We’re Back Wednesday

Sam & ElsaWe’ve been MIA now for a week but are finally getting back to our normally scheduled programing. Sam came down with a nasty bug and also seemed to have injured his back. He’s been treated with lots of rest and antibiotics and more than his fair share of ear rubs and attention while he recovers. While not quite 100%, he has vastly improved and is s.l.o.w.l.y returning to true knuckleheaded form. I just need to get his appetite back from ‘meh, not at all interested’ to somewhere close to normal (for Sam that will probably be somewhere in the vicinity of ‘well, it’s not prime rib but I’ll try to choke it down’ category). He’s always been fairly picky discriminating but when he’s under the weather, even more so. In his old age, Little Lord Fauntleroy has become downright difficult to please palate-wise. He seems to think hand feeding 5-star restaurant quality food is the norm and clinging to me with absolutely not a speck of space between us must rule the day.

Naturally Elsa has had her nose out of joint since she wasn’t the sole focus on the ‘Ranch’ universe.  I’ve had work through the canine healthcare system getting her meds this week which will no doubt likely result in a rant new post. I’m beginning to think the universe is conspiring to make things more challenging.

But we are back in the saddle and trying our dog-most to slog through the obstacle course otherwise known as life. Coming across a few late blooming pretty tulips seemed like a good sign that better days are ahead. I’m beginning to think we are on the high hurdle course lately but are grateful we still seem to be able to clear those jumps. Adding to the mix, the weather went from snow last Thursday to mid-80’s F this week. I just love Springtime in the Rockies, especially with these two Knuckleheads.

So…have we missed any exciting happenings? What’s new with you?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 19, 2019

Today is Good Friday and another week is in the books. I hope you’re ready for the Easter weekend. We’re once again joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday Blog Hop, Good Friday edition. Today we’re gonna take a look at Mother Nature’s flowering trees that are starting to enter into the spring landscape. Ornamental pears have begun to blossom and when we see these around the 303, we know spring has definitely sprung (yes, I do realize that there is still good chance for a snow shower or two over the next few weeks but I’m too busy enjoying spring to worry about it now).

Ornamental pear trees (known as Bradford Pears) have been planted all over the urban Denver landscape. Known for its conical shape and showy blossoms, they are taking front and center stage now. My two assistants graciously agreed to pose near a band of them lined up along the parking strip between street and sidewalk (for Elsa, it was a sit/stay training moment and she passed…we like to multitask on our walks).

Trees

A closeup shows clusters of pinkish centers amid white blossoms. When I was researching these trees, I was shocked to learn many people are not fans, in fact, many have called for their removal as a menace to modern landscaping. They cite invasiveness and lack of biodiversity as well as structural issues since their branches tend to split when the trees are anywhere from 15-20 years old. In the early 1900’s, Frank Meyer, a plant explorer from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture went to China to find the most disease-resistant strain which could be grafted to existing pear trees. Good Ole Frank found what he thought would be a good variety and brought back 100 pounds of seed and, for a while, it worked like a charm. The trees will grow in nearly any soil, mature quickly and bloom early in spring with bright orange foliage in autumn. They are one of the first blooming trees in spring and the last to drop their pretty leaves in autumn. Landscape architects thought they’d found the perfect tree. It soon became the most widely planted tree in the U.S. By the 1990’s however, landscapers discovered the ugly side to these pretty additions to suburbs and office parks. While these trees’ symmetrical structure is attractive, it leads to what’s known as “weak crotches” (all limbs branch out from the trunk). This weakness often causes them to split apart. Additionally, storms contribute to extensive splitting damage. Over the past several years in my own neighborhood, storms have decimated many of the trees (including the two across the street leaving them badly deformed and misshapen). The owner can’t bear to cut them down and continues to try to save them. Bradford pears don’t self pollinate, but cross-pollination can occur with the other strains of ornamental pears resulting in problematic hybrids.

The introduction of these trees underscores the fact that too often there are unintended consequences requiring contemplation before moving ahead. Remember, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

And because they have been as spectacular as I’ve ever seen, here are more tulips from around the neighborhood with apologies to my Instagram followers who are probably sick of seeing tulip after tulip on my feed. My own tulips are taking their own sweet time (in their defense, that happens when they aren’t bathed in sunlight the livelong day). They give a real Keukenhof Gardens feel even if I’m thousands of miles from Lisse, Netherlands.

Tulips

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

TulipsTulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you are able to enjoy the lovely renditions of Mother Nature and have a wonderful and joyous Easter weekend.

Easter

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ April 1, 2019

Holy cow, it’s April…how did that happen? April is the pretty month, sweet and full of springtime promises. Today also happens to be my baby sister’s birthday so I’m sending her oodles of poodles of digital birthday greetings. Happy birthday, sweet sis! Can’t wait to give her birthday hugs in person later this month.

The Knuckleheads celebrated her birthday over the weekend with Elsa making confetti for the occasion.

We hope you had a wonderful weekend and today offers a fresh new slate for exciting adventures this week. No doubt these two are planning more ‘pawsome’ fun. I can hardly wait.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾