Category Archives: Knuckleheads

National Read Across America Day

Dr. SeussNormally we don’t post on weekends, but we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to join the blog hop celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday hosted by our fur-iends Chimera Jakey Molly. You can click on the links for other Dr. Seuss blog fun.

March 2 is National Read Across America Day, where we celebrate one of our most favorite activities, reading. Created by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 as a way to encourage children to get excited about reading and it occurs every year on Dr. Seuss’  birthday. We think the perfect way to celebrate is to don a Dr. Seuss hat like Sam and read any one of his famous stories, like the 2015 bestseller, “What Pet Should I Get.” Today  students, teachers, parents, and community members around the country will come together to read books and celebrate the joy of reading. 

The best news about Dr. Seuss is there will be a new book coming out later this year (September 2019), 28 years after the author’s death, according to a press release from the publisher. The new book is about a friendly horse who takes a group of students on a tour of an art museum. Artists and non-artists will appreciate the timeless theme that “there is no one right way to interpret the beauty we encounter every day,” as indicated in the press release.

Dr. Seuss

So what are you waiting for…grab a book and join us! And happy birthday to the good ‘doctor.’

Dr. Seuss

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Spreading the Love Thursday

Last week we visited hospice and hospital over Valentine’s Day and experienced some of our best visits. Ever. Sam was especially extra patient and loving on both days.

Sam spreading the love

We typically make a swing through the surgical waiting area before heading up to our assigned floor to visit with family and friends waiting for their loved ones and this week was no exception. Sam seemed to sense the first group needed extra attention. They included a husband, wife and another friend of the family’s. The husband’s face lit up as we came around the corner and Sam made a beeline for him. His wife squealed when she turned around, but Sam was determined to say hello first to him. His tail was wagging like a wound up metronome as he gazed into the guy’s eyes, so deeply in fact his wife commented on it. Sam turned toward her and she melted under his hypnotic spell, then he turned his gaze back to toward the man again. We spent several minutes chatting, learned he retired from being a police officer for over 40 years. Retirement wasn’t exactly his jam so he started working part-time at Home Depot for a while and shared several photos of pups who came in with their owners and said how much he appreciated it when people brought their 4-legged ‘handyman’ in to provide TLC with employees. He was totally in Sam’s paws, so much so, that he began leaning against the guy’s leg. Sam laid down next to him knowing he needed to chat and share stories of how much he enjoyed that job with those pooch encounters.

It became clear we could have spent loads of time visiting with this couple and learning more about them and their own dog at home but saw several other groups in the waiting area so we began to wrap it up. As we prepared to leave for the next family, the man asked me to say a prayer for his 91-year-old mother-in-law. Bless her heart, she was having a serious procedure done and worried about her long-term prognosis. Now I completely understood why Sam spent so much time with him. Sam knew his visit was what the doctor ordered for this family.

Sam spreading the love

We moved on to the next family whose elderly mom was the patient, Sam gave and received loads of kisses and hugs from the two sisters and aunts and uncles waiting to hear how their loved one fared in surgery. It’s always touching seeing this knucklehead spreading pure joy among people whose hearts are heavy as their family faces uncertain times. He seems to know who to visit first and for how long. Ironic considering when I try to get him to do something along our daily walks, he looks at me like I’m speaking in tongues.

Following the hospital visits, we went over to hospice where the nurses in particular needed Sam’s loving presence. Overnight, 5 patients had passed away, something that’s extremely rare for one day, and the staff needed some puppy love from a sweet loving therapy dog. While we were there, the last body was removed and as noted before they perform a Tibetan bowl ceremony while the body is removed. It’s a beautiful ceremony and Sam sat solemnly next to the line of nurses lined up watching as the body is removed from the building. Once the body was removed and everyone went back to work, he spent extra time with each one of the nurses on the floor. They needed his special attention and tail wags and they all expressed gratitude for his visit. While we’d just been visiting a couple of weeks earlier, I was particularly glad we answered the call to help them deal with the loss on what was a probably an extra difficult day at work.

This silly, goofy dog had the perfect touch for our Valentine’s Day visits and I couldn’t be prouder of this boy for doing what he does best. Making people smile and feel better, even if just for a few moments. While I know his days may be numbered as part of the pet therapy program, I know he will always give it his all.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

春节 (Chūn Jié) The Lunar New Year

Year of the PigEven though mom we neglected to post yesterday, I wanted to pass along our best wishes to everyone for a Happy Chinese New Year. Sam here. We had been celebrating the Year of the Dog and for the record, that of course will continue, right mom? I mean, you love and celebrate us Knuckleheads every day anyway so the Ranch should still operate under the Year of the Dog. But for now it’s time for everyone else to turn the lunar calendar over and begin celebrating the Year of the Pig which is often referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China on the traditional Chinese calendar. Normally beginning on the new moon that appears between January 21 and  February 20, the first day of the Chinese New Year began February 5. This annual 15-day festival is celebrated around the world by Chinese communities. Both Elsa and I are opposed to any fireworks ushering in the celebrations that will continue over the next couple of weeks and we’re still waiting for our red envelopes filled with treats.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Pig. In Chinese astrology, each year belongs to a Chinese zodiac animal according to the 12-year cycle. Years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, and 2031. The Pig occupies the twelfth position in the Chinese zodiac with 2019 being the year of the pig and its element is wood. It only seemed fitting to share a photo mom took of wooden carved pigs taken on another trip to Mexico a few years ago.

Year of the Pig

According to a Chinese astrology website that mom found: the “Pig is a mild and a lucky animal representing carefree fun, good fortune and wealth. Personality traits of the people born under the sign of the Pig are happy, easygoing, honest, trusting, educated, sincere and brave.”

For those born under the sign of the Pig,  your lucky flower is hydrangea, pitcher plant, or marguerite, your lucky gemstone is the ruby. Your lucky numbers are 2, 5, and 8. When it comes to lucky colors, chose yellow, grey, brown, golden. Your lucky direction is southeast, northeast and your best match would be someone born in the year of Sheep, Rabbit, or Tiger.

Conversely there are some unlucky things you should know. Unlucky numbers are 1, 3, 9, unlucky colors are red, blue, green, and your worst match would be those born in the year of the Snake, Monkey or surprisingly, Pig.

“Warm-hearted, honest and tolerant to others, people born under the Pig sign are always full of friends and are faithful to them and set a high value on friendship. Whenever a friend is in need, they will help without hesitation. Also, they dislike quarreling and are magnanimous to let bygones be bygones. Those under the Pig sign usually get along very well with others. Though thought to be somewhat materialistic, those born under the sign of the Pig are not stingy and would like to share what they have with others.”

What sign were you born under?

Chinese horoscopeWishing you a year full of good fortune and happiness. Chūn Jié!

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ January 14, 2019

So THAT’S the issue? Guess it’s obvious now the problem is I am owned by I own a Standard Poodle, when what I really need is an automatic.

Standard vs. Automatic

Here’s hoping your week starts off with a chuckle.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Yappy New Year ~ January 1, 2019

Eek, can you believe it’s 2019? Let’s hope it’s a good one. From all of us, to all of you, we just want to say…

Gif

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 31, 2018

Every New Year’s Eve mom gathers us to have ‘the talk’ where she goes over, for the umpteenth time, “rules for poodles.” Elsa here. “Like we’ve heard it all before, mom.” Besides, we know “poodles rule” anyway. This year I decided to beat her to the punch before she starts whining waxing on about her stupid rules.

🦴 Yes, mom, we know it’s called a walk. In Doglish we think that means a ‘sniff’ and a leisurely one at that when the temperatures are extra cold. Chilled  leaves and grass smell much different, trust us.

🦴 Of course we know that minding our leash manners is impawtant for everyone’s safety and that it’s not necessary to dash after every cat or squirrel we encounter. Don’t blame us…explain the rules to the cats and squirrels. We know exactly what to do. Can we help it if they don’t want to ‘chat’ with us?

🦴 Walking exercises.  Sometimes the sidewalk ends and we have to walk out in the street so Sam and I think that’s the pawfect time to extend our leashes in opposite directions so you have to rein us in. It’s called upper arm strengthening exercises. Have you looked in the mirror lately and checked out that flab dripping off your triceps like a wet bag of mice? You’re welcome.

🦴 As for when you’re picking up our poop, we’ve got other things on our minds. And most often that involves walking behind you to get our bearings. you’re on your own. 💩  Besides, I always thought moms had eyes in the back of their heads to keep an eye out on us. Guess I got that wrong.

🦴 Follow the leader to us in Doglish means something more like that cool Fleetwood Mac song…Go Your Own Way. Oh sure, you’re barking ‘heel’ but you need to start thinking of Sam more like Lindsey Buckingham. They’re both weirdos.

🦴 Yes, we pestered you to take us for a walk and jumped around like pogo sticks till we left and then s-l-o-w-l-y meandered around on said walk like we could care less. It’s called a poodle agenda. Sheesh, don’t you ever read the editor meeting memos where we clearly spelled that out?

🦴 In the winter when sunlight on our early walks isn’t in plentiful supply, we are quite sure that shadow we saw IS too a serial killer, therefore barking is imperative for everyone’s safety. The neighbors need to get up and get to work anyway.

🦴 And while we’re on the topic of safety, I know for a fact that all Akitas will trigger insanity on my part. You can call it racial profiling if you like, but  blame the next door Akita, not me. He’s already proved that he would tear down the fence if he could. I know his crazy MO and will act accordingly whenever we encounter others of the same breed, irrespective if they’re nice or not. I gotta let all dogs know not to mess with this Chica. Us Ninjas have a reputation to uphold. Maybe you should think about carrying more treats in your pocket for distraction purposes. Just saying.

🦴 Nose nudging while you’re trying to paint. Hey, we’re just improving your lame artwork. Picasso probably had interns, so chill. If you painted with acrylics instead of those unforgiving watercolors, you could save yourself a lot of aggravation. Then again, if you petted us enough, we wouldn’t need to remind you.

There are probably other areas where we rule, but am sure when you least expect it, we’ll be sure to remind you so that you might eventually ‘get it,’ by pointing out who really rules around the Ranch. That’s called training, woman and you need lots of it.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year. Let us know when we’re gonna pop open the Dog Perignon, Sam and I will get the hors d’oeuvres ready for ringing in 2019 with some serious style.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 17, 2018

We hope you had a wonderful weekend making preparations for Santa Paw’s arrival. Sam here, mom finally got her tush in gear and is mostly caught up. Are you ready for that big guy in red to show up? I’m gonna try out for a position with his reindeer. Think I have a chance?

Have a wooftastic week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾

It’s that time…

Last evening Sam was scheduled for his semi-annual re-evaluation to continue participation in the pet therapy program at Lutheran Hospital. Pets in the program receive a general health check as well as an evaluation as to suitability to participate. As I prepared the paperwork questionnaire, the Knucklehead could sense sometime beyond the usual evening routine was afoot. It’s always impressive to watch dogs intuition play out and he dashed from the back door to the garage in happy bounces. He sailed into the back seat and readied himself for the adventure.

We arrived at the volunteer office located on the south end of the main hospital building. This entrance is generally locked after hours which is no problem as my badge will provide access. We were greeted by a hospital volunteer who was stationed there for those who neglected to bring their badge with them. We’ve encountered Dave many times in various locations throughout the hospital. He always has a warm grin but especially when he sees the dogs coming. Sam adores him and immediately leaned in against his leg for a good ear scratch.

While we waited, a couple of volunteers came by to sign out. One was a high schooler who was super delighted to visit with Sam after his evening shift. Sam’s tail went into overdrive. Once they left, I reflected how well Sam connects with everyone he encounters and my heart swelled with pride with this sweet pup. When our number came up, we went in to visit with Dr. Diana Roberts, one of the volunteer vets who donates her time supporting our program. We hadn’t seen Dr. Roberts at our last two evals and were thrilled to see her again.

Sam adores Dr. R and not just because she provides scrumptious treats. She’s beyond kind, smiles a lot and has a soothing touch, all ‘wagnificent’ qualities for a vet. Sam passed this latest eval with flying colors and then we spent several minutes joking about his knuckleheaded-ness. Ok, maybe that was just me. They just laughed at my stories. The volunteer who coordinates all of the evaluations  ribs me when I say Sam is a knucklehead and then, naturally he does something that proves it and we all laugh; but a sweeter dog would be difficult to find. This photo, taken just before we left for the evaluation, seems to underscore that sweetness.

Sam

We’re looking forward to our visits later this month and during this month of thankfulness, I find how truly grateful I am for this amazing dog and for the pet therapy program where he can bring smiles to others.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Fall Festival Pet Parade

Over the weekend, Sam ‘pawticipated’ in the Lutheran Fall Festival hosted by the hospital for staff, volunteers and their families. Normally we have our own get-together but this year we decided to be a part of the hospital’s event being featured in a Pet Parade complete with ‘Howloween’ costumes.

It’s well-known that knuckleheads Standard Poodles were originally bred as waterfowl retrievers. It’s a known fact that Sam hates water. He will walk around puddles on sidewalks. Imagine my surprise when I could hardly keep him away from the ‘duck pond.’

Perhaps his DNA leans more toward ‘fishing’ than retrieving.

Sam had a good time seeing his favorite therapy friends and making new ones. One of his besties is a toy poodle, named Teddy. Teddy was a puppy mill survivor who lost an eye but has never lost his heart to make people happy whenever they see him…all six pounds of him.

Teddy

Not one to shirk his therapy duties whenever there’s a crowd, Sam got busy visiting with all the children attending. And of course, investigating all the sweet treat smells, which to Sam are just as nice as little girls.

Sam adores firemen. Always has. As soon as he spotted this guy, he couldn’t get over to him fast enough. ‘Course, seeing our newest therapy teammate Zoey there probably helped too. She’s such a cutie and is going to make a wagnificent addition to our ranks.

We love attending these kinds of events because of all the terrific people attending. Sam thought he’d try his paw at face painting because he loves little girls and is so creative. Not. But a kid’s lap is just too tempting to not try to investigate. They invariably will deliver a nice ear scratch. Maybe he’s not as dumb as I think he is??

No pet therapy event is complete without little Bindy. This tiny scene stealer with her hanging out tongue is always a therapy hit.

It was really good seeing our buddy, Oreo especially since he’s been under the weather lately with bladder stones. As you can see from his smiling face, he was glad to be back in the saddle. Oreo is also a therapy dog at Denver’s International Airport and brightens the day for DIA’s many travelers.

Two of the longest-serving pet therapists were also in attendance. Beau and Mandy compete in national dance competitions in addition to bringing smiles to patients. They dress up nicely, don’t they?

Coco, the Mountain Dog looked dashing in her pirate costume.

Coco, the Mountain Dog

It was a lovely day for a festival with a good turnout of some of the program’s favorite pooches and peeps. Even Sam tried his level best at ‘Bee-ing” good for his autumn ‘pawtrait’ taking.

Sam, "Being Good"

Live, love, bark! 🐾