Happy National Dog Day from our home to yours! These are our six dogs, all rescues of one sort or another.
Happy National Dog Day from our home to yours! These are our six dogs, all rescues of one sort or another.
There are many good things about retirement, if you couldn’t tell by my happy face! I knew one of the best things would be that I could spend more time with my dogs every day. That was a given.
Another thing that I knew I would appreciate, is not having to worry about planning my life around my work week. I had no idea just how great this would be though. I no longer deal with the dread of Sunday evening being the end of my weekend and making sure that I pack my lunch and my work bag for the next day. I don’t worry about wrapping up family get togethers early enough to go home and rest up and prepare for work the next day.
Even on week days I would be sure to wrap up my evening and have all in order to leave the house by 6:00 a.m. the next morning. And there is always the wondering if you need to stop for gas, or will I have to get up early enough to defrost the car or allow time for snowy roadways. Or, was there a need to make a stop at the grocery store on the way, so as not to make an extra trip back to town?
No more. When it’s time to go to bed, I just go! When I’m rested, I get up. (Often this is pre-empted by a dog announcing that it is time to get up, but still, it is usually way later than I got to sleep when working.) When I need to go to the store I go. Snowy roads? I get there when I get there.
My life is my own again. I haven’t felt this kind of freedom since summer vacation as a kid! Ok, ok, we all know my life is run by dogs, but at least I’m happy this way.
This is the time of year that I’m happy I dig up 80 gladioli bulbs each fall, give or take a few. In our Zone 5, if you don’t dig them up, they may survive the winter or they may not. It depends on how cold it gets each year. I don’t want to take a chance on losing that many bulbs.
I started out with only about 20 bulbs that I purchased from a local discount store, some years ago. They have multiplied to the amount I have now and seem to stay around 80 for the past few years. Maybe I am just too lazy to dig up the small ones when I have so many others already.
The pink and white ones with the dark pink throats shown above, are my favorite. Note that my favorite glad changes, depending on which one is currently blooming.
Some gladioli photos from previous years showed up on my Facebook memories today. I wonder where I planted the dark burgundy and the deep scarlet ones. I haven’t seen them yet this year. They will bloom one day soon and it will be a nice surprise to see an old friend again.
It seems that the yellow glads are the first to bloom, then the pink ones, followed by the darker ones. I have no idea why, but this seems to always be the case.
The gladioli are a bit of work but the rewards are worth it. Not only are they a vision of beauty, the butterflies and hummingbirds love them too. I sat in the garden and watched a hummingbird flit from flower to flower just tonight.
One of my favorite parts of August is the butterflies!
Late summer suppers are wonderful!
My meal this evening consisted of the following. The main entree was a fried green tomato sandwich with pine nut hummus and Lacey baby Swiss cheese on Asiago peppercorn bread from the bakery. My sides were all fried veggies from our garden. Some okra, a Japanese eggplant, and the obligatory zucchini. I did add a wedge of freshly sliced tomato too.
We go above and beyond on getting our daily allotted servings of vegetables in the summer. I haven’t bought vegetables from the grocery store in weeks. And we’ve been giving friends and family some of the excess which makes us popular.
We haven’t resorted to sneaking vegetables into strangers cars yet, but I can’t say I haven’t considered it!
My dog Shelby is a certified therapy dog. This means she has passed a test indicating that she is qualified to visit nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, residential care facilities, hospice patients, and she can participate in “Read to a Dog” programs at libraries and schools. It also means that she exhibited a temperament that is suitable for such “work.” It is work, even though this is a volunteer position and cannot be done for money, as certified by the organization we are members of.
Shelby and I have not done any visiting since February of 2020. This was the time Covid started to rear its ugly head in our area. Nursing homes and the like were one of the first things to be shut down because of the vulnerable nature of their residents. It was deemed too great a risk for dog and handler teams to visit. (And I agree with this determination.)
As late spring 2021 arrived, things were looking up as the Covid vaccine started to be distributed. Case numbers fell and it was safer to go out, with the proper safeguards. I got Shelby’s veterinary care and records up to date and sent away for her 2021 credentials, seen above. I was taking steps so we would soon be ready to resume visiting our friends at a local facility and maybe consider going back to the schools with the Reading Role Model program through the United Way.
Now cases are sky rocketing again to over 100,000 per day in our country. I’m not feeling so safe anymore. And I certainly don’t want to take a chance on spreading Covid to any people Shelby and I would visit. I am not ruling out the possibility that Shelby and I may still be able to visit this year, but I am putting our return on hold for a while longer.
This is a sad thing to me for multiple reasons. The obvious is there are more Covid cases and some people will die from it. Some will suffer long term, perhaps permanent, damage.
And then there are my self-centered reasons. I need to be more cautious when I do go out in public. I must be sure I have my mask and avoid mass gatherings. (No, I don’t like wearing a mask. I consider it the responsible thing to do, for myself and others even though I have had the vaccine.)
I have other selfish concerns too. Will the folks I used to visit still be at the nursing home? A few of them probably died in the year and a half since I was last there. Will they still be able to remember us? Shelby is 11 1/2 years old now. She had just turned 10 when last we visited. That is a long time in dog years. I have no doubt that she will still do a fine job and be a reliable partner for me. She may tire faster than she used to and I will have to pay attention to know if she needs a break. I will also need to think about training a younger dog to take her place when it is time for her to retire. I like to train my new dog with the old one. They learn faster and take cues from the old pro. I have found this to be the best way to train a therapy dog for me. And it’s best if I do it over a long period of time. Months, at least. I can teach a dog the basics faster, but giving the new dog time to ease into it and process the adjustments has given me dogs that I feel are more confident and trustworthy.
A therapy dog needs time not only to learn the obedience and desired behaviors and responses. The dog needs to feel that he and I are a team. He needs to know that I will always look out for his safety and best interests. He must know that we are working together and he can trust me to have his back. These things take time. A relationship on this level cannot be built quickly. I must earn the dog’s trust and respect just as much as he must earn mine. A good dog/handler relationship is a beautiful thing!
We have a couple new residents here at Sanctuary Acres. At least for the time being. We have two young mourning doves hanging around in the patio area. There is a small pear tree in one of our raised beds that has a bird’s nest in the top. There are so many leaves around the nest that we never got a good look at the resident bird although we did hear nestlings chirping at one point and noticed an adult coming back to feed its young.
It must have been a mourning dove. Occasionally we see an adult, but usually it’s two slightly smaller birds that must have been born this year. They don’t show much fear of us or the dogs, having grown up with their nest so near us. They grew up watching us sit on the patio, so we are nothing of concern to them.
I am able to get within a few feet of the young birds. Often when I enter the patio garden the doves are there. One time they were sitting on the brick walkway sunning themselves when I came along. They moved to keep around 3 or 4 feet in front of me, but never flew away or seemed too concerned. I can stand there and talk to them and they listen to my voice, cocking their heads from side to side as if they find the conversation very interesting. I have come upon the a number of times and taken the opportunity to socialize with them.
The doves spend some time in the pine trees that surround the patio. They sometimes fly down to the patio as if they want to hang out with us. They have even come to the patio when I am sitting out with the dogs. The dogs do show some interest in the doves. If the doves stay still, then the dogs leave them alone. The doves will fly up into the trees if one of the dogs runs near them and barks, but they will come back later.
I am working on teaching the dogs not to chase the doves when they move around. It is going pretty well. I tell the dogs, these are our doves. If they move towards the doves, I tell the dogs “no no.” This is working well. Claire is our most active dog and likes to watch them. She likes to watch every thing. Even she usually leaves the birds alone at my request. They provide fine entertainment.
I worry that I am not doing the birds any favors by acclimating them to humans and dogs. I hope they stay around here where they are safe. We certainly are enjoying having them around. I had forgotten how much I enjoy watching birds. I recently learned that mourning doves usually mate for life. And that their diet consists of seeds, which they eat from the ground or from a tray style bird feeder. They are too big and heavy for other types of feeders.
I don’t know how long we will have are little friends, but we are making the most of the time they are here.
Zekie has graduated to sleeping outside the crate at night! Read about all the trouble he has been causing recently, here Zekie-2, Mommy-2; or Exuberant Love. He had a couple nights that weren’t too bad. The Prozac may have helped Seeking Inner Peace Through Prozac.
I had high hopes for being able to teach Zekie to sleep on the floor. In the evenings, he usually prefers to nap on the floor at my feet rather than on the couch beside me. We don’t want him to sleep on our bed because he sometimes shows a sense of entitlement that results in trouble. I hoped it would be the same when it came to sleeping on the bed.
A few nights ago I decided to try him sleeping out of the crate. I folded up a thick fleece blanket that has my scent on it and put it on the floor next to the bed where I sleep. When it was time for bed, I tapped the blanket and said “lay down and stay there.” I then turned off the light. I didn’t hear a peep out of Zekie.
I got up to use the bathroom once during the night. When I returned, Zekie had moved to lay on the floor near the head of the bed, so he could see the bedroom door to know when I returned. He stayed there when I got back in bed and remained there the rest of the night.
He has done well each night so far. Only moving if there is a reason. Sometimes he finds the blanket to be too hot and moves onto the wood floor. He goes right back to sleep.
With any luck this will be our new normal. Life with Zekie is always a challenge and I don’t expect this to change, but here’s hoping our nighttime struggles at least, have come to an end.
I enjoyed every single one of these books! You can’t go wrong with any of them. Most are by authors that I read on a regular basis. Happy reading!
1. The Return-Nicholas Sparks
Trevor Benson is a surgeon recovering from permanent injuries that he sustained while serving in Afghanistan. He inherited his recently deceased grandfather’s home in North Carolina. While Trevor is there, he tends the bees and makes new relationships. One romantic and the other with a troubled young girl. While he is helping everyone else, he is also finding his own new path through life.
2. Love for Beginners-Jill Shalvis
Another wonderful story from Jill Shalvis. Her books are romances, but I love the relationships between all the characters in her books. Emma is recovering well from a near fatal accident. She and her physical therapist, Simon, work together regularly and develop a special relationship. The connections between Emma and her mortal frenemy, Simon’s dad, and others are all strong bonds.
3. Birds of a Feather-Jacqueline Winspear
This is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series. This book once again points out tragedies that occurred during World War I, along with a mystery. A grocery store owner’s daughter goes missing and Maisie must find her. Of course, the case is not as straight forward as it first seemed. I like these books because they make me think, not only about the cases, but about society. They make the time during and after WWI come to life.
4. The Bone Code-Kathy Reichs
This is a book starring Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist. Tempe is working on a case to identify two cases of similar crimes, as well as a historical mystery. Its fast-paced excitement keeps you on your toes. I’m also curious to see where Tempe’s life and career will end her next. I’m never disappointed.
5. Life’s too Short-Abby Jimenez
Vlogger Vanessa Price is trying to get her life together while dealing with a life wrought with family tragedies. Her next-door neighbor becomes a big part of this by helping her care for her sister’s infant daughter and her life in general. This is a book full of relationships of all types. I loved it!
Magazines: Cottage Home, Southern Lady, Eating Well, Better Homes & Gardens, Writer’s Digest, Dogster