Nature Friday ~ January 27, 2023

Greetings and welcome to Day 97 of Winter, Norman here. Before I share some of the sights around our Ranch, I wanted…{Elsa yelling from the other room} “Don’t forget, it was my idea!!”

Norman: Ahem…As I was about to say, before sharing what Nature has looked liked around the Ranch, I wanted to express my deepest gratitude to all the wonderful Gotcha Day wishes from all the readers. You made my day extra special and I appreciate it tremendously.

Norman: {continuing} Now, let’s get to the sharing part of this week’s episode of Nature Friday, shall we? As always, we’re joining the LLB Gang.

Elsa: Yeah, get on with it, Bucko. I got things to do to get ready for the weekend.

Norman: Oh dear, I’m afraid this might be harder than I had hoped with all these interruptions.

Elsa: You want interruptions…don’t get me started, pal. Why I oughta…

Norman: No need to get hostile, Ninja. As I mentioned earlier it seems like Winter has been around forever. After those hyacinths raised their heads up a tad recently (in case you missed it, click here), I was ever so hopeful we would be moving toward more temperate climes. Alas, that is not the case. All those “atmospheric rivers” plaguing the West Coast continue to move west and leave piles of the dreaded white stuff.

Elsa: What do you mean, dreaded? This stuff tastes great.

Elsa

Norman: {Rolling his eyes} Oh for bloody sake…do I get to do this post or don’t I?

Elsa:  Sheesh, lighten up, ya pile of fur!

Norman:  So sorry, I don’t mean to sound so harsh. My bad. I just want to be able to deliver my post uninterrupted. {Clearing his throat…continues}. Well as you can see by Elsa’s pose, it snowed…again. I think that was maybe Day 92 of Winter. At any rate, our landscape remains monochromed. Not totally brown anymore but more like 99.99% white.

Snow scene

Elsa: Ooh, ooh {breathlessly interrupting}…did I tell you I saw some brown yesterday? I took a whiff of the afternoon breeze and caught the scent of bunny. Or maybe it was squirrel, I don’t know. Either way…something had definitely marched through my front garden and I had to check it out since I am the protector of the Ranch.

Snow & shadows

Norman: Ok, moving right along. You know that one downspout that tends to ice up the sidewalk and causes problems when we turn the corner heading back to the dog run? I noticed even you wiped out and your fleet feet are pretty stable.

Elsa: Yeah…once I recovered and got up on all my paws and looked around like “what the dog was that all about!”

Norman: Don’t feel badly. I biffed it there as well. Mum was quite concerned. Seniors like me don’t do well when we fall. She helped me up and slowly guided me so I wouldn’t fall again on the icy sidewalk. I mean, I had patients and staff to visit and being hurt wasn’t on the agenda that morning.

Elsa: I noticed she tried to remediate the situation by spreading some cat litter and it turned into a lovely, squishy, grey goop during the bit of melting that occurred between storms.

Norman: Don’t remind me. It was a bloody mess. Turns out cat litter is not much of a substitute for sand so she cleaned it up as best as she could and then picked some sand up last night in anticipation of the next round of weather expected to move into the area this weekend. She went on a walkabout yesterday afternoon and raved about a cholla cactus she saw. She said it was completely sparkly from its spines to the small icy chunks of snow on it. I looked at her picture and felt badly for her-seems as if winter has clearly pushed her over the edge. All I saw was something poking through the snow with sharp spines. It was hard to see where the spines ended and the clumps of ice began.

Cactus

Norman: {Shivering} Some of you have admitted you haven’t taken down your Christmas decorations. Well fear not, you’re not alone. When it snowed the other day, Mum was going on and on about this house on her walk. Mum’s…the littlest things seem to amuse them, I just don’t get it. No tree, no decorations, no presents left at our house and she gets giddy about this fenceline.

Christmas decorations

Elsa: She was just captivated by the snow on the ribbon, that’s all. It’s just a human shortcoming to like stuff like that.

Norman: Well I don’t get it. Course I’m more focused on the flakes that keep making appearances and those slippery walkways.

Snowy scene

Norman: There are much better ways to deal with this weather pattern during all these endless days of Winter. For instance, having a good time with a fun toy. And if I can’t play with a toy inside where I’m warm, I enjoy making friends with a policeman and a couple of EMT’s  from Lakewood, CO. They were at the Emergency Department when I visited and they just couldn’t get enough of me. I did rather enjoy that.

Norman

ELMC

Elsa: {clearing her throat} Well your pet therapy work is nice and all, but can I just remind you that it really isn’t “Nature-centric?”

Norman: Perhaps not, but how could I resist such a swell group of chaps on my Gotcha Day?

Elsa: Oh jeez. You are shameless, you know that, right?

Norman: I beg your pardon. I’m just trying to show everyone there’s more to life than just drab brown or crystal white in life. That’s all.

Elsa: W.h.a.t.e.v.e.r…let’s wrap it up, big guy.

Norman: Roger, dear sister. We both hope you have a pawsome weekend and are able to get outside and enjoy some of Nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Happy Gotcha Day Monday

NormanWell…here’s a change of pace for you. Elsa here. It’s a Monday (FYI, that’s not the change, that comes whether we like it or not) but instead of a Monday Musings post, I’m here to tell you today is that big oaf Norman’s Gotcha Day. Three years ago as COVID was still kind of hiding in the background, and my pogo-stick of a brother Sam was still the Concierge of the Ranch, Mom brought home this enormous pile of fur. A huge new brother that turned us Knuckleheads into a terrific trio. Sadly it would only be for a short time since our precious brother Sam decided that Mom was left in Norman’s capable paws. Happy Gotcha day, dude. I may be a pill to you at times, but you’ve turned into a pretty special boy and I am glad that you enjoy the limelight since it allows me to continue refining my Ninja skills in the background without a lot of front stage scrutiny.. Us Ninja’s like being in the shadows.

From your first car ride, it was clear you were going to be a nice addition. So doggone polite, sheesh. Is that because you’re a British breed? Us poodles might learn a thing or two about getting along with everyone from you. Then again…why should we have to?

Norman

I will say, you were a fast learner which helped me out because that meant I didn’t have to teach you how to, for instance, walk nicely on a leash.

Ranch Hands

Mom was a bit surprised though by one of your traits as she specifically had asked the foster if you got up on the furniture. He said and I quote, “Never!” Erm…so ten minutes after you arrived…how do you explain this?

Norman

But no matter, that’s one of Mom’s favorite pics of you and whenever she sees you hogging up on the sofa, she laughs out loud. Thanks for making my Mom smile, big guy.

Right away Mom thought you’d be a welcome addition to the pet therapy program at Lutheran and that you’d manage to fill Sam’s paws quite nicely as soon as the hospital reopened and she was right. Too bad that just as you began the approval process, the hospital shut down for the next 18 months. But eventually they reopened (better late than never, right). But she had no clue how much the nurses and staff would be filled with joy whenever you make hospital rounds. They frequently shower you with treats, toys as well as loads of attention. So sorry you have to work on your Bark Day but I’m sure they’ll make it worth your while this week.

Pet Therapy

You continue to charm Mom by letting her dress you up (and ridiculously I might add…but hey, whatever floats your boat). Sure glad somebody enjoys it…count me out!

Norman

Dogtor Norman

Norman

You’ve been a great sport every since you lumbered into the Ranch.

Norman

And for all that and so much more, you deserve a pawsome Gotcha Day. Happy Barkday, fuzzball.

NormanLive, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 30, 2022

It may be the last Friday of 2022, and even though we haven’t posted much lately, we could not let this week’s Nature sights not be shared. As always, we’re joining our pals from the LLB Gang.

We hope you had a lovely Christmas celebration. Returning home, I noticed what might have been a few bargain hunters lining up early at a local WalMart probably waiting to make returns.

Birds

Once back at home, Norman did his last visits for 2022. The big guy was quite grateful that the days he visited early in the week coincided with the top end of the extremes we encountered. This graphic taken from last night’s weather showing the high and low temps. Understand this turn-around happened in a mere 24-hour period. We’re still recovering from the whiplash.

Weather

Once again I headed down south to spend the Christmas holiday weekend with my Dad and other family members. It’s always a good excuse for all the good cooks in the family to showcase their skills. From brisket to lasagne and everything in between, we had quite the feast.

Christmas Dinner

The sunrises this past week have been beyond incredible. Rising early to catch up on computer work before the others rose, I was blown away by the vibrant colors shining in the living room. Adjectives seem totally inadequate to describe them.

Sunrise Sunrise

Then yesterday Winter tapped me on the shoulder and said thanks for holding my beer and promptly dumped over 8 inches of very wet, white stuff. It was more like a Spring storm than one that is typical right now. There were lots of fallen branches around town though my street was luckily unscathed.

Snowstorm

It also took hours to plow the sidewalks. While this time of year often becomes reflective on all that’s happened throughout, the top question of my introspection continues to be: “remind me again why I bought a house on an oversized corner lot?”

Despite several hours of shoveling, it was a beautiful sight. Not sure if it was beautiful enough to warrant a repeat performance but the weather folks cautioned residents to not put the snow shovel away just yet. A fresh storm is forecasted to welcome the New Year.

Snow

While I’ve often shared how Norman isn’t a fan of cold or snow, no one can say this boy doesn’t know how to effectively deal with it…as in stay inside no matter what. Elsa may go bouncing outside in deep swirling snowflakes like a loon, Norman is more low keyed and prefers the warmth of the sofa. With blankets.

Norman

That’s it from us for 2022. We want to wish you all a safe and very Happy 2023. Stay warm, hug your loved ones and don’t forget to enjoy the amazing beauty Nature provides.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 5, 2022

Hiya, remember us? Today is the first day I’ve actually felt well enough to post. Man, oh man…that COVID bug sure leveled me and once I got over it, I had no creative juices. Enter Dogtor Norman to provide relief to me as well as others.

Norman

We didn’t get a chance to visit at the hospital in November so when we were asked to provide a bit of stress relief, e.g. a spot of pet therapy for shoppers at our favorite store, Orvis, well we jumped at the chance. Since I’m über sensitive about all the assorted bugs/viruses floating around these days just waiting  to muck up the holidays, I masked up like crazy, used plenty of hand sanitizer and brought a nice batch of treats for Dogtor Norman for our visit with customers and staff. The manager had specifically requested that Norman be one of the canine attendees and…well I mean, who are we to not want to make that happen, especially when we totally love the store? This lady was particularly taken with Norman and after she and her husband shopped, she returned multiple times to spend a few moments with the big guy. It’s always inspiring to see folks with physical limitations make special efforts to administer a few tender ear rubs particularly in jammed retail spaces. Making the effort to navigate around store’s that are filled with merchandise and customers, her attention was especially touching.

Norman

With COVID, RSV, flu cases and inflation putting a damper on holiday festivities, folks are beginning to realize there are less than three weeks until Santa makes his midnight run to houses all over the world. Shopping for the holidays can be stressful for some folks but ever the professional, Norman knows just how to fix holiday stress for young and old alike.

Norman

When taking pics of kids with Norman, I’m extra sensitive about posting them online without obscuring their faces. Alas, with the latest update to Apple’s OS, I’ve been  experiencing some issues with the photo editing process. This was the best I could do for this sweet little girl’s face. She told me they had two mastiffs at home and totally loved big dogs. Norman was equally smitten with her-giving her a nice hug while she laid on the floor next to him while her Dad shopped. He kept checking on her to make sure she wasn’t a problem. I love it when parents are attentive to their children’s well being as well as Norman’s. We don’t mind being an unofficial ‘kid wrangler,’ but feel like too many folks are more than happy to simply dump their kids on complete strangers. This kind of thoughtful parent ranks right at the top of the “good’ list and I genuinely hope their holidays are very merry and bright.

What’s a Monday around the Ranch without a smile to start out a busy week during the holidays? I’ve always enjoyed the Marmaduke cartoons and hope this one makes you smile like it did me. Smile

We may not have been to the North Pole lately, but finally feel well enough to get cracking with holiday preparations. With time being of the essence, it’s time to get cracking. While I no longer put up a tree, a few holiday embellishments will come out of storage to brighten things up. And I did manage to even knock out the Christmas cards. Yay.

Here’s hoping life has been treating you well and your stress levels are low as you head toward the big day. Make it a ‘pawsome’ week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 21, 2022

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! 🐾

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! 🐾

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! 🐾

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! 🐾

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! 🐾