12/1/09 If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, then neither are you!
9/23/09 Lucy went to visit her nursing home today. It was a busy day of ridiculous proportion for me today and I will confess there was a moment I considered skipping our visit this week. I do have a cold and it would be thoughtful of me not to bring my germs there. I remembered the excitement in the dog lover’s faces when they see her coming. Those in wheel chairs get their little feet moving so quickly to maneuver themselves to get first in line for her attention. Really, it’s the smiles on their faces that resemble my children when they receive that ice cream cone they’ve been waiting for all day long. Pure joy. I had to go this morning and offer this to them if it’s what makes them happy. It makes me happy to share her. I’m never that busy to sprinkle joy.
9/8/09 I contacted Covenant House today here in Houston and we have an appointment on Tuesday for her to “interview” to do her therapy work there with the homeless teens. I have a soft spot for this ministry. They pick up homeless kids off the street and give them shelter, skills and counseling. I think the kids would be happy to have a sweet dog like lucy to love on. Some people simply relate better to animals than they do to people. (the seniors at the nursing homes tell me that all the time) I hope it works out so she can go share her special talent for love with these kids.
This is Lucy on my Papa Pete’s boat riding in Annie’s spot. I think she got this position because Annie abandoned it for a ride on the bow. However she got it she loved riding up high on the boat and going fast didn’t spook her at all. I am always curious to know what she thinks when she goes for a ride of any kind. She’s most eager to ride in the car and she sits up tall, usually in the front seat, and watches intently everything she can see. She realy focuses on the world as it passes her by and she seems to have so much interest in it. I would really love it if I could understand what she liked so much. I used to think that people who took their dog with them in the car everywhere they went were insecure and couldn’t be alone with out the company. Perhaps there are some like that. But, now I understand another perspective on this phenomenon because I take her for her pleasure and the enjoyment it brings to her day. I try so hard to keep her from sleeping all day long while the kids are at school. That was one reason I got another dog last year (see the post: Less is more) because she was getting so fat and lazy. I suppose I had to become a dog lover to understand more fully why people take their dogs everywhere they go. For our family she’s a member and it’s always more enjoyable when she is with us, and never a bother. .. except as she becomes more and more a local celebrity her admirers and fans do interrupt us more than we expect. But that’s ok, she likes it, and it is all about her.
9/2/09 Lucy went to the nursing home today to visit her admirers. She has to visit the pet store to remember how to be in a strange place and be in my control, then we stop at Rover Oaks Pet Resort so she can get her wiggles and excitement out with the people there before we visit the nursing home. When we arrive to meet the residents she needs to be calm and relaxed. Meeting people needs to feel like no big deal. But it is a big deal for her! She lives for it and so the first few greetings are the full body wag and complete excited response, which doesn’t go over well for someone in a wheel chair or using a walker, or walking on 90 year old wobbly legs. She did well today. The residents love to see the dogs come. The nurses might even love it more! We visit room to room and all the gathering places in the facility. She hasn’t exactly mastered the tight corner spots where people want her to fit into for a pet. We have to find the small dog for those people. Most of the dog lovers there really enjoy how stout she is, how eager she is to see them and the way she rolls on her back and expects a belly rub from someone. She’s not shy. I know for sure when we leave there are smiles every where in our wake and that makes me feel so good to know I am making someone who might be lonely smile a little more than usual because my sweet dog came for a pet. I like this volunteer work a lot. Many of them are there for short term rehabilitation from an injury or surgery. I spoke with an older woman who is from lebanon and is visiting relatives in America, she had a fall, broke her hip, and has been here for a month. She misses her dog in Beirut. She loved petting Lucy and watching her silly expressions as we talked to her. This woman speaks three languages and we had a nice conversation…in english. I hope she is there next week, and I also hope she is not. Home is always better. Family is always better.
8/31/09 “If you are a dog and your owner suggests you wear a sweater… suggest that he wear a tail.” Fran Lebowitz
Lucky for Lucy we live where it’s too hot for dog coats…well, I’m not really the type to dress up my dog anyway. I tie a bandana around her neck because she gets eye boogers and I use it to wipe them off. Functional fashion is always acceptable.
8/30 You must know by now I enjoy photographing Lucy. She doesn’t give me any attitude when I haul out my camera. (not so with the boys) And she has so much expression in her face I NEED to capture it. She doesn’t get to live as long as I’d like her to, so I’m going to need these photos. I found a great book yesterday on a free hour browse at the book store (one of my most favorite ways to waste time) It is called “101 Salivations”. Rachael Hale is a gifted photographer and we all enjoyed her photos of dogs. I heard Kevin giggle several times over the funny positions these puppies sleep in. It made me feel sad about losing Carly. I’m thinking I will post a blog about her and what I learned by having two female dogs. Before I do that here I want to share a little diddy from the American Kennel Club Gazette:
“In a dog-eat-dog world, it is the dogmatic domain of dog lovers to offer dogdom a dog’s chance to rise above the dogs days for a doggone good time.”
Grins! That’s what I get when I simply take her for a happy walk.
8/25/09 I am stepping up Lucy’s training to prepare for her return to therapy dog work, which resumes tomorrow. We visited the pet store where she had to obey me the entire walk through the store. Then we sat by starbuck’s or a bit. I took her to the nursing home just to practice walking up to the door without being too excited. In the morning I will have to give her a serious workout to take off her edge of exitement. My goal is for her to be so tired by the time she greets the seniors she won’t be able to spin and jump if she wants to. I’ll let you know how it goes. One thing I know is it’s great fun for me to see the joy on these senior’s faces when they get to enjoy stroking and receiving loving attention from her. I can’t imagine living in a nursing home but even worse I can’t imagine life with out a great dog at my side. So I am fulfilled to share her sweetness with them. It’s her job.
That was my sweet love, Carly. I’ll probably tell her story one of these days. I’m getting myself ready for that heartbreak memory and tear jerking story.
8/23/09 Lucy was desperate today for some social time. The heat has kept her cooped up in the house and I can detect signs of cabin fever, such as lying in front of the back door waiting to dart for the car to get a ride. Lying by the front door hoping for a roll in the grass. She sits at the window sill and rests her head on the sill looking longingly outside for something to chase or sniff. So, I took her- despite the heat- to Starbuck’s so she could wait for her admirers to gush over her beauty and sweetness. She was satisfied when it was time to come home. Really though I would have given anything to take her to the beach and let her have a wild dog run in the surf and sand.
I’m thinking the friends Lucy made this summer are missing her. Luke here loved playing with Lucy and I hope he thinks happily of her and finds this picture.
8/20/09 Lucy misses her life on vacation where there was constant influx of new people, new places and interesting smells. Not to mention dog friends of her own kind. She’s getting fat laying around all day staying out of the heat, even though we walk her twice a day. Tomorrow she’s going to doggie camp where she can run with a pack at Rover Oaks. Yeah, she’s spoiled! I have no problem spoiling her, but you won’t catch me doing it with the kids, and they’ll be the first ones to say so.
Notice the bulldogs won’t swim. They stand there and wait for Annie to bring them back something fun. This is at Nana’s lake with her “cousins”.
8/19/09 Training reminders have been necessary since we returned home. She got a little more freedom on “her” vacation than she gets at home. One of the most important things I continue to reinforce with her training is the command: “watch me”. When I am walking her and I see something ahead that will be enticing for her, a good distraction, that’s when I want to know I can have her undivided attention. So when another dog approaches I command her to “watch me” rather than the dog she’s like to sniff. When her eyes meet mine I give her a favorite treat. Not some stupid low calorie tasteless diet treat. It needs to be a paycheck for a good job. My theory is that if I can have her eyes on mine whenever I ask it, she’ll miss many distractions that would cause her to do the things I don’t much care for: like pull on the leash, ignore me, or scare someone by her enormous size. I never forget that there are so many people out there that are afraid of dogs, even great gentle giants like our Lucy.
We found some photos of Lucy during her first week in our family. She’s grown into an honest member of the clan since those first days. We are so thankful she’s such an eager to please sweet natured dog. Next week she begins her therapy work at the nursing home. She won’t have to work too hard to make smiles spread like pixie dust.
This was the first time Jack held her. They really had a sweet bond. When Lucy was in her play pen she wouldn’t settle down unless Jack would let her snuggle up to him. She’d then fall asleep and he was free to go. He felt so important in raising her while a puppy. Now even as she weighs more than he does, he’s able to take her for a walk by himself for a mile without a problem. It’s cute to see him confidently lead the way with this enormous dog.