Claire is the only dog who’s still awake at our house this evening. This is typical of most evenings. Our other dogs are passed out in various places around the house.
Claire is our youngest dog, but still, she’s six years old. She is not a young dog. We wonder if she spent a lot of time in her crate in her previous life. Everything seems new and exciting to her. She acts like she’s afraid she will miss something if she falls asleep.
When bedtime comes, she is eager to go in her crate. This is partially due to the fact that she receives a treat before bed. Once she finishes the treat, she quickly lays down and curls up in a ball with her tail over her nose. That is the last we hear out of her until morning light. We are thankful for this because in general, the girl likes to bark.
This is Claire’s typical look throughout the day. The first photo is her slowed down evening face. She still spends time jumping on and off the couches and chewing bones.
She is so full of life. She brightens our days and makes us smile frequently.
We have seen a plethora of birds around our house lately. Varied species.
We have a little family in this birdhouse in our red maple. The birdhouse was built by my husband and has seen one or two broods of young fledged every year. Usually it is sparrows. This year I think it is house finches.
We ran out of seed for our bird feeder two or three weeks ago. I usually stop feeding in the spring. I figure the birds can easily find their own food by then. This year I was going to continue feeding since we are staying at home isolating, and enjoy watching the birds. But my mail order sources have been out of seed. Everyone else must be thinking the same.
Even so, we are graced with many beautiful birds. The woodpeckers of course. I feel like they are special friends since they are here with us year round.
And we have been seeing the eastern bluebirds many times each day. We see them all over our property. We’re not sure if we have several pairs of bluebirds or one pair that is very active.
There are numerous goldfinches. They often flit by as I look out the kitchen window. I have seen them sitting on the lawn munching on dandelion blooms.
We have a pair of rose breasted grosbeaks that we see once or twice each day. This is the first year I have ever noticed them here.
And today, for the first time, we saw an oriole. I have seen pictures, but they do not do the bird justice. The orange is so brilliant that it is striking.
We see these birds in various areas of our yard, but they especially like to sit on our power line and jump from branch to branch in our trumpet vine. We hear the sounds of chainsaws, and trees being felled in the small valley down the hill from us, and hope that we are not seeing this increase in birds because they are being displaced.
We hope the birds are increasing in number and that the trend will continue. They are jewels of nature and we take joy in their presence.
I took dogs to visit at the nursing home this evening. Can you tell Baxter had a good time?
I usually take Cassius as my tall dog that folks in wheelchairs can reach, but he is incapacitated right now. He was being a wild child playing in the pasture and tore a nail off. I didn’t want to take him with an open wound because of the chance of infection. A few people asked where the big dog who was stripped like a tiger was. He will return when he is healed up. For now he needs to take it easy.
Baxter did his “brother” proud. He did such a good job visiting with all the people. He was well behaved, courteous, and friendly. Baxter has always been a joy. It was wonderful to share the joy with others.
Many of our best days are spent here at home, but not all of them. Today, hubby and I went to the zoo with our dear sister in law and two nieces. It was a stellar day!
The chance to hang out and bond with Niece 1 (The Child of Questions And Amazement) and share the experiences of seeing all the animals was priceless. And Uncle (aka hubby) and Niece 1 even got to ride a camel together!
And what a blessing to share a zoo day with Niece 2 (The Child of Boundless Joy). She is happy to share everything we see and do together. Every new encounter was met with a smile. (She, would refer to herself as Miss I Talk a Lot). That was her catch phrase for the day.
After a hot and satisfying day, we partook of our zoo tradition. We all had ice cream together to cool off and round out the adventure.
Such days as these help to make our lives complete
Photos with residents are cropped to protect their privacy.
Oh, to be able to bring this much joy into someone’s life. Apparently dogs are more powerful than I am. No one smiles like this when I walk in by myself. But that’s ok, I get it. Dogs are all accepting and instantly make nearly everyone feel better.
I take Shelby and Nikki to visit at a nursing home twice a month and they are always a hit. Many residents want to visit with them. And any passing workers stop for a few pats, from aides to nurses to dining room employees. Family and friends who come to visit their loved ones like to stop and visit with the pups as well.
Everyone enquirers about Shelby and Nikki. How old are they? (9 and 12 1/2) What breed? (Shetland Sheepdogs) Do they live in the house? (Of course) You must brush them a lot? (Yes, my hobby while I watch tv) And many other questions.
I’ve been visiting nursing and residential facilities with dogs since 2000. Of course not with the same dogs. I am on my third generation of therapy dogs. On every visit I’m repeatedly asked the dogs’ names amongst other information about them. How often have I been asked my name? Once.
Does it bother me? Not one bit! Why would I have kept it up for the past 19 years if it did? (Wow, that’s a long time!) It is a great testament to how much people need dogs. People do talk to me and are glad to see me. They tell me about the dogs they had as kids and when they were adults.
Dogs give acceptance to people, whatever state they are in. They are a connector between people and a bridge to memories and conversation. They facilitate miracles. One of my life goals is to be able to bring as much joy as my dogs!
I have learned over the years that each of my Therapy Dogs has had a different way of working. Each has excelled in his or her own special way.
Jewel was my first certified Therapy Dog. She was one of the moms from a puppy mill case that took in 97 dogs but ended up with 105 after puppies were born. Jewel was a color headed white, full sized collie. I named her Jewel because her beautiful sable spots looked like jewels on her white coat. She was a sweetheart. Her method of providing comfort was to stand quietly while she was petted. Sometimes she would lay down with a person who wasn’t ambulatory. You could feel the gentleness emanate from her.
The photo above is my Trevor. He was an abandonment case that I took in. He came to me as an adult, but weighing only about 20 lbs. At his full weight he was 32 lbs. Trevor was a natural born Therapy Dog. He could do the job without me. He would go to people I didn’t even see, because he sensed that they needed him. He could work a room like I’ve never seen. What a gentle soul he was.
Duncan, above, trained and was certified as a Therapy Dog the same year as Trevor. I was Duncan’s third home by the time he was 4 months old. He was quite the handful and continued to be for many years. Duncan was a good Therapy Dog and brought joy to many. Duncan was different though in that he did the work because I asked him to and it made me happy. Whatever made me happy, made Duncan happy.
That brings us to my currently certified Therapy Dog, Shelby. She is a rescue dog whose original owners purchased her from a flea market. When she was 18 months old, they decided that she was too rambunctious. Hello, is that not the definition of a teenage puppy? Shelby is a tireless worker and has a work ethic that doesn’t quit. She can greet and visit with people for hours. Shelby is a good Therapy Dog because she enjoys working, and working with mom is even better. She is a joyful worker.
There are many ways that a dog can approach therapy work. And more than one way to be a success at it. As long as the method leads to happiness, the goal is achieved!
There are numerous benefits to having well trained dogs. One of these benefits is that you get to go places and do things together. Here are Nikki and Shelby (The Girls) after our walk at Bear Town Lakes Park over the weekend. They are sitting and laying down (on command) for their post-walk photo while my niece played on the tunnels and slide. The Girls also did some socializing with some other children at the park who wanted to pet them.
My older niece got to walk Nikki. If the leash is dropped Nikki will just sit down and wait. My niece did a great job of walking Nikki though and had so much fun that she wanted to go around the lake a second time. So we did.
After we got back to the house and ate lunch, we all played with hats. Shelby and Nikki are trustworthy and able to play with and be petted by my nieces who are 5 and 1 years old. (Never leave dogs unattended with small children, even reliable ones. Accidents happen.)
The dogs and I also stopped at my workplace on our way home. It had been such a wonderful day that I wanted to share the joy. Everyone feels better after a little dog therapy.
If Shelby and Nikki were unruly and disobedient, we would not have been able to have all these fun experiences together. Training your dog/s pays off.
We added a new dog to the family today! Meet Paisley. She won’t actually be living at our house. Paisley is my mother-in-law’s new dog. So we will be seeing lots of her.
Our dogs attend most family gatherings so this is nearly as good as getting another dog myself! At the majority of our family shindigs there are as many dogs as humans. That’s why they are so much fun.
Paisley is 2 years old. Her ancestry is open for debate. We are currently going with corgi mix. Maybe some beagle? I would guess black lab but she only weighs 18 lbs. She is good with dogs, cats, and kids. She is friendly and affectionate without being overbearing. All in all, she is a wonderful little dog.
Oh, and I should also mention that she is from a local rescue group. So one less displaced dog is looking for a home tonight. 😊
My journal had a page for a preprinted gratitude list so I thought I would make a list of things that make me happy.
Who would have guessed that number one would be dogs? Hmmmm, everyone who’s ever met me?!
So according to the list, an ideal time for me would be a spring hike through gardens with my dogs while reading a book and eating a dessert. Sounds like a great time. I couldn’t work the pens in there but there has to be something left for when I get home!