Nature Friday ~ January 14, 2022

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. This week’s gander at Nature is a hodgepodge of pics from our recent visit to my Dad’s home in southern Colorado.

Pikes Peak

No view is more emblematic of the region than Pikes Peak, this view being inspiration for a song. Katherine Lee Bates, a young English professor from Wellesley College, was so taken by the wide open vistas on her trip to Colorado Springs, she wrote a poem based on her travels in the late 1890’s. Samuel A. Ward, an organist and choir director for Grace Church, Newark, New Jersey, was equally inspired by the poem and composed a tune for an old hymn (“O Mother Dear, Jerusalem,” retitling the work “Materna”). Ward’s music combined with Bates’ poem were first published together in 1910 as the song we now know as “America the Beautiful.”

The view from the area surrounding my Dad’s house always makes me stop to take in those “…beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain” landscapes but I can’t help but noticing just how extremely dry everything looks. Even Pikes Peak only had a tiny dusting of snow. While a storm is forecast to arrive later, not much accumulation is expected. It may however build into a monster for other regions east of us. Sigh.

Norman
Where are the bunnies?

Even while walking along our regular route, the tawny colored grass was as crunchy and dry as I’ve seen it. Norman kept scanning the landscape for bunnies but there were none to be seen.

Still there was colors other than brown to be found at sunrise when Nature pulls back the curtains on the unfolding day with this gorgeous view from the front door.

Sunrise
When the day greets you with that scene, surely all is not lost.

Do you have any big plans for the weekend? Here in Denver, the National Western Stock Show is slated to open today. With the rise in COVID cases, the annual parade of longhorns strolling down Seventeenth Street was cancelled and I won’t be attending the show, but it may be interesting to watch local news coverage from the show. Mutton Bustin’ is one of the more popular events during the rodeo performances and always seems to be a visitor favorite. Nothing like watching a 5-7 year old weighing less than 55 pounds trying to hang on to a wily mutton, bound and determined to rid itself of the hanger-on. While entertaining to many, it seems rather barbaric to me.

National Western Stock Show
Photo courtesy of National Western Stock Show

Whatever you do, we hope you remain safe and enjoy Nature’s symphony of beautiful ‘music’ much like Katherine Lee Bates did.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 7, 2022

Welcome to the first Friday of 2022. We’ve hooked up with our mates, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this latest edition of Nature Friday. Norman here to share a couple of photos with you from what I’ve been seeing in Nature this week while visiting my Grandpa in Southern Colorado.

Winter early mornings and early evenings are colorful and with open landscapes at Grandpa’s. Just look at this morning’s early morning sunrise. The colors were so intense on a chilly morning.

Sunrise

There’s something about the wide open spaces here that really provides some amazing sunsets as well. The evening we arrived, the sky was a study in blues and oranges. Mum had to pull over to savor the quiet beauty.

Sunset

It was bitter cold yesterday but today should be a perfect day for walking about the countryside. Yesterday’s walk was all about staying warm after a skiff of snow fell with single digits. Mum says I’ve adapted nicely to being a good house dog since I really prefer spending time lounging about and always within ear-scratching distance from my Grandpa. I wasn’t even interested in sniffing out bunny or other critter trails too much on the walk-I just wanted to get back and see Grandpa.

With 2022 being almost a week old, it’s been fun experiencing new adventures at Grandpa’s house. What’s your first week of the year been like? Have you been able to check out what Nature’s been serving up? We sure hope you’ve made time to see what’s going on outside. Got any plans for the first weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you’re safe, cozy and are enjoying these winter days.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Happy ‘Howlidays’ from the Ranch Hands

While it may be Wordless Wednesday, we’re using this opportunity for sending out our ‘howliday’ greeting with apologies for its lateness. Thank you to everyone who has sent us their greetings; we loved them all. Both Norman and Elsa wish you a  season that is merry and bright.

Feliz Navidog from all of us at the Ranch.

Christmas

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Tuesday Tidings ~ December 14, 2021

Greetings mates! You’re probably wondering what’s going on with a Tuesday post. Norman here to fill you in on the weekend event to benefit the Old English Sheepdog Rescue of Colorado. For a small donation, we wrapped gifts purchased at the local Park Meadows mall Orvis store. Well, that’s not completely true, I played greeter and breed ambassador at the doorway and worked my charms on visitors; mum just drove me.

It was a super long day and I was totally knackered by the end of it, but I did manage to bring a lot of smiles to people of all ages which was good experience for my time at hospital this week. Woof, woof!

Norman

One of the customers and her son smiled so much, they bought me a brand new toy! How cool is that?! They even let me pick it out from the other great toys they took home.

Norman

It was a tough decision because I liked them all. I sniffed and checked them all out but finally settled on the duck and let everyone know with my paw: This. One. Is. Mine. I even slept on it when I got home so the Ninja wouldn’t play with my beloved new toy.

Norman
Mine!

Norman

We are very grateful to everyone who stopped by to share their OES stories and who left donations to help sheepies like me find their own ‘furever’ homes. Everyone was so generous and gave me loads of attention. You know, I think I’m getting pretty good at this ambassador thing. We managed to raise far more than we expected which will help sheepdogs that come into our rescue and who will likely need spay/neuter, possible procedures, health/vet checks. Without the generosity of folks like the ones who stopped by, the rescue wouldn’t be able to help others like they did with me in 2020. A big woof-out to the kind-hearted staff at Orvis who continue to help our rescue with their gracious kindness and generosity. We absolutely love them!

The day ended successfully with a beautiful sunset and one happy bloke. Thanks again to everyone who made this event such a rousing success!

Norman

Well, we’re off to bring more smiles to folks at the hospital. Have a pawsome Tuesday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 5, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the first Friday of November for this week’s edition of Nature Friday as we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. For those keeping track, there are only 57 days left in 2021! Try and wrap your head around that while we take a look at this past week.

Having survived a cold Halloween with a chilly temps and a few days of light frosts, the Mile High has returned back to mild temps and clear skies. It seems like Mother Nature tapped many trees on the shoulder as a reminder to shed their leaves and some seem happy to oblige.

Trees

Others have taken a hybrid approach, with some leaves still on and some off. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I came close, ever so close, to jumping into that small pile of leaves to the left of this tree imitating Linus who always jumped into the middle of Charlie Brown’s freshly raked pile. I did come to my homeowner senses but wondered how many kids walking home from school couldn’t quite manage to do the same without enjoying some joyful mischief.

Trees

And then there’s my Catalpa which naively takes the Scarlett O’Hara approach to dealing with the upcoming winter season: “Tomorrow is another day.”

TreeUmm…sweetheart, I hate to break it to you but while it’s mild now, it’s no longer summer and you need to pick up the pace to catch up with the rest of the trees.

One of the more interesting aspects of autumn is how leaves impact the dogs. Daily “walks” take on a whole different vibe. It’s as if Nature opened a library and invited the Ranch hands to come in and browse through the collection. And browse they do. What normally takes nearly an hour to complete our route is now taking more than an hour and a half as they read each. and. every. page.

Norman cannot seem to get enough sniffing done in leaves. This Ranch Hunk takes any job on with gusto but his work ethic seems particularly focused when checking out leaves. And not all sniffs result in ‘watering.’

Norman

He roots around, over and under leaves as if he were a Bloodhound tracking a lost child. What is it about autumn leaves that turns dogs into Sherlock Holmes looking for clues?

Elsa takes a different approach to leaves. Oh sure her nose goes into overdrive when she’s on those narrow strips of grass between street and sidewalk much like Norman does but will try to find a clear pathway without leaves on sidewalks. Apparently she has no desire to crunch leaves and goes out of her way to not step on them when they cover sidewalks. Sam was the same way and would weave like an Army convoy around leaves on sidewalks. Norman being the Humvee sized dog that he is, merely plows through waiting for the next deep patch that he can plunge his probiscuis into olfactory nirvana. I think there were audible sighs of pleasure.

How does your good dog approach walking (or in our case  sniffing bouts) in fallen leaves?

Halloween

Do you have big plans this weekend, like sending the Halloween back into their storage shed? Whatever you do, we hope you get outside and enjoy Mother Nature first hand and have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 1, 2021

Happy first of November! Where has the year gone? Norman is happily contributing to today’s post so take it away, Norman.

Thanks, mum. So remember when we were out the other day and you found your dream car? Umm, I don’t think a vintage Mini Cooper is in your near future, mum. Looks like size apparently does matter.

Norman

Mum and I and even the crabbish Ninja hope you all have a great week where everything is full sized and fun.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Festival Recap ~ Part Deux

Hello mates, Norman here to share more photos from the weekend’s adventures mum and I had at hospital’s Fall Festival. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but any time I get a chance to ride in the car, I’m in. Just don’t forget to bring my costume, mum!

Norman

There were a lot of games for all those little people to play. I came “this” close to catching that ball till mum reminded me that I was there as an observer, not a participant.

Norman

But don’t cry for me, I got to spend some quality one-on-one time with lots of little people…some of them even tried to poke my eye out give me a treat.

Norman

No sweat, little guy. I like pineapples.

The Flight for Life helicopter made an appearance and all the  kiddos wanted to sit in it. It was pretty noisy but great fun for attendees.

Helicopter

We had a great time hanging out with the other pet therapy dogs and their mums. Logan and his mum, Janet went dressed up as “Mardi Growls.” These guys definitely know how to ‘par-tay!’

ELMC

My friend Delia, a hospital staffer, brought her recently rescued pup to the event. Bubba definitely won the dog lotto by getting adopted by her as she is one of the kindest people we’ve met at hospital. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of me so I was careful to be extra kind to him so as not to scare the little guy.

Bubba

Nurses seem to be drawn to me, and you know what? I don’t mind one little bit.

ELMC nurse

Face painting and painting pumpkins were a bit hit with lots of diligent artists.

ELMC Fall Festival

Our group led the pet parade for all dogs in attendance as well as anyone who wanted to walk with us.

ELMCMum and I spread the word about the very cool backdrop at the photo booth. My pal Bindee and her mum, Joy took  advantage. Isn’t Bindee just the cutest little pumpkin you’ve ever seen on a lap?

Our director, Donna has a beautiful and super talented black  miniature poodle. Roxie, a champion dancer who also competes in nose work, is nothing like my sister and she made sure to tell me not all black poodles are Ninjas. Whew…that’s a  relief!

Even mum and I decided to get in on the action at the photo booth. We’re just a “couple of jokers” having a good time.

Jokers

It was good seeing our Golden pal Riley and her mum, Jaycee. Riley has been very sick this past year with an autoimmune disorder and is just now able to bring smiles to people. She’s a real sweetheart and loved by all who meet her.

Fall Festival

A group photo of the pet therapy dogs show we’re a good looking and a well behaved bunch.

ELMC Fall Festival

As events go this one was a nice family affair. It was good being able to spend time in the community after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID. But I can assure you, I was one knackered boy at the end of the day. I fell fast asleep in the Ninja’s bed-something I never do (she wasn’t too happy about it but I was so tired and it was the first bed I found).

Norman

Mum and I are back at hospital again today after having great visits yesterday. We’ll share details about those adventures soon. What do you plan to wear for Halloween fun?

Halloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ Fall Festival Recap

Greetings and happy Monday. Norman and some of his fellow pet therapy friends participated at this year’s Halloween Fall Festival over the weekend. This hunk continues to impress me with his calm nature, especially at an event with loads of sugared-up kiddos, absent minded adults not watching where they’re stepping and a loud entertainment system blasting hip-hop music. Still, a good time was had by one and all. Here are some photos from the event.

Norman continues to impress me around little kids. Many of them are understandably wary of this ‘Joker’ because of his size. But he was patient and calm, especially around the smallest ones and managed to drew crowds of both big and little peeps. Norman was only too happy to serve up kisses.

Norman

This smiling Princess was initially hesitant to pet Norman but then she realized he was soft and sweet. Soon she was very happy meeting Norman and he loved the attention he received.

Norman

There were a number of non pet therapy pups in attendance and this miniature Dachshund named Amelia was in dog heaven greeting them all with one of the fastest tail wags I’ve ever seen. She was very smitten with Norman despite the size differential. Norman and I tried to recruit her for the program because she was such a sweetie and just loved everyone.

Dogs  Norman was thrilled to see his little pal, Bindee, who charmed the pants off young and old alike in her pumpkin costume. She didn’t seem to mind posing with this ‘Joker.’

Norman

There were loads of games and activities for kids to enjoy and a variety of good hearted hospital staff to greet them as well, along with a nice photo booth for family photos.

Halloween

“Little Bo Peep” (and fellow pet therapist) Dawn was voted best huMom by all the pet therapy dogs for sharing bites of hot dog with the gang. Pictured with Norman are Logan, an agility champion (dressed as “Mardi Growls”) and her Dolly posing as a lost lamb, as Dawn shared bites for the gang. As a dog trainer she knew just how to enlist their attention and even though they are all professionals, events like this can be somewhat overwhelming.

Halloween

Norman will be back at hospital today for visits with nurses and patients. He will post more photos from the weekend event tomorrow. We hope these costumed therapy dogs brought you a smile to start out your week.

Halloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 17, 2021

Nature FridayHey everyone…it’s “Fri-Yay!” so that means we’re joining our ‘fur-iends’, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

This week Norman and I went south to Pueblo West for a short visit with my Dad for a couple of days and to catch up with my sister from Maryland who was also visiting. While I love the Colorado mountains, I’m always struck by the beauty of seeing prairies around Pikes Peak to the north from the comfort of  Dad’s home.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak in the distance

The view to the southwest is equally beautiful with the Greenhorn Mountains rising above ‘fruited plains.’ Whenever I walk the dogs, I just have to stop and stare at the beauty of golden prairies with the mountains as a stunning backdrop.

Mountains

As we took our morning constitution we also passed by a horse property which often has several horses, donkeys and a few ponies in one of the pastures. On this morning they were in the front pasture and trotted over to check the ‘horse on the leash’ with the human (with apologies for the sun flare that refused to be edited out).

As I’ve come to expect with this boy, Norman draws a crowd. The black and white pony had been lying in the early morning sunshine but took one look at Norman and immediately got to his feet and trotted over to the fenceline to get a better look-see.

Pony
Howdy!  Pony…meet pony

Everyone got their sniffs in and all species seemed to be bemused with one another.

While the daytime temps still continue to be toasty, over the past couple of days the weather seems to be engaged in a slow roll toward the autumnal transition. This morning’s temperature at 5:45 am was a crisp 48ºF (8C) with early morning walks requiring a hand torch since it’s still quite dark.

Yesterday was the Ninja’s 5th Gotcha Day. It was a quiet celebration, per the little lady herself. Elsa’s not really into being in the photographic spotlight as you can tell below. On the one hand it seems impossible that it’s been 5 years since this world wind fur pile came home with me. Her puppy mill personality quirks are still evident but her sweet loyalty toward me brings many smiles. And even with a couple of recent seizures, she’s doing well while continuing to vex her big brother. Oh Elsa…you’re such a pill but I love you just the same. On the other, it’s been quite the journey. Guestimated to have been between 3-4 at the time of her adoption, she’s reached her prime, despite ups and downs. Happy Gotcha Day, sweet girl! Party on…your way.

Gotcha Day

The arrival of autumn is typically marked with leaves changing color but while there isn’t much of that going on just yet in the city, there are signs beyond cooler morning temps. This maple tree is still 95% green with only one small area morphing into autumn splendor.

Autumn

As squirrels and other critters begin preparing for winter, acorns have now begun to form with some dropping already. It won’t be long now even if daytime temps will stay warm. As a lover of 4 distinct seasons, I will welcome this annual change.

Acorns

Enjoy your weekend and make sure you get out there to check out this amazing time of year.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ September 13, 2021

Welcome to Monday where we tend to revel in the happenings from our weekend and start planning for the next one. Speaking of planning, it’s about time to start thinking about next year’s Spring bulb garden. Thankfully, neither of the Ranch Hands dig up bulbs, but a warning to all you gardeners…spring bulbs are toxic for pets.

Smiles

Norman had his second evaluation on Friday and I wanted to express my thanks for all your kind words of support. According to our evaluator Amy, Norman did great (and even I didn’t embarrass myself). We’re hoping to order our business cards next and obtain Norman’s ID badge. Once any other outstanding bureaucratic items are completed, we’ll be officially considered the newest team in the hospital’s pet therapy program.

Pet Therapy
Amy and Norman, post evaluation

Wishing you a totally ‘pawsome’ week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾