Category Archives: Life in General

Non-Stereotypical Pitstops

Before mom abandoned us went on vacation, one of our daily walkabouts included a decidedly non-stereotypical stop for girl dogs. Hi, it’s me, Sam. My sister always makes a pit stop in pretty much the same spot every day and nowhere near this spot. But on that day, look where she chose to ‘leave a message.’ In front of a hydrant! My favorite bulletin board. Hey Ninja…not. cool. one. bit. That’s my spot. Now that you’ve erased watered down my message, I’m going to have to find a new place. Can you say cooties?! Don’cha know…none of the boy dogs will bother replying to me over a sister’s text? Ugh…how embarrassing. How in the world will I ever be able to show my snout in the neighborhood now?

On the plus side, we managed to survive the past week without our mom. She is supposed to come home tomorrow afternoon. Yay…color us both happy-go-lucky pups. Here’s hoping you have a weekend full of tail wags and face licks.

Umm, a little privacy, please.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Working Wednesday

Hi guys, I’m off to visit my favorite spot, West Pines today. Mom managed to get us an extra shift here before she leaves on vacation Friday [feel free to shame her for not taking me]. She mentioned something about ‘maybe’ not being able to post much during her 8 days away but she wasn’t sure. The plan was to prepare a few in advance but life got in the way and now she has to deal with a freezer that went out last night before she leaves. I just hope my bones are okay.

So if you don’t hear from us, you’ll know mom is being held hostage in a backyard teepee by the ‘grands.’ Make it a great Hump Day.

Live, love, bark 🐾

Reflections on Therapy Visits ~ Part 1

Sam and I visited the hospital a couple of weeks ago for the first time since December and while we’re visiting again this week, I wanted to share our last experiences. My mom was again hospitalized in December (you can read about the first time she became ill here ), so pet therapy visits were put on hold while I drove back and forth to visit her a 100+ miles south of Denver. When she was released four weeks later, my brain apparently excised all previously felt fears, memories and hospital experiences as life returned to being more “routine.” The whole family was jubilant she was still with us despite various setbacks experienced while in the hospital. Walking into the hospital now with Sam, I was soon to be again teleported back in time where I saw more than my fair share of hospital waiting rooms, heard overhead notifications, watched medical treatments and overworked staff dashing from room to room. The hospital lighting and odors of hospital corridors suddenly triggered deep memories swirling deep within my brain as I recalled many once forgotten memories a couple of months ago as I watched her in ICU and prayed like a monk she would survive again. Funny how that kind of experience transports you back in a heartbeat.

Sam eagerly entered the hospital during the week where our temperatures had been in the single digits, with a dusting of snow. As a safety measure, the hospital tends to over salt all walkways so I decided to make sure Sam’s feet were covered to keep his paws from being burnt by nasty de-icing chemicals. We went to work right away even though I learned when it comes to wearing snow boots on freshly groomed paws, they can act like a new pair of shoes does on uprights, cause a blister and they rubbed one toe raw (so sorry buddy). Luckily treats seemed to keep me in his good graces even if that one toe in particular looked very angry. Being the pro he is, Sam was pretty nonplussed. We started out in the lobby area, picked up a hot beverage at the coffee shop and began to re-acquaint ourselves with all the lobby traffic. Next to the coffee shop is the out-patient surgical waiting area where we drop in to visit folks waiting for word on how their loved ones endured their procedures. Soon we were surrounded by several nurses and medical staff wanting to say hello to the Knucklehead.

Because it’d been so cold that week, I had left Sam’s hair long, just cleaning up his face, feet, and tail. He was brushed into a giant fluff ball and always manages to attract a crowd who want to run their fingers through his soft hair. It wasn’t long before we were approached by a couple of women. The first one said Sam looked just like her three-month old standard poodle puppy and she showed me a video of her pup who was enrolled in a class in preparation for being trained as her own therapy service dog. She explained she was an Air Force veteran and looking forward to her ‘baby’ helping her. We talked for a long time about training methods, etc. and Sam sat contentedly near her as she recalled time spent in the service and of her beloved puppy. Her friend chimed in and shared stories of her own pets and experiences as a military contractor in Okinawa and how much she loved living there. These women were friends and the military contractor was vacationing with her friend. There was a deep bond between the woman and we chatted a long time. Realizing we needed to get on with our appointed rounds, we bid each other adieu then made our way through the lobby when I heard two young girls squeal a frequently heard comment, “Oh my gawd, there’s a dog here!!”

Student CNAs, Alyssa (L) and Danais (R) enjoying a break with Sam

These two girls fussed and fawned over Sam, took selfies of him and I was beginning to think  I might have to arm wrestle Sam away from Danais. They were just finishing up their shadowing experience and shared details of their training and all the steps they were taking toward future plans with becoming RN’s. Not sure I was ever that well-organized in high school…heck, I’m not sure even now as an adult, come to think of it.  Yet these two young women gave me hope for the future as young people begin to take their place in society. Today’s youth seems to have their lives well mapped out.

A quick swing through the gift shop and along other public areas and we were ready to hit our first assignment. We’d already been there well over an hour.

As we made our way to the assigned floor, a tall elderly man rushed up to us and asked if we would visit his wife who’d love a visit. “We’d love to brighten her day,” I replied. He smiled broadly at Sam, and the two of them looked deeply into each other’s faces. It was one of those lingering moments and then he abruptly turned, thanked us for going to see her and proceeded on his way toward the elevator. As I walked toward Alice’s room, memories suddenly flooded my psyche…the lighting, the odors, the hectic pace of the nurses dashing from room to room and the look of concern on people’s faces. And in a snap, I was reminded of my mom’s stay. Sam must have picked up on my energy and he stayed close though he did visit with Alice briefly.

By now, my brain was in a fog triggering recollections from those four weeks while I visited my mom in her hospital room. My soul had been deeply touched with the memories flooding back and yet we still had more visits at hospice. Sam seemed to sense that I and everyone else we encountered that day needed his attention. His energy level was beginning to wane, yet we soldiered on to hospice.

We walked in and were warmly greeted by the staff. The palliative staff at hospice are angels on earth in my mind. Theirs is a difficult job transitioning people through whatever comes after life and yet they always manage to stay warm, calm and comforting. One of the nurses asked us to stop in and see a staff doctor before visiting patients and we happily took the detour. Dr. R was thrilled for a break and gave Sam loads of attention. Leaving her to return to visits, we moved to see the patient in Room 213. The desk nurse said she’d be non-responsive but her husband could use a bit of diversion and a friendly face.

It’s always touching seeing someone visiting a hospice patient-we often see too many who are alone. We knocked, introduced ourselves and were greeting by a kind face. ‘Calvin’ unconsciously began to pet Sam who sat between his legs while sharing a number of long stories about his wife, ‘Jeanette’ who was a handful of years younger than her youthful looking husband. She had suffered repeated health issues during her life and he seemed the need to share details of her life to assuage a soon-to-be uncertain future following a grim prognosis. After a long visit, Calvin thanked us, we exchanged well wishes and then left. It had been a bitter cold day and though I experienced many warm thoughts toward everyone we visited, I couldn’t shake the reality of what it’s like on the other side of the leash…exactly where I had been just two months earlier with my mom. It weighed on my heart and made sleep pretty elusive that night.

Tomorrow we’ll visit West Pines again and should have more stories to share later. Last month’s West Pines visit touched me and it will no doubt likely be the same again this time. We continue to be moved by the residents at West Pines. They often impact us for days and even weeks later.

Live, love, bark❣

National Read Across America Day


Today is National Read Across America Day and would have been the 113th birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss where people are invited to host local events to celebrate and promote children’s reading and in honor of all who read, Sam wholeheartedly agrees and is ‘pawticipating.’ Click on this link to join the hop.

Sam here. Oh yessiree..you betcha, I totally support National Read Across America Day. See the Dr. Seuss quote I found. I told mom should use it in our post. And anyone who knows me, knows I definitely follow any direction I choose. Sorry ’bout your shoulder mom, but in my defense, it must be okay because Dr. Seuss told me to do it.

Mom here. Umm, Sam, I don’t think you’re suppose to ‘bogart’ an expression for your self-serving ways. And my shoulder will be just fine so long as I tie your leash around my waist. I have too much ‘ballast’ for you to go gallivanting here, there, everywhere, young man.

Sam: Heavy dog sigh. Oh well, it was worth a shot. We hope you are able to do some great reading today and everyday, and while you’re at it, you should add it to your list of fun things to do for a super weekend. Now why Mom is winking and smiling at some bottle of red liquid on the counter next to her Kindle?

Live, love, bark❣

 

Model Monday

Puppies take the field for Puppy Bowl XIV. Animal Planet Discovery Communications Inc
DCL Photo Shoot PUPPY BOWL XIV [credit: Damian Strohmeyer/Animal Planet]

Hey effurry-one…it’s me, Elsa. Hope you had a pawsome weekend watching Puppy Bowl XIV  (highlights here) or even Super Bowl LII game. How ’bout those high-flying Eagles? Whoa…what an amazing game. And half-time…JT still has it. What a great couple of games and some interesting commercials. All in all, it was a great Sunday for football.

Anywho…mom kind of went off the reservation this weekend, holing up in her studio and making 87 bandanas. I don’t know what got into her. She said something about fabric being on sale. Whatever. One second she was catching up on blog posts and giving me ear scratches, then the next minute she was on all paws cutting fabric out. I tried to get her to let me help but she said I don’t have any thumbs and wouldn’t be of any assistance. Little does she know I didn’t want to help her with her project, I just wanted to get in the way while she was on the floor. Cuz that’s just the way I roll.

So after what seemed like a million hours at her sewing machine, she pushed her chair away and says “BAM! 💥 I’m done!” O-kay. What’s done, I thought? Then she said, “oh, Elsa, come heeere. I want you to model some bandanas for me. When I looked over that pile, I said “what…are you nuts?” I’m a poodle, not a Kardashian.” Umm, I don’t think so! So she gets all sad and says I don’t appreciate her work so I finally say, “Oh, alright then. I’ll wear ONE!” She’s starts protesting again and I replied, “look, it’s one or none, your choice.”

Naturally my goofball brother comes bouncing in about then and says, “Oooh, oooh…I’ll do the modeling!” I kind of accidentally’ stepped on his tail then. Gosh, what a brown nose! The last thing he’d want to do is let mom dress him up the rest of the afternoon endlessly tying scarves around his neck and taking countless photos of him. Trust me, I did him a favor. You’re welcome, Knucklehead.

So he ‘reconsiders’ and says, “umm yeah, well maybe not all of them.” So, long story short, she has us pick out one. I mean, I’m super glad to have new scarves-I mean a girl can never have too many new clothes, right? But that whole walk down the paw-way while she’s trying to figure out which ones go best with our fur, umm…no thank you.

I woof you’ too, mom.

Live, love, bark❣

Ground Hog Friday

Today is Ground Hog Day where a certain pudgy rodent named Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania will predict whether Spring will be arriving early. Here’s a little background on this event celebrated in the U.S. and Canada, according to Wikipedia:

“A select group, called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle, takes care of Phil year-round and also plans the annual ceremony. Members of the Inner Circle are recognizable by their top hats and tuxedos. The Vice President of the Inner Circle prepares two scrolls in advance of the actual ceremony, one proclaiming six more weeks of winter and one proclaiming an early spring. At day break, on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil awakens from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob, is helped to the top of the stump by his handlers, and explains to the President of the Inner Circle, in a language known as “Groundhogese”, whether or not he has seen his shadow. The President of the Inner Circle, the only person able to understand Groundhogese through his possession of an ancient acacia wood cane, then interprets Phil’s message, and directs the Vice President to read the proper scroll to the anxiously anticipating crowd gathered on Gobbler’s Knob and the masses of “phaithful phollowers” tuned in to live broadcasts around the world.”

Even though Phil is a rodent and not a meteorologist, when you’re dreaming of Springtime, it’s probably a fun diversion to take one’s mind off Winter thinking this way.

We’re predicting a pawsome weekend and hope yours is beyond grand.

Live, love, bark❣

Monday Musings

I think dogs definitely relate to this proverb. I would so love to strive for the ‘eat half’ advice. which is particularly tough during the Girl Scout Cookie Sale period currently going on. Who can resist those earnest faces?

Live, love, bark! ❤