Whoopee Wednesday

Apart from longer daily walks to pass the time these days (all the while adhering to appropriate social distancing which isn’t easy when you have a uber friendly dog begging to be pet by passersby), I’ve been working on several training sessions throughout the day while trying to figure out Stormin’ Norman’s personality. Turns out he’s more than a good sport on both counts. Maybe it’s my non-stop snickering that allows him to focus on me whenever I dress him up in hats and headgear. Then again, it’s more than likely he’s in it for the magic pocket of treats to showcase his easy-going and compliant nature.

NormanIn the face of doom and gloom, we think it’s more important than ever to elicit smiles on people’s faces. I do note that minimizing time on social media and keeping news programs to a minimum has likewise been effective and I wholeheartedly recommend it as a coping mechanism if you’re down. So for the time being, be prepared for occasional goofiness from me and the Ranch hands (though I suspect Elsa will be far less accommodating than Mr. Big). For now though, who among you is able to resist a fat-headed, furry Rainbow Unicorn?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

The Dogtor Makes His Rounds ~ January 15, 2020

It’s West Pines Wednesday but today is different from all the ones we’ve done over the past several years. Today is Sam’s last day at a therapy dog. This day brings loads of mixed emotions as we always look forward to our time at Lutheran Medical Center and especially West Pines. Sam has repeatedly shown me how much of a difference he makes to all he meets and no doubt today will be the same which leaves me with a full heart of gratitude and pride. Still, it’s also a sad day knowing it is the last day he’ll be doing exactly what he does best. We will miss seeing the many friends we’ve made over the past seven years and the nurses who have showered this boy with loving affection and he in turn, returning the love with his soulful sweet spirit.

Dogtor Sam
Dogtor Sam getting ready for last rounds

The time has come for Sam to sit back and relax in his old age. Though in good health, the rigors of being an all-in Dogtor ever willing to leave his heart on the floor is beginning to take its toll. Recovering after a shift takes much longer and while I know in my heart he would soldier on if asked, it became clear to me now is the right time to let him enjoy what time is left this for this 14+ year old boy. He can nap to his heart’s content, dance with his Ninja sister, play neighborhood concierge as he waits for that Social Security check to show up now that he’s retiring.

As you might expect, this will be a tough day for me and may take a while to process emotionally. I don’t plan to give up pet therapy entirely, in fact, I’ve actively begun searching for another pet who can step into Sam’s bandana and provide the same kind of canine care of a special kind to patients, staff and hospital visitors. We hope the process doesn’t take long but as I’m working with a rescue group, those kinds of special dogs don’t come around nearly as often as I’d like. We’ll keep you posted on that process and hope to share a few memorable stories that we haven’t yet shared about some of the more impactful visits Sam has had.

Sam
Mwah 😘

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 20, 2019

Can you believe it, Christmas is just 4 days away?! Yikes…are YOU ready? It’s been a busy time of year so naturally we’re running behind. But we’re never behind when it comes to Nature Friday where we join our hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard and take a look at nature around Blogville in beautiful ways. This time of year limits inspiring nature unless you’re into snow patterns so let’s look around the house where some beautiful plants are taking center stage this time of year.

There are a number of indoor plants associated with the holiday season. Let’s take a gander at favorite one we have-genius Schlumbergera, otherwise  known as Christmas Cactus. Right on schedule the vibrant fuschia hued Christmas cactus started blooming. But by right on schedule, I mean before Thanksgiving. It’s one of two “Christmas cactuses” (cacti?) that bloom around the Ranch. Provided I can keep Elsa from thinking she can take small nibbles off the flowers. This one and a nearby hibiscus seem to be too enticing for her to resist.

Christmas cactus

Seeing color like this brightens my mood when the supply of sunshine dwindles throughout winter days when our landscape is at its brownest. When the first hot pink buds begin to arrive, it always makes me smile as I look forward to the show about to erupt. This guy has been around for nearly two decades and never fails to dazzle though it’s beginning to wane the closer we get to Christmas day.

The other one is a shy fellow that was gifted to me by my son when he moved  to Hawaii. It makes appearances (which always chagrins my son since it never bloomed for him after he brought it home), but only on a somewhat limited basis. While returning some art supplies to the studio where it lives, I noticed this one of two, gorgeous blooms.

Christmas cactus

This year’s show isn’t going to have nearly as many flowers as in past years for heaven only knows why. But that beautiful coral color is worth even a minimal display. This guy gets coddled and yet never performs like the pink show-off above. Like I said, a very shy guy.

While its common name is ‘cactus,’ in the Northern Hemisphere, they are called Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus and holiday cactus. It is a tropical plant that hails from Brazil requiring higher water and humidity requirements than its Southwest cactus buddies. Keeping these beauties in shape for their annual bloom-fest is simple though. Water deeply whenever the top inch or so of soil is dry. Repot if the soil is hard and compact, or allow the water to slowly penetrate tight soil. They should only be fertilized when the plant is actively growing or when blooming. Soil should be a well-draining potting soil mix.

Christmas cactus likes bright, indirect light for best blooming conditions while avoiding cold, drafty locations or one close to a heat source. They’re pretty easy to maintain and pinching back stem ends following blooming makes for a bushier plant.

Do you have this seasonal beauty in your home? What Christmas plants are your favorites? Kudos to you if you’re totally ready for Santa’s visit next week.

Live love, bark! 🐾

Working Wednesday ~ December 18, 2019

Hi there, it’s me, the Ninja. While most of Blogville is participating in Wordless Wednesday, today is a working day around the Ranch, at least for one of us. Today is the last working day this year for my knuckleheaded brother to spread smiles at West Pines. But first, I have to get him out of bed. Looks like yesterday’s hospital visits took a little out of him. As soon as he came home, he took a long nap.

Sam

Meanwhile for me, there are stuffies to attack play with and squirrels to bark at while he’s working and far too busy to miss him while he visits his friends at West Pines. I just hope he doesn’t try to use that stethoscope on me.

Dogtor Sam
Dogtor Sam

Happy mid-week. Maybe I can help huMom out later after she comes home with some of her Christmas preparations. I have offered to help her out in the kitchen, by licking keeping the floors clean while she’s making treats but she keeps shooing me out. Not worries for me though, I can block sit in the doorway and obstruct her path almost as easily as I can under her feet. Then again I can always use a paw to help tie bows on presents she’s wrapping. I’m a equal opportunity, multi-dimensional helper.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday ~ December 4, 2019

Hey guys, it’s me, Sam getting ready to make rounds at the hospital over the next couple of days. I’m also going to train a new member today. Woof, woof! I’m tail-wagging happy to greet a new pet therapist into the program. Fresh new dog hair blood is always a great thing and I don’t mind sharing the nurses with this new buddy, a Huskie, Lab, Shepherd mix. Wish us luck.

Make it a great day.

Dogtor Sam
“Dogtor” Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordy Wednesday

SnowHappy pre-Thanksgiving Day. As many of you know, Denver was hit with a gigantic storm yesterday that buried the city with a foot of snow. It prevented Sam and I from doing our hospital visits and has us pretty much confined. It did however allow me to enjoy my favorite blizzard beverage, hot chocolate. With Schnapps and whipped cream. We are warm and fine if not a bit stir crazy. It’s too cold and deep to take the dogs for their usual walks and apparently not possible for Sam to use the dog run to relieve himself beyond the occasional pee over Elsa’s spots in the freshly created pee-atio in the dog run. Elsa however could practically pee or poop on command but Sam is nothing, if not discerning about where he goes. I have to chuckle about his refusal to not poop in the run, but know if I scooped out a square over at my neighbor’s house, he’d drop a log in a heartbeat.

Snow
Where the heck will Friday’s snow go?

We wish all of our US readers a day filled with good cheer, good food and a football win tomorrow. To all of our readers, we will spend the day staying warm, cozy and being grateful for your digital friendship and good company every week. We are truly blessed you are in our lives and we thank you for our good fortune for the connection. Cheers!

Hot chocolate

Live, love, bark! 🐾