Spreading the Love Thursday

Last week we visited hospice and hospital over Valentine’s Day and experienced some of our best visits. Ever. Sam was especially extra patient and loving on both days.

Sam spreading the love

We typically make a swing through the surgical waiting area before heading up to our assigned floor to visit with family and friends waiting for their loved ones and this week was no exception. Sam seemed to sense the first group needed extra attention. They included a husband, wife and another friend of the family’s. The husband’s face lit up as we came around the corner and Sam made a beeline for him. His wife squealed when she turned around, but Sam was determined to say hello first to him. His tail was wagging like a wound up metronome as he gazed into the guy’s eyes, so deeply in fact his wife commented on it. Sam turned toward her and she melted under his hypnotic spell, then he turned his gaze back to toward the man again. We spent several minutes chatting, learned he retired from being a police officer for over 40 years. Retirement wasn’t exactly his jam so he started working part-time at Home Depot for a while and shared several photos of pups who came in with their owners and said how much he appreciated it when people brought their 4-legged ‘handyman’ in to provide TLC with employees. He was totally in Sam’s paws, so much so, that he began leaning against the guy’s leg. Sam laid down next to him knowing he needed to chat and share stories of how much he enjoyed that job with those pooch encounters.

It became clear we could have spent loads of time visiting with this couple and learning more about them and their own dog at home but saw several other groups in the waiting area so we began to wrap it up. As we prepared to leave for the next family, the man asked me to say a prayer for his 91-year-old mother-in-law. Bless her heart, she was having a serious procedure done and worried about her long-term prognosis. Now I completely understood why Sam spent so much time with him. Sam knew his visit was what the doctor ordered for this family.

Sam spreading the love

We moved on to the next family whose elderly mom was the patient, Sam gave and received loads of kisses and hugs from the two sisters and aunts and uncles waiting to hear how their loved one fared in surgery. It’s always touching seeing this knucklehead spreading pure joy among people whose hearts are heavy as their family faces uncertain times. He seems to know who to visit first and for how long. Ironic considering when I try to get him to do something along our daily walks, he looks at me like I’m speaking in tongues.

Following the hospital visits, we went over to hospice where the nurses in particular needed Sam’s loving presence. Overnight, 5 patients had passed away, something that’s extremely rare for one day, and the staff needed some puppy love from a sweet loving therapy dog. While we were there, the last body was removed and as noted before they perform a Tibetan bowl ceremony while the body is removed. It’s a beautiful ceremony and Sam sat solemnly next to the line of nurses lined up watching as the body is removed from the building. Once the body was removed and everyone went back to work, he spent extra time with each one of the nurses on the floor. They needed his special attention and tail wags and they all expressed gratitude for his visit. While we’d just been visiting a couple of weeks earlier, I was particularly glad we answered the call to help them deal with the loss on what was a probably an extra difficult day at work.

This silly, goofy dog had the perfect touch for our Valentine’s Day visits and I couldn’t be prouder of this boy for doing what he does best. Making people smile and feel better, even if just for a few moments. While I know his days may be numbered as part of the pet therapy program, I know he will always give it his all.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 8, 2019

Nature Friday

Welcome to another edition of Nature Friday at the Ranch hosted by our California friends, Rosy and her brothers over at LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll swing by their backyard and check out theirs and others tip of the cap to Mother Nature.

You can say things have been unseasonable around the Ranch lately. Normally our coldest weather comes in January when the Stock Show is in town. This year however the weather for the most part was quite balmy. A number of days even had peeps wearing shorts with their puffy jackets (yeah, I don’t get that either-wearing shorts with a ski jacket is very common around here). January and February typically have little in the way of snow and yet we’ve had two snow storms in consecutive weeks with 10 and 6 inches respectively. I don’t mind the snow, but the below zero temps following this latest storm seems beyond what is normal for this time of year. Yesterday it was -5 F and just barely over 0 this morning, so let’s go for a little orchid action to warm things up.

It’s been some time ago but I found this beauty hanging out forlornly at the grocery market so naturally I felt compelled to ‘rescue’ it. It was the only blue one and I knew it would be a lovely addition around the Ranch. Isn’t that blue color simply exquisite? I don’t know how they get the color, but it’s beautiful and made me feel like I was back in Hawaii.

Orchid

Speaking of Hawaii, I would be remiss to not include a photo of the real deal in its natural environment. Located just north of Hilo on the Big Island is the Onomea Bay and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. With 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, this is just one many beautiful plants located in this one-of-a-kind garden.Their orchid collection is particularly spectacular. Just check out this specimen. Talk about colorful and delicate looking!

I don’t know about you, but after seeing photos of tropical orchids, I can once again appreciate all that nature has to offer even as I look out the window at a wintry white-scape. I hope we won’t have to bundle up like Eskimos again, like yesterday. Lacing up 10 snow boots, donning three coats and mittens was more exercise than the actual walk!

Snow

Have a super weekend and get out there to enjoy all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer but stay safe and warm.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

春节 (Chūn Jié) The Lunar New Year

Year of the PigEven though mom we neglected to post yesterday, I wanted to pass along our best wishes to everyone for a Happy Chinese New Year. Sam here. We had been celebrating the Year of the Dog and for the record, that of course will continue, right mom? I mean, you love and celebrate us Knuckleheads every day anyway so the Ranch should still operate under the Year of the Dog. But for now it’s time for everyone else to turn the lunar calendar over and begin celebrating the Year of the Pig which is often referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China on the traditional Chinese calendar. Normally beginning on the new moon that appears between January 21 and  February 20, the first day of the Chinese New Year began February 5. This annual 15-day festival is celebrated around the world by Chinese communities. Both Elsa and I are opposed to any fireworks ushering in the celebrations that will continue over the next couple of weeks and we’re still waiting for our red envelopes filled with treats.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Pig. In Chinese astrology, each year belongs to a Chinese zodiac animal according to the 12-year cycle. Years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, and 2031. The Pig occupies the twelfth position in the Chinese zodiac with 2019 being the year of the pig and its element is wood. It only seemed fitting to share a photo mom took of wooden carved pigs taken on another trip to Mexico a few years ago.

Year of the Pig

According to a Chinese astrology website that mom found: the “Pig is a mild and a lucky animal representing carefree fun, good fortune and wealth. Personality traits of the people born under the sign of the Pig are happy, easygoing, honest, trusting, educated, sincere and brave.”

For those born under the sign of the Pig,  your lucky flower is hydrangea, pitcher plant, or marguerite, your lucky gemstone is the ruby. Your lucky numbers are 2, 5, and 8. When it comes to lucky colors, chose yellow, grey, brown, golden. Your lucky direction is southeast, northeast and your best match would be someone born in the year of Sheep, Rabbit, or Tiger.

Conversely there are some unlucky things you should know. Unlucky numbers are 1, 3, 9, unlucky colors are red, blue, green, and your worst match would be those born in the year of the Snake, Monkey or surprisingly, Pig.

“Warm-hearted, honest and tolerant to others, people born under the Pig sign are always full of friends and are faithful to them and set a high value on friendship. Whenever a friend is in need, they will help without hesitation. Also, they dislike quarreling and are magnanimous to let bygones be bygones. Those under the Pig sign usually get along very well with others. Though thought to be somewhat materialistic, those born under the sign of the Pig are not stingy and would like to share what they have with others.”

What sign were you born under?

Chinese horoscopeWishing you a year full of good fortune and happiness. Chūn Jié!

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Not Even Close to Wordless Wednesday ~ Long Shadows Edition

Sam, the Dogtor, is making rounds again (today he’s at West Pines) after some incredible visits yesterday with so many nice people. We hope to share a story or two about those visits soon. For today though, we thought we’d share a photo from the recent snowstorm. Hard to believe long, winter shadows arrived shortly after 2:00 PM across the snowscape, topped by a cornflower blue sky. Those gorgeous blue skies brought a smile to my face. Colorado’s weather is nothing, if not changeable. If you don’t like 10 inches of snow, wait a bit and you’ll see something like this. The temps will be warming to 50ºF over the next few days. Ahhh. Not too shabby for being mid-winter.

Long shadows

Have a great Hump Day.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ January 14, 2019

So THAT’S the issue? Guess it’s obvious now the problem is I am owned by I own a Standard Poodle, when what I really need is an automatic.

Standard vs. Automatic

Here’s hoping your week starts off with a chuckle.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Yappy New Year ~ January 1, 2019

Eek, can you believe it’s 2019? Let’s hope it’s a good one. From all of us, to all of you, we just want to say…

Gif

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 24, 2018

No matter how you celebrate or whether you’ve been naughty or nice, everyone at the Ranch wishes you merry days, a heart that’s light, family and friends, a season that is bright and filled with joy, peace and love.

Merry Christmas

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 17, 2018

We hope you had a wonderful weekend making preparations for Santa Paw’s arrival. Sam here, mom finally got her tush in gear and is mostly caught up. Are you ready for that big guy in red to show up? I’m gonna try out for a position with his reindeer. Think I have a chance?

Have a wooftastic week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 10, 2018

After posing in front of this neighbor’s blow-up Santa Paws a few days earlier, Sam was somewhat confused when we passed by it over the weekend and it was deflated. He kept sniffing around to see what happened. Maybe he’s worried there may not be presents for him and the Ninja. It took some reassuring but I think he’s okay now. Elsa on the other hand was thrilled as the man in the red suit freaked her out.

Deflated Santa Paws

Hope yours was a fun-filled weekend. We’re off to visit patients again the next few days so I’ll probably be late with comments. Have a good week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Therapy in Action-Mexican Style

Pirate coffee hutSince returning from Mexico I have been frequently thinking about the impact of pet therapy more than usual. While visiting south of the border, I witnessed first hand the absolute power of pet therapy on a spontaneous walk I took in the vicinity of our resort. My intention was to walk up the main roadway toward where the river flowed out into the bay. I knew from walking along the beach that near the confluence, a number of egret-like birds hung out. I was also told by a local person, crocodiles could also be found upstream. I planned on avoiding the later but hoped I could get some decent shots of the former.

Pirate coffee shopWhen it became clear no good shots of the birds could be had without climbing down a step river bank (umm, no thanks, no photo of a bird was worth a potential encounter with a croc sighting, thank you very much). Instead, serendipity arrived in the form of a little coffee stand in the shape of…a pirate ship. ‘Argh,’ I groaned but quickly realized this little hut and companion playground held potential for a few photo opportunities. The proprietor greeted me (that’s him waving in the first photo) and we exchanged limited greetings, he only spoke Spanish and beyond ‘Hola,’ I could only smile. But I wandered around hoping to catch some locals taking a break when I saw a small boy playing in the playground area, but realized there was something special about this little boy. The boy was chasing and being chased by a small puppy who constantly dashed after this blur of a child, and the two rambunctious dervishes chased and played with each other with pure abandon. After several minutes of watching the scene, a thin slip of a young woman with a beautiful smile waved and came over to chat. She was the boy’s mother and we began a long chat about the two bundles of energy. The puppy was a Pit/Lab mix, about 4-months old which she had obtained for her 4-year old autistic son. She had gotten the dog in hopes of giving her son a companion that he might be aided by the fur companion. She related how owning this little ball of energy had made a significant difference with her son. When I revealed Sam was a therapy dog, she began asking me a jillion questions about training the new addition while repeatedly re-directing the pair away from the busy road.

Mexican therapy dog
A brief  moment of stillness

I barely was able to catch the pair still enough to capture any photos (never did get one of the boy who was either blurry or where he looked away), but in the shot above, the little ‘therapist’ was catching his breath for a few seconds before resuming the chase with his human friend. Watching the two of them and talking with the mom, it really struck me, how often dogs manage to understand their role with their humans. They instinctively seem to know what we need and provide it willingly. The mom, a transplant from Alberta Canada, mentioned that day was to be the last one with the little dog officially. The landlord said no pets and was adamant about the rule. So like mom’s everywhere, she found a solution to comply without moving by paying a nearby neighbor a few dollars a month to care for the dog at night and bring him back to play with her son during the day. I can only hope this solution works well for them, the little boy was clearly attached to his pal and the little pooch was thrilled to have his ‘2-legged puppy’ companion with whom he could romp and play during the day.

I thought about that family when Sam went to West Pines last week. We visited with a number of folks who for a brief few minutes, came out of their shells to twirl their fingers around the soft fur of a loving Knucklehead. One woman in particular sat down and had Sam sit in front of her crossed legs. Her face lit up and her soft voice shared her story about adopting a pair of Potcake dogs (you can read about the breed here) and how much she missed them. I could tell this tender-hearted woman needed a few minutes with Sam and he was more than willing to let her gaze into his eyes and stroke his ears. A fellow resident who was far chattier and extroverted then took his turn with Sam who accommodated him with a totally different energy. I couldn’t help but think of the little Pit/Lab mixed puppy a 1000 miles away chasing the pant legs of a little boy while romping together and then smiling. It was then while I typed this post that I realized Sam had his head pressed against my thigh. Without consciously thinking I reached down and twirled the fur on his ears and he leaned in and then looked up at me. Yes, therapy dogs are the same no matter where they are and I couldn’t be more pleased about that fact.

Live, love, bark! 🐾