Category Archives: Life in General

Wonder Woman…a real Hero

The action movie, Justice League was released last week and the reviews are a bit of a mixed bag, but what’s not a mixed bag is this story about real life heroes, selflessness and the importance of organ donations. No doubt many of you have the organ donor box checked on your driver’s license in the event some unforeseen accident claims your life. But how many of you just decided one day to become a living donor? This is a story about a Wonder Woman of a different kind.

You may recall some past posts about my mail carrier, Korrie. Mostly I’ve shared how first Sam, and now Elsa, lose their minds whenever the mail is delivered. Despite being the most laid back, mellow pair, for some unknown reason Sam in particular is convinced that Korrie was some sort of serial killer. He’d go full on Cujo. And so did Elsa. Well…’because my brother does it.’ Every. single. time. The rules regarding mail delivery are pretty simple: (a) see Korrie walking past the house and up the front walk. (b) Raise holy &#@% a ruckus barking at the top of their lungs. (c) Door opens to retrieve mail. (d) Dogs go from 60 to zero when they realize, “Oh yeah, it’s Korrie. Woo-hoo!! Our favorite mail carrier who always says nice things and pays attention to us.” (e) Immediately upon realization of who it is, these two knuckleheads regain their composure and begin leaning against her leg, tails furiously wagging, lovingly looking up into her eyes and enjoying every ear rub and butt scratch she gives them. It’s the same scenario very time and many days they try to head out with her on to the next house. Across the street. Awk!

You may recall, Korrie has delivered my mail for years and like most of her customers along the route, I’ve gotten to know her well and know she’s a Facebook friend to most people from the route (truth be told, she probably knows more of the neighbors than I do!). A former fire fighter in the Air Force whose heart is a big as the Rocky Mountains she loves, Korrie was a mail carrier in Hawaii where she dreamed of moving to Colorado to enjoy skiing in particular, and the great outdoors in general. Korrie is a fitness freak, often competing in Iron (Wo)Man contests and high-rise stair climbs for various causes (she ran a marathon the Monday before donating her kidney!). Everyone in the neighborhood knows her and she knows us, smiling at each person with an upbeat greeting whenever she sees us. She befriended an elderly widower and fellow veteran who lived a couple blocks away and she continued to look out for him until his passing this spring. That’s just the kind of person she is.

Wonder Women-Korrie and kidney recipient, Rachael.

18 hours out and walking!

So when she happened to mention in passing to one of her customers that she’d like info on how to donate a kidney, he mentioned that he knew someone in need…a young woman who was suffering from end stage renal disease with only 4% kidney function. After Korrie was determined to be a perfect match over the summer, she donated one of her kidneys to Rachel a couple of months ago and recently returned to work. When I saw her back on the route, she was in terrific spirits and in even better shape. Rachel is also doing great and is finally able to enjoy life after suffering from diabetes for some 20 years. The dogs sense the extraordinary specialness of Korrie too because so far they don’t seem to completely lose their minds when she makes a delivery. Sure they bark a couple of times, but now seem to understand just how lucky we are to know someone so selfless and so incredibly special.

United forever as sisters!

Korrie and Rachel

And so during this week of Thanksgiving when I reflect about all the blessings in my life,  I am all the more grateful to know Korrie, a real life hero and Wonder Woman. In this day and age of acrimony and meanness, a generous and selfless woman who loves life touches my heart and those around her. We are all richer for it and so are my fur kids.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

 

Word(y) Wednesday ~ November 1, 2017

Dias de los Muertos, otherwise known as Day of the Dead began yesterday and goes through November 2 coinciding with the Christian celebrations of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. The weekend parade in Mexico City was led by a gigantic raised fist made with helmets, pick-axes and rubble. You may recall the raised fist was used by rescuers as a sign requesting silence so they could hear if anyone was trapped under the rubble from September’s devastating earthquakes and pays tribute to the rescuers as well as the victims. It seems like a powerful statement to open the festival this year.

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed some images from a recent visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens commemorating the festival. While generally associated with Central and South America, Day of the Dead is fast becoming a staple in Halloween celebrations in the US. It also celebrated in Europe, the Philippines, and even some cities in Australia, Fiji and Indonesia and it seems there’s a whole cottage industry dedicated to make-up and costumes. I even noticed a number of trick-or-treaters in full Day of the Dead garb around my ‘hood. 

How was your Halloween? Is Day of the Dead a big deal in your neck of the woods?

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! ❤︎

October Is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

While inadvertently fur-getting to acknowledge National Black Dog Day, I decided not to make a similar mistake again by not noting that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog. Sam and I did our part rescuing Elsa and always encourage others to save a shelter pet. Shelter dogs have so much to offer and so much love to give. Every year 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized because the number of pets in shelters exceed the number of shelter adoptions. Shelter pets come in all sizes and breeds and there’s bound to be something for everyone. Many shelters even have a number of purebred dogs as well. Remember our Remember Me Thursday post last week where we mentioned Eliot and Puck? They were each rescued from a shelter a couple year’s apart as was McKenzie, my sweet, black standard poodle. All three of those rescues lived long, happy lives while providing the family amazing joy and happiness. All these pets want is a chance to smile and have the opportunity to share their lives with a loving upright.

So this month in particular, if you’re looking for a pet, remember #AdoptDon’tShop. Put a smile on a rescue and they’ll leave indelible paw prints on your heart and in Elsa’s case, probably chew up a couple pair of glasses, socks and other weird things-but gosh I love this girl so much. She brings such joy every day.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Mourning Monday

For several hours during the night I watched as the scene unfolded in the latest mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. I used to do a number of legal municipal bond closings for McCarran Airport, always staying at the MGM and couldn’t help but wonder about the people of Vegas. The folks I worked with, the kind hotel staff that always made each visit as comfortable as possible. Vegas is not my kind of town, it’s noisy with too much glitz and goes against my thoughts on excess. With every visit for business, I witnessed behavior that was truly appalling from guests, but those who lived and worked there were just like people anywhere. Trying to get by, enjoy a slice of life, take care of and love their families. With each news story relating to mass shootings, my heart grows heavier with more despair. Why? Why do we accept this? Why do we do nothing to end it? Can anything even be done? I have no answers; the genie has been released from the bottle and can only offer my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all those affected by this latest and most horrific shooting in US history. As I sit here in the safety of my home, the dogs snoozing close by, I silently weep that once again, a mad man with darkness and demented thoughts in his heart, took them out on the innocent. I am heart broken. This is not the way to start any week. And now I’ll go and donate blood for my own community since I know this scenario will likely repeat itself. #StoptheMadness

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

 

Working Wednesday

While the rest of the world is publishing cute memes today for Wordless Wednesday, my delinquents gang decided to call an editors’ meeting. As writers we all have to deal with editors and while this day wasn’t totally convenient time wise, I agreed to it. Lately, Elsa seems more interested in the editing process {otherwise known as interrupting me with barks, lots of nose nudges under the arm and pestering in general till she gets the attention she wants}. Since I can always use some inspiration from the muses, I thought, what the heck. Sam frequently comes by when I’m on the laptop and will ‘request’ an editor’s meeeting. So I decided to bribe them with snacks just I used to back when I was in working in the law firm. Nothing seems to inspire people or pets quite like a plate of goodies, so when I put a plate out, they practically dashed to the ‘conference’ room. Here’s a transcript of our meeting.

Elsa: Oooh, hiya, mom. Is that plate of goodies for our editors’ meeting?

Mom: Hi sweetie. Yup, thought we could all use a snack while we’re working. Kind of helps the creative process or so I’m told. It always worked well in the law office when…

Sam: [Interrupting as he barges into the conference room] Yo dudes…what be shaking?

Elsa: Dudes? What. are. you. yapping. about? It’s my first editors’ meeting. Isn’t that cool, I’m so excited, let’s get started on the agenda. I think the first item on the agenda are those treats!

Sam: Wait what…now she’s barging in on my editor’s meetings, the ones where I crawl across your lap, rest my head on the laptop, receive extra attention and ear scratches so you can’t get any work done?

Elsa: You mean you get extra attention at these meetings? Woof! Sign. me. up!

Mom: Um, we seem to be starting off topic already. We’re supposed to be figuring out ways for you guys to inspire me on future posts.

Sam: Inspire?! You mean I have to work here and there won’t be any attention or extra ear scratches just for showing up? What kind of chicanery is that? Um, could someone please pass a treat?

Mom: Sam, you know the rules, there is no such thing as a free lunch treat. You have to earn them.

Sam: [Looking mortified at the thought of having to actually earn a treat.]

Elsa: I have some questions and was told you know the answer to everything so I’m hoping you can explain a few things to me.

Mom: Well, I’ll certainly try my best. Go for it.

Elsa: Ooh, ooh, mom, mom, MOOOOOMMMM!!!!!

Mom: Whaaaaat Elsa? You’re standing right here next to me! You don’t need to bark shout.

Elsa: Well…First I was wondering how come when we’re walking along and I spy a squirrel 87 feet ahead of us and we’re sneaking up on it nicely and I’ve got the pawfect plan ready to snag it with my jaws of steel when suddenly, ‘someone’ slams on the brakes and we lurch to a complete stop…totally messing up my pawsome timing and allowing said squirrel in my sights to scamper away?

Mom: Funny you should mention that. There are many days when I feel like I’m in the Middle Ages with you two trying to draw and quarter me. Your tearing my shoulder out of its socket as you race toward unsuspecting critters and mom’s in one direction and on the other side, Sam ripping my shoulder out from slamming on the breaks so he can take a pee break in the opposite direction.

Elsa: Yeah, what’s up with that anyway? He does that every 10 feet.

Sam: Hey, I’m just catching up on the local gossip around the ‘hood, reading and writing pee mails.

Elsa: Pfft…writing…ha! More like texting like a little girl.

Sam: Hey, I’ll have you know I’m leaving impawtant messages for the brahs in the neighborhood. Maybe I’m also being chivalrous telling the male dawgs to stay away from my sister. Did you ever think about that?

Elsa: Wow, you can say all that in 5 drops?! Mom, how does that work?

Mom: Well Elsa, it’s just something boy dogs do, they mark territory.

Elsa: Wow, who’d have thought you could put all that info in a teeny text pee?

Sam: Those are NOT texts!! I’ll have you know, I’m the master of brevity.

Elsa: Haha. Whatever gets you through the night. I’ve read those texts…they all read like gibberish. They don’t even make any grammatical sense. I mean, puleez. Who you trying to kid with that hooey?

Sam: Wait, you’re reading my pee mails? What kind of sorcery is this, Ninja?

Mom: Um, can we get back to the agenda by the whole “attempt to inspire me?” You know, something clever for our readers?

Elsa: But mom, I need to know, how come he does that? And while you’re answering questions, why is the sky blue? And when are we going on a hike to see the leaves change colors in the high country? And…and…and…

Mom: Ugh. Meeting adjourned. I need to get some real work done.

Sam [walking out of the room with Elsa]:  See, I told you she doesn’t know everything.

Elsa: She knows a whole lot more than you do, doofus.

Are your editor meetings as ‘productive?’

Live, love, bark! ❤︎