Monday Musings ~ October 19, 2020

Before we get to Monday, I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to all who were so kind with their welcome back comments on our last post and extra thanks to those of you who reached out privately over the past six weeks. It has been so incredibly touching and most appreciated. The pet blogging community is quite special and I will always be grateful to each and everyone of you for your kindness and caring. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, let’s get to Monday.  For those of you living in the US who are not quite ready to welcome another week of the campaign, I hope you find comfort in the thought there are only two more weeks until the election. Thank heavens for small miracles. I’m sure everyone will be grateful for the end of the weirdest election ever. But if that doesn’t make you smile, how about seeing therapy dogs in action from Norman’s recent inaugural visit to Lutheran. The panDAMNic has taken a real toll on healthcare workers everywhere and it certainly  disseminated our therapy ranks, but ten dogs were scheduled for this event, five for each shift, which was a nice way to start up again.

Even with reduced numbers, there was still a good variety of participating pups from tiny Bindee to buffalo-sized Norman. Whatever your jam, the Lutheran pet therapy dogs have you well covered.

Therapy Dogs
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprinkle ~ Bindee and Norman

Norman was especially taken with little Bindee, wiggling his butt non-stop whenever he was around her but always remaining a well behaved, gentle giant. I wasn’t 100% completely sure how’d this mass get-together would fly  but Norman showed why he should do quite well when it comes to pet therapy work. There were loads of “hi there, how you doing, nice to meet you” kind of sniffs with tails wags and wiggles by all the dogs. It was particularly nice to also see the handlers after many months being away.

While I personally wish there had been more doctors and nurses from the Emergency Department (they had been lobbying for dog visits for some time and could definitely use the pet therapy visits as the hospital is once again full with patients as the city’s COVID numbers have spiked lately), we did get a few drop in’s from folks I’d previously seen around the hospital with probably half a dozen EMTS and police officers.

Police
Photo courtesy of  Janet Gradwell Lewis  ~ Bismark and Logan
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Chinn ~ Rylie
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Janet Gradwell Lewis ~ L to R: Bindee, Kai, Bismark, Logan, & Rylie
Pet therapy
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Chinn ~ Rylie

Everyone seemed very pleased to visit with all the dogs on a perfect autumn day with mild temps and the dogs were glad to be back to work. We’re all hopeful that we can do this again soon.

Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprenkle  ~ our most experienced pet therapists, Beau & Roxie
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprenkle ~ Zoe and Rylie
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Chinn ~ Rylie (Kai and Bindee in background)
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprenkle ~ Axel

Rylie also made her maiden voyage with Norman. She’s going to be a great addition of the group. At the end of the day, the Good Dogs of Lutheran’s pet therapy program made the event a resounding success and everyone is already jonesing for the next time when these special dogs are able to make people smile and breath just a bit easier in these weird times.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

We’re Back…sort of

Hi there, remember us? You know, that merry band of misfits consisting of two dogs and an upright who thinks she runs things but let’s face it, we all know Norman and Elsa are the real brains around the Ranch. Sorry we’ve been AWOL. A series of life events tripped us up pretty hard and took the wind out of my sails with little to no bandwidth remaining in the tank to do any kind of job at blogging. I began to sink in mental mud rather than focus on much of anything else.

Flowers

Although we were served a large crap sandwich, I realized when I ran into a nearby neighbor couple this morning that life can easily serve a bountiful meal as well. They were loading their newborn baby boy into the car (egad, I hadn’t even been aware they were expecting)!  What a beautiful and reaffirming sight to see their new son peeking out over dad’s shoulder gazing at the world while the two fur beasts and I observed this blessing from a more than social distance. The realization that a new life joined the rest of us in 2020 had an impact on my psyche and that made me realize I absolutely needed to begin to post.

In the ‘more good news’ category, the hospital recently contacted the pet therapy teams to see if we were interested in participating in some form of hybrid form of pet therapy visits. While visiting patients and staff in the hospital would not be possible (and probably won’t for the foreseeable future given the recent uptick in cases in the Mile High City), they worked on creating a new way to bring smiles at least to the staff of the Emergency Department. Norman is scheduled to visit their parking lot venue for greeting doctors and nurses (today is our first day and we’re wiggling with excitement and will report back on just how it goes so wish us luck). Norman is all spiffed up having survived the water torture and is now ready to make his first appearance spreading a little joy later this morning.

Pet Therapy

Please know we’ve missed you all and hope to pick up where we left off with new adventures to share. I’ve continued to visit your blogs and left a few microscopic comments but you’ve all been in my heart. It appears the summer has been good to the fair majority of you and we hope autumn continues in that vein. Until the next time where we update you on how Norman’s inaugural entry into the world of pet therapy goes, remember…

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 24, 2020

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 3, 2020

Norman

Oi, how long does a mate have to wear this hat before he gets a treat, mum?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 31, 2020

Welcome to the last Friday of July where we are joining our friends and hosts, Rosy, sister Sunny and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard. Norman here, ready to share some bits and bobs from our our neighborhood. Mum tried very hard to get me to pose alone around several pretties but I wanted nothing to do with that. I thought she was off her trolley, I tell you. What self-respecting sheepdog fannies about among the flowers?

Anyway, I did pose with the Ninja at a spot that makes an otherwise bleak corner light pole look pretty “tickety boo.” You can’t even see the well worn pole at the lower sections and those flowers seem to keep the squirrels from climbing up and barking at us. What do you think? I mean come on…those Cosmos and morning glories.

Flowers

Mum has always been fascinated with bugs. While I’m always good for a crunchy treat with legs, I’m just not sure what it is about those webby things some of them make. Mum doesn’t mind the bugs, but when she encounters their webs she starts flailing her arms around like a windmill screeching like a banshee. Whenever she turns on the water, she always uses a stick to wipe their houses away from the handle. Seems a bit harsh to me. Mums…what can I say? I mean look at those droplets clinging to the web…is that cool? Almost looks like an umbrella over some of the woodruff.

Nature

Everyday we walk past a house with a lovely garden and handsome Akita dog. This week a beautiful Asiatic Lily that has been in bloom but alas we haven’t seen Fred much lately and hope he’s just hanging out inside where it’s much cooler. We oohed and awed when we saw this lovely and couldn’t help but linger inhaling its divine scent. What a beauty [note to self, don’t rub one’s face against those orangy stamens, they stain and require lots of face washing by an overly zealous mum who demands clean faces]

Flowers

The plumbago in mum’s garden is beginning to bloom and that blue sure spiffs it up. Soon though the leaves will begin morphing into gorgeous mahogany-toned leaves just in time for autumn which mum asked me to be sure and remind everyone will arrive in the Northern Hemisphere in 52 days. Guess all you sunlovers better make hay while the sun shines, eh?

Flowers

The last thing to share is a plant mum grew from some long expired seeds a few years ago. She can’t remember what they’re called and she’s a bit surprised they returned again since Nature has been a bit cranky on the landscape with a dry, cold winter, late spring freezes and a blistering hot summer. When she saw this reappeared, she’s begun babying it so we’ll see if it continues to thrive or go roots up. Anyone know what it is? Mum thought maybe some sort of mallow but wasn’t sure but said some of you are quite clever with flower names so I thought I’d take a chance and ask.

Flowers

That’s about it from me. Mum said it won’t be quite as hot in the first week of August (egad, seriously…August?) We hope you have a great weekend and are able to enjoy some great summertime weather and fun while checking out the many wonders of nature. Pip, pip…have a good weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 17, 2020

Nature FridayIt appears we’ve reached that day referred to as Friday. Despite being frequently unsure what day it is, it’s appears today is Nature Friday (we’re positive because we doubled checked to confirm it). Friday means we’re joining our furry friends, Rosy, her new baby sister as well as her brothers from LLB in our Backyard to take a look around to see what Mother Nature served up this week.

Flowers
Norman, you’ll never be able to hide in the sunflowers.

In our mountain desert region, July means it’s hot and dry (although I note nature gifted us with some rain earlier this week). We continue to wait to see if summer monsoons will develop. The garden, while green from lots of supplemental watering, doesn’t have much color beyond yellow. Sure there is the occasional pink or purple Lupine still hanging on but the majority are bright yellow with an occasional pop of orange. The sunflowers continue to bloom like crazy, Coreopsis is naturalizing throughout the garden, Black-eyed Susan’s, and Blanket Flower (Gaillardia) have begun to announce their presence.  It’s a welcomed volunteer, since it certainly wasn’t planted there but we’re always happy to greet botanical visitors like this fella. It just shows how determined nature can be despite inhospitable conditions. Hopefully there’ll be a few seeds to harvest for spreading this beauty deliberately around the garden.

Flowers

Because our garden receives a fair amount of afternoon shade, some perennials are slow to bloom which means we’re waiting for the Goldenrod to begin its beautiful yellow appearance, though we’re seeing it elsewhere around the neighborhood.

Flower

Try as I might, neither Norman or Elsa were willing to pose next to this border sidewalk flower bed along our walk. So sad because these are the loveliest Black-eyed Susan’s around the ‘hood.

This year I began a bit of a garden experiment. By some miraculous way, nature seemed to take it upon itself to volunteer a tomato plant between some flagstones. I can only surmise its location was due to a germinated seed from a nearby pot where I had planted a cherry tomato last summer. I was curious to see whether it would do anything but with the tomato loving perfect conditions of hot days/cool nights this month, it has grown by leaps and bounds and began setting flowers a few weeks ago. Yesterday morning as I watered the nearby plants, look what I discovered.

Flowers

Squeals! While I have no idea if they’ll be tasty at all, I will continue watering the plant to see if there’ll be enough for a small salad. Stay tuned on this botanical experiment.

We hope everyone has a safe but fun-filled weekend. Like Norman advised earlier this week in his video, make sure to wear your masks, social distance and wash your paws whether or not its mandated. Only together can we lower the COVID numbers and go back to giving ear rubs to all dogs we encounter and hug our family and friends again.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordy Wednesday ~ July 15, 2020

Norman here, sharing a COVID PSA I’ve put together. With the number of positive COVID cases on the rise with each day, it seems proper to remind everyone to follow my prescription for staying safe. When we all follow these instructions, we can flatten the curve and get back to living the good life. With apologies for the ‘film crew” cutting off the top of me head and the producer’s somewhat less than Oscar-worthy editing skills. Clearly it’s tough to round up decent help.

Make sure your volume is up. Happy mid-week (and don’t forget to file your taxes today if you haven’t already).

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 26, 2020

Welcome to Nature Friday where we join our friends and hosts, Rosy, her new sister and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard. Be sure to visit them and see their brand new sister, Sunny who is as cute as a button. The dogs enjoyed bringing last week’s sniff around  so much last week, they asked if they could do an encore today. So…take it away Norman and Elsa.

Norman: Right, mum, thanks. I’m really chuffed to be able to share another edition of nature which, if you follow us regularly has been interesting. I mean yesterday’s early morning raccoon sighting was absolutely gobsmackingly brilliant! This morning my sister and I looked for them but only found our bunny friend, Roger who didn’t seem all that keen on chatting with me.

Elsa: Wait…what…a bunny?! How’d I miss Roger? I always see him way before you do. This is a travesty. I’ve been robbed!! Where’s justice when you need it?

Bunny

Norman: Blimey, sister…you especially need to pay attention to today’s garden plant, lavender. Mum told me this is time of year when lavender is in full bloom. Because of the pandemic, there was no lavender festival to visit but that doesn’t mean we can’t fetch some lavender info and images for everyone from around our garden from previous posts. Of course you can her posts from a past festival for additional images. We all know how wonderful lavender smells but did you know it helps reduce anxiety and emotional stress, heals burns and wounds, improves your sleep, can restore skin complexion and reduce acne, helps slow aging with powerful antioxidants, improves eczema and psoriasis and helps alleviate headaches?

Elsa: This is just all wrong. Can’t believe you didn’t tip me off that Roger was out. I thought you were my loving brother! What gives, dude?

Norman: Calm down and stop spinning, sister; there’s no need to ‘throw a wobbly.’  You need to chill out to keep your stress levels low. Remember your seizures.

Elsa: Lavender?! You made me miss a bunny and you think I’ll be content with sniffing a dumb plant. Argh…you are a clueless moron if you think lavender will substitute for a chance to chase a rabbit. Sheesh, “calm down,” he says. Calm down when there’s a rabbit around and I missed him!!! Grrr.

Lavender

Norman: Blimey, someone needs to stop whinging on about the oddest things. My sister could especially use a long sniff of this brilliant plant. Did you know lavender helps release tension and calms the mind? Lavandula (whose common name is lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants from the mint family. Native to Europe, northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean region, southwest Asia and southeast India, it does well in temperate climates and is a favorite in mum’s garden. Hers are the most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia which has deep fragrance and color. The bracts (or buds) are perfect for sniffing, saving and savoring right now.Lavender

Elsa:  Whatev. I’m not as keen on it as Sam was and you seem more interested in catching the bees when you’re out in the lavender bed. I’m more focused on the squirrel in the tree above the lavender patch. He mocks me and as a Ninja, I simply just cannot let that stand.

Norman: You, more than anyone would do with a good sniff of this plant. It’s well known for calming the the anxious. Those buds (known as bracts) have the strongest scent before they open into their little flowers. Mum even makes some wonderful goat’s soap with her harvested lavender buds.

Elsa: Ok, I’ll start paying more attention. I suppose a bit of calm is good for anyone. I’ve heard that lavender essential oil works wonders on burns. Mom was taking something out of the oven the other day and I heard a lot of HBO words. She got out a little bottle of lavender essential oil and put it on her thumb and she actually “ahhh’ed’ out loud. No blister, no pain, just fast relief.

Norman: Yes, it is the bee’s knees for treating burns and she even used it on me last week when it looked like I might have an infected ear. It felt so much better and the redness was gone overnight. I feel so much better knowing lavender is a universal oil that is used to balance the body whenever there is a need. It even helps repeal nasty insects that often plague pups and peeps.

Elsa: Ok brother, you’ve turned me into a true believer in the power of lavender. It’s especially fragrant in the early morning hours before it gets too hot.

Lavender

Norman: It really does; I made a point of checking it out after our early morning constitution. Now let’s go hunt butterflies.

Butterflies

Elsa: Umm, yeah…no. I hunt rabbits bozo, not butterflies. Besides, that isn’t a butterfly you British fool. It’s a Painted Lady moth who are taking a vacation in our garden before heading up to the mountains. Sheesh, when will this guy ever learn?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾