Category Archives: Greyhound
This weekend, Mr. Taleteller and Küster are off at a search and rescue seminar, which leaves me at home with the girls. It’s not the first time we girls have been home on our own, and it’s nice to have some time alone with them. I suspect they might be enjoying a break from boy cooties a little, too, even though I know Bunny and Mo are both secretly a little sweet on Küs. Blueberry is still annoyed that we brought him home and pretends that he doesn’t exist. Trust me, that’s a feat of imagination, but she pulls it off.
Anyway, my husband and I have had a bit of a disagreement about a certain disruption that happens in the morning. Every morning at 4:00, Küster gets in touch with his inner rooster and begins crowing the arrival of a new day. I propose we ignore this behavior, but my husband continues to cater to him and gets up. He swears that this behavior is spurred by Morgan. Mr. Taleteller believes that she wants to go out, so she goes over to his crate and gets him going so that he will get out of bed.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Morgan is smart enough to be the mastermind in this plot. However, I also know that she is fully capable of waking us up without any help from the Black Tornado. She was in cahoots with Lilac to get us up early before Küster arrived, but her wake up call is more like 5:25 when my alarm goes off at 5:30.
Yesterday morning, we were all sleeping peacefully. Bunny was very happy that Mr. Taleteller and Küster were gone because it means she gets one side of the bed all to herself. She was stretched out and just making sure that she and I were touching a little. Blueberry had her spot over on the side of the bed with her comfy bed. Morgan took the foot of the bed, the better to keep the rest of us safe from harm. All was peaceful and quiet.
That is until about 5:25 am. That is when Morgan’s internal clock told her that we must get up. Morgan is no shirker when it comes to listening to her internal alarm system. Longtime fans of the blog might remember that she learned that from Lilac. Here’s a rundown of what happened.
Morgan: Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!
Me: Mo, it’s too early! Go back to sleep!
Bunny: Really Mo, can’t you see that I’m still asleep. I had this wonderful dream where Dad left and I had one whole side of the bed to myself!
Blueberry: Keep it quiet up there, whippersnappers! I need my beauty sleep. Looking this good comes with a price!
Morgan: Rise and shine!
Me: The alarm has not gone off yet. It is NOT time to get up!
Bunny: Maybe it wasn’t a dream…
Blueberry: Enough with the gum flapping!
Morgan: What’s the story, morning glory?
Me: Get your big nose out of my mouth! It’s still not time and I’m not getting up!
Bunny: We should send Dad to training more often!
Blueberry: I’m about to go blue ninja on somebody up there, and I’m not picky about who it is!
Morgan: Timmy’s in the well! This is serious!
Me: Even if he were in the well, and I’m not saying that he is, he would be sleeping in there! And it would be a lot more soundly than we’re sleeping here, I might add!
Bunny: *moving over so her head is on my shoulder* I can’t say that I missed Küster’s carrying on this morning. I could definitely get used to this.
Blueberry: Don’t make me come up there!
Morgan: How about now?
Me: How about no?!
Bunny: Morgan, just try to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet!
Blueberry: Alright! That’s it! You’ve woken the beast! I’m going to teach you all a lesson! *yawn* Later…
The alarm finally goes off. Morgan stares at it in shock. It’s been so long since she was actually in the bedroom when my alarm goes off that it mystified her for a few moments.
Morgan: It’s a sign from God! Somebody’s singing! That must mean you have to get out of bed!
Me: I’m getting up! Just hold your wild horses!
Bunny: No! It’s still too early! Oh, wait! Dad and Küster are still really gone. What a beautiful day this is turning out to be!
Blueberry: Get the lead out! I’ve gotta pee and I’ve gotta go now! I’m an old lady. Don’t make me wait!
It’s true, it’s been so long since our dogs were awakened by the alarm clock that they forgot what it was like. Morgan was up a little early, and she is persistent about getting the day started, but she is not up at 4:00 on her own. My guess is that she goes over to check on Küster when he starts getting restless, then my husband wakes up, sees her there and makes the assumption that she was rattling his cage, er crate. This morning, the alarm clock will be shut off. We’ll see what happens then.
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Last night was a night I’ve looked forward to and been nervous about for a few weeks now. It was our first visit to the nursing home after Laurie passed away a few weeks ago. I hadn’t ever anticipated that I’d be in the position of visiting and feeling emotionally vulnerable at the same time. The only previous time that has been an issue for me was after my first therapy dog passed away and I started over with Bunny.
However, I feel that it’s important for us to go. For many of the people we visit, we’re the only special visitors that they’ll have all month. Bunny works a special kind of magic with them. It doesn’t matter if the Alzheimer’s patients can remember all the words when they talk to her. It only matters that she’s patient, warm and responds to them. She makes eye contact and waits patiently for them to interact in whatever way they are able to.
The truth is, therapy dogs do a lot for people’s health and well-being just by their presence. People’s heart rates lower, they smile and relax more and it jogs the memories of many of the people we see. One lady tells me a story about her dog, Daisy, who was a circus dog before she got her and knew tons of tricks. Another lady keeps a special stash of treats in her room for the dogs. It’s obviously something a lot of the residents look forward to.
I find that it’s good for me, as well. No matter what kind of crazy day vie had teaching PreK, I’m always glad I got back in the car and drove over to the nursing home with Bunny. I find that while I’m there visiting, a lot of my cares slip away. It reminds me not to waste my youth on worries when I could be making memories. It relaxes me, too and I find myself smiling and laughing more during and after our visits.
Finally, I think it’s good for Bunny, too. She doesn’t hesitate about going up to people to get attention and let them pet her. Her tail wags while we’re there and after we’re done. She sleeps hard when we get home, so I know she’s gotten a physical and mental workout. If I didn’t think she enjoyed it, and I have had dogs that I felt did not, I wouldn’t keep taking her. Actually, she’s doing so well that I’m considering doing some hospice work with her.
I think a lot of times when we think about our dogs being in good shape, we forget that there’s more to it than just the physical body. Being stimulated by different experiences is just as important for our dogs as it is for humans. If we keep them in the same routine, we put them at higher risk for Canine Cognitive Disorder. They need to smell new smells and see different things just as much as we do to keep having good mental health.
In the end, I am glad we went back last night. There were some people who really needed to see the dogs and Bunny needed a chance to work her magic. I needed a chance to remember why I love doing the visits, and last night was a great opportunity for that. Once we got started, I really didn’t have time to dwell on losses, just on the warm glow that doing a good deed provides.
It’s the FitDog Friday Blog Hop sponsored by Peggy’s Pet Place and SlimDoggy. It’s a chance to blog about pet fitness news, diet and nutrition, healthy activities, ways to exercise with your dog, photos of your dog in agility, or anything related to health, exercising and burning calories together with your furry best friend.
Two weekends ago, I got really excited when I saw an ad on the Constitution Trail for an upcoming Pet Fair and Pooch Parade in Bloomington. We just aren’t lucky enough to have those kinds of things in our area too often. I was determined to go.
Saturday dawned rather grey and overcast, but I was not to be deterred. I’d already gotten our bag ready for the trip the night before and had everything in it that we could need. I even had a costume packed for Bunny, but I wasn’t really sure about entering the parade. Mr. Taleteller had decided that he was going to go dogless, so the only things I needed were for Bunny. At the last minute, Blueberry turned on the puppy dog eyes and my husband caved. We’d been worried it might be a little too much walking around outside for her, but I was glad he decided to take her along. I hurried to grab a pretty collar for her to wear and we dashed out to the van.
It began to rain just a little on our way over, but it has been doing that all week. Generally, a little rain is followed by a period of no rain with just gloomy skies, so we weren’t worried. However, about halfway there, I asked my husband if he’d remembered to grab Blueberry’s raincoat in the mad dash out the back door. It was a negative. Mr. Taleteller assured me, however, that it was not going to rain and there would be no need for it. I’m sure some of you heard Mr. Murphy laughing in the background just now, too.
We arrived and the Pooch Parade was all lined up. I think we probably could have squeezed Bunny into the parade, but we didn’t want to rush or seem rude. It gave us the chance to watch things that were going on and enjoy seeing other people out having fun with their dogs. I also came across a booth looking for canine volunteers to visit for a hospice group.
As we were standing there, admiring the goings on, it began to rain. Bunny and I moved under one of the tents. The rain did not let up. As a matter of fact, it began to rain harder. I was regretting leaving my jacket in the van. I decided it was time to pull out Bunny’s raincoat and put it on before she started to melt. I was then pleased with myself when I realized I had my rain poncho in the bag in case of emergency, too.
Then I turned around and there stood my husband with a damp Blueberry out in the rain. I was filling out paperwork in the volunteer tent, so I encouraged him to come in out of the rain with her. I saw the man turn into a mule before my eyes. I’m not sure what it is in the male make up that causes them to instantly rebel against a perfectly sensible idea suggested from a woman, but I call it testosterone poisoning. I was sure I had an umbrella, too, but I couldn’t find it in the bag because it was full of Bunny’s costume. I began to write faster.
As I was getting done, the rain was letting up some. My husband informed me that he was taking Blue back to the van. I took Bunny’s leash and we walked around to see some more of the fair, although there wasn’t a lot to see. There were a couple of rescues set up, a t-shirt business with some funny, off color shirts for sale, a face painting booth and a booth selling some nice Harry Barker pet toys. It was small, but for the first year, it was a decent showing. There were certainly a lot of people there to check it out. To my surprise, a lot of people wanted to take pictures of Bunny in her pink raincoat or comment on it.
After I got a few more pictures, a slightly sodden princess and I headed back to the van. We stopped to get a few treats from some booths and to do a paw print painting. When we got back to the van, Bunny was more than ready to get in. I peeled off her wet raincoat and she curled up in the captain’s chair. Poor Blueberry looked like a waterlogged muskrat. I felt terrible for not remembering a raincoat for her in the mad dash out the door.
Fortunately, Blueberry isn’t one to hold a grudge. She was happy as a clam that she’d gone along with us and apparently, a little thing like getting wet wasn’t a big deal in the face of going out while the Shepherds both stayed home. Honestly, her happiness was contagious. It was a good reminder not to cry because it’s over, but to smile because it happened. When we got home, she made a dramatic entrance for Morgan and Küster’s sakes and then went to stretch out and relax on the couch. I hope that I never forget to enjoy the fun things in life with a flourish. It looks like this time, Blueberry got the last laugh on Mr. Murphy after all.
You might remember that Küster had to go to have his eye exam done at the U of I vet school. It was a quick appointment because he’s a very healthy dog and there was nothing wrong with him. Mom and Dad knew it would be short, so they let me come along, and I figured it was just to be sure he had a model of civilized canine behavior to follow. It turns out they had a surprise for us.
On the way home, we went by Allerton Park. Mom was hoping that this time we’d catch it in full spring bloom, but that turned out not to be the case. However, it was still beautiful. They were setting up for a couple of weddings, but for the most part, we had the park to ourselves. I thought it was a good time to begin Küster’s formal art appreciation training. A pup has to start somewhere, and Allerton is a great place for that. This wasn’t the first time I had been there, we went once in the late Summer and another time in late Spring, in case you thought the name of the place sounded familiar. It’s one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois and rightly so.
Allerton Park was originally known as “The Farms” and was the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton. It was the center of a 12,000 acre enterprise that Robert’s father, Samuel amassed in the late 1800′s. Samuel Allerton became a very wealthy man and left his money to his son. Robert was educated in Europe and his passion was art. He traveled all over the world and was a great philanthropist, art collector and artist. Robert Allerton saw the landscape as a canvas and he worked to create very unique artistic vistas on his estate. He would buy precious artifacts and then bring them back to the estate and create beautiful gardens around them. His life sounds very exciting and interesting, and if I were a human, I’d love to do a lot of the things he did. It’s also said that he was a dog lover, and his dogs often roamed the estate with him. At one time, he had fourteen dogs. To this day, Allerton is still open to dogs because of that, as long as we are well mannered.
The first garden we visited was the Fu Dog Garden. It has the Temple of the Golden Buddhas and a whole pack of Fu Dogs along the garden. I thought this would be a good place for Küster to start appreciating art and truth be told, I thought he picked it up pretty quickly. He didn’t even embarrass us by trying to pee on one of the Fu Dog pedestals. This is one of the most popular sites for weddings in the park.
After we admired the Buddhas and the Fu Dogs, we moved on to the estate house. The other times we’ve been to Allerton, this has been a very pretty spot, but they didn’t have any flowers up there yet and the koi weren’t in their pond. I’m sure that’s because it’s been so damp and wet. Usually, we enjoy the grounds close to the house a lot. It seems like the sort of house a Greyhound should be living in because the house itself seems like a work of art to me.
Since there wasn’t a lot to see up by the house, we wandered off up the path and made our way to the more formal gardens. This is where we saw the Girl With A Scarf statue in the Brick Garden. It was the last sculpture purchased for the garden in 1942. Küster and Dad seemed a lot more impressed by this sculpture than some of the ones we admired earlier. This garden is one that I think is particularly pretty in summer and fall. After that, we wandered through the other formal gardens and admired the Avenue of the Chinese Musicians and the Sunken Garden, where another wedding was being prepared for.
These were all things I’ve seen and admired before, and I found them beautiful all over again. To my surprise, however, we then left and went to find a trail that led to a sculpture we hadn’t seen before. It’s called Death of the Last Centaur and it’s in a really beautiful spot. We went past the pillars that Küster and I posed at in yesterday’s picture to get there. On a funny note, Mom took a series of pictures of us there, to make sure she got one good one, and in most of the pictures, we were mirror images of each other. It seems that Küster is a quick study in art appreciation and modeling. As we got the the sculpture, we were a little breathless, not because of the walk, but because of the beautiful and perfect location of it. We wondered how tough it must have been to move the sculpture into place when it was first brought in.
Our next stop was a visit to the Sun Singer. I have to say, it’s much prettier there in the summer when there are riots of flowers blooming around the base, but it was still stunning in all the green of Spring. My bet is that fall is the best time to see it, when all the leaves are in their Autumn glory.
After we left the Sun Singer, we decided to go out the recently opened South Entrance. This is the first time we’ve visited and been able to use that entrance because it’s been closed for a long time. Imagine our surprise when we saw that it was flanked by two statues with dogs at the entrance. I did some research this weekend, but I couldn’t find out what they’re called, but there’s a man and a woman who are each posed with a hunting type of dog. I will keep sniffing around until I find out.
I love that there are places in the world that you can visit and still find new and amazing things to love about them. Allerton Park is one of those places. Every time we go, we find something new that we hadn’t seen or admired before. The best part is that there are still some parts that we haven’t seen, so we’ll be going back to see them one of these days, too. I’m looking forward to what we’ll see the next time. We never know what we’ll find, but we know it will be beautiful.