Norman Wins An Award ~ 2022

Happy first day of Autumn, everyone!

For the second Thursday in a row, we’re sharing a post to welcome our favorite season as well as sharing highlights from a couple of events the Ranch in-house pet therapist participated in recently.

First, the Annual Pet Therapy Awards program was held last Friday (following a 2 year COVID hiatus) and then Norman joined a few other pet therapists at a nearby event, “Bark In The Park” in Arvada on Saturday. Participation in events like this to help showcase our program and demonstrate how volunteers and their pets make a positive impact in our community.

This year’s awards get together was a delightful surprise since I didn’t think we’d qualify for any recognition. Norman has only been a member of the hospital’s pet therapy program since last June yet our hero managed to qualify by having more than 20 visits during the year. Even though our program has diminished in size, it is still full of spirited and loving pet therapists and their owners. Here are a few pics from the event.

Norman
I’d like to thank my Mum, my agent, my Ninja sister, Lutheran, all my fur-pals in the program… [cue the “get off the stage now” exit music]
Before the presentation, the early birds were rapt with attention and enthusiasm with fellow teammate Janet’s seemingly endless supply of treats which she cheerfully doled out to the piglets good dogs. I think I need to bring a replacement bag of treats to her for all the ones the biggest piglet ate.

Here’s the majority of the dogs in attendance. There were a couple who are part of the program but who did not attend. It can be somewhat overwhelming and some excellent therapy dogs prefer quieter event rather than a conference room filled with lots of high energy, amped up pooches.

Pet Therapy

It’s always hilarious trying to get everyone to stay in place long enough to get a group photo. One notable missing pup, Norman’s Corgi pal Zoe, had her photo taken separately with her mom, Amy who was this year’s organizer for the event. Isn’t she just too adorable? Just look at that cute face!Corgi

Corgi
Zoe’s award ceremony bogarted by a certain sheepdog who was making sure the name was spelled correctly

For some reason, Norman seem to make it his mission to photobomb several of the presentations. Truthfully, there are enough outtake pics, that would merit their own separate post  {#oh that dog}.

Norman made sure the award was suitable for sweet Riley, an enthusiastic and sweet Golden Retriever. For the life of me, I could not keep this big oaf from getting his big fat head in nearly all the frames. I’ve never been so embarrassed by this ox-maybe Elsa has it right when she rants about his bigger than life presence around the Ranch.

Riley

At Saturday’s “Bark In The Park” event, our pet therapy program set up a booth to educate the public about our pet therapy program and to potentially recruit new members to join our team. It was a good event which also benefited the Arvada public dog park. Proceeds from the event will be used to spruce up the park and perform much needed maintenance work over the last two weeks of September so dogs and their suburban owners can continue to enjoy the large wide open space.

As you can see, personable Norman who doesn’t know a stranger, made friends with the folks in the booth next to Lutheran’s. PetWell Clinic is opening a new location for affordable and convenient walk-in vet care in the Sloan’s Lake area in November. Vet tech, Christina graciously appeared with Norman and we chatted about their expansion. We are excited about visiting them once the space opens.

Bark in the Park

All in all it was a super filled weekend but one that was super fulfilling for me and Norman. This boy is such a sport when it comes to events like these. He definitely deserved a few rejuvenating naps following both events.

Norman

Have a great autumn!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 9, 2022

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog post. Make sure you check out the link for other posts.

We were absent for last week’s blog hop as we went to celebrate my Dad’s 92nd birthday for a few days so this week’s offerings are a bit ‘catch-as-catch-can’ with no real theme. But sometimes that works out ok as Nature often can be a benevolent mistress when sharing beautiful sights. We weren’t able to do a lot of looking around this week, between the broiling temperatures and catching up after several days away, but managed to capture a few pics from our trip that just might do nicely.

Birthday
92 never looked so good

Different from most trips down to Dad’s house in southern Colorado was the addition of a certain Ninja coming along. She loves my Dad so I thought I’d see how’d she do in the ‘wild’ if you will. New situations for Elsa are always tricky and I’ll admit she was definitely a bit out of her routine element but she handled things far better than I had hoped. Dad’s property isn’t fenced and there are loads of critters weaving across the two acres (ground squirrels, rabbits, quail and heaven only knows) but she stayed close to me, cautiously sniffing the trees, bushes and ground. Norman of course, was his usual self but having two clever dogs to keep an eye on kept me on my toes. I’ve learned to never leave anything to chance when dogs are involved.

Let’s start with meeting the neighbors. Norman loves saying good morning to the donkeys across the road and they seem very keen on him so I wondered how Elsa might do.

Elsa & the donkeys
‘What the bloody heck?’

She has that “what the &#@% are those things” look to her in this pic, which cracked me up. The guys, however are pros around the dogs and didn’t blink an eye no doubt wondering what the fuss-up was all about as Elsa lost her mind and barked her fool head off. Oh that dog.

Rather than wake up the entire area, after brief introductions, we moseyed along our on walk.

Norman
Norman meets a horse

The next morning following a most delightful evening rainstorm, the morning skies seemed to shout “Are ya happy now?”

Sunrise

It was exquisitely beautiful. But it got better. As we started out on our morning walk, the sky kept getting redder and redder with that great cloud cover. After we climbed the first hill, I turned around and this is what I saw.

Norman & Elsa

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more intense and spectacular sunrise anywhere. It was just breathtaking.

We all had a great visit, celebrating, eating, laughing, and Zooming with out-of-state relatives. It was one terrific visit for one terrific human. Once we got back to Denver, we noticed a new neighbor moved in around the corner from the Ranch so naturally we had to check them out. The dogs weren’t sure what to make of the new feathery dudes, and the ducks sure aren’t keen on them getting too close, but they quack at us every day when we walk by.  They usually are swimming in one of the two small pools as their owners sip a cuppa and watch over them. They wave, I wave and Elsa barks her fool head off. She may never be a member on the Welcome Wagon, but fortunately the duck owners seem friendly. I’ll stop when the dogs aren’t with me to welcome them personally.

Neighborhood Ducks

It’s bounty time now in the veggie garden. I came home to the potted tomato plants kicking into high gear. The cherry tomatoes have been a regular, heavy producer but it’s outperformed itself this year in the hot temps.  They are like little red candies-so sweet, so tasty. The ‘Early Girl’ is just now beginning to ripen. All the fruit seems fairly misshapen as well as smaller than I anticipated so I think this year’s experimental planting likely won’t be repeated next year, no doubt to the chagrin of the neighborhood hoodlums…aka squirrels. Anytime I can irritate that local population, I’m a happy gardener.

Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Tomatoes
‘Early Girl’ tomatoes

Well, that’s it for us. With a break in the heat bubble this weekend, we’re hoping to be able to get out and find more of the amazing sights Nature routinely bequeaths us. A news report this morning indicated the Western US should experience a La Niña winter (colder/wetter while warmer/drier in the Southeast), with Colorado being pretty much the dividing line between the two so we’ll see what this means in the weeks ahead. I’ll be grateful to turn the AC off. Hope you are able to enjoy some of Nature’s finest. Have a ‘wagnificent’ weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Check Your Chip Monday ~ August 15, 2022

MicrochipWelcome to National Check The Chip Day — a day created as a reminder for pet parents to check their pet’s microchips, to make sure they contain the most up to date information with the provider. With last month’s July 4th celebrations where more pets are lost than any day of the year, microchips are especially important for keeping your pets safe. Pets are far more likely to be reunited with their pet parents when they are chipped. Personally I think National Chip Day should be July 5th, but that’s just me. Visit this website to find out how to check your microchip status.

Microchip your pet

The Ranch Hands say there’s no need to be scared, just make sure your pet is microchipped for their safety and your piece of mind. Have a great week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 5, 2022

Dragon Boat FestivalWelcome to the first Friday of August. Hi-ya, Elsa here. My inbox has been flooded with requests to be this week’s  correspondent for the post.

Norman: You have an inbox?

Elsa:  Quiet, you big oaf, I was referring to my mystical inbox where I ‘feel‘ all the energy from my avid readers jonesing on my top notch, award winning reporting skills and there you go trying to harsh my mellow!

Norman: I don’t mean to harsh anything, dear sister. I’m just wondering about the veracity of your opening salvo, that’s all. But I see it’s business as usual so I’ll let you get on with it.

Elsa: FINALLY…sheesh, I let you do a couple of posts and right away you go and develop journalistic ethics. What’s this world coming to? Don’t answer that! Anywho…I’m going to do this week’s walk about nature as we join Rosy, and the gang from LLB in Our Backyard for their blog hop. Today we’re gonna check out the Colorado Dragon Races that Mom recently attended.

Norman: I heard Mum talk about it. When she said it was at Sloan’s Lake I wanted to go and see what it was all about, but with that whole water thing and the fact that it was hotter than bloody blue blazes, well I passed.

Elsa: Pfft…you passed because you’re a big baby. I mean, come on, people, food, Canadian Geese…that’s a dream outing in my books.

Norman: Perhaps, but there’s still that water thing that puts me off. Besides, you remember how we’d already taken our morning constitution at the crack of dawn and frankly, it seemed like it was going to be too far to go and it would have meant walking uphill in the heat on the way home. No thanks.

Elsa: Don’t talk about heat to me…remember I’m the one who  wears a black fur coat. With our altitude, sunny bright days are murder on me. Apart from potentially messing with my biorhythms and inducing seizures in the extreme temps…well…for me anyway, it’s just not worth chasing seeing those geese in conditions like that.

Norman: Right-o, Ninja. So…care to start this week’s post or do you plan to wax on about other unrelated trivia.

Elsa: Don’t push it, dude. I’m getting to it. Good gravy, you have a couple of guest posts under your belt and right away you’re acting like some sort of rigid taskmaster editor. Lighten up, pal.

Elsa: [continuing on] So…as I was saying…Mom went down first thing as soon as the event opened; she’s a wuss when it comes to those hot temps too. Plus she was able to avoid the crowds which she figured would be large after a two year hiatus due to COVID. She did manage to capture a few interesting photos.

Elsa: [Moving on] Let’s kind of take a look around before getting to the race, ok? As you know, Mom is always wary around those Canadian Geese; I have no idea why, Canadians are well known for their friendly disposition. But she found a couple of ‘spectators’ down by the water’s edge that she felt comfortable being around. I dunno…those beaks seem a bit sketchy to me but whatever. I think they were rooting for Mom’s favorite Dragon Boat, #4 which had a number of disabled participants which she thought was very cool. They didn’t win their heat but they had good game and were an enthusiastic bunch.

Ducks

Norman: That is outstanding, I say! I mean the part about the disabled contestants being participants. Not the water.

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

 

Elsa: I figured you would probably be afraid of those ducks just like you are of the Canadian Geese, not to mention being so close to the water’s edge.

Norman: [interrupting] I beg your pardon. For the record, I. AM. NOT. AFRAID. OF. GEESE. Canadian or otherwise. Some of my best friends are Canadian.

Elsa: [snickering] Yeah, right. We all know otherwise but by all means, make yourself feel better.

Norman: [sounding miffed] You keep making it sound like I’m some sort of coward but we both know how I always come to your defense especially whenever we meet that insane fence barking dog down the street.

Elsa: Oh yeah, I do recall you ripping Mom’s shoulder out to defend me. Ok, well, I’ve got a post to finish, so let’s move on, okay. Mom has attended the Dragon Boat Festival before but you can see her last post here  for more details.

Elsa: [continuing] There was lots of entertainment celebrating Asian Pacific Islander culture. She stopped by to check out the first dance performers. It was beautiful and they performed flawlessly.

Dragon Boat Festival

Elsa: There was the main pavillon area with all manner of food booths and tchotchkes for sale. There was even a row of food trucks and an ATM machine at an entrance. Looks like the organizers thought of everything to make it easy to spend money enjoy just about anything.

Dragon Boat Festival

Elsa: There always seems to be quite a diverse batch of attendees. Mom is always on the lookout for the most unusual, or most handsome attendees. She even found one dandy of a Dane for me {swoon}. Talk about handsome!

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

Norman: That was one big fella and he had the best manners but I’d rush to your defense if he acted up around you.

Elsa: Yeah, right. You know perfectly well, I can hold my own around anyone. I was more than ready to take on the raccoons we encountered just before returning from this morning’s walk. As I recall you were kind of “meh…no big deal.”

Norman: I didn’t see any upside of engaging with them and besides, I really couldn’t understand what the mama raccoon was chittering about after she shooed her two babies down the storm sewer.

Raccoon

Elsa: [giggling hysterically] Your denials are laughable. I was more than ready to take her on. ‘Mama o mama’ style.

Norman:  [eyes rolling] Which is exactly why Mum moved us along to avoid a confrontation. Afterall, neither of us need expose ourselves to a potential case of rabies. [shudder]

Elsa: Good point. Well it made for an interesting conclusion to the end of our morning walk. I hope you got a flavor of the Dragon Boat Festival and enjoyed seeing something a little unusual from our ‘Hood.

Dragon Boat Festival

Elsa: Got any big plans for this first weekend of August? The countdown towards autumn’s arrival seems to be moving along-48 days by my count. And not a day too soon. These relentlessly hot days have overstayed their welcome this summer, don’t you think?

Norman: Amen, Ninja. We both hope you have a splendid weekend and find something interesting to see in Mother Nature’s realm. Stay cool.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 2, 2022

Ever have one of those weekends where the dog is unusually clingy? It seems to coincide when you have something of import to accomplish.

Exhibit A – both dogs were not pleased with my attempts to do some spring cleanup and upgrading the backyard by reinstalling the flagstones after spending more than a week leveling the area and weeding. Both barked loudly when left indoors while I tried to work as quickly as possible and then stared at me with disdain when I brought them outside with me. Norman in particular has discovered that using his rather large body laying in the most inopportune spot is quite effective as he tries to derail my work than doesn’t revolve around him. I won’t even comment on the Ninja’s attempt at scratching dirt into furrows after I’d spent days leveling and smoothing the area flat.

Smiles

While I know at some point I’ll miss any annoying attempts to derail my attention on activities that aren’t 100% focused on them, once they’re gone. You have to give dogs credit for being in the moment and I’m actually pretty envious they can do that instead of like us peering into the future and seeing how it might benefit their comfort but I’d really appreciate it if dear Norman and sweet Elsa would realized the backyard area isn’t going to  finish itself for just a few more hours. Luckily for them (as well as my back) today will be a makeup day since the forecast is calling for  a bit of moisture (fingers crossed). Here’s to having a ‘pawsome’ week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Top ‘O the Morning To Ye

The  Leprechaun Ranch Hand sends his best Irish wishes to you. ☘️ Erin go bragh! ☘️

Norman

Meanwhile the Celtic Sluagh…aka The Ninja, seems to be [once again] preparing to hunt down my soul. If there’s anything to that adage, ‘luck of the Irish,’  now would be a good time for it. Then again, she could just as easily be channeling the Celtic goddess of evil magic, “Carman” who, as a destructive witch, roamed around with her three evil sons: Dub (“darkness” in Irish), Dother (“evil”) and Dain (“violence”), destroying anything or anyone in their path.

It was thought that Carman was responsible for cursing Ireland’s crops until the Tuatha De Danann (peoples of the goddess Danu) used their magic to fight and defeat her.

Elsa, St. Patrick's Day
I am NOT amused, nor am I Irish

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from everyone at the Ranch. Slainte!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 7, 2022

The Ranch Hands are beginning to question whether Spring is real or not after the latest weekend snowstorm. I guess conspiracies are possible anywhere.

Smiles

We hope to dispel the conspiracy that Spring isn’t real in a couple of weeks when it officially arrives and hope there are signs of its pending arrival in your neighborhood. Make it a great week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ February 28, 2022

Welcome to the last day of the shortest month of the year. Being on the cusp of multiple seasons that happen this time of year (winter/spring, mud/spring/winter), comfort food in particular tends to take center stage around the Ranch. But beware of leaving your plate unattended for too long, otherwise you may become an unwilling victim like today’s smile.

Smiles

A bowl of popcorn made over the weekend stayed surprisingly untouched although I did notice a few more drool spots on the ottoman. Such earnest innocence in those faces.

Elsa & Norman

Snickering dog

Have a super Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ January 3, 2022

Welcome to 2022 where we’re starting with a fresh new and hopeful slate. We hope you had a safe and happy New Year. Now comes that time of year when people often make resolutions to address any bad habits we may have slipped into or seek to enhance what we’ve been doing, especially some of those slip ups which often occur during the holiday season. If anyone needs some help, Elsa has offered to step in and do what she can with your list.

Smiles

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Or do you just take note of areas where you want/need to improve such as with eating habits/diets, getting more exercise, go ‘dry-January,’ and stuff like that?

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Veterans/Remembrance Day ~ 2021

Veterans DayToday the U.S., Canada and Europe mark the anniversary of the end of World War I where major hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, and the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Historically speaking, this holiday was signed into law in the U.S. by President Dwight Eisenhower on May 26, 1954 honoring all veterans who served in the Armed Forces. Europe celebrates today as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.  When major U.S. veteran organizations urged renaming the day to “Veterans Day,” Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and has been known as Veterans Day ever since. (BTW the attributive case as opposed to the possessive is the officially correct spelling “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, but rather a day to honor all veterans). For Grammarians, using the apostrophe is however grammatically appropriate.

Today we honor and celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans, while May’s Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

Norman

And because she’s a little pill and absolutely refused to participate in a joint photo session with Norman, the Ninja posed separately. #ohthatdog!

Elsa

Nevertheless, both Ranch hands and I tip our hats to all veterans who have served their country.

Live, love, bark!🐾