Nature Friday ~ April 19, 2019

Today is Good Friday and another week is in the books. I hope you’re ready for the Easter weekend. We’re once again joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday Blog Hop, Good Friday edition. Today we’re gonna take a look at Mother Nature’s flowering trees that are starting to enter into the spring landscape. Ornamental pears have begun to blossom and when we see these around the 303, we know spring has definitely sprung (yes, I do realize that there is still good chance for a snow shower or two over the next few weeks but I’m too busy enjoying spring to worry about it now).

Ornamental pear trees (known as Bradford Pears) have been planted all over the urban Denver landscape. Known for its conical shape and showy blossoms, they are taking front and center stage now. My two assistants graciously agreed to pose near a band of them lined up along the parking strip between street and sidewalk (for Elsa, it was a sit/stay training moment and she passed…we like to multitask on our walks).

Trees

A closeup shows clusters of pinkish centers amid white blossoms. When I was researching these trees, I was shocked to learn many people are not fans, in fact, many have called for their removal as a menace to modern landscaping. They cite invasiveness and lack of biodiversity as well as structural issues since their branches tend to split when the trees are anywhere from 15-20 years old. In the early 1900’s, Frank Meyer, a plant explorer from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture went to China to find the most disease-resistant strain which could be grafted to existing pear trees. Good Ole Frank found what he thought would be a good variety and brought back 100 pounds of seed and, for a while, it worked like a charm. The trees will grow in nearly any soil, mature quickly and bloom early in spring with bright orange foliage in autumn. They are one of the first blooming trees in spring and the last to drop their pretty leaves in autumn. Landscape architects thought they’d found the perfect tree. It soon became the most widely planted tree in the U.S. By the 1990’s however, landscapers discovered the ugly side to these pretty additions to suburbs and office parks. While these trees’ symmetrical structure is attractive, it leads to what’s known as “weak crotches” (all limbs branch out from the trunk). This weakness often causes them to split apart. Additionally, storms contribute to extensive splitting damage. Over the past several years in my own neighborhood, storms have decimated many of the trees (including the two across the street leaving them badly deformed and misshapen). The owner can’t bear to cut them down and continues to try to save them. Bradford pears don’t self pollinate, but cross-pollination can occur with the other strains of ornamental pears resulting in problematic hybrids.

The introduction of these trees underscores the fact that too often there are unintended consequences requiring contemplation before moving ahead. Remember, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

And because they have been as spectacular as I’ve ever seen, here are more tulips from around the neighborhood with apologies to my Instagram followers who are probably sick of seeing tulip after tulip on my feed. My own tulips are taking their own sweet time (in their defense, that happens when they aren’t bathed in sunlight the livelong day). They give a real Keukenhof Gardens feel even if I’m thousands of miles from Lisse, Netherlands.

Tulips

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

TulipsTulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you are able to enjoy the lovely renditions of Mother Nature and have a wonderful and joyous Easter weekend.

Easter

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Therapy Thursday ~ April 18, 2019

A couple of weeks ago Dogtor Sam and I did our regular monthly stint at hospital and hospice. But there was nothing ‘regular’ about them. All our visits are special in my mind, but these were extra special and, I’d like to think, we made more than a few peeps feel just a bit better.

Just as we were about to go to hospice, a tall, thin fella who seemed somewhat frantic come up to us and wondered if we would take the time to visit his daughter who had not seen a pet visit while she’d been in the Neuro-Critical Care ward. Not going to this area very often, I was more than happy to swing by after our assigned floor was completed (we were way-laid several times by other requests). We headed over to NCC and arrived at a room where a pale young women weakly smiled when I knocked on her door. I mentioned her dad had asked us to drop by and she said she’d love a visit. Sam knew exactly what to do. Patient “Kristy” clearly had a lot of recovery ahead of her, but her face lit up when she saw him. She and her visitor squealed out loud when she saw Sam. I knew he was probably tuckered out, but this boy knows what to do and does it. I wish I were as good as he is at the end of long visits, having people pawing at you, hugging on you and just generally being 110% “on” for hours. “Kristy” was clearly tired but enjoyed an abbreviated visit. Leaving the hospital, we then headed over to hospice.

HospiceWhile we made the rounds visiting with a new hospice doctor, all the nurses and a few visitors, we ended up spending a lot of time with a fairly young-looking woman and her daughter at hospice. It was almost an afterthought visit, as we’d seen so many people, Sam was petty tired and their room was full of family members paying their respects.  In those circumstances, I don’t generally intrude, especially when the end is so close (according to the nurse), but when “Kate” came out into the hallway and said how much she could really benefit from a visit, how could we refuse? “Of course,” I replied, “we’d be more than happy to spend some time with you.” She indicated the patient was her husband, which totally surprised me since I erroneously thought the man in the bed was her father. A daughter came out and we all convened in the middle of the hallway. Sam seemed refreshed and eager to check them out and when the woman knelt down in front of him, he patiently gazed as deeply into her eyes as I’ve ever seen. She teared up and said how much she needed him that moment. I just smiled not knowing if there’s something I should say, or even what to say.

The thing is, Sam knew exactly how to bring a smile to her face. She teared up, her daughter also smiled and they both thanked us repeatedly. Sam wagged his tail in reply.

When we visit with peeps, especially those far too young to be at hospice, it’s sometimes hard to know what to say to comfort them. Especially when the end is so close or unexpected. Thankfully, Sam knows exactly what to do and takes over. A well-timed tail wag, a soulful look, and he provides oodles of poodles of comfort. This guy knows exactly what people need and delivers it with no coaching from me. I stand there like a lump, my mind racing as to what I can do to provide loving comfort as the patient transitions on to the next life.

The following day at West Pines had more impactful visits. Sam really connects well with the patients who are in recovery, and seamlessly manages to bring relief to the staff as well. This knuckleheaded dog has such compassion for hurting patients and staff. As we were preparing to sign out, a staff person came by and asked if she could have a minute with Sam. Attentive and accommodating as always, he obliged. She lingered on the floor with Sam, saying it had been a really rough day, but to spend some time AND receive a kiss from him, made all the difference in her day, not to mention mine. This dog makes my heart swell. We’re going back next week and look forward to more rewarding encounters.

Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ April 8, 2019

It’s T-minus six days until the premier of the final season of The Game of Thrones…but who’s counting. It’s been way too long since hunky Jon Snow graced our television screens and at least at my house, his absence has been sorely missed. He may know nothing, but who cares? Am I right? I am however feeling slightly gypped that there are only six seasons for the beloved series’ final season. What the bloody blue blazes, HBO? #notfair

Then there’s the dwarf Lannister who has entertained us over the years and reminded us that true to his family motto, “always paid his debts.” Couldn’t help but chuckle with this pun which has been floating around social media lately. Elsa was quite willing to ‘pass along’ her updated version of the PSA to start out the week.

Lannister

We hope you had a lovely weekend and that this smile is the beginning of a terrific week, culminating with the season premiere. Let’s hope the final season satisfies ‘The Pack Survives’ needs.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ April 1, 2019

Holy cow, it’s April…how did that happen? April is the pretty month, sweet and full of springtime promises. Today also happens to be my baby sister’s birthday so I’m sending her oodles of poodles of digital birthday greetings. Happy birthday, sweet sis! Can’t wait to give her birthday hugs in person later this month.

The Knuckleheads celebrated her birthday over the weekend with Elsa making confetti for the occasion.

We hope you had a wonderful weekend and today offers a fresh new slate for exciting adventures this week. No doubt these two are planning more ‘pawsome’ fun. I can hardly wait.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

New Dog in Town Wednesday

So…you know I had to get a bath and groom in order to dogtor this week. Sam here. Look what happened after mom trimmed my toes, nose and tail area. What the dog?! Seems there’s a Mini-Sam now but he seems more flexible than me. Mom even made him his own bandana. Maybe he’ll be less pesky than my Ninja sister.

Funny thing about Elsa on these days when I get a bath or groomed. She now goes MIA, the traitor. Used to be she would at keep me company when the water torture began and I used to think she would watch protect me. Now she leaves skid marks to avoid even being remotely close to me. Maybe she thinks it’s contagious. Don’t tell Elsa but I overheared mom mutter something about Elsa needing a clean up once she recovers from doing me.

Oops, gotta run get floofed up again after the water torture. Sigh. Today we’re visiting West Pines. That always makes me tail wagging happy to see the peeps there.

Mini Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Dogtoring We Will Go

For the next couple of days, we’ll be dogtoring at hospital, hospice and West Pines but first I have to practice my skills on the Ninja. After yesterday’s squirrel roundup, I think her blood pressure is a bit on the high side. I know mom’s was.

DogtoringWe probably won’t be able to respond as much as we’d like over the next few days, we will try to do our best. Thank you for all your kind comments regarding yesterday’s crazy goings on. PayPal is taking its sweet time responding to us. Mom topped off the day with a trip to the dentist to replace a crown that fell out over the weekend. Does she know how to live or what? Worse than that, I had to endure the dreaded water torture for today’s hospital rounds. Luckily I get over it when kind peeps say I’m handsome.

On a serious note, today is Purple Day, the international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people from around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. It is estimated that as many as 50 million peeps and 4% of dogs have epilepsy. By bringing awareness to this disease, those who participate with Purple Day events hope to bring much-needed info to those who desperately need it. There are many groups who can help with informational resources, like the Wally Foundation. Our good friend Olivia, from Knotty Toys for Good Dogs hosted a “silent” Auction for The Wally Foundation- canine epilepsy We hope you’ll check it out and support Olivia’s efforts to benefit The Wally Foundation. So get out there and rock your purple today, I know I will.

ELMC Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 18, 2019

Elsa

{Yawn-stretch} Happy Monday. Oh hi, it’s me, Elsa. We’re running a little slowly today (i.e. mom’s got writer’s block). We’re hoping the caffeine kibble kicks in soon. Not sure why Sam and I have to pick up the slack when mom’s not creative and I’m not saying there was too much paw-tying yesterday, but we could use a few more 💤

How was your St. Patrick’s Day weekend?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Gambling on Nature

Hello sports fans, it’s moi, Elsa. Mom said if behaved myself and didn’t get too rowdy, I could join the fun with our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop.

Paw prints
Art paw prints by Elsa and Mother Nature

Well all I can say about Nature this week is…what the dog?! We experienced it all this week-warm/cold/wet/dry/grey/sunny…and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Wednesday there was a slushy snow/freezing rain that fell on top of the 4″ of snow that fell earlier. By Thursday probably 80% of it had melted except for northern exposures. Then there are humans who try to influence nature by changing time, which happens this weekend. Yup, the dreaded Daylight Savings Time switch arrives early on Sunday in the US. On the surface, it seems like a good idea…dinner arrives an hour early…color us dogs happy!  But then there’ll be an hour less of sleep which will make for crabbish sleepy huMoms and one hour less of any potential Spring. Messing with time seems like hoping a Vegas casino croupier will be your friend when he smiles and says, “Go ahead, roll the dice, hit me, or place your bets,” but we know how that often ends up where spring is concerned. When you play Blackjack-Spring edition, shouldn’t you actually win once in a while? 

More than likely, nature will deal these guys instead of the Spring we’d like.

Deal the cards

When we went out for our walk, we saw more signs that Spring might be in the air but I’m not holding my dog breath. When we got home, mom looked at the calendar that saw that the dreaded time gyp arrives and then groaned. We all know mom groans are never a good sound.

Tulip bulbs

The reticulated irises and crocuses mom shared managed to survive the snow fairly well. Talk about hardy little devils. They must be Ninjas in the bulb world.Irises

More than likely I’ll end up being up to my elbows in white stuff soon since March is our snowiest month of the year. But it’s not all bad, snow is fun mom, trust me.

Elsa in snow
Here’s my happy face that doesn’t want to walk on a cleared sidewalk and stay dry

So what’s your bet? Aces or jokers? Either way, don’t forget to ‘spring’ forward. Whichever way the cards are dealt, we hope there’s a full house or three of a kind for weekend fun, even if it will be an hour short.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

National Read Across America Day

Dr. SeussNormally we don’t post on weekends, but we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to join the blog hop celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday hosted by our fur-iends Chimera Jakey Molly. You can click on the links for other Dr. Seuss blog fun.

March 2 is National Read Across America Day, where we celebrate one of our most favorite activities, reading. Created by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 as a way to encourage children to get excited about reading and it occurs every year on Dr. Seuss’  birthday. We think the perfect way to celebrate is to don a Dr. Seuss hat like Sam and read any one of his famous stories, like the 2015 bestseller, “What Pet Should I Get.” Today  students, teachers, parents, and community members around the country will come together to read books and celebrate the joy of reading. 

The best news about Dr. Seuss is there will be a new book coming out later this year (September 2019), 28 years after the author’s death, according to a press release from the publisher. The new book is about a friendly horse who takes a group of students on a tour of an art museum. Artists and non-artists will appreciate the timeless theme that “there is no one right way to interpret the beauty we encounter every day,” as indicated in the press release.

Dr. Seuss

So what are you waiting for…grab a book and join us! And happy birthday to the good ‘doctor.’

Dr. Seuss

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Red Carpet Monday ~ February 25, 2019

By now you know who won at last night’s Oscar ceremonies. Sam here. Naturally Elsa and I walked the Red Carpet, paw in paw. I couldn’t decide if I should go understated but dashing like Bradley Cooper with a silk bow tie or something more…ahem, ‘eye-catching’ like Spike Lee and ended up wearing a flowing red scarf with a new trendy pair of Warby Parker glasses. Elsa was breathtakingly gorgeous in a pink silk off the shoulder printed scarf. She was so nervous that she thought she might pee on the carpet but I said, I’ll be here for ya, kid. We just got to our seats in time (with no accidents, I might add) for some of the lesser known categories that aren’t broadcast on TV. And guess what…I actually WON! I was nervous speaking to so many people, but then my professional therapy training kicked in and I was able to deliver a heartfelt and surprisingly ’emotional’ acceptance speech. What do you think?

The Oscars

We hope your favorite nominee won last night. Happy Monday to all the winners.

Live, love, bark! 🐾