Oh the weather outside is frightful

Baby, it’s cold outside and if you’re like most of the US right now (except for those lucky dogs in Hawaii), you’re probably “feelin’ the love” from our Canadian neighbors in the form of arctic cold fronts catching a ride along the Gulf Stream. Hard to believe winter has arrived with such a vengeance and so early in the season. Even the Deep South is experiencing cold weather (it’s 28 in Atlanta today and only 40 in Houston at this writing).

Apart from the snow shoveling (which, can I just say for the record, am already sick of doing?), there’s that whole thing trying to keep both me and Sam warm while getting in our daily exercise. This has not been an easy task either.

National Western Stock Show parade
January 8 ~ National Western Stock Show parade

The National Western Stock Show opens this week in Denver and for some inexplicable reason, the temperatures always are quite cold. The joke in town is when temps plummet, we say, “oh, it must be Stock Show week.” I mean, I love a longhorn cattle parade down 17th Street every January as much as the next person (that’s somewhat sarcastic on my part but loads of people seem to like it…whatever), but I am so over the bitter temperatures that accompany it every. single. year. 🙁

Baby, it's cold outside!
It’s so cold, it’s blue out there

So naturally temps dropped to bitter at the beginning of this week. But inexplicably, each cold day has been followed by one where the temps were more like mid-October. It was 61 freaking degrees on Tuesday. I thought I was in a time warp when I left work. That night however, another cold front arrived and you know what that means. Can you say melt/freeze cycle?

After melting snow, you get a nice layer of ice. I was putting my recycling bin out for pick-up the other morning and  fell trying to maneuver the bin through deep ice ruts in the alley and suffering bruises & bumps to forehead, knee and keester for good measure [insert appropriate expletive here]. Of course Sam came bouncing over immediately to investigate what was up with all the swearing and why wasn’t I getting up immediately. There’s nothing like having your dog race over to you while you’re trying to clear the stars out of your head and him thinking “Gee, I think she wants to play!”

Once I assured him it was in fact, not play-time, I hobbled back into the house and applied some Arnica gel right away. If you bruise as easily as I do (and are, ahem…as equally graceful as I am 🙂 ), then you NEED this stuff. It works like magic reducing and even eliminating bruises and promotes healing. I got lucky the bruising was kept to a minimum and the pain only lasted overnight. Whew…dodged a bullet this time.

Apparently, Mother Nature is an equal opportunity beotch when it comes to weather, because Sam took a digger on the ice the next day. He gave me that WTH was that all about look, as if I had something to do with his crash and burn. Luckily he didn’t suffer any injuries and the good news is he’s not running at full speed like a maniac…as much.

Why it is you pull out the heavy-duty coats and hats early enough, but seem late in taking out the seriously warm gloves/mittens every winter? It took me a day or two to pull those suckers out and of course every day I felt like I had frostbitten fingers. We’re bundled up like Alaskan Eskimos, donning layers of wool under a terribly unflattering puffy coat (don’t you hate looking like the Mrs. to the Michelin man?), wearing two sets of gloves, sherpa lined boots and hitching Sam up with his fleece-lined coat and boots to prevent ice balls from forming and we’re still freezing. We look like unattractive extras from the movie Frozen and more than a few times have had to abbreviate our morning constitution because of the damn Stock Show effect.

Yup, it’s cold out there, baby. But because I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, I’m celebrating each additional minute of sunlight with every passing winter day. 🙂 Now where did I put the Yaktrax crampons for my boots? Sigh.

How do you and your pets deal with frigid weather? Stay safe and warm till warmer days arrive. Live-love-bark! <3

Potluck and Pooches

DSC00063  This past weekend our pet therapy group got together for our annual holiday gathering. Twice a year the upright volunteers and their 4 legged furiends get together and this one was particularly fun. While we bipeds work with our dogs at hospital and hospice, it’s solitary work and we rarely get to see one another so these group events are especially entertaining. These volunteers and their pets give so much of themselves to the program and to patients. Just seeing these folks always makes me feel particularly humble. A tip of the hat to each and every one of them for their ability and willingness to serve and for their commitment to such a worthy endeavor.

DSC00066  What is most remarkable by our get-togethers with the dogs is the lack of any kerfuffles among them. This is my fourth joint get-together and I’ve never seen any outbreaks between the dogs (though I know a couple don’t attend because they cannot handle all the folderal of so many dogs). Some dogs stay at home while their handlers come and share the spirit of the season. They are terrific with patients but don’t handle well the stress of the ‘controlled chaos’ often seen when so many pooches are running around. 🙂

For our gatherings, we all bring a dish to share and in the spirit of the holiday season, we picked a group to support with items they need. This year we chose PetAid Colorado, a local organization that cares for underprivileged pets and animals at risk. This group serves low-income, often elderly people who want to experience the dear companionship of a pet who might not be able to afford their care otherwise. We felt PetAid well represented the spirit of love and bonding that exists between owners and their pets and which completely exemplifies exactly who we are when we do pet therapy.

Sam, being the “canine concierge” that he is, was over the moon seeing everyone. He seriously crushes on Truffles, a chocolate Newfie who is a favorite of the teammates as well as at the hospital. Her owner, Lyn is a tireless volunteer with the group, and together with Joy and Roxanne are three of the organizers that makes our group tick and run smoothly.

DSC00065  Sam was so happy to see his big girlfriend but there were some new pups he got to hang with as well. Sasha, a deaf spaniel and Kaisha, a Husky mix who loves to get vocal both of whom he’d not met before. While there weren’t quite as many in attendance as last year, we still had the two Shelties, Akira and Bismarck; Cissy, the American Eskimo; Heidi, the Giant Schnauzer; BB, the Labradoodle; Rusty and Bindee, Chihuahuas; Teddy, the miniature Poodle; Wee Brit, the Yorkie; Munchkin, Little One and Lily representing the Greyhound contingency as well as Blanca, the sweet Havanese and Zeva, another Standard Poodle were all there as well. As you can see from the group photos, it’s quite a challenge getting all the dogs and their owners to sit/stay in the photos at the same time (sadly those were the two best shots of the dozens I snapped of the group)! 🙂

The one sad note was that our friend and fellow teammate, Mary announced that Cissy, the American Eskimo will retire after a 9-year career with the program. Thankfully though, Mary however will continue to (fabulously, I might add) produce our newsletters and remain with the group in spirit. We will all miss her and Cissy as teammates but send every best wish for a bright future to Mary and her family for her amazing service to the program.

It was so good seeing all these special people and their dogs. Sam and I are so fortunate to be affiliated with such an amazing group of volunteers and their equally remarkable dogs at an event celebrating the holidays. These people and their canines continue to inspire me and fill my heart with awe and respect for all pet therapy groups. Well done everyone, another great job this year! <3

With love and peace to you and yours. 🌲