Monday Musings ~ November 21, 2023

Greetings, mates. Norman here. Welcome to Monday of Thanksgiving week in the US. Remember us? We apologize for being absent for so long. Mum decided to get sick with COVID so I’ve been busy making lots of hospital rounds to make sure she gets well. She finally turned the corner under my and Elsa’s special care though she’s still very tired most of the time and it will likely take some time for her to get back to full strength. At least she no longer sounds like a barking seal coughing so there is that in the plus column.

Here I am this morning during one of my many daily rounds, taking her vital signs.

Norman
“Ah, let’s see, while your blood pressure looks good…just remember I haven’t released you for work yet, Mum. You need to go back to bed and continue to rest. Dogtor’s orders!”

May I just say, we’ve missed you all and hope to start visiting  all of your blogs and hope you’ll be patient as we catch up. Any comments will likely be small, but our Thanksgiving week wishes will be huge as you celebrate the howl-iday with your friends and family. We’re so grateful for you all.

As you can see Mum finally opened her computer, and lo and behold, she found out I’m the Pet Therapy Dog of the Month at Lutheran. Too bad we won’t be able to visit my hospital friends this month until Mum is cleared to go back to work. I was so hoping I’d be able to hear all their congratulations but hopefully they’ll still be glad to see me the next time we go back to visit. As this is my first time being honored, I’m quite chuffed.

Norman

And lastly, in other news, we’re pausing for a moment of respect to honor Mexico’s beloved search and rescue dog, Frida, the Golden Lab, who recently passed away. Frida worked earthquakes and natural disasters in Mexico, Haiti and Ecuador. You may recall hearing about her brave rescue work during the Mexico City earthquake in 2017. You can read a bit about her amazing rescue work here. We’re sure our beloved Sam greeted her at the gates of the Rainbow Bridge with a furiously wagging tail, welcoming this amazing dog whose work brought respect to dogs throughout Mexico. Well done, Frida. Good girl.

With that, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Howl-oween Monday ~ October 31, 2022

Today is ‘Howl-oween,’ a day celebrated by kids of all ages who enjoy dressing up and receiving treats from total strangers. Could it be our own pets think EVERY day should be like that for them? I know the Ranch Hands think they should get treats all the time but aren’t all that keen on the dressing up part.

Whatever your thoughts about today’s festivities may be, do you think you’ll be visited by a bunch of ghosts and goblins this evening? After tonight, our sights will focus on the next holiday-Thanksgiving, which lends itself well to today’s smile.

Halloween

Norman for one, will be pleased the season is coming to an end. He’s somewhat over all the costume changes as evidenced by his expression here.

Norman

Elsa, on the other hand, simply glares a “don’t EVEN think about it” look every time I pull out a costume or go through the hat box and am sure she’s thinking up ways to punish me whenever I cast my eye toward her. But come on Ninja, you gotta admit you look pretty fetching in your new Ranch Hand chapeau.Elsa

Despite the grumbling and/or eye rolling, both Ranch Hands and I wish you a safe and happy ‘Howl-oween.’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 28, 2022

Holy cow, it’s the last Friday of October. Where in the doggone world has this month gone? Seems like it was just Labor Day, doesn’t it? Now that Howl-oween is upon us, let’s take a look at what Nature dished out this week. As usual, we are joining those cuties from Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog hop. Don’t forget to check out what others shared from their own natural world.

Nature dealt us a full deck of cards this week. Once again, some very interesting spring plants were blooming and caught our Mom off guard to the point, she did a lot of double takes while on our walks. Norman and Elsa here to share what we found over the past few days.

Elsa: I have a whiplash from Mom going back to check out a couple of plants we saw. Like this Lupine from our own garden! Mom thought it might be a good idea to start winterizing the hoses and water spigot and nearly stepped on this little guy. Naturally I just blinked at it and thought, “whatever.”

Flowers

Norman: Oh come on…we haven’t seen anything like that in over 5 months! How can you not be impressed with that beauty, I mean, just look at that purple flower in the midst of those mahogany leaves of the Plumbago, with its blue flowers.

Elsa: Pfft…well ok…I guess it’s somewhat impressive. But check out this Lobularia Maritima, also known as ‘sweet alyssum.’ Now that’s quite the specimen! For a quick minute I thought it was June again.Flowers

Norman: Right you are, sister! It’s quite something else. And to think less than 24 hours later, this:

Weather

Elsa: Again with the whiplash! 60ºF+ degrees and then in the 30º’s in less than 24 hours. When I went out to do some ‘lady business,’ I was greeted with this. I didn’t even bother chasing that stupid squirrel that constantly hangs out in the alley to filch trash from the bins on pickup day.

Snow

Norman: Those were some mighty large flakes of white stuff but I know just how to deal with conditions like that. Luckily it didn’t accumulate. But still, these brass monkey temps have arrived just too soon for me.

Norman

Elsa: I still can’t get over you needing to bogart Mom’s blanket at the slightest drop in the temperature. Heck, you are always stealing that furry blanket whenever you get the chance.

Norman: Well there’s something very comforting about that blanket. So soft, so cozy…besides, the texture looks great against my furs.

Elsa: Ha…as if you’d know anything about texture. I think you just like to hog the sofa whenever you get a chance.

Norman: Well, I do like being as close to my Mum as possible.

Elsa: {interrupting} “Close?” She can barely fit on the sofa when you stretch out!

Norman: {clearing his throat} Ahem….I’m always happy to share the space with my Mum.

Elsa: ‘Share?!” Is that were she sits on the floor and longingly looks up at a certain sofa-hog?

Norman: {clearly his throat again} Not to change the subject, but did you notice the latest scene at our favorite Howl-oween decorations on our walk yesterday? Mum counted over 20 skellies, racing toward the weekend no doubt.

Halloween

Elsa: Yeah, they’re at it again. There’s even a kidlet skellie on the back of the one to the right of the galloping dog. The guy who creates these scenes must have a huge storage shed where these skellies live in the off-season.

Norman: Oh, I do hope they stay warm while they’re out there. There was a good frost this morning and none of them are even sporting any gloves.

Elsa: Oh good lord, you moron, they’re Skellies, not people. Jeez, how could you be so dim?

Norman: I like to think of myself as extra compassionate. The world can use some extra compassion these days.

Elsa: Well, you do have a point there. Let’s hope everyone has a compassionate and fun weekend celebrating Howl-oween. Will you be ‘Lick or Treating” with your fur-iends this weekend at any events? Searching for treats might just be the ticket, me thinks. Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe and enjoy the many faces of Nature.

Norman: Right-o, Ninja, I know I plan to be chuffed to bits checking it all out. Plus, I do have a height advantage around little people. Those little treat filled hands are just level with my mouth. Here’s to enjoying a top drawer weekend surrounded by Nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Therapy Monday ~ October 24, 2022

Monday

While it may be Monday, chasing a ball as a form of therapy won’t be necessary since Norman will be visiting the hospital this week. Assuming I can get him out of bed this morning, that is. We had the teensiest speck of snow last night and the big guy is taking his sweet time getting up from the smallest bed in the house. Let’s just say Elsa wasn’t amused he bogarted her bed. Luckily everyone just snuggled in their respective spots staying cozy and allowing the storm pass. Today will be crisp but sunny. Typical weather for Halloween week. Sorry kids.

Norman

Here’s hoping your Monday is full of joy and sunshine.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 21, 2022

Woof, woof…it’s Friday which means that the intrepid pair of reporters (that’d be Norman and I) are at it again sharing slices of our natural world from around our urban neighborhood. Hiya, Elsa to kick this party off!

Norman: Top o’ the morning, little sister. Before we get started, let our readers know we’re joining our friends from over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog hop and hope everyone will check out what others have shared from their own natural world.

Elsa:  Always gotta interrupt my zen with facts, don’t ‘cha? Argh.

Norman: Well, we want to make Mum proud of our work.

Elsa: Mom’s proud enough of me, er us. But to stop going back and forth with you, let’s get started. We saw some fairly bizarre things yesterday on our walks that seemed really out of character for this time of year.

Norman: Quite right, Ninja. Mum was catching up with her sister on the phone when we walked past a shrub in bloom. That in and of itself is not the surprising thing, but the kind of shrub it was. Check this out. Have you ever seen a lilac in bloom…in October no less??

Flowers

Elsa: Whoa…that is bizarre! Don’t those thing usually bloom in Springtime?

Norman: How should I know, I’m a British dog.

Elsa: A British dog who seems like they know gardening, I mean you’re the one who waters plants all the time, I just figured you know their watering requirements.

Norman: I couldn’t say. Mum tried to sniff at it (the nerve, I mean sniffing is MY realm!) but it had no scent. Maybe it isn’t a lilac but some sort of hybrid or a related plant. But it left us all feeling like we were in a Tardis box and transported back in time. {scratching his head}

Elsa: It was weird, but then again so were these guys. I kept thinking I had been robbed of enjoying winter and it was now Spring again. While I know you’d be okay with that, I personally like the snow and felt like I had been cheated of dashing through the snow.

Flowers

Norman: Luckily the rest of our walk put us back in the present season. Looks like pumpkins are ruling. Pumpkins and leaves that are changing colors.

Elsa: They’re changing alright, and lots of the leaves have already started to fall. For a hot minute I thought it was snowing yellow and orange yesterday afternoon when a breeze came through.

Leaves

Norman: Right-o. The leaves did seem like they were snowing down on us but as we crunched through them, I was reassured it wasn’t snow but a beautiful nirvana of autumn scents in those falling leaves. Boy, do they smell terrific and very autumn-ish.

Elsa: You know that stretch where we see all sorts of critters in and around a water ditch that flows through part of the ‘Hood? Well yesterday, I  almost thought we were lost, it looked so different with it being dry and full of fallen leaves.

Autumn leaves

Norman: So true-it was like we’d stepped into the woods from a fairytale.

Elsa: Ha! Fairytale? I thought we’d taken a wrong turn and were lost.

Norman: I know Mum would never get lost, we mostly follow the same path all the time and even we know exactly where to turn.

Elsa: Well with all the skellies in the ‘Hood, things can look a little out of place if you know what I mean. Like yesterday, Mom delivered her mail-in ballot to the dropbox off our usual route and it was like we’d entered into a whole new world.

Norman: Indeed. New plants, new houses and new Halloween decorations. Pumpkins seems to be everywhere.

Pumpkins

Elsa: Those are too mild for my tastes. I like the the more interesting yard decor.

Halloween

Norman: Welp! I’m not sure I want to walk past that place again. I mean, if it’d been a creepy cloudy day…well it could have been scarier.

Elsa: Oh jeez, you big fur-baby! That thing can’t hurt us…it was locked behind the closed gate, you fool.

Norman: Well it startled me when its clothes started swaying in the breeze. I wasn’t sure just what that was all about. I thought maybe it was haunted or possessed.

Elsa: Haunted or possessed? Oh brother, you gotta get out more. Besides, while sometimes I might be a little terrifying  toward you, do you actually think I’d let anyone hurt you?

Norman: I can easily stand up for myself, you know. I just choose not to get into shouting matches with Rottweilers and such. But I’d go to the mat if anyone threatened you from behind a fence. You know that, right?

Elsa: Yeah, we’re both pretty bad-a$$ on this side of the fence, if I do say so myself. {looking pretty proud of her bad little self}

Norman: Enough with the bravado, how do you feel about this ‘pup?’ I thought he looked rather sweet in his appearance and demeanor.

Halloween

Elsa: Oh that dude? Bwahahahahahaha. What a pussy cat. I could whip him with one paw tied behind my back.

Norman: No paw tying is necessary. I distinctly heard him passing gas.

Elsa: Oh dear gawd, you really do need to get out more. That dog is one of those inflatable things that Mom is always joking about. You know she’s not a fan of them, right?

Norman: I gathered but heard her distinctly mention she and her neighbors would begin to look like this one soon enough when they realized the leaf raking had commenced.

Halloween

Elsa: Yeah, she said everyone was going to face plant after they realized they would be raking and raking and raking yet again.

Norman: It’s quite true, this is the beginning of lots of yard work. You think these guys might ride around picking up the falling leaves and carting them away?

Autumn

Elsa: Those guys? Nah, I doubt it. They just look cute in the yard. Remember when they were all decorated for Spring and we wondered if the bike and wagon would still be around. Well, looks like they survived. Wonder if they’re cemented in place? Seems like that’s the only way things like that stay in place these days.

Norman: Well, if that’s what it takes to keep burglars at bay, I guess I’m okay with it. They are pretty cheerful looking.

Elsa: Almost as cheerful as this planter of gourds and pumpkins outside the flower shop. It just screams autumn, doesn’t it?

Pumpkins

Norman: And without the noise or being scary. I liked this one very much. It was quite pretty yet spoke autumn. Well, I think the only thing left to share is our good wishes for a ‘wagnificent’ weekend. Thank you for joining me and my little sister. We’d like to leave you with a spot of zen as you head toward the weekend. Cheers.

Autumn

Elsa: Don’t forget to get outside and explore the wonderful world Nature shares with us. Have a doggone great weekend!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Fall Festival ~ 2022

Greetings autumn lovers, Norman here, your pet therapist and honorary firefighter to share more pics taken from the weekend event. Yesterday, we shared a photo of me yesterday in my firefighter costume from the event but today I’m going to share some of the professional pics taken by the hospital photographer of me as well as my fellow pet therapists.

Norman & Mum
Mum and I

I’ll give her credit for to ‘trying’ to get me to go inside the fire truck but those slippery floors made me VERY nervous. The steep stairs didn’t help much either, and after coming to the conclusion I’m bigger and stronger than her, we  abandoned the notion of a pic inside and doubled back for our group pic and parade. I’m better at managing schedules and knew we were never gonna get a pic in that firetruck. But on the ‘pawsitive side,’ aren’t we a good looking group?

Pet Therapy
L-R Dolly, me, Zoe, Penny, Roxie and Riley

Although our group wasn’t as large as in past years, we made up with it by our sheer charm and handsome good looks. After our group photo, as Grand Masters we kicked off the official festivities by leading a parade down the center of the long line of booths manned by hospital staff and various vendors. There were loads of fun activities for kids of all ages to partake in, including pumpkin and face painting, and various games of skill. With lots of little people around, you can imagine us therapists didn’t have any trouble doing what we do best-putting smiles on faces.

“On your marks, get set…” Waiting for the go signal was hard because as the professionals we are, we knew what was expected of us. Here the group patiently waited for Mum to fix my wardrobe malfunction. [Note to self: make sure Mum brings me with her when shopping for a costume in the future since she clearly has no idea of my actual size.] In her defense, you’d think a XL would fit but alas, it was sized way too small. Frankly I can’t see any kind of dog fitting in those front sleeves. Nobody has armholes that teeny.

Pet Parade

Finally the signal blared over the loudspeaker.

And then we were off…more like an ambling, waddle in the close quarters than anything, but you get the idea. With the signal in the background, we walked the path up and back.

Pet Therapy Dog Parade

We walked the length of the tents, stopping frequently for petting and checking out things. I kept hoping we dogs could do some trick-r-treating but Mum said absolutely NOT! What a killjoy. Sigh.

Pet Parade

We were led by sweet Riley, a Golden Retriever, who was naturally a big hit with her lion mane, followed closed by 16-year old Roxie, the Miniature Poodle who was voted the winner of the best costume award along with her Mum. Roxie also does dance competitions and can waltz and boogie as well as Fred and Ginger which probably helped her win over the judges. That girl knows how to step fancy on the dancefloor as well as in the parade. Here is Roxie posing with Dolly, the Golden Doodle/Monarch Butterfly another favorite before the parade at a photo booth.

Pet Therapy Parade
Good dogs

After fulfilling our official duties, we were able to mill about and do our therapy thing. It was a bit chaotic with lots of kids and parents, many who brought their own pets from home. As mentioned yesterday, a Rottweiler apparently took objection to me in particular and after a brief dustup, we avoided him so as not to cause a scene. As usual, I took the high road but it became clear to Mum that it wasn’t as enjoyable on the fringes and with the denseness of so many people along with the other pet therapists, we took our leave and headed homeward after making polite rounds.

It was a nice event for hospital families and friends and we pet therapists always make it a fun event for everyone. Have you ever gone to a Fall Festival where pets and their owners were in costume?

Thanks for swinging by the Ranch and checking out another pet therapy event.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 17, 2022

Happy Monday. Today the Ranch is sending extra special Happy Birthday wishes to my baby sister from Maryland. We recently had a lovely visit with her at my Dad’s and I hope today is as special as she is. Sending digital hugs and kisses, Happy Birthday, sweetie.

With Halloween just around the corner, I’m sure a lot of us are getting ready for little goblins and witches to show up for the annual Trick-r-Treat evening. I used to buy whatever candy was the cheapest (knowing full well I wouldn’t eat the leftovers and could take them into work where they would quickly disappear thanks to co-workers who resembled corporate mice in a granary). I always felt somewhat smug about unloading junk food calories sharing Halloween treats with my fellow co-workers. But when I retired, I had nowhere to off load the leftover candy. If it was going to be around, at least I wanted it to be something I might want to occasionally enjoy. Costco to the rescue…with their ginormous bags of mini Snickers bars. So today’s smile is a nod to the annual Halloween treat sharing. I can only hope any Halloween visitors will pick up the slack so I’m not tempted with the leftovers. I’m running out of hiding places.

Signs

This past weekend’s Fall Festival at Lutheran featured Ranch Hand Norman walking in the pet therapy parade along with a few of his fellow therapists. I’ll do a separate post later this week sharing some of the best of the photos once I’ve had a chance to go through them all. Here’s a sneak peak of the hunky guy posing in front of a fire engine/photo booth.

Norman

We hope you have a pawsome Monday and an even better week.

Live, love bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 14, 2022

Ranch HandsWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday hosted by those cute hosts from Adventures of the LLB Gang. When you click on their link you’ll get to see what others around Blogville posted for this blog hop. This week the intrepid Ranch Hands take a look around the ‘Hood at trees in various stages of change in their colors.

Elsa: It’s about time, Mom. I was beginning to think you were putting me on waivers since I haven’t been able to contribute much lately.

Mom: Not at all, sweetie. Things have just been a bit crazy and well…you don’t have thumbs so.

Elsa: Whatever. Seems like a pretty lame-o excuse to me.

Norman: It’s ok, little sister. Look at bright side; we haven’t been vexed by writer’s block.

Elsa: Hmm, well there IS that. But then again, you would find the silver lining to a situation. How is it you always are so doggone cheerful and easy going?

Norman: I’m a proper, well mannered dog who heralds from the British Isles. We’re well known for having a stiff upper lip and all that.

Elsa:  Well all this chit chat isn’t sharing the changing leaves around the neighborhood, so let’s get this party started, shall we?

Norman: Quite, let’s go. First up, we noticed some trees can’t quite decide what color they want to be. Look at this one; it has a rainbow of colors. Yellow, green, burgundy…looks like it has it all. How brilliant is that?

Tree

Elsa:  That’s quite the specimen. I tend to lean toward the golden hued trees. Golds are often a trademark of autumn in Colorado trees.

Tree

Norman: Those golden trees are quite lovely and look exceptional against a clear blue sky. I know a lot of people are drawn to the reds when it comes to leaf viewing. Whoever said Colorado doesn’t do red, hasn’t looked hard enough.

Tree

Elsa: Umm, I think that might have been our, Mom.

Mom: {stuttering defensively} well, that’s NOT exactly what I said about leaves changing colors in autumn.

Elsa: Ha! Gotcha. Hee, hee, I love it when I’m right! Let me show you another specimen just a few steps along into our walk. Ain’t she a beauty?

Trees

Norman: I do love to water that tree, I mean, relish its beautiful color. And the shade it provides, it’s been a favorite of mine all summer.

Elsa: Shade…oh brother. You’re not fooling anyone. It is has bark, you love to ‘water’ it. It has nothing to do with beauty.

Norman: {somewhat miffed) I beg your pardon. I’ll have you know I possess a keen sense of aesthetics.

Elsa:  Yeah, right. Whatever it takes to make you feel better about yourself. Do you remember this tree we walked past the other day. I almost needed sunglasses it was so bright!

Trees

Norman: That one was pretty amazing. I was taken by this scene of ‘confetti’ we came upon just a few blocks away. Just look at those red leaves on the deep green grass carpet. Guess raking will be in the near future for a bunch of people. I do hope they don’t rake them all away…I do so love sniffing them. There are some very cracking smells in leaves!

Tree leaves

Elsa: I’ll give you that one. It made me want to face roll through those leaves. No trip around our ‘Hood would be complete this time of year without checking out some Halloween scenes. Yesterday Mom spied a very friendly black cat who was also checking out Halloween decor on a lovely afternoon.

Black cat

Norman: She was a real sweetie, wanting Mum to pet her and rub her ears. I was almost a tad jealous but then Mum gave us our own special ear rubs so everything was back to aces in my book.

Elsa: Us two black chicks just enjoying a groovy autumn afternoon. Yeah, talk about heaven. But what about the house that has all those skellies that get moved about in different scenes?

Norman: You’re so right, Ninja. Mum always has to stop and take a photo. And she always laughs. I’m not sure I get the humor of it all, but then again, skellies don’t hold much fascination for me anyway. Unless I can pee on it sniff at the corners or legs, I just don’t get it.

Halloween
A day at the beach

Elsa: I dunno…this beach scene seems out of place…I mean, there’s no waterfront despite sunning skellies, beach toys, gigantic lifeguard, flamingo and those snorkeling skellies among some piranhas who were out of view. Who thinks up things like this? {Huffs} Humans are just so weird!

Norman: You’ll get no arguments from me on that, little sister. Still, if it amuses Mum, it can’t be all bad, can it?

Elsa: I guess not. So I heard you’re doing a hospital Halloween festival tomorrow. You know dressing up in costumes will be required?

Norman: Quite true. I’m going as your friendly neighborhood fireman centerfold. Mum thought since I help people, it would be the perfect costume for me since I deliver smiles to people, plus I’m a knockout, or so I’m told.

Elsa: {eye rolling} More like it was the only costume large she could find.

Norman: I did try it on and it’s a wee bit small but Mum thought she could make it work so I won’t look too barmy. I’m not all that keen on dressing up but if it means making Mum and others happy, pencil me in.

Elsa: You’re such a brown nose.

Norman:  I’ll have you know my nose is actually black, sister.

Elsa: You. are. an. idiot. So readers…do you have any plans this weekend? We hope to get out and maybe look for more gorgeous trees changing color. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy some of the amazing scenes in Nature.

Norman: Right-o. Enjoy!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 10, 2022

Happy Columbus Day (or Indigenous People’s Day if you’re so inclined). Today is also World Mental Health Day. For the Ranch Hands, it’s more like “can’t we just sleep in a little longer today, Mum?”

Norman

While the Ranch Hands enjoy a couple of extra minutes of zzz’s, let’s enjoy a smile to start the day, courtesy of the Ninja.

Smile

While picking up scattered carcases toys over the weekend, I noticed more than a few missing ears and noses. I can only shake my head at this compulsion of hers. Now to find where she stashes her list  of victims.

Wishing you and yours a ‘pawsomely’ victorious day and week. Happy Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ September 26, 2022

Hard to believe it’s Monday again, where do the weekends go?  After being freshly fluffed and buffed, having taken a good nap after his bath, Dogtor Norman is ready to make his rounds at Lutheran over the next couple of days.

It may be Monday but that doesn’t mean the week shouldn’t start out with a smile. Here’s hoping your week has more than enough antidepressants.

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾