mission to help out? “She fought traffic and predators and snow and wind,” Janet said, “and I mean, she made it.”

Dog
Courtesy of Stina Sieg, CPR News

{sniffle} I hope you can now see why this week’s nature post needed to be rewritten and how it really does take a village sometimes.

Snow

While today’s post was about a shy dog whose adventures in nature we’ll never know the details about, here are a few photos of the Ranch Hands who finally were able to take a brief walkabout yesterday afternoon when temps finally reached 25Fº. The snow was still deep enough to require boots (much to their chagrin) with warm jackets but the Vitamin D outing was much needed by all 3 of us. For those still in the grips of Mother Nature’s cruel hands, we hope you stay safe, warm and cozy.

Ranch Hands
How are we supposed to walk in these stupid boots?
Norman
Ahhhhhhh! This is how you spell relief.
Elsa
Hurry up, bozo. I have snow drifts to enjoy.

Have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Thankful Thursday ~ December 30, 2021

Normally I don’t post in the Thankful Thursday blog hop but simply couldn’t NOT participate this week. If COVID and current events have taught me anything, it’s to embrace gratitude wholeheartedly and don’t procrastinate letting people know how much you care.

Earlier this week while I was reflecting about the Christmas holiday, the mailman delivered a small package. What’s this I wondered, since I knew I hadn’t ordered anything? Thinking it was simply some end of the year appeal for a donation from a group I’d supported before, I figured it was some mailing labels or greeting cards. To my surprise, it turned out to be far more.

Card

Back when I began blogging, many bloggers I followed were influencers with various companies promoting their products. I had hoped to join those ranks but by the time I had any measurable number of followers, many of those companies changed their policies and stopped working with bloggers. Chewy was one of them. I was disappointed but then again, hadn’t really lost anything and just continued to do what I’d been doing-posting about the resident Knucklehead and his hospital adventures.

People seemed to enjoy the posts, the blog grew and readers fell in love with Sam whose legendary knuckle-headed adventures seemed to touch hearts on our little acre of the Internet. When Norman joined this merry band, his adorable face and sweet nature seemed to appeal to readers as well (for which I’m also grateful). Oh sure, there was a story or two about the Ninja, but Elsa’s presence here has been fairly minuscule. Her puppy mill background doesn’t exactly lend itself to sharing heartfelt stories beyond the numerous episodes of her inexplicably chewing up eyeglasses (I think she’s up to 6 or 7 pairs of reading glasses now) and assorted ‘stuffie’ assassinations. I adore this complicated girl but she’s not exactly the kind of dog people understand or favor. Coupled with her ongoing battle with epilepsy, her “still waters run deep” personality is tough to share in a post. Then this arrived.

Card

The inside massage took my breath away and my emotions got the better of me. Around Thanksgiving I placed an autoship order for food and pet supplies. I received an email indicating an earlier-than-expected delivery date and couldn’t have been more thrilled, given supply chain issues these days. Now understand, I place orders about every 3 weeks for food for the Ranch’s ‘livestock.’ I live in an older, very well known neighborhood and rarely have problems with deliveries. Delivery companies know the area well. Amazon, FedEx and UPS trucks are plentiful, delivering packages all day long and yet for some reason, UPS managed to bungle delivering this one. After two emails indicating they had ‘tried’ to deliver said order (which they had not), the following Wednesday UPS sent a notice that “because delivery had not been made, they were returning the box to sender.” What the bloody heck?!?! We were down to the bottom of the food bag so I called Chewy’s explaining the online exchanges I had with UPS (all efforts to reach a live UPS representative were fruitless) and the kind, patient and very pleasant service rep at Chewy assured me a new order would be sent out with priority status. I was extremely grateful and assured both Ranch Hands no one would go hungry. The order arrived a day and half later and all was good at the Ranch. I softly said a prayer of thanks; the dogs had full bellies and all was well in Ranchland so my focus, like most people’s turned toward getting ready for the upcoming Christmas holiday. In other words, I moved on. Supply chain issues has become the new buzzword these days with delays being routinely expected especially during the holidays.

Elsa

This 6″ x 6″ canvas was lovingly packed with the sweet card and brought tears to my eyes. I. Was. Simply. Stunned. The image from Elsa’s profile was a favorite of mine. As a black dog, she’s hard to capture photographically without looking like a dark blob. As she’s too reluctant to pose, when she does (or when I get lucky like here), it seemed like the obvious choice to use it as a profile pic but I never expected anything like this treasured gift.

Elsa

Meaningful words of gratitude seem so inadequate. All I can offer is a heartfelt “THANK YOU” from the bottom of my heart. This little piece of art means so much and I’ll cherish this sweet gesture forever. Say what you will about large, unfeeling corporations, but this kind gesture shows not all companies treat their customers so cavalierly. Let me just say I think, Chewy is ‘picture perfect.’

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 22, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving week! We want to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful holiday and to let you all know how grateful we are that you continue to stop by our little acre on the ‘Net. Your caring support over the years underscores just how truly amazing this community is.

We hope your Thursday forecast is filled with abundant  blessings. May your day be spent in the company of those most dear to you. In the words of the Roman statesman, Cicero, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is more than just about festivities; it gives us time to reflect on lessons we’ve learned and how we can share more joy. At this time of year, as we look back at all the memories, people and their good pets who have come into our lives, we want you to know how much we appreciate you all. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and your loved ones. And because it’s Monday, we offer the following little holiday poem.

We hope your stuffing is tasty, your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious, while the desserts take the prize.
And may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs. 🦃

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Whoopee Wednesday!

Hello there mates, Norman here sharing the final total figure raised as a postscript to yesterday’s post recapping the OES Picnic and Fundraiser. We in fact raised…ahem…drumroll please…$1,812 which will help provide resources for Old English Sheepdogs who come through our rescue. It was a well organized event for which I offer my deepest gratitude to all who helped, donated and attended this event.

Congratulations with loads of butt wiggles to all who work tirelessly all year long to benefit these remarkable pets who, through no fault of their own, come through the rescue. To everyone who has a special love for this wonderful breed and to all the vendors, supporters and attendees who have contributed to the cause, thank you from the bottom of my OES 💙.

OES Picnic
Photo courtesy of Colorado OES Rescue

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 19, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday where bits of nature are shared from around the ‘Hood. It’s been a wild week weather-wise so let’s join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly what’s happened this week. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville shared.

Naturally the weather took front and center stage here and around the nation. Texas, known for doing things bigger, proved once again they know how to do B-I-G. Having family members living in both the Austin and Houston areas, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled and the cell phone close by to stay in touch with family members. Despite one outdoor broken pipe, everyone is safe, dry and coping as best as they can. It’s time like these where one must take stock and be very, very grateful for the simple things in life that we all too often take for granted. Who knew heat, water and power would have such a major impact on ordinary life? As if COVID wasn’t enough.

Here in Colorado the deep freeze overspent its welcome too. It snowed about 4-5 inches Wednesday which actually ‘warmed’ things up into low double digits, practically a heat wave. Yesterday I walked a mile in steps alone shoveling snow from sidewalks as well as a suitable area in the dog run so the Ninja could pee without freezing her private parts. I was hoping the freshly shoveled space would incentivise both dogs to stay out of the wetter areas. Here’s what those efforts yielded.

Norman

Oh, Norman, you always make me smile. Normally when it has snowed, it’s quite the adventure to go out for a walk. Layers are key but even layers couldn’t combat the well-below zero temperatures so we weren’t able to walk outside beyond quick potty breaks for several days. It takes a while hitching up the entire crew to stay warm. Do you know how long it takes to put four pairs of snow boots on dogs and then dress myself for any kind of extended, warm walk?

Winter

Nature plans to be kinder but snow is expected to show up again later this weekend. Luckily the Polar Vortex isn’t expected to tag along and I hope everyone prays for the relief of those less fortunate who are still trying to get power, water, and heat restored.

We hope you have a weekend where you’ll be warm. We’ll be spending a lot of time contemplating a heartbreaking anniversary next week when Angel Sam unexpectedly departed the Ranch. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him and cry at his loss. The Ranch hands have vowed to take good care of me and we urge everyone to take some time to reflect on the past week to find love and gratitude in their hearts. If you are able to help the disadvantaged, now would be a good time. Stay safe, warm and keep smiling my friends.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 28, 2020

MomWelcome to the last week of the dumpster fire also known as 2020. We hope you had a blessed and Merry Christmas. Christmas this year marked an extra special occasion, marking the 90th birthday for my mom. My Mom has lived through some pretty horrific times. She survived the bombing of Frankfurt during World War II as child as well as through some pretty intense health issues over the past few years. I wrote a bit about it back in 2016 here, after Angel Sam spent a week on her bed at hospice care following an ER doctor’s prognosis giving her 48 hours to live. Long story short, she “flunked out of hospice” then. In 2017 she ended up back in hospital for 4 weeks, with a number of days in ICU. Another surgery was performed where more of her colon was removed for an obstruction but she managed to eventually bounce back once again.  These days we affectionately refer to her as a ‘semi-colon.’ So yeah, this was a very special Christmas birthday. I’m so incredibly grateful to have been able to celebrated it. Happy 90th to my spunky, special Mom who has defied the odds in numerous ways.

Like everyone else, we’re hoping 2021 provides a path toward normalcy. It won’t come overnight (especially if ‘mask holes’ continue to not wear masks and congregating in large groups) and pray the recently approved vaccines provide a way back toward the ‘good ole days.’  The world has so much healing needed to embark upon and pray that 2021 is the beginning of that process.

2020

We look forward to waving goodbye to 2020 while remaining upbeat that 2021 provides more smiles and joy for our COVID weary hearts. To 2020, we say “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

So how was your Christmas?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Glue and Gratitude

More than a week has passed since my beloved Sam left this mortal world. We’re still in grief mode but are coming to grips with the harsh reality of life without our boy. The click, click, click of his dancing feet on the hardwood floors have been replaced by heavy footed Stormin’ Norman followed closely by the not-so delicate thumping of the Ninja’s paws. Who knew a Ninja would move about so loudly?

Sam was the subtle glue that sealed our pack together. I was never sure he fully comprehended that he was actually a dog and not some special hybrid kind of human with four feet. He taught Elsa how to be a dog and how to learn to trust peeps. Naturally she’s taken his loss particularly hard. Knowing Norman for only a month, the two brothers hadn’t bonded to quite the same level. Yet they all followed Sam’s lead. A doorbell ring demanded the canine security alarm system be activated. Passersby on walks required we stop for ear rubs, body leans, tail wags and a friendly hello. And the sound of crinkle packaging of any food meant cheese! It was the clarion call for sitting at my feet in front of the fridge in anticipation of a tasty treat being dispensed. Sam was my go-to muse for most of my posts. He was the obvious but quiet leader and the glue that kept us all functioning and now our daily happenings have us all walking out of step and out of rhythm. Our compass has disappeared and we are searching for a new evolutionary shift signaling a new ‘normal’ will be the benchmark. We will l get there with some time as new rituals are established.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t express my most heartfelt gratitude for all the calls, texts, emails, cards and comments from so many of you while we work through this evolutionary period. You have buoyed our spirits to such an extent and I want you all to know how much this has meant to me. Words however seem so inadequate but please know your loving support has meant so very much. From family members, neighbors, friends and you dear readers, you have all touched our hearts and I am ever so grateful for your kindness and support. You guys stepped in to fill in the gaps as the glue we need.

To my surprise this figurine appeared a couple of days ago without any card or note or attribution. I would love to acknowledge and thank the mystery benefactor so if it was you, please let me know; so that I may  thank you more personally. It’s a lovely piece from Joy of Giving and it truly touched my heart. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Sam's Angel

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Thankful Thursday ~ January 16, 2020

As you might expect, yesterday was a very emotional and overwhelming day. So emotional in fact, I was unable respond to all of the touching comments and well wishes you left about Sam’s last day as a pet therapy dog. To say I was a basketcase as I read each of your sweet notes is more than an understatement. Please know I am ever so grateful for your support and kindness as we begin to write a new chapter in life as we learn how to cope with a new reality in the days ahead.

To say that Sam left it all on the field yesterday is an understatement. Not only did he see more patients at West Pines than we have ever visited with before, he was sweetly patient and attentive as loads of people showered him with loving praise. As usual, he had to sniff out all the go-cups of coffee (don’t know what it is about coffee-he wouldn’t drink it but loves sniffing at their cups), and performed his ‘licking his chops on command’ trick for everyone. It’s the only trick he has ever performed (it’s his belief that performance art is beneath him) and managed to visit with each and every person we encountered. Naturally he spent a  extra moments with several people, all who clearly needed the love of a sweet dog sent to put a smile on their face and in their heart. And yes, there were some tears shed by more than one patient at this wonderful dog’s ability to read what people need.

As I tear up just writing this post, I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud of this silly Knucklehead. The staff was touched by him and more than a few tears fell at the thought it was Sam’s last visit. Because we’ve met so many wonderful, caring folks in the nearly seven years of visiting the hospital, I decided we’d also swing by the main hospital to bid our favorites a fond farewell. Once people realized it was our last visit, we were surrounded by folks (many who were new to us) to praise Sam’s efforts. This silly, sweet ‘Dogtor’ has chalked up 219 visits over the years, reaching out to hundreds if not thousands of people extolling the virtues of pet therapists everywhere. I didn’t check to see how many hours he’s logged, but I can guarantee it’s been loads.

As a final act of doing what this boy does best, we went to say goodbye to our friends in the hospital lab. When we arrived, there was quite the commotion going on in the waiting room. A baby was wailing his head off much to his mother’s chagrin. She was unsuccessful at  comforting the little tyke but once he saw Sam he blinked through tears, babbled something I couldn’t decipher as Sam stopped dead in his tracks. There was one more person to comfort before saying goodbye. He walked up to the little guy who patted his back with chubby little hands. Then the little boy kissed Sam on his fluffy back and head. Repeatedly. Sam stood here relishing the attention and stuck his nose in the little boy’s face, as if to say, “there, there, little man…it’ll all be good. With tears dried up, the little boy began to smile and continued to simultaneously pat and kiss him as he tottered around Sam on wobbly legs. I nearly lost it at this point especially when people commented on how sweet the whole scene was.

Certainly that small chance encounter was emblematic of what we’ve experienced over the years but this one was an extra sweet experience and one that will remain in my heart for a long, long time.

We finished our goodbyes to those who had been ever so gracious and kind over the years with vows of staying in touch. As I sat in the car ready to head home, I had to spend several minutes composing myself. Once again, the hospital gave us more than we left. I am truly blessed to have experienced such camaraderie over the years to both me and to Dogtor Sam. What a community of people, those we visit and those who visit us, here as well in person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of you following us, leaving such special comments over the years and supporting our efforts to make this world a bit better than we found it. Mere words of thanks don’t seem sufficient for all you’ve given us but please know I feel profoundly blessed and grateful for each and every one of you.

Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾