It’s been a busy week for dog activities so far. Nikki and Shelby did their bi-weekly nursing home visit on Monday evening.
Then on Wednesday evening Shelby was my assistant for therapy dog training class.
This lizard and the guinea pigs are just a few of the animals residing in our classroom.
The other dogs are enthralled. Shelby remains unimpressed.
Zekie has been accompanying daddy across the driveway every day to keep an eye on him while he’s working in the shop. Apparently this is very exhausting. At least it keeps him out of trouble!
Even in the midst of winter weather, there is still food from the garden to be appreciated.
In a pot of soup, there is thyme and oregano dried from the garden. Also, potatoes and leeks grown and given to us by two different friends.
A simple pot of soup says so much. It reminds us of warmer, sunnier weather and thoughtful, dear friends. All of these things nourish us.
Throw the ball, dad!
Winter can be long and boring for the dogs. Between all the snow, cold, rain, and ice, they don’t get as many walks or as much outside time as they would like.
The snow is not too bad. They can still go out in the fenced pasture and run around playing with toys or sniff things.
In the cold they can be out for limited amounts of time. Cassis, the greyhound, stays out for lesser lengths of time than the others.
During the winter rains the dogs don’t go out to play because, well…mud.
And the ice makes things too slippery. I am especially leery of it since I slid, tripped on a hunk of frozen ice/snow and landed on my shoulder a month ago. It is slowly recovering.
Sometimes it’s just better to hang out inside!
I am currently teaching a class in Therapy Dog Training at our local vocational and adult education school one evening a week. It is so much fun! Above are my co-assistants. Shelby, on the left, accompanies me to every class. She is extremely reliable. The only reason I don’t say 100% reliable is because no one is perfect. My other sheltie Nikki helped this week too. Shelby demonstrates the exercises and both girls fill the role of “the neutral dog” when we work on distractions.
Our class is held in the school’s animal lab. That’s why there is a bunny in the background. There are lots is small animals: rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, lizards, fish, turtles, and an assortment of birds. They provide quite the distraction for the “student dogs” in class. Shelby and Nikki are not impressed by the menagerie.
The dogs taking this class are a huge golden retriever, a Norwegian elkhound, and a pit bull. All are under three years old so, it is an exciting time. They are all great but I’ve wanted a pit bull for a few years so, I can’t get enough of petting his big head and scratching his ears.
This is a labor of love. When the school asked how much I wanted to make, I said “I don’t care, I would do it for free”. I believe that it’s important to get more dog and handler teams available to visit nursing homes and other care facilities. I know if I lived in one, I would want someone to come visit me with their dog. I even had one lady who thought I was bringing her dogs in to visit her! That is a great reward.
In our family, Valentines Day is a family affair. My husband started the tradition because he wanted to do something special for all the women in the family and it became a couples event. There is much planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, and baking that takes place.
We get out the good dishes. There are decorations, and flowers.
And of course there is cake made from scratch! This one was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
The menu was:
Homemade potato vegetable soup with heavy cream
Marinated salad with cucumber, olive, onion and other delights
Flank or tuna steak from the grill with reduced mango sauce
Asiago Cheese Bread
Occasionally a guest joins our family to partake of the fun. Sadly, this year was an adults only event since my nieces were sick. We didn’t get to see them in their matching tights with hearts on them. We did have three guests of the canine persuasion in addition to our own so it was still an exciting event.
May you be so blessed as to have Valentines as wonderful as these!I am never alone and I am always loved.
I have a companion for every activity. Baxter the lab-rott mix is always ready for some frisbeeing or hiking. Cassius the greyhound is ready to play with toys, or for snuggling, your choice. Zeke on the bottom right is up for running, hiking, and anything that involves spending time with me. The two sheltie girls always accompany me on nursing home visits. Shelby with the bandanna also hikes with me and helps me teach a class at the vocational school. Shelby is my right hand pup. I can count on her to do a good job no matter what it is.
With these pups as part of my family, how could I not say…Life is good!
I have been enjoying baking bread. It is such a heartening cold weather activity. It is good for the palate and the soul.
There is nothing like slicing a piece of bread while it’s still warm from the oven and melting a pat of real butter on it. That is all. The yeasty simplicity needs nothing more.
Tomorrow when it’s day old, will be the time to have it toasted and drizzled with honey.
This particular loaf is whole wheat. And there is enough dough in the refrigerator to make a second loaf later in the week. Something to look forward to mid-work week.
This dog came up on my Facebook memories from last year when he was up for adoption. I wonder where this dog is and what he’s doing? I miss him.
Now lest you think that I missed out because of a mad rush of adopters applying, not so. I have never met this dog and never attempted to. He’s just one of the many dogs that shows up every day on my Facebook feed and I fall in love with. Does anyone else do this?
I know my daughter does. She comes by it honestly. She gets it from her momma. About once every couple of weeks she texts me something along the lines of “I just want all the dogs”. I know how she feels.
So, to the gorgeous guy pictured above, I hope you are happy, healthy, and well-loved.
Hey look, it’s Bat Dog! I think Cassius looks like a bat with his ears standing up and his fangs showing.
He was trying to stay warm in our subzero temperatures last week. Cassius doesn’t generally like to wear clothes but it was so cold that he tolerated a sweater.
Our dogs really are our kids. They even wear hand me downs. The sweater Cassius is wearing belonged to our greyhound Phoebe who has been gone for a couple of years now.
The sweater still has a pink heart and Phoebe’s name embroidered on it. I did remove the white satin bow before I put it on Cassius. But I couldn’t bear to remove the pink heart. I did promise Cassius that I would add another heart in red with his name on it.
That seems like playing fair to me!
Apparently Zekie was worried that he might lose his status as our problem child. He hasn’t been able to chew himself out of his “armored” crate, see below, so he tried a different tactic.
While he was incarcerated in his crate, for maybe two hours, he took his collar off and chewed it into 6 or 7 pieces. The piece above is the only one I saved because it has his tags on it. Maybe he was trying to say “you’re not the boss of me” by getting rid of the collar.
He also was extremely reactive to other dogs on our walk over the weekend. I’ve always said I don’t like dogs that are too easy. Be careful what you wish for.