Happy ‘Howlidays’ from the Ranch Hands

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

Feliz Navidog from all of us at the Ranch.

Christmas

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 5, 2021

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

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

Trees

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

Trees

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

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

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

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

Norman

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

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

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

Halloween

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

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Happy Birthday to an Angel

Wash Park Sam
Handsome boy at Wash Park

On this date in 2005,  a reddish-blonde knucklehead entered the world. Officially christened “Brians Yosemite Sam” with the American Kennel Club, he was simply known as “Sam” to his owners. For you newer readers, Sam was the inspiration behind this blog.

For years, Sam was a proverbial pogo stick. Bouncing straight up and down to express excitement with life, he bounced straight into my heart. Sam was the most unfocused dog I’d ever met, long after his puppy years. Most dogs grow out of that puppy exuberance, but Sam didn’t seem to recognize it was the natural progression of acting more dignified as he aged and was actually normal. When I brought him home, he quickly burrowed deep into my soul and made his second best friend my Old English Sheepdog, Puck. For his entire life, he adored her and even after she passed, he  would always do double takes whenever we encountered one, thinking it was his long lost pal.

In 2015, Sam graciously and lovingly welcomed a very feral Ninja. He seemed to realize Elsa needed extra gentle loving and slowly earned her trust. Though never great pals like he was with Puck, he patiently and selflessly taught her how to be a dog instead of a shut down puppy-mill survivor.

Despite his buoyant personality or maybe because of it, it was hard not to just love on this goofball.  I just needed to find out what his job in life should be, beyond being an absolute treasure of a companion.

It was clear early on that Sam had a special knack for bringing joy and smiles to all he met. He was the neighborhood concierge, greeting every two and four legged inhabitant walking past the yard with an infectiously charming personality. Everyone loved him and he made them all feel special. It seemed only natural to share his gift with others and thus began the process of training for pet therapy work. For weeks I was convinced he would fail since he just couldn’t seem to stay focused on even simple tasks. Sam’s mantra in life was “oooh, a kitten…look a butterfly…ahh…shiny object!!” More than once I nearly abandoned the notion of getting through classes. When the time came for the test, not only did he perform flawlessly, he outshined all his classmates. I was stunned but ever so grateful to be able to share his gift of love with others.

We began visiting patients and in no time, Sam became a beloved rock star at hospital but especially with mental health patients. He would calmly allow them to hug him (which most dogs would not appreciate) and patiently waited while they petted him. His crush on all nurses was legendary and he often had eight or more surrounding him, oohing and ahhing over those soulful brown eyes, soft fur and Swiffer-like tail that was constantly in hyper-motion whenever people were around him.

Sam brought such joy and happiness to everyone at pet therapy but especially to me. While I have Norman to carry on in Sam’s pawprints at hospital and the Ninja to remind me that “still waters run deep,” Sam will always hold an extra special place in my heart.

Sam birthdayOn his Sweet Sixteenth birthday, I send my very best birthday wishes to my heart dog. Happy birthday, Knucklehead. I miss you every. single. day. You’ll always be in my heart and soul. Love and miss ya, buddy!

Angel Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 17, 2021

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

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

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak in the distance

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

Mountains

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

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

Pony
Howdy!  Pony…meet pony

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

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

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

Gotcha Day

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

Autumn

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

Acorns

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

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ September 6, 2021

Today is Labor Day in the U.S. and Canada where working people are honored and recognized for their contributions to the labor movement. The idea of celebrating a “workingmen’s holiday” on the first Monday in September caught on in the U.S. following a strike by employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago on May 11, 1894 as well as the  Haymarket Riot of 1886. Across the country, state legislatures (with Oregon being the first) began recognizing Labor Day in 1887. Federal recognition in 1894 became a watershed moment in American labor history by bringing workers’ rights and contributions into public view. The first Labor Day parade was held on September 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. Labor Day weekend is  considered to be the symbolic end of summer.

The Ranch hands know exactly how to celebrate but theirs will be a somewhat low-key celebration. We hope your holiday is safe and enjoyable. Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.

Norman & Elsa

Live, love, bark!🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 27, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the last Friday of August. As always, we’re joining those adorable hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their blog hop. Make sure you click on the link to see what others have shared. This edition is literally a wild one, with commentary from both Ranch Hands.

Norman: Mum, it was a wild week, wasn’t it? I mean…I’ve never seen as much wildlife since being rescued and immigrating here.

Mum: You’re right, Norman; it was a ‘wild’ week, critter-wise. Given our location a ere 3 miles from downtown, it’s always exciting for us when Nature in its wildest form crosses our paths.

Norman: Right-o, mum. I haven’t seen this many rabbits as I did this week. What’s up with that?

Elsa: (imitating her best Elmer Fudd voice) Wabbits??? Where?!?!?! You know how I “LOVE” hunting looking for wabbits.

Norman: You almost walked past this one, little sister and missed another one at Sprouts parking lot.

Rabbits

Elsa: Harrumph…wabbits are wily but I eventually picked up its scent. But I spotted the third one before you guys did. Just wish mom hadn’t spotted this one first, otherwise I’d have turned her into a kite. For the record, I don’t think that spot is reserved for bunny parking, so there.

Norman: Mum scans the landscape for wildlife for that exact reason. But seeing rabbits three times this week was a bit unusual and nothing compared to what else we encountered.

Elsa: I’m still blown away from that whole experience. The fact that we were running later than usual and had we be out at our usual time, well…we’d have missed them by several minutes. Sure we’ve seen one or two on a couple of occasions but nothing like that before.

Norman: [Head shaking] It was quite something. I mean to be a witness to a whole ‘family of criminals’…well, let’s just say that took us all by surprise. Seeing wildlife like this makes it even more remarkable.

Raccoons
Check out this morning neighborhood criminal family!

Elsa: No kidding! Seeing those masked bandits so close to me and posing no less…well I momentarily froze in my tracks. Luckily, it was just enough time for mum to realize what could have been a potential nightmare for all concerned so she instinctively shortened my leash. Doggone it anyway.

Norman: At first I thought it was a bunch of odd looking kitties but could tell from mum’s reaction it was something else. I’ve never seen six ‘cats’ like that at once.

Raccoons

Elsa: At least I managed to react a short distance away from the porch which took her shoulder by surprise. Heh, heh. It’s good keeping her on her toes.

Norman: Oh come on, sister, it’s not really her toes you want her to stay on…it’s more like you prefer her backside.

Elsa: Sshhh, don’t let her know that. Jeez, are you trying to get me in trouble?

Norman: You’re well enough equipped to do that on your own without any help from me.

Raccoons

Elsa: Not one, not two, not even three…but four on the front porch of that house at the same time. I distinctly remember mum rubbing her eyes in disbelief.

Norman: She sure did, though I think she might have been still half asleep. As we passed the front porch, we saw the others on the fence to the side though there were {only} six raccoons in total committing a burglary.

Elsa: I was so bummed they decided not to follow us in the opposite direction.

Norman: They probably had more houses to burglarize visit before breakfast was over. I did notice that one fella coming out from under the chair had munched on the tassels on the chair cushion.

Elsa: Not much of a breakfast by my mind’s thinking.

Norman: This coming from someone who considers wool socks a food group?

Elsa: That’s different, bro. Besides, it wasn’t me who ate a felted mini-OES figure that mom spent 8+ hours needle felting last week. Do I need to remind you of the day you spent at ER?

Norman: Ahem…not my finest moment I’ll agree, but all’s good now right mum?

Mum: {Eyes rolling} Yes, ‘dear‘ Norman. Just make sure you don’t countersurf anymore and we’ll be all good, ‘kay?

Norman: Right-o, mum. I love that you accept me for who I am. Just a big hunka-chunk who is apparently irresistible to nurses judging our visit to hospital yesterday. If feels good getting the first of two evaluations out of the way. One step closer to being a full therapy dog.

Mum: Yes, dear boy…you definitely know how to draw a crowd. Much like us gawking at those raccoons, people just couldn’t believe their eyes seeing you and began running down the hallway to say hello

Norman: Yes, it was somewhat overwhelming. Yawn. I’m still recovering from all that therapy work while trying to get over that whole riding the elevator experience.

Norman

Mum: You’ll be fine, sweet boy. You have the whole weekend to recover.

Elsa: We’re so proud of you, Big Brother! Let’s plot plan some extra special recovery plans for the weekend…you know just to give mum a run for her money on her toes.

Mum: Sigh. Whatever you do this weekend, we hope it’s relaxing and fun but you give yourself plenty of time to see all the amazing sights Mother Nature offers.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Happy 4th of July

July 4thAs the U.S. celebrates our country’s independence, both the Ranch hands and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish our U.S. based readers a happy Fourth of July and we hope everyone has a terrific Sunday.

Norman

Here’s to a star-spangled ‘howliday!’

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Two Word Wednesday ~ June 16, 2021

Squirrel

Tree rat.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 3, 2021

You may have noticed we’ve been absent lately. A death in the family has taken an emotional toll on my heart and posting has been the last thing on my mind. When I returned home from being with the family, I was greeting by a deck of cards on the floor along with a certain card shark. Through my tears from the unbearable loss our family has suffered, the clouds over my heart lifted for a just a moment. Today’s moral…never play cards with the Ninja. This girl plays to win and will eat you alive.

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Purple Friday ~ 2021

PurpleRather than post more images of snowy urban scenes with emerging spring bulbs (you’re probably as tired of seeing my spring storm photos as I am posting them), today we will be joining and supporting our ‘fur-iends’ from Knotty Toys for Good Dogs and the Five Sibes in a blog hop (click on the links for additional info), by participating in the annual international grassroots effort known as “Purple Day” which was created to increase awareness about epilepsy worldwide. If you make a donation of $5* or more at The Wally Foundation (who provides financial assistance to the owners of canine epileptics and dog rescue groups to obtain medications and veterinary services), you will receive a Purple Ribbon decal  in the mail (*minimum donation of $6 outside of the USA).

Elsa

As the parent of an epi-warrior, I have found a supportive and diverse network of people, dogs and informational resources since Elsa’s diagnosis just 2 weeks after she was adopted. Although I have owned dogs who suffered from epilepsy over the years, I’ve become far more educated about treatment for these special pets and no longer feel totally isolated. Educating myself to help Elsa has been a passion and both Knotty Toys for Dogs and the Five Sibes blogs have provided tremendous information that has definitely improved her life with  ‘pawsome’ tips I never knew about previously.

Epilepsy
The Ninja ‘reading’ “What’s Wrong with Gibson”

Life with an Epi-Warrior can have its ups and downs but it  doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy life like any other pet. Elsa may has her quirks due to her years of life in a puppy mill, but she still enjoys life being a sweet snuggler who loves playing with certain toys (apart from the well documented eviscerating of others).

Elsa

Every year on March 26th, people from around the world are invited to wear purple and participate in events that support of epilepsy awareness. It is estimated that as many as 50 million peeps and 4% of all 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 need it. There are many groups who can provide informational resources, such as The Wally Foundation and The Anita Kaufmann Foundation, among many others. Please check them out and support their efforts providing information to sufferers of this dreaded disease. We hope you’ll join us as we rock purple today.

Epilepsy

Live, love, bark! 💜